Tag Archives: anime

The tale of the mistaken prince and an evil egg – a review of the Anthem of the Heart

It is not an uncommon trope in anime for young children to be catastrophically affected by an unfortunate event up until a time, in their middle or high school life, when they are forced to confront it.

theanthemoftheheart_5.png

This is the case for the young, carefree dreamer Jun Naruse who inadvertently reveals to her mother that her father has been spending time at a love hotel with another woman. The separation leads both parents to cursing Jun for speaking too much, and from the girl’s imagination an egg is born, preventing her from speaking more under threat of stomach pain.

Continue reading The tale of the mistaken prince and an evil egg – a review of the Anthem of the Heart

Advertisements

First Impressions: Hyouka

On Friday I was lucky enough to get up to London for the first day of the second MCM of the year. While I was there I made some additions to my anime collection, most notably was the first part of the 2012 series, Hyouka. 

The show follows Hotaro Oreki, a dedicated ‘energy conserver’, attempting to get through his high school life doing as a little as possible to get by. After a letter from his travelling sister, he joins begrudgingly joins the Classical Literature club where he meets the enthusiastic and overbearing Eru Chitanda.

hyouka_10
Oreki is usually indifferent to Chitanda’s curiosity.

Episode one doesn’t waste time in getting down to the pull of this story: mystery. Eru is ‘curious’ about the Hotaro’s ability to solve the everyday mundane mystery which in the opening episodes range from how Eru gets herself locked in the club room to why a specific book was taken out only to be returned later the same day on five consecutive Fridays.

Continue reading First Impressions: Hyouka

Episode Focus: Juuni Taisen episode 1, Even Boars may become Pigs after seven generations

It’s impossible to judge anything on it’s very first step as is the case with the first anime of a new season. For me, the first episode has to have something to grab you, or at the very least make it interesting.

juunitaisen_7

And Juuni Taisen certainly grabbed my attention.

Continue reading Episode Focus: Juuni Taisen episode 1, Even Boars may become Pigs after seven generations

Insert philosophical quote here. – a review of Classroom of the Elite

It’s been a somewhat underwhelming season of anime this summer both on a personal and more general level. Writing my dissertation meant that I didn’t get a chance to really get into most of the shows I started (New Game!! and Katsugeki Ranbu being the best examples). It was also the first season I’ve had a reason to get really angry with Netflix for their handling of anime release (Fate/Apocrypha this time). So I’m only up to date with two single cour shows from this season, one of which is Classroom of the Elite. 

classroomoftheelite_6

Overview

A show that could have been mistaken initially for a Oregairu clone, Classroom of the Elite is, like the former, a social commentary through intensely intelligent characters. Koudo Ikusei Senior High School is a school where everyone who graduates is guaranteed a sparkling career and great fortune. However, the show focuses on class D – the class used to ridicule the worst students in the school using a points based currency system. The two main characters are Ayanokouji and Horikita – two seemingly emotionless students who don’t share most of the characteristics of the rest of the class. The twelve episode season follows class D as they attempt to climb the school hierarchy.

classroomoftheelite_8

Plot

Whoever wrote Classroom of the Elite must be quite the cynic. Everyone has more than one side to them; everyone has something to hide, and usually it’s not something good. This cynicism actually leads the story down a strong route though, pitting members of class against one another in realistic scenarios whilst also introducing new characters with purpose into the story. The show also does well to show that the world does not revolve around class D, and the other three classes also have their own issues to deal with that in some instances can be just as concerning.

classroomoftheelite_5

All of that said, the plot is ultimately a let down. Despite the well timed character introductions alongside the well managed conflicts the events that surround these moments are badly thought up and seemed to be aimed at the lowest common denominator. For example, episode seven is set a the school pool. Of course, this is a common troupe in anime and doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Whatever constitutes a good pool/beach episodes was not passed on to the writers here though and episode displays the boys of class D’s attempt to set up a camera in the girls’ changing room, only to be foiled by Ayanokouji in the final moments.

classroomoftheelite_11

As I’ll come onto, I like Ayanokouji’s character but he does often seem to take the place of deus ex machina. If I was trying to be sympathetic to Classroom of the Elite, I would argue that for the most part the show goes for a mystery vibe – creating problems for Ayanokouji to solve. The problem is, there is never any suspense as we know that Ayanokouji will always fix the problem in favour of whoever’s side he is on, and if he doesn’t, it was because he couldn’t be bothered or had no interest. This is seen to it’s fullest in the final four episodes where the classes are tested in a desert island scenario. The writers go to great length to point how class D are falling apart and all the other classes have done so much better. This technique can work, but really, you have to give your protagonists something or it will become obvious that you’re setting up a big turn around – and then no one is surprised when it actually happens.

classroomoftheelite_10

Characters

I liked the characters in this a lot. In fact, I’d go so far as to say the characters in Classroom of the Elite are what makes the show watchable in the face over underwhelming writing. Perhaps though, the class system is the true strength here: although we see the story through the eyes of class D, Ayanokouji manages to interact with members of each of the other classes in some way and thus we are quickly given an insight into the way each class ethos. Sakayanagi, the leader of class A is cunning and full of planning; Ichinose in class B is probably as intelligent but would rather make alliances than go it alone and Ryuuen of class C is a thug, yet commands the respect of all of his classmates.

 

Let’s talk about Ayanokouji though. We’re not meant to be in any doubt that he is very intelligent, despite being in the bottom class. It also isn’t meant to surprise anyone that he is a troubled sort of person who suffered from a peculiar sort of upbringing. In this season he had all of the answers when the plot required them, and although this could sometimes feel frustrating it does go someway to building his character.

classroomoftheelite_2

Horikita could be brandished with the same brush – cold and emotionless, yet a strong intellect she is driven to get into class A. In truth though, she is manipulated by her class mate on many occasions which leads to the revelation that she is far less self centred than we assumed, instead having a bit of a brother complex (who also happens to be the student council president.

classroomoftheelite_7

The other character of note that should be mentioned is Kushida. The ‘Yui’ of the piece, she seemed as if she would be more important than she ended up being based on the opening couple of episodes. If the show does get a second season, I can see her coming to fore again as I would guess the author intended a lot for his favourite split personality.

classoftheelite_3

Art and Animation

I’m not really sure if this should go into the ‘art and animation’ section of a review, but Classroom of the Elite is guilty of being all of the things everyone who doesn’t like anime cites as a reason for not liking anime. Strong female characters are time and time again undermined for no other reason than being female – whether it being the ‘panty incident’ in episode ten and eleven or the consistent levels of fan service present through the show. Faces are unnaturally out of proportion (even for anime) with everyone’s eyes being too big and too bright.

classroomoftheelite_9

That said, the production values are exceptionally good. This show just looks like an anime should in terms of lines and movement – there is only so much you can do in a school anime but Classroom of the Elite, manages most of it.

classroomoftheelite_13.png

Conclusion

I didn’t dislike Classroom of the Elite. Sure, the plot was patchy and Ayanokouji is far too intelligent for any show, but it all comes together to work quite nicely. The problems mean I can’t rate it particularly highly and I wouldn’t recommend it if you’ve got a full plan to watch list, but Classroom of the Elite is certainly a form of entertainment for someone and will surely get better scores from other viewers.

Thanks for reading! 🙂


What did you think of Classroom of the Elite? Do deus ex machina characters like Ayanokouji bother you or is it just part of the shows appeal? Do you think/want Classroom of the Elite will get another season? Any thoughts on what might happen next (as long as you haven’t read the light novel!)?

What I’ll be watching: Fall 2017

We get a lot of anime every season and each year Autumn is the one where we get the most, but wow, this year is taking thing to extremes. Fall 2017 has a strong showing in sequels, originals as well as the usual splattering of new manga and light novel adaptations. As is the way with these things, I thought it might be a good idea to run through some of the shows I’m considering watching before the season gets going.

The Ancient Magus Bride

The biggest new title of the season, produced by Wit Studio with a very popular manga as it’s source material, The Ancient Magus Bride is one to watch. Although this would be easy to dismiss as a fantastical magic fest, I’m anticipating lots of slice of life coming through in this show. The marriage element makes me a little uneasy, but from what I’ve read it doesn’t actually seem to be a prominent aspect of the show. Prepare for episode one’s airing on October 8th by watching the three prequel episodes.

Continue reading What I’ll be watching: Fall 2017

A summer update… (#1)

Only a brief post today just to fill you guys in on what I’ve been up to over the last ten days or so since my last post…

So until the start of September I’m going to be working on my Masters’ dissertation (that is twenty-thousand words on a very niche bit of Medieval British history), so I hope you’ll forgive me for not posting a lot until then. It doesn’t mean though that I haven’t had any time to watch any anime!

gamers_2.png

Because my time for watching has come a bit randomly I haven’t watched things as episodically as I would normally, but let me just run through what I have seen…

Continue reading A summer update… (#1)

Episode Focus: Classroom of the Elite 1, What is evil? Whatever springs from weakness.

Comedy, school, romance. Three genre tags that offer a whole lot of potential, but equally can make for a complete waste of a studio’s budget. Because of this, I had no idea what to really expect from Classroom of the Elite (Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e). After seeing that before this show started I didn’t really know what to expect. An optimistic bit of me saw a grumpy but intelligent male lead and an equally aloof female and thought maybe this would be some kind of reworking of Oregairu. Episode one has started to clear some of the fog from this season.

classroomelite_1

Ayanokouji has just started high school, Koudo Ikusei. In fact, it’s the best high school in Japan. Down side is, our male lead made a hash of his entrance exams and ends up in class D. Initially, this doesn’t sound like a massive problem with everyone in the class being given an allowance of 100,000 yen and access to the same facilities as all of the other students.

Continue reading Episode Focus: Classroom of the Elite 1, What is evil? Whatever springs from weakness.

Netflix to stream Fate/Apocrypha outside of Japan on November 7th

Fate/Apocrypha is one of the bigger anime set for release in Summer 2017, but if you live outside of Japan, you would be better of considering it a Fall 2017 anime. The reason for that you ask? Netflix got the rights.

Netflix_Logo_DigitalVideo_0701

Before I go into full rant mode, let me just fill you in on some of the other details of this anime. Fate/Apocrypha is set in a parallel universe to Fate/Stay Night and tells the story of how, after the third holy grail war (that is the war before Kiritsugu Emiya and the events of Fate/Zero) the greater grail is stolen, leading to an attempt by the Mages’ Association to reclaim it. A seven on seven greater grail war ensues between two factions. For the original source material, you’ll need to learn Japanese or find some fan translations of the five volume light novel series.

Continue reading Netflix to stream Fate/Apocrypha outside of Japan on November 7th

Episode Focus: Tsuki ga Kirei 11, An Encouragement of Learning

When living with your parents it can often be difficult to understand why the make some of the decisions that they do. What Tsuki ga Kirei shows well in episode 11 is that they usually have a good reason for doing so, and even after making decisions initially, they’re flexible enough to adapt when it’s in the best interest of their children.

Last week, we expected that Kotarou’s parents, particularly his mother, wouldn’t take well to his decision to go a school two hours away in order to follow a girl. It wasn’t surprising then to see that when Kotarou announced his school of choice at a parent meeting with his teacher, his mother wasn’t best pleased.

Continue reading Episode Focus: Tsuki ga Kirei 11, An Encouragement of Learning

Episode Focus: Attack on Titan S2 12, Scream

The final episode of the second season of Attack on Titan has aired after four years of hype with another reveal of sorts and some more emotional moments to boot.

attackontitans2_139

At the end of last weeks episode the titan that ate Eren’s mother appeared threatening to lead them to the same fate. This week starts with Hannes getting in the way and thanking his luck for giving him the opportunity to avenge Carla. Meanwhile, Erwin is stranded as titans close in from all sides with scouts falling fast. I won’t go through everything that happened as I usually do in this articles, but suffice to say it felt like a lot happened in this episode.

Continue reading Episode Focus: Attack on Titan S2 12, Scream