Akane-iro ni Somaru Saka Ep. 1: Scarlet First Kiss

This is one of those series where I really have no idea what to expect.  I’m not a fan of visual novels, so I know pretty much nothing about this, other than the fact that there is a verifiable smorgasbord of quality VAs on board.  Seriously, the amount of talent they’ve recruited for this ONE SHOW is amazing.

Interestingly enough, this show is pretty good.  You can certainly tell it’s based on a visual novel (one guy, bajillion girls?), but that may not be a bad thing this time around.  Each character has their own personality, the female lead isn’t too stereotypical, and the male lead doesn’t make you want to pull your hair out in anguish.  In all, a very interesting prospect, and something that may be worth looking at this season.

(Creative liberty taken with episode name, Rose madder sounds horrendous.)

Summary:

Yuuhi Katagiri is a well-to-do high school girl, and on one of her days out of the mansion, she stumbles into some problems with two guys who can’t nanpa if their life depended on it.  Fortunately, Junichi Nagase, who has a bad reputation, comes to help her out.  His mean streak is just a rumor, however; in reality, Junichi hasn’t done anything terribly wrong.  He returns home to his sister, Minato, and prepares for school the next day.

The next day, Junichi wakes up late and ends up biking with his sister to school.  After collapsing from the effort, Tsukasa Kiryu shows up to say hi to her classmate.  After some ribbing, Tsukasa and Junichi go to the opening ceremony together, where they’re joined by Fuyuhiko Nishino.  The student president, Mitsuki, is quite a popular person, as the school is riled up and ready to go.

Back in the class, Sugishita-sensei has heard about Junichi’s troubles doing homework at home from his little sister.  The teacher enjoys teasing Junichi before introducing a new transfer student…Yuuhi Katagiri.  Junichi recognizes her immediately, and although the class president, Karen, offers to show the new girl around, she accidentally asks Junichi if he would go out with her, creating an awkward moment for the two of them.  Junichi, his two friends, and Yuuhi go out for tea, where Yuuhi learns about Junichi’s reputation for being a badass.

The next day, Karen is inquisitive on why Yuuhi is so intent on going out with Junichi.  Junichi, coming in late, suddenly gets the feeling that “now’s the time”, and suddenly kisses Yuuhi.  Enraged, she takes out her anger on his most important part and then some, leaving Junichi battered and bruised.  While Minato plans to apologize for her older brother’s rudeness, Yuuhi suddenly shows up, announces Junichi is her fiancé, and starts to move in with them.

Impressions:

I might actually like this more than ToraDora! for a variety of reasons.

  • Animation quality – the colors are vibrant, and the entire thing is fluid and very polished.
  • Character design – Mind you, there is a little bit of character borrowing, Nanoha being the most evident in my mind.  However, all of the characters are drawn particularly well, and they’re much more distinctive than the blobs in ToraDora!, or many of the new series, for that matter.  Not only are they designed well, but they’re also quite unique personality-wise.  There is a wide range of…well, stereotypes being covered, but I’m most pleased with the male lead.  Junichi isn’t like your typical harem master; he’s smart, he’s got a sense of humor, and he’s certainly no pushover.
  • VA – How can you go wrong when you basically have an all-star cast?  A better question is, how the heck did they afford all of them?  Sometimes my mind absolutely reels in shock as I think about who they’ve played before (Student president = SUIGINTOU?! Minato = Konata = Haruhi = O_O).  Still, that means that they know what they’re doing, and you’re going to get good results out of them.
  • A not so tsundere tsundere? – Kugimiya Rie returns, but her role is a bit different.  Yuuhi is certainly tsundere-ish, but she also has a cute side.  It’s a character dynamic that makes it all a little more believable than Taiga, not to mention more endearing.  Rie also doesn’t use her insanely high pitched voice at all, which is welcome relief to my ears.  This might be one of her better roles (though I’m still a sucker for Sanzenin Nagi)

The only downside is that the first two minutes didn’t seem to have any correlation to the story at all.  I’m assuming we’ll get more backstory later, but it seems strange that you’d open a series with so much confusion.  I almost deleted the raw before I let it go longer and found out it was the right file.

Still, I’m looking forward to continuing this one (as is perhaps everybody else on the net).  It’s got the right blend of comedic elements and a good set of characters, so I can’t think of any reason why this won’t succeed.

Preview:

So now that she’s moved in and all, it can’t possibly get any worse.  Right?

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