Occam’s Razor. When you have two or more possibilities, the more obvious one is usually the most likely.
I start my first impressions post on the second of season of Durarara because it is one of the biggest cases of what you see is what you get I can remember in an anime sequel. The first season of the show followed a host of different characters in district of Ikebukuro, Tokyo, with stories that rarely crossed over the course of 25 episodes, only to all come together fairly well in the final few episodes. When I was wondering what I was going to get from this second season, I shouldn’t have thought quite so hard – it’s by far the most obvious possibility: much more of the same.
I’m not sure how many times you need to have seen an anime for it to qualify for this brief, but certainly one show I’ve seen more than once that I enjoyed on the second, and third watching, was Mirai Nikki.
2011 was a bumper year in terms of anime but I wouldn’t be surprised if most people picked Future Diary out as the most memorable, if perhaps not the best, of the lot.
It’s becoming clear to me that I lack a certain decisiveness when it comes to choosing favourites in anime. There are so many couples that I could have written this article about but, in the end, I decided to go chunibyou and choose Riika and Yuuta. Or should I say the Eye of the Wicked Lord and the Dark Flame Master!
One thing that I do find easy to choose is my favourite genre of anime, and that is romance. As you might expect then, I’ve seen a few of them and of them all them Love, Chunibyou and other Delusions, while possibly not the best, is the most fun. While the fantasy genre is massive in anime, with many a fantasy-romance crossover in existence, the subject of the people who are simply infatuated by the unreal and fantastical is hardly touched upon.
Chunibyou is just that examination. Several of the characters within the show live, or have lived, in a world of their own creation where magic, superpowers and evil are common place. To Yuuta, this is a dark part of his past that he would rather forget, but unfortunately the tenacious Riika literally drops in on him to ensure he doesn’t forget.
Rewatching your favourite shows is without doubt, for me, one of the best things as a fan of anime, it is also however, for a while, a moment of fear. Not including anime I watched as a child, Angel Beats was the second show I ever watched (after the original adaptation of Full Metal Alchemist). It was the show that really encouraged me to watch anime – it’s humour and action grabbed me and the emotion didn’t let me go. After watching almost an excess of over 90 shows since then the fear set in: what if the show that encouraged me to watch anime was in fact rubbish? This is a point that has grown increasingly closer to the foreground as I’ve tried to become ever more critical with my reviews and scores. After picking up the Blu-Ray at EGX at Birmingham back in October, this month I finally got around to rewatching the show – which I may now slightly SPOIL. You have been warned.
Angel Beats is the story of Otonashi, Yuri and class SSS, a group of adolescents who led unfulfilling lives and thus find themselves in an afterlife in which they can ‘rebel against God’. The premise is undeniably a good one with a degree of originality that puts it in a strong starting position. The plot is driven by the main character, Otonashi’s, understanding of both his past life and the world he now finds himself in. While for the most parts the story is indeed quite dark the show is filled with largely pointless, but generally funny comedy. I can’t help but feel a show like Angel Beats was always going to need a degree of humour for it to stay afloat, the characters couldn’t have maintained a serious nature and remained likeable without it.
When picking out anime to watch I tend to go for action heavy shows with lots of drama, conflict and intrigue. Every so often however, I feel like it’s worth rewinding, picking up a slice of life school drama and enjoying the ride it provides. Kokoro Connect was a show I decided to watch in just those circumstances.
Background and plot
The world of Kokoro Connect is, to no one’s surprise, largely a high school club room. The Cultural Research club is essentially the place for students that didn’t really fit into anything else, a situation which is taken advantage of by the ‘villain’ of the piece.
But what is the show actually about I hear you ask? Well, on one completely normal day two of the five club members swap bodies only for it to later be revealed that the event was not a one off and other similarly strange occurrings happen. The reason? A vaguely supernatural being known as ‘Heartseed’ wants to conduct experiments and thought the group were particularly interesting candidates.
Often when you decide to watch a show that you haven’t heard of before or has mixed reviews, things work out really well. In my case, I’m not particularly hard to please so I find most shows like that pretty enjoyable. Every so often though, things don’t quite go the way you hope they will and you come across a bit of a mess. That, unfortunately, is the case with Amnesia.
Amnesia is a show that has a good premise. Based on a visual novel, a nameless girl has lost her memories before August 1st. The story is told through her relieving the days following August 1st in relationships with 4 of her male friends (plus 1 other guy, but he doesn’t really count).
The problem arises when we actually look past the premise and actually at what each episode does to further the plot and character development. The answer to that for the first 10 episodes? Not all that much. Each of the arcs for the four love interests have their quirks (*cough* locked in a cage *cough*), but on the whole they ultimately fail to move the story forward towards any kind of end. It wasn’t until episode 11 when the fifth man arrives that I could actually begin to guess what was causing the travelling back in time and loss of memories, and even then, within 10 minutes of having that opportunity, the cat was let out of the bag anyway.