Posts with the “club” tag

Dance girl dance

A review of the Hanayamata anime

You know how Hanayamata ends. You probably know how the majority of the individual episodes end as well. Cliche is both the strongest and weakest thing that Hanayamata has going for it, because on the one hand you can be safe in the knowledge that the quintet of girls will make it through with smiles on their faces and fireworks in their eyes and that everything will be all right. On the other hand though, there’s not a lot else going on. It’s a solid, visually arresting but cacophonous twelve episode series that starts with trepidation and ends with a dance number.

the series feels like its trapped in a swarm of disgruntled sparrows

It’s set in Kamakura though which, if you’ve ever had the pleasure of going there, is one of those places where you can travel in a rickshaw and see horse archery and a bronze buddha statue all in an afternoon. Setting Hanayamata there gifts it with a kind of ethereal magic that the first episode, with its pint-sized dancing blonde girl, captures brilliantly, making it seem that a school club for yosakoi isn’t so outlandish.

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Embraces, extortion and exposure

A review of the Photo Kano anime series

Everything you need to know about the Photo Kano anime series is in the image above. You might not think so, but what if I said the source material was a dating sim? Seven girls (“routes”), sure, but take note of the legwear sported by each of them. This is a series that is predicated not only on choosing a girl, but on that girl’s personality being defined by their tights, stockings or socks. Guess which of the girls in the picture is the childish gymnast? Sporty tomboy? Bit more difficult: childhood friend?

No ideas? What if all the girls were instead represented by potted plants?

Yeah I’m not really sure why either. Language of flowers anyone?

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A review of D-Frag!

There are innumerable possible classifications for anime series. There are ones that are unique and one-of-a-kind, ones that could never be bettered or impersonated. There are ones that are distinctive, flourishing because of their individuality. There are genre pieces that may not stand out on topic but do by embodying the best of their genre. There are derivative series that cherry pick the tropes du-jour and throw them together in the often futile hope of producing a hit. Then there’s D-Frag. A series so staunchly bereft of personality, so picked over by committee and with all its rough edges sanded down that it’s difficult to lump any kind of praise upon it beyond “it’s not terrible”.

at its best when it goes completely off the reservation

Not great, but not terrible. A pleasant mediocre. It goes laser like for the apathetic part of the brain that isn’t particularly engaged with any of the characters or events, but isn’t offended enough to discontinue watching. Its a school club love story with a light comedy scaffold with an all-too familiar one guy - multiple girls setup. The protagonist, spikey haired delinquent and chronic screamer Kenji, has been coerced into joining the “Game Development Club” in order to save it from forced disbandment; cue hijinks.

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Umisho (Kenko Zenrakei Suieibu Umisho)

Bright, colourful and full of barely concealed nudity, Umisho is a raucous and energetic series built upon simple principles that are well executed. Far from being intelligent, thought-provoking or in-depth, each episode kicks meaningful story-telling and character development to the curb and manages to be a thirteen episode onsen and beach scenario combined.

Umisho never belittles the audience by repeatedly hammering at the most obvious of plot points

Beginning with the only iota of character justification in the entirety of the show, Kaname Okimura joined the school swimming club to learn how to swim after a run-in with a supposed mermaid and nearly drowning in his earlier years. With that pesky plot out of the way, the series gets down to basics and has young women losing their clothing at every available opportunity. Ostensibly the series follows the swimming team of Prefectoral Umineko Shougyou High as they compete and subsequently win local and regional tournaments; however this is mostly superfluous to the aforementioned nudity. Not one to be entirely sexist, the swim team captain is a bronzed, muscled specimen of a man who strips off with more frequency than the women although this stems from his naturist tendencies rather than the women who are ordinarily victims of circumstance.

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