Friday, January 22, 2010

First Impressions: Dance in the Vampire Bund 1-3, Durarara! 1-2, Ookami Kakushi 1-2, SoRaNoWoTo 1-3

As promised.

The Winter 2009/2010 anime season doesn't have a lot of interesting offers. For me, at least. On first look, the only title that really jumped out was Durarara! But I decided to check out other titles for their visual impact, and found myself pleasantly surprised by some. :)

Dance in the Vampire Bund (1-3)
More Screencaps from Dance in the Vampire Bund 01
OFFICIAL (JPN) | Wikipedia | ANN

Vampire princess, Mina Tepes wants to make peace with the humans. But first, she has to reveal her kind. She does this through a television show that -- incidentally -- picks up the subject of vampires for a hot topic. But with people firmly believing vampires to be the stuff of legends, she has her work cut out for her. Good thing one of the TV show's esteemed guests turns out to be the unsavory sort. Mina, along with her servants, has carefully constructed an elaborate trap to capture the rogue vampire and at the same time reveal the existence of her kind to the world. Along the way, she also accidentally discovers the whereabouts of Akira, a boy whose past is intimately entwined with hers. But Akira doesn't remember her, or does he? His memories are sketchy for the most part but something about the blond girl seems to stir something primitive inside him. Akira soon discovers what that 'something' is when Mina comes to the brink of danger and he finds himself transforming into a werewolf and comes rushing to her defense. The next day, Mina causes a stir when she enrolls herself in the same high school as Akira. But things get even uglier when the student council refuses to accept a vampire as a fellow student and brings the issue up to the chairman. Unfortunately for the council, the school's heretofore elusive chairman turns out to be no other than Mina Tepes, the vampire princess and recently enrolled student of their school. Mina makes a deal with the council president: if they could capture Akira and contain him, she would give in to their request. While the student body is busy playing catch with Akira, Mina meets with Japan's leaders to discuss her acquisition of an island, the 'Bund,' in return for her paying off the national debts of the government. The deal is a success while Akira manages to elude his pursuers. But all is not well as that same evening the student council president is attacked in their school. Does Mina have anything to do with it?


Loli + vampire = really not my cup of tea. I have no idea what made me pick up the first episode in the first place. Maybe it was the art style, or the fact that I had nothing better to do. But I have to admit though that the first episode was really quite clever. A TV show! Oh, Shaft, you are brilliant. But what's this 'Around 40 Go Home?' Good lord, are you mocking my Amami Yuki? I'm not sure I like it but it got my interest for sure. Then episode 2 came around and there was lotion and a half-naked loli was just disturbing. I didn't want to see episode 3 after that. In fact, if it wasn't for my three-episode rule, I would have stopped right then. Still, episode 3 didn't do a thing for me. This anime is for fanboys. Akira is a bish but not even he can keep me glued to this series.

VERDICT: dropped

Durarara! (1-2)
More Screencaps from Durarara! 01
Durarara! Trailer [Mediafire]
OFFICIAL (JPN) | Wikipedia | ANN

At the invitation of his bestfriend, Ryugamine Mikado, a homebody by nature, recently moves to Ikebukuro in search of adventure. Instead, he finds himself getting acquainted with a quirky group of characters, including a gigantic black dude who works for a sushi bar, enterprising otakus, a man who throws vending machines in fits of violence, a dangerous gang known as the 'Dollar,' and a mysterious black rider with no head. What in the world is he getting into?


I have a feeling that like it's predecessor, Baccano!, Durarara! is one of those series that has maximum impact when watched (and blogged) on a marathon. Right now, the story doesn't make a lot of sense so I can't really say that it is any good. But as I am watching this series now, I guess I'll just have to do my best and stick with it. One thing is for sure: I am intrigued. Visually, Durarara! very good although there's nothing that particularly stands out. I just like the character designs and the animation isn't bad either. I like that there is a huge cast of characters with sufficiently disparate personalities. It's what I liked about Baccano!, too, and what also got me interested in the ultimately disappointing, CANAAN. I'm hoping that Durarara! takes after the former. Also, the music by fictionjunction is rad.

VERDICT: watching

Ookami Kakushi (1-2)
More Screencaps from Ookami Kakushi 01
Ookami Kakushi PV [Mediafire]
OFFICIAL (JPN) | Wikipedia | ANN

Hiroshi Kuzumi and his family (wheelchair-bound sister Mana and their occult writer Dad) moves into the town of Jyougamachi, a small town separated into the new and the old and where mysterious local cultures are rampant. On his first day, he immediately makes friends with his neighbor and self-proclaimed love interest, Isuzu, as well as most of his classmates. In fact, he seems to get along with everybody. That is, except for the cool and aloof Kushinada Nemuru. What Kuzumi doesn't know is that at night, the town's dark secrets manifest themselves in the form of a scythe-wielding wolf deity and her bat servants.


Out of all, this was the most disappointing. This is no more than eye-candy, which I should have known from the very beginning, considering that this is a visual novel. Never had any good experience with visual novels turned anime. I picked this series up for a glimpse because I thought the title was a bit intriguing. Ookami Kakushi means 'hidden god.' Pretty cool, eh? Unfortunately, that's all the series has to offer for me and nothing else. I guess people will take to this show. Not me.

VERDICT: dropped

SoRaNoWoTo (1-3)
More Screencaps from SoRaNoWoTo 01
More Screencaps from SoRaNoWoTo 02
OFFICIAL (JPN) | Wikipedia | ANN

Sorami Kanata is an orphan who one day meets a mysterious bugler and is inspired as a result. When she is big enough, she signs up to the army to become a bugler and is assigned to the town of Seize. She arrives at her destination just as the whole town is celebrating the water festival. After getting lost for a while, she is finally found by Kazumiya Rio, a trumpeter-sergeant and Kanata's bulger instructor, who then introduces her to the rest of the staff: the lax captain Felicia, tsundere Kureha and the very sleepy staff mechanic Noel. With this for comrades, Kanata looks all set. Now, on to the next step: learning how to play the bugle.


A light-hearted comedy to be sure. I don't expect a lot from it but it's not a tough watch. I like the characters. They're all cute. But I think my favorite is Rio, simply because I like the long-haired bossy types. It doesn't look like the story is going to be any deeper than that but the anime is set in a wartime era so I guess we can expect a little drama.

VERDICT: watching


Anonymous said...

Dance in the Vampire Bund should be read, not watched. The anime was attractive, but its storyline went off on its own (in a not so good way -__-). It's a shame you checked out the anime first but hey, the majority of people will probably make your mistake and then diss it like you did lol. Meh. It's a manga that got me hooked rather quickly.. so read it if you're interested in Shana/Toradora/Zero no Tsukaima -- all with a shot of maturity and vampires. :)

animeshoon said...

I didn't know Bund was based on a manga. But then again, if I did know about the manga version, I still wouldn't have picked it up to read because 1) I don't read that much manga and 2) I don't like vampires all that much. I did enjoy Toradora, which I wouldn't call mature but did have some unusually deep insights for an anime of its genre...but I've never watched Shana or Zero no Tsukaima.

I'll take your suggestion into consideration and will read Bund if I feel like it.