Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou: Two girls are on a journey on their three-wheeled tracked vehicle through an urban landscape destroyed by war. They don’t meet anyone (and don’t see any bodies). Finding weapons is easy, finding food is not. We do not know where their journey will take them, or what they are leaving behind.
It is equal parts depressing and interesting. We were hooked by the end of the opening credits: we wanted to see what happens. It’s more of a philosophical look at the human condition and to what really matters. The character designs are quite simple, but very effective.
Just Because!: After four years, Eita’s family moves back to a suburb of Tokyo, and he will attend the tail end of high school. He meets up with his friend Haruto by chance, who just happens to attend the school that Eita is transferring in. They play a bit of baseball, while around them clubs are going about their various business, subtly interacting.
I was really impressed with the attention put in the backgrounds and scenery: a box of random junk squirreled away in a corner of an irregularly used meeting room; or a messy table with flyers about entrance exams and cram schools in the middle of the central hall. It’s things like that that make the setting really come alive, and it provides context for the characters. The story seems to be a romance and to move slowly, which is just how we like it.
Kino no Tabi – the Beautiful World: Kino is travelling (again) with her motorrad Hermes. She spends exactly three days in every ‘country’, and in the first episode, she comes to a country where murder is not prohibited by law. Along the way, she meets all kinds of characters, and the situation develops like you’d expect, but it’s a fun, slow-paced ride.
We’ve watched earlier episodes of Kino’s Travels, and we liked it quite a bit. It’s going to be an episodic “country of the week” series, but it has a really cool slow-moving vibe.
Konohana Kitan: Yuzu is brought to Kokohana-tei, a luxurious hot-spring hotel where the attendants are all fox spirits (like Yuzu). She isn’t used to being around people, so she has a lot to learn about being a good attendant. But her earnest manner sees her through!
Kokohana-tei looks a lot like the bathhouse from Spirited Away, and I guess that is no coincidence: the guests all seem to be spirits. It’s slow-moving and has cute girls, so what’s not to like?
Verdict: Oh yes.
Net-juu no Susume: Moriko quit her job and now has all the time of the world to spend on MMOs… She finds a new one to play and starts playing as Hayate, the handsome hero. Hayate quickly teams up with Lily, a healer, who helps him get started. Hayate and Lily team up a lot, and when christmas rolls along, Hayate wants to prepare a surprise for Lily.
It’s interesting to see how the game affects Moriko, and to see glimpses of the lives of the other players (some of whom are closer than Moriko knows). It’s not very action-packed, and it seems to focus more on the interpersonal aspect of MMOs rather than the game aspects. It makes for some low-adrenaline viewing.
Verdict: Yes, I guess.