Posted by psgels on 30 June 2009 with categories: Monthly Summaries

The interesting thing with this month is that yet again I had no clear favourites. There’s a bunch of shows that I really like, but there’s not been a series for me that really stood above the others this month. I think that because of this, the series that ended up as my number one position is probably one that not many agree with, but it’s the series that I feel this month showed the most improvement and impressed me the most.

In other news, in the upcoming months I’m going to experiment with a new feature on these summaries, by handing out small awards for what stood out as the best at one particular part for the past month (inspired by The Null Set, thanks for the idea). Some awards like “Best ending of the month” are obviously only going to appear when a significant amount of series actually end. Next month, I’m probably also going to include an award for the best episode (I’d love to do it right here as well, but my favourite episode for June came from Higurashi’s OVA, and I stopped including OVAs in these rankings because it’s simply too convoluted to keep track of them).

Rankings, like the past months 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.

#26 (new) – Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-Chan! – (6,5/10) – Yeah… what’s there to say about this one, really? While I haven’t technically dropped it, I really can’t see myself watching through it entirely unless either the rest of the summer season is going to be really bad or the second episode is going to be really good.
#25 (24) – Koukaku no Regios – (6,75/10) – The ending was a horrible mess. Plot twists came from absolutely nowhere, there hardly was any conclusion or question that was answered. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a finale that was as rushed as we saw here.
#24 (23) – Kurokami the Animation – (6,75/10) – Alas. I really hoped that this series would become good with its second half, but it turned out to be the complete opposite. Especially that ending was a complete joke, but the entire month was basically a disaster of plot twists that were just there to get the most dramatic finale possible. Obviously that failed.
#23 (21) – Valkyria Chronicles – (7,5/10) – I’m twelve episodes in right now, and every time I think that this series is going to impress me… it doesn’t. This show really is getting old right now, and I can only hope that the second half is going to become better, and make up for the lackluster first half.
#22 (15) – Hetalia Axis Powers – (7,5/10) – Hetalia, what are you doing? You’re supposed to be a series that pokes fun at different cultures, not an excuse for gay romance. I’m really not sure what’s up with this series. The jokes have been as good as ever, but there are just too many scenes that just… aren’t jokes. Especially when they devote an ENTIRE EPISODE to a disturbing gay semi-reverse double Oedipus romance between a guy and his grandson.. you have to wonder what the creators are smoking. In a bad way.
#21 (new) – Umi Monogatari – (8/10) – I have yet to see Aria, so I’m really not sure what to expect from this series. It definitely had a solid start and premise, though. Let’s see what the rest of the series can offer.
#20 (20) – Sengoku Basara – (7,5/10) – Well, it’s at least good to see that the series is closing off with an exciting finale that was everything that this show made great: lots of manly action. Of course, when that’s all a series has going for it, it’s never going to stand among the greats. Sengoku Basara has been an enjoyable series, but it really should have used its time better.
#19 (13) – 07-Ghost – (8/10) – So yeah, this has turned out to be pretty much a guilty pleasure for me. Strictly speaking I should be hating it, but it just keeps drawing me in with its characters and nice art, despite the cheesiness and repetitiveness of the plot.
#18 (17) – Gintama – (8/10) – The past few episodes have been hit and miss. While the strange reference holiday was pretty dull, the King of Mayonnaise was absolutely hilarious.
#17 (9) – Basquash! – (8/10) – The thing with Basquash! at the moment is that it seems to be in its “mid-season lull”. For the past month, I’ve been missing the chaos and fun that made the beginning of the series so enjoyable. With episode 12 as a nice exception, perhaps.
#16 (19) – Chi’s New Address – (8,25/10) – More of Chi’s antics as usual. There definitely has been a change since the first season: since Chi can move outside freely now, most of the show is spent not inside, but exploring what’s going on outside of the house, and meeting some interesting characters along the way. Especially that elder cat was hilarious.
#15 (22) – Saki – (8,25/10) – To be honest, I thought that this series would end up falling apart completely with the start of the tournament. And yet, this month probably was the best month so far for Saki. The battles still are based too much on luck and weird skills like causing dust to spontaneously appear when you play a mah-jong tile, but the characters are really saving this series. I’m still surprised at how not annoying they’ve become. Apart from the Kugimiya Rie-voiced brat, perhaps.
#14 (16) – Shin Mazinger Shougenki! Z-Hen – (8,5/10) – Baron Ashura is such an awesome villain. This guy/girl is so incredibly fun to watch, and seeing his surprisingly thought-out plans come to fruition. Really, the only thing keeping him from pwning everyone over and over is the fact that Mazinger is simply god-moded. My only gripe with the show is the little brother and detective: they’re too often used for pointless and usually unfunny comic relief, and sap away screen-time from Ashura.
#13 (18) – Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya – (8,25/10) – I like how the past two episodes basically pulled a Seraphim Call Higurashi. It’s a nice idea once you see where it’s trying to go to, and I do have to say that Haruhi too was enjoyable to watch. The past month has been pretty enjoyable slice of life for me.
#12 (5) – Eden of the East – (8,25/10) – You know, everyone keeps saying how this series had some of the best mystery, but I don’t see why. Sure, the mystery rocked for the first three episodes, but after that it dulled in a bit, and I can name tons of series that handled their mystery better than Eden of the East did. But yeah, it’s true that this series has left me somewhat disappointed, but that in no way means that I don’t like it. The animation was as incredibly detailed as ever, and overall the series left with a pretty good cliff-hanger for the upcoming movies.
Award: Best Production Values of the Month
#11 (6) – Natsu no Arashi – (8,5/10) – The ending unfortunately was the worst part of the series. Never mind the lack of conclusion, it felt like it was trying too hard, and kept recycling old jokes. Nevertheless, the rest of the episodes from Natsu no Arashi this month rocked. It again had a very good combination between a deep analysis of its characters, and just plain fun humour. I’m not sure whether I’m going to like the second season as much as this one, but who knows?
#10 (14) – Marie & Gali – (8,5/10)

I just can’t help but love this series. It’s completely nonsensical, it’s downright crazy and very childish, yet I look forward to it every week to see what kind of weirdness they’re pulling next. It’s a hilariously charming series so far, and I’m glad that there are at least going to be 13 more episodes of it. The thing with this series is that it’s so consistently creative in all of the crazy situations it puts the lead characters in.

#9 (12) – Full Metal Alchemist – Brotherhood – (8,5/10)

Okay, and we’re nearly to the part where the story diverges from the original series completely. There have been plenty of other differences so far, though. Especially the atmosphere is completely different from the first series, and it’s much more fast-paced and quirky. The characters have been very enjoyable so far, and I’ve gotten very interested in that different storyline.

#8 (11) – Guin Saga – (8,75/10)

The new arc promises a lot of great things for this series: political intrigue, betrayal and much more, with the visuals still being as pleasing as ever. I’m just very curious about how the creators are planning to handle the rest of the adaptation: are they planning on covering all 200 novels, or are they simply going to stop after 26 episodes?

#7 (8) – Ristorante Paradiso – (8,75/10)

The ending was very solid, and really wrapped up the storyline with a satisfying conclusion. Overall, the final episodes of this series were really well done, and made this a really relaxing and engaging series.
Award: Best Ending of the Month

#6 (3) – Cross Game – (8,75/10)

My only problem with Cross Game is its baseball matches. Sure, I understand that they’re necessary and make sure for a lot of character-development, but they just take too long, and they just aren’t what this series is best at: slice of life. The rest of the episodes this month were again a great watch though, as the relationship between Kou and Aoba continues to develop subtly, and the wit that is used while telling their story is as awesome as ever.
Award: Best Storytelling of the Month

#5 (7) – Hajime no Ippo – (9/10)

Seriously, the only way to properly describe the past arc is by simply yelling FUCKING EPIC over and over. With this, I fully understand why this series has become so popular, and I’m of course going to check out that first season some day. I only hope that once Madhouse is going to come with another great series for the upcoming summer season, otherwise I’ll probably be going into a Madhouse withdrawal… (No, Chi’s New Address isn’t enough).

#4 (1) – Konnichiwa Anne – (9/10)

After the move to Marysville, the series has become much lighter this month, with Anne getting to know her new home place and making new friends, but something tells me that this is just one really big calm before the storm. Anne has really been as awesome as ever, and she definitely is the best character of the entire season.
Award: Best Characters of the Month

#3 (10) – Pandora Hearts – (8,75/10)

Thankfully the cheese is mostly gone now, and it shows. The drama so far is poignant and well written, and the art really rocks. Especially with the arrival of the Cheshire Cat, the story has become much more interesting.
Award: Best Setting of the Month

#2 (2) – Phantom – (9/10)

Phantom still belongs at the top-tier this season. Especially now that Reiji has developed and changed completely, there is SO much potential left in this series. Cal has only been introduced for two episodes, and she already is awesome to watch, and I’m really eager for this show to hit its second half.

#1 (4) – Shangri-La – (9/10)

So yeah, when watching Shangri-La there are plenty of points in which you’re going to have to suspend disbelief for a while, but apart from that I feel that Shangri-La has something that many other series are lacking. Despite how it seems messy from the outside, it’s actually growing out to be a very coherent mystery-story that continuously gets developed along with its characters. There’s always something interesting going on and the cast of characters is incredibly strong, yet all of them are flawed and no perfect humans. The soundtrack is also second to only Phantom in this season and the visuals are a huge improvement over what we’ve seen in the first few episodes, with especially episode 13 being a beautiful example.

21 Responses

  1. Julian says:

    mmmmm…weird some of your animes are lower higher but with high scores…

  2. psgels psgels says:

    Ah, thanks for reminding me that I forgot to include the explanation for that. ^^;

  3. ZACK says:

    ShangrLa….No.1????!!
    WTF…..
    This show is way too over rated, even by you in my opinion but seriously how on earth can it compare to phantom this month!!!
    All I can say is Phantom’s been robbed of first place this month…. again!!
    Also 07 Ghost ranked too high,even for guilty pleasure!

  4. Matt says:

    I have to agree with 07-Ghost, its ranked to hight.. Right now i have last weeks ep on my computer still unwatched… Hmm, the rest of the series might remain so, its just to slow..

    Haven’t watch Shangri-la yet, might pick it up soon… But as of right now, Phantom takes my #1… It easily beats out Eden, which had one great character shadow over all the other characters. There was potential with Saki in the 1st couple eps, but it died out after that. I hope the OVA’s can redeem the show a bit..

    Though for me a close 2nd is Pandora Hearts. If the episodes were more consistent in quality with regards to plot it would be taking on Phantom pretty easily. But there was a couple to many down episodes for me.

  5. psgels psgels says:

    Hm, 07-Ghost may have indeed been a bit too high, I fixed that one. But basically the reason why Phantom barely lost to Shangri-La in my personal rankings was the recap. Phantom was a lot about introducing the new arc and recapping the previous one, while Shangri-La constantly delivered for me. And how is Shangri-la overrated, by the way? Last time I checked, there were still lots of people hating it and rating it low.

  6. senerikfred says:

    The added scenes in Haruhi can be kind of hit or miss, and I still think it’s more enjoyabe to read, but I agree Kyoani’s doing pretty well at the slice-of-life.
    Also, the first season of Ippo is actually focused almost entirely on Ippo, so just be ready for that.

  7. Kim says:

    I am only watching No. 6, 9 and 13 on your list and enjoying all of them quite a bit. I don’t even mind the baseball games in Cross Game because I think they add development to the characters. Although I do like the slice of life aspect the most of all.

    As for FMA now that we are entering into manga only territory I am going to look forward to your reaction to the episodes. :)

    Oh and I agree that Eden of the East is not as great as many people are making it out to be. But then I guess everyone likes different things.

  8. juu says:

    yeah for Marie & Gali! I love weird stuff like that. I could watch those episodes again and again and again…

  9. bob the slayer says:

    What about K-on?

  10. steelbound says:

    I think having awards is a good addition since it really can focus on why a particular show is good and I’m not just saying that because it’s awesome that one of my favorite anime bloggers was inspired by me.

    Seeing Shangri-La at number 1 makes me wonder if I should have given the show a better shot before dropping.

    I would concur with the high placement of Phantom, these past few episodes have been really awesome and I see some much potential left in the series.

  11. they devote an ENTIRE EPISODE to a disturbing gay semi-reverse double Oedipus romance between a guy and his grandson.. you have to wonder what the creators are smoking. In a bad way.
    === guy and his grandson? HRE and chibitalia aren’t grandson and grandchild if you’re referring to them x_x (they are around the same age. and holy roman empire is not the same as roman empire. roman empire is chibitalia/italy’s grandpa, not HRE) and I dunno why the anime didn’t make it obvious, but HRE actually thinks chibitalia’s female. So that’s the joke there. it’s gay, but not exactly. Bwahahaha!

    Am I such a loser for placing 07-ghost so high in my list just because I’m freakin’ addicted to it? wahahahaha!!!!

    I’m thinking of watching marie and gali again *_* seems that it’s doing good lately

    shangri-la’s so awesome~

  12. Schmetterling says:

    Aha, PH fights its way despite the strange animtion quality xD But you know, as long as Xebec does not change the storyline and goes with the manga fans’s prediction, I believe that PH will stay in Top 3, that one episode 13 is just the beginning of a big big surprise xD

    Ah, Shangri-la? Haven’t downloaded it but maybe I should do so already. a friend has recommended it and since you find it very entertaining, might as well try :p

  13. PL says:

    Shangri-La easily leaves me wanting more after each episode than any other show out this season. I really can’t wait to go back and marathon them when its all done, because that’s how I caught up on the first five and it was great. Now I feel after each episode like I was just starting to peel an onion, and now I’ve got to put it back for next week. Drives me nuts… Sure, Shangri-la has some messy points in its plot, and sometimes its hard to figure out why crazy stuff works for kuniko, but then I remember she is some sort of messianic type character (whatever the DIGMA’s are). And honestly, the concepts kuniko’s world is based on, require much less suspension of disbelief than many other series, even if some of the plot twists require more. So, its really easy to get sucked into Shangri-la’s world, and once you buy that, its easy enough to sit back and enjoy the ride as long as you don’t overanalyze the plot.

  14. Gene says:

    >I’m of course going to check out that first season[Hajime no Ippo] some day.

    The hell. Why did you see the second season first? o_o

  15. ZACK says:

    I don’t enjoy Shangri-la as much as I enjoy Phantom and also I don’t think a few good episodes it had makes up for it glaring flaws.
    Well.. it could just be me and it might not be my type of show but I still believe it’s got nothing over Phantom,recap or no-recap considered!
    Another show I’d rank higher is probably Basquash!
    I know it’s difficult to scale the lofty heights this show reached earlier but it still
    remains as a better fare than most of your above average shows and I think it’s lower ranking is because this show was competing with it’s earlier episodes rather than the episodes from other shows this month!

  16. Shogun22 says:

    Eden of the East might not be perfect but I’m really surprised that you gave Natsu no Arashi a higher score?
    I’m a fan of Jin Kobayashi’s School Rumble, but Natsu no Arashi (at least the anime version) felt kinda lame in comparison.

  17. windy says:

    I almost agree with all your ranks here except for Valkyria chronicles, truely just every episode bring something new and surprising, each episode entails more mystery and new plots, so I believe it’s one of the five best shows this season: with Phantom, Guin saga(Greatest and awesome!!!!), Shangri-la and Pandora hearts; Valkyria chronicles has undoubtedly to be among the best, but I have to admit I took a liking on this series from the start so my opinion could be biased but there don’t seem to be many flaws either, I especially like the character-design and setting and the plot ( even if it must follow the game) is quite unusual too. About ” before green gables”, I’m not so satisfied and don’t enjoy it as much, I liked much better “Ann of the green gables”, it’s not bad but worse than other Masterpiece Theatre series for me, the past three episodes were really good thogh, I hope it won’t worsen later.

  18. Ebod says:

    >Especially when they devote an ENTIRE EPISODE to a disturbing gay semi-reverse double Oedipus romance between a guy and his grandson..

    Holy Roman Empire became Prussia and then Germany afterwards. There is no relationship between HRE and Italy as Italy came from Rome, not HRE. There’s a pretty famous quote that goes “The Holy Roman Empire is neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.” You can read up more on its history on wikipedia if you want, it’s quite fascinating. Also, HRE DID NOT KNOW that Italy was a guy. Nobody knew until later when Italy hit puberty and his voice changed.

    Also, there was a tred in time where paintings of Italy and Germania being lovey dovey with each other was popular (though their depiction was two girls not guys), so no, Hetalia is not pulling this out of their asses – there is historical back up of some sort.

  19. Elvenwarrior says:

    Great post PL.

    Shangri-La is easily my favorite show of the season for many of those same reasons, also in addition to making me want the next episode immediately, the show is fantastic at getting you to want to theorize and discuss the setting, characters and what’s going to happen next.

    The well-realized scifi setting and props, varied uniforms/equipment and detailed designs and ship work is another fantastic aspect of the show to me.

    I can’t wait for the second half, episode 13 was a roaring start with fantastic action and great animation and CG work.

    I really hope Gonzo can save themselves because they still have a real unique knack for this kind of great Science Fiction.

  20. Elvenwarrior says:

    Pandora Hearts I’ve also been completely hooked on and Phantom’s been really good too. All 3 have had fantastic soundtracks so far.

    The list reminds me I need to marathon some Guin Saga cause I really want to get back into that and caught up since I was enjoying it. I just hope they don’t intend to end it at just 26 with such a big setting and such a massive amount of material to work with.

  21. mangomonk says:

    “Seriously, the only way to properly describe the past arc is by simply yelling FUCKING EPIC over and over.”

    I’m glad to see it move up two spots but with that kind of lead in, I would think it’d be #1. I doubt the top three were anywhere close to being as good as this recent arch in HnI.

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  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:11 PM)
    But I agree with Bam in that the show has lots of moments where it shines, namely in the action and the entertaining character interactions. If I was interested more so in a character story rather than an overall plot, I’m sure I’d like Eva a lot more. Certain shows work really well purely off that principle like Phantasia, but by the time I got to Eva I’d gotten relatively desensitized to those character tropes. Shinji didn’t help much either.
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:07 PM)
    There’s no narrative thrusts throughout the show, it’s just scenes happening to get from one action set piece to the next all the while shoving blatant symbolism in your face. The little plot there is feels incredibly weak, aside from the world building there’s no clear objective besides a vague idea of defeating angels and something about Gendo that’s almost background noise with how little it affects the story.
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:03 PM)
    Having started watching anime only in the mid 2000s despite occasionally seeing them on TV during the 90s, I come from a school of thought that emphasizes coherence more than anything else, basically I want the story to have focus. And while Eva’s influence on character archetypes and animation cannot be argued, I still think the story in Eva is pretty bad.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 07:56 PM)
    Judging purely visually I agree some leeway must be given due to the technical limitations of the time but all of my issues with the series is not visual related but story.
    I have admitted that I don’t hate Eva and I do like aspects of it. But do you really need me to give it praise? There is plenty giving it praise. I see no reason to join the choir.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 07:51 PM)
    Now you are just flying off the hook.
    I understand Eva’s cultural significance, and it’s effect on the medium. I just deem it irrelevant when judging the anime itself. For you see dear boy, if you are going to place EVA above modern anime then you must judge it by modern standards. If it falls short you can’t just bring up historic significance to wave away it’s problems.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:46 PM)
    I praised Fate/Zero for its story, pacing and charismatic protagonist. UBW I agreed to its superb battle animation and overall quality of first cour. Now when someone watches EoE or Eva Rebuild 2.2 and comments on nothing of quality, then who is the biased one here really?
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:34 PM)
    If anything at least call Shinji a shitty annoying character- cuz even I won’t deny that.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:25 PM)
    When I mean discussion I don’t mean a series of personal likes and dislikes- but judging objective elements: plot consistency, animation quality, restrain in fan-service and pandering, over reliance on tropes and cliches, etc. Otherwise we all have our different preferences.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:20 PM)
    I agree with the cons of Eva, as well as its strengths. Same with Fate. Being pessimistic is a stance, not inherently a flaw. The setting of Eva predicates that tone. If anything I have a bias towards Berserk, and that’s mostly all out of nostalgia.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:16 PM)
    Also what ladies? Even the “gentlemen” part is stretching it. It’s very easy for someone who didn’t follow anime 20 years ago to criticize one of its most historic moments. At least this Tenka Seiha fella doesn’t talk smack about what he doesn’t really understand.

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Nüwa’s Growth Diary

Chinese Animation Guide – Part 2: Chinese Anime shows

As much as I hated the term Chinese Anime (Anime stands for Japanese animation, strictly speaking), this is the exact term for those shows. Their influence from the Anime was so heavy that apart from the voice cast and some scene settings, you can’t tell those apart from the original anime. With that said, judge from […]