Posted on 31 May 2011 with categories: Monthly Summaries

This really is a season of building up: half of the shows are carefully preparing for later, so who knows what kind of season it’ll eventually become? Let me say this though: there are a lot of shows that really take good use of their premises. It’s perhaps not the best spring season we’ve ever had so far, but it is a very imaginative and diverse one. Oh, and the fact that there are so many shows that focus on adults also helps.

OVA Releases
#3 – Valkyria Chronicles III – (7,25/10)

Ah, what a shame. This one was really disappointing. I have to give credits for the creators in the way that they did make their main characters far, FAR less annoying than the characters of the TV-series… but they’re completely flat. Every character just has one side and that’s it. There’s way too much of them for just 24 minutes and they’re alll really poorly acted and fleshed out. The production values are also rather bad, and without knowing overall this just gets one big ‘meh’.
#2 – Norageki – (8,25/10)

This was only 20 minutes long, but it was really well told here. It’s a well paced mystery story with quite a nice ending. The characters, while not having any depth, still were interesting to follow as well.
#1 – Armored Trooper Votoms – Alone Again – (8,5/10)

Thankfully this actually turned out well. The story of Votoms got an excellent conclusion after all. Especially the end was great, but the entire OVA was based around a great idea that definitely fills in some of the gaps that the Gen-ei hen left open. This is simple but effective storytelling like it should be, and I’m glad that it really contributed to the Votoms Franchise again, unlike the abominations that were Case;Irvine and Finder.

#25 (14) – Denpa-Onna to Seishun Otoko – (7/10) – I dropped this show. It had potential at the beginning, but the endless discussions about nothing are badly drawn out and not interesting at all. Not to mention that the series was getting more annoying by the minute.
#24 (23) – A-Channel – (7,5/10) – In the end I dropped this. The biggest reason for this was that it was getting really repetitive; the characters just kept comparing boob sizes and they just kept talking about the same things.
#23 (16) – Sekai-Ichi Hatsukoi – (7,5/10) – It’s a shame, but I just had to drop this after the fifth episode because I just couldn’t get through it. It suddenly introduced a bunch of completely new characters, but they were the example of how ridiculously forced shounen ai can get. It had no good characterization whatsoever and unlike the first four episodes, this was just there to get guys to kiss and feel embarrassed.
#22 (21) – Hen Zemi – (7,5/10) – Hmm, Hen Zemi has become a bit boring. It’s unfortunately as I feared: the current season is just a list of gross things, without the energy or timing of the OVA. Because of that, it just has a shock factor, and when that is gone I see few reasons to actually come back to this, unfortunately.
#21 (24) – The World God Only Knows – (7,75/10) – I think that because of the hype surrounding this series before it aired gave me the complete wrong expectations about this series. For a laid-back story that aims for modest entertainment… I guess that it could have done a lot worse. It still hasn’t grabbed me, though, but I do admit that the past arc was the best so far.
#20 () – Inazuma Eleven – (7,75/10) – Four episodes in, and I strangely enough haven’t dropped this one yet. It has something that keeps me watching. The characters are all boring and the animation also isn’t that impressive, but the energy with which it presents itself is commendable. Seriously, this is really dark for a kids’ show, and it actually created quite a bit of an atmosphere that retained my interest.
#19 (27) – Astaroote no Omocha – (7,75/10) – Here’s the thing with Astarotte no Omocha: it sounds like a really bad premise, but it’s surprisingly heartfelt. It’s nothing special, but the relationship between parent and child is surprisingly well done here. I originally dropped this, but after picking it back up I have to admit that it has surprisingly enjoyable characters.
#18 (10) – Gintama – (8/10) – The Sarutobi-arc was just bad. It tried to be way too silly for the sake of silliness, and was just painful to watch. One more episode like that and I’m going to drop this thing because I don’t want to sit through that any longer. The episode after that was a great recap episode though, but yeah: it’s a little early for that one and it only highlights the production issues that the entire sequel has been having.
#17 (19) – Moshidora – (8/10) – Okay, so the budget was bare-bones, Moshidora actually told a surprisingly good story that made good use of its time of only ten episodes. The end was a bit cheesy, but the premise of a high school girl reading Drucker’s Management was quite interesting.
#16 (9) – Ao no Exorcist – (8/10) – In a surprise, this month suddenly brought the character to Hogwarts and this turned into a school life series. Okay. It’s a bit weird, but in terms of building up it did its job by exploring the characters, discussing their motivations and preparing for all hell to break loose later. Literally, probably.
#15 (7) – Hana-Saku Iroha – (8/10)

Lotsa building up here in this series. That unfortunately doesn’t really make this show as enjoyable to watch as it once was, but it’s still fun to watch the main cast together as they try to run the inn. Now all that’s left is to hope that that build-up actually pay\s off

#14 (20) – Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San – (8/10)

Moloch was awesome. He really saved this series from the same fate as Hen Zemi. But granted, the rest of the cast also is a lot of fun to watch here. It’s completely over the top, but surprisingly watchable.

#13 (18) – Fireball – (8/10)

This show still is random, but in a good way. I love these anti-climaxes that it just keeps throwing at the viewer, and its comedic timing is also pretty good here. Oh, and the graphics also look really good at this point. Recommended if you want to waste two minutes.

#12 (11) – X-Men – (8,25/10)

The visuals here are damn good: this show looks vivid and wild, and the action always is interesting to watch. the story leaves the most tings to be desired: it feels too random at this point. The characters aren’t the best, but they’re still pretty interesting to watch at the moment.

#11 (13) – Showa Monogatari – (8,25/10)

In this month, this series has continued to paint a surprisingly authentic picture of Japan in 1964. There were a few bad parts, like the animation or the drama around Kouhei, but overall the cast has grown quite nicely so far. The four preview episodes were weird, but they did show how the cast evolved in quite an interesting way. It’s got this great combination between random slice of life and meaningful drama.

#10 (26) – Dororon Enma-Kun Meera Meera – (8,25/10)

This show. Is crazy. It’s a fanservice show, but it delivers its fanservice in such a bizarre way that I can’t help but love it. It’s completely juvenile and yet fun to watch from beginning to end, with great jokes and a lot of creativity that will go with any idea, no matter how stupid ti is. Oh, and beyond that, the soundtrack is also much better than I expected here.

#9 (12) – Deadman Wonderland – (8,5/10)

This show is extreme. It’s complete balls to the walls in its themes and mood. But at the same time though, it doesn’t forget about its characters. This show has become surprisingly interesting to watch due to the cast of characters who are surprisingly well fleshed out for such a premise. Beyond that, it’s also the creativity that the setting has, and all of the things that it just keeps throwing at the lead character that have sold me.

#8 (15) – Sket Dance – (8,5/10)

After its first episode, I heard from several people that the different stories vary from really good to really mediocre. Now here’s the thing: after eight episodes, I have not seen a bad episode yet. Sure, it gets a bit far-fetched at times, but overall Sket Dance surprised me at what a sincere series it has become. Every episode so far has had its charms, and the best thing is that it’s also surprisingly varied: both the different arcs and characters stand on their own, and this series takes pride in its creativity, which seems a gimmick at first, yet ends up surprisingly well used.

#7 (17) – Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji – (8,5/10)

Well, it’s taken a while, but the current arc of Kaiji kicks ass! This arc was very calculate, which makes things pay off even more at the end. The creators really manged to crawl into the minds of these characters, and they really impressed me there. The atmosphere also really worked here. More of these arcs, please.

#6 (8) – [C] The Money Of Soul and Possibility Control – (8,5/10)

The great thing about C is how well it looks upon its subject material: it just keeps offering different views, motivations, people and opinions, some of which are surprisingly well fleshed out. It’s a shame that it doesn’t have the right budget to really animate what it wants, but it does know how to create an atmosphere.

#5 (6) – Steins;Gate – (8,5/10)

Steins;Gate is slow, but very solid. It has a great cast so far, its themes are really interesting, the plot is really well paced and the atmosphere rocks. Sure, it follows a bit of a harem set-up with a guy surrounded by many girls, but it has more tan enough to make up for it.

#4 (4) – Tiger & Bunny – (8,5/10)

If I had to summarize Tiger & Bunny with one word, it’d be lovable. Heck, the entire cast is a joy to watch, even when the main storyline is out of the picture. The bond between the different characters is always being developed, and the whole backdrop of superheroes working for sponsors is still working really well to keep everything together.

#3 (22) – Gosick – (8,75/10)

In this month… Gosick has become amazing. Seriously, the last episode that was even remotely mediocre was episode fourteen. After that, Gosick has been nothing but character development, breath-taking adventures and engaging thrillers. Finally everything has come together, but I seriously did not expect this show to become THIS good. Right now, this show has turned into a roller coaster ride that just keeps coming with interesting plot twists, and not to mention the characters, who received major improvements.

#2 (2) – Hyouge Mono – (8,75/10)

This show can both be hysterical and serious when it wants to, and it just rocks at both areas. It has without a doubt the best dialogue of the entire season, even though it’s really difficult to try and understand. It’s a really authentic view at the sengoku era that combines politics, aesthetics, silliness and intrigue with each other brilliantly so far.

#1 (1) – Ano Hi Mita no Hana no Namae o Boku-Tachi wa Mada Shiranai – (9/10)

This turned out to be an amazing series, with exceptionally brilliant characterizations. Every episode pushes the characters forward and it leaves no moment wasted to give more meaning to them. It’s a sad show, focused on running away, but it has just the right combination between sadness and hope here.

Posted on 30 May 2011 with categories: Ao no Exorcist

Oh, I’m SO glad that this show is going to be 24 episodes long. It really would not have worked at all with only 12 episodes. With this though, this show can actually build itself up well. This episode in particular would have been a waste of time for a short series (there is no way five episodes would be sufficient to wrap everything up right now!), but for a longer show it was a very good look at Shiemi and Izumo.

Also, in true shounen fashion, this episode introduced this series’ class and combat system. That’s not a bad thing, by the way. In fact, one of the things that I like about shounen series is their detailed looks into combat and superpowers. When done right it can make for a very interesting series. This episode for example: when the different powers were introduced they looked like a generic RPG system, and yet at the end of the episode the creators made me really interested in the summon class.

Oh, and this episode subverted the “useless female love interest”-trope. Yeah, she’s naive and all, but it’s good to see a token female who for once doesn’t want to be rescued all the time. I like the chemistry between her and Rin; despite their cliches they have this genuine charm to them.

So yeah, ideally you’d of course want every single episode of a series to kick ass, but as long as it pays off in the end I can understand the need for these school life episodes. I will bitch whenever they’re not interesting, though.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on with categories: Hana-Saku Iroha

Okay, so with this episode it’s clear: Hana-Saku Iroha is building up to a love polygon: we have this new girl who likes Kou, while Ohana and Kou still don’t know whether they actually like each other, and while Tohru is likely to start hitting on Ohana anytime soon now, with Minko still having her crush on Tohru. The only one who misses at this point is Nako and the entire picture will be complete.

I’m not the biggest fan of love polygons, as they tend to be really annoying, but at the very least this series is aware of that and therefore is building up things carefully. Plus, if the rest of the episodes will be as interesting as this past arc, then it’ll still be a very interesting series.

It’s a nice and stressful episode for Ohana, and I liked how this past arc created its drama, even though it was a collection of coincidences strangely happening all at the same time. This episode however took that idea and rolled with it, resulting in quite a bit of character development and new sides of characters that we hadn’t seen before. Overall, these were the best episodes of Hana-Saku Iroha since the first two episodes.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 29 May 2011 with categories: Tiger & Bunny

This show is a delight to watch, even when Lunatic goes on a holiday. Instead, this episode was about the Dragon Kid and like all of the previous that were meant to highlight a particular character, it gave a complete new meaning to her.

what’s more though: even in those episodes, the series continues to build the bond between the important characters, even when they’re not the focus. This episode was also about Kotetsu and his daughter, Barnaby becoming more open about his trauma. This was all made possible by a seemingly silly story at first: taking care of a baby. Because of it though, we even got to see the producer woman being put into a situation that would have been impossible to film (the son of the major getting kidnapped would be… really hard to explain), reducing her to a simple assistant, rather than someone who always gives out orders. All of that was really refreshing. This really was an episode where characters could relate to each other.

The only pity is that the main villains this time only played such a small role. Girls with those abilities deserve to be more than just child kidnappers. I know that it makes perfect sense for the three of them to team up, but they could have been featured in a story that took a bit more advantage of their abilities. Right now they were held back by the one major flaw in storytelling of this series: the way that the main characters are criminal magnets. I know that this series does this to prove its point about superheroes and all, but in this case it prevented a bunch of potentially awesome villains to shine even more.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Deadman Wonderland

It’s still a bit strange to have someone claim that she lost a stomach and all, but I liked this episode a lot again. For the first time it actually brought in a bit of hope. People started to treat Ganta kindly, and for once he wasn’t alone. It will be interesting to see how this series will develop this.

Beyond that, this was an episode of backgrounds as well: there were a lot of flashbacks or characters telling about their pasts and when or why they ended up at the Deadman Wonderland, tying in neatly with the ED. I didn’t like the ED for this series at first, and I still think that Nirgilis did a much better job on Birdy the Mighty and Eureka7, but it’s actually quite interesting to see images of the past of the cast.

I’m not sure what’s up with the priest in this episode. He’s weird in any case, and while he may not be as bad as the Olympic medallist, he still needs a lot of work at this point. Still, this series has a habit of only explaining motives after someone does something strange, so this should be fine. In the end I’m getting more worried about what was originally meant to be the biggest potential pitfall for this series: the length!

The thing with Manglobe is that there is no pattern whatsoever in how their sequels. Their original stories always get the right amount of episodes they deserve, but in terms of their adaptations: Sarai-Ya Goyou condensed the final chapters of its manga so that it could fit everything in. The World God Only Knows came with a sequel that was actually planned in advance, while Seiken no Blacksmith just ended with no intention to fully animate its story. It can be anything at this point, but as great as these past episodes were, episode 12 will be a very bad point to end this series.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 28 May 2011 with categories: X-Men

Here’s the thing: after eight episodes, I can pretty much say that X-Men has the best animation of the season. Sure, some of the slice of life series may have more fluidity, but they also are a lot easier to animate and keep consistent. The animation with the X-Men is wild, vivid, colourful and very diverse. C has this too, but at the same time it does have a lot of off-model shots and CG. Tiger & Bunny meanwhile also has the CG working against its otherwise great eye candy. Ao no Exorcist is animated consistently meanwhile, but it instead just looks too mundane too often. The X-Men, while it may not be amongst the Madhouse series with the best visuals, still stands apart with its consistently interesting visuals and excellent character designs. This episode again looked excellent. Perhaps only Nichijou has better animation, but I have seen too little of that to really say something about that.

Overall this turned out to be quite a solid action series: the action kicks ass and appears often, there is intrigue, the characters all have their issues that blend together quit nicely. It’s only the storyline that I’m not yet convinced of: at this point it still feels a bit too random and unconnected. What was the purpose of the U-Men beyond just kidnapping a bunch of people? They really could have used that time to focus more on the characters and real villains.

Apart from that, this episode was really meant to build intrigue, and I’m curious to see whether that will pay off or not. A lot of the series this season are very big on the build up, and most of them are doing a great job on that, though X-Men still feels a bit iffy here. I’ve said before that the main villains here are uninteresting. Wolverine’s ending worked so well because it had a really charismatic villain. What X-Men meanwhile needs to do is build a finale around Sasaki and Xavier on one hand, and Cyclops and Emma Frost on the other hand. It will be much more difficult than just “have battle to defeat the big bad”, although that part definitely must not be half-assed either.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Gosick

Um. Wow. This might just as well have been the best episode of Gosick yet. This past month has just been absolutely amazing for this series, there’s no way around it. The bad stories? All gone. The annoying characters? Who cares about those? Heck, every episode this month has delivered beyond what I could have ever expected from this series.

Cordelia’s background… holy crap. To think that in the past half year, there have been two series that feature main characters that were pretty much the products of outright rape (for obvious spoiler reasons I’m not going to mention what the other series was, but those who saw it know what I’m talking about). This episode really gave some insights at who Cordellia was, as well as completely prove me wrong in thinking that the red haired guy was supposed to be a villain.

I also love that how in hindsight, the series has been dropping hints and references to this episode over and over. Unfortunately this can’t be said of every arc: the pointless arcs still remain pointless at this point, but the good arcs are surprisingly well tied to each other. And heck, this past month has really made up for the bad arcs of this series. Gosick has turned from a cheap mystery show to an amazingly engaging adventure series. It’s not just Victorique who is awesome: it’s the bond between every character here that just gets better and better.

The only part I did not like about this episode: Bones didn’t have the budget to really animate that dance scene of Cordellia. That’s a bit of a pity.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 27 May 2011 with categories: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-Tachi wa Mada Shiranai

This probably is the moe-est show that I’ve ever considered as my favourite of a season. I mean, I have enjoyed teenaged drama romances before and all, but not to the point where they were done this well in such a short time. More than any other series this season, this series really nails the feelings of its lead characters and it continues to push their relationships forward. This episode was slightly special, though: for once it focused especially on Jinta and Menma.

Instead, I can only see this episode as a build-up red herring. That’s nothing bad, by the way. Some of my favourite stories use these red herrings. Rather than pointless, I love it when done well, they are excellent in fleshing out the characters and story, and the same pretty much happened here: the whole rocket story has nothing to do with Menma’s wish and all, but this episode really stressed the bond and the memories that the main characters made with each other.

By the way, it’s great that Noitamina has been pretty much consistently amazing for the past five seasons here: for the past five seasons and eight series since the timeslot turned into an hour long, there pretty much has been an amazingly well written series on, with the best still being Spring 2010. 2010 was overall a mediocre year, but THAT was the best season that Noitamina ever had). Heck, pretty much the only mistake during this period was Fractale. As for Anohana, I’d probably put it somewhere in the bottom of the top 8 of my favourite Noitamina series. Where exactly entirely depends on the ending.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control

Ah, this episode was exactly what this series needed. This was an episode to look back. It took a break from the different battles, and instead gave two characters the chance to play as the narrator, in order to tell a bit more about themselves. In case of Mikuni, it’s about his past, and in case of Mashu it’s about her feelings. It’s a good chance to take a bit of a step back and focus on these characters in order to solidify the finale of this series, and this episode did that wonderfully. Oh, and it was also a really nice touch to suddenly revisit a past character who seemed like nothing but cannon fodder t the time.

I only have a few minor complaints about this episode. The animation for example wasn’t really up to par, even for this series’ standards. I really wonder what this series would have looked like if the earthquake hadn’t happened, and because of that I do have to admit that despite the creative images, Mononoke, Trapeze and Bake Neko have this one trumped in terms of visuals.

As for the individual stories, the thing with C is that none of its episodes so far have been as bad as the worst episodes of Trapeze, nor have they been as good as the best episodes of Trapeze. In terms of the overall story and characters though, C has definitely been better. Of course, Trapeze did tie itself up really nicely in its final episode, but at this pacing, this series can be able to do the same, only with a much better storyline and characters. At the same time though, the direction will never be as good as it was in Mononoke or Bake Neko. It just lacks the energy, force and timing to really draw you in with its pacing.
Bake Neko was pretty much the perfect short story, and ever since I never saw something of Kenji Nakamura that was good as that one. But his shows have always been very interesting to watch.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 26 May 2011 with categories: Hyouge Mono

This show really knows when it needs to be funny and when it needs to be serious here, often combining the two really well. That falcon scene for example was hysterical, but also the start of this episode was just awesome in the way in which it turned into a political bluff-match where Sasuke had to take care of the food for important guests. The pineapple already was nicely used in the previous episode, but this episode really took advantage of these cultural differences.

Beyond that, this also had a lot of build-up, but it was much better done than in the previous episode. The acting brought the characters alive here, even when they were just talking to each other: it wasn’t as emotionless as it was an episode ago. And yet at the same time, while this series is completely different from anything that Bee-Train has ever made before, there is one thing that makes this series perfect for them, and they took advantage of this really well: the conversations, and the use of pauses there. I’m not sure whether the manga had this too, but the timing of this series is impeccable. It’s a hate or love technique of course, but I love how these silences also speak huge parts about what these characters are trying to say to each other, non-verbally.

The animation for this series has been… interesting. I mean, it’s not like this series is consistent, but the key scenes are drawn really well, and actually are very well animated. The characters may not move around the screen much, but when they do move it’s slow, yet surprisingly smooth, and these scenes really manage to stand out.
Rating: ** (Excellent)


Mail will not be published
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 09:49 AM)
    I read the first volume of dimenion W, good art but so far this looks like it’ll be an action series you read if you’re only in need of a fix for one. I also read the first volume of that shounen comedy dagashi kashi, nothing really impressive but every so often it had a moment, most of it due to reaction faces/expressions.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 07:40 AM)
    @Kaiser: yes unfortunately. It cost me a 6-pack of Corona to have my Mexican friend sit there and translate it cor me.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 04:38 AM)
    @Bam: That berserk chapter isn’t in English its in Spanish =<
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 04:07 AM)
    Kaiser marathons a re-watch of star wars, makes list of pros and cons:
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Nov 29. 2015 09:50 PM)
    @Aidan: well interestingly in the pilot “what doth life?” causes a file not found error, so it fitted perfectly.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Nov 29. 2015 04:24 PM)
    @Bam, Nope. Never seen Xavier.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Nov 29. 2015 03:25 AM)
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 10:22 PM)
    @Aidan: it does seem like you’ve actually seen Xavier, in which case I’m impressed. Didn’t think you had it in you.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 09:35 PM)
    Speaking of errors, can anybody else open Evil Genius Scanlations page? I keep getting a gateway error. I know there should be a new Berserk on there but some force is keeping it from me. This is messed up.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:38 PM)
    @Bam, Easy. 404 not found

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Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]


Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]


Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]


Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]