Posted on 31 August 2008 with categories: Monthly Summaries

August has definitely been an interesting and at the same time strange month. I keep seeing everywhere that the past Summer Season has disappointed, but I just can’t agree with those statements. Sure, there’s no absolute masterpiece airing now that Kaiba ended, but there are actually lots and lots of smaller series that are well-written and have proven to be very enjoyable. The result of that is a very bizarre top-10 series for me this month, and I don’t think I’ve ever had to compile a stranger one than the one you see here. This season is full of series that, at first sight don’t seem to stand any chance for success, and yet turn out to be strangely memorable…

#28 (22) – Chocolate Underground – (3,25/10) – Okay, this has to go down as one of the worst endings ever. It’s not even the case where it’s so bad it’s good, this is just plain bad. You’ll understand once you see the bloody climax of this thing.
#27 (new) – Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel – (7/10) – An OVA that wasn’t bad, but it was so inoffensive that makes me wonder what the creators originally wanted to do with it.
#26 (23) – Code Geass – Lelouch of the Rebellion – (7,25/10) – Oh god. Episode 20 felt like the writers gave up completely. It’s a shame, it looked like the characters were finally (after nearly fifty episodes) getting some interesting development, only for that pathetic excuse of an episode to turn up. Anya’s twist came from bloody nowhere, and it felt like the creators suddenly remembered “oh, wait, she’s still there”. I also love how this guy pokes fun at the obvious holes in that episode.
#25 (22) – Slayers Revolution – (7,5/10) – Well, at least the plot became a bit more interesting, but after nine episodes I’m still not sold on Slayers yet. I also wonder, since so many people say that this series is exactly like the other seasons of Slayers: what exactly was it that the creators wanted to prove by making yet another one of them? If it’s going to be exactly the same, couldn’t they just have shown a rerun of the original Slayers instead?
#24 (24) – Itazura na Kiss – (7,5/10) – The best thing about Itazura na Kiss is really the character-development. Never in a shoujo series have we progressed so far into the lead characters’ life, and it’s really interesting to see how Kotoko and Irie have grown. On the other hand, the dramatic climaxes need a lot of work. They’re way too cheesy for their own good and move way too fast, which leaves you with a feeling of “wait, that’s it?!” A real shame.
#23 (25) – Sekirei – (7,75/10) – Well, what do you know? The plot is actually getting interesting. Never saw that one coming. Seriously though, I like Sekirei a whole lot more than I thought I would. Having said that, the fanservice still is there and annoying, and some of the characters (especially that water-Sekirei and Kuu) are really annoying, and don’t seem to have any real purpose in this series other than fanservice. It doesn’t help that their attempts at being funny just aren’t.
#22 (21) – Soul Eater – (8/10) – Ah, finally Soul Eater gets a bit better now that that main storyline has popped up. This just isn’t a series for episodic stories, because the past few months have shown me that it just can’t seem to be able to come up with interesting stories that only fill one or two episodes. The continuous storylines do pose another problem, though: battles get dragged on for too long. Thankfully, Krona’s climax wasn’t hurt under this, and at least I loved episode 21.
#21 (new) – Detroit Metal City – (8/10) – This series has been really over the top, but it’s worked so far. Now let’s hope that it won’t lose inspiration as it goes on.
#20 (18) – Strike Witches – (8/10) – It disturbs me to think that each of these girls only has one single pair of panties…I knew the setting was weird, but not this weird. But the thing that’s even stranger is this: when you do manage to pull this series out of the gutter, and away from its beloved fanservice, it’s actually pretty good! It’s got a really charming cast of characters. At least, when they’re not comparing boob-sizes of course.
#19 (16) – Chi’s Sweet Home – (8,25/10) – I never thought that I’d call Chi’s Sweet Home the biggest source of laughs from the past spring-season, but here you have it. Some episodes are okay, but others are absolutely priceless.
#18 (14) – Wagaya no Oinarisama – (8,25/10) – Byakki’s arc turned out to be a really solid one for this series. This has been a clever and enjoyable anime so far, even though it may not look like it at first sight.
#17 (13) – Mission-E – (8,25/10) – Still straightforward fun and characters from Mission-E. Maori has proven to be a very interesting character, even though she lacks the development that the other characters did have in Code-E.
#16 (19) – Birdy the Mighty Decode – (8,5/10) – Talk about improvement! The first parts of Birdy the Mighty goofed off a bit too much, but the progressions in the past few episodes have been really impressive so far. Okay, so it’s still nowhere near the quality of Noein and Escaflowne, but it’s a pleasant surprise nonetheless.
#15 (9) – Macross Frontier – (8,5/10) – The second half of this series has proven to be very solid entertainment. It’s nowhere near the best of the season, but it’s very enjoyable nonetheless.
#14 (6) – Telepathy Shoujo Ran – (8,5/10) – In this month, Telepathy Shoujo Ran has been mostly light-hearted, which worked out pretty well, with as highlight the ever-hilarious banter between Ran and Midori.
#13 (23) – Zombie Loan – (8,5/10) – It’s a real shame that this series has to end here while Vampire Knight gets a continuation in October, even though Zombie Loan outclasses VK in just about every aspect and the DVD-specials left with an EVEN BIGGER cliff-hanger than the original season did. Still, the characters were better than ever: I laughed a lot during these two episodes, and the serious parts also really worked.
#12 (2) – RD Sennou Chousashitsu – (8,5/10) – I’m not sure why, but RD disappointed a bit this month. It’s an outstanding series when it’s just building-up and having its characters interact, but I’ve yet to see a good climax out of it. Who knows, perhaps the creators have been saving it for the series’ finale?
#11 (10) – Gintama – (8,5/10) – The fansubbers were on steam this month. I originally didn’t have much hope for the maid-head arc, but I have to say that its climax was really well written, and the definite highlight for the series this month. Other than that, Katsura’s attempts at getting a drivers’ license were also awesome and the eyebrow episode was also hilarious.

#10 (3) – Nijuu Mensou no Musume – (8,5/10)

The past arc wasn’t as memorable as the doll-arc, but there’s still hope for this series in its final four episodes. Let’s hope that the creators can bring this series to a worthwhile conclusion.

#9 (20) – Antique Bakery – (8,5/10)

Seriously, why am I enjoying this series so much? It’s indeed cheesy at times, but it’s like everything seems to be fitting, from the Norio Wakamoto-voiced businessman with a love for sweets to the fatherly guy with sunglasses; from the interesting style of shading to the habit of the voice-actor to not want to make every syllable sound perfectly in their microphone. Who cares if some of the characters in this series are gay?

#8 (11) – Blassreiter – (8,5/10)

Blassreiter… has become quite the interesting series, with probably the best animated action of the season, along with Macross Frontier. The CG really allows for some awesome camera-angles and movement. I’m also getting used to the extreme drama in this series, and I do have to say that it works pretty well with the overall overblown tone of this series.

#7 (12) – Ultraviolet: Code 044 – (8,5/10)

Ah, so what if this series is just simple and straightforward action. This series knows what it is, and it does this really well, resulting in a series with hardly any weaknesses. The highlight of this month was Zakusa’s passionate personality.

#6 (17) – Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto ~ Natsu no Sora – (8,5/10)

This has been a really calm series this month. It got rid of the crashing truck-like plot twists, and the result is a very down-to-earth series that prefers subtle drama over the overblown one, and I really like the results. The graphics still look as good as ever.

#5 (15) – Porfy no Nagai Tabi – (8,75/10)

I have no idea what happened to that 34th episode, but ignoring that little issue, then it’s been an excellent month for Porfy after the lacklustre Sicily-arc. Especially the things that happened in Rome reminded me of why I love this series.

#4 (8) – Bonen no Xamdou – (8,75/10)

Well, Bonen no Xamdou has already shown that it’s downright excellent at building up. Its characters continue to grow, and I really like the pacing of things so far. Now this series just needs to correctly use everything it’s been building up for.

#3 (4) – Himitsu ~ The Revelation – (9/10)

My initial enthusiasm for this series is gone, but now that it’s nearly ending, I do have to say that even though it disappointed me a bit in the middle, this has been a very good and unpredictable series, and apart from Kaiba one of my top favourites, even though it was very unorthodox.

#2 (7) – Blade of the Immortal – (9/10)

Along with Natsume Yuujin-Chou, this is my favourite series of the summer-season, simply because it’s so much fun to watch the different action-scenes unfold (and yes, this is coming from Bee-Train). It’s just a shame that this only airs once every two weeks, but I’ve been craving for another great horror-show.

#1 (5) – Natsume Yuujin-Chou – (9/10)

Episode nine was simply amazing, and the rest of the episodes this month were also really heart-warming. Without a doubt one of the best series of the season to air this summer.

Posted on 30 August 2008 with categories: Telepathy Shoujo Ran



Short Synopsis: No supernatural case this time; instead it’s time for the local fireworks-festival.
Highlights: Telepathy Shoujo Ran + Slice of Life = a very enjoyable episode
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10
I’m interested in how long this string of anime-original episodes is going to continue. I originally thought that each arc was going to take up three episodes, but two episodes seem more likely. With six volumes left to animate, that means that there are still four of these anime-original episodes left to fill up. (Either they’re anime-original, or just the collected slice-of-life bits from the various novels that didn’t have to do anything with their stories).

I do wonder whether the creators will get the character-development right in the second half. It really looks like the creators of the anime have been picking their stories in random order (the ghost inn was from the seventh novel, it seems), so I wonder whether the cast will evolve properly. That the creators know how to flesh out their characters is yet again demonstrated by this episode, when Midori gets one of her nightmares of the past, in which she got abused by her parents.

Which makes me wonder: we’ve never seen Midori’s parents yet, have we? They sound like a bunch of workaholics who never have time for their daughter. Even Midori’s voice-mail was solely meant for Midori, and not her parents. Could it be that they’re currently living in two different houses? In any case, it does seem that they liked their daughter enough to put her on violin and piano-lessons.

Posted on with categories: Birdy the Mighty Decode



Short Synopsis: Just about every important character in this series gets attracted to what happened at the end of the previous episode
Highlights: Finally another great fight-scene!
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,5/10
Okay, so this series still needs miles to go before it can call itself equal to the likes of Noein or Escaflowne, but nevertheless, the past few episodes have really impressed me. The past three episodes have shown an incredible contrast to the first six episodes, which goofed off beyond belief. This episode also answers what the heck happened to the budget of this series: it’s clearly been saved for the major fight scenes like the one here.

Just about every side-character apart from Senkawa’s random classmates got fleshed out some more and gained some extra depth in this episode. Keisuke Muroto turns out to be quite a nice guy, despite his rather forcing ambitions. The guy reminds me of the male policeman from Noein. Natsumi is just as curious as Senkawa was, back in episode one.

Sayaka still doesn’t seem to know anything about her “other side”, and neither does it seem that Birdy and Senkawa recognize her from the last episode. But then again, you don’t easily suspect your classmate from being a psychotic killer. Syamalan turns out to be quite a famous person, with even larger ambitions. What exactly did he find so special in the wrecks that Sayaka left? He does seem to know about her, since he knows Capella. I couldn’t pick it up exactly, but at the end of the episode, did Capella promise him to hand over Nakasugi’s other self if he cooperated? This Ryunka they keep talking about, is that Sayaka’s other self?

In the meantime, the goth-girl turns out to be an android, and the guy with the moustache whose name I don’t know also finally does something.

The guys in moon-suits who wielded fire weapons also really worked. I originally thought that this series would keep Senkawa’s classmates apart from perhaps Sayaka away from the action, but as it turns out, it has other plans. Again, much like Noein, they all play their own part, aside from providing some obligatory classmates for the lead character.

Posted on 29 August 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews



Oh boy. I got impatient with the slow subs, so I decided to just check out the raws for this series, just to get things over with. Believe me; it really deserves to remain unsubbed. If you were already turned off by the first half, just be happy you didn’t get to see the second half…

In any case, for those of you who don’t know: Chocolate Underground is Production IG’s latest work, which tells in 13 five-minute episodes the story where an evil party has taken over the government and banned all sorts of chocolate. At first sight, it promised to be an interesting and short look at fascism and communism. Eventually, it turned into an abomination with the “we rock they suck”-mentality.

The first half at least knows how to build up, and it introduces the potentially interesting characters of Huntley and Smudger. It successfully portrayed how the people feel oppressed, and try to do something against the government by holding secret chocolate parties. It’s all fine when these events remain on a small scale, even though the evil chocolate-banning party is obviously a reference to China, and something tells me that it’s not just a coincidence that this series aired right before the Olympic Games in Beijing.

Unfortunately, as this series enters its second half, it becomes clear that the creators didn’t even know what they were building up for and the entire series gets resolved into one of the worst conclusions I’ve ever seen. In the end, a bunch of very blatant Deus ex Machina help the oppressed children overthrow the government in a boring cheese-fest that’s downright insulting to intelligence. The adults don’t even struggle back, they just magically “see the light” and give up their life ambitions like a bit of cheesecake.

Overall, this is the piece of junk you show children to make themselves feel special and more important than adults. I wasn’t expecting much, but the climax of this series was downright insulting. It’s not like short series with only 5-minute episodes are doomed to fail. Hanoka for example was a very cute series, despite its short length, but Chocolate Underground looks like it was directed by a bunch of 12-year olds, not the director of Wellber and Library Wars.

Storytelling: 2/10
Characters: 4/10
Production-Values: 7/10
Setting: 2/10
Posted on with categories: Macross Frontier



Short Synopsis: Most of the episode sees Ranka, as she tries to sort out her own feelings.
Highlights: Well, at least the love-triangle progressed a lot.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7,5/10
Well, this had to happen, I guess. Ranka’s still my least favourite character in this series, so an episode that focuses nearly entirely on her obviously isn’t as exciting as the past few episodes were. It’s really a calm-before-the-storm episode, where everything gets set up for the finale. It’s a bit of a bummer that the finale is going to be about a bunch of teenaged lovers who chase after each other, but there’s still enough potential left for some nice action-scenes. I just hope that now that Sheryl’s chances of getting it on with Alto are gone, she won’t turn into a useless side-character who can only watch.

In the meantime, it was an interesting plan of how Luka came up with the plan to get rid of the swarm of Vajra: get them all on one island, remove all people from that island and blow it up. I wonder where that swarm came from, by the way. I originally thought that it spawned from Ranka’s little friend, but in this episode it showed that it turned into something completely different, and different from most of the brainless Vajra-enemies we’ve seen thus far.

I’m also interested in what happened to Ozma and his lover. We never saw them getting caught, so they’re still on the run somewhere. I’m interested in what they can do for this series’ final four episodes. They’re along with Sheryl about the only ones who are on to Leon’s complot, so I wonder how they’re going to pull it off to kill the guy.

Posted on with categories: Detroit Metal City



Short Synopsis: Krauser II records his first music video.
Highlights: Again, first half is original content, the second half is the same as the introduction.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7,5/10
Okay, so I mistook the introduction and the first episode for the same, while in fact the introduction took parts of the first two episodes. If you haven’t seen the introduction yet, just skip it and go with episode 01 and 02, as every scene in it is included in either one of these episodes. This post is also more for completion’s sake.

In any case, the new part of this episode nicely added to Negishi’s bipolar and schizophrenic personality. This guy really has issues, but I guess that it’s also a strange form of social commentary, which takes the Japanese attitude of staying politically correct all the time to the extreme.

Posted on 28 August 2008 with categories: Detroit Metal City



Short Synopsis: “Krauser II” and his friends go on a date to make up for what went on in the music store.
Highlights: Half of it was already showed at the introduction.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7/10
Wait, am I missing something here? The first half of this episode was exactly the same as the first half of the introduction. Does that mean that the first episode contained the second half of the introduction, along with more original content? Talk about a confusing episode order.

In any case, the second half of this episode was less exciting than the introduction, with as highlight the sudden appearance of the band “Tetrapod Melon Tea”. The introduction got away with the huge stereotypes, but they’re already getting dull in this episode. Especially that drummer didn’t work too well. Although I do admit that it was interesting to see the split personalities of the DMC-members.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews



In the realm of strange series, Battle Programmer Shirase obviously can’t be missing. It’s a very short series with only fifteen episodes of ten minutes each, and it tells about the adventures of a legendary hacker. Those who are expecting a series that explores the ins and outs of the hacking-business can just shut down this window and look elsewhere, because at heart, BPS is just another romantic comedy.

The realism in this series is like some distant legend. We’re talking here about hackers who can crash satellites into earth’s atmosphere and little girls who can single-handedly take care of the security of the ministry for defence, and that’s just the tip of the ice berg. Everything computer-related is over the top on purpose, and that makes for a fun watch, especially if you’ve got something with computers (which I guess is the case with most of the people who visit this site). But oh boy, this series does have its issues.

Its biggest problem is that it doesn’t seem to really know what it wants. The result is comedy that feels like a shot of a shotgun shell: it shattered all over the place. There’s no real central theme or message that keeps the series together and each arc feels more ad hoc than that some real thoughts were put behind them. It makes you wonder why the creators went with such a bizarre series length of fifteen episodes to begin with, because the series also ends when the overall storyline is about to get started. Why couldn’t the creators just have gone with a regular airing of 13 or 26 episodes?

Then there’s the romance, with is just like the rest of this series: weird and hit or miss. We here have a couple that consists out of a ten year old girl and her twenty-five year old great uncle. Obviously, the fanservice jokes that result from that are rather predictable, but admittedly, their relationship, how weird it may be, does remain fresh through the series.

There’s also a lot of repetition in this series, even though it already was incredibly small. Each episode has at least a minute of recap about what happened in the previous episode, and there’s one particular minute-long sequence that gets repeated for FIVE TIMES through the series. What went on in the creators’ minds to approve of that, I don’t know…

Still, despite all this, the creators actually know that this series is rubbish, and just try to make the best of it. You can really see that the creators are critical of their own anime. This is one series that makes fun of itself, and actually succeeds, which I guess is where the short airtime comes in: it’s a short and fun series to watch if you’re stuck at home on a rainy day and need something light to watch. This is a series with style, no matter how strange it may be.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 7/10
Production-Values: 7/10
Setting: 7/10
Posted on with categories: Bonen no Xamdou



Short Synopsis: Haru’s letters reach Akiyuki, and a possibility for the two of them to meet pops up.
Highlights: Another building-up episode, but this time the Xam’d and humanforms got some extra depth.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10
Another solid and enjoyable for Bonen no Xamdou. I think that this is the pattern we can expect for much of the rest of the first half of this series: mostly fleshing out the characters and building up the storyline, with your occasional action-sequence like the attack on Sentan-island and the Xam’d going berserk. The question is now whether the second half of this series can effectively make use of all the time that was spent on building up in the first half, but we still need to wait a couple of months before we get the answer to that. In any case, so far the first half has been wonderfully down to earth, and that’s why I like this series so far.

In the meantime, Haru’s still very worried about what happened to Akiyuki. As it turns out, the Xam’d was killed relatively easy, but the real purpose of it going berserk was to show that it wasn’t looking for trouble, it was just a pregnant woman who wanted to live, and at the same time show a strange pillar in the sky that only the Xam’d and Haru could see. The question is obviously: why could Haru see it and everybody else not? It’s probably got something to do with Akiyuki.

I also wonder what Haru’s going to do when she finally meets Akiyuki. Will she continue to stay with the military? Will she desert it and join the crew of the Zanbani (that would be rather lame, by the way)? Meanwhile, Akiyuki’s little adventure alone reminded me of the time when Renton went off on his own in Eureka7, although their reasons are totally different. There hasn’t been any real tension so far between Akiyuki and the crew, unlike with Eureka7, where the crew of the Gekko-go kept teasing Renton over and over again. Bonen no Xamdou is much more a coming of age story for Haru than that it is for Akiyuki.

This episode also again blurred the line between the Xam’d and the humanforms. It’s like humanforms are a lesser form of the Xam’d. The guy that Akiyuki meets in this episode: we’re still not sure whether he’s a humanform or a Xam’d, since his symptoms looked exactly like Akiyuki’s. But on the other hand, when even these common people are able to at least gain their senses back after having been Xam’d, then why is Sentan Island’s military having so much trouble to deal with just one of them?

Posted on 27 August 2008 with categories: Himitsu ~The Revelation~



Short Synopsis: A previously unmentioned Daiku-member is found dead.
Highlights: Finally the cast in this series feels complete!
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,5/10
Oh boy, they should have done this episode much sooner. It’s strange, but it finally feels that the cast has been introduced, and that with only three more episodes to go! With this episode, we learned a bit more about the final member who always remained in the shadows a bit (the red-haired woman whose name I forgot), and strangely enough, the cast also felt very complete with this episode. Screw the statement that this series isn’t good at characterizations. Sure, the characters don’t develop nearly as much as with other series, but at least with this episode, they’re fleshed out well.

I can’t believe that it took me this long to notice, but even though this is an incredibly inconsistent series, there have been two major themes throughout the episode: the first is the obvious Suzuki-storyline, and the second is a theme that you hardly get to see in anime in this form: the relationship with your wife that actually isn’t overblown. It’s one very realistic aspect in this series: each member of Daiku has his or her own love-life that doesn’t have anything to do with their job (apart from Aoki and Maki, perhaps. Ironically, still single).

But this episode did convince me: a second season for this series would rock, and the creators still have so much more to play with. Unfortunately, this is Madhouse we’re talking about. They nearly always go for new premises, instead of continuing old ones. And in a way, in the long run I like this approach better. Okay, it does leave a number of unfinished stories that way, but the other extreme is just as bad: just continue to make series of premises that already exist and which you know will rake in cash (like what Sunrise is doing right now, or even more blatantly, those recently introduced Haruhi spin-offs). The gaming-industry is currently showing what happens when such a mentality gets taken to the extreme: only sequels and hardly anything original. In the end, I do prefer the variety, so I can understand it if Madhouse would just end this series with a bang and then move on to other fresh premises.

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Kemurikusa is your very definition of an overlooked gem, one that never really gain much discussion anywhere, but one that has a distinctive style from an up-and-coming auteur who has full control of his projects. Coming to Kemurikusa, all the attention it has came from the fact that it is created by TATSUKI, a mastermind […]

Mob Psycho 100 S2 Anime Review – 87/100

Upon finishing this series, the only question on my mind was how many animators did Bones sacrifice on ONE’s altar to achieve this. Following their prior season, Mob Psycho 100 Season 2 continues Bones adaptation of webcomic and manga author ONE’s 4th work, Mob Psycho 100. ONE has also authored the critically acclaimed One Punch […]

Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai Review – 84/100

Anime draws on many different media types in its endless search for properties to adapt, but manga is still the king of the bunch. And why not? It’s a distinctly Japanese art form, their main demographics have significant overlap, and manga’s panel-based layout means that some of the anime staff’s work is already done. Plenty […]

Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru Anime Review – 93/100

Recently, sports anime have become a bit of a dying breed. Falling into the same hole as Mecha, aside from a passionate base audience, most are overlooked. There are the occasional hits like Haikyuu, Yuri on Ice, or Darling in the Franxx for Mecha, but those are few and far between, often taking years. Even […]

A quick and dirty review of Garo: Vanishing Line

What it claims to be about: A secret order of knights and alchemists, the Makai Knights and Alchemists, fight horrifying creatures called Hollows who prey on human weakness .Part of the media franchise spanning anime and live action shows, this iteration is set in modern metropolis and concerns the attempts of Sword, the strongest Makai […]