Posted on 30 November 2009 with categories: Konnichiwa Anne



Ack! This is just what I feared. They decided to fill one of the last episodes of this series with this? Oh lord…

This episode… it really showed how the creators aren’t the best at telling a story. Out of all the possible uses this episode could have had to develop the characters, they chose such a far-fetched one that’s solely meant to make Anne look good and attempt (note to attempt) to develop only one single character: Tessa.

I say attempt, because this episode fell into the same trap as all of the other episodic episodes in this show. Way too one-sided and cheesy. I mean, this episode served no point or purpose whatsoever: Tessa already had enough depth. It’s the evil classmates that this series should be worrying about, and yet the creators hardly did anything to make them seem less one-sided than they already were. At this point, there are only four episodes left. This series really needed that time to flesh out the characters in the orphanage. Right now, the orphanage is one of the least interesting settings that this series has taken place in, after the school in Marysville.

And I also have to wonder: why is it that hard to find a subject for this episode? At times like these, I miss Porfy: it really made it seem so easy. It always had some inspiration for an episodic story with a wonderful feel to it. Konnichiwa Anne instead… throws in an abandoned baby. If it’s something that happens once in a while at the orphanage, okay. Then I can understand the need for the creators to address this problem. However, it was a totally unique case! It was just the story of one crazy father who abandoned his son. We never know anything about him. In the end, the creators threw in the baby, just to make Anne look good with her super baby-taking-care-of-skills. And not only that, it also made me aware of a rather nasty flaw of this series: its overglorified portrayal of babies. What happened to the screaming, yelling and whining that these kids keep doing that will even make grown adults pull out their hairs? In Anne of Green Gables, the way they showed that Anne was experienced in taking care of little kids.

Speaking of which… there are like, what? A few months left until the start of Anne of Green Gables? I had hopes for a while, but in the end, no. This girl IS NOT ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. In the end, she really is just a kid who looks like her. Anne has Tessa. There is no reason why she shouldn’t talk endlessly like usual to her. So why is she suddenly the quiet girl who doesn’t talk often?
Rating: – (Disappointing)

Posted on with categories: Monthly Summaries

Overall, this season stands out to me as average, but solid. There are a lot of well written shows, that at the moment just don’t seem to hit any real heights, and yet remain very enjoyable to watch. The exceptions are a number of true gems, though.

#22 (19) – Yumeiro Patissiere – (6,5/10) – I originally planned to continue watching this, due to its surprisingly good start, but unfortunately the past month revealed this series’ true colours. It just keeps introducing cheesy jealous bitches who are in love with the three male bishies that hang around the lead characters. The drama that comes of it is just terribly shallow. Dropped.
#21 (22) – Winter Sonata – (7,5/10) – Really hard to say anything about this series due to the slow subs. The only episode released this month was a bit cheesy, and it feels like entire scenes are missing, or something.
#20 (21) – Kobato – (7,5/10) – Right now, Kobato still is pretty dull, but at least you can see that the characters are getting fleshed out and explored. What the series needs to do is keep this up, and USE this in the second half to develop them.
#19 (24) – Kimi ni Todoke – (7,75/10) – I’m still struggling with Kimi ni Todoke, but there’s some definite potential. It’s pretty good when it doesn’t pretend to be anything: the dialogue is inspired and well written. However, the cheese during the dramatic parts is just way too overdone.
#18 (14) – Letter Bee – (7,75/10) – Still building up. You can see that it’s building up to something interesting, but it isn’t quite there yet. In the meantime, I’m just enjoying Nichi’s antics.
#17 (20) – Kaidan Restaurant – (8/10) – It’s a bit childish at times, not to mention that the lead character must have really angered the gods badly for her to run into THAT many ghosts, but the horror works surprisingly well. The quick horror stories all do their job of being creepy, and it’s always interesting to watch these episodes.
#16 (17) – Hetalia Axis Powers – (8,25/10) – I must say, that that second season of Hetalia has become much more balanced than the first one. It doesn’t endlessly keep hanging on the same jokes, and instead delivers varied and fun jokes. Very nice.
#15 (15) – 11eyes – (8,25/10) – This series is still going strong for me, although I do find Yuka a bit hard to swallow. Her characterization for me just doesn’t work, and it’s very annoying to watch her angsty romantic issues.
#14 (10) – Anymaru Tantei Kiruminzoo – (8,25/10) – This really turned out to be surprisingly good. I especially love how this series doesn’t just have people, transforming into animals, but also animals transforming into people, with hilarious results as they try to make sense of humans. The story also is a bit more than just “monster of the week” as well. It’s obviously a bit of a stupid series, but for me it’s been very enjoyable.
#13 (9) – Tentai Senshi Sunred – (8,25/10) – This is very rare for a comedy sequel: it’s actually better than the original series. While the first Tentai Senshi Sunred had its share of weak episodes, the second season doesn’t, and every episode is a hit and cracks me up with its typical sense of humour, combining detailed realistic dialogue with incredible stupidity and Super Sentai Parodies.
#12 (3) – Full Metal Alchemist – Brotherhood – (8,25/10) – This month was mostly building up, and that’s where Full Metal Alchemist’s big weakness lies: it may be very exciting at times, but it does take quite a while to get there. At those points, it just loses out to other, better-paced shows. Do note that this score reflects on just the episodes that aired this month; NOT the entire series.
#11 (13) – Konnichiwa Anne – (8,25/10) – A very good month for Konnichiwa Anne. Not stellar, but Anne’s development has finally started tying this story to Anne of Green Gables. There are some animation errors, but so far this series has been able to avoid the biggest pitfalls. Now let’s hope that this series can pull off a good finale.
#10 (12) – Sasameki Koto – (8,25/10)

I’m surprised: this series is still going strong. The characters are very genuine, which really helps the seemingly formulaic premise. Especially the relationship between the lead characters is fleshed out really well

#9 (1) – Umineko no Naku Koro ni – (8,25/10)

A bit of a step back when compared to the previous month, but again, you can see that this show is building up. Ange herself isn’t the most interesting character, but let’s see whether all of the build-up can pay off in the end. Again, this relatively low score is just for the episodes of this month. I’d rate the entire series higher, depending on how good the final parts of this series are going to be.

#8 (8) – Marie & Gali – (8,5/10)

The only thing I dislike is the constant hiatuses that this show keeps taking. Apart from that, I’m amazed that it still hasn’t run out of creativity in the slightest. Every episode is a hit, that keeps putting in new ideas.

#7 (11) – Kuchuu Buranko – (8,5/10)

This show has really gotten better and better: the cases have become more complex, interesting and funny, plus, all of the references to past episodes really work.

#6 (7) – Cross Game – (8,5/10)

Great month for Cross Game. Akane really brought in a new spark that influenced nearly every single character in the series, which really brought the spark back in this series’ slice of life.

#5 (18) – White Album – (8,5/10)

You know. Call me crazy, but I like this show again. It’s just unique; first of all it’s School Days but actually well written, but also the writing really gets the best out of the characters, and unlike the first season it allows for very emotional scenes without the usual soap opera cheese that accompanies them. But yeah, Touya still is an incredible asshole. :P

#4 (5) – Kemono no Souja Erin – (8,75/10)

Even though the end is near, Kemono no Souja Erin still continues with its quiet and focused pacing, and that in no way prevented the plot twists that arrived in this month from creating impact. Very fitted for a prelude to the finale.

#3 (6) – Darker than Black – Ryuusei no Gemini – (8,75/10)

The major thing that my three favourites this season all have in common is a very strong direction. Darker than Black knows exactly how to deliver its story and make it exciting. It also takes care to develop its characters and really makes use of its limited airtime this way.

#2 (4) – Armed Librarians – The Book of Bantorra – (9,25/10)

What a breath of fresh air. The direction of Armed Librarians is bold and daring, and I just love the way in which this series keeps tying seemingly unrelated plot threads to each other in the end. Here’s one series that continues to defy my expectations of it.

#1 (2) – Aoi Bungaku – (9,25/10)

There should be more series like this, seriously. Every story so far has been unique and different, and all of them have been made based on great ideas. In the Woods… was an awesome mind-screw, Kokoro was a terrific character-study told in two different perspectives, while Hashire Melos is beautifully animated and directed.

Posted on 29 November 2009 with categories: Aoi Bungaku



This is it: THE chance for the director of Mouyou no Hako to show that he’s not just a one-trick-pony, but instead an incredible director. And oh my god, he really showed the latter. Madhouse have truly truck gold when they found this guy, because this episode was one of the best episodes of Aoi Bungaku yet!

You can really see his style from Mouryou no Hako flow through into Hashire Melos, the work he’s adapting. The sakura trees are there, the heavy use of lighting, and the protagonists also are quite similar in appearance, and both novel authors. Heck, it even has the same soundtrack as Mouryou no Hako. This episode satisfied my inner Mouryou no Hako-fanboy, while delivering its own strong story that aside from these things, doesn’t rip it off in the slightest and stands strong as a gripping episode.

The scenes in the theatre were a very nice twist: basically this episode told two stories: one story about the author of a novel and his best friend, an actor, and one story, which he’s currently writing. Interestingly enough, Masato Sakai who has been voicing all of the leads of Aoi Bungaku so far, ends up voicing Melos: the lead character of the play. I love how in this way, the creators are playing around with the concepts of “lead characters”.

But yeah, what makes this episode stand out is its sense of dialogue. It’s passionate, detailed and brings out the best of the characters. There’s so much emotion put into it, yet none of the lines are delivered cheesily.

And then the animation! It’s by far the best animation of Aoi Bungaku yet, and that in an already excellently animated series. This episode doesn’t have the best eye-candy, that’s for In the Forest. Instead, the characters move SO incredibly fluently. when they move, their entire bodies move, rather than just a limb, or some very minimal movement during just a short scene. The animation here is detailed and really brings the cast of characters to life.

There was one scene though in which this didn’t apply. I’m not exactly sure what happened there, but the part in which the lead characters’ friend comes crawling from under the bed lacks this detail, and therefore ends up a bit weird.

I’m not sure whether I understood everything in this episode, but the main storyline seems to talk about two friends who live together: one is a scriptwriter, the other is an actor. The scriptwriter is seen writing the story of Melos, the lead character of the play. At a certain point, his friend suggests to go to Tokyo, because his father would not allow him to continue acting. When the lead character is boarding the train, however, he is betrayed. The episode ended a bit too soon for me to actually make out how and why, but I expect the next episode to delve into that one.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on with categories: Full Metal Alchemist - Brotherhood



I wonder, after seeing Ed pay with a coin in this episode: how does money work in the Full Metal Alchemist universe? I mean, any alchemist could just gather some copper and nickel and make a fortune.

Anyway, this episode mostly consisted out of building up, although that introduction scene of Sloth rocked. The guy is pretty stereotypical (at least the “sloth” of the first season was a bit of a creative take on this trope), but the action scene was as good as usual. Heck, Sloth might be even tougher than Greed, who is supposed to be the strongest shield.

My guess would be that either Sloth or Gluttony was the first homunculus to be created. From the homunculi whose backstory we already know by now, you can see somewhat of a pattern, in which father experiments with various techniques to create homunculi, so naturally this would mean that his creations would keep getting better and better (see Wrath, who does stand out as the most skilled and emotionally stable homunculus so far). Gluttony and Sloth look like early prototypes: they have interesting powers, but tend to be too stupid or lazy to really be left on their own.

I do wonder, though. Father’s plan has always been one of secrecy, and silencing those who know about the alchemists. Why then does he send Sloth on such a mission, in which he’s bound to attract attention to himself. I mean, if he was looking for someone or something, he could have easily used Envy to infiltrate the base.

This episode was very much about getting Olivier to trust Ed and Al, which is of course a bit tricky considering how they can’t tell her exactly what they’re after, due to Winry. Still, I think she got the message at the end. The creators did well in portraying her as a hard-to-impress character.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on with categories: Cross Game



Ah, the valentine episode. Thankfully, the creators use it well with a pretty romantic episode with quite a few new developments. It’s episodes like this that really show the chemistry of the entire cast of characters of this series, and not just the main ones.

This episode shed quite a bit of light of how Kou and Aoba genuinely feel about each other. Aoba is clearly into Kou, but lacks confidence because of the arrival of Akane. Kou on the other hand is just clueless. Unfortunately, he falls into a staple that many other anime leads fall into, but his relationship with Akane makes up for it. You can see that she finally makes him think about his own love-life.

But yeah, the great thing about Akane isn’t just that she sparks up tensions between Kou and Aoba, but because everyone in the series aside from Azuma knew Wakaba well, she also has this effect on just about everyone in the series, and even Azuma is indirectly influenced by her. Speaking of which, he was surprisingly direct when he claimed that that the only girl he’d want to date is Aoba. For a usually subtle series, this really came out of nowhere, but I think that the reason he was able to say it was because he believes that he doesn’t stand a chance against Kou. Give this a few episodes, and let’s see how this affects Aoba.

Also, Aoba finally tried out for the girls’ team. Again, this brings us back to the baseball. I really wonder what the final quarter of this series is going to be like (assuming that there are going to be 52 episodes). The baseball is obviously going to return there, but I really hope that the creators will put away enough time for the slice of life.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: White Album



Aah, I’ve seen too many shallow anime. I really thought that Mana would break down in this episode, while in reality what got into her was just a short emotional outburst. This doesn’t turn out to be the case in which a bit of talking simply solves everything and magically develops characters in the right direction. Ah, I should have known!

But yeah, this was likely the best episode of White Album so far. Instead of a major climax for Mana, we get to see a major episode for Haruka, which really surprised me: paste that scene of her in any other series, and it would have ended up incredibly cheesy. Suddenly coming out of the shower naked in a desperate attempt… that’s so hard to prevent from turning into soap opera material, it needs lots and lots of build-up. But I think that White Album actually pulled it off. I feared for a moment, because Haruka’s earlier emotion breakdown made no sense whatsoever.

This episode really shed light into her character. Her scene was daring, but still subtle and nowhere over the top, and again it was more like an emotional outburst: after that she behaved completely normal again, rather than some angsty teen that refuses to listen to anybody. Then there’s also the matter of Touya, of course, who really doesn’t seem to know when to quit.

Also, what on earth could Menou be up to? How did she find out about Misaki, and why does she intend to make her seem like a slut? I know she’s rebellious and all, but to do that just to protect Touya seems a bit unnecessary.

With only four episodes left now, we’re about to get to the point where everything goes to hell. I really wonder how the creators are planning to end this. I mean, at this point they can indeed show what they’ve been promising us ever since Touya started screwing Yayoi, or they could play the gigantic troll that laughs over us by having a very mundane ending…
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Letter Bee



Well, Lag is a bee now.With a bit of luck, the introduction should now be over and the real story should start. It was a bit embarrassing to hear him claim to want to become the best Bee ever. While I guess that he has been majorly influenced by Gauche and all, but all I could think of when I heard that was Naruto and Ash Ketchum. And that’s a direction I definitely don’t want him to go into. O.o

A majority of ths episode was spent on a really long flashback, that didn’t really tell us anything we didn’t know already. At least, nothing major. It did raise a few subtle questions: why did Gauche change guns? Why did he want Lag to have his old gun? Where did he get such an expensive and unique gun? And why was all important information that would explain all of these questions conveniently left out of the flashback, even though those fragments are meant to be from his soul? Oh, and there seems to be some sort of organization that plans to overthrow the goverment, but yeah: every show has those.

Also, more crying! Sylvette reveals why Gauche became friendly with Lag: Lag reminded him of Sylvette. These two should enter crying competitions, seriously. I also feel that this series is using its soundtrack a bit too much. What I mean by this is the following: in this episode, it yet again wastes a bunch of beautiful tracks during relatively unimportant scenes. If the soundtrack for this series is big, then there’s no problem, however I fear that those tracks are going to lose their impact when they’re played too often.

I may be overly negative right now, but this wasn’t that disappointing of an episode. Uneventful is a better word. Unlike many other series, I really feel that Letter Bee has potential, but there’s no way for me to know for sure whether it’ll be able to deliver in the end.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Posted on 28 November 2009 with categories: Kemono no Souja Erin



This is why 50-episode series rock. They can easily take an episode and solely dedicate it to really show the effects of character-development. This episode would have been impossible in a 13-episode series: it would have broken the flow completely in a series that already has so little time.

So yeah, even for a calm before the storm, this episode was quiet. It was solely dedicated to Erin and Ialu, with perhaps a minute of Damya and Kirik. You can really see that this episode was solely meant to develop Ialu. This actually reminds me of another show from the director: Sisters of Wellber. While its pacing was definitely faster, that one also had these kinds of episodes that were just totally devoted to character-development. In theory, they were very nice ideas, but in the end the scriptwriting was just too cheesy and soap-operaish.

In that view, I’m glad to see that he’s learned a lot since then. Sure, it may have been done well in the book, but correctly portraying this in an animation doesn’t happen automatically. The slow pace of this episode formed a good build-up to finally Erin’s attempts to talk Ialu out of fighting.

This is now half the job. Now use this development well!
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on with categories: Armed Librarians - The Book of Bantorra



This series just continues to defy my expectations. Here I thought that for its formula would consist out of mostly four-episode arcs, and here this episode comes and instead of starting a new arc, it gives a ton of extra depth to the previous arc. Most notably, we learn a lot more about Ganbanzel. Seriously, I thought that he was going to be one of the major villains!

One thing I really love about this series is its ability to take any character, and give this character a complete, imaginative and detailed backstory and motivation. The same with Ganbanzel: this episode really showed a different side of his. He originally was a victim of one of the attacks from Hamyuts Meseta (or Hamy, as she’s aptly nicknamed in this episode) of all people.

It’s probably this what inspired him to join the church. We still don’t know why he so interested in Enlike, and even though he’s dead now his book still remains. My guess would be that this gets explained somewhere later in the series. The big mysteries right now are the bearded guy, and the half-invisible guy right now. While the Church is a bit of an obvious enemy, these two don’t seem to belong in any party and are hovering somewhere in the middle, it seems.

I also wonder. It’s now established that one regularly can’t obtain more than one power. And yet we see Hamy with at least three: her sensory threads, the stone slinging and the super-strength. She doesn’t seem to be another book eater, because she isn’t spamming random powers like Zatoh did, but there definitely seems to be more to her than meets the eye.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 27 November 2009 with categories: Darker than Black - Ryuusei no Gemini



Oh, the soundtrack for this series rocks. I consider it to be even better than the one from the first season. What I only noticed right now however is that Yoko Kanno didn’t write it this time. Instead, it seems to have been composed by a voice-actor, of all people. It’s the guy who voiced Hamdo in Now and Then, Here and There and Shou Taishi in Saiunkoku Monogatari, among many others. I’m really not sure where he got the idea of composing a soundtrack from, but he did a bloody brilliant job at it.

In any case, this episode yet again showed off this series’ wonderful style of storytelling, which is brutally direct, and also creative and very exciting during the action-scenes, even though the action itself is in no way over the top. In Darker than Black, fights rarely end with everyone retreating with minor wounds. In this series, battles are fought with the intent to kill. Take that, shounen-series!

But seriously though, I didn’t quite think that even Tanya was no exception to this rule. Here I thought that the creators were saving her for the big climax in which Suou manages to settle their differences, despite being contractors… and here this episode just unceremoniously kills them off. Her death wasn’t in vain, though: it was a great opportunity to show that teenaged contractors indeed have bugs inside of them. This series has mentioned it before, and it’s an interesting concept that in the world of contractors, there also still exist contractors that need to grow up. it also fits really well in the development between Hei and Suou, and you can see that the creators spend some time into this.

On top of that, the mystery has also thickened. What the heck was Shion doing there? I this some kind of double red herring? That their father needed Suou the most so he pretended that Shion was the most important one so that she wouldn’t catch suspension? Heh, some father.

Also, why does Misaki have a portrait of a black cat hanging on her wall?
Rating: ** (Excellent)

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