Anime Recs

Jul. 7th, 2012 10:10 am
bluejeans07: (Chi's Sweet Home is with ME)
[personal profile] bluejeans07
Been watching a lot of anime lately. I could write a post about marveling how easy it is to find and watch anime these days compared to how it was 10 years ago but me. More interested in sharing the different series I've been watching and encourage others to watch them as well. These two series just ended so all the episodes are posted and available on, a legal streaming site for anime and dramas.

1. Kids on the Slope/Sakamichi no Apollon
Wiki description: The beginning of summer, 1966.
Because of his father's job situation, freshman high school student Kaoru Nishimi moves by himself from Yokosuka to Kyushu to live with relatives. Until then, Kaoru was an honor roll student who tended to keep to himself, but meeting notorious bad boy Sentaro Kawabuchi starts to change him. Through his devil-may-care classmate, Kaoru learns how much fun it is to play jazz and finds the first person he can call a “friend.”

Other characters include Sentaro's kind childhood friend, Ritsuko, who is the daughter of a record shop owner; the mysterious upperclassman, Yurika; and Brother Jun, the much-admired leader among their peers.

My thoughts: This is probably one of the most interesting and well done anime series I've ever seen. Kaoru is an awkward, reserved high schooler who has difficulty connecting with other people until he meets Sentaro. Sentaro himself is a notorious thug at his school, often getting into fights, but is actually someone who's been picked on for being a hapa (half Japanese, half other race, in this case Caucasian), and is an ardent lover of jazz. The two of them and a few others (Ritsuko's father and an older childhood friend of Sen's) create a small jazz group where they play music together, and Kaoru and Sen slowly grow up, fall in love, feel heartbreak, fight, make up, and fight again. The plot is more 'true to life', but the series is anything but boring or bland. Kaoru and Sen come from interesting family backgrounds and both have abandonment issues from their parents and both learn that they have the other and jazz music to depend on.

The animation in this series is probably some of the best I've ever seen, but there is a LOT of rotoscoping going on. A lot of it is understandable, the director probably wanted to capture what it really looks like to perform a musical piece with all the passion that jazz requires. Also, the sequence below really shows the quality work in this series, especially watching the way the different background characters interact and run to the scene. It really is an amazing work of animation and Yoko Kanno (composer) and Shinichiro Watanabe (director) do some of their finest work (they also did Macross Plus and Cowboy Bebop together).

2. Tsuritama
Wiki description: Yuki Sanada is a high school student who lives with his grandmother, a woman whose career requires frequent relocation which prevents the boy from establishing any real friendships, much less the social skills necessary to initiate them. When ever he becomes anxious, he freezes in place, unable to breathe, donning a markedly demonic expression—so potent with seemingly latent rage that others become wary of him at its appearance. Shortly after arriving at their home on the grandmother's most recently sanctioned work base, the island of Enoshima, a zealous transfer student named Haru—wielding a water gun and sporting a fish bowl atop his head—appears on their doorstep claiming to be an alien and that he will thenceforth be living in the same house; the grandmother agrees to allow such if Haru simply meets one condition (which is undisclosed to the audience). Haru's presence continually makes Yuki uncomfortable. The two also meet a secluded young fisher, Natsuki Usami, nicknamed "The Fishing Prince". An Indian boy named Akira watches Haru from a distance with his duck Tapioca.

My thoughts: Okay, this series is ridiculously amazing. At a first glance, it looks like a silly gag anime about fishing, but there's so much more to the plot and the characters. Underneath the wildly colorful surface is a deeper plot about alien invasions, threats to the earth, friendship, companionship, family, community and looking past what people project to who they really are. I really, really enjoyed watching this series and would recommend it to anyone.

The animation is well done but what really gets me is the art direction! THE COLORS! THE BACKGROUNDS! This series is so full of wonderful, bright colors that work harmoniously with each other and don't fight for dominance. The character themselves aren't AS colorful but they don't get lost in the backgrounds. Everything in this series is veeery cleverly done and ties in very well with each other. :D

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