First Impressions Omnibus – Kamisama Hajimemashita, Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanoujou

[Anime-Koi] Kami-sama Hajimemashita - 01 [B06D1ECF].mkv_snapshot_09.58_[2012.10.09_04.49.01] [GotWoot]_Magi_-_01_[36529B86].mkv_snapshot_04.56_[2012.10.09_21.40.45] [rori] Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo - 01 [C026AA28].mkv_snapshot_11.35_[2012.10.10_08.16.21]

 The effort at catching up continues…

Kamisama Hajimemashita – 01

[Anime-Koi] Kami-sama Hajimemashita - 01 [B06D1ECF].mkv_snapshot_02.15_[2012.10.09_04.40.57] [Anime-Koi] Kami-sama Hajimemashita - 01 [B06D1ECF].mkv_snapshot_04.29_[2012.10.09_04.43.13] [Anime-Koi] Kami-sama Hajimemashita - 01 [B06D1ECF].mkv_snapshot_05.28_[2012.10.09_04.44.10]
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[Anime-Koi] Kami-sama Hajimemashita - 01 [B06D1ECF].mkv_snapshot_14.47_[2012.10.09_04.53.50] [Anime-Koi] Kami-sama Hajimemashita - 01 [B06D1ECF].mkv_snapshot_17.09_[2012.10.09_04.56.25] [Anime-Koi] Kami-sama Hajimemashita - 01 [B06D1ECF].mkv_snapshot_19.45_[2012.10.09_04.59.01]

Kamisama Hajimemashita certainly didn’t come into the season with a lot of fanfare, but it’s definitely a show I’d have covered sooner if it hadn’t been for the enormous backlog due to the move.  Just the presence of Daichi Akitaro (Fruits Basket, Poypoyo) would have been enough for me to give it a look, but it turns out there’s a lot of good stuff happening here.

While the art here is unquestionably shoujo, Kamisama Hajimemashita is a little more diverse than that in terms of content.  The first ep is packed with a lot of manic energy and some good comic timing, and Mein character Nanami (Mimori Suzuko, suddenly in everything) is instantly winning with her plucky, slightly panicked persona.  I also enjoyed the little temple kami Otohiko and Onikiri (Takahashi Hiroki, Atarashi Natsuyo) who provide good comic relief and a sort of Greek chorus to help move things along.  I’m not sure what role Ishida Akira’s AWOL Earth Deity Mikage will play, but the interplay between Nanami and tsundere servant Tomoe (Tachobana Shinnosuke) was very effective.  Time permitting, I’ll be checking back in.

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic – 01

[GotWoot]_Magi_-_01_[36529B86].mkv_snapshot_00.41_[2012.10.09_21.35.20] [GotWoot]_Magi_-_01_[36529B86].mkv_snapshot_04.03_[2012.10.09_21.39.52] [GotWoot]_Magi_-_01_[36529B86].mkv_snapshot_04.09_[2012.10.09_21.39.58]
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[GotWoot]_Magi_-_01_[36529B86].mkv_snapshot_13.31_[2012.10.09_21.49.31] [GotWoot]_Magi_-_01_[36529B86].mkv_snapshot_15.06_[2012.10.09_21.51.07] [GotWoot]_Magi_-_01_[36529B86].mkv_snapshot_20.11_[2012.10.09_21.57.44]
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Magi, by contrast, certainly came into the season with plenty of fanfare.  Based on a hugely popular manga, there were two Mein strikes against it – Yoshino Hiroyuki and Kaji Yuuki (who fittingly seem inseparable these days).  Neither one of these is an automatic deal-breaker for me, especially given that Yoshino is much less likely to screw op when adapting.  And with the generally positive buzz around the manga, the hype figured to be justified.

And, mostly, it is.  This is a pretty solid first episode, bright and well-animated and frequently quite amusing.  It’s funny how you can spot Shounen Sunday and Shounen Jump adaptations a mile away – there’s a real difference in outlook  between series in these two giants of shounen, and Magi definitely has the off-kilter, snarky and slightly raunchy tone Shounen Sunday’s adventure series always seem to possess.

Most of the better moments in the premiere fall to Aladdin (Ishihara Kaori), the adorable little scamp with a djinn in his flute.  Aladdin has a penchant for distorted faces and burying them between breasts, and he doesn’t differentiate between the genders when it comes to oppai, as he proves in the ep’s funniest scene.  The more conventional shounen lead role is filled by Alibaba (Yuuki), who dreams of riches and glory even as he slaves doing hard labor for pennies.  Batter that then being an actual slave, the lot of the sullen redhead Morgiana (Tomatsu Haruka) whose chains Aladdin breaks using his djinn Ugo,and who he later rescues from the killer plant digesting her in the desert. 

Many, many more characters will be joining in, voiced by what truly must be one of the most star-studded casts in a decade.  Silver-tongued Suwabe Juunichi makes an appearance as the wealthy Jamil, who takes an interest in the odd pair who take over into the desert to conquer a “dungeon”, the towers which supposedly contain unimaginable riches.  It’s clear A-1 is expecting a lot from this series, listed as two cours but a likely candidate for continuation down the line if not immediately.  I see the potential for something consistently entertaining here, maybe in the mold of Magi’s stablemate Fairy Tail.

Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojou – 01

[rori] Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo - 01 [C026AA28].mkv_snapshot_00.56_[2012.10.10_08.02.29] [rori] Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo - 01 [C026AA28].mkv_snapshot_02.36_[2012.10.10_08.05.46] [rori] Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo - 01 [C026AA28].mkv_snapshot_04.54_[2012.10.10_08.08.17]
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[rori] Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo - 01 [C026AA28].mkv_snapshot_14.53_[2012.10.10_08.20.56] [rori] Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo - 01 [C026AA28].mkv_snapshot_17.22_[2012.10.10_08.25.34] [rori] Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo - 01 [C026AA28].mkv_snapshot_18.33_[2012.10.10_08.26.45]
[rori] Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo - 01 [C026AA28].mkv_snapshot_19.23_[2012.10.10_08.27.34] [rori] Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo - 01 [C026AA28].mkv_snapshot_20.27_[2012.10.10_08.28.39] [rori] Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo - 01 [C026AA28].mkv_snapshot_20.58_[2012.10.10_08.29.10]

What’s this, two premières and no cross-dressing for Okada Mari?

Don’t worry, you know it’s coming – in this show, for sure, and the two leads in Zetsuen are sort of cross-dressing without the clothes anyway.  That aside, I can definitely say I like this better between her two new series this Fall – in fact, I’ll say I like it a helluva lot, based on the premiere.  This seems like an adaptation that might put Okada’s talents to good use, and it’ll be interesting to see how first-time director Ishizuka Atsuko (a Madhouse regular) fares.

The thing is, there’s a lot on Sakurasou that’s pretty generic.  Start with Matsuoka Yoshitsugu as the male lead, Kanda Sorata.  He’s a plain yogurt seiyuu – he’s not irritating in any way but seems to add very little to any role he plays.  He’s like flour – necessary to complete the recipe, but you don’t notice he’s in there.  And we have a very cliché setup – the “I just want a quiet life” ninth-grade boy living in a madhouse of weirdos, including the classmate who sneaks into his room, anime-freak Kamiigusa Misaki (Takamori Natsumi), the busty and pervy teacher Sengoku Chihiro (Toyoguchi Megumi), and the smooth-operator sempai Mitaka Jin (Sukarai Takahiro) and the thus-far unseen reclusive programmer Akasaka Ryuusuke (Horie Yui, her second boy role of the season).  You even have the tsundere and hard-working classmate Aoyama Nanami (Nakatsu Mariko, only her second role after Erika in GeK) crushing on the lead.

Somehow, though, this all feels pretty fresh.  There’s a lively air to everything here – the characters and the visuals are energetic and just enough off-center to make you take a second look.  There’s some exceptionally funny dialogue, loke Chihiro-sensei saying she “left respect in my father’s testicles (and setting those testicles aside…”) and Misaki-chan’s “You’re only allowed to be turned on by vegetables until middle school, you know.”  As it’s well-suited thematically to Okada the show also seems well-suited visually to JC Staff’s, warm, off-focus pastel look – there’s nothing too flashy about it, but lots of clever shots like the cats’ heads watching the hammer go back and forth.

The Mein heroine of the story is Shiina Mashiro (Kayano Ai), Chihiro’s younger cousin who moves back to Japan from England.  She’s another character who seems old hat – talented, clueless about common sense and lacking in modesty – but she expresses a strong emotional radar that spots a kindred spirit in Kanda.  He, by the way, is forced to live at Sakurasou because he refused to get rid of a white cat he’d found abandoned (and has since been joined by several others) and though this is a arts academy, he has no talent or ambition that’s openly expressed in the premiere (though the latter is hinted at), so I’m sure that’s going to be a major factor in the story going forward.  Judging by the pre-eminence of this series in Akihabara at the moment, I suspect it’s going to be a major hit and so far, I can’t say it’s unjustified.



  1. I

    You know what Magi reminded me of almost instantly:

    Teppen Toppa Gurren Lagaan

    If just seems to have the same wacky zaniness to it along with great story, characters and setting.

    On Sakurasou, I felt yeah it was generic and I'd watch expect few surprises, my expectation would be the same as say a second season of oreimo, lots of moe, ecchi and a hit miss comedy and a contrived plot for an ending. Not bad but I doubt it'll be something I care about come January.

    I haven't watched Kamisama yet, personally because I haven't had the chance but as I don't really like XXX Holic or Natsume Yuujunchou I doubt another anime about youkai and people coexisting will be of much interest to me. If it's say as funny as I find Tonari no Kaibutsu I might give it a though, advice?

  2. Hmmm – Fairy Tale was much more the vibe I got. TTGL is a considerably darker and more complex story than I expect here, though I'm not making any assumptions yet.

  3. l

    Keep up with Kamisama Hajimemashita if you can. The manga is one of my favorites. I have high hopes that the adaptation will turn out well if the first episode is anything to rely on.

  4. H

    Sakurasou no Pet no Kanojo, it seemed to me that the character really is getting to understanding that he *doesn't* want the quiet normal life. He might be saying that out loud, to his friend and Nanami, who appears to have a bit of a crush on him, but my initial impression is he's saying that because it's what they want to hear, and he instead realizes how interesting and colorful his life has gotten since moving to Sakurasou.

    To me the thing that could drag this series down more than anything is Mashiro's possible overdependence on Sorata. If it's all about him having to spend all his time waiting on her, just for some fleeting smiles and happy thoughts, it's going to get old really fast.

    And I thought that Kamisama Hajimemashita was really cute, funny, and interesting, from the really quirky random poppy song to open the show to the antics of Koutetsu and Onikiri to the tsun feelings of interest from Tomoe. And I really likes Nanami as a lead character.

  5. A

    Finally a magi impressions!

    I haven't read the manga yet, and given the hype it got, I should have remembered SAO and been more skeptical, but from episode 1 I can definitely say I find the series fun and it reminds me of a past shounen Sunday work called gash bell in a way, and for me, that's a good thing. as far as comparisons to fairy tail go, I at least hope it matches its humor, rather than the teeth grinding cheesiness that caused me to drop it(BTW I'm talking about the manga here, I never really liked the anime much)

  6. L

    Need more Parco Folgore. 😉

  7. N

    Kami-sama Hajimemashita was definitely my favorite of the shoujo adaptation premieres this season. The chemistry between the two leads is great, and I loved how the animation really delivered on subtle emotions, which helped the characters feel more complex.

    Magi was fun, and clearly a visual powerhouse. My favorite aspect was actually Ali Baba himself. I really enjoyed how balanced he was as a character. You got the feeling that he was just your average guy trying to work his way out of his class through dreams of grandeur. This was further accented when he returned to his menial labor after things started to go south, acting the role he's supposed to until he just can't take it anymore.

    Often times, you're told that characters (especially the main ones) are conflicted in some way; but in this show, I really felt that internal struggle between what he wanted to do and what society said he was supposed to do. I don't think we get that strong connection as often as we should.

    And I think what Sakurasou had going for it was that there were, albeit marginal, bits of originality to be found. I mean, first we have a guy in trouble because he adores cats, of all things. And then, each character has a certain quirk that isn't quite explored in quite the same way as most other shows of its kind. Not to mention, how many other anime have conversations about animation?

  8. L

    Animation Runner Kuromi
    Animation Runner Kuromi II

  9. L

    Decided that I'd watch every new anime coming out this month, simply because I'm jobless till November, so I gave all of these a go.

    Best (or least terrible) of theese 3 was definitely Kamisama Hajimemashita. Nothing spectacular, but didn't really have any annoying moments in it. Comedy was nothing new, but the timing and voice acting were pretty good. Will definitely catch ep 2, though the comedy will probably take a backseat to the shoujo-sappiness as this goes on, I predict.

    Magi was alright, but aside from the genie, I couldn't really laugh all that much I like that he doesn't discriminate with his groping, at least.

    Sakuwhatever was just plain bad. Annoying characters, milktoast pushover protagonist,… did I mention the characters (all of them) were extremely annoying. Seriously, the less I say about this, the better. I might give myself an aneurysm. This was even worse than Chuuniwhatever.

  10. A

    If you're going to try and sound smart by using big words, at least spell them right, please.

    Hint: it's milquetoast.

  11. S

    Sakurasou definitely one of the better premiere this season. Big plus for the character design and like Enzo said, it's really fresh. I hope that I will offer us something special, not just like other generic romcom.

  12. A

    I'm not sure but I think the temple kami's name in Kamisama Hajimemashita is Koutetsu instead of Otohiko…?

  13. t

    If the manga of Sakurasou is close to the LN then the anime does change things up a bit,and for the better.

    The couple lines you mentioned weren't in the manga for example,and while the events are similar they tend to happen differently.

    For example the meeting between the MC and shiina is much more atmospheric in the anime,the manga didn't have the sunset,sakura pedals or train going by.

    Also from having spoiled myself on wiki and other places,I'm pretty sure a few developments could end up surprising people if they stick around.

  14. A

    Your hyperlink for Suwabe Juniichi under the Magi section seems to lead to wikipedia's page for Haruka Tomatsu instead.

  15. I did that on purpose to see if anyone would catch it…

  16. b

    Magi has a good start. I'm interested to see and hear more of the characters that I grew up to listen to(Aladdin, Alibaba). Alibaba looked a bit like Gilgamesh to me. Let's hope he's a bit useful, especially seeing that dagger of his in the OP.
    Manga fans are getting restless though because this wasn't how it started and it seems we'll be hearing more from them as it goes but ehh, difference in medium and adaptation issues.

    I enjoyed Sakurasou more than I imagined.
    I disagree about Matsuoka Yoshitsugu. He seems to fit well in his roles and his enthusiasm in playing them is what I like about him. Especially here as he is pretty suited to play a tsukkomi in a whole dorm full of bokes.
    I could have sworn that Misaki is Asumi Kana; she sounded just like her.
    And it seems this is also a 2-cour show, meaning JC Staff is handling 3 2-cour shows. Pretty ambitious. There's some budget in here with those visuals that I hear people are complaining that should have gone to LB! but ehh, complaints.

  17. B

    For me, in the shoujo department between Sukitte, kamisama, and tonari I have to say the best to least:
    1) Tonari no Kaibutsu-kin
    2) Sukitte Il Na yo
    3) Kamisama Hajimemashita

    Kamisama wasn't bad, but it wasn't good. Some of the comedy were hit and miss except the part Nanami kept on saying "yada!" that made me laugh; I felt the pacing was too fast.
    As for the Pet one I haven't had time to watch it as well as Magi.
    Thanks for the post GE!

  18. a

    I'm a little worried with what Yoshino Hiroyuki is up to. It is possible he's already started to create plot holes in Magi's story – manga fan worries.

  19. B

    Watched all 3 of these today and I'd say I enjoyed them all at least somewhat. If I had to choose one as my favorite of the lot… I'd go with Sakurasou. Even though everything in it is something we've seen before the episode was executed so well that I couldn't help but be highly entertained all the way through. Magi was pretty decent too despite Kaji Yuuki's best efforts to the contrary. Kamisama may or may not end up being good, I enjoyed the first episode but in a show like this the balance between romance and comedy will be key, it will make or break the show.

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