Reviewing the First Episodes of “Sweetness and Lightning” and “Orange”

So, two of my favorite manga are getting adapted this season, and hey, the first episodes of both are available to stream, so I’m going to talk about them.

And hey both of them are available to stream legally so that’s double cool, because it would just be terrible if you had to illegally stream a great show just because no-one will pick it up or release it.

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Just terrible. It’s a shame I can’t possibly think of an example though.

Sweetness and Lightning

Sweetness and Lightning Episode 1: Uniforms and Pot Rice

Let’s start out with a series I’ve written about before; Sweetness and Lightning (or in Japanese Amazama to Slammajamabananaramapajamaslamma) in which I wrote about how it was the cutest fucking shit ever written (by a yaoi artist of all things) but it didn’t seem like it gained much traction as a series, at least in the states.

Well tickle my pickle and call me a bitch, it got a fucking anime. Suck it haters.

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And while I have no real basis on whether or not many people read it aside from Crunchyroll reader stats, MaL reader stats, and the fact that only like two people I’d talked two about it even knew what it was, I’m glad to see it get a very well deserved TV anime.

But is it any good?

Yes, and while I’d hesitate to call it great yet, I was happy with the first episode. It was colorful, it was cute, and most of all it was heartwarming. Faithful to its source material everything remained cute, fluffy, funny, and lighthearted, while still managing a serious tone with the single dad/dead wife stuff without bringing your mood down.

While it wasn’t perfect, with a few scenes awkwardly cutting away off of really odd dialogue (like the dad running down a dark alley singing an anime theme and then just cutting to a restaurant) and a casting decision for Tsugumi that I’m not a giant fan of, it managed to be entertaining and faithful to its source.

The animation is clean and colorful, and the music is light and energetic. Mostly everything feels like the manga brought to life, and nearly every aspect specific to anime feels well done. If it doesn’t completely derail at some point, or try to take itself too seriously because it is a fairly silly feel-good piece, it could prove itself something great.

And Kotori is still the best fucking girl ever I don’t want to hear any lip about it.

 

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Be still, my beating heart

Orange

Orange Episode 1: Letter 1

I don’t think I’ve ever talked about Orange on my blog before, but I feel like I should have. Now its not like I read 1,000 manga on the reg, and I won’t act like I do, but Orange is by far my favorite manga ever written, if not one of my favorite pieces of written work I’ve ever read.

The pacing is perfect, the characters are fun and three dimensional, the story is clever and interesting, the romance is realistic, and the passion brought out from each character’s personal stories and motivations is both relate-able and heart wrenching. All of these elements melded together form a beautiful story of love, loss, tragedy, and hope.

The story follows six high school students who receive letters from their future selves warning them of all the regrets they have in life, and how to fix them. Apprehensive at first, when the letters start being completely true, the kids cam start fixing their futures.

And that ends up being the coolest part of Orange, you not only get to see the development of the six students, but also their ten year future selves develop as people too. With only twenty-four chapters, the developments move fast and no time is wasted in these character’s stories. It’s absolutely phenomenal, and surprisingly mature in its conflicts for a shoujo.

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And unlike Sweetness and Lightning, it was only a matter of time before Orange got adapted because of its acclaim and popularity. And it finally happened, huzzah!

But is it any good?

It’s very good. It stays faithful to its source material, with beautiful animation that looks Screenshot_30
and feels distinctly shoujo and music that accentuates its small town Screenshot_26setting. Nothing really felt off about this adaptation aside from a few wonky facial expressions (examples left and right) and a bizarre
montage with very Benny Hill-esque music, which is also very good.

The voice cast was impressively fitting, and the animation and art is clean and eye catching. Plus, it has some of the most impressive background art I’ve EVER seen in an airing TV anime.

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It’s just gorgeoius

All in all, the first episode of Orange covered the first covered the first chapter or two of its source faithfully, and set my overall hopes for the series very high. If it stays this good, it will end up in my favorite anime, but my hopes and dreams have been crushed before so we’ll see in time.

And Saku is still the best fucking girl ever I don’t want to hear any lip about it.

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Be still, my beating heart

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