Posts Tagged ‘school rumble’
As promised, earlier today at their Anime Boston panel Funimation announced the dub cast for their upcoming release of ‘Evangelion 1.0: You Are [Not] Alone’. So let’s just get right down to it since there are a few surprises:
ADR Director – Mike McFarland (Also playing Hyuuga and Eva)
Misato – Allison Keith-Shipp (A reprisal from the original series)
Shinji – Spike Spencer (Also returning)
Ritsuko – Colleen Clinkenbeard (Yuko in xxxHolic, Éclair in Kiddy Grade)
Ibuki - Caitlin Glass (Winry in Fullmetal Alchemist, Haruhi in Ouran Host Club High School)
Rei - Brina Palencia (Ai Enma in Hell Girl)
Fuyutsuki – Kent Williams (Mao in Darker Than Black)
Kensuke – Greg Ayres (Kaoru in Ouran Host Club High School, Negi in Negima)
Toji – Justin Cook (Chiba in Beck, Akio in Desert Punk)
Aoba - Phil Parsons (Kajima in Baki the Grappler)
Kiel - Bill Jenkins
Hikari – Leah Clark (Nodaka in Negima, Eri in School Rumble)
Kaworu – Jerry Jewell (Rin in Shuffle, Jimmy Kudo in Case Closed)
Yui – Stephanie Young (Sophia in Aquarion, Clare in Claymore)
So, all in all I don’t think this cast looks that bad and there are some castings that has me actually looking forward to giving this series another chance. It is nice to know that Shinji and Misato will retain their original castings. As for Rei, I specifically mentioned that role from Brina Palencia because of how direly sullen it was all the way through ‘Hell Girl’.
Evangelion 1.0 will be released to DVD later this year by Funimation but will get its premiere at this year’s Anime Expo.
Picking up a series that I never wanted to lose track of but still want to catch up with.
It’s time for summer break on this volume and that means misunderstandings, summer vacations and large jungle animals. When everyone goes on a summer camping trip, Tenma gets the wrong idea about Harima after she sees him talking to Yakumo. Naturally Harima gets the wrong idea about Tenma when she challenges him to be her partner during the scavenger hunt. After they get caught in a rain storm though, Harima finally sees his opportunity.
When everyone gets back into town, it becomes a pressing issue to deal with the animals that Harima has been keeping at school. Meanwhile, Tenma and Yakumo welcome a young runaway into their home for the night named Shuuji… who happens to be Harima’s younger brother and has a crush on Yakumo.
Finally, it’s time for the second term and for Imadori to pay up on the date he accidently got from Karen while they were working together over the summer. After she reveals that she’s never been on a date before though, Tenma volunteers to help make it a success.
Good and the Bad
In these next four episodes, School Rumble manages to do a lot while keeping things exactly where they are. Starting the volume off is a fun episode that takes the attention off of Tenma and puts it on the secondary characters, Eri and Mikoto. The two of them are still misunderstanding Harima and he is still misunderstanding them. The action and comedy in this episode is strong. Seeing Harima have some time with the secondary characters without Tenma is a nice change of pace. The chase scene has a nice sequence to it that keeps it funny for far longer than the joke normally would have been. Looking back on the episode though, beyond selling the character conflicts, the episode does little to move the story forward.
Once the series moves past this though, the next three episodes pay off big starting with episode sixteen. The camping episode works really well for all of the things that are done right with it. The comedy in this episode layers so well on each other. Every joke in this episode serves as a great setup for the next scene until we finally get to the abandoned school house at which point the episode had me in a constant state of giggling fits.
Moving into the second half of the series, School Rumble uses a lot of running gags to keep things fresh for the audience. Now that Harima and Tenma are in a weird sort of misunderstanding bubble, the opportunities for Harima to confess his love to Tenma are endless. The staff is well aware of this too which is why the audience gets treated to a number of insane reasons why Harima is never able to tell Tenma how he feels.
There are more than a few cultural references that are going to fly over the head of a lot of people in the audience. While there may be some watching this series that are perfectly aware of what the Awa Odori dance is and why it has any sort of significance to that scene, most of us are going to left with a blank stare.
For the most part the animation in this volume retains the same high quality that audiences have been expecting but there are a few scenes that really stick out on this volume. Episode eighteen for instance has an early scene with Imadore and Karen walking in the hallway. The layering in this scene looks absolutely terrible. The background has a very odd blur to it but the sharpness and brightness of the characters in the foreground just make the two elements feel completely wrong for each other.
On the other hand, episode seventeen ends with a completely random and yet oddly exciting CG short. The animation in this feature looks like it comes straight out of a PC action game while featuring Akira on her summer vacation. Everything about this short had me confused until the very end. If the staff plans to do something with this in the future I would certainly like to know what it is.
The music remains a very low key feature to this series. The background music remains very simple and few of the songs featured are particularly deep instrumentals. Ending episode eighteen with the theme song from the date movie is a really fun way to close things out though. The ending animation that goes with it is classic and I’m certain more than a few audience members out there are going to have vivid flashbacks to their childhoods.
Dub vs. Sub
In the dub cast, Luci Christian continues to be a great leading actress as Tenma. As with other series that like to make cultural jokes though, the Japanese cast will sound more natural. The subtlety of the jokes in their original Japanese is really lost within the English dialogue. And while the dub cast manage to put on a really enjoyable show, the jokes aren’t nearly as funny when they’re made so obvious.
Continuing the series of interviews with cast members are two more on this volume. In the first interview, Yuuka Nanri (Karen) gets her time in front of the camera. In the almost eight minute interview Nanri will speak about her character and the series plus more. The interview turns out to be much more interesting than usual when she attempts to do her best ‘Tenma’ voice.
In the second interview, Yuu Asakawa (Itoko) will talk for five minutes about her character and the series. Asakawa has quite a few interesting observations about the series and its comedy. The interview isn’t particularly deep but it is fun and worth watching once.
Call me cynical or pessimistic but I have waited with fear for a long time that somewhere along the way this series was going to find a way to derail and completely lose me. Now that we’re in the last third of the series, I am abandoning that fear and going forward. The characters and story in School Rumble continue to be charming and hilarious to watch. The characters are a perfect fit for their roles and with more hints being dropped in this volume, the final two volumes just got that much more appealing. If you enjoy light hearted romantic comedy, this is the one for you.
Final Grade: B+
After missing out on my chance to interview Brina at SakuraCon face to face, it became a priority of this website to get an interview with this up and coming voice actor out of Texas. During the interview I had the chance to ask her about some of her previous work, acting in and directing School Rumble, playing Ai Enma in Hell Girl and much more.
~ Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer some of my questions. I was disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to talk with you at SakuraCon this year. I’d like to start with going back a bit though. You studied classical music in college and have found yourself in the voice acting booth. When did you first decide that acting was the right path for you?
It was never really a conscious decision. I’ve always enjoyed both acting and music. I chose to get my degree in music versus theatre because I enjoyed music theory so much. I got very lucky with the anime industry, and had a lot of opportunities presented to me that I couldn’t pass up. I still do music. I still sing. I still write. I just don’t get paid for it.
~ You’ve been having kind of a whirlwind ride over the last couple of years starting with Fullmetal Alchemist in 2004 and now you’re directing and landing choice roles such as Ai Emma (from Hell Girl). Has it managed to become overwhelming yet?
I have been very lucky and blessed to get so many opportunities in this business. It can get very overwhelming at times, trying to balance my schedule with directing and voice acting. I know all of us at Funimation have been extremely busy since we moved into the new studios, but we all love our job. The stress is worth it.
~ You were in some Illumitoon releases last year, what was the atmosphere there in those early recording sessions? Was there any sort of excitement at seeing a new anime company starting?
It was exciting for me as a voice actor to have new opportunities with a new company so close to home. The studios were very nice as well.
~ At SakuraCon this year, you took part in a ‘Guests Uncensored’ panel which had you and two other guests taking questions from fans that were normally off limits. Without revealing anything that is actually said at these panels, do you enjoy doing these types of panels where you can be slightly more relaxed about filtering your comments?
I love uncensored panels. In my day to day life I curse like a sailor. It’s a comfort to me to be able to drop the F-bomb. I feel much more relaxed.
~ During Beck, you recorded the song ‘Follow Me’ with Greg Ayres. You mentioned that both of you recorded your parts separately. Did you record first and not have the second voice to work with or did you have his part to work with while you recorded? Was it difficult to not have the second part there working live on it together?
I recorded first, so I didn’t have anything to go off of. I already knew the song really well. Chris Bevins had given us all the Japanese soundtrack to practice with in advance. So it wasn’t very difficult to do. It would have been more fun to record it with Greg, though.
~ With a credit on your resume as a composer for the 2005 film ‘Bachelor 37’ to go along with your Funimation singing credits such as the closing themes from Beck and Shin-chan. Are there any music projects coming up that fans should listen for?
I am currently writing some songs with a friend of mine. I have the intention of making an album eventually, but I don’t know when that will be.
~ Ok so let’s talk about that… any chance you can give fans an idea of what kind of sound and song writing your fans are going to get to hear on your eventual album?
It’s sort of pop-folk, and each song will be a story told in the third person.
~ Along with your music and voice acting credits, like many other voice actors, you’re also an experienced theater performer with roles in ‘Suessical’ and others. What challenges and rewards do you get from voice acting that you don’t find with theater?
Wow! I’m shocked you even know about that. I miss doing theatre. The biggest difference between theatre and voice acting, to me, is being able to play off of another person. We never read with the other characters in anime. It’s a fun challenge in theatre to work with the energy of another person. It’s also a fun challenge in anime trying to guess what the other person in the scene will do. As a director, that’s one thing you always have to think about.
~ In 2007 you took a seat in the ADR Director chair with School Rumble, what made you decide that it was time to take that new step in your career?
I didn’t really decide it – my producer, Colleen Clinkenbeard, decided for me. I hadn’t expressed any interest in directing at all, and Colleen asked me out of the blue if I would like to be her assistant director on Tsubasa. After getting over the initial shock of how random it was that she would ask me of all people, I said yes. I then went on to direct episodes 21-26 of Moon Phase, and then started School Rumble.
~ Do you think that having a couple of years experience in the booth as an actor has helped you when you’re directing and doing casting for a new series?
It’s definitely helpful to already have an idea of what the overall process is like. Having done it for that long, I also had a good idea of who other voice actor’s were and their experience – which was helpful in the casting process.
~ Did you find it difficult to juggle directing and performing your role as Mikoto?
Directing yourself is a very difficult thing to do. It was extremely hard at first. I almost recast myself, but Colleen assured me that wasn’t necessary. It’s gotten easier, but it’s still a challenge for me.
~ Are you able to judge your performances critically or do you find it easier to have a second person listen in for feedback?
I tend to judge myself too critically. My engineers are helpful in letting me know that I’m being too hard on myself. Also, Colleen reviews and approves all of my episodes, so she sometimes gives me feedback on whether or not Mikoto is going in the right direction.
~ Along another vein, you also did the lead role of Ai Emma in the amazingly dark series, Hell Girl. What were your initial reactions to it when you first started to learn about the series and its characters?
When I heard what the series was about and saw the artwork, I fell in love. I’m a huge horror movie fan, so anything creepy and dark like Hell Girl is guaranteed to make me happy. I was ecstatic when I heard I got the part.
~ After the first few sessions when you got to know the character a bit more, how did you get into the proper mindset to play the role?
For some reason it was a lot easier for me to record that character with my eyes closed. I don’t know if it was the need for darkness or what, but the first few episodes were done almost completely with my eyes closed. I would have to open them to see the mouth movements and what kind of timing each line had, but when we would actually record the line, my eyes were closed.
~ At this point, I’d like to ask you about a few characters that you’ve played and I’d like for you to tell me what you liked most and least not only about the character but performing them in the booth:
~ Eve in Black Cat:
The coolest thing about Eve was getting to do scenes with Brandon Potter. We have been friends for 9 years (since high school), and that was his first role at Funimation. I was super proud of him and I loved Sven and Eve’s relationship. Having Brandon voice Sven made it extra special for me. The only thing lame about Eve was that she never talked, so I wasn’t in the booth very much at all.
~ Mikoto Suo in School Rumble:
Having to direct myself was waaaay lame, but I learned a lot from it. I really love Mikoto because she’s a very real and down to earth character, but can still be extremely goofy when she’s with her friends.
~ Ralph in Glass Fleet:
Ralph was the most complicated character I have ever played – emotionally speaking, and that is what made him so much fun. His relationship with Vetti was so messed up and so sad. It was really fun to do a British accent, too.
~ Ai Emma in Hell Girl:
She’s creepy which is always cool, but she had the same problem as Eve. She never talks, so I wasn’t in the booth very much.
~ Honoka Sakurai from Suzuka:
It was really fun to play Leah Clark’s (who played Suzuka) rival. She’s my best friend in real life and we played best friends in Negima, so it was cool to play enemies.
~ Finally I’d like to close with some simple questions that have nothing to do with anime. If you were any fruit or vegetable, what would you be and why?
I’d be a star fruit ‘cause they’re pretty.
~ If you were stranded on a desert island and you had all basic needs taken care of (food, water, and shelter), what three things would you want to take with you?
A boat, captain of the boat, and search and rescue squad.
~ What would you consider the best performance in an anime ever done that wasn’t done by you?
Cripsin Freeman as Alucard in Hellsing. Huge fan.
~ On that note, what’s your all time favorite anime?
~ What are you most looking forward to that’s anime related this year?
Finishing the second season of School Rumble.
~ Speaking of, what is your favorite anime related memory?
When I found out I got the part of Maho in Beck. Anytime I audition for an anime I typically don’t care what part I get. I just want to be in it. That wasn’t the case with Maho. I have never wanted any part so badly not even since then.
I was on a road trip from Seattle, down the West coast, back down to Texas. We were somewhere in Oregon. It was about 7 or 8 in the morning. We hadn’t slept. We’d been driving forever. I desperately needed to go to the bathroom, but all we could fund was a port-o-potty that was covered in fecal matter. I was hungry, but everywhere we went had crappy vegetarian options. It had been raining nonstop for a few days. I was ridiculously cranky when I got a call from Funimation.
They said they needed to schedule me for some time for Beck. Anytime Bevins auditioned me for a show and didn’t cast me (which was almost all of them to this point), I would be one of the first people he called in for a WALLA session (which is just bit parts and crowd scenes).
Being in the cranky mood I was I said, “Oh, for WALLA, I guess.” “No, it looks like you have a part.” My heart starts to beat faster, “Wait, what? What part?” “Um, I don’t know let me check.” Long pause. Papers shuffling around. My heart pounds faster. “Here it is. It looks like your playing the part ooof…Maho?” “Wait, wait, wait. Are you sure? It says I’m playing Maho?” “That’s what it looks like.” I proceeded to freak out and yell multiple profanities. Needless to say, my day was much better after that.
~ What’s next for you in terms of projects that you can reveal?
There are a couple of things coming up, but I can only talk about one. I’m currently working on directing the 2nd season of School Rumble. Its uber fun and I’m happy to be working with the cast again.
~ Finally the obligatory question that I end every interview with, do you have any words that you’d like to share with your legions of fans?
Thank you guys for being so awesome and supportive. You guys give our job meaning.
Thanks again to Brina for taking the time out of her schedule to answer my questions. If you’d like to keep up to date with Brina, you can check out her MySpace page.
Ok… we get it, romantic mishaps lead to situational comedy. Can we please try something new now?
Summer vacation has started in the first of four episodes on this volume and Tenma wonders why she doesn’t get hit on like her friends but when a guy hits on her, she gets roped into a big contest to determine if her and her friends agree to go out with some guys they meet at the pool. A chance encounter leads to some progress with Kurasuma for Tenma though and Harima tries to spend as much of his summer vacation with Tenma while dealing with the issue of his teacher reading the wrong letter.
In the second episode, it’s time for the group to take a trip to the beach which includes Tenma and Harima which leads to more tense situations with Eri and someone new having a crush on Tenma which doesn’t sit well with Harima and finally Tenma says ‘I love you’ to Harima but it’s not quite what he had in mind.
The group is back home during the third episode and it’s time for Mikoto’s birthday leading to an episode which takes us back into the childhood of Mikoto and Hanai. In the final episode of the volume, Tenma invites her friends over for a summer study session, Imadore meets someone new named Karen, Eri is having trouble getting her mind past something she saw on the beach trip, Harima gets a job fixing air conditioners and overhears yet another misunderstanding while Karen and Imadore decide to go on a date.
Good and the Bad
With this volume taking us right through the end of the first half and into the second half, I was really interested in seeing what they were going to do with the writing on this volume. In the first volume a strong and manageable cast was introduced, the second volume continued with the character relationships but did little to develop the plot and now on this third volume we are seeing a little more plot development but not much.
The writing in this volume isn’t great but it is an improvement over the previous volume. It has some very solid one liners for the audience to laugh at and the characters are starting to explore more relationships with each other. I really like how every member of the cast is being involved in some kind of romantic entanglement of one type or another but I really wish they would simplify things a little, at this point it almost feels like you need a flow chart to keep track of everyone.
Not all of the writing was great on this volume. The situational comedy is starting to get old unfortunately. The comedy is still fun to watch and entertaining but at this point the focus seems to be shifting away from Harima, Tenma and Karasuma and more towards the supporting cast but the issue is that it all feels the same regardless. It really feels like no matter whom I’m watching on the screen I keep seeing the same situational misunderstandings over and over which is amusing but tiresome and adding a new character into that mix, Karen, is likely not going to help anything and might just makes things even more complicated for the audience.
Another big issue with the writing was during episode 14 when Eri and Tenma are having a misunderstanding (naturally) and Eri thinks that Tenma is referring to sex which puts everything that Tenma is saying into a sexual context. Tenma is an adorable character but sexual innuendo coming out of her is just wrong on way too many levels. I did enjoy the short features before episode 12 (second episode on the volume) and the one after episode 13 (each one is only about 30 seconds long). They do nothing for the story but they’re cute none the less.
The pacing on this volume really felt a little off to me as well. I can distinctly recall more than once during my viewing of this volume losing track of which episode I was on and how many more I had left. I’m not really sure if this is good or bad but I’m guessing that having the episodes of a series feel so similar to each other that despite their individual plot points they still manage to blend together is probably bad.
Summer vacation episodes generally mean fan service and this is no exception. While the fan service scenes in this volume weren’t really that bad (just some bikini shots) the nude Harima scene was definitely a bit much.
There were some very small errors in color that bugged me such as during the last episode of the volume and the children in the dojo are shown wearing black belts despite the repeated statements that they are inexperienced. This is really a nit pick though and naturally I don’t think that anyone in the audience who noticed this is going to care that much but it’s still a silly mistake that probably should’ve been avoided.
The background music could’ve been a bit quieter as it tended to overshadow the dialogue sometimes. Other than that though, the background music remained a nice compliment to the scenes on screen. I didn’t hear anything in particular that stood out as amazing but none of it ever struck me as out of place.
On this volume, there are two more interviews for fans to watch (besides the clean animations). In the first interview the subject is Kaori Shimizu (Akira) and the second interviews Yukari Fukui (Sara). The interviews cover standard fare with nothing particularly special about them. Still entertaining and interesting though.
It certainly feels like this series is doing everything in it’s power to make me want to stop watching. With a cast of characters and romantic storylines that are growing increasingly out of control and the knowledge that once I finish this series there are two more seasons to watch (which makes me think that I may be heading for a frustratingly open ending with no real resolution), my interest in this series is starting to wane. While the characters remain adorable and the comedy keeping me mostly entertained, I’m willing to stick with it. There series isn’t offering a lot to its audience but the little bit that it does offer has managed to keep me from giving up completely. As of the halfway point to this series, I’m going to continue to give this series my recommendation but I’m not being very enthusiastic about it.
Final Grade: 80% – B
I know that there was a reason why I was excited to see this series at one point.
In the next five episodes of this cute series: Tenma gets locked in the equipment room, Harima realizes that Tenma loves someone and convinces himself that he’s the one, Haruki Hanai falls in love with Tenma’s sister Yakumo, Tenma’s class gets put in charge of cleaning the pool and a battle of pool hockey erupts to determine what the class will be doing for the culture fest.
The third episode focuses on Ari who seems to have someone special that she wants to make dinner for and Tenma decides to get closer to Karasuma through a boxed lunch.
Closing out the volume is an episode with Harima attempting to get a manga published as his last ditch effort to win Tenma but has an older woman throwing herself at him instead and Tenma is glowing over her progress with Karasuma. In the last episode of the volume; Tenma’s friends conspire against her to get her out with Karasuma, Harima leaves school and takes a new job buts gets a brand new opportunity because of it but manages to screw it up anyway.
Good and the Bad
I know that I’ve talked about this before with this series but could Tenma be designed any cuter? While her immature nature is certain to turn off a section of the viewership, I really think that the rest will find her to be an adorable character. It’s really hard not to like her.
Harima continues to be an interesting character to watch develop since he is being presented as being so multi faceted. It’s really fun to watch him be so tough in one scene and then turn into a complete softy a few moments later when he gets caught in another misunderstanding or is around Tenma.
The two characters together though is providing problems for me. Harima is being given so many other opportunities with other characters and it certainly seems as though any of them would be a better match for him than Tenma and yet he’s determined to have her. It’s hard to really get behind a romantic comedy when you can’t really root for the two main characters together. With next volume taking us to the halfway point, I’m really hoping that some serious relationship development happens soon.
The supporting cast is really taking me a long time to warm up to. Despite the sheer number of supporting characters, I really thought that they’d get more screen time to develop on this volume but was mistaken. While the supporting cast certainly gets their share of screen time on this volume, it’s never much and now that I’m at the end of this volume I still feel like I hardly know any of them.
The writing on this volume was really entertaining but there is very little substance to it. While there are plenty of entertaining scenes to watch (Tenma getting locked in the equipment locker and attempting to cook were wonderful) but by the end of the volume, there just hasn’t been a lot of progress made in plot or character development. While it certainly ends on an unexpected note, the ending of this volume does have a pretty strong cliché scent and the plot just feels like despite the steps forward the series takes during the middle of the volume, by the end of the volume we’re right back where we started albeit with one or two added wrinkles to what we’ve already seen.
Which brings us to what is probably the biggest sticking point to this series which is the story telling. While this is not the first anime to attempt the very short and fast story telling style that ‘School Rumble’ does, to watch this series makes it sometimes feel like they are the first. With story telling such as this, the easiest mistake you can make is to attempt to string stories together that have little to no relevance to each other. While it can seem like a good idea at the time, it’s also easy to completely lose the audience when they realize that there’s not enough central story to follow unless they have already fallen in love with the characters.
For the audience members who are not quite so easily moved by the characters, they are going to be faced with a little bit of a tougher decision on if they have seen enough thus far to warrant continuing into the series. With this second volume coming to a close, I really couldn’t blame any viewers who decided that they had had enough of the series and decided to quit. With very little real plot development and plot twists that aren’t exactly reeking of innovation, it becomes all the more difficult to justify going out to see the last four volumes. While I personally would be willing to stick with this series even if I didn’t have to review it, I’m not sure that I would be able to do it with the same amount of enthusiasm that I had after the end of the first volume.
Along with some fairly standard background music (which I’ve discovered plays terribly out of context), this volume has two insert songs that are worth paying attention to. In the third episode there is an insert song about one of Tenma’s friends, Eri. While it would’ve been nice to have lyrics on screen for the third episode insert song, the song itself is very nice and has enjoyed fairly regular rotation on my iPod.
I thought it was interesting that they translated Harima’s insert song during the last episode of the volume. Annoyingly enough though, due to the tune, the lyrics naturally had to alter to fit and the English lyrics really sound nowhere near as nice as the Japanese lyrics. The English version is decent (though it establishes that Harima is a terrible singer) but the Japanese is better so while I understand the reasoning behind it, I think it would’ve been better left in Japanese.
Along with clean animation, there are two interview clips on this volume. The first one is with Hitomi Nabatame (Mikoto) and the second one is with Yui Horie (Eri).
One thing that was said in one of the interviews that caught my attention was from Hitomi who said that she really enjoyed School Rumble when she read it because ‘Even though it’s intended for a male audience, girls will find it very interesting.’ The only reason why I find that interesting though is because I was very much under the impression that this was a title aimed at a female audience. Is the manga really that different from the series? And then the second interview was just a big treat for me personally since I am a fan of Yui Horie.
Each interview is only a few minutes long but they are fun and informative none the less.
The characters and stories are all very cute and quite entertaining but with little substance to hold everything together, it makes you wonder what they plan on doing for the next four volumes. A title that will ring loud with its target audience and thud with the rest of the audience, I’m certain that there is enough here to win over some of the more stubborn members of the fan base. Recommended.
Final Grade: 81% – B
Decided to go with a comedy for my third new series of the week.
In this high school comedy, we are introduced right away to the incredibly cute and hyper 16 year old girl named Tenma who is starting her sophomore year of high school with a serious plan: confess her love to her class mate. Unbeknownst to her though, there’s yet another side to this triangle as the class juvenile delinquent has decided that he is in love with Tenma and has a plan of his own to confess how he feels to her.
The Good And The Bad
I didn’t know much about this series before starting it but I knew that I needed a comedy to help pick me back up. The first thing I noticed about the first episode was that it was a nice touch to include the original Japanese television intros with each episode.
Much like Azumanga Daioh, I like that each episode is broken up into multiple short stories that tell the overall story. While each episode within the episode isn’t visibly titled, each episode is broken up into three stories that are sometimes interconnected and sometimes aren’t connected at all.
The overall story in this series really works on this first volume though and this is what comedies really are all about. The story admittedly is fairly thin but the jokes in this series so far have been absolutely wonderful. While there are certain some jokes that are very predictable, there are some jokes that you just do not see coming such as the Matrix effect that is used during the third episode. I certainly remember a time when everyone and their mother was parodying that scene about a decade ago but this is certainly the first time that I’ve ever seen it done in an anime and that was surprising to me and really had me laughing.
The character design in this series is also incredibly cute and very well done. Tenma is an absolutely adorable heroine and her actions are so stereotypically over the anime top that you can’t help but think that it was entirely intentional as a small in joke regarding some of the more popular female heroines of the past. Even something insignificant like Tenma’s ponytails flapping around like tails was really cute and hard not to find endearing.
Even though there were tons of great jokes used within this series, I have to admit that not every joke worked out the way that the creator’s intended such as in the fourth episode when Tenma’s sister suddenly gains super powers. I just have to think that this was a little weird and I’m not really sure that it worked the way it was supposed to leading to a little bit of confusion on my part during the last couple of episodes but I did enjoy that the writers were willing to take the focus off of the Tenma Triangle for a little while and get the audience interested in some of the secondary characters.
Perhaps one of the oddest things about this first volume is that while the pacing was really fast, it was perhaps just a little too fast. The two hours that the volume lasts really just blows right by and when it was over I was shocked that so much time had passed by but on the other hand, I felt worn out by the end of the first volume because of all the jokes and the fast pace at which I had to follow.
For the most part the music in this first volume was really well done. The opening and ending themes are incredibly poppy and upbeat while the episodic music was well placed and well composed. I really would’ve liked it if the insert song used in episode four had subtitles but other than that I can’t really say that there is a lot to complain about.
I really liked how they used overly dramatic music to play up a visual gag occasionally. Using music to sell a joke is quite the time tested method of delivery but it’s so rare nowadays that you see a production that uses the music as a part of the punch line of a scene instead of just using it as a means of selling it to the audience.
Dub vs. Sub
Luci Christian had me absolutely rolling with her portrayal of Tenma. While I also really enjoyed Brandon Potter as Kenji and Eric Vale as Oji, this role is easily one of the most enjoyable roles I’ve ever heard from Luci Christian!
There are a few extras on this volume which is always a nice treat for the audience. On this volume the audience is treated to two interviews with the Japanese voice actresses who portray Tenma (Ami Koshimizu) and Yakumo (Mamiko Noto) along with the original TV spots and clean animations.
Two hours after I started this series, I am now in a position where I am feeling good. I’ve had more than a few good laughs and I am really ready to just spend the rest of my night relaxing and feeling good. This is not an anime with a terribly deep story that has many layers of subtext and intrigue; this is a silly comedy about a girl in love who has a boy in love with her while trying to also survive high school. The characters are easily likable and the jokes are over the top yet highly entertaining. Provided that the series can continue this hot streak and steady pace without wearing itself out and running out of ideas, this is going to be a runaway hit with fans. Very recommended.
Final Grade: 92% – A