Posted by psgels on 31 December 2009 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?

22 Responses

  1. Wyrdwad says:

    Man, I still say the ending to Clannad After Story was fantastic. If it had ended any differently, I don’t think I could’ve taken it… that show NEEDED the ending it had, or I would’ve been emotionally destroyed after watching it. (: Plus, even if only tangentially, it DID fit in with the magical realism of the show. It wasn’t an out-of-nowhere plot twist, but one that had been building in the background for the entire course of the show. All in all, I just thought it was really well-done.

    Anyway, nice list overall! An online acquaintance of mine keeps saying that anime is nowhere near as good as it once was, and lists shows like Bleach and Naruto as examples of how the whole medium has fallen. I keep telling him, he just isn’t watching the right shows… now, I think I’ll just link him to this list, to show him that even in 2009 alone, there have been a LOT of great anime.

    -Tom

  2. reverse says:

    1) Tetsuwan Birdy Decode S2
    2) Shin Mazinger Shougeki Z Hen
    3) Armed Librarians: The Book of Bantorra
    4) Blue Literature
    5) Michiko e Hatchin
    6) Requiem for the Phantom
    7) Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
    8) Aoi Hana
    9) Casshern SINS
    10) Tentai Senshi Sunred
    11) Full Metal Achemist – Brotherhood
    12) Shangri-La
    13) Guin Saga
    14) Hajime no Ippo
    15) Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou
    16) Bonen no Xamdou
    17) Darker than Black – Ryuusei no Gemini
    18) Kemono no Souja Erin

    HAVEN’T WATCH
    Konnichiwa Anne, Spice and Wolf 2, Clannad After Story .Cross Game

  3. reverse says:

    forgot one thing
    since I view animation differently than you
    my top 3, Best Animation
    1. Birdy the Mighty Decode 2
    2. K-on
    3. Michiko e Hatchin

  4. Nomus says:

    Great choices and good arguments. Of course, I’ll never agree with you on “Zan Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei”, but thats the only point. (Though I am really surprised there is no “Kemono no Souja Erin” in top 10) Haven’t finished “Phantom”, “Michiko e Hatchin” and second “Birdy the Mighty”, but now, I definitely shall. It was a good year for anime, I wish the next one will be at least the same.) Happy new year, hope it will be good for you and your blog!

  5. Solaris says:

    I don’t know. I dropped so many series only God knows. I can name so few series worth to remember, maybe Tokyo Magnitude or Shangri La.
    Sadly i still have to see a couple promising series such as Erin and FMA, so i can’t name those either!
    Damned lineage 2 still eats too much of my time. I still need to catch up with so many shows!!

    Btw Happy New year 2010!!!!

  6. veee says:

    Happy New Year! :D

    A lot of those series are still on my “to watch” list, so I can’t really choose ^^;
    Anyway, I’m glad to see slice-of-life series like GA and Ristorante Paradiso getting mention here :D

    Tokyo Magnitude was one of the surprises of the year to me. Aoi Bungaku was really good, since it’s still pretty fresh in my memory.

  7. m says:

    Xam’d was appealing visually. In a different setting it improved on common visual elements of Eureka Seven, which is the show it reminded me of the most. I really wish it had a longer run.

    Aoi Bungaku packs in a lot of raw beauty by having each director focus on 2-3 episodes. It’s like having them make little short movies out of classical literature. Its use of music mirrors this approach, and Ningen Shikkaku strikes me as the most complete when seen in this way. The shorter lengths of the segments really allowed them room to play with, and among other scenes, I watched the last scene of the last episode several times in a row. As a single entity it doesn’t have the rich world of a longer running series, but I do hope that they poach stories from literature more and trash heap less.

    The magical ending of Clannad After Story was foreshadowed continuously from the first show by the dumb technobabble that passed for physics and the other world they kept showing so I can’t really fault them for pulling it out. The way it was done may have been awkward, but I’m not sure how they could have better conveyed visually the sort of drudgery that visual novels must subject their readers to. If Key adaptations have a major fault it’s that their arcs are completely predictable, and if a character has anything resembling a slice of happiness in the show the next episode is going to stab you in the chest. The thing that always amuses me about this formula is that while I can always see what’s coming they are no less successful at manipulating my emotions.

    Michiko to Hatchin really had an interesting story in the style of a modern fairytale without the Disney magic, and even though I didn’t really find the story aesthetically pleasing I had to appreciate the world they built out of the setting. If it weren’t for some of the story hacks they used to continue the adventure and the cartoonish metaphors they relied upon a couple of times with the police chases it would have been even better.

  8. windy says:

    Happy new 2010 year and best wishes!

  9. Ruby says:

    I have ALOT of favs but I can’t decide among them >

  10. Reltair says:

    Lots of great series this year. Bones did excellent animation work with FMA:Brotherhood and Darker than Black 2. Looking forward to more series done by their studio.

  11. Machi says:

    You know… I would be wary about calling Michiko and Hatchin’s depiction of Brazil to be ‘realistic’. Sure it may have gotten some stereotypes known about the place, huge income inequalities, but its certainly a very much an outsiders view or put another way its quite an exotic view. It did pull off well its exotic view, and I laud it for that, but I wouldn’t go calling it ‘realistic’.

    I definitely agree with Armed Librarians being on the list for best of 2009 (though I guess by some technicalities it shouldn’t be there). But hey that series needs love. And somehow I doubt seeing the way its going that it would necessarily mess up BADLY.

  12. Canne says:

    It’s pretty cool to have an award for background art! and I think Guin Saga deserves it with Ristorante Paradiso’s Roman background close behind.
    btw, Where is DTB2?

  13. thomas says:

    I was really bored watching the first season of Birdy, to the point where I’m not really sure if it’s worth finishing just to see the second season…

  14. Alec says:

    i personally liked Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai , though it had some problems, then again I never watched the OVA coz theyre just basically d same thing, except its shorter….

    neways i liked d anime….
    and felt that the movie was crap!

  15. reverse says:

    @ thomas
    you’re not the first who said that. come on it ain’t that bad, you seen worst anime right.
    since you a bit discourage here birdy02 AMV,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-BV6y8pmTg
    it contain hint of stuff that happen in second season, definitely check this out if you gonna drop it

  16. Denizen says:

    I mostly agree, though I have to say the best backgrounds by far are Basquash’s. Guin Saga’s were pretty, but anyone can draw forests and rocks – the architecture, design, creativity, colouring and detail of Basquash’s backgrounds are absolutely outstanding.

  17. Jeff says:

    Anyone know if Birdy Mighty Decode will get another season?

  18. reverse says:

    since I like the show, I shouldn’t leave thing unexplained as why i pick birdy02 as the best animation. if not it just a bias opinion

    my Priority went judging animation
    1.Character animation
    2.Simultaneous animation
    3.Background animation
    4.Clean/glossy animation
    5.Background art
    6.Character design

    people judge animation by only considering 6,5 and 4. it pretty unfair in birdy02 case because it not it main focus, the show has high level character animation, simultaneous animation and Background animation, which should be taken into consideration in judging a piece of animation. in 1,2 and 3 category birdy should be remain unrivaled by any tv anime period

    well i did pick K-on too.
    scratch K-on on my list, it difficult to explain why I pick that

  19. Shippoyasha says:

    One thing that is almost downright annoying to read for me was that the ‘most imaginative locale’ was Michiko e Hatchin. What about worlds that were totally created from scratch like Soul Eater or Casshern Sins?

    I can respect the love for Michiko e Hatchin, but the locale is not imaginative in my book. Brazil’s Favelas are pretty infamous for how run down it is. Sort of like how the Slumdog Millionaire used its locale. Very well done, but you really can’t call it innovative in my book.

  20. reverse says:

    After reading my post, it feel pretty immature of me to put K-on number 2 on the list. not that its bad, but there a lot more that are better. basically I subconsciously dismiss show that you thought has a good animation. before people dismiss my point because of that here the real list

    Birdy Decode S2 ( sacrifice art for animation fuck yeah since art is subjective matter anyway )
    Shin Mazinger Shougeki ( high framerate , multiple movement how could people say this show has bad animation )
    Michiko e Hatchin ( the most consistent animation of the year but never really has anything memorable )
    Bonen no Xamdou ( the start with amazing animation but only on the first 2 episode ) the framerate start to drop very considerably by each episode ( well its bones after all, they like to burn budget on the first episode )
    Basquash similar reason as to bonen no xamdou

  21. Firechick says:

    although my 2009 was pretty bad (because of family issues and school issues combined), I was still presented with a decent line of awesome anime.

    My top 10 anime of 2009 (some weren’t made in 2009, but I don’t care. 2009 happens to be the year I saw some of the series listed here)
    1. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
    2. Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou
    3. Ringing Bell
    4. Clannad After Story
    5. Jungle Emperor 2009 special
    6. Haibane Renmei
    7. 07-Ghost (haha. Get it?)
    8. Yumeiro Patissiere
    9. Kobato
    10. Munto TV series (please don’t hate me for loving this)

  22. Firechick says:

    Aw, dangit! I forgot to add Aoi Hana to the list! Durn!

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@Aidan: I recall he posted under the name Bold/bond, the same poster who made the chart.
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@Kaiser: a series of consecutive 'yes'. I was really into Laloux, but FP is the one I liked the most. I've been watching Mr. Robot since season 1, and it's well worth your time. Not really all that cyberpunkish tho; mostly just cyber. And anybody who hasn't read Gibson's masterpiece is a fool of a Took.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Bam: Have you been looking into that Mr Robot series? I heard its meant to be some kind of cyber thriller, it could be our thing. Also have you read Neuromancer?
Kaiser Eoghan
And I suppose that brings me to that stranger things show then, I love horror so I guess that caught my eye, but apparently its a family/kids thing =< don't know whether to bother.
Kaiser Eoghan
I still say it takes me that extra bit of convincing to watch a childrens animated film.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Friend: The banner is in good hands I see.
AidanAK47
Well Coraline wasn't written by Laika. It was written by Neil Gaiman. Laika just adapted it. Still I would like to check out Kubo to see what all the hype is about.
SuperMario
@anony29442: I will watch Kubo this coming week so I will comment on the movie then. But I'm not that surprise if Kubo has a weak writing. Laika never really great at story development: I mean Coraline is exellent, ParaNorman is just okay and Boxstrolls writing is just so underdeveloped and full of plotholes
SuperMario
@friend: wow. It looks awesome. But why only one witch? ^^
Friend
Hey everyone! Just an update on our new banner, here's my WIP up to now: [link src="https://i.imgur.com/0QSv6IK.png
I'm"] trying a witch as a tribute to one of psgel's favorite anime maho shojotai. Feedback is welcome, I have a lot left to do. A 5:1 aspect ratio is the weirdest dimension I've ever painted in
Anonymous29442
I just saw Kubo and the 2 strings and im really shocked at all the praise its receiving. People calling it an instant masterpiece on looks alone but not enough are talking about how underdeveloped the characters and story were. It felt as if they made the whole thing up as they went along to the point where I couldnt suspend my disbelief any longer and got irritated.
Anonymous29415
qualidea code's characters havent become better in terms of how they are written; only that they have been fleshed out in the most generic and trivial of ways as to sympathize with them; and sure, they have become some what likeable in the same way you'd like a person who you heard nothing but kind things about but that does not save the characters from being boring. QC is still a bad show
AidanAK47
@Anon27511, even if the animation was kept consistent the story still can't really escape the done to death aspect of it's story. I agree that the writing has gotten better but despite that the show just feels...meh.
Anonymous27511
Fucking Qualidea Code, as the story and characters become more interesting, the animation and drawing proportionately decreases. Sad they simply do not have the budget to pull off what seems like a potentially very good story
K-Off
@Mike I'm sure you already heard but for some reason I didn't keep up to date. I thought it was strange that releases stopped in March after chapter 68,.
K-Off
Just learned that the writer of my favorite webtoon is battling terminal cancer, but despite it she hopes to finish it someday. God damn I would've never expected this.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Once spilled hot microwaved food over my hand by mistake, hurt for a day.
Kaiser Eoghan
*remaining
Kaiser Eoghan
@Bam: The story and ideas however were better in gandahar I felt. Time masters while good was a bit stop and start in its pace and animation.
I’m definitely interested in Laloux’s other, short animations and Mobius’ comic book work.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Bam: I watched Rene Laloux's remain animated films, Gandahar and time masters, I enjoyed both but not as much as Fantastic planet. I remember we talked about fantastic planet two years ago. Did you see the other two I mentioned. I liked the big moments and the ending to time masters, especially those angel things.
Anonymous27024
Ok. I beat Federation Force. I think the main positive is that the levels were playable despite the lack of voice chat. The bosses took a lot of damage and the beginning and end are relevant to the Prime continuity.
SuperMario
@K-Off: I did it once just like you did, and once when I put a metal bowl into a microwave. So yeah, boys will always be boys.
Bam
I tried my best not to half-ass either of them tho. Any oddity you guys see just write it off as mental exhaustion.
Bam
Okay, I'm officially beat. These two reviews should be considered companion pieces, as some material from one flew into the other. Thank god that episode 08 was not a heavy one, or I'd be completely depleted.
K-Off
Shit, I'm a damn idiot at baking, slightly burnt my hand a minute ago grabbing a hot tray with a wet towl. Why do I even try.
K-Off
@afgm Alright, send me a message at fightthepowwa@gmail.com and we'll work it out.
Bam
*cinematography
Bam
@K-off: I second that, as although the Poirot series has very well-done choreography, casting and music, there is still a little more of that unquantifiable magic sprinkled on the Granada series. But keep watching and I'll guarantee that Suchet will become the quintessential Poirot in your mind as well.
K-Off
I said that while I liked the performance and the direction, I didn't think that it did for Poirot what Granada did for Holmes.
K-Off
@Bam Yeah it is, and generally when I camp I like to stay for 1-2 weeks, places like Niagara or Yellowstone I can pretty much see everything I want to see in a few days so I don't find much value going to those places. The Adirons on the other hand is diverse as hell.
Bam
@K-off: I'm not sure if you mentioned it while I was gone: but did you get to watch any of the Poirot series with David Suchet? And if so, what are your thoughts?
Bam
I generally go to either the Muir Woods north of SF, or the forests around Big Sur. It doesn't take much to please me really.
Bam
@K-ff: is that by Lake Champlain? Cuz I've been there once and loved it.
Bam
@K-off: I thought of a combined post, but my OCD wouldn't allow a skip in the episodic order of the reviews.
K-Off
Usually when you go camping in Yellowstone or Yosemite the tourist industry kills those places, like I'd be on a rowboat and see cars, cabins, and people from a long ways offshore. The Adirondacks are nice because their building codes mandate construction to be hidden behind trees.
K-Off
@Bam My favorite camping spot is the Adirondacks in upstate NY, I went there probably 4-7 times and never get tired of the place. No, I don't have any posts for now, but for future reference consider combining episodic reviews when you get behind. I.E. Episode 6-8 Review
Bam
Also there's a reader in the comment section of Berserk 07 who wants to know if we have a notification system. I vaguely remember a widget that links the site to a FaceBook page. If anybody knows how that works, or if it's still functional, please shed some light on the matter for him/her. Thx.
Bam
@Aidan @K-off @Mario either one of y'all has any post near completion? I'm almost done with Berserk 08 and as previously mentioned, really prefer not to put two reviews up back to back. I think the length of them is already a hassle for some to get thru, let alone two right after eachother. I think it hurts the viewership, but if nothing's on hand then I'll guess I'll just finish up and post mine.
Bam
@Kaiser: I was actually camping near a mountain, but aren't all mountains somewhat holy? That could be my bias tho, since I was raised on the Alborz mountain range, and for me there is something therapeutic about the mountain air.
Kaiser Eoghan
Yes! Looks like the shoutbox is fixed and not deleting posts after 24 hours anymore!
Kaiser Eoghan
lol Or you could live in the shitty suburb where I do and spend your time just waiting for when your internet connection randomly cuts out twice a month or as it has the past few days two-three times a day.
Kaiser Eoghan
Basically bam went up the Holy mountain .
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: ....guy I know who loves war films and I've ended up inadvertedly/un-intentionally gotten him to buy some fucked up Polish horror film that just happens to be set in WW2. lol he's going to be pretty freaked out when he watches it.
Bam
Everything been cool here? Hehe ... looks like I conveniently missed all the hard parts.
Bam
@Mario: thx m8. I wish I could just make it down to Rio on a whim, but then again, I took a much-needed vacation, so I ain't complaining.
SuperMario
Welcome back Bam, I was already convinced that you went to Rio for screwing around. Lol
Bam
Also I apologize for the absence. I was gone somewhere without reliable internet access, and looking back I should've gave a notification.
Either way, I'm back now, and will be jumping on getting those Berserk reviews out as soon as possible.
Bam
Man looky here with the renovations; I like it.
SuperMario
@Vyse: wow. So how was the sites then back from 2005?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: and what is that sh!te you're talking about?
VyseLegendaire
<— fixed
VyseLegendaire
<— me
VyseLegendaire
Ive been a reader since 2005
Kaiser Eoghan
Haha, this'll be fun lol
Kaiser Eoghan
.....that feeling when you keep going on about a show or film but fail to give all the details...and someone goes out and buys it not knowing the full extent of the mad shit their in for...s--t lol
Anonymous24840
any reader from 2005 here....
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: This guy seems interesting: https://letterboxd.com/director/tsai-ming-liang/
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Hmm, not familiar with him.
I really really loved in the mood for love, alot, it emotionally effected me. I even watched it three times.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I couldn't seem to enjoy any of Zimou yangs films apart from Hero, which had some pretty creative fight scenes. I've seen the story of Ricky and some of John-woos films but they were more just silly entertaining exploitation films.
SuperMario
Don't know if you know the Vietnamese-French Tran Anh Hung. His works are stunning too. If you want to check out East-Asian cinema don't forget to check him out.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Yeah, but Park Chan Wood changed the ending, so the author insisted that the Handmaiden is more "inspired" than "based". The third chapter is the weakest part for me
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Of interest, The handmaiden was based on some British book/tv show.
Kaiser Eoghan
I need to completely re-evaluate/get into more Chinese cinema.
Kaiser Eoghan
Doesn't look like I've seen anything by Hong-sang-so.
My favourite Korean actor is song-kang-ho.
Kaiser Eoghan
Theres an anime convention over here in Dublin in three months. Although I haven't been to one in years.
SuperMario
I'm heading to anime convention today. Normally I don't really care about those conventions but I figure I'd come this year to see the taste of it. The only hassle is it's 3-hour drive, which gonna be a pain when I drive back after a long day being there.
SuperMario
Bong Joon-ho, on the other hand,is incredible at writing. His scripts are often layered, sharp and best of all fuses many tones/ genres into one coherent whole. The best thing about this Korean New Wave directors is they all have very distinctive voices. But my favorite director isn't the ones that you list. That would be Hong Sang Soo. I just love his simplicity style so much.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Park Chan Wood is a master of visual. Whenever I come to his movies I expected to be blown-away by his visual. He can write compelling characters (he loves his characters) as well but his screenplays in general are weak. You can watch his lesser effort "I'm a Cyborg, but That's Okay" and see many things that made him good/bad. That's the movie I feel he made without the care of the critic
afgm
.
afgm
@koff: Yeah I can help. But midterms/finals are coming up so I can't dedicate to much time.
Kaiser Eoghan
I always felt Bong-jong and Chang-dong , kim-di-duk and Kim-jee-woon were better than Park-chan-wook. Oldboy did have that one hell of an ending, so did lady vengeance but I feel that those are the bits people tend to remember and the rest was good but not great.
Topgavin
For anyone that doesn't regularly browse /r/anime, Godzilla is apparently getting an anime adaption by Polygon Pictures with Urobuchi involved. Should be good.
K-Off
Well, I climbed to rank 52 in Overwatch with Tracer alone. Looking forward to season 2 already, but I do wish Blizzard had somehow implemented a single-player storyline since the lore in Blizzard titles is always so vast. Kind of surprised they didn't make one with Overwatch.
K-Off
@Kaiser Watch Train to Busan if you can. Me neither, I can't dig too deep into Korean films due to the language barrier. Sure would be convenient to have Vincent recommending films again.
K-Off
@afgm Hey, are you still interested in helping out with the site? At this point I'm looking over the site's code & doing some rewriting - if you think you can help, let me know.
K-Off
@Mario I hadn't watched Old Boy for 6 years when I got to I Saw the Devil and it was out of mind for me, so you may be right.
SuperMario
@K-Off: maybe it was just me but I was underwhelmed by I Saw the Devil. The point it trying to match was similar to OldBoy, and Oldboy's execution was way better (OldBoy's one of my favorite movie). Yes, the soundtracks of OldBoy, Lady Vengeance are exceptional. I still listen to The Last Waltz after all those years...
K-Off
The soundtrack in a lot of these Korean films are top notch as well, Lady Vengeance and I Saw the Devil in particular.
K-Off
@Mario Speaking of which, Korean psychological thrillers are hands down some of the best in the last 10-20 years. I Saw the Devil, Lady Vengeance, Old Boy, list goes on.
SuperMario
@Aidan: It just comes to me that we're already half way of this season... Time sure flies
SuperMario
@Kaiser: so please finish up Inside Mari. The last chapter had been out. I need someone to talk about that goddamn manga anw
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I always consider the Korean New Wave started back in 2000, and really peaked in 2003 (OldBoy, Memories of Murders, Spring Summer..., A Tale of 2 Sisters). Before 2000? The only director I can think of was Im Kwon-Taek
AidanAK47
About nearly finished Fata Morgana but I might have to finish doom first because that thing is eating a huge chunk of my SSD drive.
AidanAK47
Back up to date...at least for now. I have to go to a wedding so It's likely I will fall behind again. Got to admit that I haven't had much of an opinion on the latest episodes. Might be just mentally drained personally.
SuperMario
@K-off: I totally agree with you. 28 Days Later is a gem. Though I'm not really into zombie genre as a whole, I'm more into psychological stuffs more.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Reminding me I need to catch up on boku mari no naka.
Kaiser Eoghan
Although the trailer for train to busan does catch my interest.
Kaiser Eoghan
I've gotten more than enough out of Korean films, I can enjoy them but I probably don't sing the same high praises for them as most bar some exceptions.
Seeing Lee-chang-dongs stuff I'm actually kind of interested in finding some more low key korean films.
Kaiser Eoghan
Very likely a view shared by my indie loving friend and I, but Battery and Wyrmwood were jokey takes on the zombie genre I thought were enjoyable.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Likely my preference for British comedy that makes me laugh more at Shaun of the dead more. Although Hot fuzz is the better Simon Pegg film in my opinion.
In terms of Korean films, I've been wondering, what are the pre-90s ones like. Lee-chang-dong started the Korean new wave in 1997.
K-Off
I'm still waiting for a good horror-zombie film, nothing has met my expectations after 28 Days Later (and techinically REC), which admittedly is a high bar.
K-Off
@Mario I am watching Seoul Station next week, that was just me recapping TtB after I watched it a few days ago. It's definitely more of a thriller, it has good "wtf" moments but nothing I'd call horror.
SuperMario
@K-Off: I thought you were going to watch Seoul Station? So I gather that Train of Busan is more thriller than horror? Just thinking of Zombieland already puts a smile on my face. That one and Shaun of the Dead are so goddamn hilarious.
SuperMario
@Aidan: I will review them in the future. atm I'm in watching/ reading mode so I'll push back all the world movie/ full show reviews for a while
K-Off
@Mario My impression of Train to Busan was that although it wasn't anything ground breaking, it had a great cast of characters and an entertaining gimmick that managed to stay exhilarating. I haven't seen a zombie film this well structured since Zombieland, even though they're completely opposite in tone.
AidanAK47
They are all yours if you want to do them.
SuperMario
Reading Inside Mary makes me want to watch Flowers of Evil again. If I remember correctly psgels never actually had a full review on this one, and Ping Pong.
AidanAK47
@Vyse, Width wise it's exactly the same as the old chat box. Though it's possible the old one had smaller font.
VyseLegendaire
This chat box is too narrow I think, only see a couple messages.
AidanAK47
@Anon18138, Yeah but I don't see that writer making something that truly represents the games. There may be a possibility of it being a good movie but that movie won't be Pokemon.
Anonymous18138
@AidanAK47 It'll have the writer of Gravity Falls. Though I don't have a high standard in regards to the 3D mascot and live-action style of movies.
SuperMario
They originally planned to male a live-action remake of Seoul Station, as the producer saw a footage of the animation and really loved it; but Yeon Sang-Ho (the director) insisted that if he was about to make a live-action film, he's go for a sequel instead. Hence Train of Busan.
SuperMario
@K-off: I missed my chance to watch Train to Busan but I heard nothing but rave from it. People who watched it really loved it. Damn, you make me jealous man, since I want to watch Seoul Station and review it here. Come watch it and tell me what you think; my bet is you'll enjoy it.
K-Off
@Mario Have you watched Train to Busan? I'm planning to watch its animated prequel Seoul Station next week. Animation looks shabby as hell but I can always expect a good story from the koreans.
AidanAK47
So the live action Pokemon movie will feature detective pikachu. Clearly a necessary inclusion.
SuperMario
I'm reading Inside Mary now and it's quite a gem despite its ridiculous premise. There's a lot of raw emotions. I love raw emotions. As expected from the same guy who wrote Flowers of Evil.
AidanAK47
Yep, when she sends the images let me know. It may have been a while ago but I am a qualified graphic designer so even I can lend a hand to the banner design.
AidanAK47
Ugh...a new version of wordpress is ready to be updated to. I have a bad feeling updating to the latest version could potentially break things.
K-Off
Alright, I've got Friend onbaord with a commission for our new banner. She says she'll send us sketches so we can decide if it's something we want.
AidanAK47
Considering how much trouble this plugin has given us, i am not up for adding another one. Only thing the subscriber account thing needs is me to tick and box and get rid of that password promt.
K-Off
@Aidan You can set that up if you'd like, though another idea would be to set up buddypress and link it to there. But it's yet again another plugin.
Total users: 32

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Thunderbolt Fantasy – 07

This week our band heads up to the evil mountain and needless to say they possess absolutely no teamwork spirit whatsoever. It’s as you would expect from a group of seven egocentric members. Our main character Shang Bu Shuan repeatedly gets teased by their comrades, as he finds himself fighting the enemies alone without the […]

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Episode 8 starts with a cold opening that retreads the fateful rendezvous of Guts and Casca. I actually thought that this was a good move, as this is a very big moment in the overall story of the last few arcs. After the Golden Age section we get very few deep character moments, and a […]

Berserk(2016) - 07 [The Black Witch]

Berserk(2016) – 07 [The Black Witch]

I apologize for this very late review, but due to circumstances I didn’t have the means of watching the episode, and hence the week-long delay. I’ll try to at least leave a notification in case of such issues in the future, but otherwise will try to keep the posts steady. So let’s get right to […]

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91 Days – 06

I would say this is the strongest episode so far of 91 Days as it essentially revolves around what makes Mafia drama at it’s best. Betrayals, scheming and deceit are what fuels organised crime and what a scheme this was. When looking at the three family leaders I suppose it’s no surprise that Orco is […]

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s8gAnPY

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Flying witch Review – 86/100

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Kiznaiver Review – 60/100

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