Posted on 31 March 2009 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

La Corda d’Oro ~Secondo Passo~

Short Synopsis: Our lead character seems to have abandoned her magical violin.
Chance of me Blogging: 0% (It just feels too much like an inferior shoujo Nodame Cantabile)
I remember how the first season was pretty much an insult to classical music, in which a ditz without any musical background acquires a magical violin and cheats herself into a competition among the top students of the school she’s in. Thankfully, the second season seems to have improved a lot on it, and the lead characters seems to have realized that it’s much more fun to be playing by herself. There’s quite a bit of potential in her growth. She now seems to be incredibly talented because she can play with lots of emotions in her violin, but I guess that that’s much better than the magical violin. I’m still not sold on the ridiculously looking bishies, though. Especially that blonde guy was horrible. He reminds me of Fuwa Shou from Skip Beat! In fact, I could swear that the two of them share the same voice actor, and I can’t believe that he’s being forced to play his character straight this time. Talk about overacting here…

Chi’s New Address

Short Synopsis: Our lead character wants to go outside.
Chance of me Blogging: 0% (It’s a fun show and all, but I’d go crazy trying to blog it)
Awesome to see this series back. Chi is just as fun to watch as ever, and I’m surprised that the creators are actually continuing with the whole plotline of trying to find a new home for Chi. This is going to mean that dad, mom and Youhei are going to make way for a new family, and I wonder whether this new family has the charms of the original. Ah well, at least Chi will be the same. ^^;

Marie & Gali

Short Synopsis: Our lead character finds herself into some weird Italian-ish island.
Chance of me Blogging: 10% (Italy suddenly became a popular country to make fun of, hasn’t it?)
So… yeah. If you’re wondering what the “Gali”-part of the title means: it’s short for Galileo Galilei. What we have here is a bizarre fantasy setting in which a teenaged girl meets a very weird version of Galileo inside the tower of Pisa. I’m really not sure who thought of it, but for some reason it was kind of charming. It makes excellent use of its time of only 5 minutes to be either slapstick, make random historical references and be cute, and the combination works surprisingly well. It’s obviously never going to be amazing, but I have to admit that it was pretty amusing. Not to mention that Marie’s character-designs look very stylish.

Posted on with categories: Monthly Summaries

An interesting month this time. It featured a lot of very awesome finales, but also quite a few disappointing or lacking endings, unfortunately. What surprised me is that most of the shows whose endings went right are the ones who still have some sort of second season or OVA waiting, or at least whose storylines aren’t finished yet. In any case, though, the past half year has been a very strong half year for anime, which aired quite a few classics and great shows. I have no idea what the spring-season looks like, since I again tried to avoid all previews about it, but the standard it has to live up to has been set really high with the past Winter-season.

#24 (12) – Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai – (7,25/10) – The ending was disappointing, to say the least. If only the creators went with a solid ending, I would have been at least content, but for some strange reason Yumemi and Munto started acting completely out of character in that final episode. What happened there?
#23 (20) – Gintama – (7,25/10) – I really wish I can just label episode 106 as a lesser episode in which the creators had a bad day or something, but the timing is just too coincidental with the arrival of the new director: characters suddenly act out of character, the jokes feel flat, the amount of penis-jokes increased fivefold and most importantly: the dialogue suddenly feels nowhere as creative as it once did in the first 100 episodes. Perhaps the new director needed some time to get used to this series, but please let him get in his element soon!
#22 (9) – White Album – (7,5/10) – The ending didn’t resolve anything at all, unfortunately. And yeah, I know that a second season is coming, but the creators should have at least brought in some kind of closure. This month of White Album was decent, I guess, but it’s just a shame that I completely lost my suspense of disbelief for this show.
#21 (21) – Mobile Suit Gundam 00 – (7,75/10) – The ending was too idealistic: bad guy dies and everyone is suddenly happy. Still, it sufficed in the action-department.Gundam 00 has been formulaic to say the least, but at least the action was solid.
#20 (11) – Druaga no Tou – (7,75/10) – The ending was cheesy and formulaic. It’s a shame, since the ending of the first season was so fresh and original, but this time… I think we could see what would happen from miles away.
#19 (23) – Kurokami the Animation – (7,75/10) – The show still is nothing special, but interestingly enough there is still potential for its second half, so I’m going to stick with this show for a little while longer. However, I really hope that the combat system stops being so arbitrary in this show’s second half.
#18 (new) – Chi’s New Address – (7,75/10) – Fun, fun, fun. There have only been two episodes released so far, so there’s not much that this series could have shown yet, but it’s nevertheless going to be interesting to see what a completely different setting can do for this series.
#17 (18) – Koukaku no Regios – (8/10) – With the first half over by now, the show’s really going to have to deliver at this point. While solid and decent, nothing has stood out yet, and I hope that I was right in sticking with this series.
#16 (15) – Tales of the Abyss – (8/10) – The ending was a bit underwhelming, especially with Luke rising from the dead again in the last minute (but hey, this is Sunrise after all), and the finale of this show felt a bit rushed. It would have benefited from one or two more episodes.
#15 (19) – Minami-Ke – (8/10) – The ending was perhaps a bit cheesy with the drama and all, but it was fun to watch just like the rest of this series. March again was a nice month for Minami-Ke to just sit back and watch, and that’s what the show has become good at.
#14 (22) – Hetalia: Axis Powers – (8,25/10) – The thing that stood out most this month was that very strange F-box. It’s so hilarious that nobody seemed to find it strange that it was there. Overall it’s still been an enjoyable little series and interestingly: it seems to be getting better.
#13 (16) – One outs – (8,25/10) – And this month was much of the same again, which is a good thing for this series. One Outs isn’t exactly going to become something memorable, but it’s definitely enjoyable.
#12 (13) – Natsume Yuujin-Chou – (8,25/10) – The ending was pretty good; it really brought together everything that the second season had been building up for, but it’s going to be a waste if there isn’t going to be some sort of third season in a few years.
#11 (10) – Tytania – (8,25/10) – The ending was surprisingly good, fun and solid, even though it only remains a question whether we’re going to get that second season. The finale took a looooong time to build up, but the end result was definitely rewarding.
#10 (2) – Clannad – (8,5/10)

The ending was a deus ex machina. While it makes sense when put in context with the game, it was badly introduced and came from nowhere. Apart from that, this month has been solid, though last month was much, much better.

#9 (14) – Skip Beat – (8,5/10)

The ending was really solid, but left the series with a HUGE cliff-hanger. It’s been a very fun month for Skip Beat, and the past few episodes really convinced me that this is an awesome series, rather than yet another average shoujo as Itazura na Kiss or Ouran High School Host Club.

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

The ending was solid and one of the better ones I’ve seen this season. Again, Genji Monogatari has been a very consistent emotional journey, and I’m looking forward to whatever series Noitamina has to offer next.

#7 (6) – Hajime no Ippo – (8,75/10)

Hammer’s arc was yet again incredibly addictive. While not as good as the previous one, it still is an amazing series.

#6 (3) – Casshern Sins – (8,75/10)

The ending was rushed. It’s a shame that the creators couldn’t get themselves two or three more episodes, because if they did the ending would have absolutely rocked.

#5 (17) – Ride Back – (8,75/10)

The ending was very solid. The past month was definitely the best month of Ride Back for me, and it was awesome to see that everything did come together in the end.

#4 (5) – Shikabane Hime – (8,75/10)

The ending was a bit of a disappointment, considering the action-packed climax you’d be expecting. Nevertheless, apart from that it was a very exciting finale, and the height of the second season.

#3 (4) – Michiko e Hatchin – (9,25/10)

The ending was very realistic and I liked it, though it could have been better. The rest of the finale of this series, however, was an awesome one. Hatchin vs Satoshi rocked.

#2 (7) – Jigoku Shoujo – (9,25/10)

Seriously, what a fantastic month for Jigoku Shoujo! The finales of the different seasons always manage to push the series to new heights and the third season is no exception. The show might have had its issues in the beginning, but the finale really makes up for it!

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

The ending was without a doubt the best ending of the season. Birdy the Mighty has been really dominating the past Winter Season, and this month was no different. An utterly incredible finale that still manages to pay attention to those small details as the world that the characters live in, and the animation during the big action-scenes was simply fantastic.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Natsume Yuujin-Chou



The first season of Natsume Yuujin-chou was basically a string of random stories about the lead character, Natsume, meeting a bunch of Youkai. The second season forms much more of a unity as Natsume’s development starts kicking in. The random stories are more connected to each other, and instead of an episodic series, we’re suddenly treated to a character-study of a boy who grew up with being able to see youkai.

The production-values are as solid as ever: backgrounds are rich and detailed, the animation is crisp and the different designs for the youkai are very solid. The music is also very enjoyable again, with especially the ending theme standing out as a great song.

Unfortunately, despite this it did lose some of the charms of the first season this way. For me, the show has lost its novelty by now, and I don’t think that it’s really succeeded in making up for it, even though many people seem to disagree with this. For me, the height of Natsume Yuujin-chou still is the Hotaru-episode, and the second season did nothing to change that.

I think that one of the reasons for why the second season has made less impact is that it ends at a point where it’s simply still building up. There’s a huge part of the manga left to be animated, and the second season was mostly just setting the pieces correctly for those arcs. I that way, it served its purpose very well if there’s going to be a third season, but it doesn’t suffice as a finale here.

And don’t get me wrong here: Zoku Natsume Yuujin-chou is still a very enjoyable and relaxing slice of life series without any major flaws, but it just lacks the impact that the first season had, but there is still enough worth watching if you were also charmed by the first number of episodes like I was. Especially don’t miss the Tama-chapter.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 8/10
Posted on with categories: Natsume Yuujin-Chou



Short Synopsis: Natsume finds himself having to choose between Kai and Natori.
Episode Rating: 7,5/10 (Good)
Well, the creators did it, even though they had to stuff two chapters into only one episode. It makes a lot of sense to save this story for last, because it really forms a conclusion to the development of Natsume throughout the second season: for once, he’s being forced to choose between humans and youkai.

I also liked that little scene at the end, which symbolizes how much closer Natsume has gotten to his classmates now. It’s time for the guy to grow up and stop only interacting with youkai. It was a very nice idea for an ending, and while not the best ending I’ve seen this season, it was definitely a good one; something that most other shows this season can’t boast.

Overall, the second season wasn’t exactly among my favourites, but it was nevertheless enjoyable to watch and the character-development on Natsume was very nicely done. Let’s hope that there’s going to be a third season some day.

Posted on 30 March 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



Skip Beat has been an incredibly frustrating series for me; and not because it was incredibly bad: instead it’s been incredibly good. It’s a true breath of fresh air in the Shoujo genre, I became a fan of it instantly… and yet every single tiny flaw tends to stick out like a needle here. Ack.

While from the outside this series doesn’t look anything special: shoujo series about a girl who enters the idol business have been done before, but never in the way that this series has done. By a lack of a better description: this show has BALLS. The amount of guts it has continues to surprise, and to be honest, I can’t think of any other shoujo series that has a better sense of comedic timing than this series has. It’s amazing how careful and yet how witty this show is when delivering the jokes. It knows exactly how to deliver its jokes. The show is definitely on its best when two people with incredibly clashing personality are in bitch-fights against each other. It’s guaranteed hilarity!

And that’s the thing: if there’s any series that deserves to progress flawlessly, then it’s this one, but it’s such a bloody shame that the drama-bit of this series is shaky. While better than your average romantic comedy, the drama especially in the middle suffers from being WAY TOO RIDICULOUSLY CHEESY for its own good. The incredibly soppy drama unfortunately takes itself seriously, and doesn’t seem to realize that it’s incredibly formulaic.

The problem with this series is its trademark bitch-fights: while hilarious to watch, it becomes horribly dull when characters aren’t either trying to scratch each other’s eyes out or teasing the hell out of each other. The biggest offenders are the two middle arcs, about the chief’s daughter and the commercial filming. In such a hilarious series, these arcs break the flow terribly and are a pain to get through.

The romance also starts out incredibly shaky. Kyoko, the female lead, doesn’t just happen to run into one of the most respected actors in the business, she also grew up with the friggin guy when she was just a child. Especially the latter is jarring, since it wasn’t needed (or used, for that matter) at all in order to spark up the romance between him and the lead female.

THANKFULLY, though, this series does pick itself up as it goes along, resulting into a bunch of episodes of awesomeness in the final third, and it closes off with a strong arc. Unfortunately, it then proceeds to end the series with one helluva cliff-hanger. Kyoko herself is a really diverse character that has a huge amount of different sides to her character. Unfortunately, some of these sides feel forced. And that’s the bloody thing with this show: for every great point it seems to have one flaw or so to bring it down.

Nevertheless, I recommend this show for those looking for a great shoujo-series. Great shoujo-series like this one are very rare, especially since most shows of the genre feel like a simple rehash of an existing formula without much of an own identity. Skip Beat, while too soppy for its own good at time is a genuinely funny series, and we can only hope that a second season will be made some day.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10
Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews



The reason why there aren’t many reviews of pure slice-of-life series on this site isn’t because I dislike the genre, or anything. Instead, when I need to drop series to prevent myself from watching too much at once, these shows also seem to be the ones to go down first. This season I felt in a bit of an experimental mood, though, and I decided to stick with the third season of Minami-Ke, even though I never watched more than one or two episodes from the first two seasons. What I got was a pretty enjoyable series about the lives of a bunch of sisters, living together and their classmates.

While I could go all anal and be like “zomg, it’s nothing but fillers so it sux0rz”, but even though there’s hardly any continuity, and all of the different stories are just random strings of five minutes packed together, it’s in this case perfectly enjoyable to watch the antics of all of the different characters in this series. While it’s not as gut-achingly funny as other comedies, I found that Minami-Ke Okaeri was often able to put a smile on my face.

This is a typical show that never really hits any highs or lows, and instead is just enjoyable to watch and perfect if you’re feeling lazy and have half an hours or so to burn. The Minami-sisters are quite likable, and they’re funny while not trying to be. This review is short because there’s not much else to say about it, but I’m definitely going to check out the first season, which is rumoured to be even better.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10
Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews



When it started, Ride Back was a strange beast. With its concept of uniting strange motorbikes with arms with military totalitarianism, I was on one hand charmed by the characters, on the other hand it just kept testing my suspense of disbelief with overly coincidental plot twists that were only introduced for the sake of the story. Nevertheless, now that I’ve finished this series, I don’t feel like whining anymore. Ride Back rocks, despite some of the sacrifices it had to make.

In the end, Ride Back is a character-study of the female lead: Rin Ogata. It’s about many small things: criticism against military entering politics, simple motorbike racing, and terrorism; it’s about how a seemingly innocent action can have disastrous consequences and trying to find one’s true potential. and the beauty of Ride Back is that somehow, it all makes these widely diverse themes into a whole in only 12 episodes. The show very subtly evolves from light college adventures to a dark story about terrorism, but the whole thread of Rin’s development keeps it on one track and it prevents the series from dragging on, and while it may seem like a bit questionable as it goes on, the series comes together wonderfully in the end.

I also really must praise Madhouse’s visuals yet again. They went with another different art style this time, and especially the character-designs look really good and down to earth. There’s a slight issue that the CG doesn’t mesh in with the rest of the visuals, but even that could have been done much, much worse. And the series’ soundtrack also is a very powerful one.

So overall, I ended up liking this series much more than I thought. It’s got a questionable start, and does tend to pull some random coincidences simply for the sake of its story, but Rin’s development is rock-solid, which is especially rare for such a small 12-episode series. It’s no instant classic, but it’s yet again a worthy addition to Madhouse’s excellent repertoire.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 8/10
Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Mobile Suit Gundam 00



Gundam 00 was the first long Gundam series that was split into two halves of about 25 episodes, rather than continuing for a full run of 50. In te end, it turned out into a decent series: it does the job it’s supposed to do, but it wasn’t anything really outstanding. The second season unfortunately was a bit weaker than the first.

While the first series had some interesting politics in the beginning, the second season drops the politics aspect completely and instead focuses much more on delivering solid action and the story becomes much more character-focused. Central to the story are various different conflicts between opposing sides, and these really range from utterly abysmal (Saji and Louise whine way too much throughout the series) to engaging and pretty good (Allelujahh and Marie). Especially Setsuna deserves credit, as he grows into a solid and capable male lead.

This approach has its good and bad sides. As I said: whenever the good characters take up the spotlight, the series becomes pretty enjoyable, but in the end the second season is just too formulaic. There are too many random battles that don’t stand apart from each other; they hardly ever resolve something and usually end up with both parties simply retreating. Most of the major villains lack development (especially the innovators, who apart from Regetta have as much personality as a paper bag), and all in all, this second season could have also been done in 13 episodes without losing much of the content or impact.

So in the end, this really is a series for those who want lots of solid action. If you’re not into that, then there really isn’t a lot left to watch in this series. The animation pretty good overall, but for me it was hardly ever really aestetically pleasing; the soundtrack is excellent, though. It’s not a bad series by far, and it has some pretty enjoyable parts (my personal favourite being the fall of the elevator), but there are lots of better mecha-series out there.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 7/10
Posted on with categories: Mobile Suit Gundam 00



Short Synopsis: Ribbons and Setsuna finally face off against each other.
Episode Rating: 7/10 (Enjoyable)
Not the most impressive finale, but I’ve seen a lot worse endings this season. Obviously it was going to be overly cheesy, Setsuna and Ribbons were bound to fight to the death, and in the end Ribbons predictably dies and Setsuna somehow survives in true Disney fashion. Everyone lives happily ever after, blah blah blah, but there were some nice touches in this episode, like how the creators really wanted the show to end in a fight with Exia, rather than 00-Raiser.

I wasn’t too happy with how easily all of the conflicts in the middle east were solved. I mean, it’s not like Ribbons caused those, and the whole reunion of the middle east came really from nowhere. Also, what was that clone doing among the Azadistans? Also, what the heck was the purpose of Mister Bushido in this series? He was pretty much useless for the largest part of he series. One thing that I did like was Patrick’s wedding. That was sort-of cute.

Overall, I can’t really say that I’ve become a Gumdan-fan over the past year and a half, even though I tried. The original Mobile Suit Gundam was Excellent, but the others I’ve seen (Zeta, Wing and 00) all left things to be desired and were just too formulaic. It’s a shame, because all started out in their own way, and had an excellent and promising first half, but in their second halves they just all degrade into a string of random fights that aren’t really that much different from each other. I originally planned to patiently watch all of the gundam series out there, but in the end I’m only going to check out the rumoured really good ones: War in the Pocket, 08th MS Team and Turn A Gundam.

Posted on 29 March 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, White Album



I really wanted to like White Album. It had so many good ideas and concepts for a romance show. It had such a wonderful style and execution, it had the potential to be an incredible series. And yet… I just can’t. Beware: this series is very, very easy to dislike.

White Album is a harem series, but it immediately sets itself apart from the rest of its genre by its execution. The pacing is slow, and instead of focusing on silly comedy, this show is driven by the characters’ emotions, portrayed with a wonderful sense of subtlety. Often, we get small glimpses of what characters are thinking, either through short flashbacks, or their thoughts written on the screen. For a fan of subtlety as myself, this series really started out incredibly promising.

The cast of the series is very daring: Touya himself is far away from your typical paper-bag male lead, and instead he is an incredibly flawed character. Throughout the entire series, you’ll be screaming at him for the things he does. In fact, the rest of the cast is also pretty flawed, and it’s one of the driving forces of the series. Kabitzin wrote an excellent article on that matter, and even though it caused many people to hate this series, I consider it at one of the show’s strengths.

But in the end I just can’t recommend this show. I hate to say it, but it’s just too ambitious for its own good. It wants to do too many things and sacrifices the time it needs to build these up. Characters start crying and weeping way too easily in this show, and in most of the times it just feels too forced and directed. The show also has its share of plotholes here and there that only serve to increase the huge drama, but it never really seems to take control of where the drama goes to.

So in the end, the best parts of the show are the quiet bits, in which the drama subtly unfold without any forced crying or yelling. It’s a bloody shame; this show could have been amazing, but in the end it failed to live up to the expectations. I really appreciate the effort, but not every experiment goes exactly according to plans. I’d love to see a series that takes this series’ formula and does pace it properly, though.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 7/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 6/10

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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 […]