Tag Archives: Mystery

Kizumonogatari I: Tekketsu-hen [Theatrical Edition]

Animation Production: SHAFT (Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru, Arakawa Under the BridgeNisekoiMonogatari seriesef: A Tale of MemoriesG-On RidersHidamari SketchKatteni Kaizo OVAKino no Tabi: The Beautiful World filmMaho Sensei Negima! OAVsMahoromaticMagical Suite Prism NanaPuella Magi Madoka MagicaMaria HolicMekakucity ActorsMoonphasePani Poni Dash!RECSayonara Zetsubou-SenseiKono Minikuku mo Utsukushii Sekai)

Director:  Akiyuki Shinbo ( Director on Dance in the Vampire Bund / Director on Arakawa Under the Bridge / Chief Director on Hidamari Sketch / Director on Bakemonogatari / Director on Mekakucity Actors / Chief Director and Series Composition on Monogatari Series Second Season / Chief Director on Nisekoi / Director on Puella Magi Madoka Magica / Storyboard on Saber Marionette J episode 11 / Director on Sasami-san@Ganbaranai / Director and Storyboard on Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko episodes 1 and 3 / Key Animator on Tokyo Babylon OVA / Episode Director and Storyboard on Yu Yu Hakusho episodes 7, 12, 16, 21, 24, 30, 35, 41, 47, 52, 58, 66, 74, 82, 89 and 109)

Chief Director: Tatsuya Oishi (Key Animator on Yu Yu Hakusho episodes 71, 74, 78, 82, 89, 92, 98, 104, 107 and 112 / Key Animator on Ninku episodes 4, 9, 11, 16, 21, 24 and 31)

Script: 

  • Akiyuki Shinbo
  • NisiOisin

Original Creator: NisiOisin ( Original Creator on Death Note: Another NoteBakemonogatariHanamonogatariKatanagatariKizumonogatari Parts 1, 2 and 3Medaka BoxKoyomimonogatariMonogatari Series Second SeasonNekomonogatariNisemonogatariOwarimonogatariShojo FujubunTsukimonogatarixxxHOLiC: Another HOLiC)

Music: Satoru Kousaki ( Music Composer on A-ChannelBakemonogatariCaptain EarthHourou Musuko, Disappearance of Haruhi SuzumiyaLucky StarNisekoiOreimoSTAR DRIVERTantei Opera Milky HolmesWake Up, Girls! / Theme Song Arrangement and Composition on Natsume’s Book of Friends Season 4 Ending Sequence)

Characer Designers:

  • Akio Watanabe ( Character Designer on all of the Monogatari series / Original Character Designer on Grisaia no Rakuen / Animation Director on Saber Marionette J episodes 10 and 18 / Key Animation on Street Fighter Alpha / Character Designer on Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai)
  • Hideyuki Morioka ( Key Animation on Agent Aika episode 7 / Character Designer, Chief Animation Director, and Key Animator on Arcade Gamer Fubuki 2nd Stage – Nusumareta PP episode 4 / Key Animation on Sailor Moon S episode 92 / Character Designer and Chief Animation Director on REC / Character Designer and Chief Animation Director on Zan Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei)

When Bakemonogatari had first aired back in 2009 two things immediately stood out to me:  SHAFT’s unique visual style and the very first five minutes of episode 1.  Split into three parts, this is the film series that introduces us to how exactly Koyomi Araragi became a vampire, meets Tsubasa Hanekawa and Meme Oshino.  This film kept pretty much in line with the designs made for the 2011 trailer.  The TV anime Bakemonogatari while held a lot of restraint in terms of animation in the beginning it showcased a few pivotal scenes played out in this film–Araragi’s encounter with the vmapire hunters and discovering Heart-Under-Blade.  There were changes from the original scene cut that they did and overall turned out fantastic on the big screen!  Such as Heart-Under-Blade being in the subway rather than on the streets.

Kizumonogatari was originally slated for 2012 and the novel dates back to 2008.  There’s been numerous delays for its release and it certainly paid off. Love the visual style going for this film, one I wish they could have used for the television series.

The opening sequence was a visual feast.  Director Shinbo was in charge of animating that first scene and I must admit that was one of the prettiest things I’ve seen SHAFT do in a long time.  The crows remind me of Zankyou no Terror‘s ending sequence–penciled and shaded in with a fine attention to detailing the eyes.  The beginning foreshadows to new viewers that Araragi is definitely not human and the fact that even under vampiric circumstances he can quickly succumb to weakness.  The fire animation where Araragi was exploding in flames couldn’t have been better if it weren’t for Araragi’s screaming!  It gave off real tension to the beginning of this film.  Aside from the amazing updated Hanekawa sequence, which was a nice way to bridge this to the original show this film surpasses most of what the Monogatari series represents, a harem series with tons of inner dialogue.  Kizumonogatari Part I is an introduction piece that dives into an artistic whirlwind of mystery and horror.

Throughout Kizumonogatari Part I there is this incredible sense of creativity from Araragi running through the subway station, Oshino diving from the building to the reanimated scene of when Araragi first meets Hanekawa with the skirt flying up, a nod to NisiOisin’s works.  The novel is quite a read and contains more dialogue than this first half in animated form even touches on.  Right at the final scene I believe this first part ends on chapter 6.

Given SHAFT’s visual style of storytelling this works wonderfully in delivering new viewers and fans of the TV series an enjoyable simple experience.  The lack of dialogue between the gorgeous slow-paced key frames extends the idea that everything that’s happening is what we’re seeing from Araragi’s mind every minute and every second.  We see, hear, and can think everything that’s going on inside of him!

One of the huge successes of this first film is its pacing.  We’re going to be seeing more of a larger story later on.  There’s no need for long character development the tension is built up around Araragi discovering Kiss-Shot-Acerola-Orion-Heart-Under-Blade for the first time and what we get to see is a busty blonde woman with arms and legs missing and blood everywhere.  Extremely intense!  I love how realistic Araragi is–he’s taken in by her beauty but deep down he knows she’s a monster.  Seeing Kiss-Shot on the floor begging for his blood (which was had some pretty detailed closeup shots of her) illustrates that she still has some humanity left in her after 500 years.  I also thought it was interesting how the quick cuts of the subway station signals were displayed like morse-code against a white backdrop with sound effects similar to Araragi’s cell-phone as if he’s desperately wanting to call Hanekawa to save him.  Questioning whether or not to help Kiss-Shot makes this whole segment believable!  Araragi even runs away from her at one point out of desperation to save himself!

This entire film was a lot more expressive than anything the TV series ever had–SHAFT with a movie budget this should happen more often!  Using CG for the backgrounds and cars might be a bit off-putting to new viewers of SHAFT’s works because the characters moving around and having still conversations feel abstract especially the fanservice with Hanekawa Tsubasa moving in slow motion.

The charm of the Monogatari series sense of humor derives from its female cast interacting with Araragi.  They all have supernatural circumstances surrounding them and Kiss-Shot being a unique vampire having drained all of Araragi’s blood still wasn’t enough to retain her adult body.  A kid shows up when Araragi wakes up and it’s funny to see his initial reaction.  The homage to Araragi’s point on the top of his head is brief and sometimes shown throughout this film is a nice comedic touch to an overall dark setting.

Meme Oshino’s introduction was cool.  Since this is the first time Araragi is meeting him it makes all his scenes in Bakemonogatari‘s first arc much more interesting in his methods on dealing with Hitagi’s situation.  A mediator between apparitions and humans he saves Araragi from being torn apart by three vampire hunters–Episode, Dramaturgy and Guillotine Cutter.  Really like how brief that was and that this film didn’t heavily rely on fight scenes to attract the viewer.

I’m really glad this will be a three-part series because it doesn’t rush the dialogue between Oshino and Araragi trying to come up with a plan to get Kiss-Shot’s limbs back from those vampire hunters and it ends in the middle of a conversation rather than rushing a heroic trope conclusion.  Since this is slated to be a three-hour film series and this first one having the runtime of only 60 minutes it will be interesting to see more characterization developed later on.

There was a trailer at the end of this film in typical Monogatari fashion–no visuals just talking and the heavy emphasis of French and Japanese characters appearing on screen.  The second film arrives Summer 2016.  Can’t wait!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 86/100

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Boku Dake ga Inai Machi [ERASED] Episode 4

Episode 4 Production Details

Episode Director: Shinya Watada ( Episode Director on Bounen no Xamdou episode 9 / Episode Director on Sword Art Online episode 4 / Episode Director and Storyboard on Gundam Build Fighters episodes 8, 17 and 23 / Episode Director on Hitsugi no Chaika episodes 1 and 6 / Director and Storyboard on Gundam Build Fighters Try Second Ending Sequence)

Storyboards: Shinya Watada

Script: Taku Kishimoto ( Script Writer on Gin no Saji series / Script Writer on Haikyuu!! Second Season episodes 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18)


Neat idea to have a film reel moving backwards to recap what Satoru has already experienced.  Makes these mundane recaps of the previous episodes a lot more intriguing. Sachiko should win mother of the year award.  She really loves Satoru a whole lot and I like how much focus there is with their relationship both visually and in depicting the family dynamic between Satoru’s mother and Kayo’s mother. Satoru’s conversation with the girl at the beginning of the episode re-introduces to us in plain view that we’re seeing a 29-year old think and interact through the eyes of a child.  Sometimes I wonder how this conversation would have gone down originally or if it did at all. I also like how calculated he is–thinking about the day Kayo will go missing and establish a back-up plan in case something should happen.  On the other hand there is also a weakness to Satoru not being in his original body–he slips up and says what he thinks out loud providing some solid comedic moments between him and Kayo.  That was pretty cute when he says he couldn’t get them to go on Saturday because of a date with her.  I mentioned last time how detailed this series is with just about eery scene–Yashiro and Kenya meeting up builds on that weird cliffhanger from last time.  I wonder if Kenya and Yashiro are somehow involved with Sachiko’s death from 2006 given how close they appear to be. Speaking of evil and this show’s use of top notch sound direction especially where Satoru gets the guts to confront Kayo’s mother and get permission to take Kayo to the Science Center.  His slip ups are going to be a problem for hm later on if he is stuck in a situation like this with the killer.

Sachiko saving the day and smoothing her anger over really saved Satoru and provides more depth to him.  At the beginning of this series he wasn’t too fond of his own mom staying at his apartment let alone meddling in his affairs especially his relationship with Airi.  Now that he knows she could end up dying again in another 2006 timeline he appreciates her more and wants to protect her.  She’s perceptive in that she knows there might be some good in Kayo’s mother given that she dresses her up nicely rather than wearing ragged clothes.  Even at 29, Sachiko is teaching her son things about life I really like how mature their family relationship is.  I enjoyed that scene a lot because it builds the foundation for Kayo’s mother to stop her abuse and strengthens Satoru’s relationship with Kayo.

Deja Vu plays a vital role in Satoru understanding the world he’s in and how to change it.  The manga sees his ability in a different light and   Reciting lines in his head of what Kayo is going to say next is not a good sign.  The future is heading towards her inevitable disappearance again and how he’s going to change that will be entirely up to even his smallest of actions.  Right down to believing in himself.  The frame cuts in this are still amazing as ever–the teacher’s entrance in the classroom always uses this top shadow covering his eyes so that we just see his mouth and nose.  Interesting that the animation portrays this style because if you pay attention it can distract you into thinking could the killer be him?  Especially when he’s grading the essay about the Polar Bear eating the teacher.  These two scenes with Yashiro might play a role sometime later on but for now it’s just extra detail.  This was a pretty cheery episode we got to see how Satoru was going to save Kayo from X Day and that scene where he’s looking at the clock right outside her house was very tense!  This gave him the courage to keep protecting her and the reward by the end is a birthday party where its revealed that Kayo’s birthday is the same as his.

I like how this show continues to deceive us.  I originally thought Yashiro’s request to Kenya to help out at the clubroom was so much more but in actuality it was a realistic view of school life and how close students can be family to their teachers.  That birthday party and Yuki Kaijura’s score was a bit too overpowering this episode.  Satoru running home after believing he’s changed things for the better with Kayo’s situation while had some solid acting was too orchestral and needed to be more subdued.

Satoru has had dreadful events one after another and it’s about time we’re seeing happy situations unfolding throughout this episode.  A calm before the storm style of storytelling that also gives this sense of uneasiness.  Just when we believe everything is alright (just as Satoru has felt for the majority of this episode) this show drops a huge bomb–Satoru hasn’t changed much of anything and Kayo has disappeared again.  That’s how to make a cliffhanger!  Perhaps Satoru did in fact change things but the murderer changed his mind about Kayo becoming the first victim.

All in all this was a nice shift in tone, a feel good episode.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Just a side note, I’m hosting an ERASED event covering the full series.  The first half, episodes 1 through 6 will be April 6th. The second half is scheduled for May 11th.

Prizes will be included in a raffle for both nights.

Episodes 1-6 First Half Marathon:

Official Japanese retail CD w/ DVD Anime Edition Opening and Ending SINGLES

The first 10 Attendees will receive ERASED coffee mugs

Other prizes and items are TBA.

The huge raffle for the grand prize will be only available to those that show up both nights.

If anyone is interested in going or if you want to help fund the event please contact me at beatslars@gmail.com

 

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi [ERASED] Episode 3

Episode 3 Production Details

Episode Director: Takahiro Shikama ( Key Animator on STAR DRIVER: Kagayaki no Takuto episodes 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 12, 13, 23 and 25 / Action Animation Supervisor on Sword Art Online episodes 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13, 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24 / Storyboard alongside Shigeki Kawai on Sword Art Online II episode 19 / Key Animator on Rolling Girls episode 4 / Action Animation Supervisor, Episode Director, Storyboard and Key Animator on Boku dake ga Inai Machi episode 3)

Storyboards: Takahiro Shikama

Script: Yutaka Yasunaga ( Script Writer on Gin no Saji series / Script Writer on Haikyuu!! Second Season episodes 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18)


This is one of the most beautiful looking episodes of the season!  That sequence with Satoru and Kayo looking up at the night sky was breathtaking!  The animation flowed smoothly and Yuki Kaijura’s soundtrack all came together wonderfully.

Picking right up from last time, Satoru is trying to figure out exactly how he’s going to save Kayo.  The torn gloves is a big clue that Kayo is subjected to abuse and I like how believable Kayo’s mother in that it gives us a solid view of a family life that’s shattered.  Yuki Kaijura delivered in strides throughout this entire episode!  The drowning scene was amazing!  That song as Satoru is discovering Kayo’s abuse out in the open was creepy.

The red eyes might not symbolize the killer rather it uses the color as a red herring.  In order to avoid only predictability and focusing on one person being the culprit from the get-go.  Jun Shiratori has them in a closeup shot in this episode as well as Kayo’s mother, the father-like figure and Sachiko’s killer from the first episode.  Anyone could be the culprit.  The color plays a huge role in this series as its also the focus of death.  Kayo Hinazuki goes missing and is found dead in the previous timeline and it’s interesting how objects in this show like her coat is red signify this archetype of mystery.

Another piece that Boku Machi excels in is distracting its viewers with the importance of the smallest details and actions.  Jun Shiratori’s magazine collection and his quick reaction when Satoru sees them builds a level of suspicion on him especially when we are seeing it for the first time just as Satoru is (or had forgotten in the previous timeline).

I like how quick the animation cuts from 1988 to 2006 act as a sort of catalyst for Satoru understanding some truth about the timeline that he’s stuck in.  Seeing as how Jun looks from his time in jail plays on the mystery of this series wonderfully and removes the idea that he is Sachiko’s killer because he according to Satoru has been wrongly accused.  Gaku Yashiro is also a suspect due to the etherial soundtrack and that awesome angle shot upward with Satoru being caught by surprise by him.  Really love that entire scene because it’s so tense and gently bring back the idea that there is more to this story than the time travel and murders.

It’s been so nice to see this show not push aside everyday life.  While everything that Satoru does is crucial to a new timeline where he might be able to save Kayo and Sachiko it’s great that we get scenes like finding out when Kayo’s birthday is and the tender hearted moment Kayo and he share in the climax of this episode from the foxes running around them and the christmas tree.  There’s a lot going on each episode and I’m glad to see how much depth they’ve put into the main cast and even the adults of this series.

ERASED doesn’t forget the important topic at hand right now–removing custody of Kayo from her mother.  I like how Gaku is very concerned for Kayo because this episode at one point puts suspicion on him by Satoru and then in that one conversation with him he’s seen in a completely different light.

Incredible framing during the christmas tree scene!  Director Takahiro Shikama got to animate the hell out of this climax and it paid off!  All these top animation shots and closeups throughout Satoru’s experiences give off a very real perspective from the eyes of a child.  Amazing!

The one thing I don’t like however is the suspenseful cliffhanger between Gaku and Kenya.  What’s going on here?  They should have put that scene somewhere in the middle of this episode because it makes this show run dry when you put too many cliffhangers at the end of just about every episode.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 9/10

 

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi [ERASED] Episode 2

Episode 2 Production Details

Episode Director: Toshimasa Ishii ( Episode Director on Nanatsu no Taizai episodes 6, 14 and 24 / Storyboard and Episode Director on Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso episode 18)

Storyboards: Toshimasa Ishii

Script: Taku Kishimoto ( Script Writer on Gin no Saji series / Script Writer on Haikyuu!! Second Season episodes 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18)


 

The cinematography in this series is ridiculously good.  It has a good balance between lighting and shading and long wide shots that emphasize the importance of a person’s facial expression whether the whole face is shown or not.  Loved that introduction of the teacher as he’s moving from the shadow and into the light to begin class!  There is a mix between close up shots of objects and character’s feet like this episode utilizes to build on the atmosphere throughout Boku Machi.  We also get a bunch of wide angle shots that establish the mystery surrounding Kayo’s inevitable disappearance.  The color red as we saw last time plays a significant role in depicting villainous actions–the killer’s eyes and now the amazing Kayo’s abuse scene from the perspective of Satoru was tough to watch.  Satoru’s inner thoughts remind us that he’s an adult stuck in a child’s body.  I’m glad that the creators got an actual actor to portray his 29 year old self because it’s his introspection and situational awareness that make this series so intriguing.

The sound effects play a large part in this and the scene in the very beginning where he’s reflecting on the situation at hand establishes this perfectly.  The closeup shot of his face as he’s sweating is very tense.  The cuts that play after these scenes develop a big picture that Satoru truly is in a different time.  It plays on how Kenya is suspicious of Satoru wonderfully.  I feel bad for Satoru because one of the last things he sees in 2006 is his dead mother and now he’s trying to figure out the world around him 18 years prior because of it.    It took me awhile to notice this but there are few key things from the premiere that you might miss from one viewing.  Remember the scene where Sachiko is on the phone on the park bench and there is that wide shot of her?  Right above her head is a shimmering thread which I’m sure will come into play later.  Also before Satoru experiences a Revival there is a blue butterfly moving across the screen.  This represents the idea of the butterfly effect–small causes can have large effects.

Yuki Kajiura weaves in quite the emotional slow-moving piece to pull in the idea that Satoru will finally see his mother again but in a different time.  This is the first time we are seeing him fall into his 11-year old self–the hamburgers and his power of revival are gradually making him lose sense of his present-day life.  Here is where we see shifts back and forth between him remembering small things like his friends and more importantly what he had said to Kayo the first time he was 11 years old.  This pulls you into the atmosphere of this show even more! From the very beginning scene where we see Satoru as a kid for the first time from episode 1 the creators did something smart in differentiating between past and present. The widescreen.

I believe the intentions of this episode are to shape how Satoru will change the future (his present day 2006) and hopefully save his mother.  His friends capitalize on this in a big way in that in order to save Kayo he has to make friends and others to realize kids are disappearing.  Love how Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy are mentioned it builds more depth to the pop culture of 1988.  Hiro and Kazu and Osamu are typical kids, they play videogames and I like how authentic their entire conversation is when it shifts to Kayo Hinazuki.  From his adult standpoint he has to save her.  From his friends’ point of view is the quick notion that Satoru has strong feelings for her.  Love how this entire idea acts as an obstacle for him in figuring out exactly how to save her and in how he thinks clearly as a 29-year old.  Fantastic script during that!  The bruises on Kayo reflect reality and the harsh life she has and Satoru’s desire to be a part of hers and make it the timeline in 2006 a better one.

It’s still great to see that Jun Shiratori is viewed as the murderer.  As little as we’ve seen of him I think Satoru is similar to him–they are both trying to fit into their society as normal people.  The first episode indicates Satoru doesn’t clearly fit in because he can’t seem to handle Airi’s affections and this episode finally shifts the focus of a love theme with Kayo in the picture.  Especially when Kayo says the same thing Airi said in the last episode about when you keep wanting to believe in something over and over how it can ultimately in the end shape your reality.  These words are quite true to Satoru’s revival ability and his desire to write a successful manga.

Kenya’s relationship with Satoru is interesting it’s more mature than any of the other students in the class.  There’s a lot of observation on Kenya’s part and it definitely keeps Satoru on his toes because by the end of this episode he’s acting as if nothing will happen to Kayo in front of his friends.  In the words of Kayo and Airi, keep believing that it is a crush, and her death may actually be avoided.  This entire idea spells out the ending in a touching way–Satoru says exactly what he’s feeling about Kayo and it’s great to see his resolve finally take form!


OP: “Re:Re:” by ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION

Directed by: Tomohiko Ito

Storyboards: Tomohiko Ito

Animation Supervisor: Keigo Sasaki ( Character Designer on Ao No Exorcist / Character Designer on Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda / Key Animator on Magi First Opening Sequence)

This was my favorite song from the ‘Sol-Fa’ album!  I’m glad to see they are re-styling it! It’s a nice homage to this series central themes!  This song rocks and its lyrics captures Boku Machi‘s time travel motif perfectly!  The visuals give a good look at school life when Satoru was a kid and it’s smart Tomohiko Ito decided to not show this until the second episode until the point in the actual story that he’s stuck inside 1988!  The transition cuts are quick and there is a lot of foreshadowing going on.  Especially the water rushing sequence as the instrumentals on the guitar get quicker and going to the chorus!  Love that part where Satoru is colored in all black and the timeline is swirling around him as he’s shapeshifting between 29 and 11 years old!  You can also see a potential spoiler if you pause the video at just the right time!  Awesome opening!  I like the film reel at the beginning with the two Satoru’s viewing their life as an entertainment form! The entire sequence translates into the story amazingly well!

ED: “Sore wa Chiisa na Hikari no yō na” (それは小さな光のような; That was like a small light) by Sayuri

Directed by: Masashi Ishihama ( Director on Shinsekai Yori / Character Designer on Uchuu Show e Youkoso / Director, Storyboard and Animation Supervisor on BLEACH Fifth Opening Sequence / Animation Supervisor, Director, Storyboard and Key Animator on PSYCHO-PASS 2 Opening Sequence / Episode Director and Storyboard on Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso)

Storyboards: Masashi Ishihama

Animation Supervisor: Masashi Ishihama

Sayuri did incredible work on Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace’s ending ‘Mikazuki’.  This ending is tons better than that one.  Sayuri’s voice is very emotional for this song!  Everything just comes together in this!  Hands down one of the best openings of the season!  Thanks to the amazing art style by Masashi Ishihama, one of my favorite animators and the lead director on the anime adaptation of 2012’s Shinsekai Yori!  His style is influenced by a variety of talented animators from Masami Obari to SHAFT’s Akiyuki Shinbo which is why we see some pretty amazing closeups of Kayo and other female characters throughout this ending!  The color palette is to the extreme in this!  It’s otherworldly and has a strong mystical vibe to it!  I really love how his animation is erratic–Kayo hopping to the down beats of the music track in a small detail that is incredible!  Wild movement from female silhouettes flying, lying down, closeup shots of a mouth moving and my favorite part is the blinds covering the girl as she quickly turns around and points!  Remember how I mentioned the string from the first episode above Sachiko? You can find that image here.  It shows up throughout this entire ending sequence!  Between binding the girl that’s lying down in two scenes and the string actually getting cut with scissors!  Satoru’s revival ability was nicely touched up as we see him standing on top of what looks like a train car being protected by his ability!  Those aqua flames look very cool!  Awesome work on this ending!

I don’t usually post additional screenshots but that ending using the string idea was fantastic work on Ishihama’s part!

 

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

 

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi [ERASED] Episode 1 [Initial Impressions]

 Satoru Fujinuma is a struggling manga artist and pizza delivery man who has the ability to turn back time and prevent deaths.  ~ANN

Animation Production: A-1 Pictures

Director: Tomohiko Ito ( Director on Sword Art Online / Episode Director on DEATH NOTE episodes 2, 7, 14 and 17 / Storyboards and Episode Director on Michiko e Hatchin episodes 4, 12 and 19)

Series Composition: Taku Kishimoto ( Series Script Writer on Gin no Saji / Series Script Writer on Haikyuu!! / Script Writer on Prince of Stride: Alternative episode 2)

Character Designer:  Keigo Sasaki ( Key Animator on Le Chevalier D’Eon episodes 3, 8, 11 and 22 / Key Animator on Shingeki no Kyojin episode 1 / Character Designer on Ao no Exorcist and Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda)

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: Tomohiko Ito

Storyboards: Tomohiko Ito

Script: Taku Kishimoto


 

The new season is finally here and with it another Noitamina series.  I’ve been very un-interested in a lot of what this season has to offer but from the announcement of what was going to be airing there were three that had my attention.  Josei series Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, science fiction action series Dimension W and this. Adapting a Kei Sanbe manga was the right choice for 2016.  It’s about time we get one of his works.  He’s known for writing enthralling characters and putting them into situations that evolve their characters to great heights.  I was actually quite surprised this would be the series to receive an anime adaptation before some of his earlier works in the 2000’s. After seeing this premiere however, my mind has changed on this.  Boku Machi takes a college-aged student, gives him an extraordinary ability to time travel and throws dreadful situations at him one after the other.  This is by far one of the top premieres this season–stunning visuals, tense atmosphere not to mention fast-pacing.  Tomohiko Ito compiled an entire volume in just 25 minutes!

Even better is the fact that we’ve got two extremely famous Japanese actors voicing 29-year old and 10-year old Satoru Fujinuma.  Only other time this has happened, If I remember right, is Michiko e Hatchin.  I give props to them for handling this entire episode wonderfully.  The narrative warrants Boku Machi as the “stand-out” show of this season.  I really like how real Satoru’s personality is influenced by his power. He’s well aware of Katagiri liking him but doesn’t want to get closer to her probably because of what he’s seen with his time traveling.  His relationship with his 52-year old mother is very much real–the conversation they have about Katagiri being marriage potential was one of the more subtle scenes that explores his family relationship very strongly.  I’m sure when we see his childhood scenes its very different–lot less respectful.  His mother, Sachiko clued in on the incident that happened when Satoru was a child and what a great way to foreshadow the ending by using serial murderer Jun Shiratori as the red herring.

An aspect that keeps me coming back to watching a variety of anime is how an episode is storyboarded.  This episode used a ton of distance shots to capture this theme of time really well.  The composition is ridiculously good for a television series.  Great framing on the characters to build up the tense atmosphere surround Satoru’s ability and I really love the shot where it pans around Sachiko’s keen sense of another abduction attempt.  There both just standing there–Satoru is trying to figure out with his time traveling ability what’s out of place and his mom definitely knows something isn’t right and figures it right out!  Given how we’re left with a cliffhanger I wonder how this will pan out since the director announced he was going to be following the manga’s ending and it hasn’t even ended yet! There’s sure to be a lot of material cut.

At first the narration had me a bit worried.  There’s a lot.  However, it works in that Tomohiko Ito was able to keep the momentum going while trimming down from the source material.  If there’s more manga parts left from the anime I really hope the execution of this series stays true because if that’s the case this might be the best anime to air this season!

The sound effects were very strong.  Coming from Another’s and PSYCHO-PASS‘s sound director Yoshikazu Iwanami this was pretty impressive for its first episode.

My club just recently had our after holiday anime party. This was one of the episodes shown including holiday-themed episodes from Nisekoi and Ranma.  Feature film was Tokyo Godfathers.  Boku Machi received a huge applause after it was shown.  Really good to see Noitamina’s picked up a gem.  Next one they should do is Omoide Emanon.  Gorgeous artwork in that manga and a fascinating story!

 

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

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