Suzumiya Haruhi Second Season – Episode 3 Impressions

Mikuru-chan is still cute... even cuter when she is crying

Mikuru-chan is still cute... even cuter when she is crying

I thought Episode 3 would be exactly the same thing as Episode 2, but I was proven wrong… Apparently, Haruhi made the two weeks in summer in a ever repeating spiral time space which make the future not exist because of it. This Episode atleast have a good twist to it so it was more interesting, but at the same time, contained unnecessary fanservice that I protested earlier, but atleast it was not overdone. Regardless, the episode was more interesting than the latter part and hopefully Kyon solves the mystery of the repeating summer… and yes, 15,000+ repeats of the two weeks is alot.

Verdict

8.7/10 

K-ON! (First Season) – Final Series Review

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Notice: This is a review of the first season of K-ON I have written two years ago, not on the second season. A full review of the second season will be written in the near future.

After watching all 13 episodes of K-ON!, it is probably the most enjoyable slice of life/comedy/music anime so far in the spring season. Despite some drawbacks in a few episodes, the content of the series is pretty good and paired up with better animation than Lucky Star, K-ON! Is probably the 2nd best Kyoani comedy/slice of life series behind the Haruhi series.

Content

K-ON! Anime adaptation is adapted from the 4 panel manga which two are published so far up to this date and still continuing. The story involves with a new freshman named Yui and don’t know what club to join. Meanwhile Ritsu and Mio wants to join the light music club, but since there is a lack of members, the club was almost about to be cut. Soon, Tsumugi, a high-class girl who owns a music shop joins after changing her mind about joining the chorus club. Then, After Yui saw a poster on the light music club, she decides to join, but not able to play the guitar. After she obtained the guitar, over time she got better at playing. Club activities usually involve having tea and cake after school and cosplaying by Sawako towards the middle of the season. Next year, Azusa joined the club and soon they perform at the 2nd festival and named the band “Afterschool Tea Time” (or something like that)
Although there were a few instances of the beach episode being complete rehashes, the most of the series were different and also enjoyable with good comedy. In some report, the anime series cover 90% of the manga, although some of the content is made up to fill in the missing parts like in Lucky Star, it’s still good.

Animation

The animation style of K-ON! Is a mix between Haruhi and Lucky Star, but K-ON’s animation was a lot more detailed compared to Lucky Star. However, the animation is lacking a bit and not up to the beautifulness of Kyoto Animation’s Air, Clannad, and Kanon remake and the awesomeness of Haruhi and FMP.

Characters

In K-ON! We have the four main girls, including two others who play a part later of the series and also the irresponsible teacher, Sawako-sensei who rather drink tea and also cosplay with other members.

Many will find who watched Lucky Star that the character designs are very similar with some exceptions. Ui, Yui’s younger sister who is a lot more mature than Yui and takes care of her and Azusa-chan, a Tsundere, but not that much… and have a very timid personality.

Lucky Star to K-ON! Character Comparisons (for comparison
sake):
Tsukasa -> Yui
Kagami -> Mio
Miyuki -> Tsumugi
Konata -> Ritsu

Music

Although some will find the background music somewhat bland, the performances are the selling point of K-ON! The performance music and the single albums of K-ON! sound outstanding although there are a few instances. Another thing is that the OP and ED sold over 100,000+ copies within a few weeks which means that it’s proved as a success.

Conclusion

K-ON! is a great, lighthearted slice of life/comedy series that most people who are a fan of slice of life/comedy series should watch. However, some naysayers continuously said that the series is horrible… which isn’t the point. K-ON! may disappoint some because it’s not like Beck which have music performances frequently also with some fights, but if you look for what it is and have a open mind, you may end up enjoying it. Although some may be bothered by the moe factor in K-ON, the moe don’t bother me nor I have praised it because it have moe. However, if you enjoyed Lucky Star, you will definitely have no problem enjoying K-ON! Like Lucky Star, some people might want another season… but with the fate of FMP so far, not for awhile.

Overall Rating:

8.8/10, B+ 

K-ON! – Extra Episode Impressions

You didn't realize that Mio is using a Macbook!

You didn't realize that Mio is using a Macbook!

K-ON! Extra episode pretty much gave the same results as the Haruhi S2 Episode 2, Endless Eight with various people in the light music club doing their things which caused Yui to wanted to make a hotpot all alone with her younger sister, Yui during winter vacation. This involves with Azusa-chan taking care her friends cat, Mugi getting a part time job, Mio going to the beach and try to make up lyrics for the next song and Ritsu babysitting her younger brother. IIn the second part, they started to have trouble and eventually Yui texted all of them on hotpot ingredients and her getting a reply. In the end, all of them meet up at the fast food restaurant.

The episode was enjoyable and also somewhat mediocre like the Endless Eight, but it was still not a bad episode as some naysayers make it out to be. However, this episode is a lot better than some of the Lucky Star episodes.

Verdict

8.5/10

Final review on the whole K-ON! Season will be posted in the next post.

Interesting Findings

The computer Mio is using is the White Macbook which is made by Apple. It seems that K-ON! have alot of product placement throughout the series. A comparison

K-ON-epbonus-scr2IMG_0138

Another finding is that Ritsu looks wierd with the bangs down.

She almost looks like Yui... with the bangs down

She almost looks like Yui... with the bangs down

 

Is K-ON! another Lucky Star? Somewhat, but not really…

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Missing Artist Infomation: help us out!

With K-ON! ending soon, another question arises… is K-ON! another Lucky Star? This have been debated before, but now after looking at 12 episodes, K-ON! is vastly different from Lucky Star besides a few simularities:

K-ON! and Lucky Star have a mostly all female cast: Besides from Minoru and Konata’s dad, Lucky Star had a mostly female cast… but in K-ON!, the whole cast mainly consist of girls since the story takes place at an all girl’s school (no kidding)

K-ON! and Lucky Star are both popular: You might be wondering why such a story like this could be so popular… Well, both Lucky Star and K-ON! orginated as a manga series and are both 4 panel manga which are published in magazines. However, the anime made it more popular with is the case with both Lucky Star and K-ON! and managed to sell alot of albums.

K-ON! and Lucky Star have moe: You might be wondering why some people hate the series with passion or like it so much… Both seems to put emphasis on the moe factor for some reason. Also, you may find that the characters of Lucky Star are very similar to the ones in K-ON!.

Differences:

Lucky Star have alot more references than K-ON!: Besides the references to famous musicans in K-ON!, there is a lack of references opposed to Lucky Star which have a boatload of references pertaining to Anime, Manga, Japanese Culture, etc. Not to mention, there is alot of Haruhi references in Lucky Star.

K-ON! have alot more music/performances: Well, duh! keiongaku is “light music” in Japanese… and why wouldn’t there be music if there is a light music club.

Different focuses: K-ON! focuses more on friendship/having fun while Lucky Star… have a completely random focus… not to mention… Lucky Star have no plot line at all.

Ending Themes: K-ON! like most anime stick with the same ED, while Lucky Star changes it every episode.

Animation Style/Quality: K-ON! have better animation/style compared to Lucky Star… it’s no comparison. 

Suzumiya Haruhi Second Season – Episode 2 Impressions

Mikuru-chan is cute.

Mikuru-chan is cute.

After waiting for decent fansubs, It took me awhile, but I finally got on hold of good-enough fansubs. In this Episode, Haruhi decides to do a epic list of summer activities ranging from swimming, buying yukatas and going to the summer festival, goldfish scoping, fireworks, insect catching, bonfire dancing, and etc and able to do it in few weeks… but Kyon never finishes his homework after that..

I found the episode entertaining… and yes, it’s slightly better than the 2nd beach trip in K-ON!, but still not as exciting as I want it… and Endless Eight is probably the most mediocre chapter in the Haruhi light novel series. Regardless, it was a entertaining episode, so I will give the benefit of the doubt and give this episode a 8.5/10…

Also, Episode 2 revealed the new OP, which sounded okay, but I still perfer Bouken Desho Desho? still…

Verdict

8.5/10 

Commentary: Is Anime being abused?… Not really… but…

After seeing a new, stunning post in the “General Anime” section on AnimeSuki which is in a heated debate, I decided to put my analytical thoughts about the issue…

Is Anime really being abused? Not really, but Anime is a media form like any form of entertainment like movies, TV shows, etc and Anime is basically Japanese animation that focuses deeper topics instead of child cartoons and comedy like American cartoons are mostly about.

Although I have seen outstanding works like most of Miyazaki Hayao’s movies, any of Kyoto Animation’s Key anime adaptations, Suzumiya Haruhi, etc… but I have started to see Anime with some fanservice and then… anime with excessive amounts of fanservice/ecchi like Queen’s Blade which is the most notorious anime series that aired recently that every episode have this type 2 fanservice/ecchi which made the show 100x worse in most people’s eyes.

Why do I say it’s being popular in the WRONG way, you ask? Before, animators created their own creative stories with good characters, good plots, good development, somewhat realistic references, good setting, good plot devices, and many other things. But it seems that ever since 2005-2006, about 70% of anime has consisted of NOTHING but moe, lolicon, useless fan-service, ecchi, chest groping, people shoving their privates in other people’s faces, non-seriousness, lack of discipline, maid outfits, bunny outfits and fetishes!…and now it’s going to go WAY TOO FAR. The other 30% being the anime WITHOUT that useless stuff (such as anime from the like the World Masterpiece Theater).

I disagree to some extent… While some shows have some moe like Clannad for example, the storyline, animation, and character design proved it to be a beautiful series and the main reason why I consider it a masterpiece since it lacks type 2 fanservice… The problem that some people have is that some people think that if a show have moe, it automatically makes the series horrible without looking at the content deeper… which is why I see the same posters that complain continuously about every episode for the same reason for the reason to get people into a heated debate and people defending the series which I wouldn’t like to see, but it happens. While some series can have this content in the series, if the story line comes out stronger than the latter part the poster mentioned, the show can still be successful… as long they don’t use it excessively like Queen’s Blade.

This also brings the part that Miyazaki Hayao’s remark said that most anime today are unoriginal and uninspiring… like mentioned in a earlier post, but again, it depends on the viewer’s opinion what he/she deems original or inspiring… like I mentioned before:

There is always going to be a bunch of bad, unoriginal or uninspiring anime in every genre regardless… Another factor is that people’s opinions on a show is depending on the person’s tastes as mentioned before… so one person can say X show sucks while the other person thinks X show is good. So, I mostly disagree with this statement at the same time agree with some of his points of shows being unoriginal and uninspiring, but not applies to some since this is a matter of opinion.

Closing Arguments

Is Anime truely being abused? No, but the definition of Anime is animation originating from Japan… but the problem that most people are facing is the lack of masterpieces like the ones I mentioned before and the ratio between good and bad anime is off balence, like 80% of anime are bad and 20% of anime is good (7 or better). People got to realize that people have different tastes, so one person can say X show sucks because they don’t like that genre and another person can say X show is good because they enjoy that genre.

If you wish to read the full post I have mentioned, feel free. 

K-ON Episode 12 – END

K-ON-Ep12-scr1

This is the final episode of K-ON (story wise, there are two more episodes, one airing next week and one on a DVD/Bluray) and the finale was done pretty decent dispite not pleasing some people who watch K-ON! for the wrong reasons which I will explain in a different post… but most will enjoy this light hearted series… never the less.

The Good

Ui looks almost like her sister.... it's very difficult to tell... except...

Ui looks almost like her sister.... it's very difficult to tell... except...

Ui impersonating as Yui: This is probably the funniest part in the first half of the episode… Yui’s younger sister, Ui look very similar to each other despite having very different personalities and Ui… surprisingly plays perfectly compared to her older sister.

Ui plays perfectly which surprises the light music club members

Ui plays perfectly which surprises the light music club members

However, her cover was blown after saying Azusa’s, Ritsu’s and Tsumugi’s name.

Yui’s obsession of fishing lobster: Nodaka tells them a story about Yui acting strangely and fishing for baby lobster. After Nodaka goes into the bathroom, she finds the bath tub filled with them… It’s pretty eccentric behavior to me… and also, hilarious.

If you wondering what Yui is doing with that bucket... don't ask

If you wondering what Yui is doing with that bucket... don't ask

It's a bathtub filled with <strike>miso soup</strike> baby lobster.

It's a bathtub filled with miso soup baby lobster.

Yui’s singing of Fawa Fawa Time: If you thought Mio sang that song well… I seem to like Yui’s version alot better… It kind of reminds me of Kyon’s Imouto singing in her Character Song Image album…. Not to mention, the performance was done pretty well…
K-ON-ep12-scr6

And lastly…. Tsumugi’s picked radish eyebrows:

Now to think about it... it does resemble picked radish

Now to think about it... it does resemble picked radish

Now… The Bad

Slow Start: Although the second part was more exciting, the first part was a bit slow… until Ui impersonates Yui which is funny…

Unnecessary Cosplay scenes: Yes, I would count these cosplay scenes as fanservice, but wasn’t necessary for the final episode.

Ending Thoughts

Dispite a few things that bother me, the finale was outstanding… and it’s almost on the level of awesomeness of Haruhi’s performance…. However, some people might miss K-ON! like people missed Lucky Star soon after the season end and people who like this show will probably want more… just like the Haruhi fans want a second season which came true and hopelessly, the FMP fans who want a second season but haven’t got one… However, the manga of K-ON! is not ending yet… and more is coming so it’s highly recommended to read the manga to ease the pain of K-ON! ending… K-ON!, to me was a good experience with it’s flaws, but it’s a great lighthearted show after watching something tragic like Ef or any of the Key anime adaptations.

Verdict

9.4/10 

Summer Vacation approaching…

ushio
With my vacation approaching, I will be very busy for the last few days before I leave to Wisconsin which is a pretty boring state… not as nice as the place Tomoya took Ushio to… but it will take appromately two days to reach Wisconsin and two days going back and I’m planning to be on vacation for 10 days. However, I will still update my blog since I have Wifi access in the hotel and a iPhone 3G I can tether to my Macbook Pro so I have mobile broadband access in the car. However, it can delay any new episodes of Haruhi, the Kyou Clannad After Story special and the last episode of K-ON! for a few days since I cannot download any of these directly using a public Wifi hotspot. However, I won’t be neglecting the blog for the 10 days I’m away… I promise…. 

Editorial: Fanservice does not always make a anime series awesome… but sometimes makes it worse.

After recently writing an editorial about Miyazaki Hayao about most anime made these days are unorginal and uninspiring… it’s because most anime are focusing too much on fanservice and less on the content to excite the audience.

The main reason I approve most anime series from Kyoto Animation and Miyazaki’s films is that… you guess it… they have minimal amount of fanservice. The problem today is fanservice is everywhere…type 1 mainly focusing on non-sexual fanservice (which I’m not against) and type 2 fanservice which involves with sexual in nature which is very common… like nudity, panty shots, etc which is COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY and does not add to the story or make the series any better… I don’t mind if a anime have some fanservice, but when it gets too excessive like Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo, Gonzo’s version of Full Metal Panic or something alot worse like Queen’s Blade for example… this is where I find it unorginal and also annoying… While most people won’t care in the world about fanservice or some actually liking it… I for one find it completely unnecessary nor it make the series any better with it.

The problem with modern anime today is that too many are focusing on excessive, type 2 fanservice which adds no quality to the story or make it inspiring or a masterpiece. This is the main reason why most fanservicey anime series tend to fail in quality because it’s overused and every animation studio besides Kyoto Animation far I know does it. You may ask youself, how come Kyoto Animation’s adaption of Full Metal Panic is better than Gonzo’s version of Full Metal Panic… it’s because Kyoto Animation focused on the actual material which resulted in good results while Gonzo added too much fanservice which caused the quality to fall. I’m not against series because it have too many fanservice, but the type 2 fanservice is causing the drop in quality of the story and better improved if studios stop relying too much on type 2 fanservice and actually focus on the story and make it original and/or inspiring. 

Editorial: Is Modern Anime really that bad? Miyazaki thinks so… but I disagree strongly.

In the recent years, I have seen some great modern anime with great animation, story line, high production values, and etc… yet the backwards man, Miyazaki, the well acclaimed animator of Ghibli who is known for My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away saying that modern anime is no good… He is a sign of a purist and elitist and can’t accept that the way of anime is done since 2000 is done differently.

Anime before then were hand drawn and animation quality wasn’t as great until technology evolved which allows animators to produce higher quality productions which resulted in masterpieces… The ones I have seen recently and deemed as masterpieces is Clannad (both seasons) and Kanon 2006 remake. Most people will agree that some of the modern anime are masterpieces. However, Miyazaki is living in the past and believes that modern anime is bad… in the statement he said:

I can’t stand modern movies. The images are too weird and eccentric for me

In his statement, he believes that modern animation done by computer is too strange and unreal… Sure, modern anime have alot more eyecandy which appeals to the viewers… However, I disagree with his statement because it’s a sense he believes that his productions are better and that anything but his works his bad.

Young people are surrounded by virtual things. They lack real experience or life and lose their imagination. Animators can only draw from their own experience of pain and shock and emotions.

Again, his statement is untrue to a certain extent in a sense because some anime which are more in tuned in real life experience like some of the Seinen drama-genre anime I have seen have shown real life experiences that could happen in real life.

Another thing, is that he views all modern anime as “unoriginal and uninspiring,” and agree to a certain extent except that not all modern anime would fall into that… since it’s a matter of opinion.

There is always going to be a bunch of bad, unoriginal or uninspiring anime in every genre regardless… Another factor is that people’s opinions on a show is depending on the person’s tastes as mentioned before… so one person can say X show sucks while the other person thinks X show is good. So, I mostly disagree with this statement at the same time agree with some of his points of shows being unoriginal and uninspiring, but not applies to some since this is a matter of opinion.

The main problem with Miyazaki is that he cannot accept modern anime what it is… It doesn’t mean that any of his works is horrible or that I’m heavy criticizing about since he did made good movies, but in the world of technology and with the most of the population using or know how to use technology (which he also don’t like), he is making people lose respect of him because he refuses to accept the fact that modern anime like we know it is here to stay…

Source: alafista.com