Thinking about Anime May 14-18, 2012

This week saw big changes in European Governments, but the anime front largely continued as it has been. Shows like Uuchu Kyoudai, Sakamichi no Appollon, and Jormungand turned in excellent episodes this week; shows like Shirokuma Cafe and Mouretsu Pirates brought episodes that are certainly entertaining, but that’s about it. This week’s honored seiyuu is the prolific and talented Kobayashi Yuu

In high school, often waiting is the hardest part

This past Monday Mr. Overthinker stayed home from work and happened to be in the room while I watched SKET Dance episode 57. In the midst of the almost Shakespearean comedy of mistaken identities I was holding the sides of my head and squealing about how painful it was. He wanted to know why I was still watching it if it was so painful, and replied that is was as funny as it was painful. Episodes like this one and the more bittersweet Kimi to Boku 2 episode 7 remind me that there were parts of the high school experience that I would not revisit for anything. But they do that reminding in ways that delight and entertain which is no mean feat.

Kuroko no Basuke has spent considerable time establishing Kuroko’s commitment to the idea of team in the team sport of basketball, but the emphasis on the two major characters calls into question the ability of the characters to work as a part of a five-man team. Other sport shows continue about like they have been: Area no Kishi continues to suffer in its close proximity to Ginga e Kickiff in my schedule, but I am hard pressed to find a better place for it.

Several shows are spending time either away from their main story lines (like Fairy Tail) or away from major/ titular characters (like One Piece and Naruto Shippuuden). Long form shows must constantly challenge the pacing of their episodes in relationship with the source material (though it should be noted that the extended flashback that Luffy et al have been listening to is included in the manga). Fairy Tail delved further into the current filler arc and proved that filler doesn’t always have to be a waste of time and space. Naruto is also largely absent as the gear up to war continues. Many online were bothered by the resolution to the skirmish that included Sai and his brother, but I felt that it was a satisfactory resolution for the characters involved. Further such interactions, though, will most likely be more difficult as the antagonists learned as much from the encounter as the protagonists did.

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia threw the people who were hoping it would be like Another a Group Think bone. Enoshima becomes a more intriguing locale with each episode of Tsuritama I watch. Hyouka established the major mystery of the season and provided some tantalizing clues. In a week when many in the world were thinking about Okinawa and its complicated relationships with America and Japan as a whole, it was neat to see some more about how Eureka 7 Ao is envisioning the Okinawa of its setting.

Kobayashi Yuu provides the voice to excitable Oota Shou

Seiyuu of the Week: Kobayashi Yuu as Oota Shou in Ginga e Kickoff

Often sports anime start from the premise of the powerfully talented protagonist, Ginga e Kickoff begins instead with a boy is is only powerfully passionate about soccer. Early reviews of the show noted that Oota Shou talks in exclamation points, but that his charm lay in his over the top approach. Kobayashi Yuu is not a novice to enthusiastic sports anime protagonists having provided the voice for Aoba Tadamichi in Dan Doh!!. Other notable young men she has given speech are Houjou Satoshi and Kanon from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni and Umineko no Naku Koro ni respectively. She played the gender ambiguous characters Urushiba Ruka of Steins; Gate and Mikihisa Kyoko from the “Love me Tender” arc of Level E. Kobayashi has also brought tempestuous spirit to characters like the Amazoness from Arakawa Under the Bridge, Sarutobi Ayame of Gintama fame, Kimura Kaera of the Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei series, and Asahina Kikuno, student counsel member, in SKET Dance. Kobayashi-san possesses a range the lets her voice characters from the cloying Sarutobi, to the dead pan Asahina, to the serious Kanon, and the delightfully optimistic Oota Shou. I am sure we will continue to be delighted by her voice for years to come.

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