Summer 08 Pilot Episode Reviews

13 07 2008

And so the new season kicks off… these reviews are written in order of airing.

(All ratings are comparative to other shows this season.)

Telepathy Shoujo Ran

Thoughts: First off, the opening had nice light rock song playing to various shots of the main characters. This indicated to me that the show looked to head in a slice-of-life direction with a supernatural element. Indeed the first few scenes seemed to confirm this. Imagine my surprise when it switched to a scene that was more reminiscent of a horror. Indeed, the show turned out to be much more dramatic then I anticipated. In fact we got a little bit of action towards the very end. I’m sure the writer was intending for us to feel that Midori is the perpetrator of the events… but that is a common trap in mysteries.

The show has a soft/watery feel to its colors. It almost feels like it was made in the 70s. It’s an interesting touch that’ll take some getting used to. As for the OP/ED tunes, people have complained about both of them, but I actually liked it. Felt kinda relaxing.

So what are my thoughts? The show definetly caught my interest, I’ll probably watch the next few episodes to see where the show is going. I might blog this one for a little while… but then drop it in favor of another show.

RATING: 7/10 (bland start, but picked up by the end)

Chocolate Underground

Thoughts: Hell has arrived on Earth… Chocolate is illegal. It’s an original twist to the “fight-against-the-man” concept. In this case, the oppressive government is cracking down on unhealthiness, as such; chocolate is outlawed. We haven’t met the resistance group yet… but we can guess who they will be.
Overall, 5 mins long… short and amusing. I’m probably not going to blog this as there isn’t much to blog per episode… and I don’t feel like updating this every 2 days.

RATING: 6.5/10 (original concept… a bit short)

Zero no Tsukaima ~Princess no Rondo~
Thoughts:
If the first episode of Futasuki no Kishi had me cursing the director for changing what was good abou the first season, The first episode of Princess no Rondo has me praising the director for reestablishing what was good about the 2nd season. There was a mix of everything: romance, comedy, drama, plot development, and mystery, all while curbing the fanservice. We are given a new villain, apparently someone who can also use Void magic as well as a commoner familiar. Also, we’re given a conflict with Saito losing mark of the Runes. The part with Saito refusing nobility was slightly predictable, however his reason caught me off gaurd. I was half expecting him to begin talking about how he didn’t agree with the concept of Nobility in that world, therefore denying it. Instead, he refused it because he didn’t have the power that would make him noble.
Episode one was pretty good, and if it’s any indicator as to how this season will be. I think we’re in for the best season of Zero no Tsukaima yet.

RATING: 8.5/10 (Still had the Louise-blasting-Saito gag, which died long ago)

World Destruction
Thoughts: So the best thing going for this show is the novel concept and the music. Besides that, you’ve got a great voice cast and some really nice character interactions. The story is about a group of heroes who set off to destroy the world, rather then save it. The backstory is almost copied exactly from Gurren Lagann with beastmen ruling over humans. But that’s about where the similarities end.
My biggest problem was the animation quality. While the human characters were drawn well, who the hell drew the beastmen (In this episode, they were neko-villains which was quite amusing). It was completly inconsistent with the animation of everything else.
This is one show I’ll probably keep watching just to see where the story goes. Will they REALLY destroy the world? Or will they fall into the trap of “maybe destroying the world wasn’t the best idea”.

RATING: 7.5/10

Natsume Yuujinchou
Thoughts: First off, viewers should realize that Natsume is based off a non-romance shoujo manga. So if you’re expecting fast paced storyline, and plenty of action… you’re looking at the wrong place. I realized as soon as I saw the previews, and learned about it’s shoujo origins, that this would be a show that you’re supposed to relax to. Brains Base does another wonderful job animating, and the show really does have the relaxed artistic feel.
The story is very Miyazaki-like. The main character, Natsume, embarks on a quest to return the names of youkai (or spirits) that his grandmother captured. Along the way, he’ll learn more about not only his grandmother, but also about the youkai’s past, and how his grandmother affected it.
The title literally translates to “Natsume’s Book of Friends”, so that by itself should give you an idea about the pace of the show. Also, don’t trust the rating on MAL, it’ll probably go up after the hardcore shounen fans will drop it.

RATING: 8.5/10 (very relaxed feel, something you can enjoy in passing)

Koihime Musou
Thoughts: Imagine Tenjou Tenge, except CUTE instead of ECCHI, and you’ve got something close to Koihime Musou. The story takes place in Ancient China… and that’s all I could cypher from the first episode. Indeed, the pilot does not give much in terms of a story outline, but I get a feeling that that’ll come in the later episodes.
If you love cute characters, they you’ll love Koihime Musou. The characters frequently go into “chibi-mode”, and have lovable traits. For all you tsundere fans, the lead character appears to be somewhat of a tsundere herself. Other pluses, the animation was great, the voice actors fit the roles perfectly, and the fight scenes were well chreographed.

RATING: 8/10? (This’ll probably change once I get an idea of the story).

Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu
Thoughts: This was one of my most anticipated shows this summer, second only to Zero no Tsukaima. The first episode was basically exactly what the previews said. High School student Ayase Yuuto discovers that school idol Nogizaka Haruka is a closet otaku. He promises to keep her secret and that secret brings the two of them together. The characters were definitely well made. There was a nice twist with Yuuto starting of as apathetic to women… considering his situation at home, that is to be expected. Yuuto reminded me of Rin from Shuffle! in more than one way. Major difference being that Yuuto doesn’t have a harem (at least not yet). Nogizaka Haruka embodies “moe” as she is soft-spoken, small-stature, and somewhat clumsy. Essentially, she is the perfect girl that any hardcore male otaku would want to meet.
The romance moved a lot faster then I thought it would… they went from just met, to calling each other by their first names in one episode. After a spring season that severely lacked honest romances, this was refreshing. But it would’ve been better if it had been spread over multiple episodes, cause now Nogizaka might fall into the trap of having small bursts of romantic development with unrelated material in between, we shall see.
As for the otaku-material… I don’t think this one will have much as to say of parodies and references, but keep you eyes open, they might surprise us. The ED tries a little too hard to be the next Hare Hare Yukai or Moeteke! Sailor Fuku, but if the show ends up getting a large fanbase, it could work.

RATING: 8/10 (slightly disappointed, but holds promise)

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