So with this weekend comes the finales of three of the shows I was following this season. This review will be for two of the three (Hanasaku Iroha gets one by itself) and will encompass my thoughts on Nichijou and Heaven’s Memo Pad. Obviously spoilers abound beyond the break.
First with the average. Heaven’s Memo Pad isn’t bad, but it isn’t good either. After a double-length first episode that was an anime original, the series meanders through three mysteries in 8 episodes and arrives at the final arc. Meo’s story was one that had plenty of potential, but ended up being by-the-books. The ramen arc provided some good backstory to Min-san, but outside of the following arc, no other characters are given such treatment. We are treated to a long portion of inter-yakuza fighting with Renji coming back that drags on for an episode longer than needed. Finally the final arc is good, but too late to build upon for a better story.
Overall, I feel that Heaven’s Memo Pad isn’t the fault of J.C. Staff for improperly animating/directing the series, but from the original material. The first episode was written by the anime staff, and serves well as the introduction, but the remaining episodes (outside of the final arc) lack that spark that makes you want to keep watching. I wonder what would happen if it got the Railgun treatment (first arc=source, rest=anime original) as the stories may have been better.
Animation-wise, J.C. Staff did a passable job. It’s not exceptional, but it’s a bit darker than their previous fare that I’ve viewed. The OP animation is very good, in fact I quite watching after the OP once because that was enough to satisfy my Memo Pad needs. The OP is passable, and the ED grew on me. OST wasn’t anything special.
Final score: 74. Needed more work done to flesh out the main cast, especially Alice.
And now to a show that really grew on me over the past three months, Nichijou. I thought the lack of connectivity between the segments at the beginning was alright, but the incredible hit-or-miss part really made the show suffer. When we had the “Nano’s going to school” plot, it greatly helped to have the segments tied together somewhat and allowed the world to really shine. Some of the later episodes were really well and the show kept topping itself with episode 25 being the highlight of the season.
While the finale wasn’t the best episode, it was the best way to end the series. Having everyone go over to Nano’s house and celebrate her birthday was a great way to show the growth of her character. She wanted friends and to be treated like a normal person and it finally happened. Yukko, Mai, Mio, Hakase, and Sakamoto-san (not to mention her classmates) don’t care that she’s a robot; she’s just Nano. Her realization of that and her decision to keep the screw as it’s a part of her was such a sweet moment. Even Sakamoto-san going back to the house after realizing the trouble he’s gone through was a nice touch. The final scene works very well in parallel to the first one in episode 1. Then the return of Janken was the highlight for me. It was the perfect finale for the show.
Nichijou may falter with its plot, but KyoAni has done a masterful job with the animation. The extra time between K-On!! and the premiere only helped strengthen the quality for a 26 episode series. I never once remarked “this could be better animated.” Background characters were walking around, people in the background were performing actions that would be mentioned later, and the animation was very fluid. The OPs were very “Hyadain”ish and didn’t appeal to me much. I enjoyed the second ED’s animation and the rotating songs, but I greatly enjoyed the animation and song from the first ED best. (FLYING SHARKS GO!) I also enjoyed the OST as it felt appropriate for every single scene. It emphasized everything to make the scenes better.
Final score: 82. After a subpar start, the second cour proved to be one of the more entertaining shows of the year. A very good comedy and a possible import if it wasn’t for Kadokawa’s 2 episodes a disc plan.
Hanasaku Iroha‘s review will be up later today.