Fall 2008 Pilot Episode Reviews

So it’s that time of the year, the leaves are changing colors, the weather is getting colder, and a large amount of new animes release in Japan.  This time, there are over 36 series that are being released.  No way in hell am I gonna watch them all, that would be suicide for college 2nd year like me.  However, I will try to watch as many shows that interest me as possible, and (apparently) I get amused too easily. 

I don’t think my computer will crap out on me this time *knocks on wood*, so I should have images for all the reviews.

General Info
– 5 images per show (1 image is an obligatory title shot)
– Short “Thoughts” section, including “blog-ability” odds
– First Impression rating (out of 10)
– Shows will be posted in order by fansub releases (meaning a show on Thursday might get up before a show that aired on Tuesday if the subber releases faster)

Now I’m not including Clannad ~After Story~ or ef – a tale of melodies, because those are two shows that I decided to blog regardless of how the first episode turns out.  So they will have separate full episode reviews.  However, that doesn’t  mean that they’re ineligible to be dropped.  If I find a show that I feel is more suited for blogging, then I’ll change the plan up. This includes Xamdou.

Lastly, like the “Summer 2008 Finale Reviews” post, if you are going to comment (and please do!), please comment on the separate page being created for this post (On the right side of the page, look for “Fall 2008 Pilot Episode Reviews”).  The post on the blog’s main page will be frequently be deleted and reposted for each new show that gets added.  This will allow this post to get “bumped” whenever I add a new series.  (Readers from Animeなの, I apologize, this post can appear more than once on the main page, just click the most recent one)

 

Toradora!

Considering the number of botched adaptations airing this fall, as well as the fact that I love the source material for this series, I was slightly nervous that they were going to train wreck this series.  Thankfully, JC Staff did one of the most accurate adaptations that I’ve ever seen.  It actually improved my opinion of the entire story.  For those of you who were afraid that this would turn into another Zero no Tsukaima, rest easy, from the opening scene you realize that the show has a light comedy feel to it.  Also, Kugimiya Rie’s voice for Taiga isn’t completly like her normal tsundere voice, it’s lower, meaner, and maybe more mature… I liked that style.  Lastly, for people who REALLY don’t like Louise’s character, the fact that Taiga spends more time being dere-dere, rather then tsun-tsun, should qualm any remaining fears.

Final comments regarding music… the soundtrack is VERY fitting, the music really helped set the mood. No OP this week, but the ED by Horie Yui was quite catchy.

All in all, I can’t wait for the next episode

FIRST IMPRESSION: 9/10 

 

 

Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka

So Kugimiya Rie proves that even her tsundere voices can sound different.  Well calling her character, Yuuhi, a tsundere, is a stretch.  Overall, I didn’t quite understand what was going on in this episode.  From that first scene with the action rescue mission, to the “Genokiller” myth, and finally to Junichi’s internal personalty? Hopefully they’ll explain what’s going on by the end of the series.

I’m interested, but I’m still quite disappointed.  Even with all the huge name voice actors (even the Junichi got a good voice actor, the same person who did Yuuto inNogizaka Haruka), there wasn’t really anything that made the show stand out.  I haven’t made up my mind about whether the main character is someone I like or not.  I’ll need a few more episodes to decide on whether this show is good or not.

FIRST IMPRESSION: 7/10

 

Kannagi

After seeing all that an accurate adaptation could’ve been in Toradora, I was slightly underwhelmed with this episode.  I mean, there wasn’t anything bad in the episode, but it was rather…. boring.  Admittedly, in the manga the story didn’t pick up until all the main characters were established.  This also indicates that the pacing is too slow.

As for good things, the characters are definitely interesting and cute, and I loved the interactions between Nagi and Jin.  I like the sarcastic comedy the writers used, since it feels quite realistic.  Another unique aspect, it isn’t the guy who forgets the previous meeting this time! (w00ts, ladies we’re not THAT forgetful). Finally, animation quality is top notch.

Overall, I’m cautiously optimistic about this show.  In one hand it can turn into a romp of laughter, on the other hand, it can get dreadfully boring.

FIRST IMPRESSION: 7.5/10

 

Gundam 00 S.S.

The second sequel series that I watched this season.  This one wastes no time in jumping right back into the plot.  I almost want to complain to the writers and say “You DO realize that there was a 6 months since the last episode”  If you didn’t guess already, I was lost, and it’s probably not the show’s fault.  Gundam 00 is very plot intensive, and not remembering what happened at the first season finale can cause a lot of issues.

Well for the episode itself, it was good to see the return of excellent animation quality, and GN Particle Space battles.  Some of the side characters are taking a front seat this season, namely Saji and Louise. However, Sunrise, no one is going to be surprised at the twist you threw in at the end of the episode… not after Code Geass.

I’d recommend re-watching the season one finale before watching the first episode, just so that you remember what happened.

FIRST IMPRESSION (kinda): 8/10

 

To Aru Majutsu no Index

Okay first and foremost, animation quality for that episode was GODLY.  And it should be, considering that the team from Shana is working on this one.  The opening was one of the best (if not THE best) openings of the Fall season thus far.  It was catchy, well animated, and timed to the music =D.

Onto the episode itself.  The story faithfully adapted the manga, though at a faster pace.  However, the anime surpasses the manga when it comes to making the characters alive.  In the manga, a lot of the little quirks of all the characters go unnoticed; however, those quirks become endearing in the animation. I never thought I’d like all the characters this much XD.

And of course, the action.  What little of it we got this week was amazing.  I can’t wait until next week when we get our first real fight of the series =D

FIRST IMPRESSION: 8.5/10

 

Tales of the Abyss

I know I said that I was going to take a break from RPG adaptations after the failure that was World Destruction. But, early high reviews and a high quality opening made me change my mind and I decided to check out episode 1.  And I’m glad I did.

The first half of the episode was somewhat boring, and I spent most of my time trying to remember the names.  It was the second half that really stood out.  In the fight against the magical beasts at the end of the episode, the combination of magic and swordsmanship was VERY exciting to watch, and the next episode seems to have more of it.

The setting is very well made, and the animation quality is great.  Actions scenes are very fluid and the characters are interesting.  Let’s hope that this trend continues and the show doesn’t fail later on.

FIRST IMPRESSION: 8.5/10

 

Kyou no Go no Ni (TV)

I was going back and forth as to actually watching this in the weeks leading up to the premiere.  I decided to check it out since the download was right there.  So in the end, it was funny, I laughed at the correct times and the characters were amusing…

…Until I realized that I was laughing at the exact same jokes from the OVA.  This show suffers from two major issues.  The animation quality is really crappy (who the HELL designed the new character designs).  And the jokes are worn out.  If you’ve seen the OVA you’ve watched the series.  Not to mention, the animation isn’t as risky as the OVA due to censoring.

I’ll probably keep watching until the original segments begin, and then give the final verdict on the series.  Until then…

FIRST IMPRESSION: 6/10

 

Kuroshitsuji

I’ll be honest, there are only two reasons I checked out this show.  I was bored, and I was hearing good reviews.  I hoped for an off the wall comedy similar to Hayate, alas my hopes weren’t realized.  It looks like the show is about a boy stopping corruption in his company with the help of his demon butler.  

The episode itself, was a mix of slice-of-life and light horror and comedy.  I really liked the side characters.  Compared to the perfectionist attitude of Sebastian, everyone seems soo clumsy.  In the end however, I just can’t get into the gothic setting of the story.  It just isn’t my style.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: 7/10

 

Ga Rei -Zero-

I had near zero expectations for this anime as the airing date approached.  Once the trailer released though, my expectations were raised slightly.  It looked action packed and maybe something exciting to watch.  Why was I fooled?

This is a really generic shounen sentai show.  The character speak techno-babble.  They work together to create some grand plan and take down some monster.  Oh yeah, the monsters are a really ugly CGI.  I tried to do the best I could trying to review this show as an original… but the sad truth is that with this show existing, the odds of Ga Rei getting a faithful manga adaptation has gone done the toilet.  Ga Rei was, what I’d describe as a, mature version of Bleach with a really nice story. Zero throws the story away and gives you a piece of shit. 

Don’t let the cliffhanger ending fool you into thinking that this is a good show.

FIRST IMPRESSION: 4/10 (-1 because I know just how good the story could be)

 

Shikabane Hime: Aka

Well I’m a little surprised at how long that episode took to get subbed (I’m not attacking fansubbers, read: i’m just surprised that there were no speed subbers).  All eyes are on GAINAX to see what they do on their Gurren Lagann followup.  First thing to set straight for anyone reading this post… Shikabane Hime is NOT Gurren Lagann.  If you’re expecting a GAR-fest again, prepare to be disappointed.  

This doesn’t look like a show that starts of with a huge bang.  I have a feeling that it’s going to build up over time.  We barely had any interactions between the characters in the first episode.  And a lot of questions are left.  This is another show I’m giving the benefit of the doubt and assuming that the story will pick up in the first 5 episodes.

FIRST IMPRESSION: 7.5/10

 

Chaos;Head

The last of the shows that I intended on watching has aired, and this was one I had high expectations for… Maybe too high.  The show did succeed in terms of building suspense.  Some scenes, specifically the chat conversation, had a really good ominous feel to them.  That opening scene is something that I’m really curious about as with what the New Generation cases are about.  (The entire thing of New Generation reminds me a bit of Alive Last Evolution).  So in that sense, the show does do a great job in suspense and mystery.

But it doesn’t work in terms of characters.  Higurashi had a cast of really likable characters each with their own past.  Chaos;Head is off to a bad start with making the characters likable.  With the exception of the pink-haired girl, none of the other characters seem inspired.  I’m gonna give the show the benefit of the doubt with the main character, Takumi, and assume that the writers are TRYING to make us hate him, a la Makoto in School Days.

The show has a lot of potential still and it’s too early to say whether this is a winner or a disappointment.

FIRST IMPRESSION: 8/10

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