What could go wrong with a show involving Catholics, witches, and Frenchmen, all blended together with the spice of romantic comedy and the wrath of God? Well, I would think quite a lot, actually. However, you won’t find any of those potential problems here. The winter anime season has always been a sort of birthing chamber for a variety of risky new titles, and the trend continues in 2015 with Maria the Virgin Witch. Detailing the exploits of a group of characters during a pivotal time period during Hundred Years War, the series grapples with religious ethics, the nature of humanity, and the question of how many strips of fabric are needed to turn a sex aid into a wearable garment.
The titular virgin witch, Maria, is a free-spirited sorceress who spends her time making medicines, defending the village she lives nearby, and doing all she can to stop the seemingly perpetual battles that continuously rage on throughout France. Her meddling in these situations has led to the Catholic Church branding her as a heretic, but it isn’t just the institutions of the divine on Earth who have taken notice. Initiated by Maria attempting to resolve a minor fracas, The Archangel Michael descended from the Heavens, and forbids Maria from interfering any further, casting a spell that would break her connection with the supernatural in the event of her losing her virginity.
Watching most 12 or 13 episode series is like taking a glass-bottom boat viewing of another world. While everything clearly visible, we are always separated by the glass, unable to truly involve ourselves with the events at hand. It is said that every creative endeavor begins with some starry-eyed developer bursting with new ideas, and most short anime seem like that person refused to budge a single inch on the content in order to accommodate for the lack of space. While having nothing occur in a series is usually the mark of a bad show(unless it’s a slice of life), jamming too many concepts into too tight of an area is also detrimental to an anime’s quality. The only time I’ve ever seen idea-packing work is in Baccano!, but that benefited from a unique narrative structure, while most linear series would end up exploding if they attempted to follow in that show’s footsteps. Maria the Virgin Witch understands this; it refuses to give up too many of its ideas but remains tightly focused upon a core group of highly interesting individuals while building up to a tear-jerking, pulse-pounding resolution. So while I was still engaged with the plot, the anime eases off enough at certain moments in order for me to sit back and digest enough of the deeper ethical and philosophical questions brought up by the series for them to have an actual impact.
Going back to an earlier analogy, Maria the Virgin Witch is more like a scuba-diving trip than a glass-bottom boat viewing. While it would have been perfectly convenient for the show to take the route that a lot of other “deep” or “philosophical” series have gone and mistake symbolism and ambiguity as automatic indicators of complexity, the anime manages to skirt this pitfall. The events that occur within the series are neither deliberately blurred nor dripping with forced, caked-on symbolism. What happens happens, and it’s what comes out of these points, not what actually occurs within these scenes that matters. It feels as if the show isn’t trying to involve itself with the metaphysical at all, leaving the audience to choose their own level of involvement. Every viewer will take something different away from the series, no matter what intellectual level they wish to function on.
The illustrious Production I.G. took responsibility of animating this work, with Gorō Taniguchi of Code Geass fame in the directors chair, and it appears as if neither of the two held anything back while producing the show. Besides several jarring uses of 3-D, the animation is clean and very smooth, blending well with the unique art style present. Aesthetically, the designers showed admirable restraint in regards to the setting, avoiding the typical “high-tech magic” style that many series seem to have gone for recently. Beyond the clothing of Maria and her counterparts that dabble in the supernatural, effort has been put into historically accurate weapons, clothing, and backgrounds. Even Maria’s magical abilities reflect this, being more in the classical style of floating cauldrons and puffs of multicolored smoke rather than the laser light show that seems to be quite endemic to the fantasy genre in Japan. Soundtrack-wise, the series is nothing too special. Besides a great opening and ending, most of the music fades into the background more than augmenting the scene. While it is never irritatingly bad or incongruous, I would be hard pressed to even remember a specific track.
Maria the Virgin Witch is one of those pleasant surprises that come along now and then, a show that recognizes its limits but doesn’t feel restricted by them. It’s both delightfully funny and unexpectedly deep, all packaged together into a succinct but nonetheless impactful 12 episodes. By far and away the best series to air this season, Maria the Virgin Witch deserves a spot alongside Steins;Gate and Baccano! as a modern show worthy of being regarded amongst the classics.
Based on the manga written and illustrated by Sayori Ochiai, Gingitsune: Messenger Fox of the Gods follows the everyday life of Makoto Saeki, who is the 15th successor to her family’s shrine. As a result, Makoto is able to see Gintaro, a messenger of the gods who is the spirit of a sacred silver fox and has lived at the shrine for over 350 years. As a messenger of the gods, Gintaro has the ability to see into the future, and uses it to help Makoto only when she is truly in need. This is the story of friendship between a delicate teenager and a shy and stubborn messenger of the gods. This anime revolves around a “slice of life” atmosphere. Many episodes involve the little events and situations between the characters, all while relaying the importance of tradition, family and friendship. So it’s nothing new, essentially. However, that doesn’t mean this anime should be skipped. Many of the characters, although they are based around some traditional Japanese token characters, still have a sense of likability, and are still very interesting. Haru, for as obnoxious as he is, still has some things to offer in his character, such as his relationship with Satoru. You can really see this in episode 5, just keep in mind that Haru starts to lose his likability after that episode, but its just my opinion. I also have never really seen this “slice-of-life” story done around a setting that blooms with Japanese and Shinto culture. Even though you may disagree with the religion (like me *cough*), you can still be sucked in by the history aspect (you got to learn something, kids). Be warned, there are also aspects of different lover relationships, lets just say.
Since its defeat in the Second World War, Japan has done something nearly unique — arranged things so that its traditional religions can live comfortably with its rationalist economics, education, and politics. Such an accomplishment is worth trying to understand, and this anime helped me to achieve that. I could see how the Shinto shrines in the story, and the people in them, fit into the society, and brought a sense of purpose and belonging to the everyday people around them. The characters all likable, and the main characters (girl and messenger fox) have a sweet friendship. Their relationship is depicted quietly, but with artistry that conveys clearly how much feeling they have for each other. The slice of life form allows the shrine life to be depicted clearly because there is no necessity to distort motivations and causation to bring about flashy events.
From my own perspective; I noticed each episode being packed to the brim with as much story as possible, which is a welcome sight in my opinion. The animation isn’t lazy, but it isn’t hyper realistic either, kind of a comfortable medium; the depth of the characters makes up for areas of the animation that would seem lacking. It might not look real, but it certainly feels real, I like that (Note: The backgrounds and other art is gorgeous). The comedy is spread evenly throughout and works to complement rather than as a detriment to the story. And at the end of every episode, you’re left with a feeling of wanting more, but no real appreciable cliffhangers to make you wonder “what’s next” and to angrily await next week’s episode (results may vary, I was enamored to the point of anger in having to wait a week).
At the end of it all, the series is short but has so much entertainment value to keep you beaming happily with whomever you watch it with. And I think the focus on being a slice of life show, emphasising the little things in life, really brings the show to a new level among series I have seen in the past. I would highly recommend anyone sitting on the fence to give it a watch. The result is an effective depiction of a society where people feel a sense of belonging that some of us who live elsewhere can only envy. Idealized though it may be, this show can make you feel welcome too, if you’re willing to accept the basic premise of all slice of life shows: Everyday life is routine, and the important and intense stuff happens inside.
Japan has discovered a supernatural spacial rift that allows access to a different world filled with numerous humanoid races of magical ability. Their world is still working on a feudal class system, which presents interesting complications for the company involved in trying to expand their otaku culture to this new world. Our protagonist was hired as a representative to achieve that goal, who is a full blown otaku with questionable social skills. He meets up with his half-elf maid, the human queen (16 years old), and Japanese assistant, then the chaos commences. A very interesting series that looks to have something for just about everyone. Plenty of fan service, romance potential, magic, comedy, fighting, and even social/philosophical forays. I found this to be more than your average fan service show with a surprising level of character and environmental development.
What sets Outbreak Company apart and raises it above most series is the political undertone which undermines the silliness. I feel the writers were making a political point about otaku culture and political trends. I won’t say more to not spoil the plot. In the end this was a heartwarming show that can also make you mad. Animation quality is not fantastic but it is more fitting than it is elegant. Due to this being a comical look at otaku culture, the series doesn’t warrant the animation quality of 5 centimeters per second or even Sword Art Online. I would compare it the anime Log Horizon. While the quality is not Attack on Titan, the animation does what it is asked and is able to tell the story nicely because better animation would seem almost overdoing it. Soundtrack is kind of generic though there is one track that will be remembered from this, the “Awkward moment da-da-da” track, and if you have watched this series already you know which track I am speaking of. The opening, I personally, feel is the best track of this show and fits with the comical feel of this series. The ending also holds up well in comparison though animation I feel is somewhat lacking in terms of content. Character development can be lacking though the show knows what it wants to do and be(a parody of otaku culture) and executes it well most of the time. And while the ending does leave the possibility for more, it gives a satisfying conclusion that can be appreciated by most, if not all.
If I have one complaint about this series, it’s that it seems almost too well written and conceived for the fluffy and frequently cliche harem rom-com that it is. The premise is clever and requires only a bit of suspension of belief, the characters are mostly realistic, and the setting is coherent and consistent. The protagonist is only mostly clueless, and the affection of the girls who surround him seems based on a genuine regard for his qualities; qualities that are demonstrated in ways that feel natural and not forced. Most of all, there seems to be a valid and intelligent story that is being told. Alas, that story really only covers three or four episodes, with the rest of the show focusing on somewhat-ironic otaku tropes and clever industry self-references. Still, while I can bemoan how much more they could have done with this, there’s no real sense of waste…it’s a fun anime on every level.
he plot is not over-arching but rather the plot serves to create various situations that give referenced and comical looks at various stereotypes, tropes, and cliches of many other anime and anime genres to date. While it does have its moments of series story and tone, the majority of the series consists of situations that help show the various preconceptions and obligatory-s of anime that we have all come to know and love. Outbreak Company is what it tries to be, a parody of otaku culture. While it does have some blunders here and there, it tells a nice story of comical otaku parody and heart that true anime fans will most certainly enjoy. Give it a watch and you will most certainly agree.
When he was young, Kyon wanted to live in a world full of aliens, time travelers, and espers. Like all children though, he eventually grew up, and reality slowly began to chip away at his dreams. By the time he entered high school he had given up on his hopes, and became ready to live a completely mundane, normal life. It was at this point that Haruhi Suzumiya came into his life. Haruhi was completely different than anyone Kyon had met before, a near-hyperactive eccentric completely fed up with the monotony of the world. Before he knows what hit him, Haruhi has forced Kyon to become a member of the SOS Brigade, a new club she created to combat the mundanity of reality. As time goes along and the SOS Brigade grows, Kyon slowly begins to realize that Haruhi is at the center of a situation far bigger than she is aware of. One by one, his club-mates reveal to him their secret: They were all sent by various entities to monitor Haruhi, for she is in fact God. Apparently, Haruhi unknowingly possesses the ability to manipulate the very fabric of the universe, changing it to her will. Alarmed by her growing ennui, Kyon and the rest of the SOS Brigade set out to keep Haruhi occupied, lest she destroy the universe and rebuild it to her own desires. So goes the plot of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and fittingly for a show centrally about growing up and changing one’s worldview, the series completely encapsulates a single stage of the process of maturing: The insufferable chuunibyou phase.
What makes me describe The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya as a show suffering from chuunibyou is that it thinks it’s a lot smarter than it actually is. Basically, the series is a high school comedy with a single supernatural element that the anime believes to be a golden ticket allowing it to throw out deepisms right and left like some sort of pretentious Easter Bunny. It pridefully self-identifies as a “deconstruction,” a term that has crept into common parlance due to series such as Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. The original definition of a “deconstruction” pertained to works that subvert the typical tropes of a genre or utilize certain themes in order to satirize or criticize the constraints of a medium, such as with titles like Neon Genesis Evangelion. Sadly, many recent anime that are considered to be such fall into the same trap that various parodies have been caught by, and end up just repeating the same clichés as the works they intend to satirize. The meta-fictional narrative of Princess Tutu or the sheer unconstrained madness of Me! Me! Me! are truly deconstructive, while just giving a wink to camera or juxtaposing a familiar concept with an unfamiliar tone isn’t. For instance, one of the members of the SOS Brigade is Mikuru Asahina, who is an out-and-out moe blob stock character. While this would typically earn the scorn from viewers, it’s considered okay simply because Haruhi references the fact that she’s moe. Oh, that’s just fine then! As long as we’re sacrificing a good plot for cheap laughs, then I’m down for it! My point is, was it really worth sticking the readers with a character as flimsy as her just to make a quick joke? According to the series apparently so, because they pull the same crap with our protagonist as well. Kyon’s the classic put-upon everyman, complete with the bewildered demeanor and occasional snarky comments. His character is nothing we haven’t seen a thousand times before. Yes, I understand that’s the joke, but it was neither funny for me nor beneficial to the show. This isn’t helped by the anachronistic fashion in which the series is presented, which pile-drives any sense of coherent character development into a vat of sublimating chlorine. However, I’ve fallen in love with shows with many more flaws than this. What really boils my piss about the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is that it attempts to sell off all of these flaws as positive qualities, then regards those who see through this cheap veneer with utter contempt. It’s when the series gets away from its beloved (and badly handled) satire and actually embraces its more archetypal aspects that it becomes halfway hilarious, but sadly these moments come and go depressingly quickly. For every “Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya” arc there are three “Endless Eights;” it’s almost as if the show takes perverse pleasure in letting the leash out then yanking on the audience’s choke chain.
The only aspect in which the show’s irritating smugness may actually be justified is in its production. Kyoto Animation truly outdid itself with the series, exhibiting some of the smoothest, cleanest animation ever. The zenith is the now-famous concert scene from episode 12, which seamlessly blends 3-D CGI with traditional styles. However, it should be noted that there is a noticeable shift in style between the first and second seasons. On the auditory side of things, it would be remiss of me to not mention the show’s English dub. Crispin Freeman demonstrates his mind-boggling range as Kyon, while Wendee Lee of Cowboy Bebop fame nails Haruhi’s eccentricities.
Overall, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is an unnecessarily well-presented dramatic comedy that contains a single good idea that the rest of series grabbed entirely wrong end of. Somewhere under the caked-on layers of pretentious excess lies a great concept of attempting to appease an unaware God, but it’s so woefully mishandled in this anime that I can’t recommend it.
They arrived in silence and darkness, descending from the skies with a hunger for human flesh. Parasites – alien creatures who must invade and take control of a human host to survive – have come to Earth. No one knows their secret except high school student, Shinichi Izumi, who’s right hand has been invaded by an alien parasite. Shinichi and Migi, the parasite in his hand, begrudgingly form a friendship and find themselves caught in the middle of a war between humans and parasites. This show takes a physically weak but well-meaning teen – who is often bullied – and gives him powers which land him in moral predicaments, force him to lead a double life and fight super-villains. It’s a good formula; and it was refreshing to see it used well in anime. Being culturally Japanese, it gets exposed to different tropes, different censorship and different aesthetics. If I may get off the Spider-Man/Blue-Beetle/whatever comparisons for a minute, what sets Parasyte apart from the previously mentioned stories is that it’s willing to be more risky in it’s writing decisions. If you think you’ve got the story trajectory figured out, or assume a character’s development will be stationary for the rest of the show, you could get thrown a curve-ball. And this is one of the things I love about Parasyte, of which there are many.
One of the definitive best series this year, and maybe for 2015 as well. The plot, which thematically centers around change and the nature of humanity is very well written, the action is well paced and gorgeously animated. This series starts off a little slow, but not at all boring in my opinion and then really starts to hit it’s stride in a couple of episodes and grows in enjoyment as time goes on. While I do hear complaints about the Dubstep in the soundtrack, I’m thankful for it. Too often in anime the music consists of generic, classical “epic” stuff for battles, overly sweet and cheery piano segments for emotional scenes and a rock-ish opening. Chucking in some Dubstep helps keep the rest of it fresh. I do have some criticisms. The key one being that like a lot of anime (and CW shows, but that’s for another review), it forgets a very important rule: show, don’t tell. Sometimes when something could have been communicated best with facial expressions, subtext or even just left for us to figure out, instead Parasyte points it out via one of the character’s mentioning it. It doesn’t crop up too often, but sometimes I can’t help but sigh and think “yeah, thanks Captain Obvious”. There is a reoccurring sub-plot about a third of the way through the series, and it’s made particularly repetitive because of it’s reliance on characters stating things which needn’t be spoken.
I felt as though it was well adapted from manga to anime, however I feel as though that if the director had just sequenced it the same way as the manga had it it would have been much better. I found it strange and slightly confusing when the anime had chosen to lay out the story in a non-chronological layout that explained the story through memories and flashbacks. Another change from the anime to manga is the setting/character design. This is perfectly fine, I feel as though it is much better being in a more modern setting because that fits the theme the story is trying to portray. As for the voice acting it is very well done however I do not like the parasite’s voice. I feel as though the parasite should sound more strange and as it is the parasite just sounds adorable.
So everyone has pretty much said everything that needs to be said, but I’m going to say it anyway. This is definitely one of the best shows I’ve ever had the privilege of watching. The premise is something with a fresh feel to it. The secondary characters leave a bit to be desired but really it’s a minor footnote when compared to everything else that’s going on. Then there’s the action. Absolutely beautiful in both execution( and executions! lol) and artwork. The battles have an amazing flow to them that makes it feel believable even though it’s taking place between two alien beings inhabiting a human’s body. Even the scenes that only last a few moments are awesome due to everything that is working up to it being so dramatically acted out. In all we get one of the best shows in a LONG time and I hope that this goes on for a while. There’s only one downside: This show is amazingly good at cliffhangers. Literally every episode. Prepare yourself!
Keima, a high school student, is an avid player of romantic simulation games. He is known on the Internet as the “Divine Capturer” for his legendary skills to “capture” any 2D girl in games. In his real school life, Keima is considered nothing but a gloomy geek with thick glasses. A harem anime that applies dating logic from games into real life… and works?!? This anime proves itself to be highly unique compared to the typical harem anime. Unlike the typical harem anime, this anime breaks the ice in dating other characters almost immediately (first episode) and executes it with such precision that even a full fledged ladies’ man would be put to shame. This anime is a must watch for any die hard fan of anime.
The story goes through with Keima’s adventures as he has to find different ways to fill the hearts of many different types of girls including a librarian, and idol and a b*itch. I mean a tsundere. This sounds, understandably, like one of the stupidest plots in the world and is no different then other cheesy harems. You’d be wrong on that. The actual story is one of the most original I’ve seen. It incorporates many cliched elements found in harems and slice-of-life anime and masterfully makes it into something more original. This is helped by the fact that, throughout the series, there are only a few episodes of filler and even those fillers are hilarious. They make many pop culture references to the gal gaming world and, even though some explanations sound like nonsense, it is some of the best constructed nonsense I’ve heard. The story was enjoyable, lighthearted and easy to follow. It parodies many gaming stereotypes and presents them in an easy-to-understand way.
The other characters also need a good deal of mention. While most of them are anime tropes, they exhibit their own, unique air which just makes them likable. The girls whom which Keima has to seduce to get the Weiss out all have discernible traits that make them different from other similar anime characters. They have their own back-stories and it is interesting to see how Keima can get them to kiss him (getting the Weiss out). We, the audience, know that the methods (gal game methods) Keima uses will probably get us slapped if we attempted them in real life but it is still fun to watch. This makes it sound like a typical harem but the author managed to avoid this in quite a dastardly smart way- after a “capture” and the Weiss comes out and is caught, the girl has no memories of the dates etc.
Animation is smooth. It does change but that’s only because of the predominant comedy genre (so you will see less of it in the more serious 3rd season). It isn’t brilliant but it is done in such a way to make the anime more fun to watch- lots of bright, solid colors and no dark settings. The music is, while not top-notch, done well and each scene is well-set out and there are some points where you know the specific type of music being played is for the parodying effect. If there’s anything negative I can say about the show, it’s this. The girls forgetting about everything, after being ‘conquered’ felt like a bit of a cop out. This is a very obvious plot element for the sake of letting Keima conquer several different girls. I can sympathize with the writer about this, because the story would get incredibly complicated if Keima would have had to deal with all the different girls at the same time. And all the other story elements are so expertly put together that I can’t help but forgive him for this. Plus lo and behold, in the third season, Goddesses, many of the girls are actually made to remember their events with Keima at the same time. To great comedic effect, I must add.
Many of these “comedy slice of life” series are an examination of the characters and their relationships with each other. The Chronicles of the Going Home Club really isn’t about that. The characters in this series are more like a medium from which they serve up some kind of (usually amusing) commentary. I find that the jokes in this series have a subtle maturity and sophistication that you don’t see in a lot of anime.
The interesting thing about this series is that its humor is rather subtle and is actually extremely witty. Rather than relying on tired situational comedy tropes such as dealing with “the embarrassing girl who has a crush on her best friend” or “boy falls into a girl’s chest” or “girl’s so random just because, and it’s funny!”, the series makes jokes about historical leaders and their short poems, teenage angst, evolving social norms, and anime cliches. There’s a lot of fourth-wall breaking going on in this series. If you’ve watched enough anime to be rather tired of these cliches, then it’s rather amusing to see them pointed out in this series.
So really, the joy in this series isn’t that much about the characters – as I mentioned, the characters are more of a medium through which to serve jokes through than they are deep, meaningful archetypes. Another amazing part is that none of the characters (except possibly the Seal mascot) are extraordinarily annoying. And to conclude, perhaps it is only me, but I find single gender groups very flat, unless there is some romantic tension.
There are also a LOT of pop-culture jokes in the series. They’re subtle but if you look for them it’s actually a blast. The one ones I’ve managed to identify were video-game related (there’s at least a Touhou reference and a Super Mario reference) but a series like this is probably buried with them. The animation is colorful, bright, and buttery smooth. Not much is notable, but what is here is quality and slightly above average for a slice-of-life show. Musically, besides the unholy catchiness of the opening and endings, there really isn’t a soundtrack to speak of. It’s standard background songs that compliment more than being stand-alone listens. Neither of these things stood out greatly as the gags were what the show mainly focused on.
Before reading Romeo and Juliet, one must explore the intricacies of Cupid and Psyche. The romance genre is absolutely teeming with fantastic stories, but in order for any of them to have an impact, it is necessary for on to understand the meaning of “true love” within a medium. Harems, gender-benders, and romantic tragedy lose their sense of impact unless there exists a show that completely embodies love in its purest form. Luckily, Kōsuke Fujishima’s Ah! My Goddess! fulfills this role.
After a couple of original video animations and a series of animated shorts entitled The Adventures of Mini-Goddess, the Anime International Company was tasked with producing the first full anime version of the franchise. With Hiroaki Gōda at the helm and a fairly large production staff, the animators were able to stretch their legs a bit and tart the series up. Romantic comedies aren’t exactly the most aesthetically demanding of shows, so instead of blowing their budget on ridiculous, large-scale action set-pieces (besides one at the end on the first season), Anime International was able to instead spend time polishing each scene up. Character movements are crisp and the environments truly pop. On the soundtrack side, things are slightly less impressive. Once again, romantic comedies don’t really need massive coffers in order to be notable, but putting some effort into making a few good tunes wouldn’t go amiss. Nothing on the entire soundtrack is particularly notable. However, this can almost be applauded, as it means that nothing can subtract from the absolutely sublime English dub. As great as Masami Kikuchi and Kikuko Inoue are, they just can’t hold a candle to the combined forces of Drew Aaron, Eileen Stevens, Shannon Conley, and Kether Donohue. While all were relatively unknown beforehand, Ah! My Goddess! catapulted each person that made up the main cast to a level of super-stardom in the realm of voice-acting, taking on roles as varied, loved, and memorable as… Actually, their four roles in the series at hand are basically the only notable ones any of them have done, but each of their voices just fit their roles so perfectly.
Keiichi Morisato is your typical college student. He struggles to find a balance between his classes and the various activities of the Motor Club, which he is a member of. One night, while his roommates are out, he accidentally dials the Goddess Help-Line, causing the goddess Belldandy to appear, giving him a single wish. Under the impression that Belldandy is part of some sort of prank on the part of his friends, Morisato wishes for her to stay by his side forever. Needless to say, the wish is granted, and Keiichi and Belldandy are almost immediately put in hot water after his roommates return and discover him with a mysterious girl in their males-only dormitory. After being unceremoniously ejected from the building, the pair find themselves seeking a new place of residence, which comes in the form of a Buddhist temple. After witnessing Belldandy’s warmheartedness and divine abilities, the monk who resides within the temple is inspired to embark on a pilgrimage to India, leaving Keiichi and her in charge of the grounds. However, this is only the beginning for Keiichi. Living with a goddess is just a magnet for trouble, and he finds himself having to deal with demons, the antics of Belldandy’s sisters Urd and Skuld, and to top it off, his growing feelings towards the goddess he is bound to.
The show remains almost entirely episodic throughout its two seasons, but this creates a great sensation of time passing, something which is extremely important in a series which is so heavily reliant on characters slowly developing romantic feelings for one another. Keiichi’s evolution didn’t happen overnight. It’s augmented by the many unique characters that touched Belldandy and Keiichi’s lives, and the series does a fantastic job developing at least one aspect of every background character in a balanced and extremely compelling manner. Many of the episodes that deal with the expanded world of mythology that Fujishima has built only seem to detract from the overall experience. Whenever talk of Yggdrasil and the like comes up, the focal point shifts away from the near-integral relationship between Keiichi and Belldandy, leaving the end product feeling somewhat anemic and unpolished.
Interestingly enough, the audience becomes just as dependent upon the pair as the story, which is why the ending comes as such a slap in the face. It’s as if the producers wanted to use the tried-and-true romantic comedy trope of a club trip in order to get a confession scene with some jolly pretty background, but the script writer just ran out of time, lost the will to live, or was abducted by aliens, forcing the rest of the team to string together whatever they had just before the deadline reared its ugly head. One would assume that this kind of finish was intended to pave way for a series of original video animations as was the case with the series’ first season, but the two that the fans were provided with did absolutely nothing to help the situation.
However, these are all minor quibbles in the end. The many issues of the show are all stumbling blocks in the way of the delightful experience of watching Belldandy and Keiichi grow together, but they aren’t deal-breakers. The end result is a great, albeit flawed series that truly embodies love and romance, and is an experience that shouldn’t be missed.
Sayuri Haruno dreams of becoming a pastry chef and enrolls in Fleurir Confectionary Academy, an elite school located in Tokyo’s trendy Aoyama district. At Fleurir, she finds herself surrounded by charming boys, each one distinctly unique. Out of the entire class, Ryou Kouzuki’s desire to become a pastry chef is the strongest. Blessed with unparalleled technique, instructor Mitsuki Aoi acts like a prince and is hugely popular at the school. Gilbert Hanafusa, the mood maker of the bunch, is a student from France. Yoshinosuke Suzumi is not very good at expressing his feelings, but underneath his stony exterior lies a wholehearted passion for Japanese sweets. As far as episodes go, they are five min. clips, more or less like Starry Sky. The opening/ed music sound like those music slogans for ads and sounds pretty catchy. Personally, I would have liked a longer ep. & a bit more substance after watching episode 2. They don’t show much of the actual cooking, but flashy moves/sequences with sparkles or themed backgrounds and bishounen. As a girl, I love the eye candy, but want more story. If you’re looking for something like Yumeiro Patissiere, where you get boys and actual cooking with moral lessons, you may be disappointed. I also hope to see the main character develop some courage or backbone to not accept abuse from the jealous girls and her first partner. It’s okay to ignore the terrible things said to you, or avoid causing a ruckus, but she’s just being a punching bag for insults at the moment.
Amano Ichigo, the main for YP, had moments of insecurities and doubt, but grew in confidence as she developed her skills. I hope to see some form of that character development here. I just hope it doesn’t become another Diabolik Lovers plot; albeit the art is gorgeous. My tolerance level for the typical cliche and marysue plots/characters are pretty high, but I just don’t think that was my cup of tea. Far too predictable, and sexual if you ask me. On the other hand, if you’re here for the boys and voice actors, then this may be your cup of tea. Another cooking-themed plot, though not an anime, would be Kitchen Princess. If you’re familiar with Arisa or Zodiac P.I., you’ll recognize that the art is by Natsumi Andou. The storyline is by Kobayashi Miyuki and is very enjoyable. Anyways, I digress. It’s still possible to enjoy these clips, and it is only the beginning. We’ll see if I can stick around this series until the end and enjoy the closure.
I love the reverse harem anime boy sim game style, and I’m digging the five min episodes. If the episodes were longer they’d have to find a way to fill in the story which could get boring like a lot of slow-paced shoujo anime. The art is pretty and whimsical, they have the anime boy stereotypes, but their character development is lacking, and the storyline isn’t that special. The main character is kind of a blank slate- I wonder what makes her special to the point where all the teachers and guys want to date her. Also they introduce new characters which I wish I could see more often in the anime because they could be more interesting than the main characters even (Like the cutie brother with the long brown hair). Overall, this anime is cute, but not interesting to the point where I get excited for the next episode to come out. I’m still gonna watch it though!
The anime is short and sweet but also needs more/better character development, especially on the main character… I can’t really fault it too much since it is a really short anime. The main character feels a bit mary-sueish, since all the cute/handsome boys and teachers like her. Is it bad that I am more interested in the principal (not shown in the cover art) than the main character? even though the principal keeps thinking that the main character is having student/teacher relationships every time she hangs out with the teachers.