Posted on 30 June 2010 with categories: Monthly Summaries

I think what mostly set this month apart was a lack of disappointments: all of the series I’ve been following were interesting and enjoyable, and actually none of the series that I watched (22 of them) felt like a waste of time for me. Series that once were annoying redeemed themselves, and even the shows I liked to bitch about has plenty of good stuff to like.

Overall, This season was average: it wasn’t among the best seasons I’ve seen, but also not among the worst. It set itself apart with well thought-out settings, which was definitely what I liked about this season overall the best. The worst about this season was that there are just too many series that were too short. But that’s a dead horse that I think is already beaten enough.

#22 (new) – Sekirei – (7,5/10) – The first episode pretty much was what the first season was, only with even worse comedy. Yeah, I know it’s a fanservice show and all, but it’s among the better ones. The only reason you’d want to watch this if you’re not horny is the plot, but still, it’s pretty decent and solid for its genre.
#21 (20) – Hetalia World Series – (7,5/10) – The biggest problem with this series is its balancing issues. Yes, we know that Prussia is an evil bastard, can we finally move on now? The thing is, that this is called Hetalia WORLD SERIES, but it has only been focusing on European politics of three hundred years ago.
#20 (21) – Marie&Gali – (7,75/10) – I’m getting used to the new main character. I’m not sure whether it’s supposed to be a good thing for one to get used to a mosquito buzzing around your ears for a week and a half, but the fact remains: the creators have not lost one ounce of their creativity. Even with annoying presence of ‘her’, they still focus on making explaining science fun.
#19 (15) – Heroman – (7,75/10) – Here’s the thing with this series: its initial premise really was riddled with cliches, staple characters, and plain idiocy. But really, the creators took this concept, and actually developed it quite well. Most of the major characters have grown by now, the plot is completely different from what it was ten episodes before, and while the government people are sometimes portrayed a bit too stereotypical, it definitely makes for an interesting intrigue plot.
#18 (19) – Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru – (7,75/10) – There are a lot of faults in this series I like to bitch about. But really: at its core it’s a solid series. Characters are solid in their interactions and build-up, the atmosphere is very good, I like how it uses its CG. There are a number of plot-holes, but nothing major.
#17 (16) – Kaidan Restaurant – (7,75/10) – A rather abrupt ending, but it remained as enjoyable light horror until the end. The final episode was a good way to close off, albeit a bit forced.
#16 (12) – Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou – (8/10) – Well, this series did what it was supposed to do: make a very entertaining finale that was consistently fun to watch. Sure, it made no sense at times, but that was nowhere where the appeal of this series lay for me. The action-scenes were fun, the characters themselves did their job, and didn’t become boring or tedious to watch at all. I also liked some of the crazier plot twists it pulled. I know it’s a guilty pleasure of mine, but I personally enjoyed it a lot. Shouldn’t that be enough?
#15 (11) – Katanagatari – (8/10) – This month’s episode wasn’t the best, but nevertheless very solid. Making use of a well known trope didn’t hurt the overall dialogue at all.
#14 (17) – Kuruneko – (8/10) – I’ll review this one as soon as I can find the final three episodes, but seriously, they’re almost impossible to track down. It’s a bloody shame that Akitaro Daichi’s series are so incredibly underrated, because Kuruneko has been consistently enjoyable from start to finish.
#13 (18) – Anymaru Tantei Kiruminzoo – (8/10) – I’m pleasantly surprised here. The series still consist of random episodes, but you can really see things develop very, very slowly. Characters are starting to think about what they can do themselves, Riko got some surprisingly touching moments that made her quite a colourful character, and the humour still ranges from cute to hilarious.
#12 (8) – Angel Beats – (8,25/10) – I’ve said this before: I’d rather watch a series with a ton of hiccups, but a ton of interesting ideas and concepts, than a series that might not have any holes in its plot, but also doesn’t take any risks at all, has no originality and doesn’t attempt to think outside of the box. Angel Beats was chaos, but it was fun, enjoyable, and varied in the way that it actually succeeded pretty well with all kinds of different genres. The climax did not live up to Key’s usual standards, but nevertheless it stood out in its ideas. That is for me enough to make up for the lesser parts of the series.
#11 (14) – B Gata H Kei – (8,25/10) – I really thought that at the halfway point this series would just go downhill and not match the fun of the first episodes. And then it turns out that the creators saved some of their best jokes for last. A number of priceless scenes, along with some actually surprisingly solid development of the lead characters ended this series on a very good note for me. It has definitely become my favourite fanservice comedy (and it’s ABOUT TIME an actually good one showed up).
#10 (13) – Durarara – (8,25/10)

This is a bit of a response to the criticisms I have received for my review of this series, most notably “how come show X (in this case Daimaou and Angel Beats) is rated as high as Durarara?” Now first of all: why are you comparing a show as Daimaou with Durarara? They have completely different purposes, I rated the former the way because it succeeded as entertainment that kept me engaged from start to finish. I rated the latter this way because for a show with substance, it could have done better and was a bit overshadowed by other series with substance, including its own first half. In fact, I still really like the character-development, and if a Durarara sequel will pop up, there is no doubt that I’m going to rate it higher. But the past arc just wasn’t the right one to quit the series with.

#9 (7) – Senkou no Night Raid – (8,25/10)

The thing I loved about this series is how thought provoking it ended up to be, combined with its characters who, while bland at first sight, had this air of maturity and lack of overacting that made them a very solid cast to watch. The big problem is a number of plotholes and characters changing sides a little too easily, but despite that it’s been a very solid finale.

#8 (9) – Rainbow – (8,5/10)

It’s impossible to talk about Rainbow this month without mentioning spoilers, but I do want to say that I absolutely love that SPOILER, and not only that, but also SPOILER. With 13 episodes lift, this opens the door to so much character-development!

#7 (6) – Gag Manga Biyori – (8,5/10)

The best of this month was the manga artist episode. It’s brilliant how the creators carried on that one single joke, and instead they built further upon it rather than dragging it out. It’s really sad to see this show go now, though. It’s definitely been my favourite comedy of the past two seasons, and I can’t imagine anything surpassing it as my favourite comedy of 2010.

#6 (10) – Ookiku Furikabutte – (8,75/10)

Definitely the best month of the second season. It was rushed, sure, but even under these circumstances the creators delivered an awesome match. The animation was consistently excellent throughout and the creators really showed the ins and outs of baseball.

#5 (5) – Heartcatch Precure – (8,75/10)

We’re about to get to some turning points, but in the meantime this series continues its delightful trend of heart-warming stories along with its incredibly addictive and engaging main cast. The animation really allows the creators to show a ton of different emotions and really make them dynamic characters.

#4 (4) – Giant Killing – (8,75/10)

This month was nearly all about one big football match. This really allowed the creators to get the best out of the involved character, and make it a real turning-point for the series. Not just for the players, but everyone round it: the supporters, the coaches, the managers, the press. Everyone is important in this series. The only downside is the strange includes of recaps at the beginning of each episode.

#3 (1) – Sarai-ya Goyou – (8,75/10)

My favourite parts of this series still are located in the middle, but the past month has also had a number of very impressive episodes. Especially Yaichi’s background is handled really well.

#2 (2) – Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei – (9,25/10)

Deciding my number one for this month was a very tough decision. In the end, I decided to put Yojou-han second, mostly because we haven’t seen the end yet. It’s already a masterpiece, but that ending could even make it surpass itself even more than that it did this month. The way the creators developed Watashi, putting everything around him into context was just masterful. Masaaki Yuasa definitely did it again. I can only imagine how amazing that conclusion must be.

#1 (3) – Full Metal Alchemist – Brotherhood – (9,25/10)

The climax of this series was amazing. Everything came together wonderfully, the action was epic, and the characters showed their best sides. I love how nearly everyone helped in their own ways. It’s awesome to see that this everything that this series has been building up for during the past five seasons has come together.

Posted on with categories: Rainbow



Recap. I didn’t really feel like watching it entirely so I just glossed through it, but it did not have any new content aside from some monologues of Mario that didn’t really say anything new. This was really meant as a break for this series.

Either way, it came at a rather annoying moment, just when the series is really getting interesting. Oh, if the creators play their cards right this is going to make for a VERY interesting second half.
Rating: — (Recap)

Posted on 29 June 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews



Last season I accidentally posted a review of this series before it had actually ended. No worries, though, because this just give me another excuse to try and hype the hell out of this series. With thirteen extra episodes, I have no doubt that this is going to end up as my favourite comedy of 2010. I know that this series has a really obscure reputation, but really: it’s absolutely hilarious.

The formula of the fourth season is 50 percent recap, and 50% original episodes. This makes it an excellent way to get introduced to the series for even those who haven’t watched it, and the thirteen new episodes are as hilarious as ever. In fact, from what I’ve seen of the series, it’s actually gotten better by time.

The thing that really sets this series apart from all other comedies is its energy. Seriously, you will not find a series that is more hyperactive than this. Even the Excel Saga, Sexy Commando Gaiden and Gintama feel slow. The dialogue leaves absolutely no time to catch your breath. The voice actors are all excellent in the way that they keep the energy going, finding a great combination between overacting and deadpan tones.

The subject matter of this series varies widely, but episodes can generally be divided into two types: the historical parodies and the anime parodies. My personal favourites were the latter, but that’s mostly because I have more affinity with it, compared to the surprisingly obscure yet important historical figures that the former addresses.

Either way though, this series may be known as random, but that also does a bit of injustice to its premise. Sure, the characters here are all morons, but very often you can see episodes build up to some kind of punch-line, some of which are just brilliant in the tropes that they make fun of. In fact, these are the best episodes of the entire series, with my personal favourite being the spaceship episode.

I know that Humour is something personal that’s different for everyone, but if you’re looking for hyperactive humour, then you really can’t get more hyperactive than this. I know that I keep teasing everyone during my monthly summaries with my huge praises of this series, but I really want to give it as much exposure as possible, in the hope that it’ll eventually get noticed by a fansub group who want to pick it up. This is an awesome addition to the comedy genre in anime, it doesn’t deserve to get forgotten like this!

Storytelling: 9/10 – Insane pacing. Never fails to keeps the balls in the air and deliver great jokes with an unrivalled hyperactivity.
Characters: 8/10 – A bit hard to judge in this context, but there are surprisingly few cliched characters in this series. Most characters only have up to five minutes of airtime, but they still manage to be hilarious. Well written in its own way.
Production-Values: 8/10 – A rating of 8 here obviously doesn’t mean eye candy, but the animation is solid, and never gets in the way of the humour. In fact, the simple graphics are refreshing for the anime medium that way too often goes for moe and bishies.
Setting: 9/10 – Clearly spent a lot of time thinking up ideas for tropes that it was going to parody. Great finds, and references to surprisingly underrated historical figures.

Suggestions:
– Excel Saga
– The other Gag Manga Biyori Seasons
Kodomo no Omocha
Sexy Commando Gaiden

Posted on with categories: Random Posts

So yeah, I made it to the quarterfinals of the Aniblog Tourney. Thanks everyone for voting so far.

This time I’m up against Impz and his posse. Be sure to check it out before voting, but chances are that you already know about it.

Anyway, for the THAT groupies who have come to check out this site: welcome to Star Crossed. I’ve been blogging series weekly for about four and a half years now. I also write series reviews and first impression, all of which you can find in the sidebar below.

Posted on 28 June 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews, Senkou no Night Raid




The fact that a series is slowly subbed doesn’t mean that it can’t be excellent. Really, with Yojou-han immediately subbed, this was by far the hardest one to translate by fansubbers, and therefore it didn’t get the coverage and attention that it should have gotten. Night Raid is a special series, and much more series should share the utter guts that it displayed. Be sure to support it when it eventually does come out in English!

But first and foremost, let me respond to the naysayers out there: no, Night Raid does not rape history. As a series about a group of Japanese people in China, in the 1930s. This could have been the most historically insensitive series out there. The problem is that, if I understood things correctly, there is this habit of the Japanese to really ignore anything they did around the second world war, and instead of accepting that they did a lot of things wrong and move on, there seems to be this air of not wanting to talk about it and learn from it at all.

This series, it seems to me, wanted to be a response to statements like this. While we follow a group of Japanese spies in the middle of China, it makes sure to cause no misunderstanding: the Japanese did some horrible things, and they consciously chose to do these things. In fact, a huge part of this series is about them, making these decisions, considering the alternatives, and act based on what they believe is right. Self-righteousness is a huge theme in this series, and the way this series explores them makes it a very thought-provoking series. Sure, some of the tropes it uses have been used a number of times before, but never in this context.

Now, as for the actual execution, this one could have been a bit more solid at times. The result is a number of plot-holes that are there to just keep the plot from going further. With thirteen episodes, it also doesn’t exactly have the time to give the characters a lot of background, though it definitely does try.

The acting department is a bit of a mixed bag. Some characters put down very convincing performances, like Yukina and Airi. Others, like Aoi, sound a bit too immature and unrefined. Especially in the first few episodes does this get tedious to watch.

Which is especially annoying because the first half really exist to just set everything right. It’s episodic in the way that it introduces all of the concepts, and fleshes out the setting. I think the most notable here is the infamous fourth episode, which is only dedicated to fleshing out the characters and nothing else.

If you’re interested in this series however, I do urge you to watch until episode seven before passing judgment, because it’s there where the series shows its true feathers. The thing with Night Raid is that on the small picture, it is indeed a bit inferior to its predecessor Sora no Oto. In the big picture however, I really believe that it surpasses it.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Knows its priorities, knows how to build up and most importantly: knows how to be subtle with its drama.
Characters: 8/10 – Good depth for the short length of only 13 episodes, some are well acted, others could have been done better.
Production-Values: 8/10 – A-1’s best artists were at Ookiku Furikabutte this season, but nevertheless solid enough, plus a very good soundtrack also helps.
Setting: 9/10 – The guts it has with its subject material as a medium of anime surpasses even Zipang. Very daring and thought-provoking.

(On a side-note: I really wish that I could rate this one higher, but unfortunately I can’t find an excuse for it. It unfortunately had a few too many faults, but the advantages really made up for it for me.)
Suggestions:
Zipang
The Cockpit
Mobile Suit Gundam – War in the Pocket

Posted on with categories: Senkou no Night Raid



My only real issue with this finale is that Kazura changed his opinion a bit too quickly too often. But really, this was a surprisingly good finale with a number of very interesting ideas put into it. On top of that, you could also see it play around with a number of very overused ending tropes.

The biggest surprise by far was the sudden death of Isao, but it’s also a brilliant move. There was no death speech, no overdramatic rise of tension before his death and most importantly: he died really fast here. It just shows how everyone can just die here, and that even though he was the main villain, his death doesn’t have to be over the top, or saved for the end.

Suddenly, the series turns into a rush operation to prevent the Japanese from getting their hands on the atomic bomb (how’s that for nationalism, huh?). Sakurai turns from this nice gentleman into someone desperate to get his own hands on that bomb, and to use it according to his own ideas. I actually loved it how the creators decided to solve that problem: with that blue-haired guy, who turned out to be a counter-spy. He had no backstory, but at the same time, there was a ton of spy activity at the time. It makes perfect sense for people to also have infiltrated the Japanese army. But really: his voice sounded just weird. Who was that voice actor?

In any case, the trope in which the villain dies, yet leaves some kind of projectile of doom behind that needs to be stopped. It’s been done before, but it’s the context here that makes the difference. Instead of a megablast of doom, we’ve got something very concrete that’s about to destroy a city: it’s something we can relate to much more than your average nuclear blast, because we know exactly what will happen if it goes off.

And there also is the ultimate cliche: our hero faces certain death after the climax finishes. It’s not certain whether he lived. The epilogue starts, and at the end we indeed see him back. This episode averted this in quite an interesting way by having first of all Kazura live, yet not show anything about him. Aoi meanwhile somehow failed to get out of the burning plane in the spur of the moment. I didn’t like how suddenly the creators made his powers extreme enough to be able to blast an atomic bomb into space (or at least hundreds of kilometers far into the sea), however, we never get to see him after that.

All we hear is a crappy violin, but that could have been anyone who was trying to cheer on the troops of soldiers, as they left for the upcoming war. Yes, this series decided to end with anything but a good ending. The war is still going to kill many people, and this series never got bigoted as to think that it could create a plot in which people wouldn’t end up suffering horribly throughout the next decade.

Overall this series would have benefited some more natural actors. However, the intention of the creators here was very good. It’s by far the most down to earth series in terms of character reactions: people cry when they lose a loved one, but there was hardly any overacting, and people remained surprisingly calm for anime, which tends to overreact even the slightest things. There were a number of very good voice actors, like Yukina for example. She pulled off a very convincing performance. Aoi meanwhile could have used more subtlety; his voice didn’t really suit the serious nature of the series. The Chinese girl is up for debate. Oh, she yelled, but girls her age who work at a restaurant… I can imagine them to need a loud voice.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 27 June 2010 with categories: Giant Killing



Yeah, so the result of the match was predictable. But like always with this series, it’s everything around it that made it memorable. The euphoria, the different reactions of everyone,. That made this really into a colourful episode. It’s really refreshing to see another sports series in which it doesn’t mean the end of the world if you lose: in this series, what matters is the long run.

It seemed like everyone had a different way to interpret the match: Murakoshi was simply glad to have another win again. The fans on the other hand were ecstatic that they finally won again, while that one fan of Tsubaki in particular got his old passion back. That Japanese forward meanwhile was immediately thinking how he destroyed himself during that match. The Nagoya coach was more looking into the future (which really fits his professional outlook), while Tsubaki was already seeing more and more opportunities to break through his defence. The football is one thing, but what really makes this series memorable is how it brings all of these different characters together.

Also, I like how the creators handled Tsubaki: he’s really meant to be this future talent who is still very rough around the edges, but yet he’s far from your average shounen hero. He’s really still a rookie and this series knows it. He has the ability to pull these crazy stunts, but that’s all exactly because he just loses himself in his soccer. This episode also stressed very much that football is a team sport by letting Gino score. Also, I loved the way he was at a loss for words when those Brazilians came up to him, and had to answer that interview.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru



Luka. He is so badass that even rose petals instantly want to commit suicide by his sword.

Seriously though, I know I often criticise this anime, but episodes like this one really show that it knows how to build up an atmosphere. I really have no complaints whatsoever about that, because this really was an engaging episode to watch. The creators made well use of the background music, characters and visuals to create a bit of a creepy atmosphere that I was able to take seriously, despite the angst and large amount of suicidal themes of this series.

As for the graphics… this episode pretty much showed that we shouldn’t expect too much of the animation itself. The action scenes just consisted out of a bunch of still frames of wounds, and cut a lot of corners. The eye candy here really was in the visual effects, as the creators of this series may not be good animators, but they’re pretty good at CG and blending it in with the rest of the drawings.

Without the CG, this really feels like this kind of retro series that could have just as easily aired fifteen years ago. It’s definitely got its charms because of this.

But really… regarding Shuusei… how? Do we really not get any kind of explanation, other than that Yuki zapped him? I mean, what did the manga artist have in mind when he created him? Having an all powerful character with Yuki, who can apparently heal any kind of wound, while also being able to stop all kinds of powerful magic with his crosses. That’s really hard to balance out! At a certain point the tension will just completely vanish because there’s no reason to fear for any of the characters to die here. Luka with his extreme powers is one thing that still is within bounds, due to his flaws, but Yuki is about to go too far in this.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Heartcatch Precure



Ohohoho, things are getting really interesting now: there’s going to be a third main character. I have a really good suspicion on who it’s going to be, but whoever it’s going to be, new main characters who show up half-way often have a great effect in terms of character development. Both for themselves, but also for the ones around them.

I also want to praise the creators for not giving any shallow hints towards this in prior: it really was this episode that dropped the bomb on a new character, so that the first half of the series would really focus on Tsubomi and Erika, instead of it becoming a sort of waiting exercise for this third character to appear.

Also, Dune has a boss. This is even more of a hint that we’re going to get him taken under the loop somewhere along the line. It does introduce the show to the “bad guy behind the shadows” syndrome, however. You know, those series that might have well developed mid-bosses, but very stereotypically evil end bosses who don’t end up doing anything until the final episode. It’s going to be interesting if this series manages to avoid this.

The main story of this episode wasn’t the best, nor the worst. It clearly was cut a bit short in favour of the third critter that appeared. It’s a nice story about being able to take criticism, but lacked the depth of the previous episodes.

And on a side-note: Kumojacky and Cobraja need to do that ambush trick more often, as it worked surprisingly well.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Full Metal Alchemist - Brotherhood



Aha, so the creators really reserved the 64th episode for the aftermath of the series. This really was meant to be the climax of Full Metal Alchemist. Interestingly,t he creators chose not to end it with a bang, but rather tone down the action in order to focus on the main characters. Father really was already defeated at the end of the previous episode. This episode was really meant to wrap everything up: show the end of Father, and resolve the plot thread of Ed and Al getting their body back.

As expected, the characters found some sort of loophole in order to get Al’s body back. This time, the loophole was the door. We learn that every character has a door of alchemy, and apparently Ed knew that he could trade that in, instead of offering another of his limbs to get back to Al.

As for the budget, well, the creators were lucky that a lot of this episode was about a bunch of simple shapes (Greed, Flask (as I’ll call him for now, as “The inhabitant of the Flask” is a bit too long), God), so they could really plan the best of their budget to the previous action-packed view. The final confrontation between Flask was a worthy climax for the series, even though he already had been defeated.

One thing I did not understand was Hohenheim, though. Why did he end up dying? Was it because Father sucked all of the philosopher’s stones out of him or something?

Overall though, this has been an awesome series. It’s not among my favourites, but it still was a wonderful ride. I really hope that Bones is going to adapt more manga in the same way in the future.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

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Just like the titular character, Boogiepop Phantom the series has become some sort of urban legend itself in this medium. Its Light Novels are amongst the first Light Novel ever released, dating back to mid-90s. Moreover, the franchise has endured the test of time, as it inspires anime, live-action adaptations and Boogiepop is a well-known […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 77/100

Coming to Kotobuki, there are lots of aspect that catch my attention: it’s from a famed director Tsutomu Mizushima who can turn the most trashable and genre-able concepts into something intriguing; it’s an CG show about air pilots: it has extended aerial combat set-pieces. Watching it till the end, I have to tip my hat […]

Kemurikusa (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 79/100

Kemurikusa is your very definition of an overlooked gem, one that never really gain much discussion anywhere, but one that has a distinctive style from an up-and-coming auteur who has full control of his projects. Coming to Kemurikusa, all the attention it has came from the fact that it is created by TATSUKI, a mastermind […]

Mob Psycho 100 S2 Anime Review – 87/100

Upon finishing this series, the only question on my mind was how many animators did Bones sacrifice on ONE’s altar to achieve this. Following their prior season, Mob Psycho 100 Season 2 continues Bones adaptation of webcomic and manga author ONE’s 4th work, Mob Psycho 100. ONE has also authored the critically acclaimed One Punch […]