Natsu no Arashi
On a summer day, Yasaka Hajime has created a strawberry filled with pepper and wasabi and tries to use it against his foes at the cafe where he works. Through a mix-up, it gets put on the wrong cake, one that belonged to Kaya and subsequently disappeared. Not knowing about the strawberry but determined to find who ate her cake, Kaya drags Jun back in time twice to find out, and Arashi and Hajime follow her. Kaya is so bent on having her cake that she eats it in the past and soon suffers the consequences for it.
I thought SHAFT might try to do a semi-faithful adaptation for this series, but boy was I wrong. They throw us right into the middle of the series where all the characters are already present, but no one’s been properly introduced. I suspect that folks out there who haven’t read the manga might be a bit lost or overwhelmed at first, and it kind of sucks that the whole time traveling thing gets spoiled from the get-go. Despite the initial shock though, the whole strawberry and time travel thing wasn’t too bad for a first episode. I’m sure the characters will eventually get a better introduction, but this probably means that SHAFT will mostly just use the characters and their abilities as a vehicle for their brand of creativity and humor. And in their defense, there were some pretty amusing parts to this episode, and I especially liked the mahou shoujo-esque sequence when Arashi went back in time.
The animation quality was also generally pretty good, and character designs didn’t bother me as much as I thought they would, but the voices kind of did. Specifically, I don’t think Shiraishi Ryouko was the best choice to voice Arashi (Noto Mamiko was what I imagined when I read the manga), and I kept hearing bits of Hayate whenever she opened her mouth. On the other hand, she does sing a decent ending song. Anyway, I might watch a few more episodes of this, but it’s unlikely that I’ll blog any more. Comedy series just haven’t been my thing in recent years.
When Houjou Kuniko gets released from prison, she’s brought back to her home where she’s to be the leader of a group called Metal-age that opposes the government’s policies. She lives in a world of carbon taxes, credits, and the carbon market, so everything is watched and regulated, and when some of the people in Kuniko’s town decide to generate some electricity, thereby creating some pollution, the military appears to come after them. The military is actually there for a different reason though, and the ensuing battle gets interrupted when a wave of something starts falling out of the sky.
This was the series I was probably most interested in on Sundays other than the new FMA, however it didn’t turn out to be quite like I expected. The show got off to a promising start with a nice May’n opening song, but it sputtered halfway through. I knew that there were going to be environmental themes, but I didn’t think they’d be this overly complex. The whole conversation between Karin and that leader was way too deep, especially for a first episode, and all I ended up hearing was carbon technobabble. Things did manage to get a bit more interesting towards the end, particularly with Kuniko and the transsexual Momoko fighting and whatever mysterious thing happened at the very end. Incidentally, regarding the mystery of who’s voicing the two transsexuals (which aren’t even revealed in the credits), I’m pretty sure that Momoko is being voiced by Nakata Jouji, but I didn’t hear enough to figure out Mi-ko.
In any case, I’m sure all the environmental economics topics are fascinating stuff to some folks, but if they’re going to push that hard on those, then this probably isn’t the series for me. I’ll watch one more episode to make sure, but I suspect I won’t be blogging any more of this.
Note: I normally don’t do a lot of mini-reviews like this, but I was short on time and really wanted to comment on both these series.