Happy 21st Birthday Mr. Hans Hadiardja!
Alright, I’m stuck at work with nothing to do for a few more minutes.. (waiting for access is “fun”).
Guess I’ll start with Aoi Hana..
Some quick backgrounding:
So.. I picked this anime up when it was released. I never heard about it before, or seen any advertisements about it etc.. In fact, just then, I found out it was produced by J.C. Staff who if you know, are also the producers for popular anime titles such as Honey and Clover, Nodame Cantabile, Shakugan no Shana, Hayate the Combat Butler, Azumanga Daioh! and the list goes on..
Personally, the reason I took the anime on was because I felt like some shojo, like.. that’s about it. I saw the picture, and without reading the description, I started to watch it.. (probably because the picture reminded me of Hatsukoi Limited, which wasn’t too bad if I should say..).
Briefly, the plot:
Erm.. I’m starting to realise I’m really bad with providing plots and I’m too lazy/stubborn to copy/paste it from sites.
So in short, the anime follows a Highschool girl Fumi Manjourme and her close childhood friend Akira Okudaira (“Achan”). The anime pretty much deals with relationships and their issues – love, family, friendship etc etc.. your typical school/shojo stuff really.. I don’t know what else to say because it’ll probably end up being spoilers haha..
Oh, something else I didn’t mention – this anime’s main genre is Yuri and if you don’t know what that means, it’s Japanese for Lesbian. Funny thing was, I only realised this about 3 episodes in haha.
Because I got lazy.. here is the splatter of thoughts:
I guess I should start visually, the art was well done, and so was the animation. The anime is a laid back and light/fluffy anime. This was complemented well by the soft and light art along with the smooth animation.
Moving on to sound, honestly, there’s not much in terms of music I can remember, nothing really left an impression on me in terms of music.. I can’t even really remember the opening. But you know, the anime was still appealing to me without GREAT music. In terms of voice acting, I think it was well done and sensible, OK, what do I mean by that? Well pretty much the anime isn’t like suppose to be all cutesy and giggly etc etc, so the voice actors/actresses really kept it true to the nature of the style.. It’s hard to like explain, but put it this way – the voice acting never got annoying.
So more importantly I guess I should give a quick shout to the plot. Like I said, I had no idea the anime deals namely with yuri relationships – this makes Aoi Hana my first yuri anime. But despite knowing that, it didn’t affect the way I saw the anime or my enjoyment for it. It was still interesting, and the plot was engaging enough to “feel” for the characters involved.
However, the one thing I’m kind of disappointed in is that it was only 11 episodes. The way the anime ended seemed like it’s only like 1/3 of where the manga is up to. But I’ve been reading around – seems like there’s a popular trend lately to have animes end quickly before it gets dull, like producers don’t seem to be willing to take the risk and end up boring audience.. or perhaps they just weren’t too sure how well this anime would market – understandable though. But I would be really looking forward to the next season – otherwise I’ll need to find the manga and read it!
So if you feel like something light, fluffy and something that you can kind of (to an extent!) relate to, you should definitely give Aoi Hana a crack.
Alright, next (you still reading? lol).
H2 is another manga by my favourite mangaka, Mr. Mitsuru Adachi.. similar to his other mangas like Katsu, Miyuki, Cross game etc etc.. (Currently about to read Rough), this manga is a romantic comedy and has the central theme of sports – Baseball!! (excluding Miyuki).
It’s like 34 volumes, with about 10 chapters each, so all up about 340 chapters, around that anyway. So it’s a decent length, not too long!
So the story revolves around a high schooler Hiro who was an ace pitcher in middle school but had to stop pitching because of a diagnosed “glass elbow”. His best friend, Hideo was the middle school’s best slugger (clean-up hitter) who is dating Hiro’s childhood friend Hikari (introduced by Hiro). Because of Hiro’s disability to play baseball anymore, he purposely went to a high school which had no baseball team. However, he soon finds that the school has a baseball club, run by a cute manager – Koga. When the soccer team decides to embarass and bully the baseball club by beating them in their own game, Hiro switches teams to everyone’s surprise.
So really the story revolves around Hiro’s comeback and his progress through high school baseball and friendships/relationships.
There’s really not too much else to say – the art is similar (gets better as the years go by, this was 1992, Miyuki was 1989, so the art was better here..), styles tend to remain the same. Oh, if you notice, Hiro looks like Koh in Cross Game, and Hikari looks like Wakaba etc etc :P.
But I really like Adachi’s style and the way he tells his stories. He always keeps the readers guessing and often.. hooked.
Sometimes the story was a bit predictable, but it was still great until the very end. So far, I haven’t read an Adachi manga will a sour ending – all of them have left a good impression.
It’s a very engaging manga I think, it’s a pity that some jokes were lost in translation, but it was still great to read.
Yakyuu fans out there, this is a definite for reading 🙂
Now I’m going to go back before H2 and read Rough which is older.. hope it’ll be good!
P.s. H2 (I didn’t realise this till wayyyyyy later in the manga) stands for Hiro and Hideo 😛