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Apr 04
2011

Dog Days 01, Hanasaku Iroha 01, Nichijou 01 [First Impressions]

Decisions, decisions.

Since the spring season has over forty shows rolling, Sekijitsu sadly won’t be able to cover them all. However, we are hoping to get as many first impressions as possible. Since I’m not going to spam the site with three posts in a row, I’ll instead group this weekend’s offerings (namely Dog Days, Hanasaku Iroha, and Nichijou) into this single post. I’ll say upfront I’m probably not blogging any of these (as I am with Tiger & Bunny, also featured above), but as there are some promising titles in here, there remains the possibility another team member might pick one of them up.

Alright, hit it!

Dog Days

Such is the privilege of a Gary Stu.

Dog Days is positively brilliant. The characters are unbelievably unique, the script is so sharp and intelligent, and the premise is incredibly interesting. I highly recommend this show to each and every anime fan–oh, wait. It’s no longer April Fools? Okay, allow me to revise this.

Well, I’m a little late to the party, and at this point, it’s common knowledge the Internet’s collectively meh on this thing. I’m not particularly fond of it either, but it’s fine… For a kid’s harem show that is (making them otaku young, huh. Very smart, Japan, very smart. I see why you have the world’s third biggest economy.)

Anyway, Dog Days takes a painfully generic and childish premise (a hero from modern times is the fated savior of a fantasy land) and plays it completely straight… Well, not even. It takes a painfully generic and childish premise and dumbs it down even more; the Cat and Dog people aren’t even at war. They’re just competitive, and they’re getting squashed in their version of war which is more like our Olympics or World Cup. Yes, this is a series about fantasy athletic games with a Gary-Stu hero.

Usually, I wouldn’t have any problem with this, but the preview was a little misleading. They promised war, they promised fantasy… Sure, it looked generic, but there was potential for parody or subversion as the very same team had done with Nanoha (which I’ve heard is a quasi-dark magical girl series and also not bad). Oh, well.

Hello, tweenage boys. I'm here to get your fetish for girls with tails and animal ears pumping. Buy our products!

Should you watch it? Absolutely… If you’re twelve. It’s not beyond awful, but it’s even more generic than it looks.

Alright, Hanasaku Iroha, you’re next. Let’s see if you have better offerings.

Hanasaku Iroha

It's like I'm watching a soap opera. Oh, wait...

Hanasaku Iroha is contending with Ano Hana for the “artsy, touching, young adult anime drama” spot this season (it’s a surprisingly broad category), and I’d be surprised if Ano Hana is this good. It has a very typical premise–a girl who has no direction and no work experience needs to work at a Hot Springs Inn with her overbearing grandmother ala Spirited Away–but it works since the execution is excellent. The animation is really stunning, and the script is smart. I got Honey and Clover like vibes, and that’s not something I can say about any slice-of-life show.

That being said, I don’t love the series thus far. I’m certainly watching it, but it’s a tad on the dramatic side for me. The lead character Ohana Matsumae is exceptionally adorable, but I got irritated when she spouted metaphor after metaphor in her inner-monologues. Usually I don’t mind metaphors (Honey and Clover is chock-full of them as is Hourou Musuko), but these are just shallow. For example, she’s literally on a train in a tunnel, and she’s also in a dark spot in her life because her best friend just confessed to her and she’s moving away. Then, she gets out of the tunnel and into the light, and she’s excited for the brand new day. Or the night lights come on during the evening, and she hopes that lights will guide her, so she can change for the better. Come on. That’s not good writing; that’s cheesy.

That aside, it looks like a very well executed series with a very charming heroine, great characterization (for one episode alone), a solid premise, smooth animation, and a good script that only sometimes becomes silly. I preferred Tiger & Bunny’s first episode, but if I grade objectively, this one’s better. So far, it definitely seems worthy as PA Works’ tenth anniversary show.

You really gonna turn this down? ... Terrible pun is terrible. I should probably stop.

Should you watch it? If you like series like Honey and Clover and Hourou Musuko, you have to give this one a shot. Heck, even if you prefer action or moe moe moe, this one is a good starting point to get into dramatic slice-of-life. Yeah, watch it.

Alright. Finish it up, Nichijou!

Nichijou

Oh, sweetie. You're screwed. ... Okay, I can't stop with the puns anyway.

Nichijou (“My Ordinary Life”) is the latest “cute girls doing cute things” offering from Kyoto Animation, and at this point, you probably know what to expect. If I had to use other popular shows to describe it, it’s basically a cross between Lucky Star (typical KyoAni) and Arakawa Under the Bridge (typical Shaft and not so typical KyoAni). Though aside from the absurdist angle, it reminds me more of the little I’ve seen from Lucky Star rather than Arakawa.

The first episode is a drastic improvement over the OVA, but I still don’t think it’s that funny, and the music in the broadcast episode is definitely a step-down. I prefer the unique classical undertones to the expected KyoAni J-pop mix, but it seems the OVA soundtrack is more of a once-off. However, the first episode managed to maintain the excellent production values of the OVA; even if the girls still don’t have noses, the animation is fluid and pretty. And I love the opening song. It screams KyoAni (catchy tune, dancing, etc), but KyoAni keeps coughing these up because they work. Instant Youtube hits.

Either way, the characters certainly seem more interesting here than in the OVA; Sasahara (AKA goat-boy) is a standout as is the professor’s crew. Sakamoto (the black cat) from the OVA sadly didn’t make it into this episode, but as he’s in the opening, I’ve no doubt he’ll appear sometime soon. I’ll be sticking around to see that for sure.

Daily dose of FABULOUS.

Should you watch it? If you’re a KyoAni fan, I don’t even need to tell you to watch it. If cute girls doing cute things and/or cute girls doing crazy things amuses you, you’re also good to go.

Okay, so these are the shows so far. In the upcoming weeks, I’ll also cover first impressions of Brain’s Base’s Dororon and Noitamina’s C. My heart is pretty set on blogging C, but if it flops miserably, I might just cover Hanasaku Iroha or Nichijou, provided no one else on the team wants to pick them up.

Anyway, what do you think? Are there any shows here you look forward to? Any that you hate? Any that you really want us to blog?

Thanks for reading!

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/ 4 Commentsleave a comment /

  • Unyty says:

    Just watched Nichijou. Started with a great show this season. Hope they can live up to the first eps.

    • Renn says:

      I'm excited for it, too! KyoAni shows usually get progressively better as we get to know the characters more, so I have high hopes. At any rate, it's cool to look it. :D

  • Saw Dog Days, biggest regret of the year so far.

    Hanasaku Iroha for me was adorable though. I instantly fell in love with spunky Ohana and I actually liked her weird metaphorical monologues. The animation and art direction are eyegasmic (patent pending), I really hope they can keep this up to 26 episodes. It is definitely my type of slice-of-life and thankfully I’m not disappointed so far.

    My initial fear was that it would turn into too much of an ecchi show being set in a hot springs inn but the first ep showed that it’s much more serious than that, which I appreciate. The only ecchi thing in here was the fact that Ohana got groped by her uncle.

    I’m definitely gonna follow through with watching this, although I doubt I can come up with anything good to say about it for 26 weeks straight to pick it up for blogging lol.

    Nichijou…I’ll wait to see if the next episode is just as good as the first. I’m really curious though.
    My recent post Dog Days 01- Hanasaku Iroha 01- Nichijou 01 First Impressions

    • Renn says:

      I'm impressed you watched the whole thing. To be honest, I only lasted half the episode, and I wrote the review at the same time.

      Dawww… I'd love to see you blog Hanasaku Iroha. Ohana is the cutest thing. If C is good, I'm blogging it. If C is mediocre, I'll blog Hanasaku Iroha instead (provided no one else picks it up… kinda hoping someone picks it up). But if C's terrible, I'm definitely boarding that trainwreck. B)

      “The only ecchi thing in here was the fact that Ohana got groped by her uncle.”

      Shoot, I forgot to mention that. Maybe I was too eager to erase it from my mind… xD

      I have high-ish hopes for Nichijou. I like KyoAni, I like the absurd, so it's a tough formula to mess up. Still, I'd have a lot of trouble blogging that one.

      • Hanasaku Iroha might just be the type of show Mint would blog XD

        But yea, I'm not sure if I can say enough per week to blog about it. Who knows though, we'll just have to wait and see lol

        And no, I didn't last the whole way through Dog Days. I cried after realizing that I wasted 150mb of my cap on that shit “OTL
        My recent post Dog Days 01- Hanasaku Iroha 01- Nichijou 01 First Impressions

        • Renn says:

          Mint said she wasn't interested in blogging slice of life shows unfortunately (if I recall correctly). Hmm… Maybe she'll change her mind. :D

          It's not that bad. I just did Hourou Musuko, and I had a lot of fun writing it. I just realized that the chances of me blogging Hanasaku are really slim because it and Tiger & Bunny are 26 episodes, that goes into the summer season… And I have to blog No. 6…

          You poor thing. :( I mean it.

          • Yea, the 26 episode thing put me off the most as well. I don\\\’t want to be stuck on this over two seasons :P

  • Vivi says:

    I quite liked Hanasaku Iroha, two girls got slapped in the first episode. Awesome grandma is awesome.

    • “Go Die” girl was cute and the grandma reminded me of that boss from Devil Wears Prada.

      Fun tip: in an Eyeshield omake, they showed Hiruma's aunt who looked EXACTLY like grandma and she owned a hotsprings inn. Coincidence? I think not. PA Works read Eyeshield.
      My recent post Dog Days 01- Hanasaku Iroha 01- Nichijou 01 First Impressions

      • Honey-Bee says:

        Hiruma's aunt showed up in an omake? Which one? Does she have a name? 8D Sorry to appear out of no where like this. I'm only asking because I can't find info on Hiruma's aunt anywhere, and I'd really like to know more about her. =)

    • Renn says:

      Haha! I remember you talking about this during the spring preview. You like it when people get slapped, I take it? xD

      That is an awesome grandma though. :)

  • That uncle needs to be on watch. That scene where Ohana put Minko's futon up, he was scanning her and making creep noises.
    I didn't take Ohana's metaphors to be cheesy. It's just one of those things when people are a little down on their luck that they try to relate anything going on around them to their personal situation, be it positive or negative, cheesy, whatever, so I was ok on those.

    –Dog Days is very much a series that you know what to go to it for. There are certainly people that'll eat that series for breakfast. I'll settle on a breakfast with less sugar and more balanced.

    • Renn says:

      Oh geez, nice catch. I didn't even notice that. Must've blocked it out subconsciously. xD

      I seem to be alone on hating on her metaphors haha. xD They're certainly appropriate for a 15/16-year-old, but when I compare them to Takemoto's in Honey & Clover or Nitori's in Hourou Musuko, I dunno. They seem kinda shallow, like they're there because it's a common trope for the genre, not because they have anything particularly deep to say. But Mari Okada has done a great job with the script so far, so it's just a minor complaint.

      Haha, exactly! Couldn't have put it better myself. :)

  • Foshizzel says:

    Nichijou!- God I love this so much I haven't laughed so much since Panty and Stocking this will be my favorite comedy for Spring anime! That whole hotdog scene god damn so good xD Yes people will say oh its just lucky star copy, what isn't a copy now anyway?

    Dog days- Probably dropping this, even thou the main dude is Takuto from Star Driver! Even that won't make me watch it again. Boring story and poor character designs.

    Hanasaku Iroha- Still gotta check out! Have to give it a chance at least :D

    • Renn says:

      I think it's much better than Lucky Star actually, haha. But I can't deny the similarities. xD

      Ooooh, I noticed that, too. Dog Days is not Mamoru Miyano's best work, I must say. He sounds just like Takuto there which is weird since he's very versatile, a really good voice actor. It's weird that he'd use the same voice so soon.

      Hopefully, you'll like it! I enjoyed it anyway. :D I'd love to hear what you think!

  • So far I've only gotten to Hanasaku Iroha. I have to say my first thought when it was over was “THANK GOD OMIGAWA CHIAKI ONLY GOT LIKE 3 LINES AND NONE OF THEM INVOLVED BEING OBNOXIOUSLY LOUD!” My biggest fear was that ear-bleed would drive me away. Ohane is adorable- I felt so bad for her and it's only the first episode, so that's probably a good sign.

    I really hope somebody picks this up! Unfortunately, I've already got my heart set on TWGOK 2. Come on, Mint, you know you want it~
    My recent post Star Driver 24

    • Renn says:

      Haha, Kurogane's Anime Blog mentioned the same thing about Omigawa. Weird… I liked her as Maka (Soul Eater) and P-Ko (Arakawa), but then again, I'm pretty easy to please with voice actors. What has she done that's terribly annoying? xD

      Ohana is adorable. She sort of reminds me of Mizuno. Spunky and off-beat. If she keeps it up, she might end up my favorite female character of the year (Kotetsu from Tiger & Bunny is the best male so far… though that one may go downhill…)

      TBH, I was hoping you'd blog World's First Love. SJ needs some yaoi lovin'. B) … This may or may not be a joke.

      • The worst thing she's ever done is Soredemo Machi Wa Mawatteiru (I probably misspelled that) but I don't like her as P-ko that much either. She's just so…LOUD.

        I was thinking that too! She is a little like Mizuno. She reminds me a lot of Noe from True Tears too (who I also adore >w< )

        I was going to do World's First Love, but I think it would be hard to write about every week. I'm assuming all that will happen is Riku getting raped every week with an occasional bit of forced drama. B) Not that I mind that.....<.<
        My recent post Star Driver 24

    • T__T I think I am going to fall in love with Hanasaku Iroha. I only saw the first half but it's quite nice. Probably don't have time and I believe Bass is blogging it though, fufufu~

  • Btw, was I the only one to see Aizen in that perverted uncle?

    The first moment I saw him, I was like “WTF AIZEN, KUBO GTFO HERE”.
    My recent post Dog Days 01- Hanasaku Iroha 01- Nichijou 01 First Impressions

    • Renn says:

      I didn't see it, but I know why you did. Daww, Bass. Looks like Kubo's gonna troll you for life. :(

  • Dog Days was just…bad. No need to go into details, it was bad and if you watched it YOU KNOW WHY.

    Nichijou was more promising, although it had a lot of misses. The only thing that got me laughing was the 3-second rule gag. When it hits, it hits, when it misses…I ask myself why I'm watching this. I don't like the art, but I'm gonna keep following it for a bit to see if it gets better. I agree it got better than the OVA so hopefully it keeps going up :3

    • Renn says:

      Nicely said, Overcooled. xD Though you know, there are some kids out there who will eat it up… And there are some adults as well…

      Yeah, I think I laughed once at Nichijou, and that was when the glasses girl was giggling during the presentation. But then when I learned she was actually laughing at the squid thing in the other girl's hair, I was like… Ehh. It was funnier before. xD Well, I've never had a great sense of humor.

      There was a really interesting post on the Cart Driver about how these moe “slice-of-life” take time (I think it was his post on the Nichijou OVA, come to think of it). I've got high hopes this show will click for me. :)

      • My sense of humour is a bit odd too, I can never find a good anime to make me laugh D= I always lurk Scamp's posts, so yeah, I read it. I don't think I liked Lucky Star or thought it was funny until after I watched the entire thing…Nichijou might be such a case XD

    • Why is it that we can never agree on anything OC!?!??! AHAHAHAHA!!! xD
      My recent post Star Driver 24

  • I'm watching all of these besides Tiger and Bunny ;D

    Dog Days – Yeah… I will confess that it's not the best of shows for you guys and it's more for kids. I seriously don't know why I want to follow this, but I'm going to. Hey! I', the guy who watched Rio: Rainbow Gate till the end and I thought it was fine. Same with Dog Days.

    Hanasaku Iroha – Great dramatic scenes and a great serious slice of life. I haven't seen most of these sort of stuff before and I can see references to wise quotes all over the episode, which I LOVE wise quotes! Confucius was a great man and I respect him. Of course, I've got other reasons as to why I'm watching this. One of them is that Aki Toyosaki voices Nako. The shy girl~ <3

    Nichijo - I love it's art style so much~~! I don't even know what KyoAni means but I think I love KyoAni animes. Great laughs, definitely took me off guard. I thought it was going to be more of a Lucky Star set up but it's completely different!! It's great to have exciting, fictional, comedic animes in your life once in a while ^^

    Tiger and Bunny - ...what is this...?

    My recent post Star Driver 24

    • Renn says:

      Haha, well I'm watching all of these except for Dog Days (most likely), so we'll have to call it even ;)

      I'm really glad that you're watching Hanasaku Iroha. :p Nothing wrong with moe slice-of-life (ala K-ON), but Hanasaku Iroha sounds like it'd be something new for you. :)

      Kyoto Animation (KyoAni) is known for their high-quality animation and moe “slice-of-life” hits. They only make one or two shows a year, but so far, they've made Haruhi, Lucky Star, and K-ON (they also produced Air, Clannad, and Kanon, but I don't know if you watched those). So… yeah, I think you're a fan of KyoAni. ;)

  • Noblesse says:

    Dog Days: Are they serious about depicting war as a game show? Zero no Tsukaima is one of my favorite shows ever and Dog Days being compared to it is lame, sure they have similar premises but Dog Days is just wank, i'll still watch it as it isn't worth dropping unless i become over encumbered with shows this season.

    Hanasaku Iroha: Turns out this is more drama than slice of life, Honey and Clover meets Cinderella, that girl who kept saying die was a bit pissy, i get the impression that this will be a series where things don't get any better permanently for the main character till the end, probably the best show that has aired so far.

    Nichijou: I find it similar to Arakawa in that all the characters are completely insane and nobody notices, its one of those shows that if i was an Anime/manga writer i would create, i love bizarre characters and happenings like it was natural.
    My recent post Photo

    • Renn says:

      I'd watch Dog Days if nothing else was on… I've never seen a really, really bad anime, and I'd like to remedy that (and at least this one has cute girls). But the season looks pretty promising, so I don't think it'll happen. xD

      I like the slice-of-life label for Hanasaku Iroha, but you're right–drama is definitely more appropriate. I'd also have to agree it's the best show thus far (but I still LOVE Tiger & Bunny!).

      I'm hoping it continues to veer in the Arakawa direction. I still get Lucky Star vibes (not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but Arakawa's better imho xD ). I don't like generalizing, but the Japanese are really good with the absurd. I love their novelists for the same reason; their stuff is crazy, haha, it's really cool. xD

  • Vivi says:

    I quite liked Hanasaku Iroha, two girls got slapped in the first episode. Awesome grandma is awesome.

  • Vivi says:

    I quite liked Hanasaku Iroha, two girls got slapped in the first episode. Awesome grandma is awesome.

  • Namika says:

    Hanasaku Iroha seems to be pretty nice. Though that old hag made me want to punch her. And that poor excuse for a mother made me want to hand her upside down. TT^TT

    • Renn says:

      That mother was such a joke, but I can imagine having a strict mother like that grandmother could make anyone go crazy. Hopefully, Ohana will turn out better than both. xD

      • Namika says:

        Hopefully.
        Oh, and I meant “hanG” up there, not hanD ^^” heheh

  • Hanasaku Iroha.

    I hereby declare that I will review this entire series.

    • Renn says:

      I look forward to reading that! :D Since we're still not sure if anyone at SJ will blog, maybe you should pick it up here. B)

      Jk jk. I love Metanorn, and besides, your lovely boss would kill me if I meant that. :p (And Bass is thinking of blogging it, fingers-crossed…)

  • Foshizzel says:

    Dog days SUCKS not even Takuto's epic voice can save this, I loled at the Ninja warrior thing, Tiger and bunny I didn't even watch but saw screen shots FTW pepsi? LOLOL random!

    Nichijou- AWESOME SO DAMN FUN and dat hot dog scene WOooooooooooooooo I died from laughing XD

    Hanasaku Iroha- Mom sucks at raising kids and grandma's a bitch, however I love the main girls voice! <3 I hear Saten so I will watch this, oh and Uiharu is in there as well! gotta love Railgun :)

    • Namika says:

      Dog days is an anime for children, so it should suck >.>
      Can anyone dislike Itou Kanae?? *turned into Kanae-fan by Sassy*

      • Renn says:

        Yeah. I don't know much about seiyuu, but Itou Kanae is really excellent as Ohana. :)

        Haven't seen Railgun yet. Too many anime on the list! >.<

        • Namika says:

          Heck, I don't mind a big list. If only a lot of anime turned out REALLY good, rather than totally disappointing TT^TT

  • anaaga says:

    i'm liking hanasaku iroha and nichijou. i can envision ohana's character develops each week as she lives in the hot spring. i ship ohanaXherbestfriend :D
    and i think nichijou will be my weekly comedy show. i like the goat dude already. makes me wonder what time he gets up to go to school, since his goat is slow

    • Renn says:

      I ship Ohana x her best friend, too. I'm a sucker for the best friend romance. <3 Here's hoping they end up together. For once, no yuri shipping here. B)

      HAHAHA! I wonder if that'll be brought up as a joke in one of the episodes. xD

  • Honey-Bee says:

    Hiruma's aunt showed up in an omake? Which one? Does she have a name? 8D Sorry to appear out of no where like this. I'm only asking because I can't find info on Hiruma's aunt anywhere, and I'd really like to know more about her. =)

  • Honey-Bee says:

    Hiruma's aunt showed up in an omake? Which one? Does she have a name? 8D Sorry to appear out of no where like this. I'm only asking because I can't find info on Hiruma's aunt anywhere, and I'd really like to know more about her. =)

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