13 hours well spent

November 17th, 2010 by ben Leave a reply »

This anime was the best comedy I’ve seen in quite a long while. If it weren’t for the so-so ending and the so-so intro and outro songs, Kyouran Kazoku Nikki may even have attained the unattainable SSS ranking of 11/10. However, I can only leave it with the coveted ranking of SS+ [10.5/10] because of these easily-overlookable flaws.

Everything was just so sweet, hilarious, deep, touching, and generally wonderful about this anime. While telling a sweet tale of family love juxtaposed onto a gut-busting comedic masterwork, this 26-episode story makes the audience contemplate the meaning of family and love. The sometimes heart-throbbing backstories of the characters is masterfully executed, and each story arc is tidily wrapped up in its own individual package. You heard that right — plot in a comedy anime that makes sense and makes you look forward to the next episode. Also, because of the serious undertones of Kyouran Kazoku Nikki at times, it’s potentially better than some of my old-time favorites such as Hayate no Gotoku.

I am also extremely impressed by the AWESOME complete lack of ecchiness, harem, naked women running around, et cetera. It is impossible to find a good comedy anime (or even a good plot-driven anime) that does not contain any of these offensive situations.

Perhaps what I like most about this anime, and what the main driving force behind its appeal is: the characters. For the most part, each character is deeply developed, yet not too much time is spent on character development. Each character has catchphrases or memorable characteristics that somehow make me laugh every time.

Instead of being “AHAHAHA that’s funny ok next” like other recent animes in the same genre (Sora no Otoshimono comes to mind), combines the best parts of everything (except music-wise).

The art, especially the extra linework on the noses (which usually isn’t seen because modern anime artwork often encourages very abstract noses), took an episode or two to get used to, but after that, it was absolutely brilliant. In fact, I actually love the art and animation in the opening and endings; I just dislike the songs.

I’ve watched two other very good animes recently, Elemental Gelade and Macademi Wasshoi (from the lightnovels titled Magician’s Academy). Macademi has a very interesting backstory and setting. The “balance between shinma” and the whole sci-fi thing really attracted me, along with the HUGE cast of characters. It’s also of a similar genre to Kyouran Kazoku Nikki — slice-of-life random humor magic supernatural wtf just happened omg that was awesome — but the contents are too harem-typical and non-nudity-barring. Another similarity is that the OP/ED music in both sucks. However, at least Kyouran Kazoku Nikki‘s OP has good animation. I think Macademi Wasshoi is an example of sometimes going too far overboard with randomness and “wtf” situations. However, I did enjoy it (or rather, it gave me an irresistable urge to check out the lightnovels with less nudity and awkwardness, and more action and detail and generally more of all the good parts of this anime and less of the bad parts).

Oh, I must take this opportunity to add that I still am not capable of getting past one page of a lightnovel successfully yet. I can however read mangas now. From being exposed to so much Japanese dialogue, I have no problem with vernacular, colloquial Japanese (like the text in talk bubbles in manga), but my ability level with Japanese prose approaches zero.

Elemental Gelade was also extremely enjoyable. I might even have given it an SSS if it weren’t for the dissatisfactory ending. (I guess I’m really picky about endings. In fact, I can’t think of a single anime with an ending I liked! Wow.) It takes me back to nostalgic memories of fantasy, with music by Yuki Kajiura, very reminiscent of the soundtrack from Tsubasa (also composed by her). The background music was absolutely brilliant, and the intro and outro songs were fantastic. The entire theme, pacing (which I kind of ruined watching at 4x), and tone of the anime attracts me to an unbelievable extend. I admit, the plot is rather standard-shounen, and the characters are also rather stock. However, I just inexplicably love this anime.

By the way, why can’t scriptwriters ever end animes right? Agh.

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