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

Looking back at the past six months, it’s definitely been an interesting Spring and Summer Season. There weren’t any instant-classics, but still a number of outstanding series. But what I especially like about this season is the huge amount of consistently good series: a lot of series delivered, and a huge share of them did so consistently with nearly every episode.

As for this month, I don’t think I’ve ever had this much trouble picking my monthly number one. While I’m pretty sure about my favourites of the past season at this point, this month showed so many series surpassing themselves in an awesome finale that I really had to take those into account as well. Seriously, all of my top-4 series this month are number-one material, which made choosing the order between them really difficult.

In any case, a sensational month: there were hardly any series that disappointed. With two or three exceptions, every series I watched this month delivered in one way or the other, even though I watched much more anime at the same time than that I usually do!

#29 (29) – Saki – (6,5/10) – The last month was by far my least favourite part of this series, everything was cliché and predictable and I was just hoping for it to finally end, my suspense of disbelief has been completely broken at this point.
#28 (30) – Zan Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei – (7,25/10) – Thankfully this wasn’t the worst month for this series, and I have to admit that the caveman part was pretty funny. Overall though, Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei stopped being funny for me a long time ago, and the third season just took too little risks in order to change this.
#27 (28) – Chi’s New Address – (7,5/10) – Granted, as dull as the series was, the finale did was nice enough. It was a bit cheesy, but nevertheless a good idea executed reasonably well. Apart from the ending itself though. Way too melodramatic and overacted.
#26 (24) – Bakemonogatari – (7,5/10) – Episode 12 finally came and properly animated the characters, instead of focusing on just about everything that wasn’t relevant. However, in exchange we also had to sit through the Snake-arc, which was probably the weakest of the entire series…
#25 (26) – Needless – (7,5/10) – The problem with Needless is that it spends too much time talking. Sure there is the obvious fanservice which often reaches the points of abysmal, but this is supposed to be an action series. Too often we see people in the middle of dull exposition about their next strategy. First of all, these dialogues are so mind-numbingly boring that they instantly freeze all opponents that are in the neighbourhood (no, seriously), and second of all these strategies are often so incredibly stupid that it takes a complete idiot to fall for them. But (and this is a big but) occasionally episodes arrive with a truly awesome animation direction (episode 13 for example). These sorts of episodes are awesome to watch and remind me why I still haven’t dropped this bloody show.
#24 (18) – Taishou Yakyuu Musume – (7,75/10) – Well, it was a nice finale. Nothing you wouldn’t expect, but it’s been good, clean fun with this series.
#23 (25) – Hetalia Axis Powers – (8/10) – Nice month for Hetalia. Finally another classic episode appeared with the Christmas episode. This series really is at its best when it pokes fun at cultural differences.
#22 (21) – The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya – (8/10) – The two final episodes of Sigh really made up for the rather boring first three episodes. Episode four made a very good point, while episode five was just enjoyable to watch. All that’s left now is to wait or season three.
#21 (15) – Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou – (8/10) – It was a nice finale. It didn’t sacrifice the chemistry between the characters for the sake of building up to that dramatic climax, and the humour was at its best during the final month. I especially liked that brother: he’s a very refreshing only-male-in-moe-show.
#20 (27) – 07-Ghost – (8,25/10) – An exciting finale, because Ayanami for once actually DID something. It’s a shame, he really would have been an awesome villain if the creators actually used him better. Still, a great finish for a rather flawed series.
#19 (19) – Canaan – (8,25/10) – The final episodes of Canaan kicked ass. While Alphard’s end may have been a bit out of character, it definitely redeemed itself as a good action-show, with the cast turning out strong enough to make it more than just a show with pretty pictures.
#18 (22) – Basquash! – (8,25/10) – Great to see that this series is closing off with an enjoyable finale. Gorgeous production-values courtesy of Satelight thankfully didn’t make this series into a waste of time after the first eight episodes.
#17 (16) – Umi Monogatari – (8,25/10) – The finale was a really emotional one, and it worked pretty well. Especially the final episode worked great as an ending that had an emotional impact, yet stayed away from cheese. Definitely the best month for this series.
#16 (14) – Umineko no Naku Koro ni – (8,25/10) – The third arc promises to be even better than the first two. I love these series in which you have no idea what’s going on, and Umineko surely has no intentions to make trying to understand it a walk in the park. This month especially did well in portraying the hopelessness of trying to prove everything without magic. I’m really curious to see how the creators are planning to write themselves out of this one.
#15 (20) – Kuruneko – (8,25/10) – 2009 has really been an awesome year for short series with 5-minute episode. Kuruneko only gets wittier as time goes on and more cats come into the picture. There’s a lot of creativity put into this, despite its simplistic nature.
#14 (6) – Shangri-La – (8,5/10) – Not the best month for Shangri-la. I really liked it the best when it threw buckets of plot twists at the same time that made the setting even more intriguing. The finale instead was solid. Well-built up, although the ending itself was rather lazy. Nevertheless, it remains an excellent series for those who have a big suspense of disbelief.
#13 (7) – Cross Game – (8,5/10) – Really, the only thing about Cross Game that isn’t wonderfully consistent is the very small set of baseball matches that pop up once in a while. Aside from that, the slice of life is so delightfully enjoyable and witty. However, this month was a bit of a step back from previous months, simply because the creators have gotten a bit unsubtle with their hints that Kou and Aoba are into each other.
#12 (13) – Marie & Gali – (8,75/10) – I’m still amazed at how incredibly consistent this series is. Every single episode manages to be absolutely hilarious in the way that it takes simple scientific concepts and drives them to the absurd. It’s a series with an awesome sense of humour and a pool of creativity that still seems nowhere near exhausted at this point. Definitely my favourite comedy during the past half year.
#11 (2) – Kemono no Souja Erin – (8,75/10) – This series just keeps exploring its own borders, doesn’t it? This month may have been a bit of a step down from the previous one, but nevertheless that birth-scene was very impressive, and you can see that it’s still building up.
#10 (11) – Pandora Hearts – (8,75/10)

Pandora ended with an anime-original ending, but that didn’t prevent it from being really good. The story made sense in canon, it closed off with a bang and yet left enough open for a potential second season. It perhaps wasn’t the most intense month for this series, but it was all-around enjoyable, and I really hope for that second season to come.

#9 (4) – Aoi Hana – (8,75/10)

Aoi Hana closed off with a “life goes on”-finale, which was a perfect way to close off the series. It’s a shame that the Noise-timeslot disappeared, because its series have really been consistently awesome in what they did. Here’s to hoping that it’ll return for the Winter-season.

#8 (9) – Full Metal Alchemist – Brotherhood – (8,75/10)

Excellent month for Full Metal Alchemist. The action was very creative and well-written, and on top of that the plot twists just kept coming here. This has really turned into a no-nonsense series, which is so completely different in atmosphere compared to the first series.

#7 (8) – GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class – (8,75/10)

This month yet again was a very consistent one for GA: it was consistently enjoyable, creative, unpredictable and fun to watch. It definitely stands out as one of the under-watched gems of the Summer Season.

#6 (5) – Spice and Wolf – (9/10)

Spice and Wolf closed off with a very strong finale, which really pushed the characters in a new direction. It’s been a series with drama that combines subtlety with conflict, and it really managed to surpass the first season for me.

#5 (10) – Guin Saga – (9/10)

An excellent finale for a series that has been so under-looked for the past season. The politics and action meshed really well, and just about everything developed. Now where the hell is that second season?

#4 (3) – Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 – (9/10)

The finale was very daring, and completely different from the relatively action-packed first half. Ultimately though, it gave a whole new dimension to this series and it closed off this series with a heart-wrenching finale. This is Noitamina at its finest.

#3 (1) – Phantom – (9/10)

Yeah, so what? I like endings with a twist and it’s not like that ending didn’t fit in the series. Phantom closed off with an excellent ending in my opinion. The finale did provide closure for the entire series, and yet it never abandoned the subtle storytelling that made the rest of the series into my favourite of the past half year. The final twist is definitely controversial one, but I liked it. It perfectly fitted the whole themes of the series.

#2 (17) – Konnichiwa Anne – (9/10)

And this is why I love the World Masterpiece Theatre. This series managed to pick itself back up magnificently this month, with a number of heart-wrenching episodes and a massive amount of character-development. These are things that absolutely no girl of Anne’s age has to go through.

#1 (12) – Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z-Hen! – (9/10)

That finale was FUCKING EPIC! It knew exactly what it was: action and plot twists, and boy how it delivered on them. This exceeded all of my expectations and you know what, it had the best ending of the season. Now THIS is exactly what an action-series should be! It’s indeed a bit of a strange Top-2 I have this month, but I really wanted to reward these two series who have massively improved themselves since last month, compared to the more consistent #3, #4 and #5, even if I consider those three far superior when looking at their overall picture.

15 Responses

  1. Meep says:

    Very interesting! A few surprises here. I was expecting Shangri-La to be near the top, and Shin Mazinger Shougeki Z-Hen popped out and me and I was like, “Huh?” XD Just wondering, how come you didn’t blog the episodes of Mazinger? At any rate, I’m going to prioritize to watch this. XD I like the OP theme a lot.

  2. CowboyMetal says:

    Seriously?

    your ranking system and ratings make no sense. you have atrocious shows ranked as 7.0/10 and mediocre shows as 9.0… and ranks 1 and 2- just lol.

  3. psgels psgels says:

    Cowboy: obviously, the Henderson-parts of Konnichiwa Anne were cringe-worthy, but it’s exactly how it managed to pick itself back up afterwards that made me rank it this high. Apparently you didn’t like that part, may I ask why? Did you like the slice of life parts better, perhaps?

    And as for the ratings: it’s just the way I rate things. An 8 for me is a well-executed series, a 7 is barely decent, however not worth the investment of watching.

    meep: yeah, the new Mazinger is just about everything you could hope for in a manly action-series. The reason why I didn’t blog it was because at first, I thought that it was just going to be simple monster-of-the-week, which would be rather boring to blog. But as it turns out that assumption was wrong. ^^;

  4. CowboyMetal says:

    the problem is your scale is unbalanced… series that you rate from 6-9 would be anywhere from 3-10 on others scales, its almost like you’re applying a curve of some sort lol…

    as for the eps you mentioned i don’t think that an improvement from poor to slightly above average warrants such a high rank, although i applaud the creators efforts.

  5. Flir says:

    did’t u hate TTGL for this type of ending? an overblown mech or should i say “man” ending? man, ur scaling of anime depends on your mood of the day

  6. Janette says:

    GA is probably underwatched due to the lack of fansubs…the first volume is out over here though, and it’s definitely wonderful.

  7. psgels psgels says:

    Meh, it’s what works for me. It’s a scale that I myself am comfortable with. I tried a scale once in which I ended up using the whole spectrum, but that just lead to confusion.

    Flir: no, that’s not why I hated TTGL (or disliked is more accurate). I wasn’t into it because of its straightforward plot but mostly because of its unengaging characters. Two problems that the new Mazinger isn’t plagued with. It also had no character of the calibre of Baron Ashura. I agree that my taste has changed since then, but I still consider Gurren Lagann as pretty nice action-series, nothing more and nothing less, while the new Mazinger went a step beyond.

  8. Battler says:

    MAZINGER NUMBER ONE LOL X 1MILLON

  9. Howling-kun says:

    BARON ASHURA ROCKS
    I haven’t watched Shin Mazinger yet, but he was awesome in other installments of the franchise I watched.

  10. A great list man, thanks for share… Wonder if anyone know where to get Spacesketeers/Starzinger with spanish or english subs… ?

  11. Reltair says:

    WTF is Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z-Hen! Why is it #1? I would have to say many series ranked below it are way better.

  12. psgels psgels says:

    Reltair: Sure, overall there are plenty of other better series this season. This ranking is just for the episodes of the past month, and for that Mazinger entertained me the most.

  13. Solaris says:

    This is only a month ranking. It means Mazinger finale impressed Psgels a lot. It doesn’t mean he considers it the best serie out there. Or at least i hope that ¬_¬”

  14. Meep says:

    Yeah, Solaris. It’s not even in his top 20. But apparently quite entertaining for the past month. I’ll definitely check it out.

    Psgels probably knew some people were going to sting his opinion/rating a bit for making Mazinger #1. But I really love how honest he is. In this blog, you don’t have to worry about the writer holding back because of what others might think.

    And his ratings work for him–and they appear sensible to me when you find out why he rated them the way he did according to his reviews.

  15. MazingerRules says:

    “WTF is Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z-Hen! Why is it #1? I would have to say many series ranked below it are way better.”
    Seriously?

    “your ranking system and ratings make no sense. you have atrocious shows ranked as 7.0/10 and mediocre shows as 9.0… and ranks 1 and 2- just lol.”

    Butthurts. Ever heard of personal opinion?

    As for me, I will gladly award Shin Mazinger, not just the number 1 anime of this month, but the number 1 anime of the whole year of 2009. Imagawa has delivered a true classic yet again with his awesome directing.

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  • Raggers
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 02:19 AM)
    @Aidan: true, but I don’t think the level is anywhere close to a true shounen. And once the basic rules are established it’s strategising and straight out fighting.
    I’d be more inclined to call it seinen with shounen elements than actually shounen.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 09:59 PM)
    Good all action finale to cap off Garo there, went out with a bang, though thing is I have no idea where their going to go with this when the movie, second season comes along, this seems like a pretty good point to finish.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:35 PM)
    I think that just about all the manga serialized in ultra jump feel less seinen than those serialized in other seinen magazines.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:19 PM)
    There’s plenty of in battle explaining. I don’t think there’s been a battle without in battle explaining. You got the first time villain that ends up a good guy. You got powerups and levels of quinques. There’s a ton of shounen elements.
    Just because something has gore does not make it seinien. Deadman wonderland is Shounen and it has just as much gore and torture.
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 02:52 PM)
    @Emma: ah, yes.
    @Aidan: How so? A variety of weapons and abilities does not turn something into a shounen battle manga.
    I’d need a lot more random in-battle explaining secret powers to your opponent, and a lot more mercy to not consider it seinen.
    Also, torture, balls and limbs being chopped off as a sick joke, slicing people in half without warning, breaking half their bones…
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 12:44 PM)
    I felt that the story became too shounen battle manga When at first it was portrayed as seinien. Especially with the quineqes and such.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 12:06 PM)
    @Raggers: His past with the old lady ghoul where he was castrated =<
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:48 AM)
    @Emma: which moment is that?
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:26 AM)
    @Raggers : And in one moment, a rather disturbing development.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:24 AM)
    @Raggers: Actually, thinking it over you’ve got a point there, As I had said I’ve been marathoning re and come to think of it, it is more enjoyable to do so that way.

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