Posted on 31 May 2009 with categories: Monthly Summaries

My opinion on this season? Awesome. It really is one of the best seasons we’ve had in years, and especially the series I’ve been blogging haven’t disappointed at all so far. This season is especially excels in characters: there are lots of series with excellent characterizations and that make use of lots of quiet moment in order to flesh out their cast. A lot of the series this season are slow paced, but there are also some roller-coaster rides among them and overall, I’m very satisfied. I’m not sure whether this correlates to an almost complete lack of series from the mecha-genre (apart from two shows, but those are either so delightfully different from all of the mecha-series that we’ve been seeing for the past years, and/or know that they’re not supposed to be taken 100% seriously).

Rankings, like last month are a bit strange again, 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. I know that it’s a bit weird, but for some reason it does more accurately reflect my feelings about the shows this season.

#25 (31) – Higepiyo – (6,75/10) – I dropped this show after episode six or something. It’s a shame that the only gimmick this show really had was the moustache. Apart from that it’s just been reusing its jokes over and over again.
#24 (20) – Koukaku no Regios – (7,5/10) – Okay, so the finale has finally started. This is the point where everything is supposed to come together, and sure enough: the characters are developing quite nicely… If only the plot knew where it wanted to go. For some reason the filth monsters have suddenly become incredibly weak, characters are conveniently zapped from one place to the other without much explanation, there are lots of pacing issues and with all the build-up of the rest of the series, it still feels like things haven’t been built up and introduced well enough. I hope that the finale can prevent this series from becoming a true disappointment, but things aren’t looking good.
#23 (11) – Kurokami the Animation – (7/10) – Aah! Sunrise, what are you doing?! There was a lot of potential going for this series once it hit its second half, but this month completely raped any potential this series had left. The way Keita came back to life without any explanation whatsoever, combined with a truckload full of other badly planned Deus ex Machina completely destroyed all the credibility this series had going for it. The final nail in the coffin for this thing was Reishin’s comeback, including his complete loss of any kind of personality whatsoever. Reishin’s background and the explanation why he became the bad guy was also laughable at best.
#22 (25) – Saki – (7,75/10) – You know, this series would have been much better if the creators actually knew a DAMN THING about Mah-jong. Right now, the matches are all “ooh look at how incredibly strong she is!” and “wow she’s even stronger”. There’s too much moe, there’s too much fanservice, but I have yet to drop this series because the characters do remain charming.
#21 (18) – Valkyria Chronicles – (7,5/10) – I’m still looking for a reason to continue watching this series, because it’s getting duller and duller now that some sort of generic ancient civilization of the Valkyrians has been introduced. Seriously, Guin Saga is currently doing just about everything better than this series is.
#20 (13) – Sengoku Basara – (7,75/10) – I want to like this series, but something is stopping me from it. My impression is that it’s in a bit of an identity crisis: it keeps hopping back and forth between GAR and epic manliness and historical politically correct warfare, but it doesn’t succeed in bringing out the best in either of them and they seem to be working against each other, rather than complementing.This really isn’t the best GAR series this season, and for historical warfare in feudal Japan we have Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto which has done a much better job at that, so I’m running out of things to recommend this series for.
#19 (19) – Chi’s New Address – (8,25/10) – There’s a really big difference with the first season now that Chi no longer has to stay in the house, but it’s still a really funny comedy. Right now the creators are introducing all sorts of interesting characters (I especially loved the return of the pet shop saleswoman) and Chi really is as lovable as ever.
#18 (new) – Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya – (8/10) – Well, it’s pretty much what I remember it to be: whenever Haruhi opened her mouth I wanted to punch the screen, but as soon as that annoyance left and the focus returned back to Kyon, Mikuru and Yuki it suddenly got a lot more interesting. I’m glad to see that this show hasn’t lost its wit yet. Now if only the fan-base would get less annoying and overwhelming.
#17 (22) – Gintama – (8,25/10) – Now this is more like it! I’m not sure what exactly happened, but this month Gintama showed that it most definitely can continue on with its new director, and that the guy can actually be funny and compelling. While still nowhere as good as it once was, the past few episodes released on fansubs have been a large step into the right direction.
#16 (16) – Shin Mazinger Shougenki! Z-Hen – (8,5/10) – Now this is pure entertainment! I really have a weakness for that retro cheese, but the new Mazinger is shaping up to be a really enjoyable series that tries just about everything to make an as big spectacle as possible, without falling into the same pitfalls as the likes of Code Geass by sacrificing solid storytelling for entertainment. I especially like how the creators seem to realize that mecha-battles alone are boring, so they made sure that most of the action happens outside of Mazinger, while they still keep Mazinger central to the plot by simply making him god-like whenever he gets the chance (not often) to show his awesome powers.
#15 (10) – Hetalia Axis Powers – (8,5/10) – There really is just one word needed to describe this series: brilliant. I especially love it when this series starts messing with cultural differences (especially the “in heaven” and “in hell”-songs were priceless), and I still find it a bloody shame that the Netherlands isn’t a character that’s made fun of.
#14 (12) – Marie & Gali – (8,5/10) – Oh, this series doesn’t make one iota of sense, but I like it so much. Every episode, there’s just so much weirdness going on, and I absolutely love the huge amount of creativity that the creators have. I’m glad to see that this show doesn’t seem to be ending after only thirteen episodes, because that’s just too little in order to show everything about this very strange setting in which Marie Curie bakes radioactive cookies and Newton is in love with apples.
#13 (14) – 07-Ghost – (8,25/10) – 07-Ghost has been a very strange beast. Unlike some other shows this season, it doesn’t have something it stands out in particular. It’s not the most ambitious series, its setting is on purpose kept very small, fillers are used to flesh out the characters. But what it does, it does very well. The characters are very enjoyable to watch and especially the fights and battles are very well coordinated and written, with just enough dialogue and just enough action without any of the two getting in the other’s way.
#12 (21) – Full Metal Alchemist – Brotherhood – (8,5/10) – In eight episodes, this show did what the original series took more than 21. Still, I already like it much better than the original series: the comedy and action mix well, there’s always something going on and the characterization is just so much better. Now that the two series are finally about to diverge from each other, I’m interested to see where the creators can take this.
#11 (5) – Guin Saga – (8,5/10) – Now that this series has also included medieval warfare between large armies, it really has caught my attention. About the only downside to this show is the really inconsistent animation (which really needs to be top-notch with this kind of series), but the whole setting, Guin, the enemy Mongols. Everything is compelling to watch further, despite the slow pacing.

#10 (3) – Pandora Hearts – (8,5/10)

Not as good as the previous month, but still an excellent series with great chemistry between the three lead characters. It’s obviously building up right now, so I’m eagerly waiting what it’s planning to do with the rest of the series, considering the creativity that it has already shown us. I just hope that the bit of the cheese shown in a few episodes between Oz and Raven isn’t going to return.

#9 (8) – Basquash! – (8,5/10)

Ah, Basquash. I’m still amazed at how behind the childish characters, weird fanservice and weird plot, there’s a surprisingly deep story lying. The characters are very well written and enjoyable to watch, though the fanservice can become a bit too overwhelming at times.

#8 (7) – Ristorante Paradiso – (8,5/10)

It’s interesting how all of the characters seem to have their own issues in the past, and yet this remains such a charming and quiet slice of life series. At the moment, the characters are getting fleshed out really well, and it’s enough to just watch this series for the characters and their daily lives, spiced up with a bit of their pasts. I felt like I really got to know these people.

#7 (15) – Hajime no Ippo – (8,75/10)

Now this is more like it. The Brian Hawk-arc took a long while to build up, but it’s been SO intense so far. Especially after the fighting started, I just can’t wait until that next episode gets released.

#6 (6) – Natsu no Arashi – (8,75/10)

This show has really proven a great execution, with a very nice combination between comedy episodes and serious ones, which both deliver in their own way to the main storyline. The comedy-episodes are really hilarious (thanks to Jun), and really: at the beginning of the show, did anyone expect to see the characters standing amidst a sea of fire in the midst of World War II?

#5 (1) – Eden of the East – (8,75/10)

Well, so while this show isn’t the best of the season anymore, it still is rock-solid with believable and likable characters. This month was mostly used for building up, though my one gripe is that it’s going to be such a long wait until the movie is going to come with all of the answers.

#4 (17) – Shangri-La – (8,75/10)

At first sight it’s stupid, silly and very incoherent, but as it turns out Shangri-la has much, much more to offer than just that. It’s a clever, compelling and confronting series with a lot of creativity in the story-writing. Every one or two episodes, the mood, themes and atmosphere completely change when the focus falls on something different, while the series still remains strong as a whole. Definitely one of the dark horses of the season.

#3 (2) – Cross Game – (9/10)

Possibly the smartest series of the entire season. This series has wit, but more importantly it has such a lovable cast of characters. Everyone is simply compelling in their actions, antics and development, and this series is just a must-watch for any slice of life fans, even those who have nothing with baseball.

#2 (4) – Phantom – (9,25/10)

What a fantastically subtle characterization of the lead couple. This series without a doubt stands among the top of this season and is definitely recommended if you’re looking for deep and well developed characters (and it’s only been nine episodes so far). This has a really good chance of becoming Bee-Train’s best series after .Hack//Sign.

#1 (9) – Konnichiwa Anne – (9,25/10)

After the first two episodes, I never expected that right now this series would already have been as good as it has shown now. You’d expect that in these first few months, this series would be quiet and nothing much would happen, but instead EVERY SINGLE episode has been awesome this month, ranging from Elisa leaving the house to childbirth to Ben’s drinking problems. There’s always something to make something special out of this series. And what a bittersweet series it has turned into!

24 Responses

  1. erwf says:

    how about souten kouro? =(

  2. tj han says:

    You’re missing Souten Kouro and Inazuma 11, two of my favourite shows. Valkyria should be loved by players of the game, as it provides more information and in some cases, an elaboration of the story and characters. But the battles are trash since that’s what the game is for, doing strategy battles, so we can ignore the anime battles.

    As for Gintama, I never noticed a change of director! Which episode are you at? I’m at the latest 159 I think.

  3. psgels says:

    erwf: I dropped Souten Kouro because I have no interest in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms saga. You can blame all of the adaptations who either made every single character:
    1) Female
    2) Gay
    So I really can’t take any story that labels itself as part of the RotTK franchise seriously anymore.

    tj han: I’m currently at episode 110, since the english subs have started lagging lately again, but at episode 100 the series changed directors:
    http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-01-11/yoichi-fujita-to-stop-directing-gintama-this-spring

    As for Inazuma 11, I might pick it back up again when I’m in the need for some action.

  4. erwf says:

    souten kouros really good actually..a lot like guin saga imo
    some politics, warfare. and the art is nice.

    i think itll suit you..seems to be rather underrated, not many ppl blogging it (except for THAT)..
    but fair enough, if you don’tt like RoTK hahah.

  5. I wouldnt say that this is the best season.
    Well I think the upcoming summer season would be better.

  6. miretruck says:

    its a shame there isn’t arent sub groups doing konnichiwa anne. It seems like a really good watch from what you’ve pointed out. Too bad no1 is taking seriously.

  7. LithiumHelios says:

    I agree with you about Regios lacking a real sense of direction. Far too many things have happened without any real explanations. Then again I have still been enjoying it…

    Out of personal preference I would have ranked Eden of the East over Phantom but both as mentioned have been pretty solid shows so far. Really enjoyable.

    Also not sure what to think about 07-Ghost. The execution and the whole set-up just doesn’t seem to work for me. But wikipedia hints at what could be a very decent story with some interesting concepts… again will see how this one pans out.

    Two other notable ones, although for a different reason, are Pandora Hearts and Shangri-La. I’d not been that impressed with the first few shows of each and ended up dropping them (exams and plenty of decent shows this season isn’t the best mix), may have to see how they pan out though, especially as exams are now over…

    Anyway, mostly wanted to say that there have been some great reviews so far and it’s an enjoyable read. Nice style of writing with some good insight. I’ve certainly looked at and enjoyed a few shows I probably wouldn’t have considered because of the reviews on here.

    Keep it up!

  8. We have different rankings, but I love this season too ^_^

    I’m now thinking of watching Natsu no Arashi thing . . . because of the world war 2 thing xD maybe I shouldn’t have dropped it after watching jsut the first episode ^^;

  9. headachebaby says:

    I’m so glad IPPO CHALLENGER is up in your top 10 for May! I was quite dissappointed when it wasn’t in the top 10 last month, but it’s understandable. May’s episodes were much better. The first series of IPPO is WAY GOOD and you have to check if out! IPPO is still my #1 anime.

    I’m really disappointed with Eden of the East. Saki’s friends who developed Eden of the East site was a total surprise to me…it’s not interesting anymore. There needs to be more focus with the Selecao and the game of the phone again. At first, Phantom was not as interesting as Eden of the East, but May’s episodes are getting better than Eden of the East. What the heck! I was expecting so much more from Eden of the East but maybe Phantom could finish as the better anime…I’m so disappointed in Eden of the East right now.

    I need to watch Anne. I love the live version of Anne of Green Gables. I just need to find the anime version so I can watch how wonderful it is because you’ve been rating it so high.

  10. Shippoyasha says:

    Dude, there is no such thing as ‘overwhelming fanservice’ in my books. I can watch Queens Blade and Ikkitousen without batting an eye. lol

  11. Shippoyasha says:

    PSGels, it’s funny you mention those stereotypes, because Souten Korou is going for the MANLY MEN, GAR kind of thing.

    And Cao Cao is seriously the most manly portrayed in that show than ANY other I’ve seen.

    Funny you have these weird reservations and biases against it and yet the actual thing is totally different from what you describe.

  12. Wyrdwad says:

    What is it you dislike about the character of Haruhi? I know you’ve mentioned your dislike of her before, but I don’t think you’ve ever really explained it… because I seriously think she’s one of the more interesting characters I’ve seen in a long time. She’s pretty much God, but doesn’t know it, and practically has ADHD, which makes her a sort of “chaotic neutral” (to use AD&D terms)… and there aren’t enough chaotic neutrals in anime, and CERTAINLY not very many that receive decent characterization. Haruhi is one of the very, very few.

    -Tom

  13. erwf says:

    Haruhis fucking annoying and using the ‘neutral chaotic’ label makes you a fucking geek.

  14. miden says:

    I agree! This season is probably the best I’ve seen in a long time, if not, the best. I just love Cross Game & Phantom, very compelling.

  15. Wyrdwad says:

    erwf: I am a geek, yes. And proud of it. And you don’t need to flame someone just for asking a question and having a different opinion than you. If making a D&D reference makes me a geek, then flaming me for liking Haruhi makes you a jerk.

    -Tom

  16. psgels says:

    Wyrdwad: my problem with Haruhi is that she keeps getting in the way of what makes me really like the series: the quiet moments between Kyon and the side-characters. In the original series, the moments I liked best weren’t those in which Haruhi went on another adventure, but instead seeing these people try to pass their time when she happened to be out.

  17. Wyrdwad says:

    I can see that. But also consider that those “quiet moments” would lose a lot of their impact without Haruhi’s wacky adventures as a foil. It’s like the whole “there must be evil in order for good to exist” argument… without Haruhi, the quiet moments wouldn’t be quite as special, I don’t think.

    -Tom

  18. Kalandra says:

    I admit I am a big Haruhi fanboy. For me, the charm in this series lies in Haruhi ludicrous actions which always results in Kyon disbelief and hilarious sarcastic comments.

    Without Haruhi, all we get is a slife of series with one sarcastic dude. Thats not bad, but its not outstanding in anyway.

    Haruhi is probably a jerk, but hey she being a jerk to Kyon, not you.

  19. c160 says:

    hi,i’m the triple poster,c160,lol..Sorry for the last time I triple posted.

    I think you should marathon watch Sora Kake Shoujo some time soon.I can definitely say that its better than Gundam 00.Like Mazinger,most of the action happens outside of the mechas(the action involves mechas,just not the usual mecha vs mecha).And there’s no annoying substory lines ala Saji/Louise and the villains are actually well developed(so far).There’s also the mystery factor that you like so much,so I think you will enjoy this one.If you’re wary because of the parodies,it’s not really noticeable except for a few here and there..So please give that show a chance..

  20. Perrin4869 says:

    I am thoroughly enjoying Phantom, Cross Game, Eden of the East, Natsu no Arashi, Ristorante Paradiso, Guin Saga, Fullmetal Alchemist and Hayate no Gotoku!!. Picking one of them as my favourite this season would be pretty tough though.
    I really can’t stand the cheese of 07 Ghost and Pandora Hearts though. I’m struggling very hard not to drop Pandora Hearts. Shangri-La had a promising first episode, but I didn’t feel very compelled to watch any further, although I think I’ll catch up soon, as it seems it’s between the more original ones this season.
    As for Konnichiwa Anne, I watched the first episode, and again, it was too cheesy for my tastes, although I will give it one more chance if you say the cheese disappears.

  21. scarlet says:

    Wow, didn’t expect Konnichiwa Anne on the first! Well, haven’t watched the stuff though but the screenshots reminded me of Princess Sarah, a very old anime that I used to watch and like xD

    I’ll give it a shot, when there’s a subbed releases >_

  22. psgels says:

    Perrin: yeah, the first couple of episodes of Konnichiwa Anne turned me down as well, since they were unneccesarily dramatic, but for the past month the drama has turned incredibly genuine and heartfelt. That’s why I listed it on the top of the season for me.

  23. Tia says:

    The cheese of pandora hearts is pretty much nearing the end. Since its following the manga rather closely, its building up to something really good.

  24. windy says:

    I do agree with you about the slow pacing of chrome shelled regios, well, as it is there’re 4 or 5 episodes left and it seems the show hasn’t gone through any change from the beginning, don’t get me wrong I rather like this show but I like when we have some visible progress when near the end and also a bit of a backround explanation( about the other dimension we shortly see through nearly every single episode ), I don’t think they have enough episodes to close up the story which seems too inconsistant. Guin saga and shangri la and Phantom are just awesome series! But I don’t have the same view on Valkyria though, since the ancient Valkyrian civilisation had been introduced, things started to become more tense and conflicts appear, and characters start to grow, this is a deep show that doesn’t have any annoying sceentime and besides from the very beginning and till now it hasn’t stopped introducing new characters and not any of them had been disappointing.

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  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jul 29. 2014 01:52 PM)
    And then there are some who you can beat, torture and present the most flawless logic in existance and they will still be ignorant morons.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jul 29. 2014 01:51 PM)
    As a wise old donkey said, “Life will go on as it has always gone on—that is, badly.”
    K-Off, your effort is comendable but the fact is that reason doesn’t work on everyone. There are some people you can talk down and some you need to break a leg or two to get your point across.
  • Wicked
    (Tuesday, Jul 29. 2014 09:12 AM)
    Watched an episode of Marvel Disk war. Wow. I don’t know how well it’s doing in Japan, but you could not have been more transparent about selling toys than this show
  • K-Off
    (Tuesday, Jul 29. 2014 09:07 AM)
    @ninja Nah, After it happened, my friends and some other people in the crowd pushed us apart. He yelled something while I inspected my nose, and I just went to the nearest restaurant to get a kleenex.
  • ninjarealist
    (Tuesday, Jul 29. 2014 09:05 AM)
    @K-Off Gonna press charges?
  • K-Off
    (Tuesday, Jul 29. 2014 09:02 AM)
    @ninja Bled for a few minutes, then plugged it up and lifted my face towards the ceiling in my car for a bit. It’s fine, didn’t break anything. Thanks though.
  • ninjarealist
    (Tuesday, Jul 29. 2014 08:59 AM)
    @K-Off I only tell the story cause ultimately I made out better than you did with your sign. lol. How is your nose feeling dude?
  • ninjarealist
    (Tuesday, Jul 29. 2014 08:58 AM)
    One of them continued to rant about how “soldiers have died in that uniform” but I kept insisting that it was just a meaningless piece of clothing to me. I had a lock in my pocket and was ready to use it, but they never made good on their threats and eventually some of the soldiers’ civilian friends pulled them away.
  • K-Off
    (Tuesday, Jul 29. 2014 08:58 AM)
    @ninja As long as you didn’t wear it to Subway and Six Flags for cheap discounts, I don’t see a problem with that.
  • ninjarealist
    (Tuesday, Jul 29. 2014 08:56 AM)
    True story: I use to wear a full army BDU to parties, not for any other reason because I thought it looked cool. I had purchased it because it was great, strong, clothing for my forestry job. People would ask me if I was a soldier and I would tell them “Hell no” and start talking smack about the government. One time two actual soldiers cornered me and made vague threats about what would happen if I didn’t take off the jacket.

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