Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 02

We left Mirai and Yuuki at a bit of a precarious point last time, and this episode picks up exactly where we left off – Mirai wishing for the world to just break, and the world breaking quite spectacularly.

I noticed this episode that Bones display the horror of an earthquake of this magnitude incredibly well. Remember the loudly dressed woman whose son gave Mirai an ice-cream ass? Remember they were having a photo taken beside the mini Statue of Liberty? Well…

Crap.

Thank God they don’t spell it out explicitly, for it would have ruined the realisation that a whole family who were made to be the villains last week have (presumably) been wiped out. It’s quite stark, and it’s no wonder that Mirai’s attitude has changed from last time after her foreboding e-mail and events like this.

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Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei 01-03

Looks like enough people bought the DVDs then. This is the continuation of the shenanigans of the most negative teacher in the world and his class of stereotyped characters, all vying for his attention. Yay! So Long, Mr. Despair is back!

Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

If you’ve never heard of this before, it would be unwise to leap right in now. Otherwise you’ll be like the “new customers” that the show lampooned last year. The first series is called Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (look for a.f.k.’s fansub in the usual places), the second series is Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (fansubs incredibly patchy – go with a.f.k., then Uu, then anon, then volans) and the third series is a collection of OADs called Goku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (looks for gg’s fansub). While the manga has been licensed and is currently being released, the TV series hasn’t been touched. Funimation have been linked to it, but they haven’t announced anything yet.

Anyway, on to the new series. It didn’t have the strongest of starts, in my opinion. SZS always has amazing openings (though it’s a running joke that SHAFT never have it done in time for the first few episodes). This one isn’t immediately obvious. The first openings of the previous series both have an immediate catch in their oft repeated lines (“Bure!” and “Rumba!” in the always awesome tracks by Kenji Ohtsuka), but Ringo Mogire Beam! doesn’t immediately stand out in comparison to its two predecessors. But as with songs of any substance at all, it took a week or two for it to settle in.

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Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 01

Summer 2009 looks like it’s going to be a pretty good season for new anime, not least because of the premises that some of them are putting forward. Like this show, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 – the story of a huge earthquake hitting Tokyo. It seems simple enough on the face of it, but delve down in to specific characters and there’s great potential there.

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

The opening, while unlike its peers with flashy and expensive animation, is simple and conveys a real sense of disaster, what with its black and white stills of destroyed landmarks and vegetation growing in their wake, with our future protagonists steadily marching through the whole thing. It won’t win any “Best Opening” awards, though.

The message at the beginning of the show, warning people that this is fictional, based on research, and may be different to the real thing, really focuses the mind – remember that Tokyo is well overdue a massive earthquake and there are regular classes as to what one should do in the event of one. Take in to account that this is being broadcast on Fuji TV’s noitaminA block, which is scheduled between their normal programming and their late night anime as a gateway of sorts. You can tell that they’re trying to appeal to a wide and fearful demographic with this one.

It looks like this has worked – in the anime ratings for the Kanto region (source) for the 6th July – 12th July, the show managed to break in to the top 10 (usually a preserve for daytime shows) at number 9 with an average of 5.8% of households watching – the highest rated “late night” anime.

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The Never-ending Summer

Something was wrong. Kadokawa and Kyoto Animation had been dropping hints at a second season for quite some time, even going back to that CCTV viral site that many said hinted at the Disappearance novel being animated. Since then, we’ve had the announcement that we would get a second season, which was then subsequently revoked when we were told it was only a re-run. Cue internet hysteria.

Anime gods are serious business.

Someone at Kadokawa must’ve stumbled across this thing called “viral marketing” somewhere, and thought it would be a good idea to string the fans along for a good number of years before finally giving us more new episodes of Haruhi goodness.

I must say, I kind of liked the way they were doing it – seeing the speculation build about what they were doing, along with the theories that they might just repeat the first series twice in their 28-episode slot for a 14-episode show. The hype machine was certainly at full steam when Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody aired basically unannounced. There was a sense of occasion around the whole thing, which thankfully distracted from the animation, a lot of which came from the K-On! school of drawing and which I thought was visibly poorer than the older episodes.

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