First Impressions – Hiiro no Kakera

So, new season (kind of), new series. All that fun stuff. Can’t think of anything witty, so just hit the jump for the impressions.

I’ve always loved the films produced by Studio Ghibli, especially ones like My Neighbor Totoro, which give a real-yet-fantastic feel to the world. Kakera gives us a very Ghibli-styled world. A lot of emphasis is put on the natural (and supernatural) elements, with many scenes so far taking place in a forest or just panning over the landscape for the sake of the scenery porn. Hell, even the first god you see looks like he hopped right out of Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke. The second bit of spirituality so far comes from the drowned gods, who look appropriately out of place and are brought into the world with a jarring CG style. Nothing quite along the lines of Bakemonogatari’s weird stuff, but enough to know that they simply don’t belong.

The characters, on the other hand, are about as far from Ghibli as possible. They fall into more defined roles. Mahiro, for instance, is the loudmouthed short guy who overreacts and could give Son Goku from Saiyuki a run for his money in an eating contest. Ohmi is the smart, caring big brother or fatherly figure. It’s not a bad thing that they fall into these roles, but I would have liked to see something a bit different this time around.

To be completely honest, the characters remind me of Saiyuki. You have the guy who is kindasorta the straight man of the group. Sanzo and Takuma both put up with the oddballs, Hakkai and Ohmi might as well be the same guy with different hair and clothes, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if Mahiro’s got a golden headband somewhere. Considering how much I love Saiyuki, this is a great thing.

On the more technical side, the production’s pretty good too. Everything is well-made, from the sound to the art to the music. It’s all really high quality and I didn’t notice any flaws when going back for my screenshots. Also, the live action intro and outro were a nice touch, and if the song that plays over the outro is the opening theme, then it’s probably the best slow opening I’ve heard in ages.

Anyway, if you like the fantastic, spiritual nature of the Ghibli films or happen to be a fan of really common character archetypes, definitely give Hiiro no Kakera a shot. If nothing else, just watch it for the absolutely gorgeous scenery.

Anyhoo, that is me done for the day. And to update you fine folks on what’s coming in the near future, there probably won’t be an article tomorrow because I’ll be out for a good chunk of the day. I may be able to squeeze out something on Saturday or Sunday like a Champion Impressions or a Spotlight or something. Expect cool stuff Monday and the new champion review (if I’m not mistaken) on Tuesday. Anyway, as always if you like what you see here, tell your friends or follow Grass Pants via email or RSS or whatever, and – of course – thanks for reading and have a good’un.

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One Response to First Impressions – Hiiro no Kakera

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