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Old 2008-07-06, 12:56   Link #81
kenshinvn
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I’m a big fan of Someday’s Dreamers in particular and of Slice-of-Life anime in general. When the title of this anime catched my eyes, I nearly jumped as it reminded me about the time when I spent my student time with SD. I hardly wait to watch this anime in order to know whether it can bring me such a great joy as SD did.

And I can say that I’m being disappointed a little bit. I must admit that I’m not a huge fan of Beck’s style, but somehow for Beck theme I think that the style did fit very well. However, this style together with rich ‘technology’ background, as to my personal point of view, did blew away the theme of this story. I was totally in love with 2D, water-colour background of J.C.Staff in SD, which brought a story of magic blending with lesson and sadness in a very 'art' way of drawing. I watched SD like I could feel the characters’ feeling, like I breathed with them. In ‘Natsu no Sora’, I can’t. The film is too ‘rich’ and modern for country side atmosphere that I can’t enjoy the peacefulness in there. My first impression towards the film that it is overdone by using too much colour and technique, while it can be much better like a sketch. I hope when the story begins in Tokyo, this feeling is gone.

Music is good. I especially like the ED song. The background music in scene of Sora’s friend and the boy moved me, like a folk melody. I really like Michiru’s saying of Akiko wheat comparing with her feeling. It’s so lovely. That scene is the only one I can enjoy, sad to say so.

Anyway, I continue to watch. I want to know how the story goes and what kind of magic (spell) they will use.
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Old 2008-07-06, 13:28   Link #82
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Watched the first episode.

It was SUCH a relaxing experience watching this. Despite what others might say, I'm following this for sure.

The first thing I noticed were the GORGEOUS backgrounds used. Are these really real-life scenes? Because they still had a slight "animated" look to them, so I'm not entirely sure they are ripped straight from real-life instead of being superb animation. Of course, this does contrast A LOT with the 90s animation used for the characters, and I can see why there are some who can't get used to that.

I could get used to it though, and once I did that, I found that Suzuki Sora for her own part is such a wonderful character. She gives off the vibe of a very cute, very real young girl with believable flaws, and already I'm liking her better than I did Kikuchi Yume from the first series. And considering I didn't exactly dislike Yume watching the first series, that's saying a lot. Who's doing the voice work for Sora by the way?

I'll start blogging on this, and I'll have an article up hopefully tomorrow.
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Old 2008-07-06, 15:11   Link #83
Kaoru Chujo
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Originally Posted by Ascaloth View Post
...Who's doing the voice work for Sora by the way?....
Hanazawa Kana (Sora in Sketchbook, Shiika in Mushiuta, Ryouko in Zegapain, etc.)

Kafka says "I’m also not too sold on Sora’s VA; what is it with the Japanese and their love for squeaky, childish, grating voices? It's neither cute, nor attractive, nor believable; what it is is annoying. This is why rarely do I like Japanese dubs nowadays." I guess I can understand that reaction, but this show is made for Japanese ears, like all anime. They do listen to their own language being spoken a lot more than outsiders do, so perhaps they have a better idea of what sounds good in it.

I think Sora sounds terrific, and is far from the realm of "grating" that some voices enter even for me (e.g., Kaneda Tomoko and Arai Satomi, sometimes). For me, Hanazawa Kana has one of the most moe voices in anime, when she is trying to be moe. But she is controlling that aspect here, I think, to create a normal Japanese girl.

I can also understand kenshinvn's resistance to the new look. I loved the look of Someday's Dreamers. But a new studio is better to do something different, rather than trying to compete with J.C. Staff on their own ground. It's working for me. But then again, I have liked everything this director has done, including Paradise Kiss.
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Old 2008-07-06, 16:51   Link #84
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Great opening song but I just couldn't get into it and found it a bit boring. The crappy animation didn't help although the backgrounds had a nice feel due to them being photographs that had being slightly edited which i have no problem with. However the characters sucked and you could tell what which were the drawn parts. The movement was not fluid enough and the contrast between the sharp feeling of the backgrounds and the poor drawings was too great to work. Unsure whether to give it another episode in hope the story comes good and put aside the awkward animation.
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Old 2008-07-06, 20:58   Link #85
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I did browse through the thread, but I didn't get exactly the answer I wanted. So basically, do I have to watch the first adaptation to "get" the second? My inkling is no, but you can't be too sure.
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Old 2008-07-06, 21:03   Link #86
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Well, they deal with different stories... so technically you don't. However, keep in mind that the style of the JC adaptation is very, very different to Hal's (at least looking at the first episode of this season).

I'd still recommend it to everyone, though.
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Old 2008-07-06, 21:10   Link #87
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Originally Posted by KholdStare
So basically, do I have to watch the first adaptation to "get" the second? My inkling is no, but you can't be too sure.
I don't think so. The only link I see so far is the underlying principle that magic and mages exist, and that there is a whole infrastructure of training and licensing designed to put magic to work for our common benefit. Some people are gifted pianists and go to conservatories; here some people are gifted mages and go to a training academy. The original show seemed a bit "grittier" than this one as I recall, but it's too early to know where this might go.

That said, I didn't find the juxtaposition of drawings and photorealistic backgrounds particulary annoying. If anything, I'm a bit more concerned about the pacing. It's been quite a while since I watched Somedays' Dreamers, but the pace in that show seemed a bit less laconic than in Mahou Tsukai. That said, I thought the snow scene was quite lovely, both visually and emotionally. If we get more scenes like that, I'll continue to watch.

I'll be skipping over the Engrish OP in the future; the ED was okay though nothing special. I can't say I recall anything about the background score so far, but I was paying more attention to the plot and characterization. I'll listen more closely to the score as we progress.
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Old 2008-07-06, 21:26   Link #88
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I can't say I recall anything about the background score so far
That's no surprise, as there were only three songs throughout the whole episode. Very, very sparse usage of music, which I believe fitted the mood of the series perfectly.
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Old 2008-07-06, 21:59   Link #89
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In all honesty, most asian women I come in contact with are 'squeakier' than Sora, so I don't see that particular strike against her VA. If anything, her VA sounds too normal, so much so that I don't think I'll remember this performance in a year or so. And that's saying something considering I've been the biggest fan of Hanazawa ever since Kaminagi Ryouko, who IMO is still the most moe girl of this decade at least.
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Old 2008-07-06, 22:13   Link #90
Kaoru Chujo
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Originally Posted by DragoonKain3 View Post
...If anything, her VA sounds too normal, so much so that I don't think I'll remember this performance in a year or so. And that's saying something considering I've been the biggest fan of Hanazawa ever since Kaminagi Ryouko, who IMO is still the most moe girl of this decade at least.
I'm not complaining yet, but I know exactly what you're saying. Clearly, Hanazawa-san is trying to tone down the voice that is so extremely moe. I think it's reasonable to make Sora less extreme than, say, Shiika or the other Sora, but I like that extreme voice.

This reminds me of what happened to Saitou Chiwa at a certain point. I believe she tried to make her wonderful voice less unique -- in order to play more roles, I guess. And now I don't find her as interesting to listen to as I did in either Tsukuyomi or PaniPoni.

Not being Japanese, perhaps I'm missing something, but this is how I feel.
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Old 2008-07-06, 22:28   Link #91
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Thanks for the response guys, I was just making sure that I didn't enter a second season or something. So far, the responses seem to be either good or bad, not really neutral, and I tend to like those kinds of series. I'll give it a try.
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Old 2008-07-07, 02:47   Link #92
SuperKnuckles
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Originally Posted by DragoonKain3 View Post
In all honesty, most asian women I come in contact with are 'squeakier' than Sora, so I don't see that particular strike against her VA. If anything, her VA sounds too normal, so much so that I don't think I'll remember this performance in a year or so. And that's saying something considering I've been the biggest fan of Hanazawa ever since Kaminagi Ryouko, who IMO is still the most moe girl of this decade at least.
I don't know which types of asian girls you come into contact with, but most girls definitely are not that squeaky. Even if they are, that's in the little-girl range.

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Slice of life != Real life. Can we please get that stupid idea out of the way? Aria is the epitome of a slice of life show and it has a frigging cat that's as smart as your average human.

(Besides, the show is called "The important things for mages").
Okay, do not try to patronize me here. I know the premise of the mages is important to the series (roll eyes + DUH), but I just think the way it's shown is just a bit off the cuff. You really can't compare most shows to Aria since that show did it so flawlessly and without putting the sci-fi stuff to the forefront too much. It appears to me that the world is basically 100% normal + the mages in this series. I just don't see how effective that is to the story yet.

Also, I'm probably the biggest slice of life fan I know, but the truly great slice of life shows tends to revolve around comedy, drama, romance and etc. This show was pretty straight run of the mill so far. And from the conflicting opinions regarding the first series, I don't know if I have too much faith in the storytelling department.

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I found this slide show of modified photo backgrounds very distracting from the story. Some will say "it's art". The ever-cynical SoL says: The archive they had simply wasn't compiled with the thought in mind that they should be useful as backgrounds for an anime.

Things will surely change optically once we're in the big city and hopefully for the better. This is one of the rare cases where I might drop a show because of the visual component".

I hope this won't become the new trend to reduce costs, seeing that Antique Bakery does something very similar (though with more skill IMHO).
The problem, IMO, is that it's barely even modified. And just about all the other rotoscoping techniques I've seen even in American animation is leaps and bounds over this one. I mean to me, it's great when they use it, but you have to put it appropriately with the action and the context of each scene. I think it isn't helped by the horrendous character animation. I mean, that dog looked epileptic.
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Old 2008-07-07, 04:23   Link #93
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It appears to me that the world is basically 100% normal + the mages in this series.
That was the foundation of the first series.

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Also, I'm probably the biggest slice of life fan I know, but the truly great slice of life shows tends to revolve around comedy, drama, romance and etc. .
"Slice of Life" is a terribly vague term. My memory is also vague but if I recall correctly, in the first MTTK we had episodes with a clear plot structure and most importantly a resolution. So I wouldn't classify it as Slice of Life at all. The jury is still out on this one of course but we already had a mini-plot (confessing girl #1234567) and the start of an overarching plot (lil' country girl goes into the big city).

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The problem, IMO, is that it's barely even modified.
Well, whatever buttons in photoshop were clicked in whatever order, maybe we can agree that the backgrounds were too overwhelming. I watched the episode thinking stuff like "Oh what a beautiful tree. Wait, what did that pale little blob just say about her father?"

I'm hesitant to classify this as animation at all though I can understand that people find the visuals relaxing.
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Old 2008-07-07, 04:53   Link #94
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"Slice of Life" is a terribly vague term. My memory is also vague but if I recall correctly, in the first MTTK we had episodes with a clear plot structure and most importantly a resolution. So I wouldn't classify it as Slice of Life at all. The jury is still out on this one of course but we already had a mini-plot (confessing girl #1234567) and the start of an overarching plot (lil' country girl goes into the big city).
I tend to classify slice of life as anything that slows things down in order to show the more mundane side of life. Even if it's sci-fi, romance or comedy, if it concentrates on the simpler things in life, unlike most anime which is more focused on story continuation or episodic content based on the supernatural/specific idea it centers around (like sports anime. Most sports anime have a definite slice of life feel to them. But they are centered around sports, so that's the genre specification there). From what I've seen of this series and understand about it, that's what it definitely is. I mean the first episode was just about a girl transferring out of Hokkaido and giving her friend a hand in a normal romantic situation (albeit she used magic for it). Anime news network seems to agree with that kind of specification too. I mean, there's a good reason why people keep referring to Azumanga Daioh as a slice of life show even if it's definitely a comedy too, because its entire premise stems from such daily, mundane things that has albeit gone comedically wrong.


Quote:
Well, whatever buttons in photoshop were clicked in whatever order, maybe we can agree that the backgrounds were too overwhelming. I watched the episode thinking stuff like "Oh what a beautiful tree. Wait, what did that pale little blob just say about her father?"

I'm hesitant to classify this as animation at all though I can understand that people find the visuals relaxing.
I agree. If it's to rotoscope, it should have a general sense of movement to be classified as an actual animation. Even if it's that weird Keanu Reeves animation in Scanner Darkly, at least it was actually animated by a staff of animators and it was focused on the movement and manipulation of animation-fied real life graphics. With this, it's like they put rotoscope and slapped lousy animation on top. No real 'vision' with it. Definitely not something like 5cm per second.
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Old 2008-07-07, 05:33   Link #95
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Trying to precisely define slice-of-life is really tough though. I mean, you could put ARIA to that definition, and well say that it stopped being slice-of-life about half way through its final series, arguably even before that.

Ep 1

It feels like a lifetime ago since I watched Someday's Dreamer, (and in a lot of ways, it was). I remember that, when I finished it, I was rather indifferent to it for some reason. Part of it, I think, was that it'd been hyped up by the time I got around to see it, and I just don't think I got quite what I expected. I'll probably see it in a much different light if I ever watched it again. I'm a lot different a person now than I was back then.

But this was great. As far as Osamu Kobayashi is concerned, I loved BECK, but thought Paradise Kiss was a big disappointment, and it really fizzled in the end. I think he's a capable director on his day, but I have a suspicion that he's more suited to a certain type of story, and that's whatever Paradise Kiss wasn't. Maybe it's coming-of-age stories, which is what BECK was, and what I largely suspect this will be (almost always good territory for this brand of anime). But, never mind Kobayashi, this being a HAL Film Maker anime is awesome... almost everything they've touched recently has turned to gold. Especially their slice-of-life pieces (whether this is one is still open to debate).

I thought they did an outstanding job with the laid-back country atmosphere and the artistic photographed backgrounds. Yes, arguably it jars with the 2D character art (which is rather lacking in detail, unfortunately), but the shots have been so well chosen and can be appreciated on their own. There's almost a Shinkai-esque rhythm to the way some of the scenes have been paced as well. It resembles some of the earlier parts of his films where the characters really take time to dwell on the little, meaningless conversations, which do a great job of painting and exhibiting the states of relationships between characters. They're interesting characters as well, particularly Sora, but certainly, we don't know much about them at this stage. Also, just to clarify something:
Spoiler:


I'm looking forward to this one. Hidamari Sketch fills my quota for a more manic type of slice-of-life (they way only Hidamari Sketch could), but this is something much more relaxing. This has potential, especially in the hands of HAL Film Maker.
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Old 2008-07-07, 05:47   Link #96
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Well, having seen episode one I thought it looked wonderful. Whether they'd just run pictures through a photoshop filter or done more hand tweaking than that I don't really care, I was really taken with the look of it.

(if Kyoani had done something like this, the Japanese countryside would be full of otaku stomping around with cameras trying to find the exact same spots!)
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Old 2008-07-07, 06:32   Link #97
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Trying to precisely define slice-of-life is really tough though. I mean, you could put ARIA to that definition, and well say that it stopped being slice-of-life about half way through its final series, arguably even before that.
I have to disagree a bit because they still haven't lost the touch of slowing things down up to at least episode 10. And they went 50+ episodes and most were still very slice of life, if at the least, episodic content plus the slice of life aspect. I really have to disagree that slice of life anime is all that ambiguous. Want ambiguous? How about 'shonen' titles? Or shoujo? I think slice of life is a very specific aspect of anime in terms of their focus, unlike the other amalgam genres out there that base its identity from its target audience (which also is becoming ambiguous). That said, I do think it's impossible to tag an anime *only* as slice of life. Because they all aim for something. I guess unless it is truly wishy washy in their 'slife of life'ness like Binbou Shimai Monogatari.

The thing with slice of life is that it tends to be tagged alongside the other genre aspect as well. Again, I think Anime News Network has it right if they're saying Azumanga was a Comedy + Slice of Life. That was EXACTLY what it was.

Quote:
But, never mind Kobayashi, this being a HAL Film Maker anime is awesome... almost everything they've touched recently has turned to gold. Especially their slice-of-life pieces (whether this is one is still open to debate).
Didn't you just answer your own question? Because a lot of HAL Film Maker anime as of the last few years were mostly slice of life style affair. Especially with Somebody's Dreamers, that will most indefinitely continue. Unless Sora goes nuts and has superheroine suits and powers like with a certain girl in Mission E (Code E's sequel, Code E was obviously almost 100% slice of life. In Mission E, it looks totally the opposite).

Also, BECAUSE HAL made this show, I'm sort of dejected. The original wasn't that interesting to pique my interest and so far, it's just touch and go with this one. I always had reservations about HAL picking it up because I didn't think they'd be able to raise the dead and make it sparkle and at least from episode 1, that fear hasn't gone away. Actually it reinforced it. This could be HAL's first semi-flop in a while. Or maybe not 'flop' but something that won't be as universally appealing as Sketchbook or Aria has been.
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Old 2008-07-07, 06:54   Link #98
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Also, just to clarify something:
Spoiler:
Spoiler:
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Old 2008-07-07, 07:22   Link #99
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Spoiler:
I hate the fact that you can't avoid a spoiler if you quote it.

Anyway, I thought that from the fact that her mother couldn't face the right direction to wave goodbye. It did seem a strange action if she was blind since she'd at least be able to hear which direction they were headed in. I guess she's just eccentric (or emotional).
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I have to disagree a bit because they still haven't lost the touch of slowing things down up to at least episode 10. And they went 50+ episodes and most were still very slice of life, if at the least, episodic content plus the slice of life aspect. I really have to disagree that slice of life anime is all that ambiguous. Want ambiguous? How about 'shonen' titles? Or shoujo? I think slice of life is a very specific aspect of anime in terms of their focus, unlike the other amalgam genres out there that base its identity from its target audience (which also is becoming ambiguous). That said, I do think it's impossible to tag an anime *only* as slice of life. Because they all aim for something. I guess unless it is truly wishy washy in their 'slife of life'ness like Binbou Shimai Monogatari.

The thing with slice of life is that it tends to be tagged alongside the other genre aspect as well. Again, I think Anime News Network has it right if they're saying Azumanga was a Comedy + Slice of Life. That was EXACTLY what it was.
Certainly, genre labels will always be ambiguous. We're talking about in terms of relatives now, I've no argument that "shounen" and "shoujo" are far more ambiguous than other genre categories, and it wouldn't surprise me if the distinction became antiquated in ten years time.

I was about to object to determining genre by characteristics rather than by definition, but then I realized that we all do this, at least on a subconscious level, so I'm going to stop now. The line between "slice-of-life" and "character-driven drama" is so fine anyway, that half the time it's not really all that worth considering.

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Didn't you just answer your own question? Because a lot of HAL Film Maker anime as of the last few years were mostly slice of life style affair. Especially with Somebody's Dreamers, that will most indefinitely continue. Unless Sora goes nuts and has superheroine suits and powers like with a certain girl in Mission E (Code E's sequel, Code E was obviously almost 100% slice of life. In Mission E, it looks totally the opposite).
I wouldn't call Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokura-chan or Yotsunoha slice-of-life. Most of what they do is slice-of-life, but not all.
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Old 2008-07-07, 07:25   Link #100
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Dokuro-chan, obviously not.

Yotsunoha came close, but in its short length, I don't know what to make of it other than a drama with slice-of-life ambitions. Just too short.
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