First Impressions: Stella no Mahou

Stella no Mahou, Magic of Stella in English, is originally a yonkoma manga (see cover of the second volume to the right). It’s about a small group of high school girls who make indie games. Two have already worked on one game, but the main character, Honda Tamaki, is a newbie. She joins the SNS部 to fill the position of an artist, even though she is a little rusty at drawing and can’t draw digitally at all. It seems like the anime will depict their journey through making a new game together. It’s a pretty simple story with a clear goal.

Unfortunately I haven’t read the original manga, but I feel like the adaptation is a lot smoother than what I would expect from a yonkoma one. The episodes aren’t cut into smaller segments, but flow naturally.

So far, not much has happened. (Though I should have expected that. It is a slice-of-life anime after all.) Meaning we have been introduced into the story and gotten to know the main characters. I wouldn’t say they’re too inventive, but they’re not cookie cutter either.

The main character, Honda Tamaki aka Tama-chan, is from the outskirts… so far out it’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Not only is she a baby among the other club members, who are a year older and have worked on a game before, she’s also immature compared to her best friend Yumine. But Yumine is a pretty bad pervert, who sees sexual undertones everywhere (yaoi goggles). Tama-chan’s drawing style is influenced by old anime. Her quirk is a penchant for older men.

The president of SNS部 is Murakami Shiina, the programmer. She appears cold and like she has no sense of humor, but she’s actually nice, just responsible.

The writer is Seki Ayame. She is pretty irresponsible and her writing is always overdue. She also reads game dialogues out loud to herself… to improve her writing of course.

Then there is the sound engineer, Fujikawa Kayo. And that’s it for the club.

The story is a regular cute girls making a game. Nothing to see here.

As for the animation: as you can see from Tama-chan’s character design, the style is a bit rounder than today’s anime. The backgrounds are pretty. It doesn’t really stand out, but it’s above average.

Overall, Stella no Mahou is a tiny bit better than average. I’ll keep watching this, so there will be more in my Backlog… one day. The OP and ED are worth a watch too!

By the way, I have already finished some anime this week, so get ready for Backlog #13 this Sunday.

First Impressions: Room Mate

Room Mate is a shorts series related to One Room which aired last season. When I reviewed One Room in Backlog: Week 10, I wrote:

The main character, you, interacts with three girls one after another. Everything is from his/your POV and you only hear one side of the conversation, the girl’s of course. The animation is nice, but the plot is very simple — it’s just like every other visual novel. All the girls like him/you. Boring really, but the girls are cute.

I was expecting Room Mate to be just like that, but with bishounen. What is my opinion after the first three episodes? Spoiler warning! Continue reading

First Impressions: Frame Arms Girl

First of this season’s first impressions is here. It’s Frame Arms Girl, an anime that’s basically an advertisement for Kotobukiya’s Frame Arms Girl model kit line. I will spoil the whole episode, so read after watching, please.

Ao opens a package that arrives at her doorstep. Inside the package is Gōrai, a Frame Arms Girl: a small robot capable of independent movement. Gōrai is a newly-developed prototype: a Frame Arms Girl equipped with an “Artificial Self,” an advanced AI that gives her a personality.

The anime will focus on Gōrai, the first model released for the line, as well as Stylet and Baselard.

The main human character, Ao, who lives alone, because her parents are overseas for work, receives a package with Gōrai. It turns out that the developers of Frame Arms Girls sent them out to various people to test-drive them. Ao is the only one who activated her doll though, so she makes up for 100% of the data. She is new to the model kit world and not particularly interested in dolls. But if she collects enough data, she will get paid. *kachink* That’s roughly the first half of the episode. Continue reading

First Impressions: My Neighbor Seki

Tonari_no_Seki-kun_mangaSeveral months ago we bought the first volume of the manga, from which this anime was adapted, in Japanese. Not that either of us can read it, but if you’ve seen a little of the anime, you’ll understand that the text isn’t that important. Anyway, when we found out that it was airing this winter, there was no doubt that we should watch it. Today I’ll be covering the first three episodes. Since they are just under 8 minutes each (including the opening and ending songs), I’ve decided I can fit them into a single post. I usually expect anime with short episodes like this to originate from yonkoma manga, but My Neighbor Seki has a regular manga structure, only with exceptionally short chapters (about 8 pages) called 1st period, 2nd period and so on. Continue reading

First Impressions: Photo Kano

This post was originally written for the FinallyAnime! group blog and published there on April 13th, 2013. Since that blog is largely inactive by now, I’ve decided to archive the post here in its entirety. The original post: http://finallyanime.com/2013/04/first-impressions-photo-kano/

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As the second episode aired on Friday, I finished my first impressions a little late. Nevertheless, cue the opening song “Koisuru Lens” (Lens of Love) and here is my take on the first episode of a series, translated as Photo Girlfriend. (Written in katakana it is フォトカノ with the ‘kano’ part taken from the first character 彼 of kanojo, a girl or girlfriend.) Continue reading

First Impressions: Red Data Girl

The first episode of Red Data Girl just aired last week, but for some reason three episodes already pre-aired for premium users on Niconico in 398p a while back. I can’t say I understand the reasoning behind this marketing move, though maybe it is to encourage people to get premium accounts… That aside, let’s look at the anime itself.

izumikoThe main heroine, Izumiko Suzuhara, has lived at Tamakura shrine, supposedly one of the Kumano shrines, her whole life. Apart from that Izumiko has an another special thing about her – the unfortunate ability to destroy every electrical device she touches. At 15 she is to enroll in Hōjō High School in Tokyo (although she would rather go to the local high school with her friends) with her guardian’s son and childhood friend Miyuki. Continue reading

First Impressions: Sakamichi no Apollon

While the first episode aired over a month ago, I have only now made time to watch Sakamichi no Apollon, also know as Kids on the Slope to non-Japanese viewers. Before watching it I read the description – the main character transfers to a new school, becomes friends with a jazz-loving classmate and music ensues. I’m not much of an audiophile, but if Kanno Youko is in charge of it, I’m sure it will be worth it. Continue reading

First Impressions: Hyouka

The first episode of Hyouka aired on April 14th. Being a Kyoto Animation project, nobody wondered whether it was going to be good or bad. There was a promotional video which introduced the four main characters and gave the viewers a taste of the visual bliss that is KyoAni. It also hinted at some romance between the main characters and towards the end summarized the main plot – Hyouka is an anime series about a classic literature club, the members of which are to investigate a 33-years-old case aided by hints from a collection of works by former members of the said club. Apart from the PV, KyoAni also released beautiful character profiles and several backgrounds.

If you can’t wait for the next episode to air, you may be interested in the original work, that the anime is adapted from. It’s a 5-volume novel by Yonezawa Honobu from the year 2001. Continue reading