We’re told repeatedly that it’s not a tail: it’s Hiyori’s lifeline to her body. Even when she makes cat ears out of shampoo foam, definitely not a tail. It’s how the opening few episodes of Noragami (Stray God) go: what you, the audience, is thinking is not what it actually is. You might think given the episodic, borderline monster-of-the-week format that episodes one through five represent the entire series. They don’t. You might start to postulate how regalia are created once Yukine makes his entrance, going as far as to assume they’re the spirits of people who have committed suicide. They’re not.
from youthful rebellion to a roar of impotent teenage fury
Defying its own premise and the initial evidence presented, Noragami is another example of why you don’t bet against studio Bones. Sure you get the odd dud like Darker than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini or the recent Eureka Seven: AO, but then you get gems like Un-go and yes, Noragami. At only a single season long (thus far), it is the story of Hiyori’s near-death experience and her half-in half-out status in the spirit world that introduces her to the stray god Yato and, eventually, his regalia Yukine. More subtly it’s also a story of family, understanding and sacrifice.
The adage of "always leave the audience wanting more" is becoming increasingly apt for Studio Bones. Like with Bounen no Xam'd before it, Un-Go's creativity and, most of all, possibilities make the run-time almost criminally short. Especially when the concept - a detective revealing the truth of disparate then intertwined mysteries - has enough meat to last twice the petite eleven episodes.
it deals with contemporary issues through a very old-fashioned character and plot
This isn't to say it's rushed. The bite-sized opening mysteries are but a taster for the underlying one which stretches the entire latter half; unfortunately the format doesn't lend itself well to brevity. All too often the audience has to take events on faith and ride the story out rather than attempt to unravel the intrigue for themselves. Evidence is often scattered conspicuously around however the question of what the mystery is, often eludes just as much as the answer.
This is what happens when you cross effeminate young men with Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. A frenzy of colour and Studio Bones' deft creative hand is juxtaposed against incongruously suggestive female outfits and canned animation sequences. This is not the same studio that brought out Eureka 7 and Sword of the Stranger, but one leaving the afterglow of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and on the downspin after the disappointing Darker than Black sequel and the no doubt expensive risk of Heroman. This is Five Star Story style robots, fighting in Gurren Lagann's alternate space with Code Geass'schutzpah. This is Star Driver.
Opening episodes are always a gamble: bedazzle now and risk a depleted budget later or hold back and aim for long-term, unwrinkled quality. The first three episodes here try and do both with a swift and incomprehensible collection of enigmatic snippets of dialogue followed by a kaleidoscopic mecha battle. The latter is then repeated, down to the vocal song and preceding animation snippet, for every subsequent episode. It's sloppy and lacks the finesse expected of a Studio Bones production.
In contrast to the earlier showing of Summer Wars, the Cowboy Bebop movie was evidently from a traditional film reel rather than high-definition digital – grain and all it seemed somewhat more fitting, especially when the film itself pokes fun at the low quality, black and white westerns of old. Without any fanfare, there was a brief introduction by Andrew Partridge, one of the festival organisers, and then after a brief wait, straight into the feature. The only other element of note was the translation which unfortunately seemed a little slapdash, continually calling “Ed” “Edo” for instance, or completely ignoring the on-screen descriptions of companies such as “Tortoise Cleaning”.
America has never been best represented in anime, usually portrayed with horrific stereotypes or laughable inaccuracies; on the face of it then, comic luminary Stan Lee and production studio BONES would seem like strange bedfellows. But the unimaginatively titled joint-project Heroman demonstrates that while an entertaining series was never in question, whether the two party's strengths will marry together is still up for debate. Three episodes is never enough for BONES to reveal anything other than the most cursory information, however what's here doesn't even have a scent of nuance. Instead, this is a brash, straightforward romp devoid of subtlety, more akin to the sleepy brainlessness of Saturday morning cartoons than the studio's usual fare.
fighting against the affable idiocy shown in the protagonists and dispensing with common sense
Adolescent Joey Jones doesn't have it easy: he is frequently pushed around by a brawny jock and has to work a part-time job in a dingy café to provide for his diminutive grandmother. The only silver lining for him is the jock's lively sister, Lina, who has taken an interest in him and the wild-haired cripple Psy who despite his weakness, remains a true friend. A stray extra-terrestrial lightning bolt changes his fortunes when it strikes a recently repaired toy robot which transforms into the autonomous, battle-ready Heroman. The lightning however was just a precursor to an invasion by alien creatures - Earth's defences useless against them and only Heroman is able to match their terrifying strength. As the mothership settles in Center City, the battle against their incursion seems to have only just begun.