New Anime

First Impressions – Astro Note

That was an interesting premiere in a lot of ways.  I like retro anime, for starters.  Good ones, anyway.  But there are some shows which try a little too hard, and while it’s too early to say if that’s the case with Astro Note, it’s hard to imagine anyone trying harder.  The open question is whether it has the authenticity to pull that off, and that’s something that can only be answered with time.

Everything about this series – the art and animation, character designs, direction, acting style – absolutely screams 90’s (or even 80’s) anime.  That’s certainly true of the premise, too.  Settings don’t get much more retro than a boarding house, for starters.  Then you have a cute landlord who’s actually an alien, the new guy who falls in love with her, and a house full of wacky residents including a mascot dog?  I mean, please.  I’d even go so far as to say it’s Rumiko specifically Astro Note is attempting to channel here, though she wasn’t the only one writing material like this back in the day (just probably the most famous).

The key, again, is whether a show like that gets the genre enough to really feel like an authentic example – and whether it’s committed enough to the style to carry it all the way through.  In Takamatsu Shinji it certainly has a director suited to the task – his natural aesthetic is often pretty close to the target Astro Note is shooting for.  About writer Uneno Kimiko (as always I repeat, the writer is the most important figure with original series) I can’t say the same with confidence.  She’s done some decent work, mostly on adaptations, but nothing especially notable on the original front.

The humor style is, as commonly with this genre, the carpet bombing approach.  Astro Note pretty much moves directly from gag to gag, and as usual with that sort of series some of them work better than others.  The same is true with the characters, all of whom are pretty absurd.  There are a ton of big-name seiyuu here – Miki Shinichriou, Takamatsu’s alter ego Sugita Tomokazu, KugiRie (as a shota), Suwabe Junichi (as the poodle),  Soma Saitou and Uchida Maaya as the two leads.  If anything I’d say relatively less legendary Furihata Ai makes the biggest impression as Matsubara Teruko, the idol, but they’re all hamming it up pretty good.

I did find some of this pretty funny, like the awkward eternal bow between Takumi and Mira and the “widow” misunderstanding.  And I’d certainly love to try me some 75 year-old umeshu.  Whether the gags have staying power and the fish-out-of-water alien storyline (searching for “the key” is apparently the key) has any traction, only time will tell.  I’m certainly curious enough to give Astro Note a couple more chances to prove it has what it takes to close the sale.

The post First Impressions – Astro Note appeared first on Lost in Anime.

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