Spring 2014 Sports Anime Report – Week 2

Abarenbō Rikishi!! Matsutarō - episode 2 didn’t get interesting until the second half after Matsutaro had finished turning down the hard labor jobs for which his teacher had arranged interviews. We get our first encounter with sumo wrestlers in the series and a confrontation that *feels* like it will lead down Matsutaro down the path of taking up the sport, though he currently still dislikes it, particularly the combatants’ clothing.

Haikyu!! - the setup of Hinata & Kageyama’s challenge to some of the current members of the Karasuno volleyball club was entertaining and showed that the two first-years still have a lot of work to do before becoming true teammates. The good animation from the debut episode continued in the second.

Baby Steps - Ei-chan starts to apply his methodical approach to tennis after he receives a lesson from Natsu at the tennis club and gets his first thrill from using a racket. His development seems slow at the moment but there might speed up as he puts more focus into his training. Also, an affection triangle is emerging involving Ei-chan, Natsu, and Natsu’s tennis partner Takuma that will probably come to a breaking point later.

Ping Pong the Animation - there was another good match this week in a showdown between Smile and his coach. The episode also featured some imagery involving butterflies and a bit of insight into what motivates Smile to continue playing table tennis.

Overall, Matsutaro made a slight improvement over its first impression but not by much while the other three series kept steady with nice follow-ups. Ping Pong is probably my most favorite so far with Haikyu!! and Baby Steps competing for second.

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Spring 2014 Sports Anime Report – Week 1

Since there are four spring sports anime that debuted recently, I figured I would start writing about them in a weekly post. Don’t expect these to be summaries or lengthy thought pieces – just mainly my opinions on how each show is going that particular week.
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Spring Cleaning 2014 Giveaway

I’ve collected miscellaneous anime/manga/game-related items over the years as part of going to conventions and on travels abroad – stuff that I don’t really want anymore but think that other people might. Below are pictures of individual items that you can claim by either saying so in the comments or replying to me on Twitter (@calaggie).

I’m generally limiting this to those residing in North America, though I can make some exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
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A to Z Anime Reviews: D is for… Done…

Okay, maybe just a couple of books - not a whole pile.

Okay, maybe just a couple of books – not a whole pile. [pixiv]

Some of you may have noticed that there hasn’t been a review posted in the last month as part of this year’s A-to-Z anime review project – the next letter in the series would have be “D”. That’s because I really haven’t been in the mood to watch much anime lately, whether it’s a currently airing one or an older series/film, aside from group watches over Skype.

I’ve been busy with the resumption of gameplay in the Anime Studio Baseball Tournament as well as doing research for a panel about sports manga & anime that I submitted last week for Fanime in late May – I’m currently waiting for a decision to be made on that. I may end up writing some posts about sports series in the coming months while preparing to give that presentation (if it’s approved) since I’m looking at stuff from that genre anyway.
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A to Z Anime Reviews: C is for… Chibi Maruko-chan (1990 movie)

For my third alphabetical review, I picked the first Chibi Maruko-chan movie (released in 1990). If you’re not familiar with Maruko-chan, it’s a family-oriented comedy series about a lazy 3rd grader and her school & home life.

The movie goes through Maruko’s class preparing for and participating in the school sports festival and then the Christmas choir competition. At the start, the students undergo a seating rearrangement and Maruko gets put in a row with two rough boys, Ono and Sugiyama, who work well with each other but are sometimes rude to their classmates. Maruko comes to like their relationship and tries to help them stay friends when circumstances are about to separate them.

I liked Maruko’s voice (her seiyuu is TARAKO) because it reminded me a bit of the gravelly take Izumi Kitta gave when portraying Watamote‘s Tomoko. I got many of the jokes despite not really knowing about many of the characters’ backgrounds/traits coming into starting the movie. It had admirable heart that I’m sure the two TV series have as well. (Vinnie of All Geeks Considered talked a bit about it in his Golden Ani article for 1990.)

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