This is a wonderful development. Three years ago, I totally enjoyed the tension and shounen feel of a board game-based anime of which I still don’t know how to play even to this day. That anime was Saki, and with its ridiculously large but effective girl cast, a light touch of yuri, and with the exciting presentation of impossible mahjong, it was a surprisingly good watch for me. I thought I’d never ever see a sequel because of the animation studio dropping off the production during its run, and that the anime then has totally caught up to the manga. Little did I know, the manga continued to be so popular, that its author actually sidetracked the series into another sidestory, a separate manga series! And now we have Saki Achiga-hen: Episode of Side A. Quite a mouthful of a title, but it is a sidestory that provides another view of the impending Nationals team tournament. It may not have the same insane mahjong intensity that the original series had, but it retains the same world and the same knack of adding more and more wonderful characters, which is more than good enough for me.
When I say slice-of-life in anime, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is completely grounded in reality. In fact, I found that most of the so-called slice-of-life series out there features at least a bit of unrealistic aspect within them, whether it be talking animals, magical elements or alien settings. While the fantastic parts aren’t the focus of those other examples, here in Natsuiro Kiseki, the magic is front-and-center. We are transported into a world where mysterious rocks can actually make wishes come true. It did initially throw me off somewhat because of the odd premise in an otherwise normal world – I didn’t like what I saw at first. But because of the wonderful characters, coupled with surprisingly excellent performances from the voice actors, Natsuiro Kiseki’s world is somewhere I can totally immerse my slice-of-life enjoyments into.
I tend to like the “indie” side of entertainment. This is where creativity flourishes as opposed to the sometimes-generic packaged entertainment of bigger, more corporate companies and franchises. My likehood of Vocaloid music stems from that same vein, and as such, it is exciting to follow them from their humble, less popular roots and then bursting out into mainstream popularity like a whole forest of trees. This is the modern doujin revolution as I call it, where you create and share your ideas as much as the world allows you to. Blackâ˜…Rock Shooter started out this way, from a series of drawings, then a popular song, and now it shot off into the mainstream with an OVA, a game, and this anime TV series which I am reviewing. The results, while satisfying overall, are mixed. I’ve prepared my guns and gone over to the Otherworld with this one.
If there’s one thing I learned about all my years watching anime, is never judge a book by its cover. An anime might look so cute and good in preview pictures and promotional videos, but sometimes you just have too high expectations based on that initial impression that might lead to some disappointments when you start watching it. On the other hand, there are instances when you only have low expectations about a show, then get surprised about how good it turned out to be in the long run. Wait… if you were expecting me to say that The iDOLM@STER is one of those animes where you can have low expectations yet the anime delivered more, you’re wrong. The iDOLM@STER is one of those rarer gems, where even your highest expectations of what a cutesy, bishoujo, moe, harem-looking anime can ever be, will be exceeded, even devastated. At the very least, it was like that for me.
Because Iâ€™m male, I am able to tolerate transsexuality of the female kind, but definitely not of my own gender. I donâ€™t think I can stomach male femininity (read: traps) if it were the main theme of an anime, moreso in any other kind of entertainment medium. As a result, I was initially wary of Hourou Musuko because of my misguided thoughts of it being an anime with â€œgaynessâ€. I was indeed hugely misguided. Beneath that veil of crossdressing weirdness, it actually has a heartwarming coming of age story about kids merely trying to grow up and explore their sexuality. And it is absolutely wonderful.
I donâ€™t normally watch mecha anime, itâ€™s definitely not my genre. I apologize ahead for having no screens of mechas in action, because I don’t see the point. I do understand the fandom of fictional robot technology and how in the real world people are into plastic models and other mecha collection stuff, but somehow I canâ€™t seem to be that audience. Music, on the other hand, in whatever shape or form it may be expressed, is important and appealing to me. Music drives my soul to various emotions. Everytime an anime appears to have great songs and background music, I would point that out front and center even though I am hard-pressed to describe it in words sometimes in my blog. Rest assured though, whenever I coin the music as having a â€œsense of wonderâ€ or being â€œamazingâ€, it is an integral part of my enjoyment of an anime. And what an example I have right now here: Macross Frontier. My least favored genre in anime, but with some of the best music I have ever heard in an anime.