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Umineko no Naku Koro ni – 01 »« Umi Monogatari ~Anata ga Itekureta Koto~ – 01

Aoi Hana – Sweet Blue Flowers – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「青い花」 (Aoi Hana) by 空気公団 (Kuukikoudan)
Watch the OP! Mirror 1, Mirror 2, Streaming ▼

 

Summary:

Manjoume Fumi has recently moved back to her old town with her family, and she’s starting school at the all-girls Matsuoka high school. Across town, Okudaira Akira is also on her way to her new Fujigaya high school, and the two girls run into each other in front of the train station. Not recognizing each other, Akira notices how tall Fumi is, and when they’re on the train, Akira sees Fumi crying and saves her from a molester. Fumi thanks Akira afterward, but the two then go their separate ways to their respective high schools without introducing themselves to each other. In class, Fumi is able to become acquainted with a girl named Youko and her two friends in the drama club, but Fumi declines to join them and continues to bury herself in her reading. Akira meanwhile makes a new friend in a short-haired girl named Ikumi Kyouko, but she continues thinking about Fumi.

By chance, Fumi and her mother come visit Akira’s house that night, and it is at this point that the two girls finally realize that they were childhood friends. Back when they were young, Fumi was a crybaby and needed Akira to help her with everything. When Fumi had moved away, the two had promised to write to each other, but they never did. Akira is amazed now at how tall Fumi has become, and she also observes that Fumi is rather flat-chested. When Fumi returns home, she tells her cousin Chizu all about it. Chizu eventually puts her hand on Fumi’s, but they get interrupted by Fumi’s mother who presents a cake to Chizu congratulating her on her upcoming wedding. Fumi is shocked by this news, and Chizu can only apologize. When Akira runs into Fumi the next morning at the train station, she finds Fumi crying. Giving Fumi a handkerchief, Akira comments on how she is always so quick to cry, and Fumi realizes that those words easily jump across ten years time.

ED Sequence

ED: 「センティフォリア」 (Senteforia) by Ceui
Watch the ED! Mirror 1, Mirror 2, Streaming ▼

Both the opening and ending songs here are decent, but not very memorable. Of the two, I liked the opening song better. More interesting was the opening animation sequence which starts out slow like the song does, but it then goes to a very nice dancing scene and ends with a rather eye-opening shot of Fumi and Akira. It’s like, in case you still weren’t sure what kind of series this is, here you go.

From someone who’s read a bit of the Aoi Hana manga and enjoys a good yuri story, this was about what I expected. It’s very a pleasant slice-of-life story to start with not too much going on, but there are already hints of the girls-love relationships and heartbreak to come. In fact, I thought they did a good job keeping Fumi’s relationship with Chizu sort of ambiguous, yet still showing the impact it had on Fumi. Production-wise, J.C.Staff and director Kasai Kenichi do a great job with the animation, and I was especially glad to see that they didn’t skimp on backgrounds and use a lot of white gradients like the Hatsukoi Limited team did. To that end, I liked how they showed an entire sequence of Akira running to the train station and had that playful piano piece to go with it.

I think the only blemish on this episode was Takabe Ai’s voicing of Fumi. I could tell immediately that this was her first role as a voice actress because it sounded raw and awkward. It’s not entirely bad though, and I got used to it after watching the episode a second time, but it makes me wonder why they don’t give new voice actresses some more minor roles to ease them into the job. The answer is probably that they want to promote these voice actresses with a big splash, particularly for someone like Takabe Ai who’s semi-well-known already as a model and drama actress.

In any case, I thought this first episode overall was quite promising, and I’m looking forward to Kasai Kenichi working the same magic he did with Honey and Clover and the first season of Nodame.

Note: For anyone waiting for me to blog Umineko, I will, but probably not until later. I’m about to keel over right now after having not slept well for several straight nights.

July 1, 2009 at 11:42 pm
33 comments »
  • July 1, 2009 at 11:56 pmHolding

    A Yuri series eh?

  • July 1, 2009 at 11:58 pmLauren

    I thought the episode was sweet. :D I’m looking forward to next week.

  • July 2, 2009 at 12:03 amGod~Knows~

    hot lesbian sex?
    Probably not.

  • July 2, 2009 at 12:05 amahelo

    not interested in homo relationships…. pass

  • July 2, 2009 at 12:07 amMoonbase

    Well atleast Umineko is on the way~

    Sleep well!

  • July 2, 2009 at 12:18 amMeery

    Not too interested in this series. However, I like it’s soft colors and it has a pleasant art style; suits the type of series.

  • July 2, 2009 at 12:18 amStream Anime Online

    Looks like an interesting anime, but wouldn’t say it would be anything i would be into. I pass also.

  • July 2, 2009 at 12:32 amhashi

    Excellent first episode. But I disagree about Takabe Ai. I think she’s quite good. She’s a real actress: that may be what makes her stand out from boring anime-style voices that have little real feeling in them, but hit all the paint-by-numbers notes they were trained to hit. I liked Takabe-san better than experienced seiyuu Gibu Yuuko (Akira), in fact.

    Takabe-san is not a newbie in any real sense: she has acted on-screen in many TV dramas. She was the Guren Onna, for example. And to me she doesn’t sound like a newbie: if you want to hear a newbie sound, listen to trained seiyuu Kotobuki Minako (Tsumugi in K-On) doing Kanon in Umi Monogatari.

    The reason they didn’t give Takabe-san a smaller role to start her anime career is that she is probably a bigger star in Japan than almost any seiyuu. That’s also why she is billed first of the whole cast here. Japanese Wikipedia lists her as having been in four movies and ten dramas, and as having been on 17 TV shows. And she is only 20. In the interests of full disclosure, however, it is true that her main claim to fame is as a photo idol, often in swimsuits. She has out six photo collections and two DVDs.

  • July 2, 2009 at 12:37 amT-*r4

    @Omni

    What are you going to blog next for the Summer?

  • July 2, 2009 at 12:44 amAlice

    I am not usually a shoujo-ai fan, but I’ve read a good deal of the manga and the story is excellent. There is some real character depth and a down to earth feel. Even at the saddest parts it doesn’t feel overly dramatic.

    That being said, I am a big surprised by the opening nude shots. Seems like it was fanservice used to catch male viewers to this very shoujo story. Hopefully the raw sincerity and the raw emotion of the manga doesn’t get replaced to cater to a male audience.

  • July 2, 2009 at 1:02 amAdmin

    Uhm This Is sooooooooooooooooooooooo Going to be a top anime, Just You Wait All the pervs in the world will be watching it. Watch It Streaming. Click Admin

  • July 2, 2009 at 1:12 amKaioshin Sama

    Slice of Life shows with primarily female casts and I are currently in a tiff, which is sad because I should be liking these kinds of slow methodical character driven shows. Maybe if I hear and confirm that it’s the type that actually provides more insight into the characters instead of just depicting them in activity like a lot of my most recent disappointments with the genre tend to do I’ll like into it. Don’t like it when shows are like Corner Gas and there’s not a whole lot goin’ on.

  • July 2, 2009 at 1:23 amChibi

    K-OOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    When will next season of MOE GOODNESS BE OUT? DAMN THE REST OF THESE NEW ANIMES………

  • July 2, 2009 at 2:39 ambamboocurl

    Fumi’s voice also disappointed me when I first heard it because I thought it was too soft for her. I got used to it after a few minutes though, because I think it really fits Fumi’s character which can be described to be, as you said, “raw and awkward”. As for seiyuus with no experience getting major parts, what about Michiko and Hatchin? Both lead seiyuus are well-known actresses with no anime experience and they did a great job IMO.

    Anyway, this first episode exceeded my expectations. I usually don’t watch streamed anime but my excitement for this series actually convinced me to get the anime membership at crunchyroll.

    By the way, will you or the others be blogging Sasameki Koto this fall?

  • July 2, 2009 at 2:49 amJaberlen

    Hard Yuri love maybe…?
    Opening looks pretty elegant though

  • July 2, 2009 at 3:14 amChimasternmay

    i haven’t seen Yuri in a while i’m gonna watch it. though im looking forward to the one that comes out in fall: which will be this one Sasameki Koto. haha ill watch them both. i better see some close up girl on girl kissing if i have to watch the drama part as well hehe.

    also the art is different to me i call it all soft looking its kool its the same ppl who did kimi kiss anime right back then.

  • July 2, 2009 at 4:09 amrandomperson

    looks interesting. i will watch it and see.

  • July 2, 2009 at 4:21 amAkari_House

    Worth noting–the opening animation is storyboarded by Utena director Ikuhara Kunihiko (who also paired up with Kasai to do the first Nodame Cantibile opening).

  • July 2, 2009 at 4:51 ammegalith

    Interesting…. Another on my queud list.

    About umineko….
    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! They rushed the ep. I mean… Lotsa a introductions jammed in one ep. With that then I expect more suspense….

  • July 2, 2009 at 6:14 amkaz

    this is not actually related to aoi hana but i wanted 2 share this and i was really excited to learn that the manga Fairy Tail is gonna have its anime adaptation this year, produced by A-1 Pictures and Satelight. its a great shounen manga and i hope they make it a cool one. if you’re a fan of one piece, you’ll like this as well.

  • July 2, 2009 at 7:22 ammads

    Omni, please take care XD We can’t have our favorite blogger keeling over from the lack of sleep =(

  • July 2, 2009 at 9:53 amStory

    Yay. Looks like my thing.

  • July 2, 2009 at 12:55 pmJoez

    Can’t wait for the sub. Anyway, Omni, when are you going to update the Past Schedules page? It’s still showing winter as the latest one, when now it’s summer???

  • July 2, 2009 at 4:48 pmmahaha

  • July 2, 2009 at 9:44 pmCamarilla

    Completely taken in by the backgrounds. Not sure what it is but the background especially at the part with Achan running were amazing. Should be a very good example of a yuri slice of life.

  • July 2, 2009 at 10:12 pmauntiebin

    anime for guys~
    where are the shounen-ais and yaois??? T^T

  • July 2, 2009 at 10:43 pmLQY

    I must say I love it!

    I want more of it!

  • July 3, 2009 at 4:11 amHighman

    I fapped at the opening, XD!

  • July 4, 2009 at 4:07 amxternalq

    This a great episode of Aoi Hana. Especially JC Staff Production did a good jobs.

  • July 4, 2009 at 10:49 amcuentame

    definitely gonna watch it

  • July 7, 2009 at 9:27 amSS

    lol @ her train experience and how she was ‘taking’ it.

    Got bored otherwise.

  • July 26, 2009 at 7:58 pm/u/ser

    “I could tell immediately that this was her first role as a voice actress because it sounded raw and awkward.”

    Yes the gravue idol is a newcomer and has no experience.
    BUT!
    Did you even read the fucking manga? Ai takabe is voicing FUMI and “raw and akward” are perfect words to describe her.

    To everyone who expect moeeeeeeeeeeee girls or fan service: These do not exist. It´s a melodrama with a lot of love triangels and crying girls. Conclusion: nothing to fap to.

    never let /a/nons comment comment am anium/u/.

    greetings from /u/

  • July 26, 2009 at 7:58 pm/u/ser

    “I could tell immediately that this was her first role as a voice actress because it sounded raw and awkward.”

    Yes the gravue idol is a newcomer and has no experience.
    BUT!
    Did you even read the fucking manga? Ai takabe is voicing FUMI and “raw and akward” are perfect words to describe her.

    To everyone who expect moeeeeeeeeeeee girls or fan service: These do not exist. It´s a melodrama with a lot of love triangels and crying girls. Conclusion: nothing to fap to.

    never let /a/nons comment an anium/u/.

    greetings from /u/