Thursday, September 26, 2013

New Anime Review - Gin no Saji



Anime Name - Gin no Saji
Aired - Jul 12, 2013 to Sep 20, 2013
Episodes - 11

Produced By - A-1 Pictures
Staff - Tomohiko Itou (Director), Hiromu Arakawa (Original Creator), Jun Nakai
(Character Design), Shusei Murai
(Music Score)


Ah, one of the most hyped anime of the season. Why? Not only is it adapted from a commercially successful, award winning & critically acclaimed manga but also it is written by the famous mangaka Hiromu Arakawa who is responsible for the world famous FMA. So how was the anime? Does it live up to the hype? And how can a manga based on life on agricultural school be this famous? And most of all how come a mangaka who wrote such an action based title as FMA write this? Let me just say that whatever else this anime does it proves (or tries to actually) that you can be a person who doesn't have a clear goal in life or any vague idea what you are gonna do with your life even if are surrounded by ambitious people and it is not always bad; and most of all it proves that book-worm nerds can be cool even when they are acting all moronic & stuff.


Story
The story of this anime centers around Yugo Hachiken whose dream in life is quite simple (although it seemed a bit weird at the first few episodes). It is to be separated from his family, so he enrolls in an agricultural boarding school which would take him quite far from his house till he gets his own job. As he deems himself to be an excellent crammer, he believes he will have no problem in there. But it turns out the life there is not what he expected as he gets in the world where physical labor is more important than his brains & the cruelty of the harsh reality of the life of the livestock. He eventually finds friends among his classmates who are all farmers' heirs & not a total city boy like him. And thus the story of his new life goes on with everyday learning of the lifestyle of farmers as well as their farm animals, which quite often arises very funny situation, and thankfully the comedy almost never felt forced.
Although it may seem very unusual for the premise of an anime, even for a slice-of-life but all the plot elements are gelled together quite nicely by the writer & the episodic nature of the story (at the first half mainly) really goes well with the premise of the show. Although at first the reason of Hachiken wanting to leave his home that desperately was a bit hard to understand, in later episodes it is explained quite clearly. As the various animals in the school grows through the passing of the time in his school so does his understanding (as well as ours) of farm-life grows, and he has to face some facts of reality which is harsh but true. The show mainly focuses on how he overcomes them and even helps his friends in their needs.
The story certainly gets props for originality and although at times a bit boring with the knowledge bits but definitely was enjoyable for me, so it gets 8.5 out of 10. 

Characters 
Most of the males of the show, all almost have the same expression, lol

Although many might disagree with me on this but there is actually only one main character in this anime, rest are just side characters. Hachiken is a character who is like the anime, a bit slow to develop, it takes a viewers a bit of time ( a few episodes at least) to relate with him & to understand his motivations, to appreciate his viewpoints. At first you might find him a bit one-dimensional as someone who takes the easy way out,who runs away from his family but if you carry on with him on his journey you will find out his reasons, will find out how he actually is quite caring for his friends through his actions & tries to help in them in their problems while sometimes even completely ignoring his own ones. And in the end he is a likeable character as well as quite unique too.
As for the other characters they are very likeable too. Mikage who is the love interest for our protagonist seems a bit bland at first but Hiromu later develops her quite brilliantly in her unique way. The other important characters include hardworking & ambitious Komaba (somewhat generic for the source of Hachiken's jealousy but has a well written back-story); whimsical & laughably dumb at math Tokiwa; money lover & aggressive eater frightening Tamako; afraid of blood yet vet wanna be Shinnosuke ( whose struggles to face his fears is portrayed quite nicely); Hachiken's irritable yet funny brother (who is following his dream by the way) Shingo among others.
The characters are actually the strongest aspect of this anime & pulls through all the rest of the stuff to a very enjoyable height indeed.
So I give it 9 out of 10.

Art/Animation
To be honest the character designs & the art is not at the same level of the rest of the stuff for this anime. The faces of the characters quite often seem too similar & there is a lack of general detail in them. All the food-stuff at least looked good. The animation also seems bland in this day of top-notch technology and somewhat awkward in occasions. But at least on the positive side there is a sense of consistency in animation of the show as a whole, unlike few other animes these days & the piglets were cute.
However, it is not as per with other things of the anime & gets 7 out of 10. 

Sound  
The opening theme is "Kiss You" by Miwa which is a nice song and appropriate for the show but actually not that special. The ending theme is "Hello Especially" by Sukima Switch which is the perfect ending song for the show for me, it has kind of a country vibe going for it which is suitable for the atmosphere of the show. Other pieces used during the show are all alright but nothing really stands out as anything special.
As a whole sound gets from me 8 out 10. 

There is a lot of argument going on the internet whether this is the best show of this season or not, and with a second season now confirmed it is even more fueled. All I can say on these regard is while this anime may not be for everyone (Slice-of-life rarely is), still it is definitely one of the shows to watch for this season; this is kind of a casual & thinking mans show. The funny bits & the thought-provoking realistic situations the characters are put into often are really the highlights and was enough enjoyable for me so that I for one will pick up the second season, I might even try out the fan translated manga too.

Overall Score - 
                           8.5 out of 10.

If you want more info and other reviews of this show check out its MAL page - 
http://myanimelist.net/anime/16918/Gin_no_Saji/
 
   

  


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