Posted on 28 September 2012 with categories: Summer 2012 Kaleidoscope

Ah screw it, I’ve got so much to catch up to when I get back that I’m just going to combine all episodes that air in the last two weeks of the season into one post. A wrap-up will follow once I finish everything.

#1: Phi Brain – 50: Well, colour me surprised. That was actually really good. Seriously, this was a terrific conclusion that wraps everything up and delivered a really heart-warming conclusion for Freecell. The art was also much better than usual with the cell shaded detail. Congrats Phi Brain, you redeemed yourself there. – 6/8 (Awesome)

#2: Polar Bear Cafe – 26: So this was the episode to close off the first half of Polar Bear Cafe. Since episode 25 dealt with the past of Polar Bear and Grizzly, I was wondering how the creators would follow up with that in orderbring a good end to the past half year. Well, they did so with the best episode since the Penko episode. The second half of the episode in Grizzly’s Cafe had me completely in stitches. This show can really be brilliant when it wants to; I haven’t laughed this hard in months. – 6/8 (Awesome)

#3: Hunter X Hunter – 47: For this episode for the first time in quite a while I checked back on the same episodes in the 1999 series. I shouldn’t do that anymore. The differences again stood out way too much, and unfortunately, the thing is that the voice acting and animation still is better. I also now know why: the 2011 series has a lot of voice actors who keep doing one hammy voice over and over again, while this was more restrained and balanced in the 1999 series: the actors knew when to be subtle and when to raise their voice. Those differences unfortunately undermine the actual story and the fact that what happened in this episode was really awesome. – 5.5/8 (Excellent)

#4: Kokoro Connect – 12: And with this, the third arc already is better than the second one. It’s much more than jsut people yell at each other, and two members of the cast definitely showed some depth to their characters, and were able to overcome some of their weaknesses. Very well delivered, also making this show one of those series in which romance is something that can change. – 5.5/8 (Excellent)

#5: Phi Brain – 49: Finally! One episode before the end we finally get to see the meaning of Nonoha pulling her hair down; it’s about time! And really: this was an excellent episode with its focus on conflicting emotions and Freecell’s character. I’m very glad that he ended up the final villain here, because this would not have worked with that other guy still around. – 5.5/8 (Excellent)

#6: Saint Seiya Omega – 25: Whoa, I thought that this was going to be the climax. Instead this series makes three characters come to terms with their past. A pleasant surprise indeed, especially considering the charms with which it did it. The acting has really improved over the course of the series here and I’m beginning to like the cast more and more. That’s a sign of good character development, although I’d wish that this show cut some of its early episodes to make them not such a pain to sit through… – 5.5/8 (Excellent)

#7: Polar Bear Cafe – 25: We’re near the halfway point of the series (I found out about that very recently), and it shows. This episode shows a lot of new things about the cast. The first half was about the interests of the different characters, most notably Penguin and his painting hobbies (which were quite hilarious), the second pulled the adorable card by showing Polar Bear and Grizzly when they were young. – 5.5/8 (Excellent)

#8: Kokoro Connect – 11: So the third arc has started, and it has been revealed what the characters are going to have to suffer through next. And I have to say that this fits much more than the second arc. The second arc was too direct, and in the end it was hard to really use it well without descending into melodrama. Here however, the way in which everyone gets turned into kids has a much more indirect lead to drama. It brings up some great things about the past of the cast and it also forces the cast to look at what they were, and how they changed. That’s good, now keep it up! – 5/8 (Great)

#9: Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – 24: The big climax in which the creators just go and throw as much action involving weird powers as possible. It was basically just one whole episode of fighting. It was quite entertaining, albeit that with this the meaning of the individual fights was lost a bit. Still, I have to admit that I enjoyed the baseball team and the chaos during the busiest part of the episode when a ton of different characters were involved. Also: Aoi’s contribution to the episode: threatening to actually do something. There’s your main character. – 4.5/8 (Good)

#10: Phi Brain – 48: L33t h4x0rz episode that made no bloody sense, but was fun. Background was solid, nice plot twists. Looks to be a fun ending, but how on earth did this get a third season? – 4.5/8 (Good)

#11: Saint Seiya Omega – 24: So after all the build-up of needing to find someone who masters the thunder element in order to break the final ruin… someone who has that conveniently shows up right at the exact moment. I mean come on, you could at least have shown the cast search a bit before running into her. It’s not like this show is hard-pressed for time or anything. After that though, some pretty good character development on Eden and Aria made up for this. – 4.5/8 (Good)

#11: Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – 23: A very, very sentimental episode that was supposed to be the climax for two of the big romances in the series. It was nice I guess, but it could have been more. Overall, I’m not too impressed with how Horizon decided to handle its huge cast. It doesn’t come together quite as well and none of them really has much depth or stands out anymore, and that is quite a shame considering the wide variety in characters. – 4/8 (Nice)

#12: Hunter X Hunter – 48: Back to Gon and Killua again, a fairly dull episode, though it did have interesting information about appraising items… that I already watched before once. I remember again how these things also tended to break up the mood in the 1999 series. – 3.5/8 (Enjoyable)

#13: Tari Tari – 12: One thing that could have improved the past episodes is by having people other than the main characters motivated to keep the school festival going. Like what was stated before: a lot of clubs have passionate people who like what they’re doing. This sudden twist that they’re all too scared or unmotivated to do something… it doesn’t really work and feels rather forced. The stereotypically evil corporate businessman behind the whole plan didn’t really make things better. – 3.5/8 (Enjoyable)

#14: Tari Tari – 13: So it had it coming that the big climax of Tari Tari would be a musical singing number, and with this, we’ve finally gotten to the ending. Unfortunately though, the creators really rushed through that song there. Instead of taking its time and delivering something heartfelt, they turned into a montage! That’s now that I signed up for. It turned this whole ending into a rather cheesy climax, and the epilogue that showed how they all moved on was just too little to make up for that. Tari Tari definitely had potential, but unfortunately it didn’t really realize this. Have more guts dammit. – 3.5/8 (Enjoyable)

Posted on 13 September 2012 with categories: Summer 2012 Kaleidoscope

#1: Hunter X Hunter – 46: It’s as I hoped: the creators really nailed Uvogin here. He’s not just your average strong guy, because in this episode he really showed that he also has a pair of brains that he can use. In the meantime Gon and Killua make their appearance again. While they definitely aren’t the stand-out characters of this arc, without them the parts with Kurapica and the Spider Troupe wouldn’t stand out so much. – 5.5/8 (Excellent)

#2: Kokoro Connect – 10: And with this the second arc of Kokoro Connect ends. To be honest, I liked the first arc better: it was sharper and lead to better drama, and the climax here felt like it would have happened even when Heartseed came up with something completely different (although it definitely sped up that process). Still, Inaba got a great conclusion to her feelings here. – 5/8 (Great)

#3: Saint Seiya Omega – 23: Saint Seiya isn’t the most complex series. This episode again was focused on a bunch of simple fights. But to be honest, it did get its build-up right, which is why I’m enjoying it quite a bit now compared to the first half. This episode was about Soma’s story again, and I must say that I like the direction that it’s heading into, now that we get a bit more detail in how he looks at his own quest for revenge. – 5/8 (Great)

#4: Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – 22: A very enjoyable episode for this series. The insert songs were quite well used, and there were quite a few well delivered climaxes. The creativity also had a bit of wit added this time, which helped to differentiate this episode with the other episodes of Horizon (as creative as it is, creativity for the sake of creativity stops being interesting at a certain point; you have to do things with it). – 5/8 (Great)

#4: Polar Bear Cafe – 24: Ideally, Polar Bear Cafe should have been shorter. I’d say 20 episodes was fine, because then the creators could have skipped the boring parts and the good parts could have been more concentrated. The first half of the episode was nice and had some good laughs, but wasn’t good enough to keep my attention. The second half with the sports festival though was hilarious. This show again takes something completely normal, and puts talking animals in it and lets the chaos unfold, and this was one of the best examples of that. – 5/8 (Great)

#5: Tari Tari – 11: Um… okay. So this was supposed to be Tanaka’s arc. And what did he end up doing? He drew badly and accidentally saw the panties of one of the female cast members. Nothing about badminton whatsoever, there was nothing about his future or his past, and instead this show went on with this bafflingly random and forced twist about the school. Beyond how bad that twist was, what I really don’t like about these past episodes is how I get more and more the feeling that Tari Tari is looking down upon its male cast. They’re just there for comic relief and instead it’s up to the females to be all heart-warming. I mean, the past episodes have systematically avoided any kind of serious depiction of them in favor of comic relief, even though this was supposed to be their point to shine. PA Works, I expected better of you. – 3/8 (Mediocre)

Posted on 7 September 2012 with categories: Summer 2012 Kaleidoscope

#1: Hunter X Hunter – 45: God, this only reaffirms that Hunter X Hunter has the single best storyline out of any shounen series I’ve seen. This episode was entirely dedicated to Uvogin and the unique situation he was in. On top of that, the spiders all have a great chemistry together. Next season I’m very likely going to cover this show weekly again. – 5.5/8 (Excellent)

#2: Kyosogiga – 01: God, Kyosogiga is good. And with episodes that only take up ten minutes, it’s extremely accessible to watch. This first episode details the past of the female lead, but what makes it stand out is how well it is directed, combining both its dialogue with its animation to show various moments in her childhood. Not to mention the characterization, who really manages to nail her as this spunky yet innocent kid, especdially taking the first OVA into account. – 5.5/8 (Excellent)

#3: Polar Bear Cafe – 23: That new ED is awesome. As for the actual episode: the first half was utterly hilarious, the second half didn’t work for me. It had a lot of food jokes based on obsessively saving money, but I didn’t find them that funny. Hamda’s romance however is getting better and better in the way that every single animal is poking fun at him. – 5/8 (Great)

#4: Kokoro Connect – 09: Interesting episode this week. It was mostly about resolving things, and that indeed was the highlight of this episode, seeing the different characters talk out their issues with each other. The oddball turned outto be Inaba, who had a bit of building up for later going on. – 5/8 (Great)

#5: Saint Seiya Omega – 22: Yet again a great episode from Saint Seiya, this time about the ninja. Sure, it’s simple and all, but it worked surprisingly well, especially considering it was about completely different characters this time since the party split up. – 5/8 (Great)

#6: Phi Brain – 47: Well, the climax has begun and Klondike actually did something. I’m glad taht eh didn’t wait for the last possible moment. However, with this the focus on “saving” the villains has pretty much disappeared and this show has turned again into “defeat the villains”. Can they make that work for the climax? – 4.5/8 (Good)

#7: Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – 21: Horizon’s cast is HUGE. But did it make good use of it? Well, this episode had a lot of build-up, plus the climax for two characters who I believe we saw eight episodes ago. It was this dramatic climax about sacrifice, but what interested me the most in it was its context in the story, and not these actual characters. – 4.5/8 (Good)

#8: Tari Tari – 09: Hmm, this is an episode that I missed amongst last week’s slew of OVA releases, apologies for that. This starts the arc for Wien-kun. But really: is this arc actually about him? I mean yeah, he likes sentai shows and all, but we hardly see him do anything. Most of the organization is done by the girls and he doesn’t really seem to have any problems that he needs to overcome… – 3.5/8 (Enjoyable)

#9: Tari Tari – 10: Well… so much for Wien then… he got a total two minutes to shine, and the rest of this episode was about something completely different. We didn’t really learn anything new about his character, he didn’t really overcome a problem of his, he didn’t really gain any depth. I mean, it was fun how they captured that pickpocket and the vice principal suddenly turning tsundere was forced, but had a few charms, but nevertheless this was a missed opportunity. Are they also going to ignore the tennis guy’s story like this? – 3.5/8 (Enjoyable)

Posted on 2 September 2012 with categories: Summer 2012 Kaleidoscope

#1: Natsuiro Kiseki OVA: Oh my god. This OVA was just seven minutes long, so not a lot of stuff happened in it. But I really have to say to every fan of Natsuiro Kiseki: WATCH THIS. You’ll understand why once you do. – 5.5/8 (Excellent)

#2: Nazo no Kanojo OVA: You know what? This actually was a better conclusion that the one of the TV-series. whereas Milky Holmes below was just a random alternative story, this one continues where the series left off and develops the characters even further. It does introduce a bunch of ghosts from out of nowhere, which was a bit out of place, but the effect it had on the characters made it worth it. – 5.5/8 (Excellent)

#3: Kokoro Connect – 08: This was the best episode of the second arc so far. Up till now things were just build-up with a lot of angst, but this one carried it further to the people around the main cast, and the characters started thinking on how to solve their problem and deal with it, rather than running away from it. It definitely made all characters stand out more, even Yui, who didn’t make an appearance. – 5.5/8 (Excellent)

#4: Phi Brain – 46: With this episode we really have a side-cast in which the members all stand on their own. They’re no longer part of that group of side-characters standing between the male lead and the main villain, but they all developed differently throughout the series. I have to say, after how repetitive this series used to be, they definitely made up for it with these latest episodes and their variety. – 5.5/8 (Excellent)

#5: Polar Bear Cafe – 22: This really was another hilarious episode. The first half had Polar Bear at his trolling best, while the second carried the Penko story further, and both really made me laugh. Polar Bear Cafe still misses something at this point, though: a great ending. If they can manage that I’ll be entirely happy with this series. – 5.5/8 (Excellent)

#6: Space Battleship Yamato 2199 – 02: Oh god, no: not another Supernatural that releases batches of six episodes at once! That’ll be a pain to cover. Anyways, this was great build-up. The storyline is still the same as the original Yamato-series, but with a ton of stuff added and updated to modern standards. Think of a bunch of new characters, extra detail in showing how everyone prepares for such an epic journey ahead. Oh, and the soundtrack is still godly. – 5/8 (Great)

#7: Saint Seiya Omega – 21: In this episode Mars reveals his evil plans: he wants to recreate the world because it is rotten. It’s a bit unfortunate that he doesn’t explain exactly why it is rotten… Either way this was a training episode that was meant to bring Kouga on his feet again and at the very least the atmosphere of this episode was rock-solid. I have no idea who that cameo was, but he definitely convinced me that he was what was needed to get Kouga to stop angsting. – 4.5/8 (Good)

#8: Dantalian no Shoka OVA: I’m not sure why, but this week has a lot of OVAs released. Dantalian no Shoka’s OVA is the most conventional of the bunch: it’s just another episode indistinguishable from the TV-series. It’s neither the best nor the worst story of the series, and the atmosphere still is as good as I remember it to be. So yeah. It’s a nice watch if you liked the series, though not really a must. – 4.5/8 (Good)

#9: Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – 20: I just realized: did Tori actually do anything this season? I mean, his charm in the first season was that he was completely different from the rest of the cast, yet was forced to stand in the center of everything. Here he just runs around naked while everyone else solves all of the problems. – 4/8 (Enjoyable)

#10: Tantei Opera Milky Holmes – Alternative One: Wtf… just, wtf. I was looking forward to this one, being a fan of the TV-show and all, but this one really took me by surprise: it actually takes itself seriously. Honestly: this episode was what Tantei Opera Milky Holmes would have been if they didn’t put effort into making a premise that stood out, and if they didn’t throw in that hyperactive nonsensical storytelling and just went with a conventional direction. There now is a male lead as well, for some bizarre reason. This just shows how easily Milky Holmes could have sucked, with a clichéd set-up, stupid mysteries and unremarkable dialogue. This OVA definitely was not good, but it reminded me why I became a fan of the TV-series. – 3/8 (Mediocre)

Edit: ah, that explains: the creators for this short are completely different. This episode didn’t have the original director, but instead we have the director of Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel. Things make a lot more sense now.

Posted on 22 August 2012 with categories: Summer 2012 Kaleidoscope

#1: Hunter X Hunter – 44: This really was the single best episode of the 2011 Hunter x Hunter series. THIS is why I kept watching through the first arcs despite my issues. And tho think that we’re not even near the best parts yet! This really was unique in a shounen-series how they handled the battle and especially the aftermath with Uvogin, this is really where the creative powers and uses of those powers start to appear. And in most series, they would be completely overpowered, but Hunter X Hunter managed to balance them out in a really good way. – 6/8 (Awesome)

#2: Saint Seiya Omega – 20: Holy crap! This really was the second stand-out episode for Saint Seiya omega: the director personally oversaw the episode direction here, the character-designer personally directed the animation, and it really shows. The fight scenes were short, but really powerful, the animation was really expressive and the build-up to the end of the episode was just perfect. What happened in this episode was on hindsight not that special, but damn: the execution made it work so well! – 6/8 (Awesome)

#3: Kokoro Connect – 07: It’s interesting: the climax of the first arc of this series may have been a bit contrived, but it is getting used here really well: without it this episode would have been completely different and everyone would just have hidden in their room much more easily. The rest of this episode consisted out of everyone blurting out attacks at each other with a lot of drama being created from that. The most interesting part ended up being the effect that it had on the different characters. – 5/8 (Great)

#4: Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – 19: This episode was all about politics, a good change of pace and I actually liked the ideas that the characters had, even though they remain in the veins of this show of not making any sense. This actually was a good change of pace, because I had gotten a bit tired of the constant action. Unlike that, the dialogue and diplomacy has gotten far from boring in this series. – 4.5/8 (Good)

#5: Phi Brain – 44: Well, “it” has finally happened, although it was mostly meant for build-up here. Something interesting is going on here though: at that point where this show started to do the whole “four episodes in a row about the same puzzle”, my suspense of disbelief got completely broken. At this point it has really recovered again. There were some things in this episode that just didn’t make sense, but I didn’t really care about them, and instead I was much more interested in Kaito and how he is trying to save Freecell. – 4.5/8 (Good)

#6: Polar Bear Cafe – 21: The first half of the episode was standard panda trolling, brought up by Lama’s antics. In the second half… things got a bit weird. We finally get an episode dedicated to Panda’s little sister, but the way in which it did it was just surreal, even for this series’ standards. – 4.5/8 (Good)

#7: Tari Tari – 08: This week showed the conclusion for Sawa’s story. It was nice, but also a bit forced in how it solved everything. The lead-up to it was good, and Sawa has definitely gotten fleshed out after this arc, but I’m still missing something from Tari Tari. So far the only episode that really stood out was episode 2. Aside from that I’m getting a bit of a “been there, done that”-feel from it. It’s still charming and enjoyable, but I get the feeling that it could have been more. – 4.5/8 (Good)

Posted on 18 August 2012 with categories: Summer 2012 Kaleidoscope

#1: Hunter X Hunter – 43: This is looking really good. Beyond the hardcore action with a lot of gore that showed just how much of a threat the Spider troupe is, the creators also made sure to show the other side of the coin: the mafia. The come into action immediately, they track down the spider troupe immediately and they put their best men on the job. Take that, generic evil organization! It’s great to see Kurapica&co as just a small part of that. Oh, and my inner fanboy is jumping up and down because they got a certain character right. I’m not going to say which character for spoilers’ sake though, but seriously: this is the point at which this series has set itself apart from all other shounen series. Except the first Hunter X Hunter, of course. – 5.5/8 (Excellent)

#2: Kokoro Connect – 06: This was the start of a new arc. The body swapping is gone, and they returned with something just as diabolical. And again, it really lead to some excellent chemistry between the characters. It was build-up, but the build-up was really good. – 5/8 (Great)

#3: Phi Brain – 43: Yes, finally Nonoha actually does something. Or at least, she doesn’t really do anything in the end but at least she gets some things out of Freecell, who got hit with the “I’m going to become more evil”-card. It’s good to finally see this happen though, although I’m still having trouble to sympathize with the villains due to those rings of them. – 4.5/8 (Good)

#4: Saint Seiya Omega – 19: This episode was surprisingly good. The action flowed well, the story around Ryuho delivered and the music also contributed a lot. It also helped that Kouga was really in the background so that he couldn’t just win the fight with his deus ex machina powers. Also that Shiryu guy must have been a nice treat for the fans of the original series. – 4.5/8 (Good)

#4: Tari Tari – 07: So this time it’s the time for Sawa to tell her story, and this time it’s about her future as a horse archer. It’s charming, although Konatsu in the background still is rather annoying even when the spotlight isn’t on her. – 4/8 (Nice)

#5: One-Off OVA: Well, this is what you get when you pair up Sato Junichi with the guy who adapted Kanokon: the former is trying to tell a charming slice of life story in the veins of Tamayura, and the latter is trying to paste boobs and annoying stereotypes all over it. You could really see the influence of both: it’s got a soothing soundtrack, the chemistry between the characters is good for a one-shot OVA (it’s 30 minutes long, by the way) and the addition of motorbikes makes this one stand out from the rest of the slice of life anime about a bunch of cute girls, but the annoying characters bring it down. In particular Cynthia was trying waaaaaaay too hard. – 3.5/8 (Nice)

#6: Polar Bear Cafe – 20: Polar Bear Cafe’s weakest episodes are when they focus too much on panda trolling and causing trouble. Unfortunately, that took up most of this episode. It had its charms when he kept promoting penguin as his servant, but this isn’t something you want to dedicate entire episodes to. – 3.5/8 (Nice)

#7: Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – 18: “Oh no! We need to deliver a lot of exposition! The viewers will never be able to keep their attention this way! Quick, throw in a lot of ass jokes!” – Setting that aside, this episode afterwards delivered again on some nice battles with crazy powers… but I dunno. The gimmick of these powers is starting to wear off for me, and this show will need to start offering something else in return. – 3.5/8 (Nice)

#8: Corpse Party Musume OVA: This one was probably a pilot for Corpse Party Musume. What really stood out at first: it goes from a ton of gore to really, really bad fanservice. Seriously it’s the kind where brother and sister bathe together, followed by some psycho lesbians that we see everywhere. After that this episode turned to foreshadowing with a decent background track. I’m not that positive about it though. Setting aside the fanserice, the gore in this the prologue felt like it missed something: context. The thing with the kids who were slaughtered is: who are they? Why should I care about them? It’s easy to just show a lot of blood, or do crazy stuff like murder children, but the difficult part is actually making you care about them. This felt more like gore for the sake of gore. So yeah, these are the two parts that the anime for Corpse Party Musume once it arrives is really going to have to pay attention to: for god’s sake have better or no fanservice, and use its gore effectively. – 2/8 (Lacking)

#8: Code Geass – Nunnaly in Wonderland OVA: I didn’t finish watching this (I lasted about three minutes before concluding that this wasn’t worth my time), but I do want to warn people who are interested in checking this out: it’s a slide-show! – 2/8 (Lacking)

Posted on 9 August 2012 with categories: Summer 2012 Kaleidoscope

#1: Hunter X Hunter – 42: Half a year ago, when the build-up still was a drag to get through, I remember noting how it was impossible for this series to get Senritsu (or Melody in some subs) right. Imagine my surprise when in this episode, the voice actress gave a great performance as the gentle yet sharp music hunter. Beyond that, Madhouse delivered some really good animation on the arm wrestling, and it’s just so much fun to see all of the chess pieces moving into the right position for the action to start. Rewatching the Hunter Exam arc really took a toll on my patience, but it was worth the wait. – 5,5/8 (Excellent)

#2: Tari Tari – 06: Ah, I see the formula now: every member of the cast gets a few episodes of time to tell his or her story. This concludes Wakana’s story, and to be honest this was really heart-warming to watch. The use of a dead mother was a dangerous cliche to use, but the way she came to terms with everything really worked quite nicely here. 5/8 (Great)

#3: Kokoro Connect: I tend to dislike plots like the one of this episode, because they’re rather overused and often underutilized, but at least it was well explained. I like this series and its really sharp dialogue, but it is not my favorite of the season and I do have a bit of criticism for it: this could be more balanced and sometimes feels a tad too forced. It’s either really silly for a long time, or really dramatic for a long time. Change things up a bit. Play with the scenario. Flesh the characters out in interesting ways. Also, this is a light novel adaptation, right? Will this all fit in just 12 episodes? – 4,5/8 (Good)

#4: Saint Seiya Omega – 18: Interesting. A few years ago I watched a lot of those episodic travelling adventures, and what annoyed me with most of them is a refusal to split up the main party, even when this would have been the most logical turn of events. Because of this, I like what the writers did here and did not expect that to happen. The character in question definitely emerged as a better one out of this episode. – 4,5/8 (Good)

#5: Polar Bear Cafe – 19: An average episode for Polar Bear Cafe’s standards. It brought in a lot of new characters, though. The penguins in the first half in particular were funny, but in the second half there were a few too many of them, to the point where they took over the entire story. Which wasn’t really that interesting. – 4/8 (Nice)

#5: Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – 17: This was a much better improvement and a very fun episode to watch. The innuendo jokes perhaps were really cliched, but everything else was pretty damn interesting. The best was that wolf guy who literally fought with the justice of England on his side. How do they come up with it? – 4/8 (Nice)

#6: Phi Brain – 42: I’m actually liking this series again, and the new direction of trying to save the villains is starting to work for me again. It’s still not as good as what the first season was at this stage, but it’s definitely getting there. The puzzles are also interesting and varied again, thank god for that. – 4/8 (Nice)

Maji de Otakuna English! Ribbon-chan OVA: This is an OVA that appeared a few weeks ago, along with Kyou no Asuka Show. It’s five minutes long, and it’s pretty much a parody of really bad otaku-targetted mahou shoujo. It had some nice ideas highlighting how hopeless these productions sometimes can be, and the way in which it was basically the same take trice with different narrators was a nice touch. Do I recommend it though? Nah, the jokes just weren’t good enough for it, and even though it was parodying cliches, most of its jokes were dead horses themselves. Only check this out if you’re a fan of the genre. 3/8 (Mediocre)

#7: Total Eclipse – 06: Oh for god’s sake, Total Eclipse. This was the final straw. You already were on a thin line, and then you come with such an atrocious episode as this one. This was the kind of episode that I feared would appear ever since the director got announced. And yeah, with this he strikes me as a guy who is just plain incompetent. He tried to do both the direction and series composition here, so I can see that he’s a fan of the Muv Luv franchise, and I like how he focused the first two episodes on one of the side-characters, but beyond that, he just has no clue how to tell an interesting story and instead just heads off into bad acting and fanservice. It’s a pity for him that he ended up getting that depression, because he probably worked really hard on this, but a directing job is just way above his league. Dropped. And Welcome to Island!!! – 1/8 (Terrible)

#8: Kyou no Asuka Show OVA: Ah, people warned me not to check this out, but I just had to give it a try for myself. Kyou no Asuka show is basically a 5-minute OVA, and it turned out to be about one single joke: a girl whose skirt was stuck under her bag. This episode was basically every guy who ran into her getting flustered and horny, and this was as badly delivered as it sounds. Who greenlighted this? – 1/8 (Terrible)

Posted on 6 August 2012 with categories: Summer 2012 Kaleidoscope

Okay, today I finally had a bit of time to fiddle around a bit with episode ratings. I’ve used the current star system for a few years now, and it’s time for something new. I’ve wanted to go back to numerical ratings, although using ratings out of ten proved to be too similar to the ratings I use for full series, and I don’t want to confuse those. So instead I’m going for the following:

1/8: These are the worst types of episodes: uninspired, full of clichés, incredibly boring to watch, badly animated, etc.
2/8: These are the boring or really annoying types of episodes that leave me wanting things to end, or the kinds of episodes of an established series that completely go against what the series is about.
3/8: This is a rating for mediocrity: I guess the episode was there… but nothing really caught my attention, or what did catch my attention was drowned out by too many annoyances. Most episodes would fall between 3/8 and 4/8
4/8: This would be the rating for a standard episode: nice things happened, it caught my attention, and I enjoyed it, but it’s not really special.
5/8: I like these episodes a lot, either through outstanding visuals, interesting subject material, well written scenarios or sympathetic characters. Most episodes from the series I watch would fall between 4/8 and 5/8.
6/8: These are the episodes that really do something to stand out. Incredibly fun, engaging and interesting to watch.
7/8: The types of mind-blowing episodes that only come here once a month if you’re lucky. I guess that this would be the equivalent of the ****-rating that I used to use.
8/8: This is reserved for the best episodes of the best: the types of episodes that only come once a year if you’re lucky, and I really want to be able to highlight those kinds of episodes.

This seems to be nice enough. I’m probably also going to use ratings of half numbers (5.5, 3.5, etc). Why a rating out of 8? Why not? That’s what experiments are for. I think I’m also going to ditch the “good”- and “excellent”-labels. They were getting a bit old and they started to lose their meaning. I’m not sure whether this will be the definitive explanations, because I really noticed that thinking of a rating system and actually using this in practice is something completely different. I remember how with the ratings I use for full series, my original intention was to have the median around 60/100, but that also changed over time.

#1: Hunter X Hunter – 41: Oh my god, finally!! The Spider Troupe has made its appearance! And they actually nailed them! These are by far the best villains I have seen in any shounen series, period. Because of this I had been really afraid what this series would do with them. But the way in which they were portrayed i this episode: they can really make it work! Finally I’m getting excited about this series again! – 5.5/8 (Excellent)

#2: Kokoro Connect – 04: The script of this series is excellent, but that is probably because of the source material. But what really surprised me about this series is how good the voice acting is for a Silver Link-series. Where usually the characters in their series sound flat and one-dimensional, they here have a wide range of voices that shape their personalities, and I really wonder where that sudden change came from. Could that really be the influence of Shinya Kawamo or did something different go on? – 5.5/8 (Excellent)

#3: Polar Bear Cafe – 18: Oh my god, those ghost stories were perfect for the deadpan humour of this show. In particular Polar Bear’s story was absolutely priceless. On top of that, this episode tried to subtly slip past a lot of details that really make you wonder about the characters once you start thinking about them. Why on earth is a Lama working overtime in a zoo? What is Penguin going to do at that Buddhist memorial service? Oh, and the new ED is awesome. – 5.5/8 (Excellent)

#4: Tari Tari – 05: This episode showed me something: that blond girl isn’t really the best main character for this series. This episode finally took her to the background in favor of the other characters, and suddenly this show got a lot better. There still are the cliches like the dead mother, but they were all really well done and heart-warming. – 5/8 (Great)

#5: Saint Seiya Omega – 17: Ow, this episode had some outsourcing issues. Other than that, it was incredibly cheesy during the big fight, but it had its charms. That Kiki guy probably is another member of the old Saint Seiya cast, and his cameo was handled pretty well here. – 4/8 (Good)

#6: Phi Brain – 41: Finally this series returns again to the actual Orpheus Order. It was a bit of a cheesy episode, but with the nature of those rings that’s no surprise, really. And really: this was actually pretty good and it finally started to resolve things. On a side-note: when is Nonoha going to take her hair down…? – 4/8 (Good)

#7: Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – 16: Obligatory boring fanservice episode. Also, I do hope that they’re not going to drag out that festival arc. – 3/8 (Mediocre)

#8: Total Eclipse – 05: The sheer nationalism indeed is starting to get annoying now. On top of that, does this show really need a cowgirl who is just there for the fanservice? In fact, why are we even following a bunch of test pilots anyway when the rest of the world is about to be destroyed? – 3/8 (Mediocre)

#9: Tanken Drilland – 04: I think that this is the point where I’m going to drop this series. The stupidity of the characters is just too annoying, and watching this episode only served to remind me that Saint Seiya is currently doing what this series is doing, while also taking itself seriously. And after all of the criticism I have for that series, that has to say something. – 3/8 (Mediocre)

Posted on 28 July 2012 with categories: Summer 2012 Kaleidoscope

#1: Phi Brain – 41: This was undoubtedly the single best episode of the second season. Finally the creators actually used the fact that Orpheus Rings distort the minds of their wearers well, by making them say things that they normally wouldn’t do. At this point, Ana Gram definitely is the most heartfelt character of the entire series, and the one who suffered the least in this series’ attempts to degenerate the entire cast, and this episode really showed that. – Excellent+)

#2: Kokoro Connect – 03: How? Why? When? Is this still the same show? Is this really Silver Link? With this kind of good acting? Seriously, this was a massive improvement and it went quite deep into its different characters. I’m impressed. – (Excellent)

#3: Hunter X Hunter – 40: Finally! The Yorkshin arc has officially started now after forty bloody episodes of waiting! The calling out names still is a bit childish, but the rest of this episode was excellent build-up. The new characters are all slightly different from what they used to be in the 1999 series, but they can definitely make this work. – (Excellent)

#4: Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – 15: Well, this was a typical Horizon episode: it really doesn’t make any sense once you start thinking about it, but what went on was pretty damn cool and creative. This definitely was an interesting way to portray negotiations. There’s just one thing: a girl pretending to be a guy in order to avoid gender racism is a pretty interesting subplot. But in the context of this series? Really? – (Great)

#5: Tari Tari – 04: Well, thanks to Wakana and the three musicians this was the best episode of Tari Tari so far. It was quite heart-warming, with the only mitigating factor being the dead mother that has been done to death. Kids, whatever you do, don’t ever get kids! If you do, there is a 50% chance that you’ll die within a few years. – (Great)

#6: Total Eclipse – 04: A simple episode, and the side-cast still is stereotypical, but the two leads… they’ve got interesting chemistry together. It’s a bit overblown and angsty, but it can work. – (Good)

#7: Binbou-Gami ga – 03: This is one that I missed in my catch-up streak last weekend. Overall, comedy is incredibly subjective, but with this show I notice that much more, as people have many different reactions here. This episode was cute. It had “trying too hard” written all over it, but had some good jokes. The yelling however has gotten very dull right now, and it’s also one of those series that just drops references for the sake of dropping references, which also has gotten quite annoying. And it’s only the third episode yet. Ultimately, this just isn’t funny enough for a comedy for me, especially considering the competition it has right now. – (Good)

#8: Polar Bear Cafe – 17: This was one of the lesser episodes of Polar Bear Cafe. It still was funny, but it was pretty much about Panda and Polar Bear trolling again in the first half, and Rin Rin in the second half. It’s not really something new, and these jokes are starting to wear off now. – (Enjoyable)

#9: Binbou-Gami ga – 04: Sorry, Binbou-gami, but with this I’m going to drop you. The new character of this episode was just a collection of bad SM-jokes. For a comedy, this just isn’t funny enough. When I watch a comedy, I want to really laugh out loud, not chuckle once every five minutes. Comedy is incredibly subjective, so if you like SM-jokes and lots of yelling, then this series is for you. I’d rather watch Polar Bear Cafe and Poyopoyo, though. – (Disappointing)

#10: Tanken Drilland – 03: Anime writers need to realize the boundaries of stupidity. Running into a trapped room? That’s okay. Anyone can make such a careless mistake. A different matter is it when a character falls for the classic “money on a string”-trap. Especially when the “string” is a sticky spider thread. And he wraps it around his arms. And falls for the same trick twice. And that wasn’t even the worst in this episode: a character goes missing and instead of looking for him, they think that he has abandoned them and run off with the treasure. – (Lacking)

#11: Saint Seiya Omega – 16: It’s not like this episode sucked completely. The change of pace was welcome, we saw something different of the world for a change and this was definitely good to bring some diversity such a monotone series. But everything about the restaurant felt like an insult. Like “why are you still watching this? We surely aren’t trying anymore”.I can understand that fillers need to have light-hearted material compared to regular episodes, if you’re going to use them at all, but even with light-hearted things you actually need to try. – (Lacking)

Posted on 22 July 2012 with categories: Summer 2012 Kaleidoscope

#1: Polar Bear Cafe – 16: I have no idea whether Mr Necktie was just a one-shot character or whether he’s going to make more appearances, but seriously: this guy is awesome! I know it’s getting boring to keep putting this series at #1 for these rankings, but this episod had me yet again in stitches. The first half was incredibly corny, while the second half really shined with Mr Necktie’s inner monologues. – (Excellent+)

#2: Hunter X Hunter – 39: YES! YES! This is the episode I’ve been waiting for. The point at which this series goes “Shounen conventions? Screw shounen conventions, we have a story to tell!Ägainst my fars, this episode worked, plus there were a ton of new background songs introduced, which indeed confirms my suspicion that the creators have been saving the best tracks for later. – (Excellent)

#3: Sword Art Online – 02: Two questions: if everyone is playing with their real-life avatar, then what about the guy with blue hair? Why do creators bother with hiding the faces of important characters if they’re prominently featured in the OP? Beyond that, awesome animation! More detail on Episode 03. God, I am so late. – (Great)

#3: Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – 15: I do think that the male lead is trying a bit too hard to brighten up the mood at this point. I mean, there’s being silly, and there is taking that oo far. But using Macbeth as a weapon? This episode has definitely made up for it. – (Great)

#4: Tari Tari – 03: While I do appreciate that more and more foreigners are appearing in anime and that those voice actors doing a better and better job of not sounding too Japanese, can we now please portray these characters as actual people, rather than one-joke characters? Just look at Gunslinger Girl: not all Italians are weirdoes or players. – (Good)

#5: Kokoro Connect – 02: Okay, I have to admit that this was pretty amusing, and much better than the first episode. Rather than throwing some lesbian scene fro out of nowhere the characters actually went into the gender issues and what it’s like to be suddenly personality-swapped, rather than Ömg I’m a girl now! Must touch boobs!” – (Good)

#6: Tanken Drilland – 02: This episode introduced the third main character. And he is annoying. And uselesss. Thankfully, he realizes that he’s useless and annoying, so at least the creators are using this. Also, a fantasy series in which bullets are limited is not something you see every day. – (Good)

#7: Saint Seiya Omega – 15: The side-character of this episode apparently was someone from the original Saint Seiya series. So let me ask the people who saw that one: was he always such an idiot? I mean, the concept behind this episode could have worked, if only he didn’t have such stereotypical character-design (this is especially surprising considering one of the best character-designers out there worked on this series), and he wasn’t such a moron. “You are my enemies! So let me carefully explain what’s going on to you.” Also, that summoner silver saint… did he actually do anything this episode? I mean, I know this episode wanted to point out that he is just interested in his creations, but also the golems just… stood there. – (Enjoyable)

#8: Phi Brain – 40:So, Rook has finally returned. With this episode it’s finally time for him to show what he’s made of after such a long absence. So what’s his match against? An old dog…. truly an opponent worthy for what once was the main antagonist of the series. Seriously, I get that this was meant to show how ruthless the Orpheus Order are, but why spend this story on Rook? Why so late in the seris? This just felt like any other episode now, and nothigng would really have changed if any other character replaced him. Even Nonoha could have dealt with this! Also, the long-haired bad guy has reached the point where he’s so bad that he becomes funny. Not a good sign for a show that takes itself seriously. – (Disappointing)

#9: Dog Days’ – 02: I couldn’t complete this episode. In the end, the fight scenes, the central focus of this series, just aren’t that good. People just spam beams and make weapons explode until the armor of the opponent breaks (or in the girls’ cases: their clothes tear up). I mean, I can understand it if you want to have a premise that trivializes war and all, but if you do: go for it all the way and actively use this. – (Disappointing)

Shoutbox

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  • SuperMario
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 10:38 PM)
    @Bam: I just glanced over the lightning in a Bottle 2016 and it’s quite impressive. Grimes, Chet Faker, Hundred Waters, Jamie xx? Yay. Yoga & meditation class? Count me in!!
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 09:40 PM)
    @afgm, positive. DS2 relies too much on mobbing your character and the bosses are terribly unimaginative. DS3 has faster combat that DS1 but I still think DS1 one bosses are better and DS3 had less interesting level design than DS1. Plus DS3 also focuses a bit too much on Mobbing and referencing DS1 instead of making it’s own lore.
  • afgm
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 07:49 PM)
    @Aidan are you sure you aren’t looking back on DS1 with rose-tinted glasses?
  • Wicked
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 05:39 PM)
    Other wise I’d have recommended Life and Limit by Keiko Suenobu or maybe something like Mars. Although I don’t think Mars ages very well
  • Wicked
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 05:33 PM)
    @kaiser Shoujo don’t tend to be as twilight zone-y as Partner, plus it’s only 3 volumes. There are shoujo that deals with heavy subject matters like bullying or forbidden love, but i don’t know if that’s what the person is asking for
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 03:27 PM)
    @Wicked: That was a decent enough manga, that Partner series, I like a good dark shojo and it was well enough in that regard within what its genre/demographic could get away with and its story fit comfortably its three volume run.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 03:14 PM)
    @K-Off, DSII was a disappointment somewhat salvaged by the DLC. DSIII is much better but still doesn’t top DSI.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 03:05 PM)
    @K-off: sorry I’m actually in your (former) neck of the woods about 50 miles north of Orange, working at a music festival called lightning in a Bottle. You’ll love Dark Souls III if you’re patient enough. So much of it is a direct homage/copy of the original that it feels like a shelved fanfic at times, but there is polish and some ingenuity behind some of the deeper nuances of the game.
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 06:24 AM)
    @Bam Finally going to start DSIII this monday, I’ll have to see what’s so special about this one since I wasn’t the biggest fan of DSII.
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 06:17 AM)
    Pretty pleased with my Vita so far, finished Danganronpa 2 and completed 100% of Ray Gigant this week. June looks like a pretty good month for the Vita, currently deciding whether or not I should purchase Odin Sphere or Grand Kingdom when they release. Of course I really should repair my WiiU gamepad before Mirage Sessions comes out.

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