Tag Archives: Shonen

Owari no Seraph Episode 6

Episode Director: Kei Ajiki (2nd Key Animator on Sword of the Stranger / Key Animator on BLEACH Opening Sequence 12 / Key Animator on Nisekoi Opening Sequence / Key Animator on Mushishi episode 23 / Animation Supervisor on PSYCHO-PASS episode 2, 20 and 22 / Key Animator on Kekkai Sensen episode 1)

Storyboards: Masashi Koizuka (Animation Supervisor on Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 episodes 2 and 7 / Episode Director and Key Animator on Robotics;Notes episode 5 / Episode Director and Key Animator on Shingeki no Kyojin episodes 13 and 17 / Director and Storyboard Writer on Owari no Seraph: Nagoya Kessen Hen Opening Sequence)

Script: Hiroshi Seko (Script Writer on Kill la Kill episode 5)


Yuu and his friends confront their demons in order to become stronger.  He confronts Mika in a dreamlike state only to be quickly given his power through his desire to save him.  That flew by. As did Kimizuka’s possession of  his own abilities.  While this part in the story is about earning a new family for Yuu, this episode focuses on Yoichi, what happens to his sister and how he becomes a demon after losing to her.

Everything about this episode has been beaten to death before and it doesn’t help the fact that it was Yuu that helps Yoichi gain his resolve and turn back into a human.  A lackluster episode that reminds me of Ao No Exorcist and how that series handled it’s character relationships.  Too cliche and cheesy when Yuu talks Yoichi out of fighting them.

On the up side, at least WIT STUDIO knows how to animate debris, smoke effects and the dark fog that represents the demons throughout this episode.  The background visuals are still gorgeous it’s just that the story in this episode isn’t as solid as the previous ones.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 3/10

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

Owari no Seraph Episode 5

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Episode Director: Shuuhei Matsushita (Storyboard Writer on Tokyo ESP episode 6 / Episode Director on Yahari Ore no Seishun Lovecome wa Machigatte Iru. Zoku episodes 1 and 10 / Episode Director on Owari no Seraph: Nagoya Kessen Hen episode 10)

Storyboards: 

  • Minoru Ohara (Episode Director on Neon Genesis Evangelion episode 17 / Storyboard Writer on Fulmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood episodes 18, 29, 36, 42, 47 and 53 / Storyboard Writer on Galilei Donna episode 9 / Storyboard Writer on Diamond no Ace episodes 11, 16, 19 and 22)
  • Norifumi Jo (Started out as a 2nd Key Animator on Bounen no Xamdou episodes 6, 8, 11 and 13 / 2nd Key Animator on Michiko e Hatchin episode 3 / Key Animator on  One Piece episodes 637 and 655]
  • Kou Yoshinari (Key Animator on Black Bullet episode 1 / Key Animator on Sora no Method episode 13 / Key Animator on Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos film)

Script: Hiroshi Seko (Script Writer on Shingeki no Kyojin OVA “Ise’s Notebook” / Script Writer on Zankyou no Terror episode 4, 6, 9 and 11)


What a great episode this was.  The soundtrack–using a slow instrumental version of ScaPEGOAT was very cool. It’s also great to hear that Hiroyuki Sawano hasn’t overtaken this anime’s score.  Much of this episode gives the other composers a chance to deliver some variety.

I enjoyed the animation where Mika goes back to his home it pays tribute that he hasn’t forgotten what happened to his family. That they had been murdered by Ferid.  We’ve already known for awhile that Yuu hasn’t forgotten it but I feel that it’ll be their family bond that unites the humans and vampires and ends this long war.  He’s gradually becoming the very monster that frightened him and the other orphans when this series began and I like how this fuels his determination–never sucking the blood of a real human to become a true vampire.  There’s his resolve right there.

The greatest scene in this has to be Shinoa stealing Yuu’s exam.  Saori Hayami is doing a splendid job this year–portraying two entirely different characters (Shinoa and Shirayuki from Akagami no Shirayukihime) and with 17 more roles under her belt it’s about time we’ve got another strong female seiyu in the industry!  She’s quite fitting for Shinoa’s sassiness and tsundere personality.  Her range with this character is really incredible!

It’s also nice to see how much closer the group is becoming–Shinoa’s relentless display of antics built up Yuu’s and Kimizuka’s relationship nicely resulting in that wonderful punch in the face.  Since this series has a second half it’s great that we’re getting comedy before the group encounters their inner demons.  It’s taking its time and doesn’t waste a moment on an overload of nonsensical drama.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10

 

Owari no Seraph Episode 4

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Episode Director: Junichi Takaoka (Started career as Key Animator on Yu Yu Hakusho episodes 79, 88, 89, 93, 99, 104, 107, 108, 111 / Animation supervisor on Monster episodes 27, 38, 52, 62 and 71 / Key Animator on Monster episodes 21, 52, 62 and 64 / Key Animator on Dennou Coil episodes 24 and 26 / Animation Supervisor and Key Animator on Death Note episodes 7, 14, 23, 29 and 35)

Storyboards: Junichi Takaoka (Animation Supervisor on Nisekoi episode 1 / Storyboard Writer on Nisekoi episode 4 / Key Animator on Owari no Seraph episode 1)

Script: Hiroshi Seko (Script Writer on Garo: Honoo no Kokuin episode 4 / Main series script writer on Owari no Seraph and Owari no Seraph: Nagoya Kessen hen)



After that reveal at the end of the episode it’s only natural for this episode to shift its focus on Mika.  The story in the first half has the tendency of jumping back and forth between Yuu’s training and Mika’s life within the Vampire walls.  That’s certainly one way to do it, however, it would have been much more interesting if the show took the first twelve episodes and chose a single perspective to tell the story.  Similar to how Shiki handled the use of humans trying to survive and solve the mystery of people dying in the village.  It’s nice to see this contrast between Yuu and Mika in that Yuu’s receiving a warm welcome from his new friends and the rest of the Imperial Demon Moon Company.  Mika on the other hand, seems more alone than he ever had been before.

I think it was intentional for Studio Pablo to design backgrounds that are strikingly different.  A lighter color palette  in the scenes with Mika to highlight the fact that there isn’t much of a comradery between vampires.  The darker backgrounds illustrate how lively humans are in this show.  Especially the best moments being the rift between Yuu and Kimizuki and of course Guren’s intentions on establishing a division that goes deeper than just pure strength.  So his idea of having Yuu make friends was in actuality, for all them including Shinoa.  To grasp the demon that is contained in their weapons and control them even through the bonds of friendship.

Krul Tepes is like Guren Ichinose in many ways.  Guren wants to teach and protect Yuu in the toughest ways possible.  Krul saves Mika’s life and notices Ferid has other plans that are far removed from the vampire’s goals of exterminating humans.  She keeps Mika close by her side in order to keep him safe.  Good to see the parallel between Yuu and Mika like this–they’ve both got a reason for survival;  Guren and Krul understand that and need to keep them safe for their own kind’s sake.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 7/10

Owari no Seraph Episode 3

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Episode Director: Tomokazu Tokoro  [Storyboards for Hikaru no Go episodes 9, 13 and 21 / Episode Director on Nanatsu no Taizai episode 1 and Storyboards for episode 22]

Storyboards: Tomokazu Tokoro and Tokudo Daisuke [Episode Director on Bounen no Xamdou episodes 4, 5, 19 and 25 including storyboards for episode 26 / Episode Director and Storyboards for Sengoku Basara Ni episode 4 and Key Animator on episode 12 / Storyboards and Key Animator on Shingeki no Kyojin episode 17]

Script: Seko Hiroshi[Overall Series Composition Writer for Owari no Seraph and Owari no Seraph: Nagoya Kessen Hen]


Hiroyuki Sawano is without a doubt one of my favorite composers because he knows how to elicit emotion from a scene.  He’s not Michiru Oshima–her work on Rokka no Yuusha and Akagami no Shirayukihime are some of the best scores this year.  However, this episode works in his soundtrack very well by introducing Yuu’s fear to us and the power he holds from overcoming that fear.

What’s also great is how there’s a strong disparity between the drama and the comedy of this.  Shinoa is slowly training Yuu into an Imperial Moon Demon Company fighter and how to control his power.  She’s there to protect Yuu and make him stronger–their relationship is fantastic because it’s not super serious.  Here is where Tachibana Asami’s soundtrack comes in nicely–straying far away from the heavy drum beats and emphasis on string instruments that Sawano is known for.  Perhaps this will help him grow as a composer!

This episode main focus is fear and I like how this theme is used as the backdrop for Shinoa training Yuu and Yoichi.  That scene between the demon impersonating Mika and Yuu is fantastic–his desire to know if Mika is still alive or not and find his own resolve and crashing down anything that stands in his way builds a lot of questions on how Yuu will turn out later on in this series.

Fantastic episode!


Something interesting about the singers Hiroyuki Sawano gets for his soundtracks seem to be pretty well-hidden. Remember the song “Home- This Corner” that was an insert in 2011’s Guilty Crown?  The English in that was strongly enunciated and her vocals are ridiculously high ranging.  According to information I found she scored a 930 out of 990 on the TOEIC test (The Test of English for International Communication) and moved to France after production for Guilty Crown ended.

OP: “”X.U.” by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]: Gemie

Directed by: Yasuomi Umetsu

Storyboards: Yasuomi Umetsu

Animation Supervisor: Satoshi Kadowaki

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Heavy electronic synthesizers, bass beats and keyboard melody.  Generic for Hiroyuki Sawano but it works really well for this series.  Love the visuals in this what helps this is character designer Satoshi Kadowaki.

The fight sequence with Yuu and the giant monsters are highly impressive.  Debris and smoke effects come off nicely–the fluidness of the animation is by animator Shinya Takahashi.  He’s basically known for this–it’s his trademark.  It’s not polished and pretty but it does line out every frame (for the most part) especially with sword streaks.  His work on GANGSTA episode 5’s fight sequence between Nicholas and Doug highlights his talents wonderfully! Takuma Ebisu handled the smoke and debris effects for a lot of this opening segment! Very awesome sequence! This minute and a half long opening included around 20 different key animators!

ED: “scaPEGoat” by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]: Yosh

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Directed by: Yasuhiro Akamatsu

Storyboards: Hiroki Shinagawa

Animation Supervisor: Ayumi Yamada

Singer Yosh comes from the J-Rock band Survive Said the Prophet.  His english is very good especially in the parts of scaPEGoat.  The visuals by Studio Pablo in this ending sequence are toned down from the rest of the show.  Giving off an eerie, post-apocolyptic world that focuses on survival of the fittest. In Seraph’s case humans vs. vampires and who will rise on top. Great ending love the use of shadow’s by Zankyou no Terror‘s key animator Ayumi Yamada!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10

Owari no Seraph Episode 2

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Episode Director: Koizuka Mavashi [Director and Storyboards for Owari no Seraph‘s opening sequence / Animation Supervisor and Key Animator on Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 episodes 2, 9 and 11 / Episode Director, Storyboards and Key animator on Shingeki no Kyojin episodes 13, 17 and 25 (Assistant Chief Supervisor on Shingeki‘s episode 4]

Storyboards: Miyaji Masayuki [Episode Director and Storyboards on Space Dandy episode 10 / Episode Director, Script Writer and Storyboards on Bounen no Xamdou episode 1 / Storyboards on Haikyuu!! episode 16]

Script: Seko Hiroshi[Script Writer for Shingeki no Kyojin episodes 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 15, 17, 18, 23 and Ise’s Notebook OVA / Script Writer on Zankyou no Terror episodes 4, 6, 9 and 11 / Script Writer on Kill la Kill episode 5]


 

Looking at the staff for this episode and seeing as how WIT STUDIO is animating this series it’s amazing how production is truly handled.  General Series Director, music composers and if I recall general script writers are subcontracted.  What’s interesting with the staff of this episode in particular is how many of them have worked together previously for WIT STUDIO, and I bet it’s a lot cheaper to use them rather than a completely different collection of staff that are either from another animation studio ( e.g. Production I.G., Studio Pierrot) or freelanced.  It also depends on their caliber of work too.  Makes me think how quickly these jobs within animation production are paid more quickly than on-hand staff at WIT STUDIO.  This episode doesn’t look like the premiere it had a few disjointed shots– the fight sequence between Yuu and the vampire had a lot of “cutting corner” techniques in order to save money.

The apocalypse from the very beginning actually occurred and the vampires use this in order to strike fear that the outside world is a place to stay far away from.  The premiere shoved a ton of sequences in our faces between the annihilation of mankind, Yuu’s life as an orphan and his escape with his friends.  This episode takes a backseat and introduces one of the most well-rounded characters of the Spring 2015 season–  Shinoa Hiragi (voiced by the amazing Saori Hayami!).  Yuu’s discovery that the outside world isn’t so bad (for now) is a strong build-up to his reckelss behavior at the academy.  The punishment he receives?  Making friends.  After losing his family to the vampires its clear to anyone that he’s got attachment issues.

Shinoa is snarky, she’s honest and can sometimes be a downright pain for Yuu but this compliments his naivety about The Japanese Demon Army’s duties wonderfully.  His other friend, timid Saotome Yoichi joined the army after his sister was brutally murdered by a vampire and setups his revenge motives nicely.  Somehow I feel we will be returning to that in another season.  There’s a lot of kids in this show, for a grim world like this one, it will (hopefully) allow for these main characters to mature as the story progresses.  For now though we’re barely touching the surface of the main cast.  I just hope this first half will flush out more background on the vampire/human situation rather than the intense emotions we had this episode.  Bringing me to my next point.

Commander for Imperial Demon Moon Company, Guren Ichinose, knows his duty but still acts like a child at times.  His promise with Yuu to make him a part of his army if he makes friends fits this tone nicely.

As for the quality of this episode there’s a lot of still shots.  It doesn’t detract away from the visually impressive premiere we had one bit.  It’s refreshing because the background designs by Animation Studio Pablo are absolutely stunning!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 6/10

The Rolling Girls [78/100]

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The watercolor art style  by Eriko Shibayama and Ryou Kouno created some of the best background art I’ve seen out of any other series from the Winter 2015 season!  Eriko Shibayama is a very talented artist that I feel is one of those artist that if you see  their work you know it’s them.  Shibayama worked on Masaaki Yuasa’s Space Dandy episode 16!  I really can’t wait to see what these two animators will be working on in the future!

Along with the amazing art another big reason why I like this series so much is because of how diverse the episodes are. Rolling Girls uses the idol singers concept a bit further by adding a fantasy spin to it.  Nozomi, Chiaya, Yukina and Ai progress through their journey of finding heart stones that build upon a couple of larger themes:  coming-of-age friendships and establishing peace not just in Tokorozawa but the other Districts.

This anime really shines in its characterization of it’s minor cast–  about every two episodes or so we are introduced to a new district with different Bests handling their own problems in their own ways and for most of the time it doesn’t work out until the girls show up as a kind of peace treaty in closing up each arc.  I really wish that this series didn’t even have a main story–  I’m a huge fan of episodic shows and Rolling Girls had some really amazing episodes that capitalized on this style of storytelling.  Mie Motors arc and the Kamogawa Rockers arc were both incredibly different from each other yet still held up with some similar themes–  traditions of Japan tarnished by selfish ideas from a mob.  It isn’t about the main cast receiving development but how they would help grow the people around them–  these individual arcs were a perfect example that fitted how to blend long standing traditions of the old with generations of the new.  The stones which is revealed in the finale layers up the concept of people’s potential in doing something great for themselves, for others.  Just as the tagline for the series states.

These girls in a sense, even though Nozomi wanted to follow in Maccha Green’s footsteps, were their own mob holding onto the power of friendship as the key to success. This is why Rolling Girls can be such a delight for kids as well as adults!

However, the final few episodes were rushed because I feel that the creators really wanted to do something for the main cast which is why this show has such a haphazard ending.  They should have compiled that arc right from the get-go but instead used it as a climax that was less than satisfying.  About the only part which I may have mentioned before that I enjoyed was the very end with Kuranosuke’s inspirational monologue about how people can have the ability to draw out the stones.  Opening up for a possible sequel is one way to do it.  Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso composer Masaru Yokoyama’s score there was very good.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 78/100

Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma Episode 2

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The Spring 2015 anime season has so much to offer that is both bad and good–  as for reviewing I’m watching a new series’ episode just about every day on top of series I’ve neglected from the Winter 2015 Season and even anime from the Fall 2014 lineup.  It’s quite a list and I hope I can continue maintaining this blog for years to come [hopefully with the inclusion of another writer or two possibly].  More importantly I hope that my readers enjoy these sometimes short writings each week on their favorite episodes.  Speaking of which I need to continue watching [C] the Money of Soul and Possibility CONTROL.  If there is a series you would like to see me cover–  I will try to get to writing a full series review if its aired in a previous season.  So please let me know through the comments section.  Now onto Shokugeki no Soma‘s 2nd episode!

This show is really funny but the problem of a long gag between food being an erotic pleasure can only go on for so long without running out of steam.  This episode works perfectly in bringing in Erina Nakiri, Totsuki Corporation’s examiner.  I like the chemistry between Soma and Erina a lot.  Their introduction here enriches this series’ comedy to a refreshing level.  It pushes away at times the reflective compatibility between its characters in favor of developing them through the culinary education program Soma is trying to get into.  Soma’s blatantly obvious brash behavior is a good balance to how Erina acts.  Her chauvinistic culinary upbringing as ridiculous as it is establishes this sense of  prestige the distinction between being of a higher class to a commoner quite well.  I really like how we see this foreshadow from Nikaido Yoshiaki and his dialogue with Soma about how much Totsuki caters to the elites that apply.  Erina throwing all this away by using her own methods is a smart tactic on her part as an examiner and I’m sure its this factor that will bring Soma closer to realizing how important the delicacy of a dish really is.  The dish Soma prepares featuring eggs with rice is a nice touch to illustrating how traditional Japanese food is handled–  which is miles apart from anything Erina has ever seen before I’m sure.

Erina looks the other way using the background discrimination trope and handles herself justifiably right up until her first bite.  Her reaction is priceless and to her own initial thoughts:  shocking.  Shokugeki delivers fan service that is rife and very intense–  now I can see how Tatsuya Katou’s music score works here.  Heck even his father’s situation in New York is downright crazy when the tribe from India shows up.  I’m curious how the creators are going to handle the drama portion of this show because right now it’s been all comedy.  Where’s the educational aspect of this?

Sometimes this show will need to learn to tone it down and reel us into the joke by setting up these build-ups instead of just overlaying it with intense moments one after another.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 6/10