Tag Archives: Comedy

ONE-PUNCH MAN Episode 2

Episode 2 Production Details

Episode Director: Shinichiro Ushijima (Episode Director on Hunter x Hunter 2011 episodes 96, 109, 115, 122, 129, 136 and 143 / Episode Director on Death Parade episode 4 / Storyboards on Ore Monogatari!! episode 8)

Storyboards: Shingo Natsume ( Director on Space Dandy / 2nd Key Animator on Naruto Shippuuden episode 167 / Producer and Key Animator on FullMetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos)

Script: Tomohiro Suzuki ( Script Writer on Lupin The Third 2015 episodes 2, 4, 8 and 14)


 

Just a side note before I begin these screenshots are taken from my ONE-PUNCH MAN Blu-ray discs.  The TV broadcast of this series was pretty to look at but the Blu-rays are an improvement in characters’ facial expressions down to the background designs.

Fluid movements over consistent artistic detail.  I’m sold on this show.  Mosquito Girl’s design was fascinating and just one of many monsters that showed up in this episode of ONE-PUNCH MAN.  This anime series is as creative in it’s conceptual designs of its creatures as Space Dandy is–every one of them has unique abilities!

Genos’ dynamic movements as a cyborg trace back to the first episode’s general flow–it’s ridiculous but extremely cool.  Typically, anime series tend to throw their budget way up for the first episode but not this show.  It runs on an average budget of around $150,000 per episode.  Studio MADHOUSE is known for distributing their money out to the fast-paced battle scenes rather than the slow moving ones.  Which is why Saitama’s design from the manga works exceptionally well on this budget.  I recently got a chance to be a part of a live stream event chatting session with Bartender’s and Ben-To‘s TV anime producer Tatsuya Ishiguro and I’ve had the chance to learn a lot about what goes into an animated production.

ONE-PUNCH MAN‘s success stems from the collaborative efforts of its producer and how he works with Shingo Natsume on approving scenes from the manga that would translate well into anime format.  The closeup shot of Mosquito Girl as Genos lights up her minions of mosquitoes was amazing.  The fire animation throughout this episode highlights the difference in power between Saitama and Genos.  The comedy didn’t let up here either–Mosquito Girl gets slapped rather than punched and I like how it’s that scene without music that throws Genos for a loop.  He’s a hero that’s pretty well grounded in his ideals and it’s great to see that his pride as well as his body is destroyed by Mosquito Girl.  He’s willing to sacrifice himself in order to save humans and the sacrificial trope is dismantled by a slap from Saitama!

Saitama saves his life and it’s funny how Genos’ backstory is a quick introduction from him–really spells out the fact that he’s a robot. I’m not usually a fan of backstory’s but this was quite funny.

This show didn’t let up on the action either!  More monsters getting wiped out by Saitama it’s about time that Genos takes one of them out!  The story goes from serious to comedic in an instant and I like how this episode manages to flow these two elements together smoothly!

Miyuki Sawashiro’s voice is so incredible in this episode.  Popular seiyu are cast throughout this series–Vaccine Man from the first episode was the same actor that voiced famous villain Frieza from Dragon Ball Z.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 9/10

ONE-PUNCH MAN Episode 1 [Initial Impression]

Animation Production: Studio MADHOUSE ( BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad, Boogiepop PhantomAoi BungakuBarefoot Gen, Black LagoonBio HunterCasshern SINSCardcaptor SakuraChobitsChihayafuruGungraveThe Girl Who Leapt Through TimeHajime no IppoHellsing Ultimate, Highschool of the DeadHunter x Hunter 2011KaibaKurozukaDenno CoilLast Order: Final Fantasy VIIDeath NoteDeath ParadeNeo TokyoNinja ScrollParadise KissParanoia AgentKiseijuuRecord of Lodoss War, PaprikaPrince of Stride: AlternativeMonster, Moryo no HakoSummer WarsThe Tatami GalaxyTokyo GodfathersTrigunWicked CityDemon City ShinjukuXWolf Children)

Director: Shingo Natsume ( Series Director on Space Dandy / Key Animator on Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann episodes 1, 5, 10, 14, 22 and 27 / Key Animator on FullMetal Alchemist: BROTHERHOOD episode 23 / Episode Director, Storyboard and Key Animator on Space Dandy episodes 1, 13 and 26)

Series Composition: Tomohiro Suzuki ( Script Writer on Lupin The Third 2015 episodes 2, 4, 8 and 14)

Character Designer: Chikashi Kubota ( Key Animator on Monster episode 57 / Animation Supervisor on Shinsekai Yori episodes 1, 8 and 25 / Animation Supervisor and Key Animator on Space Dandy episodes 12, 8 and 10 / Key Animator on Ashita no Nadja‘s opening sequence / Animation Supervisor on Toki o Kakeru Shoujo / Key Animator on Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann‘s first and second opening sequences / Key Animator on Shingeki no Kyojin‘s second opening sequence)

Music: Makoto Miyazaki ( Music Composer on Dragon Crisis! / Theme song composition on Hyoka‘s opening sequence / Music Composer on Triage X)

Episode 1 Production Details

Episode Director: Shingo Natsume

Storyboards: Shingo Natsume

Script: Tomohiro Suzuki


MADHOUSE this was amazing.  This is one of their top productions of 2015.  Saitama is a hero that trained in the simplest of ways to gain the title of “One Punch Man” and its the hilarity of his situation that breaks the mold and destroys every action series out there.  Studio Pierrot should learn from these animators and bring back BLEACH.

Saitama lives a simple life in an apartment and lacks a strong personality.  I like how the three years before he goes bald is a cliche backstory.  He saves a kid from death and realizes he wants to become a hero.  Giant crab monsters, Vaccine Man, the Giant brother and little evil doctor brother–everything about this anime screams cliche.  It’s so ridiculous that it works because visually it’s one of the prettiest series I’ve ever seen and it molds together monster-of-the-week formula and packs it into an adrenaline rush of 24 minutes!

I’ve read the manga’s first volume and from what I can tell the jokes that were not as funny are portrayed hilariously in the anime.  That’s when you know this is going to be a stellar series.

Director Shingo Natsume is perfect for this!  He’s got a style that’s very loose and full of charisma.  That’s the charm of this show–a visually stunning adaptation.  Shingo Natsume learned how to bring life to ONE’s manga from his TV animation debut in Yojō-Han Shinwa Taikei and this show looks freeform from anything that aired in Fall 2015!  We’ve also got a handful of animators from Space Dandy on this–Saitama’s fight with Vaccine Man was impressive but the impressive part had to be his fight against the Subterraneans!

The Blu-ray volumes look stunning in 4K and its great to see retail company Emotion adding English subtitles to this release like what they did with GANGSTA and Space Dandy.


 

OP: “The Hero!! ~Ikareru Ken ni Honō o Tsukeru~” (THE HERO!! ~怒れる拳に火をつけろ~;The Hero!! Set Fire to the Furious Fist) by JAM Project

Directed by: Shingo Natsume

Storyboards: Shingo Natsume

Animation Supervisor: Chikashi Kubota

Jam Project.  This band is a good pick for the action theme of this series.  Tons of monsters show up in this and its great to see how heavily detailed they are. Fantastic illustrations and smooth animation provide a short but sweet look at Saitama’s abilities.  

ED: “Hoshi Yori Saki ni Mitsukete Ageru” (星より先に見つけてあげる;I’ll Find It Before the Stars for You) by Hiroko Moriguchi

Directed by: Shinichiro Ushijima

Storyboards: Shinichiro Ushijima

Animation Supervisor: Chikabi Kubota

This reminds me of Kisejuu‘s ending in that it offers a glimpse of simplicity.  Life far removed from the supernatural and downright strange monsters that appear in this show.  I like how toned down it is compared to the rest of One-Punch Man and its opening.  Vocals by Hiroko Moriguchi are beautiful.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Musaigen no Phantom World Episode 1 [Initial Impressions]

In the near future, in a world born of human imagination, what humans would call ghosts or monsters appear, and they come to be called “phantoms.” Haruhiko Ichijō, is a first year at Hosea Academy along with his upperclassman Mai Kawakami, who fights phantoms with the ability “Spirit of Five Elements,” Reina Izumi, who has the ability “Phantom Eater,” and Koito Minase, who fights phantoms in solitude. They experience the ups and downs of high school life before a certain incident leads them to the truth of this world. ~ANN


 

Animation Production: Kyoto Animation ( Amagi Brilliant Park, Free!K-On!Chūnibyō demo Koi ga Shitai!, Figure 17Full Metal Panic!, Hibike! EuphoniumHyōkaKanon, Kyoukai no Kanata, Lucky StarNichijoSora o Miageru Shōjo no Hitomi ni Utsuru SekaiTamako Market)

Director: Tatsuya Ishihara ( Director on Air / Director on Chūnibyō demo Koi ga Shitai! / Episode Director on Fushigi Yugi episode 19 / Chief Director and Storyboard on Haruhi Suzumiya film and TV series / Director on Nichijo  / Director on Hibike! Euphonium / Storyboard and Episode Director on Tenchi Universe episodes 3, 8, 13 and 23)

Series Composition: Fumihiko Shimo ( Series Composition on AirAria the Scarlett Ammo Double AClannadMelancholy of Haruhi SuzumiyaKokoro Connect, and most of Kyoto Animation and Ishihara’s directorial projects)

Character Designer:  Kazumi Ikeda ( Animation Director on Air episodes 2, 5 and 8 / Animation Director on Amagi Brilliant Park episodes 5 and 11 / Character Designer and Chief Animation Director on Clannad / Key Animator on Free! ending sequence / Character Designer on Chūnibyō demo Koi ga Shitai! / Animation Director on Hibike! Euphonium)

Music: EFFY ( Wrote insert song arrangements for Cross AngeMagical Girl Lyrical Nanoha the Movie 2nd A’s and No-Rin)

Episode 1 Production Details

Episode Director: Ichirou Miyoshi ( Episode Director and Storyboard on Air episode 11 / Storyboard and Episode Director on Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid episodes 4 and 12 / Storyboard and Episode Director on Gate Keepers 21 / Storyboard and Episode Director on K-On! season 2 episode 4)

Storyboards: Yasuhiro Takemoto ( Director on Amagi Brilliant Park / Key Animator and Storyboard on Amagi Brilliant Park ending sequence / Storyboard and Director on Amagi Brilliant Park opening and ending sequences / Storyboards on Kaze no Yojimbo episodes 4 and 22 / Storyboards and Episode Director on Kyoukai no Kanata episodes 2, 4 and 10)

Script: Fumihiko Shimo ( Script Writer on Amagi Brilliant Park episodes 1, 2, 8, 11 and 13)


Typical Kyoto Animation.  They produce about one series a season and it’s all in-house staff.  Character Designs, backgrounds, musical style, color designs every aspect of this show seems to me a lot cheaper to do with an average budget. I like how visually imaginative this show is but for realism purposes I can’t continue it because it does not make sense.  If our brains were altered we could possibly see pixie girls and giant monsters?

Optical illusions play a big part of this show and it was a good choice to use Kyoto Animation for this premise.  However, it’s not straying away from their usual works.  Adaptation from light novel material with a large amount of fanservice and moe.  Apart from the beautiful animation and top notch sequences by Kyoto’s in-house animators Taichi Ishidate, Shinpei Sawa and Kouhei Nakahara we just have a generic Kyoto Animation fanservice fluff show. Boring.  Please do something more interesting.

This was a step-down from what they’ve delivered in previous years with Hyoka, Haruhi Suzumiya and Air.  The definite killer for me in this was Mai Kawakami’s breasts becoming a major plot point and resolution to the totem poles situation.  What?  At least the 16-bit style was a cool addition that’s out of the norm for Kyoto Animation. I don’t have a valid reason to watch this show other than for its animation.


 

OP: “Naked Dive” by SCREEN mode

Directed by: Tatsuya Ishihara

Storyboards: Tatsuya Ishihara

Animation Supervisor: Kazumi Ikeda ( Key Animator on Naruto episode 55)

Generic J-Rock that has a style similar to the artist Mell. The animation cuts and transitions aren’t good as it focuses more on fanservice rather than being original.  Cookie cutter character designs.  Come on Kyoto! Branch out more! I will say this. If there’s a studio saving the industry in getting otaku to purchase their products it’s Kyoto Animation and SHAFT studios.  It’s like I’ve mentioned before sometimes you have to be more visually appealing than have a decent story however this studio does the same stuff way too often.  This opening clearly indicates that.

ED: “Junshin Always” (純真Always; Innocence Always) by Azusa Tadokoro

Directed by: Yasuhiro Takemoto ( Director and Storyboards on Amagi Brilliant Park opening and ending sequences)

Storyboards: Yasuhiro Takemoto

Animation Supervisor: Kazumi Ikeda

Japanese Seiyuu with two series this season–Divine Gate’s Bedivere and this anime’s Ruru.  It’s not a big surprise that they used a seiyuu to do the ending song for this. Just like the opening this was generic.  Mostly with Ruru flying.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 4/10

 

Sekkō Boys Episode 1 [Initial Impressions]

A unit of four stone figures — the military saint and group leader Saint Giorgio, history’s original celebrity Medici, the strikingly handsome and multi-talented Hermes, and the god of war Mars who is earnest about love — who become idiosyncratic idols. The story depicts their efforts to make it in the entertainment world with their female manager Miki Ishimoto, who just graduated from college. ~ANN


 

Animation Production: LIDEN FILMS ( Arslan SenkiMiss MonochromeSchwarzesmarken,  Senyu, Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo)

Director: Tomoki Takuno ( Storyboards and Episode Director on Sora o Kakeru Shōjo / Series Director on Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo / Episode Director on Zegapain episode 12)

Series Composition: Michiko Yokote ( Script Writer on Ah! My Goddess: The Movie / Script Writer on BLEACH series / Script Writer on Dagashi Kashi / Series Composition on Nabari no Ou / Script Writer on Ranma 1/2 seasons 3-7 / Series Composition on Shirobako / Screenplay on You’re Under Arrest tv series and OAV)

Character Designer: Eriko ITO ( Character Designer on Ane Log OAV 2 / Character Designer on Danchigai / Animation Director on Hanasaku Iroha TV series and film / Chief Animation Director on Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo)

Music: Masuda Moveman

Episode 1 Production Details

Episode Director: Tomoki Takuno

Storyboards: Michiko Yokote

Script: Michiko Yokote


If there’s a good way to handle pacing of an 8-minute long episode this is the way to do it.  This series works perfect for being a short! Miki Ishimoto is a girl with the desire to manage an idol group.  She’s passionate, she’s aggressive and also has a knack for getting herself into troublesome situations hence the buildup to her journey through art school and grief with statues.  Insert the amusing injuries trope and the idea that she’s going to manage four pretty boys and we’ve got nice setup to a solid adult comedy series.   The leader of the boy band group Saint Gigorgio (Sugita Tomokazu) has a calm personality and matches Mars, Hermes and Medici pretty well.  The hilarity is right out in the open during their introduction– “these guys have firm morales”.  Fantastic!

There’s a lot to enjoy about a reverse-harem idol series, Sekko Boys forces this genre down our throats from the get-go and completely dismantles it with statues!  The animators even took note the importance of statues and made sure they didn’t look too cartoony.  Their mouths never even move when they talk!  I really like how quick-paced Miki’s backstory was–it’s important in understanding her passion for art however this was just a side-piece.  The overlooked transitions and quick narration were to build up the fact that she will be working with statues again.

I really like how bland the background designs are, especially during her art school segment.  It makes the characters in this series become more alive.  The insert song during that scene was amazing–very alluring vocals. where has this band come from?  Electronic trance music is certainly an interesting choice for Sekko Boys.  This series is so ridiculous I don’t think I could handle 25 minutes of it.  A prime example of short and sweet!


ED: “Hoshizora Rendezvous” (星空ランデブー; Starry Sky Rendezvous) by Sekkō Boys

Directed by: Fumiaki Usui

Storyboards: Tomoki Takuno

Animation Supervisor: Ryoko Amisaki & Shiho Hayashi

The lyrics were written by the Yuri Kuma Arashi opening sequence band Bonjour Suzuki.  This has that odd and ambitious feeling that opening had.  Smart to not put in an opening sequence yet as this show needs every bit of time to get the story across.  Very catchy song that has a very electro beat to it.  Masuda Moveman is breaking out on the scene with this anime and have only released a few songs prior to this on Soundcloud which you can find here.  It sounds similar to Bay City Rollers’ 1976 hit Saturday Night. Which you can check out below:

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 7/10

 

Haruchika: Haruto to Chika wa Seishun Suru Episode 1 (Initial Impressions)

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Haruta and Chika are members of their high school wind instrument club that is on the verge of being shut down. The two are childhood friends, and they spend their days practicing hard while also trying to recruit new members. When a certain incident happens within their school, they work together to solve it. ~ANN

Animation Production: P.A. Works ( Angel Beats!CANAANHanasaku IrohaShirobakoTrue TearsTari TariNagi no Asukara)

Director: Masakazu Hashimoto ( Episode Director on Hanasaku Iroha episode 13 / Episode Director on Immortal Grand Prix 2 episodes 4, 8, 10, 15, 17, 19, 22 and 24 / Director on Soul Eater NOT!)

Series Composition: Reiko Yoshida ( Screenplay Writer on Aria the Avyenire OAV / Script Writer on Ao No Exorcist The Movie / Series Composition on Chu-Bra!! / Script Writer on Genshiken episode 2)

Character Designer:  Asako Nishida ( Character Designer on Active Raid / Character Designer on Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko / Animation Director on Fate/Stay Night (2005) / Character Designer on Moryo no Hako / Character Designer and Chief Animation Director on Simoun)

Music: Shiroh Hamaguchi ( Music Composer on Ah! My Goddess TV and film / Music Composer on Galilei Donna / Music Composer and Orchestra Conductor on Final Fantasy VII Advent Children / Music Composer on Shirobako / Music Composer on Tari Tari)

Episode 1 Production Details

Episode Director: Atsuko Ishizuka

Storyboards: Atsuko Ishizuka

Script: Taku Kishimoto


We’ve seen school-based mystery and music themed series before. Both of which were a part of Kyoto Animation’s works– Hibike! Euphonium and Hyouka.  I enjoyed Hyouka and am still getting through Hibike but I have to say I get the feeling this won’t be a great show.  Coming from the same director of Tari Tari no less it would surprise me if this turns out to be anything spectacular.  Take Chika Homura for example, she’s a kawaii tenth grader eager to join the school band club.  Her character is very annoying.  From the get-go I wasn’t too enthusiastic about this show being animated by P.A. Works simply because this is supposed to be a deep mystery series and in this first episode we’re getting  a girl trying her hardest to be cute for her teacher.  The first half was your typical backstory–Chika has always wanted to be in concert band and it did develop her character but from the moment the teacher stepped into the picture its as if the writer forgot about her development.

I really can’t quite grasp why P.A. Works couldn’t step out of their element here and do something different.  Be a bit more faithful to the novels.  The artwork in those were incredible and I can’t see why Asako Nishida couldn’t design characters that looked older.  The only good part from this guy’s career was his designs on Moryo no Hako.  This show needs to step it up.  This entire episode screams impressionism.  Similar to Kyoto Animation, P.A. Works is another studio that you can tell from the first scene that it’s their work.  Brightly lit backgrounds, beautiful childlike characters (even some of the adults in the series that should be 50-something look 18 to 30).

The only part of this that breaks the norm is the other lead Haruta Kamijo is gay and also in love with the band teacher.

I was really hoping for blood with those music notes not paint and an entire episode dedicated to the two leads confessing their love.

Please, just let Studio MAPPA take over now.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 2/10

DROPPED

 

Prince of Stride: Alternative Episode 1 [Initial Impressions]

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“Stride,” is an extreme sport that involves six people on one team who run relay races through towns. Hōnan Academy and other schools compete to win eastern Japan’s top Stride competition, “End of Summer.” However, Hōnan’s team has shut down. First-year high school students Takeru Fujiwara and Nana Sakurai attempt to restart the club, but they must recruit six members for the team. They ask Riku Yagami to join, but he turns them down by saying that Stride is the one thing he doesn’t want to do. ~ANN


Animation Production: MADHOUSE ( Aoi Bungaku SeriesBECK: Mongolian Chop Squad /  Chihayafuru/ Death ParadeBirdy the Mighty / KurozukaMoryo no HakoMONSTER NANATokyo Godfathers /

Director: Atsuko Ishizuka ( Storyboards on MONSTER episode 74 / Storyboards on No Game No Life episodes 1 and 12 / Storyboards on Btooom! Ending Sequence)

Series Composition: Taku Kishimoto ( Script Writer on Gin no Saji series / Script Writer on Boku dake ga Inai Machi [ERASED] episode 1 / Script Writer on Haikyu!! seasons 1 and 2)

Character Designer:  Gu-nyon Wang ( Key Animator on Zetsuen no Tempest episode 23 / Key Animator on Death Parade episodes 1, 2 and 5 / Animation Supervisor on Prince of Stride: Alternative Opening Sequence / Key Animator on No Game No Life episode 11)

Music: Yoshiaki Fujisawa ( Music Composer on Akuma no Riddle / Music Composer on Rail Wars!)

Episode 1 Production Details

Episode Director: Atsuko Ishizuka

Storyboards: Atsuko Ishizuka

Script: Taku Kishimoto


I really enjoyed this.  The subject of free running is interesting.  This reminds me of Air Gear back in the day. There’s only been two manga that have covered this sort of topic one is Air Gear (which received an anime adaptation and a few awesome OVAs) and its about rollerblading!  The other was a kickstarter project  entitled R.u.N. by a couple of Greek authors.  This show is pure entertainment.  Anything more than that and you might want to check out something else.  Simply because Stride’s first episode contains many tropes that tons of sports anime have overused in the past.

High school students look for club members.  This is set off with one of the only girls we see in this episode–Nana Sakurai.  The acting isn’t terrible but it could be better.  It does help that the female lead is voiced by Kana Hanazawa (Akane Tsunemori of Psycho-Pass) because she is able to develop a character nicely.  One of the other tropes used in this is what otome works are known for–lead girl meets a bunch of pretty boys that she is able to encourage throughout her journey.

The part of this show that has peaked my interest is my favorite studio MADHOUSE animating an entire sequence of a relay race.  And it looks amazing.  Also want to point out that the music is pretty solid.  Upbeat strings and pop really fit the tone of this show–the comedy isn’t all that great but the music handles these scenes without being staggeringly boring.  I’d recommend this show to anyone that wants a series without thinking too much.  We’ve already got plenty of shows that have very strong narratives this season so this is a good anime to break the mold a bit.

The sound effects are very good in this.  It sounds as if Jin Aketagawa took his transition sound samples from No Game No Life and thew them in this show.  It didn’t work for that video game-based anime but Stride‘s focus on sports screams potential for him as a sound director.

OP: “Strider’s High” by OxT

Directed by: Atsuko Ishizuka

Storyboards: Atsuko Ishizuka

Animation Supervisor: Gu-nyon Wang

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Animation is really pretty.  MADHOUSE did a great job animating this show so far.  Not really a fan of OxT’s hard rock the vocals don’t match the song very well. It’s too generic for a sports series.  As for the instrumentals they knock around that this is a sports show we’re watching. The visual transitions are fantastic and I like the direction of free running throughout this sequence. As amazing as the visuals are in this it makes sense considering there is a rookie animator that worked on a few episodes of One-Punch Man and another animator that handled part of Onna’s ice skating scene from episode 11 of Death Parade!

ED: This episode didn’t have an ending rather the credits played over the finale of the race.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 5/10

Noragami Episode 3

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Episode Director: Shuuji Miyahara (Episode Director on Naruto episodes 53, 61, 69 and 77 / Episode Director on Bounen no Xamdou episode 7 / Episode Director on Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood episodes 19, 40, 52 and 60 / Director on Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Third Ending Sequence)

Storyboards: Tomomi Mochizuki (Storyboard Writer on Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch episode 12 / Storyboard Writer on Log Horizon 2 episode 2 / Storyboard Writer on Gundam G no Reconguista episode 14)

Script: Deko Akai (Series Composition on Akagami no Shirayukihime / Script Writer on Yes! Precure 5 episodes 26, 32, 37 and 44)


Kaji Yuuki. Hoo boy I knew I recognized that voice.  His work with Yukine especially with this episode is fairly low key.  Not as aggressive like Arslan Senki‘s Silver Mask.  I just hope Yukine, being a teenage boy won’t deliver angsty drama that this series doesn’t need.

Shinki are people that have already died, we know that much is given.  Phantoms, as revealed here, attach themselves to humans harboring negative emotions.  Shinki are the polar opposite of them in that they truly want to live.  The first three episodes have barely touched the surface on these beings.  Yato put it strongly when he says that if a human wants to commit suicide then so be it, it’s already been possessed and there is no use saving the soul whether its dead or alive.

Remember when he cured his hand last episode with simple medicinal techniques?  In a sense I can see why they’ve made Hiyori into this spiritual guide to Yato.  She may be the key to giving him the answers he’s pushed aside.  She’ll give him the chance to grow up as a God.  I really like how this translates back to Hiyori and her own situation.  She’s caught up in both worlds trying to grasp all she can about her spiritual side from Yato but in all honestly, he doesn’t have a clue how to help her.  It’s a balancing act with his character. Teetering between his outward appearance (untrustworthy and selfishness) and his humanistic desires of compassion that come up every now and then.  This makes him a very likable character because he’s not predictable.

The introduction to Tenjin is a segue into this that captures Yato’s swaying attitude when it comes to saving others.  Now that I think about it, the previous episode we saw him sleeping at a Tenjin shrine inevitably foreshadowing the God Tenjin’s appearance along with his collection of Shinki guised as Japanese Shinto maidens.  Otherwise known as Miko (巫女). Tenjin is quite literally the deity of Sugawara no Michizane. One of the most well-respected and well-known Heian scholars and poetic figures in Japanese history!  I like how composer Taku Iwasaki captures deification by adding in a Hichiriki (double reed Japanese flute) and the Tsuzumi ( a Japanese drum of Chinese and Indian origin) to his music.  It’s culturally inviting of Shinto traditions and its amazing how Iwasaki modernizes it by dropping down a keyboard and a set of electronic beats as Tenjin appears.

The whole shrine scene is probably my favorite out of this episode because it shows right through Yato’s actions.  Not to mention how Yato’s former Shinki, Tomone shows up as one of Tenjin’s shinki.  All I can think of with this episode is “identity” and how individuality separates every one of us.  The big clue to this is Yato describing the Far Shore’s effect on regular humans.  Yato and Yukine aren’t noticed from afar and can only be taken in to the natural world when situations call for it like the restaurant scene.  Certainly a unique way in exploring characterization and this identity motif.  There were also a lot of other parts in this that highlight this point as well.  Yato runs at the seat of his pants trying to earn money,  Tomone refers to herself as Mayu and the most important: Tenjin notices that Hiyori is something not human, spirit or god.  He even questions whether she should be involved in their fight with phantoms.

In Japanese, Hiyori means weather which is extremely crucial to the supernatural aspects of Noragami, I’m amazed how this series as a whole so far has invested so much time exploring the Shinto religion.  For those that don’t know there are 3 types of Gods or Kami as they’re referred to in Japanese Shinto.  The first is that gods can take form of certain weather events, landscape formations, water and even forests.  With Noragami, the Shinki represent this first type.  The second is this idea that gods are attributed to the presence of dead ancestors.  Blood related or honored by a population .  I don’t believe we’ve seen this yet in the show.  The third and final type of Kami are souls of the dead. That are souls that are revered for their bravery, commitment and service.  Perhaps a few of the phantoms represent this I guess I’ll see once I finish up with this first season.  In a broader sense, Noragami places Shinto beliefs throughout with this idea of nature, harmony and balance.  Tenjin phrased it precisely when he said “Disorder among people means disorder in the heavens”.  Another piece of this has got to be that Yato is connected to Yukine’s thoughts and feelings whether those feelings are perverted or not.

This soundtrack is awesome.  I’m enjoying this series a ton.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Noragami Episode 2

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Episode Director: Naomichi Yamato (Episode Director on Shinsekai Yori episodes 1, 2, 4, 12, 17, 19 and 25 / Assistant Episode Director on Kekkai Sensen episode 12 / Director on Fairy Tail Opening Sequences 2, 7, 10, 11 and 12)

Storyboards: Kotaro Tamura (Storyboard Writer and Episode Director on Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin episode 3 / Storyboard Writer on STAR DRIVER episode 7 / Storyboard Writer on The Rolling Girls episode 3 / Director and Storyboard Writer on Zetsuen no Tempest First Ending Sequence)

Script: Deko Akai (Series Composition on Akagami no Shirayukihime / Script Writer on Yes! Precure 5 episodes 26, 32, 37 and 44)


Noragami aired in 2014 alongside some extremely top notch series.  Mushishi Zoku ShouSpace Dandy and Zankyou no Terror; it’s not big surprise why I missed out on this during Winter season.  On the outside, Noragami uses every shonen trope out of the book–demons, high schooler gains powers and a mysterious male lead fights monsters.  The high point for this show isn’t these elements rather its interests lie in being super involved with its cast and how Hiyori is trapped between two worlds keeps the momentum going for Yato.

Pacing is crucial for a series that takes a lot of energy in building up the shonen atmosphere this series seems to exude.  For a second episode this one is very annotative yet it never feels like it.  Good thing director Tamura Koutarou is straying far away from information dumping like many series do with extraneous dialogue scenes. I’m looking at you Rokka.

The key framework to take away from this episode isn’t about Phantoms their corruption of humans like the initial episode had but that Yato’s clearly not an idiot.  He knows how to live within his means and work when he needs to.  His concern for Hiyori isn’t overly exaggerated he’s sympathetic at times and can seemingly be vagarious.  The fuel to the fire here is the Shinki he acquires during the battle with the eye phantom.  From the flashback (which was heavily edited with quick transitions and cool animation cuts) opens up to the idea that Yato isn’t as selfish as he lets on to be.  His reaction when he’s ignored delivers a great deal about how the comedy is going to be laid out for the rest of this show–visuals are more pertinent than verbal scenes.  BONES is hitting the nail on the head with this!  The amount of unique and uncolored facial expressions sell Noragami‘s cast wonderfully!  As for Hiyori it’s interesting that she’s losing focus of the real world and enjoying her spirit form.  After seeing Yato’s reaction to Yukine–Hiyori’s curiosity throughout this episode with the phantoms, shinki and other spirits is a fantastic contrast between the two of them!

The setting thus far is nicely exexcuted.  Episode jumping is a difficult thing to direct and can be poorly done if not well-researched leaving plot-holes.  Mushishi excels at this as does Space Dandy.  Noragami takes a similar approach.  Subtlety.  Moving around from Shinjuku to different areas of Japan all the while layering on various spirtiual components from the Yuki grommet, giant tick to the storm Hiyori sees off in the distance.

I’m curious how the main story is going to be and how it will be handled with the pacing.  Hopefully it’ll keep up with this style of momentum!

They just had to throw in a bath scene at the very beginning.

I haven’t read the manga nor do I plan to as I really want to be surprised with this show given the amount of recommendations I’ve been receiving about it.  I’ve also gotten good feedback about my first episode too! Hope my readers are enjoying this show on my blog!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 9/10

Noragami Episode 1 [Initial Impressions]

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Yato is a minor deity who lacks even a single shrine. In order to build his own shrine, he scrawls his cell number on the wall of a downtown bathroom telling people he will help them in exchange for a 5-yen offering, becoming a self-styled “delivery god.” Hiyori, the daughter of a respectable family, is almost killed in a traffic accident, but is rescued by Yato. This causes her to become a “hanyou,” a person who can easily lose her soul. She chases Yato down, and they begin to work together.. ~ANN


Animation Production: BONES (Full Metal AlchemistSpace DandyAkagami no ShirayukihimeRahXephonSoul EaterGOSICKSTAR DRIVERZetsuen no TempestConcrete Revolutio, the upcoming My Hero Academia and Mob Psycho 100)

Director: Kotaro Tamura (Episode Director on Michiko e Hatchin episode 3, Director on Eureka Seven AO second ending sequence and Zetsuen no Tempest ending sequence / Storyboard Writer on Space Dandy Episode 23)

Series Composition: Deko Akao (Script Writer and Series Composition on Akagami no Shirayukihime episodes 1, 2, 4, 8, 9 and 11 / Script Writer on Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun episodes 5, 8 and 10)

Character Designer:  Toshiba Kawamoto (Animation Supervisor and Key Animator on Michiko e Hatchin episode 3 / Chief Animation Supervisor on Towa no Quon / Animation Supervisor on Space Dandy episode 24 / Key Animator on Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood first opening sequence / Character Designer on Kekkai Sensen, NoragamiNoragami Aragoto and Towa no Quon)

Music: Taku Iwasaki (Composer on Akame ga Kill!, Gatchman CROWDSSoul Eater and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Read or Die OVA)

Episode 1 Production Details

Episode Director: Yoshifumi Sueda

Storyboards: Kotaro Tamura

Script: Deko Akao


At first glance this show screams generic supernatural shonen series where a high school girl encounters a mysterious guy that fights monsters with special abilities.  We’ve seen this all before.  BLEACH had it with Ichigo’s relationship with Rukia and how he became a Soul Reaper under her guidance.  As did Code:Breaker and earlier works like Inuyasha and Flames of Recca.  Noragami takes a different approach and weaves into its story traditions of Japan, a modernized setting and tons of foreshadowing nicely.

Yato is highly comedic as a God and it balances the heavy theme that’s introduced from the get-go, desire.  The young girl thats bullied at school requests the help of a God to save her from all the negative aura surrounding her.  Definitely a step up from being generic this show takes a not-so strong God and drops real world problems into his own life!  Fed up with Yato’s homeless lifestyle and not having a shrine his Shinki, Tomone, leaves him.  I really like the idea that these Phantom’s manipulate humans similar to how Horrors did in Garo it ties the supernatural elements and this Japanese idea of Gods in an engaging way–through the use of coins.

Without coins Yato can’t live and gain the shrine that I’m sure he’s probably always wanted.  The thread that brings Hiyori to Yato is the very fact that he earns money another way by finding a lost cat leading their fated encounter.  A big part of what this first episode does correctly was leaving out a huge information drop.  We were given bits and pieces here and there.  Hiyori having a tail illustrated she’s a spirit that can fight monsters.  There’s also the thread about the Far Shore and the Near Shore and she dangles between both worlds.  Seeing the resemblance to BLEACH with the human world and spirit world?  Even though Noragami projects similarly strong motifs with the ideaology of spirits and the use of supernatural abilities it pulls it off with flair.

Incredible character detail and smooth animation throughout!  This is definitely a series I’ll be picking up! I was immediately interested when I heard Taku Iwasaki would be doing dubstep for the soundtrack.  It’s a shame his soundtrack for the second season has been pulled due to the use of the Adhan prayer causing a stir.  Luckily I got ahold of the official soundtrack before it got pulled!  I loved his work on [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility of CONTROLKatanagatari and Gatchaman CROWDS.  He’s a genius at  establishing a wide array of emotions with an orchestra, synthesizers and keyboards!  He’s so diversified with his style that channels an edge to his music that other composers simply don’t have. The only other artist that comes close and is getting up to my Top 10 Best Composers list is Ken Arai.  Iwasaki’s entrance into experimental rock was only granted by his work on Witch Hunter Robin which included a combination of heavy guitar riffs and chanting melodies.  Nowadays, I’d say he likes to mesh a lot of styles together and one of my favorites has got to be where he channels out menacing moods with strange voices, echo effects and synthetic sounds!

OP: “Goya no Machiawase” (午夜の待ち合わせ, Overnight Appointment) by Hello Sleepwalkers

Directed by: Kotaro Tamura

Storyboards: Kotaro Tamura

Animation Supervisor: Toshihiro Kawamoto

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Why didn’t I see this series when it aired?! This would have certainly made my list of Top 10 Best Opening Sequences of 2014. Similar Taku Iwasaki’s edgier style, this rock song encompasses the spirit that Noragami isn’t always going to be a bright show to watch.  Shuntaro’s vocals give off the eerie style similar to White Ash’s vocalist Nobita but with a wider range to play around with.  The visuals are top notch–love those blue paneled scenes against the photographic backgrounds.  The animation on the characters is extremely fluid and transitions cut together incredibly well!

ED: “Heart Realize” (ハートリアライズ) by Tia (Supercell)

You can really tell this is a Supercell song.  Heavy on the strings and a focus on melisma.  I like it and it’s very refreshing to see how slow-paced it is compared to it’s opening counterpart. My favorite part is where we see Hiyori stopped at the train tracks symbolizing the Far Shore and the Near Shore and that she can reach Yato in the other world.  The blue lightning effect on Yato and the other character shown establish how otherworldly the Far Shore is.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 9/10

Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru no Darō ka? Episode 3

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Episode Director: Yoshiki Yamakawa [Animation Supervisor alongside Kanta Kamei and Masaki Yamada on Samurai Champloo episode 15 / Storyboards on Mushishi episodes 5 and 15 / Key Animator on Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin]

Storyboards: Katsushi Sakurabi [Director on Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru no Daro ka? opening sequence / Episode Director and Key Animator on Selector Infected Wixoss episodes 4, 8 and 12 / Animation Layout Supervisor on Prison School episodes 6, 7, 8, 10 and Episode Director and Key Animator on Episode 11]

Script: Hideki Shirane [Series Composition on Yumekui Merry / Script Writer on Cross Game episode 3 / Series Composition on Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari OVA / Screenplay Writer for Phantom: ~Requiem for the Phantom~ episode 5]


This series has a ton of promise.  A story about a novice adventurer wanting to become stronger in order to impress Aiz Wallenstein.  The show uses true elements of RPGs–magically leveling up after defeating enemies, sometimes there are health bars and the weapons play a large factor in winning or losing.  Hestia plays the role in supporting Bell–he cheers him on and this episode she gives him a ridiculously powerful and according to other fighters a questionable weapon.  This is perhaps the coolest episode of this series in that it really shows how courageous Bell can be. The visuals were fantastic especially in the fight with the gorilla monster!  This episode was all about Bell finding the strength to protect the people he cares about–the entire fight is inside a village that isn’t supposed to have battles in!  Plus, he believe in his Goddess and at that moment receives a weapon that helps him become far stronger than he was even towards the beginning of this episode.

What detracts away from this show from being a full on adventure series is the harem genre that shows up.  Bell manages to impress not just Hestia and Aiz but Eina Tulle and bar hostess Syr Flova after defeating the giant monster.  Hestia threw her own power into the knife’s power it seems, considering how she falls unconscious after the battle.  Somehow I can’t help but keep thinking of Sword Art Online and even Accel World after watching this.  The ending part with the supporter in the cave is probably going to be another harem girl.  Considering the main focus of this series is Bell picking up girls in a dungeon I would like [at least once] to see a fantasy game anime series be more mature focused instead of moe.  I guess that’s what we get for a light novel adaptation.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 7/10