The main reason why I run this blog is to praise stuff that I like. Criticizing once in a while is fun too, especially when an anime has both good and bad things, but I tend to not focus on hating. Having said that though: enter this season.
This season is huge, which has its pluses and minuses. The plus is that there are a lot of well written and interesting series, which either have great visuals, a compelling background, well written dialogue, excellent characterization or any combination of those. The downside is that there also was a lot to whine about. The result is one of the longest monthly summaries I’ve written in a long while, containing a lot of rants. This season had a lot of great surprises, but also a large amount of disappointments.
Oh, and from this month, I’m going to include most of my OVA impressions in these summaries, rather than doing an entire post about them. They just consume too much time.
#6 – High Schooll of the Dead – Drifters of the Dead – (3,5/10) – Terrible, terrible OVA that had the entire cast act incredibly out of character just for the sake of fanservice (and with this show, that’s saying something!) and a whole slur of unfunny jokes.
#5 – Votoms Finder – (7,25/10)
It wasn’t terrible by any means. This just lacked ambition, and I have no clue what to recommend it for. Everything was simply decent at best, but nothing really was interesting to watch. The plot was too simple, the characters were likable, but too one-dimensional. Overall it was just a bit of a waste of time.
#4 – Tansuwarashi – (8/10)
The final part of the Young Animator Training Project. It was really adorable, and the creators got a surprising amount of character out of only 20 minutes.
#3 – Otona Joshi no Anime Time – (8,25/10)
Whoa, where did this come from? And why is it so good? This was actually a really interesting look in the life of a married woman with a kid of four years old. At only 20 minutes it really got some depth out of her character. I applaud the creators for actually making such a thing. Encore!
#2 – .Hack//Quantum – (8,25/10)
The finale of .Hack//Quantum was a solid adventure. Overall I expected a bit more about this series, though, but given its length, I’m happy enough to see that the creators actually came up with a full story for just 90 minutes. The third episode held little surprises, but it wrapped itself up quite nicely. It didn’t became anything amazing, but the climax itself was nicely paced and had a good atmosphere. A solid adventure overall.
#1 – Yozakura Quartet – Hoshi no Umi – (8,75/10)
Amazing direction and animation. This OVA was incredibly entertaining and a ton of imagination was put into the action scenes. The characters are all consistently fun to watch, and really brought to life. Only criticism is that sometimes the characters didn’t know what to talk about so they kept talking about their powers.
#43 (new) – 30Sai ni Hoken Taiku – (3,75/10) – This is the kind of show with bad sex jokes that all fall flat. Moronic characters, bad delivery, terrible animation. Dropped.
#42 (new) – Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai – (4/10) – Oretsuba is abysmal. There’s no way around it, but it’s bad in a completely bizarre way. It’s absolutely nothing but whining, pointless talking and fanservice. And I mean the kind of talking that’s nothing but filler, the type that just goes on and on between terribly written characters. Dropped.
#41 (new) – Hoshizora e Kakaru Hoshi – (4/10) – This was just nearly unwatchable. It committed just about every sin of the generic moe show, but worst of all was the utterly abysmal voice acting. Every time a girl appeared on the screen she was completely unbearable to watch, due to both the acting, the situations they were put in and the utterly contrived and cliched portrayal of these cardboard boxes. Dropped.
#40 (new) – Hidan no Aria – (4,75/10) – Oh god… the pain. Hidan no Aria was a total chore to sit through with these characters who do just about everything to get on my nerves. It’s a boring cliche fest with nothing original about it so far. If it’s supposed to get good later on, why can’t it do this immediately instead of forcing us to sit through yet another Kugimiya Rie Tsundere. This girl is probably the worst one she’s done. Dropped.
#39 (new) – Pretty Rythm – (5/10) – When will we finally get another GOOD shoujo adventure again? This one is terrible, it has all the tropes and isn’t even aware that it’s blatantly lying in front of its audience. There’s no build-up whatsoever, just a girl who randomly gets good at figure skating (at least, according to the audience in the anime. She still looks terrible). Dropped.
#38 (21) – Seikon no Qwaser – (5/10) – Okay, this show has completely stopped pretending. Just label it as porn and watch it for the boobs. Otherwise stay far away. Dropped.
#37 (new) – Fujilog – (5/10) – I really dislike most sitcoms, and Fujilog reminded me why again. It’s just another show about a whining middle aged guy who does random things in order to attempt to be fulfilled. It’s got no charm, no humour, just move on. Dropped.
#36 (new) – Sofuteni – (5,25/10) – There are the good slice of life series like Tamayura, which show the daily lives of the lead characters, making sure to create a versatile cast with characters who have depth to them. And then there is Sofuteni, which is just a collection of random moe antics, fanservice and characters who have just one trait to them. What’s even more annoying is that the lead character’s trait is ditziness, and she surely loves to remind us of that. I like the slice of life genre because it’s able to create really down to earth and life-like characters. It doesn’t really work when the entire cast is too busy desperately trying to be moe. Dropped.
#35 (new) – Dog Days – (5,75/10) – The premise of this show could have actually worked out. But not with such a flimsy delivery. The acting is terrible, the visuals bland, and the characters are all just boring. None of the scenarios are written to be interesting, and overall this was a big waste of time for me. Dropped.
#34 (new) – Sengoku Otome – (6/10) – Sengoku Otome’s biggest sin is its lack of creativity, or any other kind of ambition to do anything interesting. It’s just another bastardization of famous historical figures by reducing them to a bunch of silly cliches in the midst of a random adventure that somehow involves a teenaged girl. Nothing stands out and no attempt is made to make this setting any more believable due to bland characterizations. Dropped.
#33 (new) – Toriko – (6/10) – You know, I refuse to give this series a chance when it keeps testing my patience like this. I tried watching the first three episodes, but the first was a pointless one-piece cross-over, the second was exactly the same as the OVA and the third, while new, was as utterly boring as the other two. Toriko has the kind of charm that wears off after five minutes. Oh, and I also hate this show for making me hungry, only to show terribly animated people eating, taking away all this hunger again. Dropped.
#32 (29) – Jewel Pet – (6,5/10) – This show tries to be completely chaotic. While it is a step above the second Jewel Pet series, it does get old really fast. Dropped.
#31 (30) – Maria Holic – (6,5/10) – I refuse to touch anything more of this sequel unless I see a lot of people claim that it’s much better than the original. At this point my patience on Shaft Sequels has completely run out. I’ve said this many times before, but I have yet to run into a Shaft sequel that wasn’t disappointing. Its first episode also didn’t seem to change that, as it’s yet another one of those comedies that aren’t funny. Dropped.
#30 (new) – Suzy’s Zoo – (6,5/10) – I can really imagine that Suzy’s Zoo must be wonderful for its target audience. The thing is, that that target audience ranges between the ages of 2 and 4 years old. Seriously, even for a kids’ show, nothing happened here. Again, only go for this one if you’re really, really desperate for a big hug. Dropped.
#29 (new) – Happy Kappi – (6,75/10) – This is one for the youngest kids, though it didn’t really capture me. There was just too little that happens, plus the characters are just too annoying. Dropped.
#28 (new) – Yugioh Zexal – (6,75/10) – I actually used to watch the first season of Yugioh a lot before I discovered the internet. Of course, that show was terribly flawed as well, but there is one major difference between that series, and Yugioh Zexal: Yugioh Duel Monsters actually genuinely took itself seriously. It was out there to deliver a serious story. Sure, it was a story chock full of plotholes, but nevertheless, it had a solid story. Yugioh Zexal is more like that obnoxious brat that you just ignore because he’s trying too hard to get attention. It’s not trying to tell a serious story, it’s just showing another random brat and a lot of overacting without any build-up. Because of this, Duel Monsters’ campness became a lot of fun to make fun of, while Yugioh Zexal just gets old really fast. Dropped.
#27 (new) – Lotte no Omocha – (7/10) – Lotte no Omocha is… annoying. Its premise already is questionable, but it also is unnecessarily padded, so things take bloody forever to get somewhere. That’s not good in a show with tons of fanservice, one-dimensional characters and Kugimiya Rie as a tsundere. Dropped.
#26 (new) – Dororon Enma-kun Meera Meera – (7,5/10) – I was about to give up on this show, being really disappointed at how lazy and repetitive it was. And then episode 03 aired. Oh boy. What the heck was that? It’s an entire episode dedicated to fanservice, but it did so in such a bizarre way that I couldn’t help but laugh over and over. Was it a fluke? Were these first episodes just build-up? I mean, the director of this thing remains a very creative guy, so I still have hopes for this series.
#25 (new) – Nichijou – (7,5/10) – Nichijou sets itself apart from the other slice of life series that Kyoani has done with its creativity: it’s about completely random things that took quite some imagination to come up with. Unfortunately though, it lacks in its delivery: the characters are all bland and one dimensional, and the humour is just not funny. The randomness also just feels too much like randomness for the sake of randomness, and what could have been an enjoyable slice of life show just doesn’t have enough substance or anything that could catch my attention. Dropped.
#24 (19) – The World God Only Knows – (7,5/10) – The only reason why I’m still watching this is because of how people have been saying that the future arcs would be good. And granted, episode 03 was slightly better, if only because a character appeared who actually appeared to have half of a working brain cell. She’s still pretty dull, though. At this point, her only function seems to be to show how awesome Keima is. You don’t make characters awesome in that way! Make your characters awesome because they’re awesome. Not because the rest of the cast is a bunch of one-eyed dimwits!
#23 (new) – A-Channel – (7,75/10) – A Channel is enjoyable, nothing more, nothing less. At the very least it does not commit the great sin of having shallow characters, but they’re actually quite enjoyable to watch, and all of them have more to offer than just the cliches that they’re based around. The humour and pacing is very formulaic, though.
#22 (13) – Gosick – (7,75/10) – Aagh! This show gets on my nerves. It’s not that Gosick is bad. Heck, when it wants to be, it can be really good. Episode 12 was excellent and showed more than anything what an excellent cast it has. And yet it just keeps wasting time on these boring characters or stories who just aren’t interesting, and most bizarrely refuse to develop themselves even when they’re in the spotlights.
#21 (new) – Hen Zemi – (7,75/10) – This isn’t as good as the OVA, but to my surprise it’s still worth watching. It’s still completely disturbing and the chemistry between the characters still shines through.
#20 (new) – Yondemasuyo, Azazel-san – (7,75/10) – Azazel-San is not as good as its OVA, and that mostly is because it might be trying a bit TOO hard to be funny. It’s just so incredibly extreme, and that gives me flashbacks to Dokuro-chan,which also was funny due to the shock factor. Still, it’s working so far, so let’s see whether the creators can keep up this momentum.
#19 (new) – Moshidora – (7,75/10) – It’s a tad cheesy, but Moshidora is quite an interesting series about management and high school baseball. It makes use of its bizarre setting to really take an in-depth look into the different characters, and the challenges that the baseball team that this series focuses on has to face. The drama works sometimes, though at other times it doesn’t and moves a tad too fast, though.
#18 (new) – Fireball – (8/10) – It received a number of upgrades here and there, but the premise still is the same and a quite enjoyable way to spend 2 minutes. The banter remains fun.
#17 (19) – Gykakkyou Burai Kaiji – (8/10) – The definite winner of the most WTF-ED of the season, Kaiji is nicely bubbling along where it left off. I haven’t had the chance to watch the fourth episode yet, although the third episode did show that the current arc is quite lazily written. I mean, the creators manipulate lady luck a little too much in order to get to the maximum amount of tension. The first season of Kaiji stood out because above gambling, it was a battle of wits. This is just about people rolling dice and being lucky and unlucky at exactly the most convenient times.
#16 (new) – Sekai-Ichi Hatsukoi – (8/10) – This pleasantly surprised me. Alongside a romance, this also is a pretty neat story about a bunch of people who work at a manga publishing firm. The characterization is quite good and it can get quite funny when it wants to. The bad point is that it’s still too eager to get the lead characters to kiss and sleep with each other, though thankfully this isn’t as bad as in the OVA.
#15 (new) – Sket Dance – (8/10)
So far, Sket Dance is a bit forced, but fun to watch. It’s especially the scenario that is addictive and keeps me going back to watch, despite the characters who could have easily been really annoying. On top of that, the creators succeed in making the school it takes place in feel alive. If it can keep up this pace it can become a fairly enjoyable series.
#14 (new) – Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko – (8/10)
I’ve only had time to watch the first two episodes so far, but if this pacing keeps up we could get yet another great series from Shaft. It’s very annoying, and the characters all try to be way too cute, but the dialogue is well written and drew me in. The rest of this show needs to keep this dialogue going, while at the same time not pull a Bakemonogatari and make these dialogues go on and on and on.
#13 (9) – Showa Monogatari – (8/10)
If you’re wondering why I haven’t blogged episode four yet: I can’t find the bloody thing anywhere. This show is so obscure that people even won’t bother releasing raws, which is such a shame, because despite its flaws, Showa Monogatari has a very good cast of characters to work with. It knows that it shouldn’t only focus on its lead character, and instead gives the guy’s entire family some depth. So come on, don’t let this sink into oblivion without at least giving people the chance to watch it….
#12 (new) – Deadman Wonderland – (8/10)
So, apparently a lot of changes are made compared to the manga. That does explain the random plotholes that just stand out so blatantly, but at the same time I don’t consider this series bad yet. At the moment, I’m still enjoying this series: it does a lot of thing wrong, but it also does a lot of things right. Seriously, the lengths these creators to through to torment this fourteen year old boy is just amazing. At the moment, I’m willing to forgive the plotholes for that.
#11 (new) – X-Men – (8,25/10)
Where Wolverine was a major step above Iron Man, the X-Men is another step above Wolverine by actually having great characters and gorgeous action scenes. Wolverine is adorable in everything he does, and and the rest of the cast members complement each other quite well. If this trend of improvement continues, then I can’t wait to see what Blade will be like.
#10 (23) – Gintama – (8,25/10)
I may be in a minority here, but I don’t really like Gintama’s sequel as much as I thought I would. I mean, it’s still funny, but at the same time half the jokes are stale or predictable, try too hard or just fall flat. After watching 120 episodes of Gintama already, I’ve gotten too much used to their brand of humour. It’s no longer the comedy classic that it once was, unfortunately.
#9 (new) – Ao no Exorcist – (8,25/10)
Ao no Exorcist is really aiming to be the shounen epic of the season. So far, it does not have the most interesting characters of the season, but it does have a rock-solid execution. The action and the delivery of the drama is excellent and this can promise great things for this series in the future.
#8 (new) – [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control – (8,25/10)
C is originality combined with a few cliches here and there (the lead character being the “chosen rookie” being the most notable), and the animation also clearly shows that the creators don’t have the correct budget for that they want to do, but it still has a lot of imagination put into it. The setting is imaginative, the storytelling is solid, it leaves no moments wasted and it takes care to give depth to its characters. It’s a diamond in the rough, so all that’s left is for the creators to polish it.
#7 (new) – Hana-Saku Iroha – (8,5/10)
Hana-Saku Iroha had some really amazing first two episodes. That was like, True Tears material. Unfortunately, the two episodes afterwards were a step backwards again, most notably stepping away from the wonderful subtlety. The question is really: was that intentional, or did the creators play their biggest trumps right at the beginning? Even beyond that though, Hana-Saku Iroha has an excellent cast of characters, both the teenagers and the adults are really interesting to watch. It’s definitely one of the top two high school dramas of the season.
#6 (new) – Steins;Gate – (8,5/10)
Steins;Gate is well researched, has excellent dialogue and a great main character to watch. The whole concept of a time machine is looked into with a lot of depth, and at the same time this doesn’t forget to flesh out its characters. The pacing here is slow, but it gets more addictive with every single episode.
#5 (new) – Tiger & Bunny – (8,5/10)
Here’s a show that did a lot of things right. It’s got a great cast of characters, an imaginative setting that both criticizes as celebrates the superhero business, an excellent scenario, it’s consistently fun to watch and it does an excellent job of fleshing out both its cast and setting. Definitely amongst the top of this season.
#4 (5) – Supernatural The Animation – (8,5/10)
Supernatural impressed me. The third batch was all about the main characters, and it really put them through excellent development. It’s here where this series showed that it’s got an excellent plot and that it can do more than enough to make up for the stiff acting (which really wasn’t much of a problem this month).
#3 (3) – Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica – (8,75/10)
Madoka Magica was awesome, but I don’t think that it’ll make my top 10 anime or anything. It really was an awesome ride, but to me it didn’t set itself apart from the other series that also were awesome rides. I hate to be negative on such a series and all, but the characters overall could have been a bit better fleshed out. The final episodes were excellent as well, containing very interesting plot twists, though they didn’t blow me away.
#2 (new) – Hyouge Mono – (8,75/10)
Not only is Hyouge Mono amazing, it also has balls for attempting to do such a commercial risk: stating beforehand that it’ll be 39 episodes long, having no moe nor any bishies and being fully centered around a bunch of old guys talking. And it does that incredibly well. The main character in particular is incredibly eccentric and a complete delight to watch, but the rest of the cast also consists out of a bunch of complete weirdos. The facial expressions in particular are unique in this series, and to boot, it also has an excellent plot and dialogue. It’s different, yet well written and executed, and I love how this series can be both serious and hilarious at the same time.
#1 (new) – Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai. – (8,75/10)
This show got a huge emotional response out of me. The characterization is just wonderful, the entire cast feels alive and the themes are very strong here, about growing apart. Every character has something likable about him or her, and they all play brilliantly off each other. It’s been only three episodes, but that was just an emotional roller coaster and definitely among my favourites of the season.