First Impressions – Maijin Bone

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In the annals of anime fandom, no words so often unjustly doom a series as “That’s a kid’s show, right?”

Spring is finally here with the first official LIA premiere of the season (unless you count the Anime Japan Mushishi screening) and it’s a show that wasn’t prominent on my radar going on.  But there are a few interesting elements about Maijin Bone, an original digital card game tie-in.  First, it’s directed by Uda Kounosuke for Toei, and no one should ever overlook an Uda-directed “kids” series after Ginga e Kickoff.  Toei (for whom Uda directed One Piece) has plenty of money to provide a decent production, and the creative staff behind the series is spearheaded by the writer and artist of the quite respectable Eyeshield 21.  It also features One Piece and Toriko Animation Director Oonishi Ryou as A.D. and Character Designer.

Given all that, the fact that the premiere was surprisingly good is perhaps not such a surprise.  In the first place, the look of the series is extremely retro – fabulously (if you like that look, which I do) early ’90s, from the character design to the backgrounds and even the animation itself (not counting the CGI).  The plot seems pretty stock for a kids sci-fi series, but the premiere has perfect comic timing and an excellent performance from Kenn (voicing another guy who saw a UFO as a little boy) as main character Ryuujin Shougo.  I’m pretty sure it’s Kenn (and the rest of the male cast) singing the fantastically goofy ED, too.  Kenn is having a superb couple of years and is proving especially terrific at these sort of shounen roles, and he’s paired here with one of his GeK Furuya siblings, Tachibana Shinnosuke.

In sum, this is what often happens when talented and smart people get together to put on a show – the material offers nothing of distinction yet, but the execution is top-notch.  There’s a fair amount of wit if not originality in the writing, providing evidence that there’s no way Maijin Bone is going to take its story of a boy who hears strange noises coming from under a rock in his osananajimi’s garden too seriously.  One amusing twist is that Shougo lives at Hikawa Shrinea Hikawa Shrine anyway – which I did a post on a couple of weeks ago, and is the home of Sailor Mars herself.  Is that a wink to the audience or just a coincidence?

It’s way too early to know if the story and characters in Maijin Bone are going to be interesting enough to make it more than a modestly entertaining distraction, but it’s certainly off to a good start.  The concept seems generic but the show itself is distinctive, and that’s a good sign of things to come.  I’ll certainly check out a couple more episodes and while I’m certainly not expecting another Ginga e Kickoff here, I’ve long since learned that dismissing series because they include kids in their target audience can be a big, big mistake.

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  1. R

    I wonder what it says about me and the rest of the crunchyroll community down in the comments sections of all these kids shows then….ahahahaha ^^;;

    In all seriousness, I've always watched "kids'" anime shows if they looked interesting (and had a serious case of got too addicted to the actual card game and invested way too much time and money and energy and what with Vanguard) so I don't know if I'm just the odd outlier audience these things tend to pick up.

    Personally, as much as I like epic and action packed series sometimes kids' shows are fun because they're so simple and honest. Cliche as hell usually, but that in itself is pretty fun when you've just marathoned Lain and the Evangelion movies back to back XD

  2. s

    Lain and the evangelion movies huh (assuming you're referrign to death and rebirth and the end of evangelion)…dats a dangerous combination right there; a recipe for mind-spiraling disaster

  3. R

    I know. Trust me. I'm just glad I didn't decide to marathon Bokurano afterwards. Then I would've been depressed, cynical AND mind screwed.

  4. s

    hahaha you dodged a bullet right there

  5. F

    Good for you – I also agree with you on the kids series not being quickly dismissed.

  6. w

    I think we have an early candidate for best ED of the spring season.. Also, that colour palette is fantastic. Retro 90's definitely, reminds me of Medabots. Looks like I'll be sticking around to see if the content can equal the presentation.

  7. s

    "I've long since learned that dismissing series because they include kids in their target audience can be a big, big mistake."

    Hahaha Digimon Tamers was the show that taught me that valuable lesson; with chiaki konata writing the series, that pretty much shattered my conception of that series being tailored specifically for children. American animations like batman beyond and Justice league also helped with that lesson (though one can argue whether batman beyond was really meant to target an older audience; i mean that's what the executives wanted but i dont think bruce timm really followed on that)

  8. t

    it was a decent premiere.
    sure, it does seems more kids-oriented, but it didn't feel childish, annoying or something.
    I am not expecting something great here and I am not sure what the series will have to offer in further developments (after all it is based on video game isn't it?), but that's ok for now. I guess I'll stay around to check it for the time being.

  9. S

    That's why I keep following your blog Enzo. Judging from the initial description and cover of this anime, I would have just ignored it, if it not were for this post.

  10. K

    Enzo, It's actually the 'Miso Soup's' singing the ED. After a bit of research, I found that this band is actually a pseudonym for the popular band 'Radwimps'. They've released a couple of songs under this name, including 'Okan Gomen'. So it's not actually a seiyuu song.

    That being said it's highly addictive.

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