I promised myself I’d write a post today, and I did! I’m not enthusiastic about this season just yet but you never know with these things.

Natsume Yuujinchou Shi 01 – Nyanko-sensei Just got Fatter

Man, he really let himself go.

I think people are approaching this series wrong. If you’re stepping into watching Natsume Yuujinchou expecting dramatic development and all that jazz, I’m sure there’s a high chance you’ll end up disappointed with the fact that four seasons in and it’s still the same Natsume Yuujinchou. Yes, our main character has grown a bit but his worries regarding his family and friends still linger.

Blogging Natsume Yuujinchou last season to be a mistake. No, I didn’t despise it like that other Brains Base show. It’s just that recently, I’ve come to understand why I find it so enjoyable.  Natsume Yuujinchou is easy viewing. I don’t need to look for development or conflict. It’s like opening a pretty picture book. One story ends and another one begins. Natsume may not be a traveler like Ginko (Mushishi), but he does have his own journey. We’re here to watch that journey.

This episode was slightly different than the first three openers we’ve had for the previous season. We’re immediately jumping into an arc, which is quite a pleasant surprise. Last season we’ve seen how this series handles suspense and intensity, and it’s nice to see that spill over to the fourth installment. The background art is even MORE gorgeous than I remember and the animation (as usual) superb. I’m glad that this series has none of that motion blur nonsense I’ve seen in Kamisama Dolls and Mawaru Penguindrum, everything is clean and crisp.

Natsume Yuujinchou is Brains Base’s golden child. It’s not everyday you come across a series like this. If the time comes this series ends, I can see it being re-run a couple of times. It’s certainly a work that ages well, the consistency in terms of art and storytelling is laudable.

If you don’t like (or need) a slow moving series that features subtle growth, this might not be the series for you. But its definitely a show with the makings of a classic, a series you can show your kids and probably even your grandkids. Yes, there’s an issue about having too many sequels but I’d rather have another season of Natsume rather than another generic harem series with laughable censoring or a series full of mindless violence and sloppy writing. I’m not naming any shows but– come on.

Rinne no Lagrange 01 – Are you Guys Still Watching? No? Let Me Take my Clothes Off!

 Speaking of anime I’ll be showing my grandchildren…

Rinne no Lagrange ditches the annoying, spineless male lead in every mecha show and replaces him with an overly optimistic and helpful young girl. However, she’s just as soulless as your typical Shinji clone. The problem with these cheerful types is that there isn’t just enough angst to exploit. The usual flaws are either she/he is a) clumsy b) airheaded c) both. The show seems to agree, and acknowledging this Xebecs attempts to keep us interested by adding in as much fanservice as possible until the robots come in.

Speaking of robots, Inushide does a great job at bringing up some some similarities to Eva. Eva is one of my all time favorites, so it’s relatively easy to draw comparisons. The cockpits themselves resemble the Eva’s entry plug a bit. (In Madoka’s case, hers morphs into a cockpit) From the ‘field talk’, to bishounens aliens infiltrating to earth and the painfully obvious Prog Knife ripoff.

Rinne no Lagrange doesn’t stop at Eva though. The island setting and the tattoo on Madoka’s ass brings to mind last year’s Star Driver as well. The show is probably all about being derivative, but at least it knows it’s just rewriting formula. Rinne no Lagrange is nothing spectacular or groundbreaking, but it has a great sense of self awareness. If it sucks, at least it knows it sucks. The OP and ED are great though. Note that I’ve only seen the pre-air version so the quality is poor. I do want to mention that this show uses a strange array of color palettes.  I’ll have to see it in better quality to see if I like it or not.