Kyousougiga – 5.5

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Sometimes it’s fun to jump out of the 2D animation and see the places and people that make and inspire an anime; in the case of Kyousogiga, the place is Kyoto and its environs, and the people who show up in the flesh are Shiraishi Ryoko, who voices Un, but who we’re most familiar with as the voice of Onizuka Hime from Sket Dance.

Newbie Nakayama Erika accompanies Shiraishi, and veteran Kazuki Yao also makes an appearance. We’re hardly experts on live-action Japanese television, but we love the energy and enthusiasm the trio bring to the proceedings. There’s never a dull moment, and it’s especially fun to see them just as bowled over by their venerable surroundings as we are.

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The episode is a tour of all of the places that inspired the creators of Kyousogiga: from Genkouan, home of the round and square windows (representing dreams and reality), to the gorgeous Kouzanji, home of the real Priest Myoue and the oldest tea field in Japan, as well as the Choujuugiga, four ink scrolls of “bird-men and beast-men at play” that is ostensibly a precursor to manga and anime.

We learned a lot, but were also entertained along the way, and now have a lot more appreciation for the detail that’s gone into the anime. Plus it’s always cool to put real-life faces to the talented voices we hear every week. Oh, and the desserts the ladies sampled at that fancy bakery looked amazing:

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Fall 2013 OPs and EDs

Sorry we’re so late with our picks, but better late than never, right? Also, while there are a few nice onces (see below), none of this season’s OPs or EDs really knocked our socks off.

Best OP: Kakumeiki Valvrave, 2nd Season

The same girl/guy duet that worked so well in the first season (and for Aquarion Evol, though that was probably a different duo) works here too, maybe more so. There’s a ton of energy to the vocals that gets us pumped-up for whatever craziness the episode has in store. (Forgive the cropping and bad audio, the video is just for demo purposes.)

OP Runner-up: White Album 2

Like the show itself, this OP wears its heart on its sleeve. It’s a very stirring ballad-like piece that doesn’t hold back on the drama. The vocals aren’t fantastic (some parts would be more impactful if she could hit higher notes) but they’re earnest and impassioned. And we really like the drums.

Best ED: Nagi no Asukara

There’s so much wistful longing in the lovely vocals, and the song’s tone perfectly complements the dreamy underwater visuals. Ishikawa Chiaki, an excellent vocalist in her own right, wrote this song’s composition.

ED Runner-up: Kyoukai no Kanata

While we were initially skeptical that this show had anything new to bring to the table (skepticism that has since dissipated), we’ve always liked the ED, especially how it provides such a strong punctuation mark to the end of an episode. That, and it’s full of gorgeous , artsy imagery, and a slightly melancholy tone that gradually grows more positive.