Search This Blog

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Here We Go Again!

It's that time again: the beginning of the next anime season; the winter 2009 season, in this case, and things look pretty bleak. THAT Anime Blog put their preview up quite a while ago. I'd been waiting to post until Random Curiosity posted theirs, although then I was too lazy to actually post when they did, a week ago or so :P

So, what's Q looking forward to? Well, not much. I'll probably watch Slayers EVOLUTION-R because I have a couple of friends that absolutely love that franchise. I downloaded the first episode of White Album (though I haven't watched it) mainly because of the pretty pictures on Random Curiosity's first episode review; we'll see how that turns out. Other than that, there are three series that, while I can't say they sound great, I'm at least willing to try watching a couple episodes and see - Chrome Shelled Regios, Black God (listed as "Kurokami the Animation" on Random Curiosity), Kemono no Souja Erin [The Beast Player Erin] (in no particular order).

Really, the closest thing to something I'm "looking forward to" on that list is Minami-ke Okaeri [Minami family, welcome home]. While I wouldn't name it among my favorites, the Minami-ke franchise was sufficiently amusing to make me watch more of it (although it has a bit more cross-dressing than I'd care for).

I'd say the best stuff ("best" is a relative measure, here) is the two+-season series that are continuing into this season. Toradora!, Clannad After Story, Skip-Beat!, Toaru Majutsu no Index [A Certain Magical Index], and Tales of the Abyss, listed vaguely in the order I like them.

However, I do have good news. I recently saw a mini-review on the sidebar of Anime News Network for a series by the name of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni ["when the cicadas cry", though the official translation is "Higurashi - When They Cry"] that kind of intrigued me; a quick look on AniDB revealed that it was fairly well-rated (although the art style is hideous). So, I grabbed it. While the first roughly 2/3 of the series were sufficiently amusing to hold my interest, the last third of the season really elevated my opinion of it, and made me recommend it to all my friends. However, this series is not for the faint of heart, faint of stomach, or those who don't like brutal, tragic stories that don't have happy endings.

It's a big of a peculiar series. It's structured into a number of arcs (six in the first season), falling into the categories of question arcs and answer arcs. Question arcs are kind of horror/thriller type, where a lot of weird stuff happens, but a lot of it is left unexplained, as to why it happened to begin with. Answer arcs explain parts of the series - why things happened the way they did, and what is behind some of the strange occurrances in question arcs. Oddly, while some of the arcs are compatible, others appear to take place in different universes, as they're mutually exclusive subject matter occurring at the same time, to the same characters. The last arc of the first season, however, suggests that there are actually parallel worlds that aren't entirely separate, and there's some crossover between them; the details are left, presumably, to the second season (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai) or the OVA, which I haven't seen yet.

In any case, I've quickly become attached to it (I watched all 26 episodes in 2 days, which is more than I usually watch of anime), and I'm a bit depressed by running out of the first season to watch.

You can get it from a variety of places, at least one of which is downloadable online (*cough* Boxtorrents *cough*); note that the first season has 26 episodes, while they second has 24. I'd definitely recommend watching it. If you want to start with the best part, I'd say watch episodes 5-8 and 16-21 (both contain the same story, but from different perspectives; the latter explains what was going on in the background of the former, and shows why things turned out the way they did). Though even if you don't skip ahead, I'd recommend watching those two arcs back-to-back at some point, as they're part of the same story.