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.
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Kaiser Eoghan
Hopefully I'll make time for Irae and subahibi, don't know anything about clockwork. Ended up getting involved in what will likely turn into a business course soon.
AidanAK47
Some really great Visual Novels localised this year. Muv Luv Alternative, Sharin no Kuni, Dies Irae, SubaHibi and clockwork key line. It's good year to be a VN fan. Now I just need an update about Baldr Sky.
AidanAK47
Subarashiki Hibi is getting published by Front Wing. Hell goddamn yes. Finally I can read it and be traumatised for life.
Anonymous870083
mm okay thanks!
AidanAK47
@Anon1, Think you might just have to go with a torrent. It's pretty hard to find direct download anime these days.
Anonymous870541
the latest episode of rakugo just made my heart sank. i didn't think it would get better than it already is. i thank god that i didn't read ahead
Anonymous870083
does anyone know where I can download the remastered version of the Utena series? without torrent?
SuperMario
the same very thought here Lenlo. What I considered the weakest part turned out to be so layered. Sorry for ever doubting you, Rakugo.
Lenlo
And that smirk at the end, beautiful
Lenlo
The weakest plot point of S1 has just become the best part ever.
Lenlo
OOH MAN. I was not ready. The entire first season was all a setup. I cant. What. HOW DOES IT GET BETTER
Lenlo
Cant wait to watch Rakugo tonight, just got home and im lookin forward to it,.
AidanAK47
I think before grabbing the protest signs it might be worth considering if the thing you are demanding be uncensored is even worth it. Oh yeah, now you can see genitalia in crap sex scenes that were crow bared into the plot. No more need to use your imagination.
AidanAK47
Some protest because they want there porn. That I suppose I can understand even if I think they would be better off buying some nukige. But then there are those who demand it just for the sake of standing against censorship. They don't give a crap about the game or the fact we are getting the exact same thing the japanese got. What? Censorship of sexual organs? DOWN WITH CENSORSHIP!
AidanAK47
There are people actively proclaiming they won't buy the game, because they can't see dicks. That is not hyperbole. This is literally exactly whats happening here. And they just act so goddamn self righteous about it. Porn is not the goddamn point of these games. Shouldn't even be in them in the first place.
AidanAK47
So another Sekai Kickstarter is up for a trilogy of Visual novels called A Clockwork Ley-Line. Chipped in my bit as I am going to be buying this regardless but like goddamn clockwork you get the idiots yelling for Mosaic removal. No matter how I try to rationalize it, this just sounds stupid.
Kaiser Eoghan
Just whenever I think Rakugo may be dragging its feet it comes out a gives me three big strong moments in this weeks episode, you will know them when you come to them.
K-Off
Dubbing in more subdued performances work fine. It just becomes unbearable when it involves shouty dialogue, which idescribes most of the Japanese games I play.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: I think at the time it allowed Bagel (where did he go?) to find some exploit/gap in the sites security too.
SuperMario
I mean the spoiler code in the comment section. ^^. Like I don't mind if readers give (potential) spoilers but I don't want to ruin the fun of other readers as well
AidanAK47
After all it wasn't a intended feature of the old shoutbox. We were pretty much hacking the thing.
Kaiser Eoghan
I seem to remember all those old html codes stopped working on the old shoutbox too at one point.
Kaiser Eoghan
There was also originally an ability to animate text too of the shoutbox and have gifs appear in the message box but not as links.
AidanAK47
I remember some HTML code worked with the old shoutbox but nope. But I suppose you could change the colour of text to white...though that would effect everything you write.
SuperMario
Btw, do we have spoiler tag here Aidan?
SuperMario
@anon861679: Agreed. They have big ambitions, but they seems unsure on what to do next. I mean engaging your readers to give their thoughts is good, but if it is a mean for you to get inspiration to write essay about isn't that great. Well, give them say 6 months until they can settle down (they just launched this site for 3,4 months only)
Kaiser Eoghan
Despite being fine with anime in English, I've almost always felt that voice acting in videogames isn't as good.
Anonymous861679
Hey mario, that anime feminist blog was well, kind of awful. While they're well intentioned, it felt like they were pushing tumblr stuff onto chan stuff and that always ends up in a smoking mess.
SuperMario
Okay I'm going to erase my memories right now
SuperMario
I swear I'll stay off reddit for good. Have been spoiled by the development of ACCA by one of their "theory". As soon as I realized it's freaking spoiler I stopped but what done is done. Ahhhhhhhhhh
K-Off
Christ Fire Emblem Heroes is pretty addicting, micro transactions are not necessary at all. Though it irks me that I can't get Japanese voices. Dubs just make me cringe every time.
SuperMario
@ckspike: Hand Shakers, the very quality that makes you brain cells die while watching it. Well, I actually think the music is one of the best part of the show, now that you mention it like that...well...*slap my forehead*
ckspike
... my roommate just told me the background music when I'm watching Hand Shakers sounds like a bad porno... Now I can't unhear it. Fuck!
Lenlo
I havnt kept up with Academia, for some reason it just didnt catch me as well as the movie first did.
AidanAK47
You know what's funny? I thought little Witch Academia would be the hardest one to blog. Yet halfway into the current season and it's the one I write the most about.
Lenlo
I actually dont read many blogs. Mostly just this place and the occasional pop on reddit
Anonymous859067
I'd like to present to one of my favorite blogs, A work I just created: Greed Island! https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tc2r.greedisland
AidanAK47
I go to Reddit anime myself but I don't really like the upvote system. Basically the majority rule opinions get put to the top which more often than not are jokes.
HelghastKillzone
I listen to podcasts on youtube and others places as well as going on Reddit Anime to hear a thousand people yammering away.
Kaiser Eoghan
I irregularly follow the episode reviews on ANN and sometimes read standing on my neck. I fell out of the habit of following random curiousity.
SuperMario
Anime Feminist (animefeminist.com), while sounds ambitious on paper, hasn't been too hot unfortunately. I know they aim to be "big" so they're still figuring out how to do it best. Well, good luck for them!
SuperMario
Oh, I know I've mentioned this site before but you guys should read it (blog.sakugabooru.com), this site is one of the only few blogs that I actively subscribed to read their post. They have some insights to the anime industry that is very informative and inspiring
SuperMario
I also think that this chatbox here plays a great role to keep a fair amount of readers for the site, as many sometimes just come here to give their two cents on certain anime.
SuperMario
I just checked out rabujoi blof for the first time, (https://rabujoi.wordpress.com) and I think they're in pretty good shape. Content-wise are solid (as far as I read), and they update their post pretty regularly (comparing their amount of posts last month (80) to ours (28), ouch)
SuperMario
Just really wonder, what are other anime sites that you guys follow beside this? Well, ANN and RandomC are a given, but I found myself haven't bothered to read ANN's episodic reviews lately (mostly due to time constraint)
AidanAK47
Don't tell me this is gonna be a regular thing.
Lenlo
There we go
Lenlo
Oh god JSON objects. I thought that nightmare was over
SuperMario
Mine is working probably as well. Thanks a bunch K-Off and glad to hear back from you.
K-Off
No problem.
K-Off
I really need to figure out how to get those damn tooltips working again on the sidebar thumbnails. It'd be useful to have the descriptions popup.
AidanAK47
Cleared my cache and it looks to be fixed. Thanks as always K-Off. I would be completely screwed without you around.
K-Off
Alright I think that did it. Let me know if it pops up again. If you still see it, clear your browser cache and let me know if its still there.
AidanAK47
Messages still get sent. You just might have to reload the page. We are working on getting it fixed.
Vonter
AidanAK47 I can't get into Fate since like with Nanoha there's a lot of stuff with those names in it. Zero was the most straightforward, yet the buildup was very dragout but the payoffs where very worthy.
HelghastKillzone
testing message.
AidanAK47
This is what I get for updating the bloody plugin.....
AidanAK47
He finished it and was telling me what he thought of Saber defeating Gilgamesh. Minute he said that I was like "OH GOD..." He watched the Deen 2006 adaption. Sadly it loos like he's not going to bother watching UBW TV despite me showing him part of the berserker fight. With Fate/Extra, Fate/Grand Order, Fate/Apocrypha, Fate/Oath under the snow and all the rest this problem will happen again.
AidanAK47
You know I wish the Fate series did a better job naming it's series. I was introducing a newbie so I gave him Fate/Zero first. He loved it so I specifically told him to watch the UBW TV Series and don't mistake it for the movie. He then went and watched the movie. I told him to watch the TV series regardless and brought up the MAL page to show him which one.
Kaiser Eoghan
Ah, there's definately no harm in doing further reading on more arthouse stuff before reviewing it/watching/after watching, it extends our understanding and is pretty much required.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Go for it, you might sell me on reading it.
Kaiser Eoghan
Yeah, I generally only write reviews every now and then, and they tend to be kept simple and to 200-300 words. My writing ability only really works when I write in stream of consciousness.
Anonymous855550
Zestiria is such a feast for the eyes... The colors and backgrounds are so vivid and magnificent. Story has improved on the game's weaknesses too!
Lenlo
Given enough time, im sure I could write something, but as I writer I tend towards quick, decisive statements of what I think and why. Engineer, so technical documents are like the only thing I know how to write.
Topgavin
@Supermario ah, I'd say I'm the opposite in that I sometimes don't know why I like something so much, and when I read a review about it I can relate my own experiences and put it in my own words pretty well. Can thank Highschool eco for that
SuperMario
But to tell you guys the truth, I never think that I'm cut out as a reviewer (even now), because I'm a type of viewer who more perceive (I know why I like/ don't like stuffs) than express (just can't never explain stuffs well)
SuperMario
@Topgavin: it's depending on what grabbing you really; as I always find shows with heavy symbolisms like Penguindrum or Flip Flappers the easiest to dig deeper. But those are always my kind of show to begin with
Topgavin
I'd find it really hard to write something about a show without reading about it first; watching it one time by myself I usually only notice the big things. Stuff like Flip Flappers I had no clue what half the episode's hidden meanings were, can't imagine reviewing a show like NGE or penguindrum.
SuperMario
that's exactly how I write my reviews anyways
Lenlo
I cant imagine writing a review, id just repeat myself with different words but the same intended meaning over and over again
AidanAK47
Wonder if I should write a review of this. Might be hard without giving too much away.
AidanAK47
(Finishes Sweetest monster Visual novel)
.....well....fuck.
(Buys all authors visual novels on steam.)
Lenlo
Sadly, I doubt Nioh will get a PC port. Sony is pretty stingy on their exclusives, like Bloodborne. But I am so very happy with Nioh. I love technical combat like this
Kaiser Eoghan
I suppose this means I'm looking into this rpg maker game thing now isn't it? Might aswell.
Kaiser Eoghan
I remember the word animerican used to describe things like avatar last airbender. Filthy word =P
Anonymous853606
God no. Jiro Taniguchi died.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, I have been hearing very good things about Nioh. Really hoping it gets a PC port.
@Topgavin, No real surprises there.
Topgavin
I'm sure most of you have heard, but looks like New Game is getting a season 2 out of all things. Apparently they had good sales, and I can certainly see why. CGDCT with yuri undertones and clean animation is hard to get wrong, let alone not sell.
Lenlo
Just started with Nioh, and oh my goodness do I love it.
Anonymous852887
anyone play resident evil 7? its so good.
AidanAK47
Thought that's because the term American Anime just feels wrong to me on all levels.
AidanAK47
@Anon, they do not. They are cartoons.
Anonymous852775
DO people call D.C. Comics animated movies American anime?
AidanAK47
@Anon, I am certainly interested in seeing the next episode. Those minisodes were pretty good too. One thing I thought the writting faltered on though was the comedy. It really was a little too slapstick considering how serious the drama was.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: ah remind me the time I went to Texas (Corpus Christy) before X-mas time and I was wearing short pants and thongs (nice!!!), then went all the way up to Niagara Falls and I was almost freezing there.
Lenlo
See, I love winter, but its almost non-existent in Texas
Anonymous852268
@Aidan: I agree. I loved To the Moon. It's so good seeing emotional drama that isn't centered around high-school kids. Seeing the ups and downs of a whole long life of a person gives everything that happens way more impact.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: An Australian friend put it as "A sunbaked rock in summer, a giant zoo, that actively tries to kill its population"
SuperMario
Not that I'm enjoying the winter either. Why autumn always go so fast?
SuperMario
Believe me but summer here is way too much. When it's too hot and dry it starts bushfiring really badly. And it's too hot that even a big fan straight in front of you don't do you any good
Kaiser Eoghan
What is this mysterious creature known as summer you refer to? =P My country is grey as a black and white film =P
SuperMario
I'm wondering how freezing you guys have to endure right now, but the place I came today in Aussie just reached 50 degree celsius this noon. So hot I felt myself burning
Lenlo
I think the part I liked the most, was just how satisfying those mud splatter sounds were. I dont know why, but its in my head
HelghastKillzone
Youjo Senki 6 subs came out at 11pm PST.
Lenlo
Atleast Rakugo didnt get held up. Still amazing as ever
AidanAK47
Well I spent my time waiting for it to come out by playing and finishing To the Moon. Got to say, it takes some real skill to make a game in RPGmaker that can make you really feel something. But maybe I am just a sucker for this kind of story.
SuperMario
Hey, I would be very frustrating if Hand shakers got delayed. But I agree this delay is caused by Being X. And Scum's Wish, haizzz, this is the show we love to get pissed at. Haha
Anonymous850298
I blame Being X.
AidanAK47
Sigh, Youjo Senki 6 is delayed. Why is it always the best shows that get delayed? If an episode of hand Shakers was delayed no one would give a crap but nope. Gotta be the show you want to watch right away.
AidanAK47
@Anon, in both anime and manga I never liked that character much.
Anonymous849783
Meh, dropped Masamune-kun. Seriously why do they always have to shove in these one dimensional characters with a crush out of f* nowhere. It never made any of these shows more interesting, it's always the opposite.
Vonter
@Kaiser Eoghan - I find it weird having the teacher being so unashamedly evil. In a way I like that, but at the same time I can't relate to the notion of people like that existing IRL.
Kaiser Eoghan
As I continue to watch scums wish, it becomes an anger inducing as much as it is engrossing experience.
AidanAK47
Or the UBW movie over the TV series. You just don't do that.
AidanAK47
That's like recommending someone to watch NGE death and rebirth instead of the TV series.
Kaiser Eoghan
Meh, I just got fed up with the padding in the tv version.
AidanAK47
Jojo has the kind of entertainment that clicks with you or doesn't so I understand if you didn't get into it. Though to give it a fair chance I would recommend trying the first episodes of Battle Tendency. It starts at episode 10 of the first season, you can jump to it. If that doesn't catch you then Jojos really isn't for you.
AidanAK47
Don't listen to Kaiser. The OVA is bad.
Kaiser Eoghan
....found out where a friend had been off to lately, making a movie and he ended up actually making and finishing and I got first dibs. Had a hard time commenting on it as I know the guy personally.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Totally with you on the academy thing.
@Lenlo: If you ever try jojo again and get onto part three go for the ova instead as it trims down an overly bloated arc.
Lenlo
For JoJos, I couldnt get through the first season. It just didnt hook me
Lenlo
What I dont understand is how anything other than Mob Psycho won best animation, cause my god.
Lenlo
I think Erased lost not because of the libido, but because Yuri was "gay" and "progressive" and most important of all, recent. Yuri had just finished airing so it was stuck in everyones heads. Of course it was going to win everything
AidanAK47
Erased truly deserved to win that category and it only lost because people voted with their libido instead of their head.
AidanAK47
If there's one thing that really makes me angry about these awards it's Yuri on Ice winning most heartwarming moment for "The Kiss". Because A) It wasn't a fucking kiss and B) Even if it was that isn't heartwarming. Oh I am sure something is getting warm but it sure as hell isn't your heart.
AidanAK47
Likely the main reason Kira didn't win main villain because Jojo has grown to a episode count which makes people hesitant to pick it up. Not to mention many would lose interest by Stardust crusaders midpoint.
AidanAK47
When it comes to judging quality you have to leave it to the people who have experienced enough of the medium to truly be able to critical judge it. Pretty darn sure most who voted didn't even bother watching everything worthwhile each season and just gravitated towards whatever they were exposed to.
AidanAK47
Lets not forget someone voting multiple times and bot voting. Because yes, people really do that. As you two pointed out, a public vote was never truly going to be a accurate gauge of quality. For you are not only opening the vote to anime lovers but also newbies and those who simply haven't refined their tastes yet.
SuperMario
so they either abstained their votes (which actually was reasonable); voted for something popular or even voted based on what their kids liked the most (which was flat out unforgivable).
SuperMario
This from my own frustration mostly when it comes to awards like this. But I've been following the Academy Awards for way too long now and every now and then you heard something that really disheartened about their voting process. Like for example many of the Academy members admitted that they don't care to watch anything animated because... it's kiddy stuff
SuperMario
TL;DR: my point is I have mixed feeling about the whole Crunchyroll awards. One more thing that I noticed about the nomination is that the pool was dominated by shows from the first half of last year.
Lenlo
I dont think public voting is the way to go is the thing. Popularity contests are horrible. With popularity contests moe is going to be near the top every time, while shows like Rakugo never really have a chance. And I think there is little doubt that Rakugo was one of the best shows last season
SuperMario
@Lenlo: there is an issue with the first thou, because reviewers like us don't actually represent the whole public opinions. So it's all come down to the very reason they create an award in a 1st place (your second point). But with voting we can't really reason why the winners win the trophy, right?
Lenlo
The problem with awards like that is for them to mean anything they need 2 things. 1) A board of voters who are actual reviewers who have watched a large portion of what was on shelf that season. 2) Reasons for why each thing won its award. An award without reasons means nothing
SuperMario
Other issue about voting for these awards is that the nominating body and the voting body aren't always the same. Usually the voting body is broader and more generic in taste, so I'm not at all surprised when shows like Rakugo couldn't win. Too art-house for their liking. Well, at least it got nominated which for me is good enough.
SuperMario
That's the thing. When it comes to awards, they are more 'popularity' contest than actual quality, since people tend to vote for the safer choice (the one that are both popular and mildly critical success), YOI fits the bill here.
Lenlo
Those awards were not the best and little more then a popularity contest imo.
SuperMario
Actually with that line-up I had no problems with YOI taking the top spot
SuperMario
I actually forgot about the Crunchyroll Anime Awards so I came to check the winner. Guess which show won AOTY huh? Alright, at least it wasn't Kabaneri or Jokers Game
Kaiser Eoghan
But the best one was Mask of Phantasm.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: And return of the joker also.
Kaiser Eoghan
It has aged admittedly very poorly, but I always got a great kick out of that old 1994 spiderman cartoon.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I think its fair to use the term K-anime or C-anime for the Korean and Chinese influenced stuff, or maybe just anime would be just as appropriate. If some Argentinian guy can write/draw a manga for a Japanese manga magazine (big comic superior thats the magazines name) and have it actually be called a manga, it should be the same for China/Korea.
Lenlo
Mhmm. Marvel had the movies, but DC had the animated series
AidanAK47
Man, I loved the villains of Batman Beyond. Inque and Shriek had such interesting powers. The DC animated shows tended to be the one that didn't treat you like a kid while watching.
Lenlo
Well, they released a trailer for Samurai Jack S5, so its coming. Batman Beyond I also enjoyed
AidanAK47
Ah Samurai Jack. Wonder how that Adult swim revival is going? Batman the Animated Series as well didn't need Batman to crack off jokes every minute to be great.
Lenlo
Agreed. Samurai Jack was one of my favorite cartoons for that very reason. It ran the gamut of genres, each episode being something different.
Also I used Nichijou cause it was the first to come to my mind as a "Kids Show", though Love-Ru works as well
AidanAK47
One thing I think Cartoons could do to move away from the stigma of being for kids is having more genres than Comedy and Action adventure. Or at least stop putting comedy in everything.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Every fanbase has it's fanatics. There are idiots everywhere.
@Lenlo, I thought this might come up though I was expecting more of "placing Berserk and To Love-Ru in the same category" thing. Honestly I don't have a rebuttal for that. What is an isn't anime is really a matter of what anime is to you.
Lenlo
Now Aidan, you say putting Berserk and Scoopy doo in the same category is wrong, but what about Berserk and say.. Nichijou? A similar problem comes up and I think thats more to do with Berserk being a pretty major outlier (And I love it for being so. Have all the original Dark Horse volumes on my shelf)
Lenlo
Really though, reading Reddit arguments about it is so much fun.
Lenlo
I do think that recently, a number of shows have been trying to move cartoon, and animation in general in the west, away from meaning "For Kids".
Lenlo
Im not sure sure about that Anon, look at the Steven Universe and MLP fanbases.
Anonymous840067
Aidan, that isn't true... Anime has a 'special' name because it's fan base is a lot more fanatical than the cartoon fan base.
AidanAK47
Though I think the whole "Its not for kids" is the main push. Looking at my anime collection the majority is rated 15 with a few 12s. It's like the way you have Young Adult and mature, Comic books and graphic novels, or Visual novels and Eroge. They are essentially the same thing but appeal to different audiences.
AidanAK47
Though I think what really pushes this argument is that the term anime at least has a badge of honor. You don't see people demanding a show to be called a cartoon.
Total users: 30

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Latest Reviews

Flip Flappers (Fall 2016) Review – 93/100

What makes Flip Flappers stand out from the rest of the anime field? I found a lot of people asking that question along the way. Well, first off, Flip Flappers isn’t your ordinary anime offering, that’s for sure. Its visual styles are too much and too incoherent for one thing, the narrative never really reveal […]

Sound! Euphonium 2 (Fall 2016) Review – 86/100

I must admit that out of all the series I was blogging last year, Sound Eupho 2 was the one I’m saddest to see it ends; not because it was my absolute favorite anime last year, but because the sheer amount of their attention to details and their ridiculously quest for perfection are something that […]

Fune wo Amu (Fall 2016) Review – 81/100

This series is, in retrospect, a really appropriate title that speaks to the very spirit of noitaminA block: an adult drama slice of life about the making of dictionary that surely don’t try to target the young audiences. Sound as dry as it is, Fune wo Amu’s actually one of the strongest noitaminA show come […]

Your name. (2016) Movie Review – 82/100

As of this writing, Kimi no Na wa, or Your name. has enjoyed a phenomenal commercial and critical success. It becomes the highest grossing film of the year in Japan, and broke many records elsewhere in Thailand, China, America… you name it. Even in the local theatre where I went to, we got a full […]

Occultic;Nine Review – 0/100

I am certain this may seem like an extreme rating for some but the number scale always has been something I only carried over as part of psgels format. But this rating exemplifies my feelings about this show in its entirety. This show is awful, terrible, rage inducing, illogical, nonsensical garbage. Watching this show was […]

Magical Girl Raising Project Review – 65/100

In the success of Madoka there have been plenty who have tried to capitalize on turning the Magical girl genre dark. Few have actually succeeded and while Magical Girl Raising Project doesn’t quite succeed, it is still a much more competent attempt than many others. The story is about a phone app which promises to […]

Yuri!!! on Ice (Fall 2016) Review – 83/100

“Can you hear my heartbeat? Tired of feeling never enough. I close my eyes and tell myself that my dreams will come true” That’s exactly what Yuri on Ice offers, a heart-pumping ride to the sport of figure skating. Yuri on Ice’s current success and mainstream breakout is something that no one could have guessed before it aired; but here […]

Strange Frame – Love & Sax (2012) Movie Review – 76/100

Hooray, I’m finally back to this section after a while. I originally plan to review a more in-focus groups of animated films, like Korean movies, anthology movies, female-directed films, etc but now I have a different plan. The days that I cover all these will come, I promise. Instead, this time I want to highlight […]

Thunderbolt Fantasy Review – 84/100

Sometimes you dread for the current state of anime: high school settings, cute girls, fan-service jokes, idol madness… that you wish for once to see something different, and out of nowhere an oddball like this just pop up: a wuxia puppetry show influenced by Taiwanese glove puppetry written by Gen Urobuchi. The sheer fact that […]