Crunchyroll Winter 2010 Season First Episode Round-up - Mania.com



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Crunchyroll Winter 2010 Season First Episode Round-up

A look at the first episodes of the new shows of the season - so far?

By Chris Beveridge     January 11, 2010


Hanamaru Kindergarten
© Gainax

Like kids everywhere returning to school recently, anime has returned to the airwaves in Japan as the Winter 2010 season commenced with several new shows coming out across different genres. Legal streaming of new series continues to have an ebb and flow with what comes out, but Crunchyroll has managed to land some rather solid shows this season with the potential for more to hit later on as well. Of the six shows, none have been outright bad in our opinion and there are a few with some seriously strong potential. Nothing has been an out of the park hit yet, but it's easy to see where two of them could be quite the solid and engaging shows for the season. We've taken a look at the first episodes of all of the new shows they have and have our round-up view here:

1) Cobra: The Animation

Set against the initial premise of the end of the solar system as we know it, Cobra: The Animation throws us right into the thick of things with a healthy dose of action, the kind of sexuality that’s a trademark of the series at least within the three 30th anniversary properties as well as a good bit of silly fun as well. Cobra’s still an enigma for new fans to understand, but for those who have watched any of the past shows or even just the new ones since 2008, you know exactly what you’re getting – good fun, some laughs and interesting places and characters along the way. Cobra’s going up against the Pirate Guild once again and this time we’ve got twelve episodes to flesh out a story. There’s certainly potential here and it’s got my attention to see what’s going to come next.

Mania Grade: B

Click HERE to read our full review.

2) Chu-Bra

Chu-Bra is the big fanservice series of the season and it’s one that definitely lives up to it, though it’d be nice if the characters were a fair bit older. Beyond that obviously problematic area for many, the show looks like it could be pretty fun if you don’t take it seriously and look at it as a mixture of educational anime with comedy on top of the whole friendship angle that’s pushed hard in this first episode. I wasn’t sure what to really expect with it based off of the premise put out for it but I’ll admit that I came away from it mildly charmed by it simply because it did try place real reasons for the whole bra and panty fetish, even as forced as they are. This is a series that should be light and fluffy and certainly looks to fill that role well for this season, enough so that I’m looking forward to seeing if they can keep it to this level and not sink down to the lower depths.

Mania Grade: B-

Click HERE to read our full review.

3) Durarara!!

Right now, Durarara!! is all about the potential. The show has a lot going for it – solid animation, great design and its origins with Ryohogo Narita. With twelve planned episodes, we’re likely to get the basic starting story that’s fairly self contained but with plenty of room for it to go afterwards. This opening episode starts laying down the foundations and it is really nicely done, executed well and a good mixture of style and substance, but it’s not a huge hook. It has enough of one to draw you back a second week just on the production qualities alone and the story idea has some potential to it. But it’s not an out of the park hit with this opening piece. It does leave you looking forward to next week though.

Mania Grade: B

Click HERE to read our full review.

4) Hanamaru Kindergarten

To say that I was utterly charmed by this show would be an understatement. Something about it clicks so well and made it so enjoyable that I’m tempted to chalk some of it up to being a parent myself and remembering some of these similar experiences with my kids. Gainax hits a lot of things right here – and I was particularly pleased to see fathers showing up for the entrance ceremony since you see in a lot of other shows when they show parents that it’s typically mostly women or completely women. The kids are cute without being obnoxious, there’s some exaggeration but not much as I can say I know kids very much like Anzu, Hiiragi and Koume based on what we see of them so far and the adult cast comes across as fun and earnest in the way that many young teachers are. There’s a danger of playing up the teacher/student relationship too far, but it really depends on what the goal of the series is. Right now though, it’s like these students – full of potential.

Mania Grade: B+

Click HERE to read our full review.

5) Omamori Himari

Omamori Himari manages to bring in just about every basic cliché into its first episode of the series, which is admittedly what you do see in the vast majority of shows and manga that come out. It’s what it does afterward that will really count, but right now we’re seeing everything that’s very familiar, especially to older fans. There’s a good level of execution here, there isn’t a high level of style but one that’s familiar and solid, and all the basics are in place for what would likely be a show that’ll easily get licensed at some point since it has all the hallmarks of what sells. At the same time, it is that kind of average mainstream show that almost feels like a placeholder, a manga series and an anime series that fits into an expected mold for a particular publication or a time slot where something is needed, something almost interchangeable. Hopefully as it gets moving there’ll be some hooks to make it more unique, but right now we’ve got what we’ve seen in dozens of other shows over the years and essentially of the same quality.

Mania Grade: C

Click HERE to read our full review.

6) So-ra-no-wo-to

Serving as an introductory episode, Soranowoto does a good job of having Sorami walk around, meeting up with a few key people and allowing the viewer to get a lay of the land and some of these characters personalities. The visual design is wonderful and the relaxed and atmospheric nature of it is highly addictive, making you want to immerse yourself in it even more. When combined with the beautiful music used throughout it, it feels like a place that has a distinct personality that you’d want to visit and soak up. Though the plot itself isn’t exactly here yet and it’s looking to be more about the feeling than the story so far, it’s hard to judge this all that much. But with this opening episode, Soranowoto has become the most anticipated show of the season that I’ve seen so far.

Mania Grade: B+

Click HERE to read our full review.

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