Posts Tagged ‘asu no yoichi’
For the first 17 years of his life, Yoichi Karasuma has lived in the mountains with his father training to be a samurai warrior. Having learned all that he can, his father sends him into the city for the first time to gain new life experiences. Arriving in the city, Yoichi now lives, trains and goes to school with four sisters who are the daughters of someone his father once trained with. Naturally a situation like this is just made to put Yoichi into a series of sexy misadventures and misunderstandings.
Not everyone is thrilled with his arrival however. The school delinquent, Washizu (who also has a crush on the oldest sister), has vowed to destroy the samurai and make Ibuki his and his alone. Additionally two masked figures with money to burn will hire every warrior and assassin they can find to enter the city and make sure Yoichi’s training and life are ended for good.
Good and the Bad
Despite its title, Samurai Harem is an odd entry into the harem genre. Yes, it has the usual hero character oblivious to the bevy of females around him but at its heart, this is a romantic comedy. One step further than that, it’s actually a not bad romantic comedy for awhile and for the first half, there’s not even a lot to nitpick.For the first six episodes, AIC produces a good looking series that puts together a decent story. A lot of the elements to this series boil down to things we’ve seen before; hero with a desire to protect, female characters who all fit a particular mold (perfect ideal, tsundere, manga geek, oddly capable loli, etc) and lots of jokes centering on Ibuki being violent towards Yoichi. And for awhile, this is enough.
Setting up relationships early, the story moves at a strong pace. Within only a couple of episodes, all the important love triangles have been set up and dark, mysterious villains loom on the horizon. More importantly though is that by this point the series is still being relatively clever with its humor.
Not trying to rely solely on fan service (they make up for it with breast jokes), the relationships between characters do a great job of driving the story forward. Making good use of running gags, Samurai Harem produced quite a few chuckles with their version of fantasy and fight sequences (a few punches are exchanged, Yoichi pulls out a sword technique, the end) and a fun supporting cast oerfectly written to prod others forward. Out of four sisters, Chihaya is the manga artist always looking for a new source of inspiration. While never playing a large role in the overall narrative, she still has the fun role of feeding plans to the tsundere sister, Ayame, to get closer to the samurai.
Then it gets to the halfway point and decides to stab itself in the foot.
Up until this point, Samurai Harem does a great job of managing the relationships and keeping things fun. At this point however Samurai Harem makes two very wrong turns and never finds a way to recover fully. In episode 7, Samurai Harem starts to shift the attention from the romance to the villains after their big reveal moment. From here, you might expect the series to dial down one aspect so that room can be made for the other. There are only 12 episodes here and realistically there isn’t going to be space for everything if there is to be any resolution. Luckily, it seems that AIC wasn’t really concerned with that.
Besides bringing the villains forward, Samurai Harem goes the opposite route and increases the romantic conflict. By the time the series has finished, almost every character in the series is/wants to be romantically involved with another creating a mess of conflict for the sake of conflict. This could have worked if there was ever any intention of making these story threads go anywhere. Instead the ending becomes a mess of half started story arcs that are left to dangle in the final episodes. I’m not here to tell people how things should have been written but with so much left unresolved, what was the point?
No matter which series it is, there will always be something to surprise those who are willing to look and in this case it’s the music. Sandwiched between the catchy themes, performed by Meg Rock and Aki Misato respectively, is a score composed by Tomoki Kikuya (Hidamari Sketch). While there are many background pieces which fit the standard electronic comedy theme mold, there is another side to the score which reveals itself during the quieter, more emotional scenes.
Using soft strings and flutes, the melodies of these tracks are diverse but consistently simple in their presentation. Always allowing one soft instrument to lay on another the results were beautifully soft piano, string and flute pieces which matched well with the characters personal reflections. While it’s a shame that it can’t always be like this, the overall feeling the music left me with is entirely positive.
Samurai Harem has about 10 jokes and uses them up almost completely within only a few episodes. After eventually losing its direction, a weak second half makes this a tough sell and there aren’t a lot of reasons to make this a must buy. Starting with potential, there are laughs to be found with these characters but the effort is not enough to make up the difference. A cute romantic comedy that you might be able to enjoy some afternoon but ultimately forgettable.
Highlighting some of the cooler announcements (well, in my opinion at least), Asu no Yoichi originally premiered in winter of 2009 and is a fairly average harem series. What I mean by this is that it doesn’t break a lot of new ground but still has its clever moments and could pull in a new audience. In the dub vs. sub debate I’ve largely remained neutral. If I’m ever watching a series purely for my own enjoyment, I usually stick with the dub track but if a series is lacking in a dub track I’ll still enjoy it regardless. In this case, I do wish that Asu no Yoichi could get a dub track simply because I think there would be a ready and willing audience for it more so than with other harem titles. Yes, it’s not really deep comedy but it’s also not quite as brash with its sex jokes as a lot of series have been in the last couple of years (To Love Ru, Sora no Otoshimono, etc).. The series will be released in one complete set on 5/11.
Season 1 of Hell Girl (Jikogu Shoujo) was originally released here by Funimation in 2007. Obviously though it never got the response that they were hoping for leaving seasons 2 and beyond out of the reach of those of us who really wanted to see more released here. I admit, I will miss Brina Palencia doing Ai Enma but Mamiko Noto is a pretty awesome consolation prize. The first set will be released 5/25 and if you want to see season 3 released here as well someday go support this one right away!
With the license of Eyeshield 21 Sentai seems to be further pushing themselves towards the strategy of getting attached to long term series. Airing from 2005 to 2008, there are 145 freaking episodes to this football series. Yes, that means that not only is Sentai attaching themselves to a long term series, they are attaching themselves to a long term sports series in a country that has already made it pretty clear that they don’t care about sports anime much. In this series, a high school student named Sena is always being picked on and forced to run errands, so many in fact that he’s become incredibly fast. When the American football club needs a new running back, Sena gets the call. The first set will hit shelves 5/18.
Finally, Appleseed will be hitting shelves on Blu ray 5/18. I admit that I wasn’t floored by the overall product when I first saw this feature directed by Shinji Arameki. I was really impressed with the overall look and design of Appleseed. I don’t own a Blu ray player but I can’t help but be curious to see what this one is going to look like after it’s been through the Blu ray process.
So what are we excited about in the month of May? I’ve already got my eye on Hell Girl: Two Mirrors but I don’t know if I’m going to be able to talk myself into getting into Eyeshield 21. Anyone else planning to jump into a 140+ episode football series?
Full press release below the cut
That’s right, it’s everyone’s first favorite time of the year (followed I assume by the the other anime premiere season’s of the year) and this winter we have twenty three new series premiering over January and February. It’s going to be a busy season but I’m up to the task so let’s get started with a full listing of all upcoming series which I have collected:
|Title||Studio||Premiere Date||Summary||Genre||Preview||Reasons to Care About This Series||Episode Impressions|
|Maria-sama ga Miteru 4th Season
||Studio DEEN||10:30am; Saturday 1/3/09||
In the fourth season to this slice of life drama, the audience will once again be taken into the world of the all girls school for their everyday lives along with the teacher.
~ Licensed and released to the US earlier this year by Nozomi, this series gained quite a few new fans over the last few months.
~ Established fans of this series should have no problems getting back into the swing of things. No major cast or crew changes have taken place since season three so there’s nothing to hold you back from enjoying this season as well.
|Akikan!||Brains Base||Midnight; Saturday 1/3/09||Based on the manga of the same name, a high school boy tries to throw away an empty soda can only to have it turn into a cute girl. Eventually more of these cute girls appear and all of them need to be infused with carbon dioxide from kissing in order to survive.||Harem Comedy||Preview||
~ There are a couple of notable members of the cast which may sway a few fans in the direction of this series.
Jun Fukuyama (LeLouche in Code Geass) in the lead role of Daichi. In a supporting role, accomplished Mamiko Noto will be joining the cast as Yell.
||Seven Arcs||2am; Sunday 1/4/09||Based on the ero game of the same name, this romance series actually has a hero who already has a girlfriend, an idol singer at that, when the series begins.
~ Aya Hirano fans will be pleased to see her again this season in the role of Yuki.
~ The series was also originally created by AQUAPLUS who have a fairly decent track record when it comes to their eroge adaptations. You may remember them from such releases as To Heart, Comic Party and Utawarerumono.
|Shikabane Hime Kuro||Gainax/feel||10:30am; Sunday 1/4/09||The second season of Shikabane Hime will pick up pretty much where the first season left off. It’s still Makina and she’s still on her quest so that she can get into heaven.||Action||
~ Funimation wasted no time in getting this one licensed and available for fans to see on their website. No word yet on if they plan to license the second season as well.
~ With most of the staff returning for the second season, there aren’t a lot of reasons to pass on this one unless you either missed the first season or just decided that the series wasn’t for you.
||Shaft||12:30am; Monday 1/5/09||A girl who is deathly afraid of boys enters an all girl school with the intention of finding her yuri life partner. On the very first day she meets someone that she thinks could be that very person until it turns out that this person is actually a boy in drag.||Yuri Comedy||Preview||
~ If nothing else, this one is going to sound good and the comedy is going to be delivered by leads who know how to do comedy.
~ The story in this one may not be for everyone but if you’re looking for a guilty pleasure series this season this may qualify nicely.
|Minami-ke: Okaeri||Aslead||1:30am; Monday 1/5/09||A third season following three sisters’ and their daily lives growing up. I would suspect that the cast of character is going to remain remarkably similar to the previous two seasons.
||Slice of Life Comedy||Preview||
~ For Marina Inoue fans, this is the second series this season that she will be co-starring in. The rest of the cast is going to remain the same.
~ Asread is also returning from the second season to do the animation.
|Zoku Natsume Yūjin-Chō
||Brains Base||1am; Tuesday 1/6/09||Another sequel series, this one will continue the story of Takashi and his quest to right the wrongs of his grandmother.
||Paranormal||Preview||~ Everyone is returning from season one including Brains Base doing animation and director Takahiro Oomori.|
Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo (Sora Kake Girl)
|Sunrise||1:30am; Tuesday 1/6/09||Sunrise is doing a story about cute girls in space using mechs of various types to fight off an evil AI that has infected the space colony they live in.
~ Well, its Sunrise doing a mech series set in space. Everyone is well aware by now that Sunrise can consistently make this concept look good.
~ If nothing else, remember that the OP is being done by Ali Project and that’s always worth tuning in for.
|Viper’s Creed||AIC / Digital Frontier||10pm; Tuesday 1/6/09||Another futuristic mech series but this time the conflict is between the Japanese military and a private military that runs parallel to them. The characters that the audience follows are the private military but little known about the story beyond that.
~ Shinji Arameki is directing this series and let’s not forget that he also directed both Appleseed films. That gives the series some pretty strong mech credentials.
~ AIC is animating this one as well and they were responsible for last season’s amazing ‘Ga- Rei -Zero-’
|Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger
||Madhouse||1:30am; Thursday 1/7/09||The first new installment of this boxing series in five years, this one is going to pick up with Ippo facing a new challenge in his career.||Sports||
~ Its been five years since the last time this series saw a release. There is a new director at the helm but the lead role will continue to be played by Kohei Kiyasu.
|Asu no Yoichi!||AIC||1:30am; Friday 1/9/09||Another manga adaptation, this one stars a boy who grew up in the mountains learning martial arts from his father. When his father tells him that there is nothing more for him to learn there, the boy wanders off into the city and winds up at a dojo with four other girls.||Harem Comedy||Preview||
~ Another series done by AIC who have previous comedy experience with ‘El Hazard‘, ‘Ah! My Goddess’ and many others.
~ With lots of projected physical harem comedy, some better than average fight scenes and a director with a background in hentai there are all sorts of things that can go right… or wrong with this series.
|Tower of Druaga ~Sword of Uruk~
||Gonzo||1:30am; Friday 1/9/09||A sequel to the series inspired by the video game, the adventures will continue for Kaaya and his party members.||Fantasy||
~ This is one of the projects that survived the chopping block after GONZO decided to drop production from eight projects this year to four.
~ As far as I am aware, Yui Horie as Fatina is the only notable role that she is playing this season.
|Kurokami the Animation
||Sunrise||2:40am; Friday 1/9/09||In the anime adaptation of the manga, the hero will be a high school boy named Keita who accidentally meets a girl one night name Kuro. After she accidently causes him to lose his arm and then helps him get it back, Keita becomes involved in Kuro’s battle against her brother and quest to save humanity.||Action||
~ Bandai recently announced the license to this series and will also be premiering the series in three countries at almost the same time. In the US, this series will air on ImaginasianTV (not available in all areas) mere hours after it’s Japanese premiere.
||TMS Entertainment||8:30am; Saturday 1/10/09||A cute ‘bean seal’ living with a family and having adventures. Whee.||Kids||~ A children’s series that will attempt to make the seal into the next ’cute’ thing.
|Major! Fifth Season
||NHK||6pm; Saturday 1/10/09||Goro has gone from childhood to the minor leagues of America and his quest continues.||Sports||~ The baseball anime that just keeps going. Nothing has changed from the previous season as Kenichi Kasai is returning to the directors seat.
|Kemono no Souja Erin
||Production I.G / TransArts||6:25pm; Saturday 1/10/09||Based on the novel, this fantasy story will revolve around a girl who has the power to control wild animals using her music and being caught in between two kingdoms that are fighting for ultimate power over the land.||Fantasy Adventure||Preview||~ The episode count that I have for this series is fifty. If you’re looking for a fast paced fantasy series that will always drive towards its conclusion you might be hard pressed here. Kemono shows every sign of taking its time along the way to develop the story and characters.
|Ride Back||Madhouse||Midnight; Sunday 1/11/09||Set in the year 2020, a college aged girl will rise up with her mech motorcycle to join in a time of students protesting the government.||Mech||
~ Nana Mizuki is keeping herself very busy this season as this is the third series this season where she will be playing a lead or supporting character. The other two would be Minami-ke and White Album.
|Chrome Shelled Regios||ZEXCS||1am; Sunday 1/11/09||In this sci-fi series, humanity is now forced to live in traveling, enclosed communities that constantly roam the planet. In one of these communities, or regios, is a school that has a new student coming in.||Sci-Fi||Preview||
~ ZEXCS will create a series that looks good to say the least.
~ The writing staff also contains some names with notable additions to their resumes such as: Jukki Hanada (Strawberry Panic, Petite Princess Yucie, Red Garden) and Michiko Yokote (Bleach, Genshiken, Cowboy Bebop).
|Birdy the Mighty Decode 02||A-1 Pictures||2:10am; Sunday 1/11/09||Tsutomu is still trying to get the body that Birdy kind of killed a bit while helping her with her investigations.||Sci-Fi Comedy||~ All of the cast and crew are returning for this second season.
||J.C. Staff||9:30am; Monday 1/12/09||From what I understand, the story to the second half of the Evolution season will continue the story of Lina and Pokata while also introducing a story that was never covered in the novels.||Fantasy||~ The crew that fans love are all returning including Megumi Hayshiabara as Lina (as well as performing the OP and ED themes)|
|Genji Monogatari Senenki
||TMS||12:45am; Friday 1/16/09||Based on one of the oldest novels known to man, Genji is about the son of an emporer who falls in love with one of his father’s concubines because she looks like his mother. After that he tries to find other lovers eventually deciding to raise his own ideal wife.||Historical Drama||
~ I have not read this book and have a feeling that if I were to try I wouldn’t succeed. However, well done period dramas are always fascinating and so I will be watching this one just to catch a glimpse into the past.
~ Aya Endo is doing two very different roles this season with Murasaki here along with Itsuki in ‘SoreKake Girl’.
~ Osamu Dezaki (Air movie, Clannad, Hakugei) will be directing this series while also writing the screenplay with Tomoko Konparu.
|Hetalia Axis Powers
||Studio DEEN||2am; Sunday 1/26/09||So, have you ever wondered what the world would be like if every country on the planet were represented as a semi stereo typical teenage representation of the country put into a high school setting? Welcome to this series.||Comedy||
~ Hetalia is listed as having 26 different episodes each running five minutes long. I don’t expect that the writing staff is going to be using this time to set up long and complicated word jokes.
~ The cast of characters are all referred to by the names of their countries naturally but would someone care to tell me where the hell ‘Chibitalia is?
||Toei!||February 09||Information about this series is hard to come by. But it is the latest season in the insanely popular magical girl series so there’s something at least.