Welcome to my new “series” in this blog, here I’m gonna focus on compiling and commenting seasonal anime episodes that caught my eye whether it be by its compelling storytelling, interesting direction or by its visual craft (background art, storyboard, layouts and animation in general).
This new anime summer season couldn’t have started better, with premieres ranging from sci-fi thrillers, science/comedy, weightlifting cute comedy?? to crazy action pack series that will make the most skeptical of anime fans jump out of its chair.
Kanata no Astra
Episode #01 Staff:
Storyboards: Masaomi Ando
Episode Director: Masaomi Ando, Housei Suzuki
Chief Animation Director: Keiko Kurosawa
Animation Directors: Keiko Kurosawa, Hiromi Higuchi, Hiroyuki Honda, Mayuko Yamamoto, Takao Takegami, Ayano Fujita, Yumi Horie
The first series to highlight is Ando’s, Kanata no Astra, the original work by Kenta Shinohara is a sci-fi/space series that focus on a group of 9 students on a space trip to a planet camp. After they encounter a mysterious light form that teleports them to mid-space millions of light years away from earth with just a spaceship and food supplies for a few days, they got a hard task of surviving the trip back home.
This promise definitely took me by surprise, I’m not the biggest sci-fi fan but the way the plot introduced us to the characters and their different personalities kept me going and the major hook that was the space survival mission with some possibly major plot twist filled with thriller, got me completely invested to follow their journey.
Masaomi Ando choice of a somewhat rare aspect ratio for a tv series particularly attracted me. This more theatrical way of direction was also shown with some amazing space shots specifically at the beginning and ending points of the episode. My only experience with Ando’s direction was with Kuzu no Honkai (Scum’s Wish), although romance/drama is far from being my cup of tea, his directional choices always to kept me hooked and interested in what and which character would do or feel.
Nonetheless to say that Kanata no Astra was my biggest surprise on this summer season premieres week, definitely worthy to check at least the almost 50 min long first episode.
Episode #01 Staff:
Storyboards, Episode Director: Shinya Iino
Chief Animation Director: Yuko Iwasa
Animation Director: Takashi Muratani
Action Animation Director: Hiroyuki Horiuchi
Layout Supervision: Yoshio Mizumura
Dr. Stone…huh… I was waiting for this adaptation for a long time, to be specific since I first read the start of the manga serialization via weekly shonen jump “Jump Start” initiative. I was amazed by Boichi realistic art and Inagaki’s fun writing in a post-apocalyptic setting. This start of the adaptation obviously didn’t disappoint me since for the footage shown previously on the trailers and by the fact that the photography and art team is in good hands, Shunichiro Yoshihara with Studio Bihou and Asahi Production in charge of the art and photography of the show.
The director Shinya Iino took over the first episode with his direction and proving the storyboards (a pretty common habit in anime these days, in order to keep faithful to the original work), obviously, the show focus isn’t action, but it still has some action in it mostly in its arc climax. With Hiroyuki Horiuchi as the main animator, we shouldn’t worry about how TMS will handle these moments.
Shinya and its team were able to portrait the amazing realistic art from the manga and keep really good pacing throughout the episode with the same refined sense of comedy seen on the manga. If we count the first chapter as two since it has more then the double pages of a normal chapter, it fitted around 3 chapters in this episode. Which with the 24 episodes already announced it will perfectly fit the climax of the Stone Wars saga.
Plus, the characters will probably win you over, especially Senku, he looks just like the usual crazy scientist but he also has a greater than anyone human side and an unmatchable sense of humor. You don’t have to worry about Taiju too much to be real, he won’t be around for much time. (And no, we won’t die or be turned to stone)
Dumbbell Nan-Kilo Moteru?
Episode #01 Staff:
Storyboards, Director: Mitsue Yamazaki
Animation Directors: Yuka Kudo, Miki Takihara
Chief Animation Director: Ai Kikuchi
Thank god, Doga Kobo!! They back with their cute/comedy show with a weird theme (or not so much) that everyone loves. With Dumbbell Nan-Kilo Moteru? we have a protagonist that is a little overweighted and in way of losing it she enters a major gym full of grotesque muscular guys popping iron. She ends up encounter an actually very fit colleague that at the complete opposite side she’s loves training and mainly muscles…
With scenes like Mitani‘s character animation and Yuki Sato almost motivational intense training cuts, you’ll surely fall in love for this show. The over the top character expressions is one thing that I really missed from DK last season, in this first episode this surely delivered. Plus, as always the opening is really well directed and catchy if this won’t make you go training what will… And the training scenes are actually well explained, it feels like I’m learning again how to do certain exercises.
Episode #01 Staff:
Storyboards: Yuki Yase
Director: Yuki Yase
Animation Directors: Hideyuki Morioka, Riki Matsuura, Yoshio Kozakai, Mayu Fujimoto, Orie Tanaka, Kazuhiro Miwa
Assistant Animation Director: Tominaga Kazuhito
What to say about Fire Force… if the trailers previously displayed didn’t convinced you, this first episode will surely do it. Or better saying the first few seconds will convince you, right of the bat Hiroyuki Ookaji gives you a taste for what is about to come with a short sprinkled fire FX animation.
Not only the animation but the setting displayed by amazing layouts and background art offered a quite unique experience throughout the episode. Although the original material source being seemly weak (i cannot talk about it since I ain’t read it) Yuki Yase direction manages to highlight some important plot points in a way that most suits this adaptation, with some short flashbacks and well composed black and white shots portraying a somewhat dark past.
Needless to say that FF ace animator Kazuhiro Miwa was the main highlight of the episode, with an impressive dynamic movimented scene with a 3DCG background that made me jump off the chair screaming, as well the finishing blow at the end fight and many more impressive sequences throughout the episode.
The opening sequence was a pleasure to watch too, if I said that it was non-stop sakuga I wouldn’t be exaggerating, with some animators already embarked in this project with some guest appearances. On the other side, the ending time was simply a huge displaying of well carefully drawn characters and scenarios by Taiki Konno.
Episode #892 Staff:
Director: Tatsuya Nagamine
Animation Director: Midori Matsuda
I wanted to bring just the new seasonal anime coming out this summer but is impossible not to talk about how awesome Wano arc is looking. The new change on the main staff of One Piece, surely did miracles, new character designer Midori Matsuda more close of Oda’s designs and series director Tatsuya Nagamine influence on the lines, photography levels and other aspects that we bring from his previous works like film Z and mostly Broly, are giving OP a particular look that it never had, we fans surely appreciate.
Starting from the opening which was packed with talented animators like one of the guests Takashi Kojima with Luffy struggling to release himself, Yoshihiko Umakoshi with his signature eye shots and the like of extremely talented young Chinese animator Yong-Ce Tu that did plenty of cuts on this OP plus a couple more on the actual episode. Also, Tetsuro Tsuyuki impact frames were a treat to see.
Talking of talented animators the guest animator Takashi Kojima that isn’t strange to OP did the highlight of the episode, which was Zoro’s filler sequence against the Wano samurais, the choreography is something else, with movements and camera angles really uniques.
Throughout the episode, as I mentioned previously we could see the influence of Nagamine, in many shots that we weren’t use to see in OP like Zoro’s eye close-ups and some filler scenes that Nagamine perfectly fitted in a way that even manga readers that already ahead of the plot can understand the scenes even better when they read it.
Katsute Kami Datta Kemono-tachi e #01
— Evandro ペドロ (@evandro_pedro96) July 4, 2019
Series to keep an eye on:
Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo. or “O Maidens in Your Savage Season” (i hate this title!) suit coming of age/romance/drama of the season, with honest writing by Mary Okada and Masahiro Andou direction. If the plot doesn’t win you over, Kaori Ishii‘s sweat designs might do it.
Lord El-Melloi II Sei no Jikenbo: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note or just “The Case Files of Lord El-Melloi II” is an adaptation of a the novel with the same name by TROYCA which follows Waver Velvet from Fate/Zero, you may call it a spin-off or whatever you like since there are so many plot lines in Fate that I won’t condemn for not remember half of them. Of all Fate spin-off, this one may be the one that I’m most interested in, not so by the main character but by the opportunity of knowing more about Fate’s world magic “hierarchy” and its peculiarities.
I’ll be honest that Katsute Kami Datta Kemono-tachi e was completely off my radar until I saw some scenes on booru’s, the plot itself doesn’t seem much special but the character designs are actually compelling and the actions scenes are supremely good at most part. Although, for time mater I might wait until it airs completely and watch it all together.
You might be thinking, how does it that Vinland Saga isn’t one of your highlights? That’s because… mhm… I really liked the 3 episodes premiere but I don’t feel like to immerse myself completely on this show with overhyping it to then disappoint me. So, yes I’ll be watching it but I won’t do much “noise” about it.
Thank you for reading! 🙂
I don’t want to brag or nothin’, but I literally made a “fire” (炎) compilation. pic.twitter.com/oA7qHhL46H
— Evandro ペドロ (@evandro_pedro96) July 6, 2019