Posted on 30 April 2009 with categories: Monthly Summaries

I think that this is the first time that this ever happened ever since I started including ratings in these summaries: none of the shows I’m watching has a rating of 9/10 or above. But that’s logical since the only awesome show that continued from the past month was Hajime no Ippo, and that one had a lesser month this time. In any case, this is really typical of this season: there are no instant classics yet, but there sure are a hell of a lot with the potential to become one.

Oh, and another thing: I ended up experimenting with the rankings again. The result is that some shows with higher ratings may be ranked lower than you’d expect and vice versa. This time, I basically tried to generate the rankings for each show, compared to the others that are currently airing. Say, for example that Show A has a really good setting, and there are only a few other shows with a better setting, it’s going to rank higher than if there are many shows with excellent settings, and vice versa. Please don’t ask me in what kind of mindset I was when I thought of this system.

#41 (new) – Gokujou!! Mecha Motte Iinchou – (2/10) – The honour of ‘worst show of the season’ goes to this… thing. Congrats. I never imagined that something would end up beating Queen’s Blade in this category. Dropped.
#40 (new) – Queen’s Blade – (3,25/10) – One thing I don’t get about these series: why aren’t they just turned into a hentai-series? I mean, you get a lot more nudity that way and the show doesn’t have to pretend to have a plot or anything. In any case, this one’s obviously dropped.
#39 (new) – Cookin’ Idol Ai! Mai! Main! – (3,75/10) – In this series, the impossible happened: Hiroshi Watanabe surpassed himself. The cabbage song combined with the utterly bad acting were already bizarre, but when I looked at the staff list, everything suddenly made sense. When I thought that he couldn’t sink any lower than Shining Tears X Wind, this guy proves me wrong once again. Dropped.
#38 (new) – Metal Fight Beyblade – (6,5/10) – Stupid shounen stuff of which I don’t even remember what it was about. Dropped obviously.
#37 (new) – Hanasakeru Seishonen – (6,75/10) – The best way to describe this show is a teenaged soap gone anime. Seriously, the incredible stupidity of the bits that I saw before dropping this show are nearly unbelievable. Characters have really dull and overemotional personalities. Dropped.
#36 (new) – Jewel Pets – (7/10) – Ever since Otogi Juushi Akazukin and Power Puff Z I’ve been looking for those really charming and childish kiddie shows. The only problem is that the good ones are really hard to find! I was hoping that Jewel Pets would finally return some spark to a genre that virtually burnt out now, but alas; it showed its true colours soon enough: all of the characters lose their personality completely after their introduction episodes and become mere paper bags. Dropped.
#35 (new) – Tayutama ~Kiss on my Deity~ – (7/10) – That first episode had its enjoyable moments, but there is no way that I’m going to continue with this series. It just feels too much like your standard average harem. Dropped.
#34 (new) – Slap Up Party ~Arad Senki~ – (7/10) – While I appreciate the idea of an international production between Japan and Korea, there’s no denial that the writing in this show sucks. While usually Gonzo’s game adaptations have some surprise in them, Slap Up Party only consists out of a bunch of clichés struck together, and the humour really quickly gets dull. Dropped.
#33 (new) – Dragonball Kai – (7,5/10) – I sat through 270 episodes one time already, and I don’t want to do the same, even though everything’s shortened. This really is the series for those who are new to the franchise. Dropped.
#32 (new) – Hatsukoi Limited – (7,5/10) – In the end, I figured that the lead girls seemed a little too much like copy-pasted moeblobs and I don’t feel like sitting through this series to find out whether I was wrong when there are many other better comedies this season.
#31 (new) – Higepiyo – (7,5/10) – Ooh, this isn’t looking good. While it had the nice premise and the first two episodes were hilarious, it’s quickly getting dull because the creators keep overusing the food jokes. Bring in some novelty, please!
#30 (new) – Charady no Joke na Mainichi – (7,5/10) – I tried to follow this for a while, but in the end it’s just not worth the trouble of having to sit through the episode, not knowing when a joke falls flat or becomes hilarious. Out of the first fourteen episodes I watched, only two really made me laugh, and there are much better comedies this season. Dropped
#29 (30) – Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica – (7,5/10) – I pretty much agree with the general consensus of this remake: it’s definitely better than the original, but still not really worth it to watch all the way through the end. Dropped.
#28 (new) – Asura Cryin’ – (7,5/10) – There is potential, but the characters are too annoying for me to want to check whether the show can realize it. Dropped.
#27 (new) – Tears to Tiara – (7,5/10) – I’m not that interested in the next Utawarerumono. There’s much better stuff this season, so I ended up dropping this series.
#26 (36) – Hayate no Gotoku – (7,75/10) – It’s unfortunate that I can’t watch every show that airs. I know that I never really gave this series a proper chance, but at the same time there are too many other shows this season that I also want to watch. Dropped.
#25 (new) – Saki – (7,75/10) – The big problem with Saki is that I’m not yet convinced of Saki’s talent. Take Shion no Ou, for example: even though the rules of Shougi were unclear to many, you could see that Shion was pwn. Saki instead is a character who could perform a Russian Roulette eighteen times and still come out alive. Still: the characters are enjoyable to watch and because of that I haven’t dropped this series yet. But seriously, there need to be less episodes of the kind of episode four. A bit of moe is of course fine, but that was really stretching it.
#24 (new) – Souten Kouro – (7,5/10) – Madhouse’s only new show this season, and quite frankly it’s a disappointment. I’ve never been interested in the whole romance of the three kingdoms setting, and this show again doesn’t seem to convince me otherwise. Dropped
#23 (new) – K-On – (7,75/10) – Obviously, this isn’t my kind of series. I still don’t understand why the heck everyone’s drooling over Mio. For me, the characters were just way too annoying. Dropped.
#22 (23) – Gintama – (7,75/10) – Granted, it still in no way lives up to the first 100 episodes, but the new director at least is competent when he gets to the serious parts, and I have to agree that episode 108 was pretty good.
#21 (new) – Full Metal Alchemist – Brotherhood – (7,75/10) – The new Full Metal Alchemist isn’t perfect. Especially its idea of cropping two chapters in one episode leads to rushed episodes. But on the bright side, Ed and Al are a hell of a lot more likable than in the original series, and that has definitely potential for the future of this series.
#20 (17) – Koukaku no Regios – (8/10) – I can’t really say that Regios is getting better, but neither is it getting worse. It still has nice characters with a competent plot in an interesting setting, but as usual, nothing really stands out.
#19 (18) – Chi’s New Address – (8,25/10) – The first four episodes were a bit too serious for their own good, but after that Chi’s Sweet Home really became just as good as the first season, if not better. Especially the rate of dull episodes seems much smaller now.
#18 (new) – Valkyria Chronicles – (7,75/10) – While this show is nothing special yet, there looks to be potential for its second half. The lighter moments, especially those involving Alicia, are a bit annoying, but once the tank combat starts the show gets much better. Now let’s see whether the creators can pull this show off.
#17 (new) – Shangri-La – (8/10) – The character animation is incredibly inconsistent, yeah. Thankfully the rest of the series has enough potential to make up for it. Shangri-La at the moment is nothing special yet, but I’m intrigued by the setting, the cast is likable and you can see that it’s really using the beginning episodes to build up for something. This show can really go anywhere, but for now I’ll remain positive.
#16 (new) – Shin Mazinger Shougenki! Z-Hen – (8,25/10) – You can really count on the creator of Giant Robo to make a remake of the Mazinger series awesome. And oh, the irony: all of the giant robots of the good guys have proven to be absolutely useless so far, and instead the best action happens between the spectators. A very nice touch if I say so myself. I’m definitely going to enjoy this series.
#15 (7) – Hajime no Ippo – (8,25/10) – Just about my only complaint of Hajime no Ippo is that it suffers from the Dragonball Z syndrome. With that, I don’t mean that it has the ability to stretch five minutes into five days, but rather that once formidable side-characters become absolutely useless as soon as the lead character level up much faster than them. This month was relatively weak for this series: it was still fun (with some hilarious facial expressions), but nowhere up to the level of the first half.
#14 (new) – 07-Ghost – (8/10) – This one has been quite the solid series so far. So yeah, there are some shounen ai undertones here and there, but it’s nothing that should really distract you from viewing unless you’re a complete and utter homophobe. The characters are quite likable and it’s got lots of potential for the future.
#13 (new) – Sengoku Basara – (8,25/10) – I know I talked down on this series in my first impressions, but it looks like I’m going to have to take back those comments. Sengoku Basara is GAR, manly, exciting and has some amazing action scenes. Once you start to get the back-story a bit, the whole thing suddenly becomes much more interesting.
#12 (new) – Marie & Gali – (8,25/10) – Call me crazy, but I’m enjoying this little show. It’s fun to see especially Marie’s antics, but also all of the weird stuff and cameos that goes on, along with this show’s unique style and episodes of only five minutes proved to be quite entertaining.
#11 (19) – Kurokami the Animation – (8,25/10) – Woo! I’m glad that my prediction with this series was right: during the past month, Kurokami became significantly better when compared to the rather lacklustre first half. Now that the storyline’s evolving there are lots of nice and juicy plot twists that are actually pretty interesting to watch. Now let’s hope that the show can keep this up.

#10 (14) – Hetalia Axis Powers – (8,5/10)

Episode 14 was absolutely brilliant. It’s a really good thing to see that this series is just getting better and better. The inclusion of the rest of the cast has really been good for this show. Although I do have to say that Hetalia is at its best when it makes fun of country stereotypes, and at its worst when it’s overusing gay jokes.

#9 (new) – Konnichiwa Anne – (8,25/10)

I was a bit fearful that this series might end up a bit too dramatic, but so far there turns out to be no reason for those worries. Anne is shaping up to be an awesome character, and she especially shines when she dives off into that own world of her.

#8 (new) – Basquash! – (8,25/10)

Some of the jokes used are… immature to say the least, and yet I still find myself enjoying this series quite a lot. It’s got a great sense of fun and the chemistry of the characters is working out surprisingly well.

#7 (new) – Ristorante Paradiso – (8,25/10)

Rispara has definitely been an interesting series so far, and I especially like the detailed and fleshed out characters that stood apart right from the beginning. David Production made a good debut with this show.

#6 (new) – Natsu no Arashi – (8,5/10)

The most underrated show this season. I may have dropped this show from blogging, but that in no way means that I don’t like it. It’s good to see Shinbo finally handling a series with actually good characters. This show has some wonderful slice of life scenes, and yet at the same time there’s this theme of past versus present that keeps everything together. Also, am I the only one who likes the male lead? Sure, he takes some time getting used to, but I find him quite enjoyable.

#5 (new) – Guin Saga – (8,5/10)

Classic fantasy, and for once it’s done absolutely right. The pacing is really slow, but it’s the type of show that really easily draws you in. Just about everything in this series is big, ranging from the locations, characters, the soundtrack or the setting.

#4 (new) – Phantom – (8,75/10)

It may not be that different from Bee-Train’s usual series, but I’m biased so I don’t care. Besides, with such an excellent source material, this series is promising to be one of the top Bee-Train series. Already after four episodes we can see the awesome characterization that certainly proves lots of great stuff for the future.

#3 (new) – Pandora Hearts – (8,75/10)

I really like this series so far. The whole atmosphere that seems like a modern-day fairy tale gone really dark continuously has something interesting to offer. As a big fan of mystery-series, I really like how it just keeps bringing in new questions after answering a few. The storytelling has been really solid so far, and I actually quite like the very distinct look of the graphics. Definitely something to look out for.

#2 (new) – Cross Game – (8,75/10)

Do not get fooled by the simple character-designs, because this show really stands out as one of the best of the season so far. Already after four episodes, the show has a cast of characters in which nearly all of them (including the tiny side characters) have presence. It’s got a very subtle sense of humour, combined with great slice of life and just the right amount of drama. Definitely one of my top picks of the season.

#1 (new) – Eden of the East – (8,75/10)

Yeah, this series is really good stuff. The production values are really high and the episodes thus far have been incredibly intriguing. I can’t wait to see the rest of this thing!

Posted on 28 April 2009 with categories: 07-Ghost



Short Synopsis: The old guy goes after Teito as Mikage faces the decision between Teito and his family.
Episode Rating: 7,5/10 (Good)
So, this is where the shounen-ai elements pop up, with Mikage and Teito wanting to see each other that badly, up to the point where Mikage chooses protecting Teito over his family. But really, the relationship between the two of them isn’t that bad, and it doesn’t get in the way of what’s really important in this show at all.

It overall was still a pretty good episode, especially with all of the stuff surrounding the old guy, who turns out to be a ghoul. The fight against him was really well written: it had impact, and at the same time there were lots of things going on. I’m interested to see what role the Ghouls will have in the rest of the series: with such a considerable amount of time devoted to them, there has to be some link between them and Ayanami.

And that mermaid… I’m not exactly sure what to think of her since her introduction was pretty strange. All we know is that she has two different forms (probably one under water and one for out of water), she likes Teito but hates Frau. That probably is a subtle hint for at least something, but I can’t exactly put my finger onto what.

Posted on 27 April 2009 with categories: Konnichiwa Anne



Short Synopsis: Anne gets invited into the house of a rich family.
Episode Rating: 8,5/10 (Awesome)
Oh, how I loved this episode. Everything about and surrounding Anne in this episode was just pure pwnage. I really have to admit, I didn’t expect this episode to end the way it did. And to think that it wasn’t an important episode at all.

The episode starts with Anne trying to read a book that Elisa gave her. While “A lot of Flowers blooms on the hill” isn’t exactly perfect English, Anne gets fascinated with some of the words she already knows, like ‘Flowers’ (which seem to return quite a few times in the book), ‘princess’ and ‘magic’. When Anne asks to Elisa whether she can read in front of her that afternoon again, but then Elisa says that she needs to return the book that day. Johanna then barges in, yelling at Anne that she needs to continue with her chores.

A bit later, Elisa asks her mother whether it’d be okay to send Anne to school a bit, but Johanna obviously doesn’t allow this, since that way there’ll be nobody to take over all of the chores that Anne needs to do. When Elisa proposes to at least buy a book for her, Johanna really start yelling. Since they have barely enough money for bread and milk, it’s virtually impossible to buy books for Anne.

Johanna then asks Elisa a favor, since that day it’s her day off. Apparently, Johanna is running late with some payments to a store owned by a certain Richard, so she asks her daughter to asks for a bit more time. In exchange, she asks for permission to take Anne with her, even though she can’t buy anything. It turns out that Elisa is very scared of Richard, and especially his daughters, and decided to take Anne with her for moral support.

When they arrive at the store, it becomes clear that the situation is quite bad, since Richard is already waiting for his payment for three months. Anne meanwhile doesn’t seem to notice this at all and happily starts exploring the store, and she finds one particular book by Robert Browning that catches her attention, and starts imagining how wonderful the story inside it might have been for it to have such a ‘beautiful’ cover.

Richard then interrupts her and takes the book away, saying that it’s way too complicated of a book for someone like Anne to read, which fuels Anne’s imagination even more: after all, that book must be way too good to be read by a simple poor red-haired girl as herself. After that, a rich-looking boy and his mother arrive at the store, and they seem to be the Emerson-family. When the boy (Roger, apparently) talks to Anne, she immediately starts rambling on and on, especially when she learns that the whole reason Roger came to the store was to buy that wonderful book by Robert Browning. This catches the attention of Roger’s mother, and she suggests that it might be interesting for Anne to play a bit with her sick daughter Mary.

And so, Elisa returns home with the message that Anne is visiting a rich household, and this gets Johanna all worried of course: what if something were to happen? They’d be the target of gossip for weeks. It’s gotten her so stressed that she even prays to God, even though she usually says that God isn’t there for poor people (quite a contrast with the Cuthberts, who didn’t have any money problems and were so serious about their religion).

Inside the carriage to the house, Roger explains that Mary’s private tutor suggested to buy that book by Robert Browning to help her education. Anne gets a bit upset when he finds out that she doesn’t know what a private tutor is, so he explains, and asks whether Anne is going to school as well. She then says that since she’s an orphan, she’s not allowed to go to school, but Roger quickly tells her that that’s not really true.

When they arrive near the house, Anne gets really surprised at how huge it is. When they arrive at Mary’s room, she has hidden herself under her sheets. Roger introduces Anne, and then leaves, since he has other stuff to do. Anne quickly starts talking about all sorts of stuff, but it then turns out that Mary is a typical spoiled brat and had no interest in the book to begin with. When Anne tells her that she’d really love to have that book, she teases her by never allowing her to hand it over, despite her lack of interest in it, and she too makes a comment to Anne’s hairstyle.

But really, Mary is a typical brat. It turns out that her whole sickness has just been faked, and instead of studying she’d rather be doing stuff she shouldn’t. This time, she looks around in her mother’s room, puts on her jewelry, make-up and dresses while dragging Anne along. while looking really horrible, at the same time the two have a bit of fun playing together (and Anne ends up with lots of make-up scribblings on her face).

By surprise, Mary’s mother returns earlier than expected because she was worried about her daughter, and so Mary and Anne rush in order to get all of the jewelry and dresses back into place and get rid of their make-up. They forgot one necklace, though, and so Mary’s mother comes in to check up on what happened. Mary sets up a lie of being ill and all, though Anne finds it really hard to tell a lie, so Mary just tries to distract attention from her by mentioning how she was reading Anne from the book she got, and how Anne loved it.

Unfortunately for Mary, her mother buys the lie a bit too well, and now suggests offers the same book to Anne. Mary tries to say something back, only to discover that she forgot to put off a ring and so she has to keep quiet. When Anne gets back, Johanna is rather annoyed that Anne returned with a book, but Anne doesn’t care and drifts into her own world again.

Really, I love being proven wrong by a show this way. I admit, I might have been a bit too harsh on this series after the first few episodes, but this was mostly to not get my expectations up too high. What I feared was for this series to act out just like Kemono no Souja Erin: with a dramatic climax and predictable plot during every single episode, it was just way too dramatic. I was so expecting Anne to get found out and create a scandal for the family she’s in because of the second episode that seemed to suggest that this show would take up the same direction. That’s why it’s so great for episodes like this to balance things out a bit, where things don’t take the most dramatic turn possible.

But yeah, I might have been a bit unfair to this series, comparing it to Porfy no Nagai Tabi. I may have taken this a bit for granted while the show was airing, but Porfy really was an exceptionally well written series. No other series could have simply shown one character walking around for an entire episode while hardly meeting anyone, and yet it worked so well. With Porfy no Nagai Tabi (and a few other WMT-series as well) things usually didn’t take a turn for the worst, but when they did, you’d know that Porfy was screwed really badly and you hardly ever knew could see it coming. Konnichiwa Anne is not such a series, and instead the focus is much more on the characters, rather than the storytelling. In a way, much like Kaze no Shoujo Emily.

And really, the nostalgic value of this episode was immense. Hiding under the sheets when you’re feeling down; trying out stuff you’re not supposed to when your parents are out. Ah, how it brings back memories. ^^;

Posted on with categories: Shangri-La



Short Synopsis: Kuniko and Momoko head to Akihabara. Or what’s left of it.
Episode Rating: 7,5/10 (Good)
At first I thought that it would be best for me to simply follow the subs from this series, but after last week’s disaster with Tranquil Fansubs I’m just going to continue with the raws like I’m doing for most of the other shows I’m blogging. I’d rather miss a few details here and there than to sit through their “It’s so huge! It’s so huge!” It’s of course one thing to make slight translation errors, but it becomes a problem when a subtitle creates an extra flaw for a series. Shangri-la has its own problems, and it doesn’t need any more.

In any case, the animation of this series is a strange beast: during the first half of this episode, it actually looked quite capable… only to descend into the previous inconsistent quality in the second half. It’s the clear sign of a badly managed animation budget and outsourcing. I can’t seem to find anywhere who is supposed to be the chief animation director, but I think that this is the guy we need to blame for this.

Still, I’m not ready to give up on this show yet by far. While the show indeed isn’t anything amazing yet, it’s doing exactly what it should be doing right now: flesh out the setting and characters. This episode was a great way to show a bit more of the setting by showing how Akihabara has turned into some sort of black market paradise, and how these vastly different cities emerged when Tokyo got turned into a jungle. This series is in no way like Dragonaut, which even in its first episodes was one big heap of dullness, stock characters and predictability. I mean, who cares if it’s not amazing right now: there’s enough chance left for that. It’s clear that this isn’t a show that can be awesome right from the first minute, but there have been plenty of series with an average first half and an amazing second half. That’s what I’m hoping Shangri-la will turn into.

On a more negative side, there have been quite a few coincidences in this episode. The most unlikely ones:
– Kuniko’s mother is most likely confirmed to be Sayoko
– Miiko becomes instantly liked by Mikuni
– Momoko is Mikuni’s mother (?!?)
– Someone Kuniko knows lives in Akihabara. My guess would be either her father or brother.
– For some reason Karin can’t find any data about Kuniko.

Standalone those coincidences are obviously too much, but when you think about the causality between them, things start to get interesting. If Momoko indeed is Mikuni’s mother or father (depending on when exactly she got her sex change), it would make sense of Mikuni to like transvestites like Miiko. We now see that Kinuko is someone special, and perhaps the reason why Momoko left her ‘daughter’ had something to do with Kinuko, and somewhere along the way Miiko got involved. Now the question remains who that guy at the end of the episode was. There are still a few too coincidences, but provided that they’re well handled they shouldn’t prove to be that much of an annoyance. And besides, it’s good that these revelations come this early in the series. It’s much better than the alternative: a “LUKE I AM YOUR FATHER”-moment near the end.

Posted on with categories: Guin Saga



Short Synopsis: Guin and the others descend a rather dangerous river in order to escape no man’s land.
Episode Rating: 8/10 (Excellent)
While most EDs aren’t anything special, I do have to say that Guin Saga’s ending theme is really good. Probably the best of the season along with Basquash’s (interestingly, both come from Satelight). It fits the series exactly with its epic sound, and the vocals are clean and haunting. It’s a very varied song, considering it’s only ninety seconds.

In any case, this episode again brought a whole new dimension to this series, as it introduces Amnelis, who turns out to be a princess of the Mongol (or however that’s spelled) country. At the same time, this episode was also used to get to know the cast better: everyone has a different goal, but for now they still need to work together to get back to civilization. I was quite surprised by all of the disturbing things that live inside that river. Those oversized piranhas and big-mouthed fish were bad enough already, but to think that some sort of everything-eating plant lived somewhere underwater…

We also learn that there’s some sort of deep storyline involved with Istvan. If I understood correctly, he was supposed to have died at one time. How does that relate to him getting captured by that demon of the previous episode? And Linda also turns out to either have some ability of telepathy, or she occasionally gets possessed by something that wants to talk through her. The meaning of the occult in this series is still a big mystery, though. We also see some henchman of Amnelis who is into foresight.

It seems that next up is the village of Suni’s people, from which either everyone will go separate ways, or something (probably involving Amnelis) will happen that will keep the five of them together for a while longer.

Oh, and on a side-note, while the character-animation this episode didn’t look as good as in the previous episode with quite a few inconsistencies that even I could notice, the architecture in this series really is amazing. All of the different buildings are distinct and look like a lot of creativity had gone into designing them. And it’s not just for one building, but every single structure in this series looks amazing. I bet that the creators could even make a wooden shack look awesome if they wanted to.

Posted on 26 April 2009 with categories: Full Metal Alchemist - Brotherhood



Short Synopsis: The Shou Tucker arc, compressed into one episode.
Episode Rating: 7/10 (Enjoyable)
I’m amused at the people who are already disappointed by the new FMA series. I mean, it’s only been three episodes; what did you expect? The new series lacks the novelty of the original, and the series has mostly been simply building up. At the start of the season, did people expect the new Evangelion in only three episodes, or something?

Not that the new series is perfect and all, of course. The producers right now are trying to rush through the first few episodes a bit too badly, and hardly allow for any quiet moments right now, but at least these beginning episodes are a lot more easy to go through than the original series was. There were a few differences here and there, mostly involving Scar: this episode sees him kill off Basque Gran, right after he was introduced, and he kills off both Shou Tucker and his daughter. It’s good, since I never liked that guy anyway.

As for Basque Gran’s death, it was a shame he died so early. I remember his death in the original series as being one of the first memorable scenes, because it was so ironic: here the show was building him up as one of the major bad guys… and then he gets killed off so easily. But I do guess that it makes more sense this way: after all, Scar was a smart guy. Why the heck would he show his face in front of half a dozen officers. It’d be much harder for him to move around that way. Looking back, it was just another cheap trick to get Ed involved with the main storyline.

Strangely enough, this episode also showed that Scar has some sort of inside-knowledge of what’s going on inside the military. Otherwise he would never have known where Basque Gran would be, or where he could find Shou Tucker, right after he created his next chimera. At this point, I can’t remember whether or not the original series answered that question, though.

Normally I don’t mind when the creators of an anime insert their own stuff, insert fillers or go with a different storyline, but in the end it’s all going to depend on their ability to write a good storyline, which for the original FMA unfortunately didn’t go too well at certain times. The first thirteen episodes had their charms, definitely. The small scenes in which we see Scar, right before Ed arrives for the first time in Central City for example were a nice touch, as they showed how Scar was when he just received his arm (either that or my memory is deceiving me again and Brotherhood also had that scene… something must be wrong with either me or the series if I can’t remember a simple fact that happened two episodes ago…).

Anyway… it’s a shame that the fillers of Full Metal Alchemist were all just too formulaic, with dull characters and a predictable role for the two lead characters, with the only exception being the one with the dog and Armstrong’s family; that one was fun, granted. In the second half, the original material improved a lot, and the storyline was really competent, but at the same time it screwed up by trying too hard to make characters from the earlier episodes return, combined with a set of certain other characters that just got on my nerves. But I think that my biggest problem with the original series is that I could never really buy Ed and Al as the two lead characters. That’s why I appreciate Brotherhood’s attempts to make the two of them more likable.

Posted on with categories: Cross Game



Short Synopsis: Kou and Aoba find a creative way to catch a burglar.
Episode Rating: 7,5/10 (Good)
It’s interesting that, even though Adachi’s series are all about the same thing (talented guy playing baseball), the anime adaptations of his works all have these subtle differences that make them totally different series (or at least the ones that I’ve seen so far, being this one and Touch). It’s going to be a bit hard to talk about these differences due to my fear of Touch spoilers, but even though Touch and Cross Game look a lot like each other, I just don’t see them as rip-offs of each other, and they both have their own unique parts.

The big difference between the two lead males is that Kou of Cross Game has nobody to look up to: he’s already the most talented at baseball, and instead we see him in this episode pull everyone along, even though he isn’t actively playing baseball, whereas Tatsuya had Kazuya and was only able to come as far as he did because of his brother’s influence. I’m interested to see what’s going to happen when Kou enters high-school, as it seems that he’s going to be joining the same team as that arrogant baseball-guy whose name I can’t find, which seems to suggest that the baseball in Cross Game is going to be much more about rivalry, rather than commitments to the past like in Touch.

And while I can’t say this for sure, since Touch also took around ten episodes for the first real baseball match to occur, but according to the things I’ve heard about the manga Cross Game seems to focus a bit more on slice of life than Touch did, and you can hear that through the music as well: the soundtrack of Touch was very typical for a sports game: fast-paced, up-beat and overall cheerful, while you wouldn’t be able to guess that Cross Game was a show about baseball by solely hearing its soundtrack: the background tunes here more sound like that of a heart-warming slice of life series.

The sense of humour also feels more tongue-in-cheek than its predecessor: in Touch, you knew when to laugh and when to take the show seriously. In Cross Game, you only realize something funny has happened, two second after it’s already over, and it’s another example of the unpredictability of Adachi: while in Cross Game the overall plot might be easier to predict, this time it’s the humour that you can’t see coming.

In any case, this episode was a bit strange; I mean, how often do you see a burglar through a window in a house inside a metro in broad daylight? That thug must have been really stupid in order to allow for such a miss. And yet it had its purposes: we now know that Kou isn’t a complete lazy bum, and for some reason he also always carries a baseball ball with him. Something tells me that he doesn’t exactly know what he wants to do later, which in a way is typical of a teenager his age, especially after he had been scared out of the baseball club like the way he was three years ago.

Posted on with categories: Valkyria Chronicles



Short Synopsis: It’s time for some cleaning duties for Squad 7 as another commander gets his ass kicked in battle.
Episode Rating: 7/10 (Enjoyable)
Okay, so obviously this episode was meant to build up. It wasn’t anything special at all, but it did flesh out the characters pretty nicely. It’s good to see that a show really takes its time before it really starts up, but of course the bad thing with such an approach is that it’s virtually impossible to tell early on in the series whether it’ll succeed or fall apart in the end.

My biggest problem with this episode was the newly introduced arrogant fat guy. He was obviously meant to show that there are no other competent commanders in Gallia aside from Welkim (and Faldio perhaps, but I first have to see him in action before I’ll believe that). It’s an often used trope in which an arrogant bastard with a bit of power for himself gets his ass kicked really badly, and it just fails to make any impact whatsoever. And on a side-note, the levels of Engrish in this show are also… ‘inaccurate’, to say the least…

On a more positive note, I liked that old commander of the Empire. In this episode you could see why this guy made it big, and the next episode is going to be interesting when Welkim has to take him on, so I hope that the creators can pull it off right. It’s also amusing that Maximilian (the guy who is leading the Empire’s troops into Gallia) dresses himself like Julius Caesar. In a way it’s quite typical. ^^;

So yeah, Fanservice + Alicia = Annoying, but this shouldn’t become that big of a problem. The thing with Alicia is that she definitely gets on your nerves when nothing is happening, but she becomes an interesting character once the action and strategy start and she’s too busy with her own duties to whine about having seen Faldio naked.

Posted on 24 April 2009 with categories: Eden of the East



Short Synopsis: Akira and Saki arrive at Akira’s… “home”.
Episode Rating: 8/10 (Excellent)
For me, the great thing of Eden of the East is that it only gets awesome after an episode finishes. At least, I had that with this episode: most of the episode was just a collection of strange events with very pretty production values, but as I started putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together and things started to make more sense, the setting only became more and more intriguing.

So, we now know that all of the Selecao get a starting budget of 10 billion yen, or 77,7 million Euros. Akira used 13,9 million Euros of that in order to buy his own shopping mall and gather 20.000 NEET and had them killed. Since having 3 people killed costs around 11653 euros (as shown in the previous episode), the murder of the 20.000 NEET would have cost him nearly exactly 77,7 million Euros. Now that’s a nice coincidence there that I didn’t expect.

Now, my guess would be that Akira killed those NEET in person, instead of using Juiz, since otherwise he’d be broke right now. The question now remains what he did to all the bodies of those people, since it doesn’t seem like Juiz cleaned up for him.

My image of the pre-mind-wipe Akira at the moment is one of a deranged madman: somehow he got the complete wrong idea of carrying out his mission of improving the world, thought that it’d be a good idea to simply get rid of all of the NEET in Tokyo, rather than all of the bank-robbers, rapists or terrorists. He threw around with money for a while, bought his own shopping mall, killed 20000 people by hand and was happy about it. Then he started to probably regret his choice; he went crazy, did nothing but watch every possible movie in existence, made some fake passports, fled around the world and in the end he simply erased his own memory to end himself from constantly being haunted.

It’s interesting how for once, we have a show that doesn’t criticize bad society, but those naive minds who think that with the right amount of money and power this world can simply be turned into a better place. I do want to see more of the other Selecao though. Akira in this episode was labeled as a very notorious member, which means that the other members of the Celecao didn’t run off with their money in the way he did. It’s going to be interesting to see how the other ones ended up using their money: are Akira and Yuusei the two worst examples, or are the others the same and also waste the money of the Selecao?

Posted on with categories: Phantom



Short Synopsis: Ein and Zwei disguise themselves as a teenaged couple in order to get close to their next target.
Episode Rating: 8,5/10 (Awesome)
Whoa! I must say, that while Phantom may be a blatant Noir rip-off, it’s promising to surpass Noir very quickly if this keeps up. From the outside this episode looks like your average random episode, but the cast got so much depth through it. It’s in episodes like this in which Bee-Train’s real strength lies: not the awesome music (though that does help), but the excellent characterization.

It was very strange to see Ein acting so convincingly like your average teenaged girl on a holiday with her first boyfriend. Especially considering how goofy Zwei looked right next to her with his bad acting as her boyfriend. I like how she even commented to Zwei how he still needs to work on his acting a lot. There was quite a bit of subtle fanservice in this episode, but even that had its purpose: to show the sexual tension between Ein and Zwei.

And that’s another point at which this series rocks: Ein and Zwei are really characters who don’t speak what’s on their mind: they leave their feelings and thoughts exactly out of their jobs, but the thing is that we hardly ever get to hear their thoughts. During those above-mentioned fanservice moments, for example: we can only guess what goes on their head at those points, and this gets especially confusing when the two start acting like their complete opposites and at times it gets really hard to point out which a subtle action of the belongs to: their acted personas, or their own intuitions.

And I’m personally a huge fan of series that manage to leave certain things up to the viewer’s imagination. Phantom knows exactly the difference between simply leaving out an important plot point, and just subtly refraining to say things that most people can figure out on their own. And when we finally get a confirmation (or denial in this case) of Ein’s feelings at the end of this episode, it does make impact. Especially considering how this series has only gone on for four episodes, I’m surprised at how far it has already come.

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 06:43 AM)
    @Emma: man, that would be my pleasure, but I have to do minimal work and you do the rest for it to look good lol
    I’ll message you as soon as I figure out how.
  • Friend
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 06:38 AM)
    @Bam Great! It’d also be fun to do collaborations as well. Could I see some of your work for that? You could send me a note on DA if you prefer
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 06:36 AM)
    @Friend: interesting. I have some weird looking spaceshift, building and character designs from Koji Morimoto so lemme know if you need me to send you the scans ;)
  • Friend
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 06:32 AM)
    @bam Yup :) I downloaded a free template from BlendSwap and took a screenshot of it wireframed.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 06:30 AM)
    @Friend: war is definitely stained … but I’m mostly wondering about where you got that ship schematics from? =)
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 06:28 AM)
    @Friend: I really like the other one as well. I also commented on the 1st one and added you to my watch, but don’t you dare look at my creations as from a pro’s perspective they are nothing but mockeries.
  • Friend
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 06:19 AM)
    @Emma @Vincent for my next piece, I might try drawing a representation of the New Macchu Picchu concept Vincent thought up.
  • Friend
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 06:14 AM)
    @Bam thank you for that :], I try to let the viewer take a step back and absorb everything on their own rather than having things immediately pop out. Like this satirical piece I did some time ago: http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2014/187/0/d/kriege_sind_bunt_by_friendist-d7piwgz.jpg
    But I might try a flashier piece my next time, thanks. :)
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 06:10 AM)
    The water details are also lush, and I can already see that you have much experience with these types of sceneries. I would loved to have seen the serpent’s body crawling between the building as if constricting the town and hence nit immediately noticeable, but that’s probably just me.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 06:07 AM)
    @Friend: honestly amazing. Love how the church turned out, and I was a fan of the windmills from the get-go.
    Very nice contrast of blue and red. The serpent is also very cool. My minor personal gripe is to have the subject matter so classically in the center, but it serves its function.

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