Sunday, August 26, 2012

Anime Review No 40-GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class Episode 1/First Impressions

Yo, I'm the Eclectic Dude and I review it for the lolz. 

I have fond memories of high school, unlike most people I know of and/or of my own generation. One of the things I liked about high school was the electives outside of the standard classes taken. One of them was when I spent two semesters doing Basic Art. Now, I don't have the best art skills but I tried, and that's all that counts. I had some fun with it at the very least. 

What was the point of that? Well, it ties in nicely with this review: GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class. It was originally a Seinen yonkoma(4 panel) manga series, still running since 2004. Then, it got an Animated series in Summer 2009, directed by Hiroaki Sakurai and produced by Studio AIC, whose work I've covered in the past.  

The basic idea of GA Art Design Class is a Slice of life series involving a group of female students at a special art group at a school in Japan. 

Episode 1, titled Drawing Fun, serves as an introduction of the main characters. Kisaragi is our main character of the series. She is a meganekko (glasses girl) with brown hair. She is a bit clumsy but good natured. She is also unhealthily obsessed with cute cats. She is dealing with the first day of school, like most slice of life shows these days. 
Then, the Opening Song plays and I quite like it, It is very energetic and cheerful, setting up the tone of the show nicely. On a side note, the use of a fiddle/violin in the OP is a nice touch. It also shows the look of the show, which is a pastel and light color palate.  

This episode isn't one whole plot, but rather a series of short skits (in style of a 4-koma that this anime is based on). This means that this series has a lot of situational comedy, similar to Azumanga Daioh and Nichijo. I won't dwell on the details, suffice to say it is all rather funny. We are also introduced to Kisaragi's classmates, including Noda-chan (loli), Tomokane (tomboy), Namiko-san (tall and well-endowned), Miyabi (soft-spoken and stoic girl). All of them don't have much in terms of characters, but the strength of the show lies in the comedy and jokes, mostly involving art. One thing in particular is the silly Sentai parody (Irodo Rangers) they do halfway through the episode. 

But it isn't all fun and games. No, this show is semi-educational, as it touches on topics in the visual arts (painting, sculpture, drawing, textiles). For instance, this episode deals with Pictograms, Drawing, Color Theory. I get the feeling that the author of the manga has very fond of art class back in the day. It also talks about the use of technology (computers) to do art and the application of art to daily life (pictograms for recycling and trash bins). This is very good, as it shows that animation can be educational without being overbearing (cough cough PBS cough cough). The ending song is just the main cast in chibi form, doing various things over music. It's slow and plodding a bit, in contrast to the energetic and cheerful OP. 

Final thoughts? I liked this quite a lot. I remember watching this episode when the series first came on, but then quickly put it aside as I was busy watching other anime shows. Now, looking back, I can say this: This is a great first episode, establishing the cast and tone/mood (comedic) for the whole series I figure. The education portion is wonderfully done and ties in nicely to the comedy. I will add this to my list of series to review in full at some point. 

Next review is September 9th.

The Eclectic Dude

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Anime Review No. 39-You're Under Arrest OVA

Hello, I'm the Eclectic Dude and I review it for the lolz.

Well, it's been a while. I got a bit busy, with projects and final exams for summer term to do in the later part of last month. Thankfully, it paid off. Hence why I changed my schedule for my blog around. I think this will be more manageable and easier for me.

Miyuki and Natsumi 
Anyway, this review is over You're Under Arrest OVA from 1994. It is the first manga series by Kosuke Fujishima, the creator of Ah My Goddess and Sakura Wars. As I stated before, I like this guy's work quite a lot. He writes character based pieces very well, and his visual style is distinct and engaging. Both of the previously mentioned titles are in my 10 favorite anime series. This series was first a manga 1987-1992, OVA 1994-95, TV Anime 1996-97, Movies/Shorts, with the most recent TV series 2007-08, and a Live-action drama as well. The OVA was done by Studio DEEN, released in US by AnimEigo (who also released the OMG OVA and Otaku no Video, both of which I have reviewed here). 

The OP is very nice, soft, light music, while the ED is more upbeat and energetic song (nice chibi dolls for one shot, I totally want one of them). 

4 episodes
1: “And So They Met”
The basic premise of this series is this: Slice of life/drama involving the cops at Bokuto station (Sumida Ward, in eastern Tokyo). We first meet Natsumi Tsujimoto (rookie new to the force) dealing with her first day. She rides a scooter with expert skill, free spirited, tomboyish, impulsive. Miyuki Kobayakawa (her assigned partner) meets up with her by chance, thinking she’s a speeder and catches up to her in little to no time. She is a mechanic (likes to fix things up) stickler for rules, dedicated to her job. 
Natsumi meets the police chief and gets assigned to Miyuki as part of the Traffic Division, handling the daily duty of upholding traffic safety. She also meets Ken Nakajima (motorcycle squad) and Yoriko (dispatcher). Ken has a thing for Miyuki, whereas Yoriko's a rumor mill meganekko. 
At first, Miyuki and Natsumi aren’t exactly friends, but shows potential for growth. This shows how Fujishima's works are all focused on: human relationships and drama/comedy/tragedy that brings. Anyway, the rest of the episode deals with a mysterious red car speeding around in the local area, leading the duo on a wild goose chase. It is a very well done car chase sequence, with lots of detailed backgrounds. Though, it's not really the focus hence why I'm not talking about it much. Nonetheless, that side plot is resolved and the episode ends with Miyuki and Natsumi deciding to room together. It nice and sweet end for the first episode and brings promise to the other episodes. 

2: “Tokyo Typhoon Rally”
A Typhoon is coming into Tokyo, and some insane dude decides to speed around during the storm, and that's the entire plot of the episode. Miyuki and Natsumi are out on patrol, meet some grade schoolers with a sick kitty (kudos to AnimEigo staff for using actual kids to voice the grade schoolers). They come across the mad speedster, but don’t do much on it as it is revealed that the sick kitty is actually pregnant, and that becomes the focus: deal with this before the typhoon hits. The heavy rain comes anyway. Miyuki set to   work on refitting Ken’s bike in order to catch the mad speedster in the wet weather. The problems keep mounting: flooded roads, the pregnant kitty, the mad speedster , power problems at the station, etc (Keep on mounting throughout the episode, creating lots of tension and dramatic buildup). The climax of the episode shows the final showdown against the mad speedster on a closed roadway, won by Ken and the girls make it just in time for Chibi, the cat, to have her kittens (touching moment). This episode is also pretty good. 

3: “Love’s Highway Stars”
Miyuki has got something going on for the weekend, the rumor mill starts up by Yoriko. Ken and Miyuki’s relationship can best described as co-workers, but it seems a bit more than that. Natsumi and Yoriko try to help the relationship out, but with little success. 
It turns out Miyuki goes off to a school reunion event, whereas Natsumi and Ken hang out with each other. She runs into old friends and admirers, lots of character development for Miyuki. She basically is devoted to her job, not having decided to get hitched soon after school. This is an oddity given how conservative Japanese society is with regards to marriage. Miyuki is a career woman, tied to her job as opposed to being a housewife. 
Natsumi and Ken go to visit Miyuki  as Ken gets concerned. However, the lapse in geographic thinking delays them-its a very comical moment. Miyuki comes back to town, runs into a misunderstanding (Natsumi driving with Ken) and assumes not the best outcome. Dealing with the misunderstanding equals very little success (not a very good track record thus far).  
Things get awkward at the office as a result. So Natsumi apologizes to Miyuki and she accepts the apology. All goes well, as the Captain basically orders Ken and Miyuki to go on a date (wait, what?!). Yerah like that would happen in any sort of reality. Of course, they are getting tracked by their fellow officers Natsumi and Yoriko. The date ends sooner due to getting back to work, ending the episode. This episode is ok, due to over-reliance on misunderstanding and rumor milling to drive the plot along. On the other hand, Miyuki gets some nice background and development from this episode, it sort of balances out in the end.     

4: “On The Road, Again”
It starts off with Natsumi and Miyuki on patrol, chasing down a motorcyclist. Natsumi hanging out with the old monk at the local Buddhist Temple hears of a new opportunity-joining the Bike Troopers. They want Natsumi to join up, but she will have to transfer to HQ. The episode's focus is how Natsumi deals with her trying to make a decision on this and the effect this decision will have on her friends (Yoriko, Miyuki and Ken). Ken and Miyuki are taking it surprisingly well, while Yoriko isn’t. 
Natsumi off to do bike training, with Yoriko now working with Miyuki. She’s slated to be escort for a local half-marathon. It is the same event that the Bokuto station will be traffic control at (massive coincidence eh?). Miyuki isn’t taking the change well as it first appeared, leading into an emotionally gripping scene. 
An incident at the half-marathon (a bike catches fire and is causing havoc, a runaway gas truck). Oh noes!!! Natsumi decides to help out, even at the cost of leaving the Bike Troopers. Crisis is narrowly averted, thank goodness. Nice ending (at least until the TV Series that came out a year later).

Final thoughts: This OVA is very good. Granted, some of the trademarks Fujishima became well-known for are a bit rough around the edges, but it shows lots of promise. The animation is very well done, though it's on the same level as the Oh My Goddess OVA, contemporary to this one. The focus is on the characters, as the plots of the episodes are rather simple and rote, but the characters and their relationships are engaging enough to carry it. The english dub is not bad, but not too good. Then again, most dubs from the 90s weren't that good, but I can tell they were trying their hardest and that should be commended. If you like Ah My Goddess and/or Sakura Wars, then check this out. 

Next time is GA Gejijutsuka Art Design Class Episode 1/First Impressions

Questions and comments-contact me at

Saturday, August 4, 2012

New Schedule!!!

Hi, I'm the Eclectic Dude and I review it for the lolz.

Well, after some consideration, I have decided to make some changes. First, I will be doing written reviews every other week, starting next weekend on August 11-12th. That weekend I will post the long awaited review of the "You're Under Arrest" OVA. Sorry for the delays, again-I've been busy.

August 25-26th is the GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class Episode 1/First Impressions. Past that, I haven't planned it out.  I got some ideas, but nothing concrete.

Questions or comments, email me at

Til next week!