Fall Anime 2008 - Part 2

Well, I got to cheat earlier. Most of the shows I reviewed in my previous post were continuing series that I had already been watching, or a show where I'm reading the manga. So they were a lot easier to review and explain. Now I'm going into shows I know nothing (or next to nothing) about. I'll try to make them sound interesting. :)

Yozakura Quartet:

I'm going to have a hard time explaining this one as I'm having a hard time grasping what it's supposed to be. I don't know why it's called "Quartet" either, since there's actually five of them, not four. Many years ago, the people of Sakurashin planted sakura trees to sent the youkai back into their own dimension. They're basically dimensional gates. So any youkai that falls to earth gathers in this particular town, because it's the only place where they can return to their dimension, and it's the only place on Earth where humans and youkai live together (as some of them wish not to return). Some still wish to harm humans, of course, and they're banished by a process called "tuning," which can only be performed by one person - the successor of the Hiizumi clan, Akina Hiizumi. Akina, along with several others, works in and runs the town of Sakurashin, keeping things in order and protecting the humans from harmful youkai, and also welcoming new youkai into the city. Several of these protectors have super-natural powers or are youkai themselves. Including Hime, a high school girl who has taken on the role of mayor, and is also a youkai. They are ultimately fighting against a youkai named Enjin Hiizumi (not sure if he's related to Akina) who is determined to destroy the barrier that protects the city.

I really like the animation style. It's well done, though the character designs are rather simple. There are fight sequences and things, so I guess it's a super-natural action drama, if that's the sort of thing you like.

One Outs:
It's a baseball anime. And that's about where I lost interest.
Decorated baseball player Kojima has never won a championship; it's the only honor he has yet to attain. He forms a camp to search for a certain something that will help him reach this goal, and he finds Toua (or rather, his friends do), a cocky, but talented, pitcher.
The title of the show is based on a gambling game called One Outs which pits pitchers against batters, and the pitchers win if they strike out the batter or the batter doesn't hit the ball out of the infield, and the batters have to hit the ball into the outfield (but not a foul).
The show is kind of silly (like haha funny), but it's way over dramatic. Now, I don't watch many of these kinds of shows (none at all), but the intro song and animation look very shoujo-y, with the pitcher guy walking around, and then falling through space with his shirt off and his pants unbuttoned, followed by several more scenes where his shirt is either unbuttoned or off (and his pants are still unbuttoned, which is some bizarre fashion thing in Japan). He's also rather a pretty boy. It doesn't really scream "male sports anime."

Earl and Fairy:
An Earl named Edgar is looking for something called the Noble Sword of the Merrow, during the 19th century (in England). And I mean FAIRY fairies, like nymphs and stuff. Anyway, he's directed to Lydia Carlton. Lydia Carlton is a fairy doctor; she takes care of fairies and helps out humans who are being troubled by them, because she's the only one around who can actually see and talk to them. If you recognize Lydia's voice (like I did), it's because she's been all over the place lately, staring in Itazura na Kiss, Allison and Lilia, Tales of Symphonia, and Rosario + Vampire (she's done some of the theme songs too; her name is Nana Mizuki). Edgar is a bit of a rogue, especially compared to the more innocent (and rather ostracized) Lydia, but the characters play well off each other. He also happens to (supposedly) be the descendant of the Blue Knight Earl, the ruler of the fairy kingdom. For some reason everyone seems to recognize Edgar as the descendant, but at the same time they disregard the existence of a fairy kingdom. He basically kidnaps the poor girl on the way to greet her father, and ropes her into helping him find the sword that has gone missing, which he is unable to find on his own because he does not possess the powers of his ancestors (ie: he can't even see fairies). In order to claim his birthright, he has to present proof of his lineage, and that proof is the missing sword. But he's not the only one trying to find it. Nor is he quite who he claims to be.
It's cute, though not as cute as you might think given that it's about fairies and has a talking fairy cat. I actually kind of like it; the animation style is really appealing to me. It reminds me a little of La Corda d'Oro (which is about a girl whom a fairy teaches to play a magical violin so she can compete in her school's music competition), which I also enjoyed.

Clannad: After Story:
Like other shows of this ilk, Clannad is based on a Japanese visual novel (and the game was made by the same company (Key) that made the adult games AIR and Kanon, which also have anime versions; all three shows are also animated by Kyoto Animation). Clannad: After Story is a chapter of the game that opens up after you complete the main story.
In the previous season we met Tomoya, a former basketball player with an injured shoulder that keeps him from playing. At the beginning of a new school year he comes across the shy Nagisa. She desires to reinstate the drama club so that she can perform a play that has been in her memories. Having nothing better to do, and realizing that the quiet Nagisa wouldn't be able to this on her own, he decides to help her with her goal. He enlists the help of his friends and the people he meets at school - the twins Kyou and Ryou, soft spoken genius Kotomi , the aggressive Tomoyo, his delinquient friend Youhei, and the wandering consciousness of Fuko - to build the drama club and help Nagisa realize her dream. Tomoya lives with his drunken father (who injured Tomoya's shoulder in a fight), but spends a lot of time at Youhei's and Nagisa's homes. Nagisa lives with both of her parents who run a bread shop.
The second season picks up where the first left off, and follows the relationship of Nagisa and Tomoya. If it follows the story of the game, it's going to be a very sad story indeed, but right now it looks like it's just Nagisa and Tomoya's relationship in high school (with some new characters in the mix...or maybe old ones I just can't remember). The game follows them well after that, and based on some hints in the show, it seems it will go the same direction. It's going to be a full season (20-some episodes), so there's plenty of time to get there.

Not sure how many more shows I'll be reviewing, as I'm starting to settle into the shows that I'm going to stick with. There are a couple others I want to check out, but I can't say which ones I'll be looking at next.

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