Short Synopsis: Our lead character is a famous football coach
Now this is why I love anime. There just are those times when these series come around, who completely exceed my expectations. This season was already full of these series, but Giant Killing takes the cake. It’s been ages since Studio Deen really came out with a new and fresh premise, so I wasn’t expecting much of them at this point (as shown by Hakuouki, which pretty much was them and their bishies again). And here this episode comes, and it’s SO WELL made. The characterization is by far the best of all the first episodes I’ve seen this season so far. It’s only one episode, and the creators have already shown that they know and understand their characters. The chemistry between the hugely varied cast was just awesome to watch. And on top of that, they actually portrayed English football fans really well, INCLUDING actual English, that gets spoken in full sentences, rather than your usual lazy Engrish. The animation also is just awesome: finally we have another series that attempts to experiment with its own style. The football matches are animated really smoothly. At first I thought that Ookiku Furikabutte would naturally become this season’s best sports series, but damn. It’s got some serious competition. And really: this season rocks because we haven’t even gotten to the best stuff yet!
OP: One of the best OPs of the year so far. J-Polka. What brilliant mind thought of that?
ED: Fun and exciting.
Short Synopsis: Our lead character gets involved with the rather shady business of the Shinsengumi.
Another show, that while it has its problems, also has a ton of potential. Let me get these problems out of the way first: this series does suffer from the harem syndrome: the creators pulling a really far-fetched plot twist just to put the main characters amongst a group of bishies/moe cute girls. The reason the creators pull here is simply one that asks: why hasn’t this happened before? The acting also leaves a lot to be desired. The characters aren’t as well portrayed as they could have, and the characterization for all of the bishies feels kind-of bland. However, this episode focused a lot on characters, just interacting and talking to each other. The script did make up for the sub-par acting, and while the dialogue was nowhere near Amatsuki-levels, it still was surprisingly interesting (speaking of which, Deen: when is that second season going to arrive?!), not to mention that this series has got a pretty interesting back-story that verges on horror during the tense parts. The lead female is also surprisingly likable as well. And I guess that that’s one thing that female lead harem characters often have in favour of male leads: while male leads are often made to be as bland and uninteresting as possible, female leads always have some sort of story behind them that defines their character much, much better and Hakuouki is no exception.
OP: Slightly catchy.
ED: Surprisingly good ballad.
SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors
Short Synopsis: Our lead character is the umpth incarnation of the lead character of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms novels.
Sunrise… why? Just… why? This premise is awful in every single way. It’s the ultimate of all cheap cash-ins, combining the popularity of the Gundam Franchise with the one of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms franchise. So why the heck did you find it a good idea to give this show so many excellent background artists, and such a good soundtrack? These are COMPLETELY WASTED on such a silly script. Seriously Sunrise, is it that much to ask for you to go back to the way you were around ten years ago, in which you just kept delivering awesome premise after awesome premise, trying out new things?
ED: Cheesy J-rock