As I mentioned in my early reactions to the season, the Spring crop of anime has brought me quite a few good new shows. This week marks some low moments for shows that have already failed to meet expectations, and some high moments for shows that continue to delight and surprise.
From the how not to be a coach desk: The two soccer shows I follow both formally introduced coaching characters this week. Area no Kishi offered Takeda Shinjii the character who had until this episode been the obnoxious announcer who cared more for how cute the athletes of Nadeshiko Japan are than for their soccer abilities. This episode revealed that there is something like a soccer coach’s brain in there buried beneath all those icky layers. Tatsumi Takashi from Giant Killing can pull off the silly coach because the show makes clear that he is totally focused on the soccer; Takeda is merely a fool. Ginga e Kickoff also introduced a coach character this week. The drunk guy with impressive can kicking ability introduced in episode one is revealed to be Hanashima Masaru, a man with experience as both a professional athlete and a kid’s soccer coach. Unfortunately, Hanashima has renounced the world of soccer for reasons that aren’t entirely clear yet. His entrance is reported from this desk because even though he demonstrated some impressive skills he also passed out drunk in front of the kiddies (which is a kinda nopey-no).
From the Slow Starts desk: Thursday is really proving to be a slow starting day; why? Because that’s the day I watch both Hiiro no Kakera and Hyouka. I hope the staff of the former is watching the later because Hyouka is showing how to do a slow starting plot. In addition to slowly revealing a larger plot, smaller more mundane plots are satisfactorily resolved. Right now the plot of Hiiro no Kakera involves a girl continually being set up to fail by her emotionally stunted grandmother. Which is not entertaining viewing no matter how pretty the scenery.
Elsewhere Kuroko no Basuke continues to please me with the dry dry comic stylings of the titular character. Asaba Yuuki’s crush for the cafeteria lady played out in ways that felt achingly true to life (apart from his mad hoops) on Kimi to Boku 2. Finally, Funimation made my week when they announced that they would begin streaming Eureka 7 AO.
Seiyuu of the Week: Irino Miyu as Haru in Tsuritama and Tachiban Chizuru in Kimi to Boku
Haru the resident alien of Tsuritama learns quickly, but has much to learn. While being instructed on the finer points of sea fishing Haru also has much to learn about what the signs of language signify. Irino-san brings a zany earnestness tempered with kindness to the role that keeps Haru from spinning off into unpleasantness. Like Haru, Tachibana Chizuru is a blond outsider. Unlike Haru, Chizuru often sees clearly the emotional heart of a situation. The beginning of Kimi to Boku 2 featured two Christmas episodes. In the first, “Mary’s Christmas,” Chizuru aids the girl he likes in her pursuit of a more romantic relationship with one of his friends. Irino-san delivered a nuanced performance that revealed clearly that Chizuru has more going on the merely being “the happy one.” Some Irino-san’s numerous other credits include Kobayakawa Sena in Eyeshield 21, Haku in Spirited Away, Syaoran in larger sections of CLAMP’s universe, and the detective Hayami Seigen in UN-GO.