Kimi ni TodokeI learned, to my dismay, that I did not have the last four episodes of To Aru Kagaku no Railgun, so I set uTorrent to downloading them. I left off at ep 21, right in the middle of the story about the "Poltergeist". Ep 24 finished download in about an hour but eps 22-23 are taking their own sweet time.
Puchi Puri Yuushi
Hidamari Sketsh Hoshimitsu
To Aru Kagaku no Railgun
Big O is winding down. I'm finding myself wanting to watch the last handful of eps at one sitting because it's kicking ass.
Hidamari Sketch--*sigh*. I've talked before about how the directors/producers of this series are doing too much of the ART!!! stuff, at the expense of telling the story. Well, in Hidamari Sketch Hoshimitsu it's worse than ever.
Damn it, I want to like this series; I really do--but the ART!!! stuff is making it impossible. Besides the ART!!!, the first series copied Haruhi Suzumiya no Yuutsu and showed its episodes out of order for no reason I could discern. Hidamari Sketch x 365 really toned it down, and was a pretty decent watch. But the first episode of Hoshimitsu--
Changing styles for no apparent reason, using photographs or textures instead of backgrounds, placing sound effects text, using static textures inside moving objects--it was like they thought, "The story is too boring by itself, so we have to do all this stuff" and it was nothing but distracting. It made following the story almost impossible for me; worse, it made me want to stop watching.
I really like the characters, but if I have to sort through tons of visual clutter to visit with them, I'm not going to bother. Just tell the damned story and leave the art house bullshit to the art houses.
Puchi Puri Yuushi got to ep 7, which is the episode I was waiting for. That's the episode where Yucie and Glenda go to the Underworld to get its crystal flower, and we see that Glenda's father Satan has "redecorated":
...yes, that's supposed to be hell. As we can see, Glenda's father's idea of "cute" is just a little strange. Steven Den Beste posted a similar screencap during his discussion of the series. That screencap was what got me interested in seeing this series. (Particularly that sun. That's the creepiest "cheerful sun" I have ever seen.)
This is the episode which made Glenda into a sympathetic character, and did it so adroitly that the viewer (or me, in any case) is instantly rooting for her.
The OP and ED of K-ON!! is really not as bad as other anime bloggers had led me to fear. That said, it is certainly not art for the ages, either. No, those themes are not very good. The anime itself, though, is great fun, just like the first series was.
That leaves us with Kimi ni Todoke.
I downloaded KnT because someone--I can't remember who--said it was good and the premise caught my eye: the main character is a girl named Sawako who checks all the boxes on the Japanese "creepy girl" checklist. Everyone calls her "Sadako", after the girl in The Ring, a character who was meant to check all the boxes on the Japanese "creepy girl" checklist. But Sawako is misunderstood; she's shy and can't help being the way she is. (Well...she could change her hair style. That might help.) In fact, she's really likeable.
It's a love and slice-of-life story. I was hooked about two minutes in (if it took that long) and had to add another episode to the lineup right away. Not only does the story establish Sawako's character right away; I understood her completely from the get-go. It does a perfect job of introducing her and showing you why you should root for her.
The art and animation--if they stay where they're at for the rest of the series it'll be fantastic, because in the first ep alone I saw several moments where I exploded, "Damn it, that animation is good!" The quality of the expressions and movements in these moments are near perfect.
It's also clear from the beginning--to the viewer--how both she and the male lead feel about each other; but it's not clear to either of them, and the reasons are logical and obvious to the viewer. There is no contrivance, which is really hard to manage, particularly after only two episodes. I'm not kidding; the writing is of the "Holy shit, I wish I could do that!" variety. (Which, I must say, is not something I see very often. Not to pat myself on the back or anything....)
I wish I could find more series like this one--I don't mean the genre; I mean in the way it unapologetically kicks in the door to your brain and says, "I'm moving in, because I'M AWESOME!" But Sturgeon's Law* applies to anime as well, so series like this one end up being favorites that get rewatched while the other 90% languish. That's how it is.
*"90% of everything is crap." Not to be confused with Sturgeon's other law: "There are more ways to futter a cat than by sticking its head in a sea boot."