Posted by psgels on 31 January 2009 with categories: Monthly Summaries

It’s definitely been an interesting Winter-season so far. I know that I’ve ranted pretty often about the lack of new concepts this series, but when you look at the big picture, then this is promising to become an excellent season. There are many quality sequels airing right now, and especially a lot of great shows that are entering their second halves. I’m looking forward to see what the rest of this season is going to offer.

#33 (new) – Hetalia Axis Powers – (1,5/10) – A full first impression will follow as soon as I find another bunch of new Series and OVAs, but the gist of it is pretty much that this series is discrimination and it deserves to have been cancelled from TV-broadcasts. Every single country is being made fun of… apart from the Netherlands!? What have we ever done to Japan to deserve this!?
#32 (new) – Akikan – (2,5/10) – No. Just… No.
#31 (new) – Asu no Yoichi – (5,75/10) – If I had to summarize this show with one word, it’d be “generic”. It’s not utter crap, but at this point I’ve totally forgotten what happened in that first episode, other than a totally out-of-place boob-joke. There are so many better series this season, so why would you go for this one?
#30 (new) – Maria Holic – (6,75/10) – I’m going to need a looong break from Shinbo. Especially after watching Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei and Tsukuyomi Moonphase.
#29 (new) – Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo – (7/10) – I know that this is a parody and all, but right now I’ve had enough of the Sunrise Trainwrecks.
#28 (25) – Slayers Evolution-R – (7/10) – The first season was lucky that it aired in a season where I had lots of free time and there weren’t that many good shows. The second season is less lucky, so I’ve dropped this one in favour of more interesting premises.
#27 (new) – Viper’s Creed – (7,5/10) – Even though there’s hardly any originality here whatsoever, I like this series. Its mature look at busting up bad guys is a refreshing change from all those action heroes and teenagers who are fighting for the powers of love, or something similar.
#26 (new) – Major 5th Season – (7,75/10) – One day. One day, I’m going to watch this series. Just… Not now.
#25 (new) – Maria-Sama ga Miteru – (7,75/10) – One day. One day, I’m going to watch this series. Just… Not now.
#24 (new) – Kurokami The Animation – (7,75/10) – Despite the interesting premise, the characters are dull and annoying, and yet I somehow end up caring about the two lead characters when they get their ass kicked for the umpth time.
#23 (new) – Koukaku no Regios – (7,75/10) – I keep getting surprised at how good this is. On the outside it’s a mindless shonen-series about people fighting each other, and yet there seems to be much more behind it. If it can only make its characters a bit more likable through the course of its 24 episodes, then I’m in.
#22 (new) – Ride Back – (8/10) – My problem with this show is that it keeps tugging on my suspense of disbelief. For example, one episode, a character violently crashes and ends up in a hospital. The next episode she’s just fine. Sure, a few months must have passed since then, but it breaks flow nonetheless. The characters are excellent, but this series desperately misses something.
#21 (11) – Skip Beat – (8,25/10) – The thing with Skip Beat is that it gets way too soppy when it turns on the drama-switch, and the soppiness only increases as the series goes on. The comedy still is hilarious, but there’s too little of it, and the bitchfights that originally made me like this series have been painfully absent this month.
#20 (14) – Mobile Suit Gundam 00 – (8,25/10) – This series isn’t as good as some of the other shows I’m watching this series, but nevertheless the plot is heading in the right direction, and especially the coup d’etat of the past episodes is promising a lot of great stuff for this series’ finale.
#19 (27) – Minami-Ke – (8,25/10) – Okay, so it’s taken me more than a year, but I’m finally sold on this series. The second and third episode were quite hilarious.
#18 (new) – Kemono no Souja Erin – (8,25/10) – Despite the fact that this thing is being produced by Trans Arts, the creators are actually doing a pretty good job on it so far. The only bad part is the use of CG, but apart from that the art looks really stylish. However, I first want to see what this series is going to do once the drama starts building up.
#17 (9) – Druaga no Tou – (8,25/10) – The royal guards have become pretty pathetic in the second season, but apart from that I like the balance between humour and seriousness in the second season so far.
#16 (new) – Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai – (8,25/10) – Okay, so technically this show is cheating a bit, by using its animation from theOVAs, but that doesn’t prevent this series from looking totally sweet. Yumemi is a likable heroine with interesting friends. Right now, the creators need to spend time into developing the setting.
#15 (7) – Jigoku Shoujo – (8,25/10) – This month of Jigoku Shoujo has been charming, but there weren’t any highlights. Still, the series is getting more solid and consistent, and Yuzuki is also getting better and better, so there’s lots of potential left for this series in the future.
#14 (10) – Tytania – (8,5/10) – The characters are surprisingly fun to watch as they all try to outsmart each other. What I also really like about this series is how seemingly small actions continue to spiral out of control throughout the series.
#13 (16) – One Outs – (8,5/10) – The decline of this series was wonderfully prevented by the Coach’s big scene. It’s good to see that this series is focusing on character-development after all, but it’s going to have to put in some effort to prevent the final arc of this series from getting dull.
#12 (new) – White Album – (8,5/10) – Sure, we’ve seen it before: guy is surrounded by lots of girls. Still, I’m still surprised at how good the writing of White Album is. The creators really manage to nail the different feelings of the different characters. It’s going to be awesome if they can keep this up.
#11 (5) – Shikabane Hime – (8,5/10) – I’m not sure who exactly found it a good idea to increase the fanservice ten-fold in this series, but nonetheless, the characters really managed to save this series from its shounen roots. I feared that the character-development would come to a grinding halt with the arrival of the second season, but it’s still going strong.

#10 (15) – Gintama – (8,5/10)

This month’s best episode was without a doubt episode 99. Those were some of the best game parodies I’ve seen. Right now, the subs have reached the point where the show changed directors. Let’s see what the new director can do with this series, although it’s a shame to see the old director go. The guy was absolutely brilliant in the past 100 episodes.

#9 (new) – Genji Monogatari Sennenki – (8,5/10)

The visuals are downright gorgeous, and the creators are wasting no time to get on with the story. The romance in this show is pretty good, despite being a harem.

#8 (12) – Natsume Yuujinchou – (8,5/10)

The stories from Natsume Yuujinchou this month ranged from simply okay to downright adorable. It hasn’t been the best month for this series, but it’s good to see this series back again.

#7 (17) – Tales of the Abyss – (8,5/10)

This series really managed to capture the essence of a group of people growing closer and closer together which is really prevalent in all of the Tales-games. I’m still really liking where this show is going.

#6 (new) – Hajime no Ippo – (8,5/10)

It took me only three episodes to get hooked on this show, and realize how bloody addictive it is. The plot is most likely not going to go anywhere, but the sheer intensity of the boxing matches really kept me on the edge of my seat.

#5 (3) – Bonen no Xamdou – (8,75/10)

Overall, it’s a shame that this series didn’t get the proper amount of episodes that would have been necessary to get the best out of its story. The finale has been rushed a bit, yet nevertheless it’s been an awesome ride between climaxes, with some of the sweetest animation imaginable.

#4 (13) – Clannad – (8,75/10)

This definitely has been the best month for Clannad yet, and especially the birth-scene was for me the highlight of both the first and second season. Okay, sure Nagisa is pretty much an older rip-off of Air’s lead female, but nevertheless it was a wonderful scene.

#3 (4) – Michiko e Hatchin – (9/10)

I’ve become a huge fan of this show’s characters, from the downright lovable Hatchin to the excellent villain of Satoshi. This show has really proven to know what it’s doing in both the serious and fun scenes.

#2 (6) – Casshern Sins – (9/10)

We’re about to get to the real meat of the story, and I must say that it’s awesome to see the characters growing and the plot making more and more sense, while there still are plenty of questions left to be answered.

#1 (13) – Birdy the Mighty Decode – (9,5/10)

Talk about improvement! The second season is doing just about everything right, and has in four episodes already surpassed the entire first season in every single area. The new plot has become so much more interesting, and Natoru is such an awesome new character.

23 Responses

  1. Jerry says:

    Don’t watch Toradora? I actually think they really do a good job with all the aspects of friendships between the leads in Toradora. I do agree with you in that Birdy 2nd season so far has been a lot better than the first one.

  2. Scamp says:

    Ah come now!I’m slightly annoyed at Hetalia for not including Ireland but it’s still hilarious

    I think I might try pick up Birdy again with you saying its so good

  3. senerikfred says:

    Maybe it’s easier for me because my country is a fairly noticeable character, but Hetalia deserves better than that. The Renaissance parody was pretty damn funny. I’ve suspected it for a while, but even though you have a sense of humor, I’m really starting to believe you have little to no sense of fun.
    It’s a pity I didn’t watch Noein until recently, or I’d have known to stay with Birdy through an uninteresting start to spread it out until the awesome kicked in. Now I’m stuck catching up, dammit.

    And I don’t think Casshern deserves that much. Despite the pretty colors, ep 15 was terrible, because it was slow as hell, just kept repeating the same hope/live on shit without putting any effort into it, and then, of all things, had Casshern start pointlessly fighting again. The fight scenes in Casshern have got to be some of the most boring I’ve seen in most cases, too-they’ve degraded into angsty people flipping up in the air for no reason. The next episode, fortunately, got the ball rolling somewhat again, but this series is way too slow. This is from someone who adores slice-of-life, too.
    And shame on you for cheating on the ToA screenshots. Did you forget to take any new ones?

  4. ll says:

    “…but the sheer intensity of the boxing matches really kept me on the edge of my seat…”

    go watch real boxing then…the so called boxing in this anime is really…who names all their moves? and who does their moves slow enough so people can see it and go like, that’s the belly roll! or that’s the _____!

  5. Ravage says:

    What!? We’re not in Hetalia?
    Pff, they’re missing a golden opportunity. They should have made some relaxed guy declaring neutrality at every argument, trying to negotiate a solution midway between the parties (Poldermodel), and generally lying around, trying to convince the other countries to take it easy and smoke some pot. ;)
    That would’ve been fun to watch, as well as using some stereotypes of us. :p

  6. tekky99 says:

    You should give Toradora another chance. It’s grown into something way more than what any of us (except those who’ve read the light novels) have expected.
    mainly, it’s NOT your typical tsundere show. not at all

  7. green says:

    I’m beyond shocked when I saw you gave Hetalia a 1.5, and the reason being that it’s discriminitive????!!!! Are you fking kidding me???? The light-hearted jokes and parodies are nothing compared to South Park, which is still a great show (or used to be). And speaking of discrimination, Genji Monogatari Sennenki tops all in this season, yet you gave it 8.5. A womanizer plus a bunch of whores, nothing can be more derogatory and offensive towards women than this, even more so than Clannad.

  8. Denizen says:

    >A womanizer plus a bunch of whores, nothing can be more derogatory and offensive towards women than this

    Yes, because in the modern world, when something offensive appears in a piece of fiction, it’s inherently bad, right? Idiot.

  9. Wyrdwad says:

    I do think you’re being a little hard on Hetalia, and that you’re kinda missing the point of the show. It’s not discrimination, it’s parody through stereotypes, like when you roast a celebrity when his/her retirement draws near… it’s designed to be funny through offensiveness and ridiculousness, a la American shows like South Park.

    If you were offended by Hetalia, though, then I have to wonder how offended you’d be by its earlier middle-eastern counterpart, Afghanis-tan. ;)

    -Tom

  10. green says:

    Denizen: You are completely missing the point here. It doesn’t matter if sexism or other shit appears in a particular piece of fiction. What matters is where the author stands. Is he criticizing these ideals in his work, or is he actually advocating them? Of course, it’s still too early to conclude that Genji is the idiot’s guide to womanizing and whoring, but then again this post is about the first three episodes anyways. Besides, I only brought it up because I want to use it as an argument on Hetalia.

  11. Archer says:

    So you are actually watching Hajime starting from this new season.It’s a shame since the prequels are just as awesome,with absolutely hilarious moments and a good character development.

  12. psgels psgels says:

    Ah, the irony. I try to be sarcastic for a change, and I get accused of having no sense of fun. ^^; Obviously, the Hetalia Axis Power-comment was meant to poke fun at all the people who got offended and whose actions cancelled such a hilarious series.

    Senerikfred: crap, I thought people wouldn’t notice. Yeah, when I was about to make screenshots, I found out that I already deleted all of the ToA-episodes on my computer, and I was too lazy to download them again.

    ll: I watch that show exactly because I lack the patience to enjoy real sports matches.

    Wyrdwad: Afganis-tan sounds so awesome. :)

    Jerry, tekky: I dropped Toradora for pretty shallow reasons (I couldn’t stand Taiga’s voice actress because she reminded me too much of Shakugan no Shana), but with the immense amount of support for that show, I might end up watching it at some point.

  13. Windspirit says:

    It’s got to be the first time in my life that I burst in laughs from the EXPLANATION of a joke and not the joke itself. XD

  14. ll says:

    psgels, you do realize for boxing there is a 3 minute time limit per round? you can sit through an episode but lack patience to sit still for 3 minutes…

  15. Shirachi says:

    While I can agree with you on many things, I have to say that giving Hetalia a mere 1.5 for not including the Netherlands reeks of hypocrisy. Its kinda hard to include every single country into 5-minutes, especially considering its more about World War I and World War II; which (I don’t mean to be a bitch, and if this offends you feel free to call me out on it) they weren’t very “prominent,” I guess.

    Of course they included Greece, so that argument slaps me right in the face.

    Anyway, Tales of the Abyss time. I’m trilled to see that its still hasn’t fallen in the limbo of good video games but bad anime, along with Xenosaga and other Tales adaptations.

  16. senerikfred says:

    Your prank on Hetalia is not an obvious one at all. You definitely don’t have much idea as to what most people find fun. XP I’m not trying to be mean, though. Just pointing out.

    As for Toradora, I don’t think you’d like it, but I may just be over-thinking how much you’ve been whining about teenagers lately- because the essence of it is that the high school setting isn’t being used specifically for the appeal that shows with that setting have, then building from there-the characters are in every way TEENAGERS. They can be shallow, perverted, and jump to conclusions a lot. They can surprise you one second with their insight and tenacity, only to fall on their faces over an issue seemingly insignificant. Most of them don’t have the faintest idea where their lives are taking them or if they’re going to like it there, and sometimes the only proper way to express their confused emotions is the most straightforward and/or outrageous way. Which leaves the story kind of ridiculous for the sake of the drama at times, but also does a really good job of showing adolescence. Toradora gets points for well-depicted teenagers-they aren’t likely to take the most logical actions, but they’ll do whatever makes the most sense to themselves.
    If you think you can deal with that, it’s not like it’s all drama, or even too much so, either. Very fun comedy/slice-of-life.

  17. Westlo says:

    Cotto Vs Margerito and Pacman versus Marquez are way more exciting than any fight in Ippo and I love Ippo…

  18. kev3458 says:

    I was going to disagree with you on Hetalia, but reading the comments enlightened me xD. Although, it still mocks my history knowledge till no end…

  19. windy says:

    About hetalia : I think it’s been created more for fun than for discriminating reasons, but I don’t really see any point to have made it, it’s not enjoyable , well just for fun maybe, but what’s the point to have fun and laugh in a ” wreck” series with no true characters & no storytelling ( personnaly I can’t ), that’s something that’s probably beyond my understanding.

  20. Kurisu says:

    senerikfred: “Your prank on Hetalia is not an obvious one at all. You definitely don’t have much idea as to what most people find fun.”

    Look who’s talking! Oh well, the average taco might really not be the brightest bulb.

  21. O_O Hetalia only got a 1.5 from you? *sigh* I am not sure about your sarcasm on it (because though you gave it a low score, you admit it’s hilarious O_o *confused*), but whatever the reason . . . oh well, opinions differ ^^; But I do hope that you don’t think Hetalia is being offensive, because it’s totally not ^^;

  22. Lika says:

    Oh my, I had a minor heart attack when I read your rating on Hetalia before your comment. xD Mostly because I’ve known so many people who’ve hated it because of how ‘discrimatory’ it is (which I fully get people being offended by, espcially Koreans and Chinese as we do have a very touchy relationship with Japan), but most people hate it based on purely the concept alone instead of actually taking the time and reading the damn thing and giving it a chance.

    (Also, I think the author is working on a Neatherlands character, so s/he might appear in the anime if we’re lucky)

  23. Shippoyasha says:

    “go watch real boxing then…the so called boxing in this anime is really…who names all their moves? and who does their moves slow enough so people can see it and go like, that’s the belly roll! or that’s the _____! ”

    Plenty of boxers name their techniques out there. Also, the action isn’t slowed down in itself. It’s just the slowed down perspective and most of the commentary comes from the ringside observation. Also, the mangaka is a bit of a boxing expert. It ain’t Dragonball Z or Prince of Tennis. There’s some pretty wild moves in there, but it’s not to the point of being totally unrealistic.

    “Cotto Vs Margerito and Pacman versus Marquez are way more exciting than any fight in Ippo and I love Ippo… ”

    Westlo, you are not an Ippo fan if you say that. Some of the Ippo fights are freakin’ incredible. Real life fights, there’s good ones of course, but why are you putting down Ippo when you say you love it? It’s obvious. You don’t.

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  • Bam
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 05:54 AM)
    The episode was alright and felt dense as I watched it, but in hindsight only really moved the plot forward incrementally. Lancer not untying Tohsaka as soon as he killed Kirei and then not killing Shinji when he clearly had the chance left a bad taste in my mouth. That and Shirou’s heavy plot armor at this point is becoming reminiscent of another famous anime dual-wielder. Not a compliment.
  • Bam
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 05:46 AM)
    UBW 20 felt like another rendition of Eva 26 (Take care of yourself), complete with character analysis, battle with one’s Jungian Shadow, and loosely Buddhist ideas of self-actualization. It even featured the repetitive monologue shots that fade to black (with “I saw Hell” instead of Rei’s “Sky. Red, red sky”). It never went as far as Eva with “which way is up?” type of Soliloquy, but that’s probably a good thing.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:33 AM)
    Now I like my exploitation every so often, but yes Bam I really do wish that adult and mature storytelling could be better associated with truly, more pure mature themes.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:25 AM)
    I get choked up over Bergmans cries and whisper and Autumn sonata, I look back on a work by Key and Jun Maeda and wonder, think of how silly it looks to me now.

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