Nothing much caught my attention for the Spring 2011 season, except for Dog Days. Who knows, I may end up hearing something good about another show and end up picking that up, but at the moment my only Spring 2011 show is Dog Days.
Dog Days is set in a fantasy world where wars are fought in a very unconventional way - obsticale courses. No one dies and the result is respected by both sides. Currently, the nations of Biscotti and Galette are at war with each other, and Biscotti are loosing. Therefore, Biscotti's princess, Millhiore, summons a hero to come and fight.
My first impression is that this is quite a fun, if a bit silly, show. It seems to be a bit of a cross between Utawarerumono (due to wars and animal-people), Nanoha (use of excessive magic) and Takeshi's Castle (obstacle courses). As I enjoy all three, hopefully Dog Days will be a good watch!
The opening introduces the main cast of characters and shows most of them in battle. The song is Scarlet Night, as sung by the famous Nana Mizuki, who has sung the openings for many other anime series. The song is really good and fits the opening animation well, but I can't help but think that the opening sequence itself could have tried something different rather than just showing battle scenes and short clips of each character.
Of the Winter 2011 season, Fractale is the show i'm looking forward to the most. It is set in the future where a system known as the Fractale System has been implemented to make life easier for everyone. Indeed, there are no wars now and people are able to relax. However, one day our protagonist Clain comes across a girl (Phryne) who is being perused by unknown attackers. He hides her and is given a pendant from her before she disappears. Later on, he is able to unlock the pendant and another girl appears. Clain sets out with the girl to find Phryne and discover the secrets of the Fractale System.
As I mentioned in my Winter 2011 preview, this is perhaps not the most riveting description of an anime i've written but I am intrigued by the sense of mystery behind the Fractale System, how was it established, what does it do and why is it about to collapse?
The opening song is ハリネズミ (Harinezumi, Hedgehog) and is sung by 吾妻仁美 (Azuma Hitomi). I've not come across this singer before but the vocals and backing track fit the SciFi theming of the anime well. The opening animation consists of various fractals, unsurprising considering the title of the anime but I think that something more visually appealing and interesting could have been done.
Asobi ni Iku yo! (あそびにいくヨ! / Lets go and play!) is the anime adaptation of a light novel of the same name. One day 16 year old high school student Kio is introduced to Eris, a self proclaimed alien. However, Eris isn't an alien in the traditional sense - she's got cat eats (), a tail and is fluent in Japanese! However, her status as an alien quickly attracts the attention of many factions and organisations who seek to capture her - it's up to Kio to help protect her. The animation is quite impressive and does a good job of showing off the beautiful island of Okinawa.
The opening song is Now loading..SKY!! by Sphere. The opening itself is pretty standard, showing off most of the main characters and the music fits this. In other words, it's nothing special but it will suffice.
The Angel Beats! anime has a fair amount of music associated with it - mostly thanks to the band 'Girls Dead Monster' within the series itself. The band had two vocalists, Iwasawa and Yui. When performing, their character voices where not used. Instead, professional artists sung the songs. Iwasawa's vocalist was marina and Yui's was LiSA.
My Soul, Your Beats! / Brave Song (Opening and Ending)
The opening song, My Soul, Your Beats!, was sung by Lia who has also sung other songs for other Key production - such as Air's opening theme - 鳥の歌 (tori no uta, Bird's Song). The opening is extremely upbeat, however the extended version is somewhat lacking in variety. The ending song, Brave Song, was sung by 多田葵 (Tada Aoi). Unlike the opening, Brave Song is much calmer. The combination of an upbeat opening and a calm ending suits the series perfectly. Both songs where released on an album which was creatively entitled My Soul, Your Beats! / Brave Song.
Girls Dead Monster released 4 CDs, in order of release they are;
Contains the songs Crow Song, Alchemy and My Song. All of these featured within the anime itself and where sung by Iwasawa/marina. My Song is very different to the other two as it is a ballad. marina is able to sing all of the songs perfectly and this is my favourite Girls Dead Monster album.
Contains the songs Thousand Enemies, Rain Song and Highest Life. Thousand Enemies features in the anime and was the first song that Yui sang. LiSA is a good vocalist, but I prefer Iwasawa/marina slightly more.
Contains the songs Little Braver, Shine Days and Answer Song. I felt that these songs where better than the ones on Thousand Enemies but still not as good as the ones on Crow Song by Iwasawa/marina.
This CD was released shortly after the end of the series and contains a mix of songs. It includes Yui versions of Iwasawa's songs, Girls Dead Monster versions of the opening and ending songs and 4 new songs - 23:50, Run with Wolves, Morning Dreamer and 一番の宝物 (ichiban no takaramono, My Most Precious Treasure). The first 3 songs are nothing special, just your standard Yui/LiSA songs. However, 一番の宝物 is a truly beautiful song which played over the end of Episode 10 ([spoiler]Yui's disappearance episode[/spoiler]). Unfortunately, I felt that the Yui version of My Song wasn't as good as the original version - it changed it from a beautiful ballad to a rock ballad. While it is still a fairly good song I much prefer the original version, especially considering the context within which it was sung.
The OST release totals 47 tracks (including the opening and ending songs), it was great to hear the full versions of them and there are a couple that I don't actually remember featuring in the series. Fans of the song 一番の宝物 (ichiban no takaramono, My Most Precious Treasure) will be pleased to hear that a background music version and one sung by karuta are present. Both are beautiful pieces of music that I really like listening to. The music which first featured in PV6 is also present on OST release - theme of SSS, not Angelic Angel Beats as some people had called it.
Clannad (クラナド) is the anime adaptation of a visual novel of the same name. The story follows Tomoya, a 3rd year high school student who is bored with life. One day, he meets a girl called Nagisa during lunch and starts to get to know her. Tomoya agrees to help Nagisa restart the Drama Club and also starts interacting more with the general student population.
The storyline was written by Key (who have written many other visual novel titles and most recently wrote the storyline for Angel Beats!). Therefore, we can expect to have an outstanding storyline which will bounce us between happy and sad moments. Based on the initial storyline i'm not expecting much action, so this should be a nice relaxing series to watch.
The song used in the opening is メグメル ～cuckool mix 2007～ (megumeru ～cuckool mix 2007～) by eufonius. It starts off slowly, but soon builds up a nice speed and overall, is quite a nice song. The opening itself starts by showing a snowy scene, followed by a quick preview of each of the main characters (with the exception of Tomoya). The animation is both detailed and fluid, I hope this quality of animation continues through into the series itself.