Summer 2013 First Look by the AnimeAnthology Panda (Part 1)

The AnimeAnthology Panda has been following too many series this summer. This is largely due to the alluring draw of Moe Anime in this season. The Panda (Watashi) will be giving his first look based upon three categories broad categories alongside a 10 point rating. The categories are

1. Watermelon-able: For deliciously juicy anime rated from 7.5 and above
2. Split Watermelon: For edible anime rated between 4 to 7.5.
3. Rotten Watermelon: For rotten anime rated from 0-4.

Blood Lad
Rating: Split Watermelon (7.2)
Episodes Watched: 2

Short Summary: In the world of Blood Lad, Hell is made up of many ‘turfs’. In one of the areas, Staz Charlie Blood, a vampire, rules securely due to the strength of his demon powers. What lies unknown to  his turf members is that Staz is a secret otaku of the Akiba culture. One day, a high school girl (Fuyumi) is found within his territory and subsequently died in an accident. Promising to revive her, Staz goes to the human realm with Fuyumi.

Review: I enjoy Blood Lad and will continue to watch it, however, I don’t consider it to be in the category of awesome. The artwork is above average, however, the story have not left me a strong impression on me.

Danganronpa the Animation
Rating: Watermelon-able (8.2)
Episodes watched: 3

Short Summary: Students enroll into a prestigious school only to realize that they are being held captive against their will. The only way for the students to get out of the school is to commit the perfect murder.

Review: I am not acquainted with Danganronpa’s  franchise, however, the storyline have thoroughly captivated me leaving me excited for a new episode every week. I enjoyed the artful manner by which the gore-y aspects of the series have been depicted, and the amazing array of styles that is being used for the series. I do have a small bone to pick with the animation; I understand from Danganronpa fans that a lot of detail is found in the visual novel game and the novel, however, that aspect seemed to be rushed through in the anime. Nevertheless, it is an exciting and beautiful series that I would recommend to anime lovers.

Fantasista Doll
Rating: Split-Watermelon (5.5)
Episodes watched: 2

Short Summary: Uzume Uno, a high school girl, chanced upon a set of magical cards that allow her to cast magical ‘Dolls’. These dolls battle other card holders and enemies.

Review: A run of the mill card game anime that lacks any distinguishing features to set it apart from the genre. Nevertheless, there are cute and related character-types, as well as beautiful fight scenes.

Highschool DxD New
Rating: Watermelon-able (9.0)
Episodes watched: 3

Short Summary: A sequel to the popular highschool DxD series.

Review: Highschool DxD has gotten a lot of flak due to its ecchi and harem elements. However, I think such criticism ignore the central role by which ecchi and the harem plays in the storyline. The plot is also very engaging with its introduction of sacred gears, rivalry between the magical realm of devils, fallen angels, and angels, as well as, the red and white dragons. This season have been very enticing thus far with extra ecchiness, potentially new harem members, as well as, an interesting start to the ‘holy swords’ arc. Fans of this series can expect more of everything that they love, including more fight scenes, ecchi elements, explanation of the various sacred gears, and light hearted comedy.

Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyou
Rating: Watermelon-able (9.9)
Episodes watched: 3

Short summary: Kazuhito Harumi is a bookworm who adores the author Shinobu Akiyama. One day, he encountered a robbery in a cafe. The robber ordered a female patron to stand up, however he was ignored as she continues to be engrossed in writing. Angered, the robber shot at the female patron, who was saved when Harumi came between the line of fire. Harumi was killed in this encounter. Unbeknown to Harumi, the female customer that he saved was Shinobu Akiyama. As Harumi was led through the path of life and death, he struggle to live as he has not read Shinobu Akiyama’s final volume to the 7 deadly sins series. He then woke up and discovered that his consciousness is now caged in a dog’s body. He has also forged a new connection to Shinobu Akiyama, who is now able to read his thoughts.

Review: This is by far my favourite series of this season. The artwork is extremely delicate with very funny expressions being drawn onto Harumi as a dog. The characters are complex despite the light hearted comedy. There are intricate action scenes that would impress most anime lovers. What I love most about this series is the intriguing plot and the discussion of obsessive psychological complexes. I highly recommend this to everyone.

Kamisama no inai ichiyobi
Rating: Watermelon-able (9.5)
Episodes watched: 2

Short Summary: God has abandoned the world and humans have become unable to die, regardless of what happens to the human body. In this world of immortals, a special breed of humans, known as the gravekeepers, appeared providing humans with a peaceful release from life. The story follows a young and unique gravekeeper, Ai Astin, and her encounter with this strange world.

Review: Kamisama no inai ichiyobi paints a complex world that is layered with mystery and suspense. Despite the supernatural elements in the plot, the story remains highly realistic in its portrayal of life, death, and other complex human emotions found in tragedy and trauma. This is my second favourite anime of this season and I would highly recommend this to everyone.

Kimi no Iru Machi
Rating: Watermelon-able (7.5)
Episodes watched: 1

Short Summary: Kimi no iru machi is an adaptation from the manga series with the same name. The story is centered upon Haruto Kirishima and his romance with Yuzuki Eba. It is a slice-of-life series that focuses on the worries, relationships, and concerns of 20 somethings in Japan.

Review: The anime artwork is rather disappointing. In my mind’s eye, I had imagined much richer colors than the ones presented in the anime. However, I have given this series a high rating due to its expertly crafted storyline that have managed to condense and summarize many volumes of the manga into a single episode. Moreover, the discussion of Japanese dialects is also interesting and refreshing, which have added a new dimension of enjoyment for Kimi no iru machi fans like myself.

Kiniro Mosaic
Rating: Watermelon-able (8.5)
Episodes watched: 3

Short Summary:  Shinobu Omiya has always been interested in Western culture. When she was still in elementary school, she visited England on a home-stay trip and made friends with Alice Cartalet even though neither could speak each other’s language. A few years passed and Alice Cartalet visits Japan as a transfer student. The middle school slice-of-life story follows the adventures that Omiya and Alice face together with their friends in Japan.

Review: I have given this anime a high rating for the following reasons. First, the story takes an interesting new angle in looking at how a ‘Westerner’ understands Japanese culture and vice versa. Secondly, the English that is spoken in this anime is expertly done, much better than Maji De Otaku na English, which has the explicit intention to teach some English to the viewers. Thirdly, the characters are very lovable and the level of kawaii is too damn high.

Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku
Rating: Rotten Watermelon (3.0)
Episodes watched: 2

Short Summary: Natsuki Ando, a lazy student, joked that she was going to join the ‘going home club’ only to find herself enrolled in a club with the said name.

Review: The comedic elements in this anime series feels as forced as the thin premise for the anime.

Love Lab
Rating: Split Watermelon (6.3)
Episodes watched: 3

Short Summary: The serious President of the student council, Natsuo Maki, has a secret: She has never been in love before. Moreover, she has serious delusions about how love will turn out for her in high school. One day, her embarrassing antics were accidentally seen by Riko Kurahashi. Natsuo Maki then mistaken Riko Kurahashi to be an expect in romance and began a series of experiments and role play to prepare Natsuo Maki for love.

Review: There isn’t much plot to this anime series. However, the comedic elements are pretty funny and original.

Maji de otaku na English
Rating: Rotten Watermelon (4.0)
Episodes watched: 3

Short summary: There is no plot. This is a 5 minute long parody-ish anime that hopes to teach a little English to the viewer.

Review: This is painful to watch and I kept watching in disbelief that it is this painful to watch. For instance, the first sentence taught to the reader is “you must say twice if it’s important”, when what it wanted to convey was “You must repeat yourself, if it is important”. That aside, the animation is surprisingly good if you could bear the grammatical errors in their lessons.

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