Friday, February 11, 2011

Miscellaneous short anime reviews

I've been ill so I had a lot of time to watch anime. I'm not going into a full review, but just a short overview of each and what I thought about them.

Kaichō wa Maid-sama!
A shojo anime adaption about the Student Council president of a former all-boys school, Misaki, who has to work in a Maid Café. Being ashamed she tries to keep it a secret, but one day the popular student Usui sees her at work.
Misaki shows some development towards not hating all men and accepting her job a bit more. Usui on the other hand is a bit too extreme for my liking: not only is he good-looking, popular, respected and good in virtually everything, but he also gets rather jealous and possessive of Misuki (and is forgiven no matter what he does). But he can actually be kinda sweet at times. Also the story is taking place in different locations, the illustrations are nicely done and the side characters are given a little attention, too (though probably not as much as in the manga). And yes I admit, the maid costumes are cute, and the last scene... d'aww.
So all in all I quite liked it.
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Special A
Another shojo, actually rather similar to Maid-Sama, in my opinion: Hikari is also a girl from a poor family, there's the good-looking top student Kei as her rival and she's just as oblivious to his obvious crush on her. They are both part of class "Special A", the best seven students of this school for rich people, and she tries to beat him at something (anything) since they were kids - in vain.
While Kei maybe is a little more sympathetic than Usui, Hikari is maybe a little less sympathetic than Misaki. I also kinda liked Ryuu, shame his character didn't get more time. Also at the end a lot of threads seemed to still be untied, it felt like something was missing.
Overall I think I liked Maid-Sama a little better.
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Ouran High School Host Club
Well, this one is a bit hard to describe. I guess it could be shojo, in a way, but mostly it's a parody. It's again about a poor student at a school for the super rich. Haruhi accidently breaks an expensive vase belonging to the school's "Host Club" and has to work it off disguised as a boy.
This is more funny than romantic, though it has its moments. I also liked the picture of Kyoya starting to paint outside of the frame. The anime mimics a lot of characters and events you might be familiar with from other series (so you shouldn't watch it as your first or you won't get the jokes and references). One character for example extremely resembles Momiji from Fruits Basket and the Zuka Club have a manic laugh just like Kodachi Kuno from Ranma 1/2, all with the blue-black rose pedals. Also there's a great "Alice in Wonderland" episode and then there's the twins... It's a lot of fun to watch, but the ending feels a bit "unfinished", as if there was meant to be a second season.
Anyway, I can only recommend this one; it's not your typical anime for girls.
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Kimi Ni Todoke
Another shojo, as sweet as it can get. Sawako is feared and avoided by everyone because she resembles a girl from a horror movie. The isolation has made her somewhat socially inexperienced. In comes popular student Shota (who has a secret crush on her) and with his support she gains friends. The second season is still ongoing, by the way.
The drawing style takes some getting used to, but the story progresses naturally. It's got everything belonging to school life: the time spent with friends, bitchy girls from another classes, the feeling at parties when your crush is there, etc.
I liked this one because it reminded me of my youth, the time when I got together with my first boyfriend.
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Gakuen Heaven
Keita changes to a school for gifted people - he doesn't quite know why because he's nothing special. The anime follows him settling into the new school.
It seems the anime is a lot tamer than the game and manga, so there's actually no juicy "boy love" scenes and just one kiss - hardly enough to even call it shonen ai. The plot isn't that exciting (probably because they took a dating simulation game and left out the dating) and neither are the characters interesting - I confused most of them for at least half the series. But at the end of every episode there's "Ham-Ham Heaven" with the main characters as cute little hamsters. Since they took out the sexiness, maybe they just should have done it all in hamsters...
I was a bit disappointed with this one.
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