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bakuman

Sequels! This season’s full of ‘em. These are the things that could turn out to be amazing and you get to tell others “I told you so!” when it came down to whether or not you should pick them up at the first season – but is there anything notable enough to reach that status this season? Lets find out.

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I want to try and do something a bit different from the standard previews and reviews (for series at least), because, frankly, I dislike writing them.  So I’ll try and develop a slightly less formal, conversational style, and just give my thoughts and perhaps a score.

Wandering Son

ANN (synopsis): http://www.animenewsnetwork.co.uk/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=11875 – ‘Shuicihi Nitori appears to be a shy and quiet preteen boy, when he transfers to a new school he quickly makes friends with the tomboyish Yoshino Takatsuki who sits next to him. It soon becomes apparent that both Shucihi and Yoshino are more than simply a sensitive boy and masculine girl, they both are transgendered. Together they decide to take the first steps toward becoming the people they want to be.’

When this series first started I said this was exactly the sort of narrative that interested me these days, and really, I stand by that. It was fairly slow paced, although it managed to cover a lot of ground in a small number of episodes (as far as I know, it cut a lot from the manga source). It was sweet, capturing quite simple, awkward little moments from childhood and presenting them as naïve melodrama. It was relaxed; none of the characters, save one bubbly girl, ever seemed particularly enthusiastic, and it gave the “action” softness and a sense of subtlety. And above all, it felt natural, despite the fact that the main characters (middle-school children) often seemed impossibly mature. The artwork managed to suite that narrative; simple and understated, yet beautiful. While thematically the show deals with quite a complex social issue (transgender and transsexual feelings) in a simple and caring way, never making light of the subject nor becoming too heavy.

Read on for more on Wandering Son and Final Thoughts on Fractale and Bakuman…

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I didn’t watch any anime for a week or 2, so I already fell behind and am in the process of catching up. Not much has changed for me though. The problem I’ve had with A-1 animation production (I still intend to elaborate on this at a future time) has proven not to affect my enjoyment of Fractale too much, and the show has grown in my estimation. Conveniently for me both Noitamina series (Fractale and Wandering Son) didn’t air last week, so I don’t have to catch up on those. Wandering Son is still my favourite new series of the season. I switched my optioned fansub group for Bakuman to [Mezawari], they seem to have an issue with timing their subs, a small number are too long to read in the time their onscreen. Other than that though they seem fine and they’re very fast. As I said in the roundup, Gosick is proving to be less intelligent then I thought, though it’s still moving along well. And, I finally decided to drop Yumekui Merry (or at least put it on hold), as I mentioned in the previews, it’s fine and definitely shows promise, but it’s my least favourite of what I’m watching and I wanted to save some time.

Fractale: Again I didn’t preview this show so I’ll keep my comments brief for now.  I had a few minor problems with the story and large issue with the animation that’s complicated to explain and can be traced to the animation studio, so I’ll talk about it in another article in a couple of weeks.  Overall though I enjoyed it, its imaginative, enjoyable and the fantasy world it’s set in is very interesting.  I’m sticking with this, for the time being at least.

fractale 02

Wandering Son: I gushed slightly in the preview of this, but this is definitely my favourite show so far this season.  While the second episode lacked the brilliance of one particular emotional scene in the first, it showed that this series has authentic seeming characters in an authentic seeming setting, displayed with pristine animation.  My only doubts/criticisms of the show are that it seems likely to over-sentimentalise or sweeten the drama, an issue highlighted by the white, faded, light colourisation of the visuals, and the narrative might be better suited to an OVA or even a movie, we’ll see though.  Like I said in the preview, Wandering Son is very much in tune with my current tastes, it’s subtle, engaging and high quality, I’m more excited by this than I’ve been in any new anime series for some time.

wandering son 02

Next: Season Overview

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I’ve decided to split this round up in 3 as it’s longer then expected.

I’m continuing Bakuman from last season and watched second episodes of 9 shows from this season: Wandering Son, Gosick, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Fractale, Yumekui Merry, Beelzebub, Mitsudomoe, Freezing, and Level E. I decided to be quite strict with my eventual selection as I don’t want too much on my plate.

Bakuman: In the second half of its first season the show continues to develop as expected, its dull and poorly produced, but I’m interested in industry aspect of the story and have grown quite fond of the characters. (note: I switched to following the [SubDesu] fansub as they’re faster then Tomodachi [TMD] whilst the quality seems fine.)

Gosick: I was less impressed by episode 2, there were a couple of moments of rough animation (character facial animation especially) and sentimental sequences that made me inwardly groan.  I think it will lack depth, won’t be as intelligent, and could become a little more predictable than I hoped.  Still though, it looks quite good, I like the style, I like the atmosphere, and the story and characters still seem interesting, so, I’ll be sticking with this. (note: I switched to using the [Victorique] fansub, which I think is a solo project from a member of Unlimited Translation Works [UTW] fansubs group.  It’s using a 720p raw and Crunchyroll’s subtitles.  Normally I’d be against using a fansub that rips its subs from a licensed vendor, but the image quality seems better and I don’t feel so guilty because crunchy gets my subscription fee regardless.)

Next: Freezing and Yumekui Merry

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