J.C.Staff Spring Shows (2)

This is for the guys hating on First Love Limited because it’s by the author of Strawberry 100%, the anime of which was not so special. And this is for the guys who don’t give Hayate the Combat Butler 2nd Season a chance because they dropped the first season because of its descent into filler land.

Wait, we need one more “Shut up”.

Better.

Both First Love Limited and Hayate the Combat Butler 2nd Season are in the capable hands of J.C.Staff. And four episodes in, J.C.Staff has learned from the mistakes of past shows and is bringing out the best of both its spring shows’ source material.

From The Familiar of Zero
to Hayate the Combat Butler 2nd Season

In The Familiar of Zero, particularly the sequels, J.C.Staff diverged from or unrealistically compressed the source material, made Louise an unsympathetic savage, and also reset character development. But director Yoshiaki Iwasaki, who directed the first season of The Familiar of Zero, has taken Hayate 2, this season’s Kugimiya-powered show, and steered it around the problems that reduced Louise’s approval to zero.

There has been no filler in Hayate 2 so far, and it’s been following the source closely, starting with Volume 6 of the manga. The humor of the source has been perfectly preserved. The two flat-chested tsundere girls, Nagi and Hinagiku, are portrayed much more appealingly than Louise.

Nagi is still a violent and temperamental little girl, but she never reaches Louise’s heights of abusiveness, and her love for Hayate overrides her bad traits. When Hayate is poisoned in Episode 2, Nagi is ready to let Hayate lose the right to be her butler in order to get him to a hospital.

Hinagiku’s tsundere denial of her feelings takes place more through threats and mind games than through actual violence, which makes it a lot more palatable. When Hinagiku helps out Ayumu, her rival for Hayate’s love, when Ayumu tries to bring Hayate Valentine’s chocolates, it’s hard not to feel sorry for her. Hinagiku is also the star of the very fun ending song.

Like The Familiar of Zero, in Hayate the tsundere’s main rival in love is a maid. But Maria is a far superior maid to the slutty Siesta of The Familiar of Zero. Maria’s excellent maid abilities and sensitivity about certain subjects combine to form a comedy goldmine. Watching Maria compete with Hayate in making chocolate was the funniest thing I saw all week.

From Kimikiss Pure Rouge
to First Love Limited

Now Kimikiss was not the hideous disaster that the Familiar of Zero sequels were, but it had its share of problems. Kimikiss could not be adapted like Kanon where the male lead goes through each girl’s arc and moves on, because each route was inextricably tied to a romantic relationship. And they sure as hell couldn’t do what the manga did, which was to show one girl’s route and then have the next volume reboot as though the events of the previous one did not happen at all, and go down a different girl’s route. And so, Kimikiss director Kenichi Kasai split the male protagonist into three: the literary Kouichi, the athletic Kazuki, and the musical Kai (six capital “K”s in that sentence).

But even with the increased number of male leads, there were still two girls for each boy, and Kai didn’t end up with a girl. 24 episodes for a boy to choose between two girls is a long time if that’s the only focus of the story. Shana had the whole save the world thing keeping Yuji from having to choose between Shana and Kazumi. The only way Kimikiss could keep the choice interesting for so long was if characters got so deep into their relationships that they couldn’t pull out without someone getting hurt. In the hands of director Kasai, famous for Honey and Clover, the dilemmas were portrayed convincingly and successfully, but tended to drag on and become painful to the audience as well as the characters.

First Love Limited, although not by the same director, is the successor to Kimikiss in terms of groups of friends and neighbors connected by a web of romantic relationships. But unlike Kimikiss, where the extra boys were created out of thin air and inserted out of necessity, First Love has more than enough boys to go around, and despite what the opening and ending may tell you, the boys get just as much screentime and character development as the girls. And First Love‘s director, Yoshiki Yamakawa, has chosen wisely to focus on the romance and friendship instead of the fanservice of the source material, which is one thing Kimikiss did right. Although the fanservice is still there.

First Love Limited also has a lot more relationships going on than Kimikiss. This is a good thing because it avoids the dragging on that made Kimikiss painful at times. Each major plot point can be resolved quickly, and the focus can move on to the next relationship. While it does happen in real life, waffling and being indecisive when it comes to love is not fun to watch.

Now this would be of no use if the characters, especially the boys, were unappealing. But it doesn’t take long for even the Kappa-like, super-pervert Kusuda to show his admirable side. And in the world of “cute makes right”, seeing the monstrous Misao portrayed as deredere is refreshing and surprisingly effective. You don’t have to be hot to have a fighting chance in love! Also, the middle school girls are a great group of friends, and the way they are shown sticking up for each other and paying each other back for pranks and favors alike is much more convincing than in the manga.

Don’t miss out

The popular shows this season are K-On and Eden of the East, and they probably deserve the hype. But don’t miss out on the J.C.Staff shows, because they’re still the best.


This post was brought to you by H.C.Staff.
Always biased toward J.C.Staff!

3 Responses to “J.C.Staff Spring Shows (2)”

  1. Author says:

    I’m not ashamed of dropping Hayate 2 after 8 minutes. I don’t even like anime anymore, so…

  2. Although the story never went anywhere, Hayate 1 at least was pretty consistently hilarious. Hayate 2 isn’t nearly as funny, and it still looks like the story isn’t going to go anywhere, so what’s the point?

    As for First Love Limited, so far we’ve had one episode that was mostly about stalking, one in which a girl is hypnotized with the apparent intent of molesting her, and one in which a girl acts like an incredibly shallow jerk. Conceivably all of these story-lines could turn into good stories, but that remains to be seen. So far I see a lot of fan service and a lot of stuff that’s creepy or annoying.

  3. omo says:

    nice use of caps.

    and totally agree with hyping up hatsukoi limited. a cute, humorous little thing that isn’t srsbzns. fun times.

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