Posted on 31 December 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



What a tear-jerker of a movie. I don’t exactly know how this movie compared to the original TV series of the seventies, but damn, it was so worth it. An excellent recommendation if you’re looking for a sad and depressing movie that’s full of emotions.

This is just one of those recap movies that just works: the creators successfully stuffed the story it’s based on in 90 minutes, and they more than gave the lead character of Marco credit. When a recap movie can get such a huge emotional response out of me like with this movie, I really don’t have any complaints.

The story of Marco is an endearing one, as he travels from the middle of Italy to the middle of Argentine in order to see his mother again. The reason why this movie works is his fantastic characterization throughout his journey. He’ such a lovable character and yet he has to go through so many ordeals in order to get to his destination. And it’s not like this is a stereotypical world in which everyone is against him either: some people are nice, others are just tired of street-kids and treat him roughly. Like most of Nippon Animation’s literary adaptations, the setting is very realistic.

As for the flaws… it does make use of the “useless mother”-cliche, but heck: for once it’s central to the plot, so it’s not that big of a deal. At heart, this movie doesn’t just show the ordeals of a small kid, but also tries to show us who he is, what drives him and what he wants to be when he grows up. It’s a movie that has lots of the charms of a regular World Masterpiece Theatre series, cropped up into just an hour and a half. I’m still amazed at how well and complete the result turned out.

In any case, this is the last thing you’ll see of me this decade. Have a happy end of the year, everyone!

Storytelling: 9/10 – Realistic, heart-wrenching and yet not overdoing the drama.
Characters: 9/10 – Marco is such an engaging character.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Simple graphics, but the animation is fluid and the music is powerful.
Setting: 9/10 – Ah, the realism!
Posted on with categories: Yearly Summaries

Overall 2009 wasn’t exactly the best year ever, but it still had its share of awesome series and concepts. Here’s my list of the ones that stood out the most:

Biggest Disappointment

Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai

Gundam 00 is a heavy contender in this category. While the first season had a complex political story, the second season merely degenerated into “Kill Ribbons”. The side-plots hardly ever went anywhere, not to mention the dumbest way to waste military resources ever with the Trans-Am Kamikaze Gagas. Still, even this was trumped by the Munto Remake. Here the characters had the chance to remake a series with a fascinating setting and give it give it the time it deserves. So what do they do? A bloody recap! If this was any other studio it might make sense as a way to save budget and all, but this is KYOANI: out of all the production-companies out there, they should be the least worried about money-problems.

Worst First Episode

Abunai Sisters

I still consider it as one of the highlights of this year that I was actually asked by a professional company to review the first episode of this, but I really can’t deny that it was also the worst first episode of not just this year, but of the whole decade. There were so many things wrong with it, the voice acting, the humour, the graphics.

Worst Series

Zan Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei

Of course, this award only goes for the series that I actually completed, OVAs and Movies excluded. I didn’t watch any series that were too terrible this year, but the bottom of the ladder is for me populated by Saki (too much moe, too many clichés and stereotypes, way too little substance), Kurokami (pointless action with a very underdeveloped backstory), Munto TV (only what? 3,5 episodes of new material?). But this one really takes the cake. 90% of the time it’s just not funny and simply repeating itself over and over again, and the very few funny moments didn’t excuse the pain it was for me to sit through this.

Most Promising Studio

David Production

This is the award I hand out every year for production-companies that are either new or have put forth major improvements. This year, I’m in no doubt of which studio to give it to. David Production came from absolutely nowhere, and yet they already put forth two very impressive series with their own distinctive style, which both were very refreshing for their respective genre: Ristorante Paradiso is a very gentle slice of life series, while Armed Librarians had a very bold execution, breaking heaps of clichés and stereotypes in the process. Of course, there’s also that matter of Dogs Bullets and Carnage, but ah well.

Best Animation Studio

Bones

Bones really surpassed itself this year in terms of animation. It didn’t have just one awesome-looking series, it had four of them that I loved (Bonen no Xamdou, Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood, Tokyo Magnitude and Darker than Black Ryuusei no Gemini). They weren’t always paced well (coughXamdoucough) but all of them had a lot of creativity and very good production-values.

Biggest Surprise

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

This category is simple: what series surprised me the most during the past year. Birdy the Mighty is for example a really heavy contender in this category: its first season had plenty of faults, and there the second season came and improved on it in every single aspect. Or take the new Mazinger: I really didn’t expect beforehand that it would turn into such an epic series with an actual linear storyline. Still, I’m going to hand out this award to the start of Tokyo Magnitude: it started off with a seemingly mundane episode in which nothing happened. The huge contrast with the dark and bittersweet second episode managed to land it this award.

Best Old Series I Happened to See This Year

Strange Dawn

I’ve watched a lot of great series this year. Ashita no Nadja, Glass Mask (2005) and Kaleido Star really deserve a special mention here because of their amazingly developed characters, but the series that impressed me even more was Sato Junichi’s Strange Dawn. There’s so much detail put into the storytelling, and the characters are just incredible. It’s a very dramatic series, but for me the drama really worked and culminated into an absolutely stunning ending.

Best Animation

Bonen no Xamdou

Okay, I’ve talked about Xamdou’s amazing animation often enough already, but seriously: it does have the best animation of any TV-series I have seen thus far. Every episode is just incredibly well animated, ranging from the quiet scenes to the busy action scenes. Runners up are Hashire, Melos! from Aoi Bungaku, Canaan, Aoi Hana and Eden of the East.

Best Background Art

Guin Saga

Eden of the East had gorgeous backgrounds, but granted most of them were just filtered photos. The really great stuff in terms of background art this year came from the fantasy architecture: the Atlas building of Shangri-la was jaw-droppingly beautiful, the architecture of the various buildings in Armed Librarians was full of imagination, but the Guin Saga really deserves the most credits here, because it feels like every single building was designed with epic in mind: huge, imaginative, colourful. They made sure that there was always some kind of eye-candy to look at.

Best Music

Phantom

It’s getting a bit boring to keep giving away these awards to Bee-Train (this is the fourth year in a row that a Bee-Train series walks off with the award for best music in my summaries), but they just keep making these series with awesome music. With this soundtrack, Hikaru Nanase solidified herself as my favourite soundtrack composer along with Yuki Kajiura. The soundtrack of Phantom is varied, exciting and powerful. There are so many styles in this soundtrack and nearly all songs kick ass. Runners up are Michiko e Hatchin (hey, it was produced by the director of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo) Guin Saga (epic, just like the series) and Birdy the Mighty Decode 2 (excellent in creating a dark atmosphere).

Best-Looking Graphics

Aoi Bungaku

This award isn’t for animation quality, but rather: which series looked the best? I was ready to hand out this award to Casshern Sins again, but then Aoi Bungaku appeared. It had six different animation and graphic styles that, each of which looked absolutely beautiful and they were full of eye candy. That’s not to say that Casshern Sins dulled in, of course. It still was an absolutely beautiful series with some of the best character-designs out there.

Best Action

Birdy the Mighty Decode 2

2009 had 3 series with beyond epic action-scenes: the new Mazinger, Bonen no Xamdou and Birdy the Mighty’s second season. Xamdou’s action had some of the best animation to back it up with, the Mazinger was always fun to watch with its over the top storyline, but I decided to give this award to Birdy the Mighty due to Kazuki Akane’s powerful directing that made even the least impressive action scenes stand out and make impact.

Best Comedy

Marie & Gali

2009 was a great year for comedies: we had such gems as GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class, which always provided fresh and interesting jokes around various art topics. Then there was Skip Beat with its hilarious sense of humour when it wanted to, and let’s not forget Tentai Senshi Sunred with its typical style of combining extreme realism to extreme stupidity. Still, for me Marie & Gali was without a doubt the best in the comedy genre this year. Every single episode, it comes with something incredibly creative and imaginative to make fun of the principles of physics, and every single episode, it delivers and cracks me up. Now that’s what I call a good comedy.

Best Slice of Life

Cross Game

2009 was an excellent year for the slice of life genre. There were countless series that provided a great take on something so seemingly dull as just showing the daily lives of a bunch of people. Ristorante Paradiso was a very gentle and well-paced series (in which the characters are actual adults for once!), Tentai Senshi Sunred took this to the absurd with its parodies of the Super Sentai Genre, and GA was also a delight to watch simply because of its characters, even during the times when they weren’t trying to make jokes. Cross Game wins in this category though, because of its always tongue-in-cheek execution that loves to play around with all of the different characters. When the characters are living their daily lives, there’s always something interesting going on.

Best Mystery

Umineko no Naku Koro ni

This is of course a no-brainer. The other great mystery-series of 2009 were Pandora Hearts and Full Metal Alchemist, which both had really well integrated mystery into their settings, and both just kept the twists coming. Umineko however took this even a step further. Nearly every episode had me form countless of theories about what the heck was going on, why things happened the way they did and which one of the tons of plot twists actually wasn’t a red herring.

Best Movie (out of the ones that I watched anyway)

Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea

It’s always a bit tricky to figure out which movies I can put into these categories and which ones not; this year there were four movies that made the biggest impression on me: Furusato Japan (quiet but very solid and great songs), The Sky Crawlers (Mamoru Oshii doing something completely different… and it actually works), the fifth Kara no Kyoukai movie (great and complex storyline) and Ponyo. It sounds clichéd, but I’m really going to have to say that Ponyo is the best of those four. Miyazaki really showed that he’s still able to make wonderful movies with amazing visuals and charming characters.

Best Romance

Aoi Hana

2009 was an excellent year for romance. There were so many quality romance shows that aired this year, that I’m probably going to remember this as a year of romance. There were great romance series as Genji Monogatari, Sasameki Koto and White Album, and the romance in other shows also rocked, like in Birdy the Mighty, Clannad After Story, Cross Game, Ristorante Paradiso, Spice and Wolf II and Shikabane Hime Kuro. Still, Aoi Hana did it best in my opinion. Even though it’s lesbian romance, it still was very detailed, engaging and realistic. It made excellent use of its characters and their development and the romance was never cheesy or unrealistic.

Most Imaginative Setting

Michiko e Hatchin

Full Metal Alchemist really surprised me how deep its setting was, especially considering the first season. Armed Librarians is also looking out to a great setting here, and Umineko really revolutionized the mystery-genre with its background story. Still, I’ve been the most impressed by Michiko e Hatchin and its depiction of Brazil a few years back. It felt like the creators did a huge amount of research in order to make it come across as authentic as possible.

Best Character-Development

Birdy the Mighty Decode 2

What an improvement the characters made over the first season. It feels like every single one of them had some memorable development. The new characters also rocked, and even they went through subtle changes. I also really liked how Phantom developed its characters throughout its arcs. It was a bit over the top, but the main cast was always engaging. Other greatly developed characters were Touya (White Album I and especially II), Remus and Amnelis (Guin Saga), Hatchin (Michiko e Hatchin) and Erin (Kemono no Souja Erin).

Best Story

Michiko e Hatchin

This is a tough one, but I decided to give Michiko e Hatchin this award, because pretty much everything clicked. It was varied, it had a great conclusion, it was fun, endearing, tense and all sorts of other things throughout the series. Of course, Birdy the Mighty Decode also had a great story, Guin Saga had great politics, and Full Metal Alchemist and Armed Librarians are looking to be great contenders for next year’s version of this award.

Top 10 2009

I’m not going for a top 20 this year, for two reasons. First one is time constraint (hey, last years I didn’t have to write a decade summary at the same time as well), but also because I noted that as I compiled my list of favourites, that I really didn’t have any particular order for the numbers 11-25. There were a lot of great series this year, but just don’t ask me to rank them beyond a top 10. If you want to know which series I mean: Shangri-La, White Album, Pandora Hearts, Bonen no Xamdou, Ristorante Paradiso, Cross Game, Shin Mazinger, GA, Spice and Wolf II, Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae, Darker than Black – Ryuusei no Gemini, Hajime no Ippo – New Challenger, Full Metal Alchemist – Brotherhood and Shikabane Hime Kuro. All of these were great, just don’t ask me to rank them. Now that that’s out of the way, here’s my Top 10 for this year:

#10: Guin Saga

The Guin Saga was epic fantasy done right. It started out in a land full of creative creatures, races and locations, and gradually moved to a more politically oriented story, both of which rocked. Now granted, it is a very incomplete story (still waiting on that second season announcement…) and the animation at times wasn’t sufficient to capture all of the epicness of the storyline, but it’s a great series nonetheless, with a terrific soundtrack and background art.

#9: Aoi Hana

I really liked the concept of Noise: Fuji TV’s attempt to create a second Noitamina. All of the series that resulted from it were excellent, but it’s a shame that it didn’t work out in the end and the timeslot was dropped. Nevertheless, Aoi Hana was a truly excellent series with a great direction and production-values. It’s was very realistic for a romance series, and the characters were very charming and engaging to watch.

#8: Clannad After Story

This sequel of Clannad earned its place on this list, mostly due to the amazing developments it took during its second half. While most of the series was just a regular high school series (that has been done much better by other series this year, like Aoi Hana and GA), it really set itself apart from the rest during this second half. I’m not going to spoil what exactly happened, but the character-development that the lead character got out of it was amazing. Just a shame of that ending.

#7: Casshern Sins

Casshern Sins remained a very strong series throughout its second half. It still was beautifully drawn and animated, and the main storyline was very impressive. While it didn’t surpass the first half in terms of individual episodes, when you look at the total picture it remains a very impressive series with creative and well written dialogues and scenarios.

#6: Armed Librarians – The Book of Bantorra

While this is the only series on this list that hasn’t finished yet, I do want to include it somehow because of its terrific execution, which was a true breath of fresh air in the fantasy-genre. The way it weaves tons of different storylines into one is done almost brilliantly, and it really makes use of the past in order to flesh out the present, and give every character sufficient and memorable development. Hamyuts Meseta herself is my favourite: a unique anti-heroine that kicks ass and yet isn’t your stereotypical evil overlord…ess.

#5: Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

Tokyo Magnitude: a series that shows what would happen to Tokyo if it were struck by a huge earthquake today, all seen through the eyes of a young girl. And boy, was it impressive. It was a bittersweet series and the biggest tear-jerker of the year for me, and Mirai was such an engaging character. I’ve seen quite a few people who didn’t like the final twist at the end, but I personally loved the results of having this included. It made for a very memorable series.

#4: Phantom

Phantom turned into my favourite Bee-Train series after .Hack//Sign. It has many of their staples, but executed even better than usual. The great character-development of Ein and Zwei throughout the series is memorable and makes excellent use of its time-frame. The excellent music also adds. At times the drama may be a bit unrealistic and overstatement, but it had me hooked from start to finish.

#3: Michiko e Hatchin

I personally loved how this series had its moments of silliness, tension, action, drama and always made it a mystery what it would focus on next. On top of that, Hatchin was an awesome character, Satoshi was an awesome villain, Michiko was an awesome anti-heroine, and the chemistry between the entire cast rocked. The portrayal of Brazil was very accurate in my view, and this series always had something interesting. Definitely in my top 3 of this year.

#2: Aoi Bungaku

Madhouse did it again with this series. Amazingly stylish in six different and distinct ways, Each of the stories is different and stands on its own as a great story. The storytelling is just awesome, with as highlight Hashire Melos, but all of the other stories were amazing as well.

#1: Birdy the Mighty Decode 2

So my number one isn’t that much of a surprise for those who’ve been following my blog for a while now. The first season of Birdy the Mighty was pretty nice, but too childish at times. Then this series comes, and improves on it in every. single. way. The graphics are amazing, the action is fantastic, the characters gained tons of depth, it still pays attention to the setting and the people living in it, the storyline is compelling, the villains are awesome, I could just go on and on with singing praises over this series. It’s a well deserved favourite of this year, and only established Kazuki Akane even more as my favourite director ever.

Well, that’s it. A happy new year to everyone in advanced. And what were your favourites of 2009?

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews



Those who liked Summer Wars will probably like the second Digimon movie, because it pretty much follows the same scenario. Seriously, Summer Wars is nearly just the same movie only with different characters and lots of technical upgrades and a bigger scale. Bokura no War Game, along with Serial Experiments Lain, I think was one of the first anime that looked at the possible dangers of the Internet, and having every computer in the world linked up.

I wasn’t too excited about the general scenario, especially the final climax was just drawn out, cheesy and a Deus ex Machina. The charm in this movie, again, comes from the characters. They really make it a lot of fun to watch this movie. My favourite part was where Taichi was fervently trying to contact the other members of the cast on an incredibly short notice.

At heart, this is a movie about how the world is changing, and evolving into the digital age. The Digimon TV-series speculated what would happen if computers would evolve so much that an entire world would be created (pretty much Shintoism in a modern coat), and this movie takes it on a more down to earth scale, making it much more concrete. And I think that in that way, it actually did a better job than Summer Wars. Apart from that, I don’t think I can count any of the movies superior: this movie clearly is smaller, but both have their own charms and weaknesses, depending on how epic you want to be.

I do want to say that I liked the first Digimon movie better, though. It really shined in its simplicity and charms, while this was a bit too much of a “an evil monster is about to destroy the world! Let’s stop him at the last possible moment!”-movie. The evil monster just isn’t as interesting compared to the amount of time that’s spent on it, and that’s where this movie disappointed me the most.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Fun and quick-paced, though the climax could have been better.
Characters: 8/10 – The lead characters are a lot of fun, the villain disappoints.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Pretty nice animation and soundtrack.
Setting: 8/10 – Interesting though unrealistic look at the Internet.
Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews



This was my biggest surprise of the past autumn season. It’s just one of those shows that from the outside looks like nothing special: we have this girl who is in love with another girl but that other girl is oblivious to this, hijinks ensue, blah blah blah. It’s been done many times before. But what a good attempt it turned out to be!

The biggest reason for this is the truly excellent cast of characters. Sumi is a wonderful character to watch; she’s fun, exciting, compassionate and her personal issues of always being seen as the strong dependable friend on their own are alone to make the entire series worthwile. She has her quirks, but she’s not over the top or one-sided.

Apart from that, this really is a great slice of life series. It always has fun situations to put its characters in, and even when it goes the predictable way of the beach episode, it still manages to make something creative out of it. This series is so down to earth and yet enjoyable. The drama knows that it shouldn’t drag on forever, and yet it’s built up well.

I really didn’t think it was possible, but Sasameki Koto managed to set itself apart in the lesbian genre with a genuine, fun and very enjoyable series that’s easy to digest, yet very charming. It’s one of those series in which hardly anything went wrong: the pacing, characters, story. It all seems to fit. Well, okay. If I had to mention a flaw, then it’s that at times it looks a bit too much like a harem. But the love triangles all serve their purpose, and do a great job to not get in the way of the other subplots.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Down to earth and charming.
Characters: 9/10 – Sumi rocks, and the rest of the cast is great too.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Pretty nice, though nothing special.
Setting: 8/10 – Decent, though not the main focus at all.
Posted on 30 December 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



While not perfect, the second Tenchi Muyo movie impressed me. I was expecting a real melodrama of characters overacting, but instead there’s a lot of subtlety in this very emotional movie. That’s something I really appreciated, and I think that this is my favourite installment of the Tenchi Muyo! franchise because of that. But you don’t want to watch this movie as a Tenchi fan.

It’s a bit spoilerific perhaps, but imagine your average harem series: it’s been established that some of the characters are in love with the male lead, but nothing major happens. Then this woman comes out of nowhere, takes Tenchi and the two become full-fledged lovers. There is no action, hardly any comedy, no harem hijinks. It’s completely different from the rest of the tenchi franchise, which always had something innocent in it.

The high emphasis on drama makes it a great movie, though. It’s powerful and yet not overdramatic. The new girl, Haruna, is drawn beautifully, and well developed throughout the movie, and I especially liked the way her relationship developed with Tenchi. The animation is great, and if you watched the OVAs, then it’s a great recommendation if you’re looking for a good romance movie. There aren’t many good romance movies anyway, so it’s great to see one that’s worthwile.

I do have a complaint though. Ayeka and Ryoko feel a bit dumbed down in comparison to Haruna. When the movie focuses on them, they seem to lose their spark a bit, and I just didn’t buy their development at times. They didn’t ask enough questions and it just felt to me like they were somewhat different people from the rest of the Tenchi Franchise. Because of that, this movie seemed to lose my attention a bit, every time they came in the spotlight again.

Nevertheless, the rest of the cast does not have this problem and that’s why I enjoyed this movie a lot. It’s emotional, charming and mature, and shows why Tenchi is much more interesting than 90% of the other harem lead clones out there.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Quiet, subtle and engaging.
Characters: 8/10 – Haruna and Tenchi are great; Ryoko and Ayeka disappoint a bit.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Fluid and life-like animation.
Setting: 8/10 – Adds quite a bit of depth to certain a certain character.
Posted on with categories: Yearly Summaries

Well, as promised here is the second part of my decade summary. It again took me a while to figure out what exactly I wanted to do with it. I didn’t want to write a simple Top X-list; that would just be pointless, since people can just look at my Top 20 and remove all of the series that aren’t from the past decade.

Instead, I eventually decided to create 9 Top 9s, based around various categories that I find important (or eight categories that I find important and one category for the people who want to know where I’ve tortured myself throughout the past decade). Little did I know at the time that this would be an incredibly ambitious project, and in the end this turned into probably the biggest article I’ve ever written for this blog, totalling at a whopping 6000+ words. Ah well, I hope you’re happy with it, and have a fun end of the year and decade.

Worst Series that I Somehow Managed to Finish

There were times (especially in my early years), in which I for some reason continued to watch even though they hardly had any redeeming quality, or were a huge pain to sit through. Since I can’t speak for series that I didn’t finish, this list just included the ones that I watched from beginning to end. Movies and OVAs don’t count, since it’s too easy to sit through a bad one when compared to a much longer TV-series. Oh, and do note that this is only my opinion. Feel free to disagree.

#9: Star Ocean Ex – Let me explain why this series made this list. For the most part, it’s just a very generic fantasy-show, but nothing too bad. There was at least nice enough characterization. However, it all goes down the drain during the final arc. I’m not sure exactly what happened here, but every moment where they could, the creators pulled the EXACT SAME Deus ex Machina: a person is attacked by an evil monster, he or she is about to die, and right from nowhere (and I really mean, nowhere; none of it was ever explained) some sort of saviour appears. And they do this, with every. single. battle. THIS was the series that made me hate Deus ex Machinas and overly emphasized coincidences.
#8: Mai Otome – I kept watching this series as a fan of Mai Hime: despite its terrible ending, it really was a well written series. So how did this show, its spiritual successor, screw up so badly? It never seemed to really know where it was going, it was full of pointless angst, it had an incredibly annoying lead character and none of the excellent characterization that was so prevalent in Mai Hime returned. Really, what happened?
#7: Romeo x Juliet – I like Gonzo, I really do. But they also have made some shows that I just never got into. Romeo had a lot of potential as a remake of the classic story by Shakespeare, but the creators never really had a vision of what they really wanted to do with it. The characters are clichéd and angsty, the story never really gets anywhere, and the creators ended up doing a massive injustice to the original literary source.
#6: The Melody of Oblivion – I’ve seen this described as a “shounen Utena with all the subtlety removed”, but that would be giving it just too much credit. For me, the Melody of Oblivion was an attempt to be different and experimental that just didn’t work, with a stupid cast of main characters, an uninspired set of storylines to work with, and most importantly an incredibly slow and annoying pacing that broke down tension, instead of building it up.
#5: School Days – I first have to say that I have no problems with the premise for School Days: all the harem leads out there are wimpy boys with a kind heart, so seeing an actual asshole in the lead was very refreshing. However, that doesn’t excuse the terrible scriptwriting and cast of characters. The creators wanted so badly to go to that wildly publicized ending of theirs that they completely derailed previously built up characters, just for that sake.
#4: Shakugan no Shana – While with the previous entries on the list, I still can somewhat understand why I kept watching them, this isn’t the case with Shakugan no Shana. To this day, I’m still not sure why I didn’t immediately drop this show. While the start may have been interesting enough, as soon as Shana derailed from a tough warrior to a whining tsundere there was nothing left in this series that was worth watching. Shana truly has to be the single most annoying characters I’ve ever seen, and to this day I still haven’t forgiven her voice actress for her mind-numbing performance back then.
#3: Girls Bravo – Again, I have no idea why I managed to finish this. This really is another one of those harem comedies at its worst: the premise is stupid, the characters are stupid, and the story is just an excuse to put a bunch of boobs on one screen. It had no depth, no entertainment value. Nothing.
#2: Chocolate Underground – Okay, I’m cheating a bit with this one because its episodes are only five minutes of length, but I just had to include this series since it tried to stuff waaaaay too much in them. It seriously has one of the worst plots I’ve ever seen in an anime, and while it starts off pretty decently in the beginning, with people resisting a corrupt government and all, it completely derails in the second half to become nothing but a “kids rule adults suck!”-fest.
#1: Shining Tears X Wind – You might think that my number 1 on this list would be the one that I hate the most, but Shining Tears X Wind is a show that’s SO bad that it becomes hilarious. And don’t get me wrong, I still rate it among the worst shows I’ve ever seen, but the big climax for this show is so unbelievably stupid, so unbelievably moronic, cheesy, disturbing and yet so unpredictable (it’s a true Deus ex Machina: it really comes from absolutely freaking nowhere) that I still laugh about it today.

Best Soundtrack

I’m a big fan of a good use of music in anime, so I just had to make a top 9 with my favourite soundtracks of the past decade. There have been tons of great soundtracks throughout the past ten years, but here are my favourites, the one who made the most impact on me:

#9: El Cazador de la Bruja – So yeah, obviously Bee-Train is going to be dominating this list. It’s for the simple reason that they don’t just see music as background tunes, but they see it as a way of storytelling as well. Yuki Kajiura composed an excellent soundtrack, and especially the main theme is something that you can just listen to over and over again.
#8: Ergo Proxy – This may be just a soundtrack that mostly stays in the background, but seriously, Ergo Proxy for me had one of the best ambient soundtrack I’ve listened to. The subtlety with which Yoshihiro Ike composed the tracks is really impressive. It’s gloomy, dark and fits the mood of this show perfectly.
#7: Ooedo Rocket – One of the reasons that made this series so fun to watch was its incredibly catchy and addictive jazz soundtrack. And this isn’t just one track, it’s got an entirely fresh collection of cheerful tunes to listen to.
#6: Kaiba – What I like about Kaiba’s soundtrack is that it’s so incredibly subtle. Ranging from its main theme with its haunting choirs, it also has a great insert song. It’s really a dreamy soundtrack at its finest.
#5: Noein – I have two favourite composers: Yuki Kajiura and Hikaru Nanase. The latter has composed her share of less impressive soundtrack, but when she hits the mark she really hits it like no other. Noein’s soundtrack is powerful, bombastic and varied. The heavy choirs perfectly fit the chaotic nature of the series itself.
#4: Phantom – Again Hikaru Nanase, and she truly surpassed herself with this work. There are so many different and awesome tunes inside this soundtrack. It’s bold, creative and one of the most varied soundtracks I’ve listened to, and yet it makes nearly every single piece count.
#3: Night Head Genesis – The thing I hate about this soundtrack is that it’s never been released on DVD. It does such a wonderful soundtrack a huge injustice. It’s a very quiet, mysterious and depressing soundtrack, but the atmosphere it managed to create really impressed me when I watched it. There was something really unique about it, the way that it only used these very simple sounds to create a very subtle an engaging soundtrack. It’s probably the most underrated soundtrack on this list, but damn did it impress me.
#2: .Hack//Sign – I still consider this as Yuki Kajiura’s best work. As part of the duo See-Saw, she really composed some of her best tracks here, like The World and Fake Wings to just name a few of them. It’s just such an addictive and catchy. .Hack//Sign was one of the first series I watched after discovering the wonders of the internet, and I still listen to its soundtrack in awe.
#1: .Hack//Roots – Say what you want about ALI-Project. I’ll agree with most of it. Most of their songs indeed do sound the same, and they have done way too many OPs and EDs already. However, there is one major exception to this: .Hack//Roots. Here, they really put effort into producing what’s probably my favourite soundtrack ever. I still consider Dwindled Bible to be the single best track I’ve ever heard in anime with its truly unique arrangement.

Best Visuals

This category is meant for the anime with amazing animation, art, graphics, or anything else that makes them look awesome. Because movies have an unfair budget advantage, I decided to put 4 movies and 5 TV-series inside this top, in order to be able to highlight the best of both. The past decade in terms of visuals was all about the introduction of CG, and the ever-challenging task of creators to integrate them well with the regular 2D animation. With the good examples, it really looked absolutely gorgeous.

#9: Shigurui – Ah, Shigurui. It’s the only series whose artwork has managed to actually freak me out. That’s how good, disgusting and outright brutal the art in this series was. It spares nobody, and the gore that was shown within this series was without a doubt the best I’ve ever watched. This isn’t just simply slashing someone with a sword to make blood come out, this describes every single cut with the cruellest amount of detail.
#8: Noein – Kazuki Akane is really a master in creating visual action scenes, and this really was his best work. The animation for Noein was Messy, but damn was it beautiful and imaginative. Ranging from the simple character-designs to the near-surreal climaxes, this series always had something good to look at.
#7: 5 Centimeters Per Second – Makoto Shinkai truly is an amazing artist, and the way he rendered the backgrounds in this movie was absolutely stunning.
#6: Casshern Sins – Casshern Sins for me is THE series with the best character-designs I’ve ever seen. The style they’re drawn in is really unique and original, even though it just started as a modern version of ancient character-designs.
#5: Seirei no Moribito – This series probably has the best animated hand-to-hand combat fight scene I have seen, even when taking movies into account. The amount of detail in the animation, especially considering that it’s a long TV-series, is astonishing. The creators even paid attention to the finest details in order to make the characters as life-like as possible.
#4: Bonen no Xamdou – For me, Bonen no Xamdou really has the single best animation out of all the TV-series I’ve seen. The action-scenes are just beautifully animated, and the backgrounds are always a joy to watch with the imagination that has been put into them. This isn’t just the case of a big budget, it’s a big budget used well. Bonen no Xamdou put in time to both make the action scenes visually stunning, but also put a lot of detail in the quiet scenes.
#3: Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea – I believe that Ponyo broke some sort of record in total amount of hand-drawn frames used. The animation really is a visual masterpiece, and become especially imaginative during the busy scenes. It’s amazing how much detail Hayao Miyazaki put into this one single movie.
#2: Metropolis – I loved the incredibly fluid animation throughout this movie. Not just from the main characters, but every single character in the background also got this treatment. The creators really brought Osamu Tezuka’s classic manga to life with this adaptation, and the way that the animators depicted the city it takes place in and the characters was just gorgeous in every single way.
#1: Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence – For the first place on this list, I had no doubts whatsoever. Even though the movie is quite old already (nearly six years now) it really is the best animated movie I have ever seen. Even Hayao Miyazaki couldn’t dream of creating graphics that are THIS good. Nearly the entire movie is just a visual orgasm, from start to finish, and it’s amazing what Mamoru Oshii managed to accomplish here. It’s without a doubt my top on this list.

Best Comedies

This category is straightforward: these are the shows that made me laugh the hardest. Yes, my taste is weird!

#9: Magikano – The past ten years saw the debut of a great comedic talent: Seiji Kishi. He worked on quite a number of series, and his comedies were often hilarious, and I think that Magikano was the best example of this. Sure, the plot itself sucked beyond belief, and it had one of the worst endings imaginable, but when it wanted to be funny it really was gut-achingly hilarious.
#8: Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge – I’m a big fan of parodies, so expect to see a lot of them on this list. Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge was a great parody on the usual shoujo-genre and its tropes. Just about everything was exaggerated, from the bishies with sparkles to the gothic horror lead character of Sunako. I really loved the huge amounts of energy with which this show delivered its jokes. I mean, there’s hyperactivity and there’s this.
#7: Marie&Gali – This is the series that proves that science is fun! Each episode is only five minutes long, but it always manages to be creative, unexpected and downright crazy as it shows the viewers the principles of science, including some hilarious interpretations of once great scientists.
#6: Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei – While the subsequent series were quite a lot duller, the first season of Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei was brilliant in the way that it undermined all sorts of high school series tropes. With its fast pacing and great jokes, it really was a hilarious collection of 13 episodes.
#5: Master of Epic – So this is only a series for those who have played anime-styled MMORPGs, because otherwise most of the references will fly past your head. Master of Epic created a great setting that poked fun at tons of different MMORPG tropes, from fighting monsters to collecting items, to everyone looking the same and selling items. The different sketches all were incredibly silly, but really fun to watch.
#4: Demashitaa! Power Puff Z – I really wasn’t sure what to think of the announcement that the Power Puff Girls would transfer over to anime. I watched quite a bit of it as a teenager, but it took itself way too seriously at times. However, these worries turned out to be ungrounded. The series went completely into its own direction and turned into a mahou shoujo parody, that took a jab at tons of different series, including itself. It’s incredibly childish, I know. But I tend to like that stuff and this show probably did it the best. It was so unashamed at times but that’s what made it hilarious.
#3: Gintama – Well, what is there to say about Gintama? It’s not just funny; it’s funny for 100 consecutive episodes. As a shounen series it had episodes with hilarious premises with priceless developments. Gintoki is a hilarious main character, and the dialogue is really well written for a comedy. And I guess that that’s the thing that really set it apart from other comedies.
#2: The Law of Ueki – For me, this really one of the best comedies I’ve seen. Sure, it had its lesser moments, but every time it wanted to be funny, it was utterly hilarious. Why? The creativity. The plot twists were told with so much imagination that they belong to some of the funniest episodes I’ve ever seen.
#1: Excel Saga – Okay, so while it originally aired in the 90s, the Excel Saga still aired in 2000 so it counts. This really was along with .Hack//Sign the series that turned me from a casual watcher into an anime-fan. This is probably the craziest series I’ve ever seen, and I have no clue n what mindset the creators were when they thought up the lead character of Excel. I mean, she goes beyond insanity here. This is a show that doesn’t just parody one genre, but just about every genre under the radar.

Best Settings

A setting in my book can refer to the locations and environments that a series takes place in, but what also counts is series that have great knowledge over their subject matter. The series on this list have imaginative, deep, detailed and well developed settings

#9: Mahou Shoujotai – This really is a setting that spoke to my imagination the first time I laid my eyes upon it. It uses both clichés and original ideas to create a unique world of witches, wizards and its magic system. It’s simple yet very captivating, to see the world of the witches as gets continuously more stuck in its own traditions, but the biggest reason why I decided to include it in this top 9 is its imagination. This is just one of those shows that sparkle with it.
#8: Ergo Proxy – I personally loved the tons of interesting ideas that Ergo Proxy put in its setting. Out of all the futuristic dystopia’s, I’ve been impressed the most by what this series managed to come up with: It’s deep, imaginative and despite the seemingly dark setting, it’s pretty varied as well.
#7: Darker than Black – Amidst all of the shows in which people with special powers fight each other, Darker than Black stood out with its maturity and well developed setting. Seriously, you can make tons of storylines within the framework that this series created, which was well shown by the second season.
#6: .Hack//Sign – The setting of .Hack//Sign is one where I’d want to walk through myself one day. I really love the creative vision of this series, in which MMORPGs would evolve one day to worlds in which we can fully immerse ourselves, rather than just control a sprite or 3D model. I’ve played quite a few MMORPGs before I started this blog, so when I checked out this series it really appealed to me. It took this a bit too far in .Hack//Roots, though. MMORPGs are about freedom. Not letting it become a second job to you or something.
#5: Dennou Coil – Again, a premise that really speaks to the imagination: glasses that when you put them on reveal a complete world full of strange creatures and applications that are only limited by your imagination. How awesome would that be?
#4: Michiko e Hatchin – Anime nowadays is mostly just set in regular Japan, or if you’re lucky America or France. Then this series came along, and offered a wonderfully accurate depiction of Brazil of a few decades ago. The setting was never sacrificed for the storyline, but everything just felt so authentic to me (as in, someone who’s never actually been there, but ah well, I liked it).
#3: Glass Mask (2005) – This is a series that really knows its subject material. Even though the original manga is already decades old at this point, the creators did a great job in adapting this story that has an amazing amount of detail about stage acting. It really was amazing how much in-depth this series went into acting.
#2: Kaiba – Kaiba had a setting that was based on an idea that you just had to think of: being able to store memories easily outside of your body, so that as long as you have enough bodies you’ll never die. And it really created a wonderful story around this concept that really allowed it to show the various sides about the world in which such a technology has become common usage. On top of that there also were tons more of interesting ideas stuffed into this series, that really makes this one of the best settings I’ve ever seen.
#1: RD Sennou Chousashitsu – Well, I think it’s pretty clear now what my interests are when you look at this list. I’m a computer science student, and I really like all those weird theories about the future of computer, and all of the things that you might be able to do with it. The best attempt for me was Real Drive. It goes even a step beyond .Hack//Sign and Dennou Coil in its attempt to create a whole new world that, which is even more unlimited than you could imagine. It’s the perfect example of how a vision of the future doesn’t need to be bad and full of wars, but instead it provides an optimistic outlook. In a way, it’s a celebration of technology and that’s really what appealed to me in this series.

Best Character-Development

I’ve been thinking of also putting up a list of my favourite characters, but in the end I figured that it would be boring. My favourite would just be Honoka from the Third and apart from that I’ve always found it hard to chose one character above the other when they’re so incredibly different. So instead, I’ve decided to list the series that I consider to be the best in terms of character-development. It could be of one character, it could be of an entire cast.

#9: Ashita no Nadja – I really love the characters in this series, and the biggest reason for that is the way they decided to develop the main characters. At first you might think that this is just another regular shoujo series with shallow villains, but damn. Those “villains” are so well developed into such strong characters that they give a completely new and original dimension to the story that would have been completely impossible without it. On top of that, Nadja herself is also an incredibly likable character who really grows and matures throughout the series, and is even forced to do so in order for the plot to advance.
#8: Welcome to the NHK – I may not have given this series the full recognition it deserves, but that’s mostly because when I watched it, I hated everything about moe. And yeah, this wasn’t the best series for that. But that really is the point of this series: at first, Satou is meant to be looked down upon as a worthless character. From there on, his development is really striking, and this series really succeeded as an in-depth look at the Hikkikomoris.
#7: Strange Dawn – Out of all of the coming of age stories that we’ve seen this decade, I consider this one to be among the best in terms of character-development. The development of the two lead characters made a huge impact on me, although in order to explain this I’d have to dive too much into spoilers, so I won’t.
#6: Birdy the Mighty Decode 2 – I really loved how this second season takes the far inferior first season, and improved on it in every way, and it even slightly developed nearly all of the single characters that appeared in it. It’s subtle but very powerful and the development of the new character Natoru is the highlight of the entire series.
#5: Figure 17 – Here is a series that really takes its time to slowly and subtly develop its characters, with wonderful results. Tsubasa and Hikaru are two amazingly developed characters, and so much care has been put into fleshing the two of them out. The bond that these two developed what I especially liked about them.
#4: Kaze no Shoujo Emily – From the works of Lucy Maud Montgomery. This series puts in care to develop not just its titular Emily, but also the ones around her. Her childhood friends all had their own dreams for the future and the highlight of this series is without a doubt the final quarter, in which we get to see them grow up and show exactly what happened to those dreams of them. It really was a gripping drama.
#3: Haibane Renmei – This is another one of those rare series that gets some amazing character-development only in one season of 13 episodes. I’m still not exactly sure how the creators did it, but the interplay between the lead characters reached an absolutely brilliant conclusion.
#2: Les Miserables – So yeah, this behemoth of a series was obviously going to appear somewhere on this list. Every single character here develops, even the smaller ones. The cast of this series is huge, but the creators really make sure to make everyone count in his or her own way, from the young and naive Cosette to the composed and righteous Javert (that’s how they start out anyway). The development is never shallow and always gripping, and a very solid second place on this top.
#1: Simoun – I’ve said it before in my top 20: for me Simoun is the single best character-study I have ever seen. The character-development is what made it possible, as it’s creative, powerful and unbiased. Everyone in the Chor Tempest goes through some sort of memorable development, and together I really can’t find any series to call its equal in this field.

Best Storytelling

This list basically consists out of the series that I consider told their story best. This can be with very solid direction, or a completely original way to tell a story. The key is creativity again.

#9: Nodame Cantabile – A fresh and overall very enjoyable series that for me stood out in its direction, and how fun it made these seemingly boring things as classical music and composing. The first season of Nodame Cantabile was a series in which its characters shined, but I believe that what allowed them to shine so much was the always-clever direction from Kenichi Kasai.
#8: Jubei-Chan the Ninja Girl 2 – Okay, so the story was rather childish. This is for me THE series that excelled in the entertainment factor. The fight scenes were just incredibly well directed, the standard giant robot stories look like cardboard frames compared to the excitement of these fights.
#7: Himitsu ~ The Revelation – A bit of an inconsistent series, but that’s what made it so much fun. This is a series that excelled as a suspense murder mystery. It reveals just as much to keep you interested and guessing, Looking into the memories of a dead person to solve crimes. This show actually pulls it off.
#6: Shion no Ou – This for me was a series that always had something interesting going on. The shougi matches were a bit hard to follow and pretty much directed, but the way this series built them up was always fun and exciting to watch. It always had something that would get the best out of the characters.
#5: Paranoia Agent – Perhaps a bit too much of a rushed finale, but I love how Satoshi Kon toys around with your expectations in this series. This is a series about mindscrews and insanity, but he does this in such an unpredictable way that I never saw most of the plot twists coming.
#4: Ghost Hound – This overall was a very strange series. It very often only uses sound effects to tell its story and draw its viewer in, but it worked surprisingly well here. The result is a unique and tense atmosphere.
#3: FLAG – FLAG really set itself apart with its truly unique direction: everything in the series is viewed through a camera. This is probably one of the most realistically told Mecha stories I have ever seen, and the way that the creators manage to use these cameras to tell their story is truly inspiring and unique.
#2: Aoi Bungaku – Aoi Bungaku isn’t just told well. It’s told well in six completely different styles that all have their own strengths and focuses. Throughout the series, six literary works are adapted, and this is done with so much conviction and talent that I really had to include this on this list.
#1: Noein – I’m a really big fan of Kazuki Akane, and this is what I consider to be his best work. The sheer force of his direction really brings the best out of the characters and the action-scenes, making it an incredibly fun, tense and touching series to watch.

Best Stories

I’ve always had trouble figuring out what exactly a “story” amounts to. In this list, I’ve decided that with “Best Stories”, I’m going to stick with the definition of series with the most epic plot progressions. Which series had a complex, varied and imaginative scenario that impressed me the most?

#9: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (+ Kai and Rei) – The story behind Higurashi is fascinating, and all of the three stories stood out in different ways. The first season stood out because of all of the creative, weird and mysterious twists and turns that the storyline kept taking, making excellent use of how the timeline kept repeating itself. The second season instead was incredibly solid, and stood out with its themes and ideals. The OVA then finished it with one brilliant idea that it built its storyline around.
#8: Mahou Shoujotai – Call me childish, but I loved all of the different twists and turns that the storyline for this series kept taking throughout its airtime. Nearly every episode had at least something that I loved about it. Mahou Shoujotai admittedly does have a few clichés in its storyline, but what I loved about this series was its total package and how everything comes together.
#7: Le Chevalier d’Eon – Not really that special in its first half, but amazing during its second half. The way in which this series used its setting and characters came together wonderfully there with a lot of very interesting plot twists that I never saw coming. It’s true that anime has a bit of a bad habit that it over-romanticizes western countries (especially France), but the story that resulted in this series was strong and very imaginative.
#6: Toward the Terra – Science fiction at its finest. Here we have a series that fully explores its main characters. At first it might seem nothing special because the characters involved are mere teenagers, but the huge amount of flashbacks make the storyline increasingly more impressive. A space opera at its finest.
#5: Eureka 7 – To be honest, this is one series that could have been better balanced over its episodes, but nevertheless the storyline that resulted from it took a bunch of teenagers and put them into a grown up and mature setting that allowed the best of them to come out. The 50 episodes in this series are varied and very interesting, and for me this definitely was one of Bones’ best works.
#4: Bokura no – The idea behind Bokura no was just utterly brilliant, and the creators did a wonderful job in bringing it to life and giving it its own conclusion (which wasn’t available yet in the manga at the time that it aired). It’s a powerful and varied story about life and death that never ceased to amaze me.
#3: Hi no Tori – In this series, Ryousuke Takahashi did an amazing job of making Osamu Tezuka’s stories come to life. The Hi no Tori series consists out of five stories from the “God of Manga”, and all of them are just brilliant stories full of Osamu Tezuka’s trademark creativity. Imaginative, varied and multidimensional. All of the five stories have something memorable.
#2: Now and Then, Here and There – It’s hard to really talk about this series without spoiling too much, but let me just say that this is a powerful, engaging and very disturbing story about child soldiers. What starts out as a happy “boy meet girl”-story quickly turns into one of the darkest anime about kids I’ve seen.
#1: Fantastic Children – It’s sort-of how I keep preaching about how anime needs more mature series, and yet most of the shows in this list focus on kids. But that’s the thing: when the stories about children work, they also work really well for me. For me it’s been done the best in Fantastic Children, which for its biggest part remains one huge question-mark, but a very well coordinated question-mark. The way that it manages to combine all of the various storylines into one is what made me put it on the number one place.

Most Intelligent Series

To close off, here’s a quick little list that I really wanted to include, if only to celebrate how anime is one of the very few animation mediums that also has a significant amount of series aimed at a mature audience. These anime are what I consider the most intelligent, knowledgeable and thought-provoking.

#9: Spice and Wolf (I & II) – Spice and Wolf was show that really surprised me. From the outside it just looks like yet another moe show, but in fact it turned out to be a mature series about medieval merchants. This series really earned itself a place on this list with its complex and daring plans that only one who has fully immersed into such a setting could have thought of. The way these characters try to manipulate everyone around them to make as much money as possible is one of the many things that made this series worth watching.
#8: Armored Trooper Votoms – Ryousuke Takahashi always manages to think of complex and intelligent plots that take both itself and its viewer seriously. Here we have a series that really impressed me with how well both the science, politics and tactics come together. Especially the court trial in the first episode stands out as hugely complex, but the rest of the series is also filled with these moments that put the emphasis on thinking, rather than action.
#7: Tenpou Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi – I’m still not exactly sure why this series had to be aired at the most primetime slot that exists within anime: it’s indeed a samurai show with at first sight just silly characters, but it set itself apart with its intelligent subplots and arcs. Most of the times, what mattered in this series was not the action, but rather the dialogues and the meanings behind the plot. Such a shame that it got cancelled mid-way.
#6: Hunter X Hunter OVA – I consider Hunter x Hunter to be among the best of the Shounen genre. Why? This OVA. It’s here where this series comes with an intelligent plot that for once is focused purely on brainpower, and utilizing every single detail to your advantage. The plans and tactics here are imaginative and complex, and yet realistic and not as ludicrously complicated as we see in shows as Death Note and the like.
#5: Bartender – You can really see that this series was written by someone with an absolute passion for liquor. It’s a really enjoyable Iyashi-kei healing-type series, but what I loved about it was how it used all sorts of anecdotes behind various liquors and cocktails in order to tell its story, and explore the various characters that decide to drop the bar of our titular Bartender.
#4: Starship Operators – Don’t let the teenagers at the foreground fool you: nearly all of the characters here were forced to grow up into adults because of the story in this series. This really turned space-battles into a science. The amount of effort and tactical planning that this series spends, just on trying to sink one enemy ship is huge and requires a lot of creative thinking from the main characters. It really culminated into an excellent ending. In fact, all of the shows on this list, save for Ayakashi Ayashi, have excellent conclusions.
#3: Seirei no Moribito – Again a series that has a complex storyline that requires a lot of research from the characters to truly figure out. But it’s especially the dialogue in this series that stands out as complex and intelligent and a huge attention to detail.
#2: Mushishi – Mushishi is just a simple story: but that’s where its strengths lie. All of its stories try to blur the bounds between good and evil, and really made me think about the morals behind them. The stories behind them are in no way lazy at all, and were always deep and thoughtful.
#1: Mouryou no Hako – Ryousuke Nakamura, that’s a name to remember. He turned Mouryou no Hako into an amazing series with amazing dialogue. It talks about all kinds of backgrounds that could have something to do with the main storyline, and he loves to show all sorts of anecdotes that might or might not have something to do with it, just to flesh it out. The stories that this series comes with are incredibly interesting to read and make this into so much more than just another “whodunnit” murder mystery.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews



Now this is more like it. Roots of Ambition is the third Votoms OVA, and unlike Big Battle, it decided to go for the Last Red Shoulder route: background. This one happens earlier than all of the other installments of the franchise so far: Chirico’s time as a Red Shoulder. It pretty much ties Pailsen Files to The Last Red Shoulder, and along with Pailsen Files it can be seen as Chirico’s background: here you see the events that shaped him to be the character we see in the TV-series.

I must say that now I’ve watched most of the Votoms Franchise, its plot is definitely impressive, especially when you put everything together (there are some parts at which the creators require the viewer to think for himself, in order to make sense). This OVA for me was the final bit of the puzzle that filled in Chirico’s backstory.

For those who want to watch the Votoms series in its chronological timeline: first watch this OVA, the Roots of Ambition. Then go to the Pailsen files. Then watch the first 13 episodes of the TV-series, then watch the Last Red Shoulder, and then you can watch the rest of the series, with apparently the Brilliant Heretic coming last (don’t bother with Big Battle, it’s just a silly side-story). Standalone this OVA again isn’t impressive, however it does become impressive when put together into the whole Votoms Storyline.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Well-paced and intriguing.
Characters: 8/10 – Extra depth for Pailsen, Chirico and some more of the side-characters.
Production-Values: 7/10 – Decent.
Setting: 9/10 – Extra background fits in well with the rest of the franchise.
Posted on with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Ladies Versus Butlers

Short Synopsis: Our lead character assaults every cute girl in his school. By accident. On his first day of transfer.
Look. Here’s why I at least gave Chu Bra 20% of potential: it was creative. While it disturbed me, I admit that it made me laugh. It was wrong on so many levels, but at least the creators went with such a crazy idea. Ladies versus Butlers however, has nothing. In fact, it just broke a record of how many cliches and stereotypes you can stuff into one single episode! There is the tsundere princess who immediately falls in love with the lead character as soon as he gropes her, the evil childhood friend, the clumsy maid, walking into someone changing her clothes… blegh, forget it. If I were to summon all of the overused cliches in this episode I’d end up with ten paragraphs, Never once does this show use anything of its own. Everything is just ripped off from a ton of other and often better harem shows. The characters were never able to be something original because the creators kept hanging to these one-sided stereotypes. I love how the creators are trying to make the lead character look smart, simply by making the rest of the cast incredibly stupid. And believe me, the other characters have to be incredibly dumbed down in order to make this guy look good.
Potential: 0%

Yanyan Machiko

Short Synopsis: Our lead character is a sheep with kansai-ben accent.
From the creators of Usavich… what happened? Usavich was a fun and brainless action comedy, but this episode was nothing but a girly sheep who kept talking about shaving. And of course I can understand that the creators wanted some variety and that they wanted to try something different… but this episode just wasn’t funny. I didn’t understand any of the jokes, and they all felt way too random and nonsensical to me. In a bad way. The episode was only two and a half minutes long, and I still had to force myself through it.
Potential: 0%

Chu Bra

Short Synopsis: Our lead character is obsessed with underwear – no, that’s not me making fun of this series, that’s really the premise.
I’m really at a loss for words here… This anime is the product of deranged minds, there’s no other way. I knew that there were going to be lots of fanservice series this season, but a show about a panty-obsessed middle schooler was just beyond what I could have feared. The fanservice genre lately has had this trend where they seem to overtrump each other in terms of awkwardness. As much as I’m disturbed by this episode however, I do admit that it was creative, and much better than just another one of those cheesy harems. It’s an incredibly silly show, but I guess that that’s where its charms come from. The direction is weak, though. There are lots of cliches like tripping and falling and the symbolism was just stupid and uninspired in a bad way. And really, how long are the creators going to keep up this premise without repeating themselves?
OP: Very annoying and obnoxious J-pop.
ED: Decent enough J-rock.
Potential: 20%

Posted on 29 December 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



I was really hoping that the second Votoms OVA, Big Battle, would be just as good as the first. But meh, this one’s just as cheesy as the title makes you suspect.

It’s quite likely that this is the worst thing that Ryousuke Takahashi has worked on. His series usually are amazing, but I have no idea what he had in mind here. While the Last Red Shoulder did a great job of creating extra background, Big Battle instead is just a silly side-story that even goes against the continuity of the series.

The bad guy is just a joke. He’s a cheesy terminator with a formulaic back-story. This guy should be the villain of an action flick, not a series as complex as Votoms. I also loved how in the TV-series, Fyana (the lead female) was much, much more than a damsel in distress. Now guess what this OVA reduces her to.

Shako’s character is ruined to a personality-less one-dimensional side-character, going completely against his motives in the TV-series. The Balalant army does things in this movie that made no sense whatsoever considering their actions in later.

The Votoms franchise has always had a lot of action, but it was always meaningful. With such a terrible story and cheesy villain who can’t stop smiling, there’s nothing about this OVA that makes it worth watching. Do yourself a favour, watch the Last Red Shoulder, skip this one. Are the rest of the Votoms OVAs like this as well? I hope not.

Storytelling: 5/10 – Pathetic. Just a meaningless action story.
Characters: 4/10 – Destroys once beloved characters by reducing them to silly one-dimensional stereotypes.
Production-Values: 7/10 – Decent, although the main villain looks incredibly stupid.
Setting: 4/10 – Doesn’t care about continuity.
Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews



The OVA format was introduced in 1984. A year later, in 1985, Armored Trooper Votoms was one of the first series that made use of the format, to add in extra episodes for extra background and stories. The story for the Last Red Shoulder was probably cut from the series due to time constraints (apparently, when it started airing it wasn’t even sure whether the entire series would make it to broadcast).

The Votoms franchise is a bit of a puzzle in continuity. This OVA fits between the first and the second arc, and I now realize that Pailsen Files was a prequel, instead of a sequel. The Last Red Shoulder really is a background OVA: standalone you’ll be wondering what the heck it is that you’re watching, and you really need to have seen at least the first 13 episodes of the TV-series in order to make sense of it. And even then there are things that are only explained later on in the series.

When put into context, however, this OVA does a great job of adding in extra background for a ton of major characters. Chirico and his past gets fleshed out as we meet some of his older friends, we see more of Pailsen, Ypsilon gets some considerable development and various of the side-characters also get fleshed out more.

In terms of storytelling, this OVA is pretty much similar to the TV-series, only on a less epic scale perhaps. The reason you want to watch this is really for the background, because I really managed to make more sense of the Votoms setting after watching this.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Pretty similar to TV-series
Characters: 8/10 – Quite a few get some extra depth.
Production-Values: 7/10 – Not really that spectacular.
Setting: 9/10 – The setting makes a lot more sense now.
CHANGE USERNAME
AidanAK47
@Anon, I actually liked that aspect. It made the history of the world feel real.
Anonymous1409027
It's compressible, as there are many episodes of buildup, but that's where so many of the interesting details and depth of planning become evident. Some of those episodes read like a history textbook though, so we'll see how the new adaptation handles them,
Anonymous1409027
*pleasantly
KTravlos
Tytania was ok.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On the Amakusa Shiro reference in the fate review, I've seen a film about him from the 50s , theres also an old josei manga where the protagonist ends up becoming essentially regarded as him.
KTravlos
Hi Kaiser. Supposedly this is a re-imagining of the original story. Thus independent of the OVAs (old serieis). What exactly re-imagining means is something I and you do not know. We shall see. But it does mean that you do not need to watch the old series to enjoy this one. The OVA was definetly more expansive than the novels. So my guess is they will stick to the novels.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There's another anime, called Tytania based on his novels but I haven't seen that series.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As in condensable in the way nothing much is lost? I assume there are fillers in the original?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm indifferent to the aesthetics of the new version. What I'm hoping for is that it will be accessible to newcomers and that I'll be able to jump on to the old series where the new one leaves off. I've seen very little of the original and it was a long time ago, is there any way the story is condensable?
KTravlos
The fact that they stayed away from the disgusting new manga is great. I am not too keen on the CGI ships, but they also did not rankle. It looks like it will honor the spirit of the old series, and I cannot ask for more. I am a massive LOGH fan. And the new video out gives me hope of revisiting one of the greatest sci-fi/historical settings out there. I am happy.
AidanAK47
I hope they are using the old anime as a base and not the new Manga adaption. As that Manga adaption is seriously lacking.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I like that they blinged up the space battles which is good because those things could get tiresome. But I really hate the design of Yang Wenli. They made him look so much younger and bishi. I don't think i could take this guy seriously if he started one of Wenli's signature hypothesis.
Anonymous1408919
Thoughts on that new LOGH PV? My expectations were low, so I'm presently surprised. Obviously they made everybody pretty boys, and Mamoro Miyano is voicing Reinhard I believe. But art and animation actually looks pretty decent overall. It's a PV, and LOGH's best quality is it's story and characters, so we'll have to see if they remain faithful or not. But it's nice to see it get a visual overhaul.
AidanAK47
By the way this site has the first chapters but check the other versions to find them.
http://mangapark.me/manga/tsurezure-children-wakabayashi-toshiya
AidanAK47
@Mario, Indeed. It's also a pity that over half the couples in the manga were not featured. We only got a small taste of Patricia.
SuperMario
Or maybe I'll try to read the manga. The last time I checked it online, the site doesn't have its first few chapters
SuperMario
@Aidan: man, Tsurezure Children sure is sweet. Really sad to see it ends
AidanAK47
So that's the end of Tsurezure Children.
....I'm gonna need a second season. Now.
....NOW GODDAMNIT! NOW!
KTravlos
As I said I understand the criticisms to RE:Creator, but ultimately I enjoyed most of the show. It could had been better, and it is a missed chance. But I have seen worse.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I gave up halfway through, there weren't even enough action scenes and those that were didn't justify waiting around for.
AidanAK47
Could have at least delivered on the action but that was rendered pointless due to the majority of the cast turning good and Altair being a complete cheat character.
AidanAK47
It would have been really fun to see characters discuss their stories with their creators or indulge in what our world has to offer but they really glossed over that part.
AidanAK47
It really should have gone deeper into the whole meta aspect introducing anime characters to the real world. Like they did with Mamika's powers being ridiculously destructive when outside a kid friendly setting.
AidanAK47
@Puran, I at least like the message of the final episode. But as for the show itself it was just missed potential on a lot of levels. I wanted Anime Genre battle royale and instead got a secondhand Shirobako with a crap shounen anime attached.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have been forgiving of Anno as I've gotten older.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also just re-watched gunbuster, I'd previously dismissed the ova after a few episodes when I was a teenager, I'd found it too slow, didn't have that issue with the 90 minute version I just finished. I've never see the sequels.
Lenlo
Ill have to finish Creators... at some point
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've been dipping back into the Lupin franchise, Gold of babylon was particularly screwball, kind of ridiculous comedy caper/adventure thing you just have to run with....turns out it was directed by a live action filmaker I especially like who made bizzare noir films in the 60s.
Puran
So that explains why Meteora had so much air time in Re:Creators. It's her story....

I hated the ending and I disliked the anime overall.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It was a genuine surprise to see that Assayas decided to make a film framed around hentai =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I loved how incoherent demonlover was.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The criticisms I'll give wind river, is a slight inconsistent performance from Renner and that very awkwardly inserted flashback scene.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: on Wind River, I agree it's a well-executed case of the week drama, although there are some plot pregressions that I don't get (how did they find out about the man's corspe again?). About Demonlover, man, the film gives me a chill down my spine. Heartless. And a bit misogynist.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: as much as I loved Wong (yeah I too prefer him over Malick), sometimes I do think Western cinema give him too much praise that sadly overshadow other Asian directors.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Wong is important to me as a hong-kong filmaker, he offers something entirely different from the whole Woo/Lam Hong komg movies.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: On a more positive note Maggie Cheung did mention that she felt her early work with Wong was when she first truly became a proper actress.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: ....I had no idea he had such a sad background.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*investigation drama
SuperMario
@Kaiser: that film also marked/ signified a rather sad period of Hongkong showbiz. Leslie Cheung badically lived the live of the protagonist and commited suicide in 1997. His girlfriend on screen, during the filming, was kidnaped, raped and taken topless picture. The damnest thing is that everyone knowed the culprit but did nothing, and in the press it was just deemed as "kipnapped and assaulted"
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Wind river was a big surprise for me, just goes to show that with the right execution an ordinary police drama movie can be elevated higher.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Thats the interesting thing, tracking a directors career.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Just binge watched the new dominion tank police ovas , admittedly these are kind of reptitive and extremely silly but its hard to hate on something so shamelessly fun that made me feel like a child again.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: you said it there. DoBW is rather raw and unpolished but that's one of the reason why I am drawn to it more compare to his other works.
AidanAK47
In all honesty, it would be nice to finally see a continuation after fusion as all games after that have just been adding chapters in-between.
Vonter
Finally I wonder, if Metroid Prime 4 will definitely branch out of the main Metroid's continuity. It's curious how an interquel subseries is still going to add things in between the first and the second entries in the main franchise.
Vonter
AidanAK47 - I think is nice we can see both takes. Especially since neither one despite a few qualms are still very solid entries for this franchise. I just hope Metroid moves forward, as IMO this is the only game that really needed a facelift do to the heavy limitations of the gameboy. And I hope the secret gallery at the end is teasing how the producer plans to move the plot forward.
AidanAK47
I thought it might be like that but it's good to know they are at least on a close level. I didn't really want Samus Returns to replace AM2R as the "Definitive" version of Metroid 2. Mostly because a lot of love was put into AM2R andit came at a point when it felt Nintendo didn't give a crap about Metroid.
Vonter
Like Zero Mission there's something added to Samus Returns but I'll just leave it at that.
Vonter
I think both have strong points. Samus Returns have better boss battles, gameplay mechanics and more intense action pieces. AM2R IMO has more atmosphere, takes advantage of elements Nintendo don't even try like the Federation subplot, and the ending portion narratively has more heart in AM2R, while in Samus Returns it feels mostly like "the final level".
Vonter
I also did got lost a couple of times in Samus Returns and aside from the big water section in AM2R, the latter is more linear game.
Vonter
I think the controls in Samus Returns bring more to the table though. The 360 aiming makes for better ways to shoot enemies and some of the bosses take advantage of that. If it weren't for the 3DS giving hand cramps because you're holding L and R at several points it'll be completely the most ideal way to play.
Vonter
AidanAK47 - AM2R is very good, I think it has the advantage that because it uses sprites IMO backgrounds and enemies are more vibrant and easier to appreciate. The Federation soldiers are better executed in AM2R and that secret section with the ship is very eery.
AidanAK47
@Vonter, How does it stack up to AM2R? I bought it and am still waiting on it to be delivered but I have the feeling that AM2R would be the better game when comparing.
Vonter
I took me 12 hours to 100% and I've heard the best ending is beating it in less than 4 hours. I think unlike Zero Mission item percentage don't matter, it's mainly to unlock an art gallery.
Vonter
My main criticism is this being a 3DS game. Small enemies can be hard to see or appreciate. And I think the 3DS wasn't made for heavy action packed games like this or Smash Bros. I got the rubber from the circle pad come off in two occasions. Also unless there was something big in the background, several areas felt lacking in detail. Still Samus and the bosses look good.
Vonter
In terms of difficulty, the game has the enemies packing more damage than in other 2D Metroids. Is difficult in the sense than you can't tank damage as in other iterations, you have to be aware of enemy behavior and bosses mainly get easier do to familiarizing with their patterns, since I did die a lot each time I faced a new boss. And got used to kill them faster as I went along.
Vonter
Ok, so I beat Samus Returns. It's quite good. Unlike Fusion that had dialogue at midst the gameplay. Samus Returns only has a prologue of exposition and any cutscenes mainly accentuate the reactions of Samus confronting a new enemy. The level design is dense, despite having isolated areas like in Fusion and the original Samus Returns, each area is very mazelike.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: =< Awww I kind of like demonlover actually despite all its flaws, it had great sound design and had this cold, clinical, un-nerving mood to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Days of being wild does feel a bit un-realized/un-polished/rough compared to his other work definitely but its probably the rawest I've seen from him and that has its appeal.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Haven't seen farewell my concubine come to think of it. Regarding the scifi element I felt I embraced it more further into the film when it started to intermingle more.
While I am more forgiving toward Malick's recent films than most, that decline in quality means I have to pick Wong.
KTravlos
by the way in RE:Creators we probably will be getting a future series focusing on the hunt for Magane :p Meteora probably playing the role of detective. I also bet her novel will be wordy and heavy in exposition :p
KTravlos
i.e his end game might had been a cross-species revolution against him anyway. We will see
KTravlos
In Bahamut Chris proves to not be totally evil, but he is totally crazy. That said I am seeing one of my hunches getting supported, the hunch was that his cruelty towards daemons was with the purpose of bringing them down enough that they would be willing to work with humans as euals (As they are in Jean's army) and thus via that create a more unified world. I
KTravlos
RE: Creators has come to its end. I know the problems everyone has with it, and while it failed to raise to the level of exceptional show, I loved it. As I said, it had been years since a show kept me so excited episode after episode. They blew it at some point, but ultimately for me this is an en-joyful show, and one I would happily binge watch in the future again.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: question for you though, between these two directors, which one do you prefer: Wong Kar-Wai or Terrance Malick?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: if you enjoyed both 2046 and In the Mood for Love, by all mean check out Days of Being Wild. The trio forms a loose trilogy and Days of Being Wild was the first film that Wong began his unique unconventional style. It's one of my personal favorite of Wong and it's a chance for you to watch the late Leslie Cheung acted (you might watch him already in Farewell My Concubine)
SuperMario
@Kaiser: 2046 is indeed a passionate film, and one of his best looking film. He tried something different in 2046 too, experimented with scifi (one of the best part in the film for me)
SuperMario
@Kaiser: it's stritcly Wong Kar Wai's romance we're talking about, since I don't find the rest of Chinese take on romance that interesting. Romance or melodrama is one of his main theme throughout his career
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It was slightly overly long however.
I've also seen chungking express, in the mood for love and fallen angels. I think this Chinese take on romance is really clicking with me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I also thought it was a very passionette film and I love how Kar-wong-wai uses the music in it. I also think its one of his best looking films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I had a look at that Chinese film 2046, very effectively melancholic take on fleeting relationships while also successfully being quite sensual while staying classy and without ever showing too much. Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung are two beautiful people =P
SuperMario
for those who still want to catch up with 18if, episode 11 has a huge recap, while wrapping up the show with a new overarching plot. Hopefully they don't pull another Matrix here
SuperWooper
It's shounen-y for sure. The competitions have been my least favorite parts of the show so far. If you're still watching, you might appreciate it more once the Tenpei Cup is over.
Anonymous1399692
Damn Ballroom looks so good. But I really can't enjoy it despite that I want to. It has too many of these typical shounen moments and plot points I can't stand.
Anonymous1399684
Omae wa mou shindeiru
Lenlo
Mononoke is actually what made me find Ayakashi. Also a good show.
SuperMario
Regarding Ayakashi, I only watched the Mononoke segment
SuperMario
"It was a long, long trip, and we're coming finally to the end of the journey. Thank you, Manoyama and Chupacabra. And thank you, 5 EURO" - Sandal-san.
Lenlo
Ayakashi was great for me Kaiser. I enjoyed my time with it
Vonter212
@AidanAK47 - The hard aspect has been commented in several reviews with bosses being able to easily kill you. (Although in my experience it might be just getting a pattern). In terms of length most 2D games can be beaten under 3 hours. This one seems to clock at at least 6 to 15 if you want to collect everything. Then again, we'll see in subsequent playthroughs.
AidanAK47
`@Vonter. It's out now but I don't remember seeing anyone claim it's the longest hardest entry 2D wise.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Going to watch new dominion tank police next and read violence action and Oddman 11.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It took me years to get round to it, but I finally watched Ayakashi and as expected like most anthologies, again its mixed, the first is a solid ghost story that improves after a weak start, but that third one with the cat spirit was great, really liked how experimental that looked.
Vonter
Soo a new Metroid comes out this week. It is said, it's the longest, hardest entry in regards to the 2D iterations. Still not as great as Super, and depending on your fanaticism it might or not be as good as Zero Mission.
SuperMario
But they didn't pull that scene off too well. It's just... unmemorable. In fact the whole show is very unremarkable. Now only 1 episode left I might as well finish it but I won't give it a full review
SuperMario
Koi to Uso has been disappointing so far. Episode 10 featured the sequence that i was looking forward the most in the manga: the former classmate tells the one sided crush of the main girl from her POV. For a romance that contrived and manipulated like this one, hearing this from the third person's perspective prove to be more powerful
Vonter
@HelghastKillzone - Good luck with that. I almost had my car's engine damaged since it has been raining heavily where I live. Had to ask for help the next day to pull it out of mud. Still not as bad as the other three cars that did get stuck in the water.
HelghastKillzone
Dealing with work and the total loss of my car really sucks at the moment so I'm quite tied up for this week.
KTravlos
I do agree to a point, but to be frank all the episodes of Princess Principal to date have been so solid I have a hard time deciding. Episode 5 though was still the best from a holistic point (action, direction, music etc) was the one introducing Chise
SuperMario
Agree. Dorothy has the biggest heart out of all the spy girls. Also "help" that her episodes are all melodramatic.
Amagi
This episode of PrinPrin showed again that Dorothy is the best character by far. Not just herself but her episodes as well are better written than the rest if you ask me.
KTravlos
It just hit me. The characters in Princess Principal may be very well working for IngSoc :p
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, in the seven chapters it's only really two of them that contain dark shocking content. Chapter three being the biggest one in that regard.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I read a comment where someone said subahibi shocked them more than saya no uta. While I haven't played it yet, I have seen some of a letsplay...it lleft me thinking....how many hours until this actually gets good/truly unhinged .
AidanAK47
After Reading SubaHibi, Made in Abyss's dark turn didn't shock me too much. Maybe I just got desensitised. I will have a review of SubaHibi hopefully up in a week though to clarify my feelings on it after just finishing it, It was interesting but disappointing.
KTravlos
well, well. Both Made in the Abyss and Virgin Soul do not hold back. Grim! RE:Creators is warping up. Comparing with these other shows I can fully appreciate the problems people have with it. But still I am glad I am sticking to the end. Altair's voice actor by the way did great.
AidanAK47
@Helghast, And Kings Field was the Demon Souls before Demon Souls came out.
KTravlos
having binge watched several of this season's shows I would say Princess Principal is the most rounded. Made in Abyss is good. Kakegurui and The Reflection as SuperMario said will depend on your tastes. There is also Shouko no Altair. You will like it if you liked Tanya Saga of Evil, or Legend of Galactic Heroes, or Arslan Senki or manga like Vinland Saga, Gunka no Baltzar, and especially Historie
Anonymous1385641
Jesus...me watching this weeks Made in Abyss https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ogzsWhZcmM
HelghastKillzone
So... Demon Souls was the Dark Souls before Dark Souls came out.
SuperMario
@anon1385426: the safest bets aside from Made in Abyss are Welcome to the Ballroom and Princess Principal. Kakegurui and the Refection are for more acqurired taste
Anonymous1385426
Aside from Made in Abyss, what's the best anime this season?
Lenlo
@KT, the pacing and the framerate early on are my two biggest issues. Later on the story starts to get abit more engaging, and they start doin things I didnt expect, but the pacing is still there. Some akward pauses.
Lenlo
Look, Berserk and Dark Souls are both amazing. But I only have 3 Dark Souls games, and 38 Berserk volumes. Im clearly biased
KTravlos
I sat down and watched the first 4 episodes of The Reflection. It is an interesting attempt, and I can see the people making it having fun doing so. But I did notice a pacing issue. For some reason the episodes felt like they dragged a bit too long.
AidanAK47
Dark Souls is the Berserk of Video Games.
Amagi
Dark Souls really went all Berserk if you ask me
AidanAK47
I am not one for putting down law but can we never ever compare anything to Dark Souls ever again? Cause it's actually become really tiresome how everything is the dark souls of something.
Lenlo
No other sentence has made me want to watch Made in Abyss more
HelghastKillzone
I guess we're finally at the point where Made in Abyss goes all Dark Souls/Bloodborne.
Amagi
Apo's Jack the Ripper had at least a nice idea behind it, it's just the clothes that are a bad choice. But there are just too many lolis for the sake of fanservice in that game. I accept it if there is at least a reason for this but it's usually just random.
Amagi
@Aidan: Same here. I was never a fan of genderbendings and turning historical people into lolis. The first one I can accept with people like Arthuria because it added a lot to her character, but most of them are just plain and generic. I just see no reason why pirates, grown up men or Blavatsky would ever appear as little girls. Especially since popular beliefs should influence their appearance.
SuperMario
On Altair, one commenter did an excellent job of poiting out the appeal of that show; and frankly the show is wearing on me now.
SuperMario
@Travlos: I'm glad you enjoy Princess Principal. I'm quite surprised myself that in the latter half the show slowed its pace down which mean the focus is switched from action to more characters interactions; which I greatly enjoy
KTravlos
Well I binge watched Princess Principal. That is a very good show. I was surprised. Good animation, good music, the art is good, hell I even did not mind the protagonist art. But what I really like is the stories. All the episode were pretty solid and interesting.
AidanAK47
Just won a fight by the skin of my teeth thanks to my Lancer, Cu Chulainn. You the man Cu!
AidanAK47
@Amagi, Been playing Grand Order myself. It's rather fun. There are some good original character in it but I notice with Quantity certain figures designs were pretty terrible. I thought Assassins of black was the worst but some Grand Order servents manage to top it in terrible. Why all the bikini's?
Amagi
Fate/GO has quite some interesting original characters there. Wish we'd see them in some actual manga or anime series with more backstory someday. - I also like that we finally have an overpowered, interesting and competent Hassan with King Hassan for once. His design is metal AF too.
KTravlos
Binge watched Altair. The pacing of the show is a problem, but in general the raw material is good. Altair is sympathetic, and the world is interesting. But I do feel this is the kind of show that would had gained by a Monster or LOGH type treatment. Also, man it is scary how accurate they got some of the traits of Greeks (Phoenicians in the show). I am a Greek, I should know! :p
KTravlos
forgot to mention. I saw the 91 Days special. Three side stories that give some depth to the events in the main anime, but nothing that goes beyond it's end. Still they were in general ok to good.
SuperWooper
It's got Jude Law playing "this kind of huge robot butler called Charles, who is also a rocket ship." What could possibly go wrong?
AidanAK47
Anime with Jaden Smith? Um..I don't know about this.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: one of the good thing about SoL shows like Centaur and even 18if is that their episodes are self-contained, so you can just jump right in to watch the good ones and ignore the rest
SuperMario
I just love Chise's presence so I might enjoy the last episode more than anyone else. But yeah I'm quite satisfied with Princess Principal right now
AidanAK47
Actually I am quite surprised Princess Principal hasn't gone off the rails yet. Might even turn out to be a fun show in the end. If the man can make it to the finish line without a misstep.
AidanAK47
Hey I am having fun with my Shows. Made in Abyss is still quite excellent and Fate/Apoc is picking up. Even started playing Fate/Grand Order.
Lenlo
Man, sounds like I was the only one to have a good week with their show. Reflection really stepped it up this week in pretty much every category. Not sure it will last, but hey. Ill take one
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm so disappointed in 18...if. Perfect opportunity to capitalize on something with a dreamlike feel to it and be creative only it ends up getting held back.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I see Vonter and Mario are seducing me into watching Centaur.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*can't
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can'y see myself giving re creators a second chance, and from skimming these conversations, why should the show only get going at the end? It just sounds like too little too late.
AidanAK47
Honestly that's what Re:Creators biggest issue is. It builds up these great interesting idea's and then refuses to capitalize on them.
AidanAK47
Then it would be a battle to win over the audience and he who entertains them the most would get the most power. Just think of how many interesting ways that would take the fight. Like Altair could lose power and have to win over the crowd with her backstory and theatrics. A hero could purposefully get beaten to hell just so they can get a powerup from saying a boastful speech about kicking ass.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Exactly. Now there is an interesting fighting element. Imagine if both Altair and the heroes had to fight with the limitation of keeping the audience entertained. Altair couldn't pull out overpowered nonsense because the audience wouldn't approve and her power would drop. Same goes for the heroes.
Anonymous1378112
On the other hand I am not a fan of this whole final arc. It's just not believable to me to gather such a big audience who will do nothing but watch and accept everything you show them. Not to mention that the show is technically live acting to them. Considering how much anime fanbases already hate the DN movie and stuff I doubt many would sit there and accept that
Anonymous1378112
@Aidan: This made me pretty angry. like, they wasted a ton of screentime with these boring info dumps and now they're just irrelevant and the enemy just fucks over it
AidanAK47
Actually the last development was actually a screw the rules moment as well. So the only way to beat Altair is to just chuck aside the rules established with the last 20 episodes.
AidanAK47
You don't need to give Altair a creator in order to to limit her. You just need her to obey the rules the entire series has spent time setting up. Altairs actions are just handwaved with "Screw the rules! I am a OC" audence acceptance doesn't seem to make a difference.
AidanAK47
@KTravlos, The creators have incredibly limited power as while they can introduce anything, it won't be effective unless the audience approves of it. Altair can pull whatever she wants without limit. If anything I don't understand why the audence isn't shouting for her to get nerfed seeing as some random indie character is wrecking fan favourite characters.
Vonter212
@SuperMario - Centaur Worries is the equivalent of Every Flavour Beans. You don't know what you're gonna get, bad, good, cringe, cool, deep, superficial, etc. While the gore isn't that graphic, it is still violent for this kind of show and the alien part has some disturbing body horror, for this show. The shock is mainly because of how light hearted everything else is.
SuperMario
I just watched Centaur, it was heavy as hell, but really poetic in tying these 2 half episodes together. God, it's excellent. And I don't mid the show's constant tonal shifts at all
KTravlos
@Aidan I have to disagree with you. Altair's overpowering does not bother me too much. a) If you think about it, it is their only choice, as creators also have immense power. There only other option would be to give Altair her own Creator, but that would turn this to just a Fate copy. So I am ok with what they have done. b) they do explain it world-wise so it does not come out of the blue
KTravlos
A nice overview of the alternative history genre, but more importantly the work of Kawaguchi http://www.animenewsnetwork.cc/the-mike-toole-show/2017-09-04/.120893
SuperMario
@Vonter: the manga has gore and alien? Really? Now that's interesting
SuperMario
... genre often does. For me its unfocusness works for its benefit. We don't know for sure what we gets each time and that's the main reason I still looking forwards to it every week
SuperMario
@Vonter: I haven't caught up with Centaur's this week but I heard it tackles Holocaust so I'm all in. It's not something cute girl
Vonter
Wow, Centaur Worries, took some really heavy themes this episode. The softy in me, found them powerful, but the cynic in me thinks it might have been a touch manipulative, since this show has interesting ideas, but lacks focus. One episode is cute, another progressive, another ecchi, and another the holocaust. Makes me wonder if they'll show the gore and the aliens from the manga.
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Featured Posts

Fate/Apocrypha – 12[The Holy Man Returns Triumphant]

If Fate/Apocrypha can keep up this level of quality till the end, I may just change my overall opinion on it. I don’t think it would match the works of Fate/Zero or Unlimited Blade Works but it could beat out the 2006 Fate/Stay Night, Prisma Illya and Fate/Grand Order. It’s a decently respectable position in […]

The Reflection – 9 [Downtown L.A.]

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Katsugeki Touken Ranbu – 12 [Battle of Hakodate]

Welcome to the penultimate episode of Ranbu! Unable to end with a small, personal story, Ranbu prepares for the largest battle yet! Lets jump in. Ranbu opens up right were last week left off. Kane’s sword falling, to strike Horikawa. Instead, it cuts into the dirt at his feet, moved aside at the final moments. […]

Princess Principal – 11 [Case 23 Humble Double]

Hmmm, something doesn’t ring true here. As this episode ends, we can assume that the Princess and Ange have a big break-up, Princess plays the role of Ange under the Princess’s disguise, and Ange has gone to Casablanca to live in a casa blanca for good. To be frank, I never really buy all that. […]

18if – 11 [The Thorn Cross Association]

Hum, never know that Eve is a ginger and has wings like an angel and wears that cool dress. I’ve always thought she’s always naked. hmmm Finally, 18if provides an overarching double length plot to wrap everything up. We have an episode that splits half of the time as a recap of what previously happened […]

Shoukoku no Altair – 10 [Dance of the Moonlit Beauty]

This was the busiest episode of Altair yet, with a script that pinballed between Turkiye’s four stratocracies, introduced a handful of new characters, and chronicled the formation of both alliances and rebellious plots. To try and recap everything that happened this week would require hundreds more words than I’m willing to expend, so let’s assume […]

Ballroom e Youkoso – 10 [Voltage]

When I was a kid, my friends and I included my brother in our games, but only reluctantly. He was younger, smaller, and slower than all the other players, whether the contest was bike racing or tag or touch football. If I were a team captain, I’d be sure to pick him for my side, […]

Classroom of the Elite – 10 [Every Man has in Himself the Most Dangerous Traitor of All]

A chronology of events from class-D where nothing seems to happen, but there’s a seed of doubt buried down underneath and now waiting for its chance to crawl out of the surface? It sounds so thought-provoking like a Michael Haneke’s film if I put it that way, except in this show, all the build-up is […]

Fate/Apocrypha – 11[Eternal Radiance]

We have a hat-trick as Apocrypha pulls out it’s third good episode but admittedly the reason for that is because we are still in the middle of a pretty massive action scene. Perhaps this is why earlier fights were so lacking as they needed to save the effort for an action set piece as big […]

Latest Reviews

Castlevania Season 1 Review – 70/100

Upon hearing that Castlevania would be getting an animated TV series my first reaction was that of unpleasant surprise. Part of the reason was because of the video games infamous history with adapting their stories to other mediums but my main reason was that being familiar with the Castlevania games, I knew the story was […]

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Grimoire of Zero (Spring 2017) Review – 77/100

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(Note: Since psgels didn’t give his final review to the first season, this review is for the entirety of Eccentric Family. If I had to grade the second season alone, it’s 90/100). Doesn’t matter how you look at it, the Eccentric Family is a unique show, in a way it feels and tastes like no […]

Little Witch Academia TV Review – 80/100

The Little Witch Academia series has been something that’s a long time coming. Ever since Studio Trigger made the original Anime OVA back in 2013 I have been hotly anticipating the time when it would be fleshed out into it’s own anime series. I love both the original OVA and the enchanted Parade so this […]

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In Window Horses, or its full name Window Horses – The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming, many characters keep asking the main protagonist, a Stick Girl in an otherwise fully formed character designs, why is she wearing a chador, in which she’s unable to reply. It’s her first trip to go overseas, so she […]

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I remember back in the first impression of last Winter season, I regarded Demi-chan as a better Monster Girls slice of life subgenre over this one. But as the season progressed, while Demi-chan run out of its steam quickly, this one picked up its pace after an underwhelming first episode to become a much more […]