Sunday, December 30, 2007

Blue Drop: Not Impressive Enough

With the final battle, they try to create a climax to finish the series off. However, I did not find it impressive at all. Actually, come to think of it, I haven't been impressed with the series ever since the beginning. But surprisingly, it somehow got me hooked with its plot dispite the fact the art style alone would have been enough for me to dump it from the beginning.

Also, it seems to be a trend lately to use follow-up to end an series. The follow-up of Blue Drop is just out right confusing.

Drama: 3.5 (Some, but not enough)
Comedy: N/A
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 2 (I totally hate its art style)
Sound/Music: 2 (No impression what so ever)
Character: 4 (Diverse)
Plot: 3 (A bit...too flat)
Re-watch value: 1 (I wouldn't watch it again)

Overall (not average): 2.5 (I still don't know how I kept on watching...)
Recommendation: I still haven't figured out what exactly it is kept me watching this series. I'd say give it a shot, see how you feel.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

December New Anime: Ayakashi

Link: (Official) sub available through
Genres: Supernatural
I've watched: 3 episode
Art style: Common

Recommended to: People like supernatural school drama don't mind a little blood
Recommendation level: Not sure yet

Summary: Kusaka is a student possesses something special, more precisely, ayakashi, which takes host's life force and grant the host supernatural power.

Richard's rating( of 5) - first impression: 3 - Average at best

Personal comments: The art, the plot, the voice, all seemed a bit...amature. Somehow it doesn't feel very professionally done. Also, some scenes seemed to be a bit unnecessarily gory, don't quite fit in with rest of the anime.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Myself; Yourself: A Group of Unfortunate People

This is no ordinary drama anime. A story seemed so innocent and light in the beginning, has so many unfortunate events hidden behind it. The write/producer ought to be a cruel person with evil and twisted mind to be able to come up with so many unfortunate lives together at the same place to witness the unfortunate events of each other to be unfolded right in front of their own eyes. That is talent. And I wish I could be talented like that.

Anyway, although the story is surprisingly good (with all the evil and hate). I only wish they didn't have an ending so cheap and uneventful. You could hardly call it an ending. It kind of just silently faded away.

Drama: 4.8 (Great, much better than I originally thought)
Comedy: N/A
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 4 (Nothing stands out, but I do like them)
Sound/Music: 4 (Other than opening theme song, nothing else left much of impression)
Character: 5 (Almost everybody has an unusually messed up life)
Plot: 5 (Evil, hate, unfortunate lives, you couldn't ask for anything better than that)
Re-watch value: 3.5 (You may want to re-enforce the hate, but I don't think it holds much re-watch value)

Overall (not average): 4(Only if they had a better (by better, I meant more tragic) ending...)

Recommendation: Personally, I love it because of the kind of person I am (see my Dec 20th posting about Myself; Yourself). Some of you might not like it. Some of you might even hate it. So I really couldn't just give a recommendation to every one.

Da Capo II: No Way This is the End of It

It has ended. But there is no way this is the end of the actual Da Capo II. I mean this is almost as bad as To Heart: Remember My Memory, which is also a half ass job anime that is about robots among humans. Da Capo should have much more depth in its plot than this. This, is just a side plot. Plus with all the unanswered question, unexplained events, there is no way they would just leave it hanging like this. I personally believe the follow-up series will be shown within several seasons.

For now, let me just rate what this series have so far:

Drama: 4 (It has some, but a bit short by Da Capo's standard)
Comedy: 3.5 (I don't think it's the main theme here)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 4 (The normal Da Capo art)
Sound/Music: 4 (Ok, but nothing stands out)
Character: 3.8 (Not enough character depth I think, mostly due to incomplete plot)
Plot: 4 (Acceptable, but suspiciously similar to To Heart: Remember My Memory, and it's not the kind of Da Capo plot I'm expecting)
Re-watch value: 2 (Really nave no need to see this again)

Overall (not average): 3.5 (Sub-par for a Da Capo series)

Recommendation: You might need to see this series to see any future Da Capo II series (there needs to be one). Other than that, I really don't think it holds much value.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ef ~ A Tale of Memories: Ends Well

It got my hope up when I saw the end of episode 11 that I might have a tragedy in hand. But, the end comes around, everything resolves. Though it's somewhat expected to be that way, I still wished they could have ended it in tragedy.

Like Sola, everything resolved in the middle of the last episode. Everything after that is follow-ups. Unlike Sola, the final climax did not die off in the follow-up. Instead, it somewhat further strengthen the final climax. This is a good example of the proper usage of follow-up, versus Sola is a example of terrible usage of follow-up.

Drama: 4.5 (I think some part is a bit overly dramatized)
Comedy: N/A
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 4.5 (There are some weird/unusual visual effects)
Sound/Music: 5 (Good BGM left some pretty good impression)
Character: 5 (Very deep and thorough)
Plot: 5 (Great)
Re-watch value: 3 (You might want to re-live it again, might not)

Overall (not average): 4.75 (Very very good)

Recommendation: This is definitely one of the top love story animes of the year. Highly recommended.

Kimikiss Pure Rouge: Mesh

Currently finished: Episode 12

By now all the first degree love affair relationships have been established. Now, things are going to get messier because some pairs that are not in an affair start to spark affection. That is how drama is made. It could potentially get really really messy. Fortunately, I don't think this anime involves anybody getting stabbed to death (I kind of wished there are), so no one have to worry abou that.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Ongoing Long Series: Story of Saiunkoku

I've never mention this anime in my blog mainly because it's a ongoing long series that started way before I started blogging about animes I watch. Right now it's about three quarter through the second series. The original series is 39 episodes long, so is the second series.

The story's setting is in a imaginary land called Saiunkoku means "country of many colored clouds", which is loosely modeled on a old dynasty of China. The story follows a very intelligent girl finding her way to help the emperor to govern the country. In essence, it's a show about politics, emperor era politics, just like the The Twelve Kingdoms (Juuni Kokki), except there are a lot less actions and plot development is bit faster. (BTW, I'm still very pissed at NHK not finishing production of the rest of Twelve Kingdoms).

In my opinion, you have to be interested in either stories occuring in old dynasties of China, or emperor era politics to be able to follow this show. Otherwise, don't even bother.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Clearing the Backlogs: Gunslinger Girl

Because of the upcoming January new series, I dug into my backlogs pulled out Gunslinger Girl and finished it in two days.

Someone told me a while back that I would like this anime because it's...cruel and emotional. Well, it is true, and I do like it very much. The concept is cruel, and the theme is dark and somewhat sad. But at the same time, there is a soft and warm feeling to it. Just like Saikano, where the flow of cruelness and darkness is companied by a stream of soft warmth, only that in Sakano, the warmth is much more overwhelming.

Between the two (Gunslinger Girl and Saikano), I like the presentation of Gunslinger Girl much better. Mainly, I think it's because I didn't have to constantly battle against the absurd plot device Saikano used.

It was a bit of a slow start. Well, it doesn't really get any faster later either, it just made me get used to its pace. The story is filled with strong emotions and some graphical violence, which they were blended to almost perfection. The ending, really could have been taken either way: tragedy or non-tragedy. Without the second series, it's completely up to your own imagination. But the second series is coming, and we get to see how the author intended for us to interpret the ending of the first series.

Rating (out of 5): 4.5 ~ Instant Classic

New OVA: Kimi ga Nozomu Eien ~ Next Season ~

Genres: Romatic Drama
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common

Recommended to: People have seen the original Kimi ga Nozomu Eien and liked it
Recommendation level: Not quite

Richard's rating (of 5) - first impression: 2.75 I've seen much better follow-ups than this

Personal comments: It's a bit weird watching this OVA because timeline wise, it occurs after the tv series' ending. But, instead of taking the Mitsuki ending like the tv series did, it assumed Haruka ending from the game (I think).

After finishing the entire first episode, I feel 90% of the episode is waste of time. Only things had signification meaning are the first 3 minutes and the last 2 minutes. Everything else really could have been compacted down to about 2 minutes. A 10 minutes episode could really serve the same purpose with this 29 minutes episode.

Clannad: Random Moe Injection

Currently finished: Episode 12

The moe usage in Clannad is just countless. Even the previous subplot characters come back to visit for some additional moe.

Also, Clannad is going to suspend airing for two week because of christmas and new year. Bastards!

Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun: Everything Resets

Well, there is the end of it. Nothing really happened. Everything goes back to where it started. I guess I wasn't expecting any real substances from it at the first place.

Drama: N/A
Comedy: 3.5 (It was funny at first, but gets old quick)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 4.5 (Cute and pretty girls...)
Sound/Music: 4 (I liked its opening theme song)
Character: 3 (Shallow)
Plot: 2.5 (Only if there is one...)
Re-watch value: 0.5 (I don't think anybody would watch it again)

Overall: 2.75 (Barely lasted long enough for me to see the last episode)

Recommendation: I'd say don't waste your time on this one, unless you really really don't have anything else to do.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Moyashimon: It's over?

Um...really? It's over? What the hell? The whole series has been a big "blah", along with outrageous actions and ridiculous events. Just as I thought it's time for them to start the real plot, it's done. I guess they were not planning to have a real plot at all to begin with.

Nevertheless, it's still interesting, enjoyable, and somewhat knowledgeable.

Drama: 4 (Somewhat, but not long enough to develop anything deep)
Comedy: 4.5 (Noitamina, that by itself is enough to be above average)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 4 (Not quite the common art style I like, but somehow the girls all look pretty hot)
Sound/Music: 3 (Didn't really leave me much of an impression)
Character: 4.5 (Diverse personalities, but again, not long enough to develop)
Plot: 3.5 (Only if it had one...)
Re-watch value: 3.75 (Maybe you'd watch it again for laughs, not much other than that)

Overall: 4.3 (It did make me say WTF)

Recommendation: This is a hard one, becaues it somewhat seems to be a waste of time, but at the same time, also somewhat amusing. I'll have to leave the decision for you.

Higurashi Kai: The End

I have to say, after the previous arc, the only thing anybody is still interested is not the end result of the last arc, but the process of reaching it. Because everybody knows how the last arc going to end.

Even though I've been expecting everything coming miles away, there are still some twists and turns that took me by surprise. It is a solid ending for a (two) solid series.

One thing I have to say, though, is the scenes after the ending credit confused me a little bit. Did they just not get on the bus or something?

Drama: 5 (It is what we're here to watch)
Comedy: 3.8 (Some, but not nearly as much as in the first series)
Action: 3.5 (It's not an action oriented series, good overall action, but some cheesy parts do exist)
Art/Animation: 4.5 (Bit simplified art style, but cute)
Sound/Music: 4.5 (I liked the openning theme song better than the first one)
Character: 5 (Definitely a character heavy story)
Plot: 5 (Still got some good surprises)
Re-watch value: 3 (You may want to watch again to catch some omitted details, definitely not to learn the story again, without the surprise factor, it's just not worth it)

Overall (not average): 4.7 (Definitely a solid series)

Recommendation: You need watch this to complete whatever left over the first series. For those who haven't seen the first series, give yourself a good slap and go watch it. It's an order.

Rental Magica: Snowball Effect

Currently finished: Episode 11

The plot build up of Rental Magica is a typical example of a snowball build-up, where the series is made of mostly independent subplots; but almost each and every one of these independent subplots is a factor that contributes to the subplot occurs immediately after which is mostly unrelated to the previous subplot.

In this type of plot, we got to witness the domino effect of all previous plots along the way in constrast to the ones that throw anchors throughout the series but you don't get to witness the effects of the anchor until the very end.

New rating (out of 5): 4.0 (net gain: +0.8) Snowball effect

Ef ~ A Tale of Memories: Happy Ending or Tragedy?

Currently finished: Episode 11

With only one episode left to go, it is still not clear whether it's going to end happly or tragically. Well, I meant the unresolved half of the plot, because we have witnessed the resolution of one half of the plot in episode 11.

Personally, I like tragedies, and I'm hoping it to end in some creative tragedies. As it is right now, it could. But we won't find out for sure until the next episode comes out.

New rating: 4.2 (net gain: +0.4) Emotional

Bamboo Blades: LOL

Currently finished: Episode 12

I guess the comedy in Bamboo Blade is just too good that the light heartedness makes me keep forgetting to write follow-up reviews about it.

It's not quite the drop dead laughing like Honey and Clover or Lovely Complex is, but close enough. Along with perfect timing and diverse personalities, making this one a must-watch comedy for October 2007 release. It is not quite the same type of comedy as the winner of current season's best comedy - Clannad largely because of the personalities of the characters. Clannad creates comedy through the use of moe; Bamboo Blade just does it through "brutal force" of the light heartedness of all the characters.

New rating (out of 5): 4.6 (net gain: +0.1) Just keep getting funnier and funnier

New OVA: Strait Jacket (Shouldn't it be Straitjacket?)

Link: (official) (English sub available only through
Genres: Drama/Action/Supernatural/Magic
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common

Recommended to: People don't mind a little blood
Recommendation level: Somewhat

Summary: Story occurs in a world where magic is discovered and being treated as another branch of science. However useful they are, they pose a danger. People exposed to magic are harmed like being exposed to radiation, except the effect is much much worse: when somebody is contaminate with enough magic, they turn into daemons. Therefore, new technologies are researched to shield people from harmful effects, new government branches are created to govern magic use, and the new threats from magic contamination are met by a new force: Straitjackets - armored suits that blocks out magic effects for the wearer to combat the daemons.

Richard's rating (of 5) - first impression: 4

Personal comments: It's definitely an interesting concept. It also seems to have some deeper plot as well as a hint of comedy (well, less than 0.1%, after the ending credit). It definitely has potential. This might actually be an acceptable one for the random slot for aggime.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Januray 2008: What to Expect

Sisters of Wellber Zwei

It's been quite popular among anime producers to use German words name the anime or things in it (Fafner, My Otome Zwei). At the end of the first season of Sisters of Wellber, it did say "End of Series 1". So it is somewhat expected for it to make a comback within a year. The first season of Sisters of Wellber was way to straight forward. I hope something changes in the second season.

H2O ~ Footprints in the Sand
I've briefly scanned throught several chapters of its Manga before. It's a romantic story about a blind guy and a girl. It somehow feels similar to Ef ~ A Tale of Memory.
Gunslinger Girl -Il Teatrino reminds me that the original Gunslinger Girl is still among my backlogs. Need to finish it quick...
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Dainiki

Er....I don't know what to expect for this one. I have mixed feeling towards the first series, more bad than good. I just hope the second season is better.

True Tears
Don't know much about the title. But it's from game developer Circus (Da Capo series, Gift ~ Eternal Rainbow). So, it's probably be ok.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Da Capo II: Will Become Unfinished Business

Currently finished: Episode 12

It's the end of episode 12, and what I expect to happen had not happened. Too many things are left unexplained, too many loose ends need to be tied up. It is impossible to do them all in the only one episode left in this series. So, I hope it's not the end of the series. For heaven sake the original Da Capo lasted not only a long season, but also a second series which is also a long season. Da Capo II can't just end with only one short season. They ought to have a follow up series after a season break. (This format has been getting pretty popular lately: Girls Bravo, Honey and Clover, Story of Saiunkoku)

One biggest thing it needs to answer is that why Yoshiyuki's last name - Sakurai, is different than Otome and Yume's last name - Asakura (the last name of Jun'ichi, the main character of the original Da Capo), and yet both Otome and Yume call him brother and they (and everybody else around them) act as they are related with blood.

Without making this point clear, Da Capo II is not complete. This question has to be answerd.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Myself; Yourself: It's not over just yet

Currently finished: Episode 11

I love tragedies. It's not because I like to see the people suffer, it's because it sparks hatred. I love anything that could make me hate, whether it's the unfortunate fate of the character, or the character itself, or even the director and writer that created the story.

It is easy to make people love something, but only a true work of art could make people hate it. A true masterpiece would make you hate so much that you fall in love with it.

This is the path Myself; Yourself is walking, and I love it.

I predicted in the last post that something bad is going to happen in Myself; Yourself. Well, something bad did happen, but it's not quite what I was expecting. On top of that, something else had also sparked more hatred.

Also, I believe the bad thing I was thinking of is still going to happen, and that is going to be the grand finale. The bad things is not over just yet.

New rating (out of 5): 4.75 (net gain: +0.5) Hate

Moyashimon: Noitamina...

Currently finished: Episode 10

Noitamina's sense of humor sometime make me spray water out of my nose, but some other times just make my jaw drop and become speechless. Moyashimon is no exception. Their thoughts are just way way out there.

Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun: Succubus vs. Succubus

Currently finished: Episode 11

Just exactly how many succubus are there in this anime? At the beginning of the anime, succubus seems to be a somewhat rare thing. But now...there's succubus everywhere. It's getting a bit rediculus. On top of that, this so called "main plot" seem to be pieced together in a rush. Like I said in earlier posts, the average contribution to the "main plot" is about 5 second per episode before episode 10. Now, it just turned to another direction for no reason.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Denno Coil: Best of 2007

Finally, the last piece of the puzzle fell into its place, the picture is complete. The whole picture itself is so much different then the one I perceived by looking at the individual puzzle pieces that I did not see it coming at all. The plot line of clouds itself intentionally so that you don't see the real picture until the very end. Maybe I was caught by its deception, or maybe I'm just not smart enough to see it, either way, the ending did somewhat surprised me.

After finishing the whole series, you'll realize that it has been placing anchors ever since the first episode. Slowly, you noticed them, but, you weren't able to place all of them into its proper place, until the last two episode - everything, I mean everything, including the episodes looked like fillers, comes together and completes the final picture. It's one of the best plot development I've ever seen.

Drama: 5 (As dramatic as it could get)
Comedy: 5 (Some wicked humor, perfect placement)
Action: 5 (A lot more action than you'd expect from a computer scifi series)
Art/Animation: 5 (I didn't quite like it to begin with, but grew out of it)
Sound/Music: 5 (You don't really notice it, but it is used many places to create atmosphere)
Character: 5 (Very very well developed characters)
Plot: 5+ (One of the best I've seen)

Re-watch value: 4 (You might want to go through it again to catch the details you missed first time through)

Overall (not average): 5+ More than Perfect

Recommendation: This would be my #1 recommendation of the year. You need to watch it.

I thought nothing could be able to surpass Baccano! for the overall Best of the year, I was wrong: after seen the end of Denno Coil, in my opinion, it beats Baccano! hands down, therefore, Denno Coil replaces Baccano! to become the:

Richard's Pick: Best Anime of 2007

and not to forget, it also holds:

Richard's Pick: Best SciFi of 2007

Clannad: Miracle

Currently finished: Episode 9

Key/VisualArts is definitely one of the best, if not the best, on creating the atmosphere for the tear dropping moments. Even though Clannad is still in Key/VisualArts standard format, even though I can see the it coming miles away, when the moment does come I still couldn't prepare myself enough to not shed tears.

Unfortunately, I can not say anything about what's happening without spoiling the plot. The best I can do is to give you one word - "Miracle". You just have to see it yourself.

With the new emotion stir, Clannad is stepping closer and closer towards the perfect rating on my score card.

New rating (out of 5): 4.9 (net gain: +0.2) Fantastic

Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun: Finally Into the Main Plot?

Currently finished: Episode 10

After 10 (out of the total 12) episodes, it finally steered onto the "grand plot". Technically, it's not even a grand plot, it's merely something to wrap-up the 12 episodes of random events. However, because most of the the earlier episodes contributed some (average about 5 seconds per episode) to build up this final conflict, calling it the "grand plot" is still somewhat appropriate.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Moyashimon: The Third WTF of 2007

Currently finished: Episode 7

This is the third anime of this year makes me mark it with a big WTF! (The other two are Touka Gettan and Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei.)But, knowing Noitamina's track record, this is somewhat expected at first place.

Neverless, Moyashimon does have the typical properties of animes produced by Noitamina:

-Specialty school (A university specialize in agriculture)
-Obscur but instresting knowledge (The most recent episode stated the fact that people wearing mask has less chance catching cold not because it filters germs that causes cold, the real reason is that the germs that causes cold does not like the humid environment that is created around the mouth by wearing the mask)
-Strange art style (Not a whole lot, but there are definately some)

Actually, I was not quite ready to call out the big WTF until the most recent episode. It was just way, way, way over the top that I have to shout a WTF!

New rating (out of 5): 4.3 (net gain: +0.5) Making me shout WTF

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Myself; Yourself: Something Bad is Coming

Currently finished: Episode 8

Despite the overall theme is somewhat light and warm, lately, there are just too much bad omen flying around that it makes me feel there is something bad or even terrible coming. I'm not sure whether it is trying to mislead the audiences or foreshadow some coming events, one thing for sure is that the hints all points to unpleasant events. With this new development, I'll have to retrieve my earlier statement about this anime being too "straight forward". Now it seems to be anything but straight forward.

New Rating (out of 5): 4.25 (net gain: +0.75) Mysterious

Dragonaut: More Twists

Currently finished: Episode 8
Finally, Gonzo is back at doing what they're good at: creating twists in the plot. Although the current twist is somewhat expected from the very beginning, nevertheless, it breaks the current run of straight line plot. With the new twist, we should expect more complicated interactions between the two main characters.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Kimikiss Pure Rouge: Getting interesting

Currently finished: Episode 8

For a while, the plot line of Kimikiss was scattered all over the place. Because there is no emphasis on any of the character, almost each and any of them can be considered as a main character. That's probably why the plot has appeared to be so unorganized for so long--all the episodes so far are still introduction episodes.

In episode 7, all the lines start to connect. Stories start to come together, even though there are still some degrees of parallelism.

New rating (out of 5): 4.2 (net gain: +0.2) Interesting

Thursday, December 6, 2007

October 2007 Season Animes I decide not to follow any more

Prism Ark

While the first episode is somewhat amusing, I have not seen anything worth keeping after that. I gave it up to episode 4, but it's not going to make the cut.

Suteki Tantei Labyrinth

It has some interesting elements in it, but it's not developing fast enough, or rather, it's not developing the a way that I'm interested in. On to pf that, I find the main character very annoying and I'm not very fond of its art style either. So, strike out.

Jyushin Enbu

It is somewhat interesting, but, the plot is just too old school and predictable. On top of that, I'm not quite liking its art style either. So, out it is.

Night Wizard

Ever since episode 1, it has been very very repetitive. Plus, lots of the plots are copied straight out of RPG game. It was amusing at the beginning, but now it's just plain anonying.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Between Clannad and Da Capo II ~ Part 1

Clannad and Da Capo II are both the front runner for best school drama of this season, and they happened to have very similar theme: a light drama/comedy could potentially turn into a tragedy.

Of course, it's a bit unfair to compare them side-by-side, because Clannad is a 24 episode series, while Da Capo II is only a 13 episode series. Having said that, I think there are still many criteria that these two could come to a head to head competition on. So forget about the length of the anime for now and take a look at them in details:

Main Character (male)

Both Clannad and Da Capo II took the approach of the main male character being a passive role rather than an active role. While he may be at the right(wrong) place at right(wrong) time and forced to make some decisions he may or may not like to make, he usually is not the cause of the majority events. He is merely a medium for things to take place around him.

Of course, the stories itself would be non-existent if the lead male character is not there. But if you think about it, while the role itself is important to be there at all time, it merely is a "glue" for all the events happened in the anime to come together. That's why I say the main male character plays only a passive role. In my opinion, it is more so in Clannad than Da Capo II.

Comedy/Drama to Tragedy Progression

While I can not yet predict what will happen towards the end of the series, the track record of both Key and Circus speaks for themselves. While all of their past animes started with light comedy, almost all of them ended up in some degrees of tragedy. It's not difficult to predict that both Clannad and Da Capo II would also end in some sort of tragedy. In fact, Clannad already starts to show the signs of it with its first plot segment.

Tragedies vary in degrees, so are comedies. Clannad is doing much better job on the comedy side because of the "moe" properties of all the female characters. The lack of "moe" does not hurt Da Capo, but makes it much lighter comedy wise compare to Clannad.

Segmented Plot Lines

Instead of using parallel plot development, both anime divides the plot into multiple chunks and develop them one at a time. (The opposite extreme is Baccano! which mixed not only all ongoing plot lines together, but also all the past and future plot lines.) The segmented plot line tells one side/part of the story at a time, without mixing in any unnecessary side plot lines. This makes the story very easy to follow. What you lose is the extra dimensions of the story (like the one Baccano! created). But school dramas don't really need them. Compare the two, Da Capo II is much more segmented than Clannad is because latter have a lot more side plot mix-ins.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Kaiji: Gamble Thriller

Currently finished: Episode 6

There not much time left in the gamble arena. The game has reached a new height. It has become so intense that I could not wait to see the next episode. Even though I still hate the art style of this anime, I just could not put it down. It is so interesting that I could completely ignore the art style.
That reminds me that I need to dig around the internet to find the anime named Akagi, which I think is drawn and made by the same people. Instead of the simple gambling game in Kaiji, Akagi talks about advanced techniques on Mahjong gambling. I threw it out back then before I was even half way through the first episode because of the art work. Now, having seen how interesting Kaiji is, I would definately pick Akagi back up and try to watch through. It'll be highly benificial for my Mahjong game skills.

New rating (out of 5): 4.5 (net gain: +0.25) - Amusing

Monday, November 26, 2007

Baccano: Second Run-Through May Be Necessary

Finally, all puzzle pieces fall into its place, the story is complete. The presentation of Baccano is a bit confusing throughout the series due to its interleaving plot line. But unlike Touka Gettan, which just simply lay the episodes in reverse order, Baccano's plot's timeline is very well planned. Small puzzle pieces of Baccano come together forms a bigger puzzle piece, then the bigger puzzle pieces forms the complete story.

While the story is pretty complete and clear after the last episode, I think a second run-through of the series is necessary, for me at least. Mostly because I want to catch some of the side plots that aren't very close to the main plot, yet have somewhat significant contribution to the main plot.

Now lets see the score card for Baccano:

Drama: 5 (One of the best story I've seen lately)
Comedy: 5 (Comedy in an epic, very hard to pull off, yet it did successfully)
Action: 5 (No censor what so ever)
Art/Animation: 5
Sound/Music: 5
Character: 5 (So many of them...)
Plot: 5 (Snatch like story telling, very well thought out)
Re-watch value: 5 (You probably want to watch it at least twice to catch all the details)

Overall (not average): 5 - Perfect

Recommendation: You do not want to miss this one.

Richard's Pick: Best Anime of 2007

[Edit 12/16/07] I'm very sorry to do this, but Denno Coil pushes Baccano! out of the Best of the year award.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Blue Drop: SciFi + School Drama?

Currently finished: Episode 5

So far, the plot of the anime has been half space ship scifi and half ordinary school drama, and the two are only connected with a very very thin thread. While scifi/school drama is a somewhat common genre, presenting in such a fashion is a bit unusual. Most scifi/school dramas have very tight coupling between the two genres, and usually a single plot line contains both. In Blue Drop, however, there is one plot line for each genre, running parallel to each other. Two plot lines split the episode time almost equally.

Slowly, I'm starting to get used to the art style of this anime. I think the overall plot line started to become more interesting.

New rating (out of 5): 3.5 (net gain: 0.5)

Minami Ke: More Misses Than Hits

Earlier, I've mentioned this anime is a hit or miss just like Lucky Star. After finishing episode 4 of Minami Ke, the hit-to-miss ratio has become 1:3. That is way higher than Lucky Star (probably about 2:1). With this much misses and not enough hits, I will no longer waste my time on it and cut it off my currently watch list.

Final rating (out of 5): 2.25 (net gain: -2)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

CLANNAD: Getting Better and Better

Currently finished: Episode 6
The comedy and the "moe" in this anime is just brilliant. I think it surpasses Air and Kanon. It blends in the soft heart touching moments with right amount of comedies with perfect timing. In fact, I think this is the best in this genre (comedy+drama+tragedy) I've ever seen (sorry Honey and Clover fans, at the moment, I do think CLANNAD is better, Honey and Clover just don't have the "moe").

I think it is good enough to earn:

Richard's Pick: Best Comedy of October 2007 Season (Early Impression)

Though I awarded it best comedy, by the end of the series, it may also become the best drama or best tragedy, or maybe even all.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Myself; Yourself: Way too straight forward

Currently finished: Episode 4

So far everything has just bee way too straight forward: you can see everything coming miles away. There's no surprise, no ups and downs. I'm losing interest fast. Also, it has been avoiding the most critical question: what happened to Nanaka? She and Sana were such good friends before, but now she seems to be angry about him for some reason. Strange.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Suteki Tantei Labyrinth: Don't quite get it.

Currently finished: episode 4

The plot after episode 2 is tight enough that it doesn't feel dragging. However, there is nothing in it that makes me want to keep watching. Also, blending comedy into drama generally is good so long as they are inserted at the right time. This anime, however, I have to say is an example of terrible timing while trying to ininsert comedies.

By the end of episode 3, I was ready to just throw it away for good. By the end of episode 4, however, a lot more puzzle pieces have shown up that made me want to hold on to it just a little bit longer.

Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun: Need to be more creative

Currently finished: Episode 3

While the characters are still cute and lovable, the quality of the content has taken a dive. I have to admit, one of the biggest attraction of this anime is the art work of the character. The first two episodes are mainly introductions to recuring main characters, so I omitted to judge the anime itself based on the content quality.

Then, episode 3 rolled around the corner. What I saw in episode 3 is quite disappointing: most of it is made up from old ideas that has been used by hundreds even thousands anime comedies, nothing creative. Also, there are some attempts to make use of pervert jokes. But having just seen Inukami and Zero Tsukaima 2 not too long ago, pervert jokes here are so insignificant in comparison. So it too does not impress me at all.

While it has a solid foundation, Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun need to have some new and creative ideas that would make it interesting and unique. If it keeps going like this, it may soon become a toss-away anime of October. I hope that doesn't happen.

New rating (out of 5): 4 (net gain: -0.6) Needs improvement

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Minami Ke: Another Hit or Miss...

Currently finished: Episode 3

After watching episode 3, I start to get the same feeling as Lucky Star: the episode is hit or miss - meaning that some episodes make me laugh very hard, some other episodes just put me to sleep. Overall, I probably would stay with the series for now until it drops far below my threshold.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

October 2007 New Anime Late Comer: Ghost Hound

Genres: supernatural
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Oval eye / 3DCG

Recommended to: Not sure yet
Recommendation level: Not sure yet

Summary: Some kid lost part of his memory due to some events in the past. He's been having weird dreams. Also there is something to do with ghosts, maybe the the kid's dead sister. Everything is still too confusing to figure out.

Richard's rating (out of 5): 2.75 too weird

Personal comments: It's Production I.G.'s 20 year anniversary product. I suppose that means they worked hard on it to try to make it good. Everything in the first episode is just all so strange and disconnected. There are just too much silence with only some background sounds. I guess it supposed to be creepy, but haven't convienced me yet. Also, there's a distinct similarity of Lain, which I wouldn't consider it to be a good thing.

Dragonaut: Stealing Ideas from Erementar Gerad?

Currently finished: Episode 3

The third episode revealed some more background information (or rather, the concept) about the series. It's interesting,'s also awfully similar to another anime: Erementar Gerad.

Also, another thing I'm not liking about this anime, is that lately Gonzo has been too obsessed with 3DCG and transformation scenes. It may not necessarily be a bad thing in an anime, sometime, they tend to be over used. I wouldn't consider it over use in Dragonaut just yet, but it definitely close and has the potential to do that in the future. I just hope it doesn't go down that route.

Episode 3 is one the edge far enough for me to wanting to drop its rating. But I decide to leave it where it is for now, it is Gonzo after all...

Friday, November 2, 2007

CLANNAD: The Usual Twists

Currently finished: Episode 4

Just like the previous Key/VisualArt's animes, story begins with the main character meets whole bunch of girls that all have some degrees of personal problems. Then the plot will draw out from them one by one. In the mean time, lots of cute comedies are injected.

The comedy in the anime, I think is largely contributed by animation production Kyoto Animation. Because similar comedies can be seen in Kanon 2006 (produced by Kyoto) but not in original Kanon anime, which is still the same Key/VisualArts' story, but produced by Toei Animation studio. The usual approach for comedy in the show is largely based of the clumsiness and the naiveness of the girls. The side effect of this approach is not only funny, but also cute. (Also known as "moe" (萌え) in Japanese, I don't think there is a English equivalent word for it).

Keep in mind, knowing Key/VisualArts' track record, even though the series starts relatively comedic and lasts throughout majority of the series, it usually ends up being a tragedy. So people expect it to be comedy all the way through need to watch out.

By episode 4, one of the plot line already starts to unfold. I am looking forward to see the rest of the series.

New recommendation: Don't miss a thing

New rating (out of 5): 4.7 (net gain: +0.2)

Kaiji: Gamble Psychology

Currently finished: Episode 4

I completely hate the art style of this anime, but I just couldn't put it down. This anime basically is a lesson on philosophy and psychology of gambling. It talks about what to do and what not to do while gambling, and what's the common mistake most gamblers make. Very interesting.

New rating (out of 5): 4.25 (net gain: +0.25) Interesting

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Night Wizard: Some New Elements

Currently finished: Episode 3

If this third episode has been like the first two, I wouldn't hesitate to throw it away. Bu the beginning of episode three, something came up that indicates there's a significant yet hidden plot. That made the anime seem a lot more interesting than before.

Also, being an anime based off a RPG game, not only they didn't try to hide the "game element", but also insert them blatantly in the middle of the anime, like solving puzzles that is typical for RPG games, and floor that indicates significant square and traps.

New rating (out of 5): 3.2 (net gain: +0.4) Getting better

Majin Tantei Nōgami Neuro: ...

Currently finished: Episode 3

Comedy + mystery, it's not an uncommon combination in cartoons (Scooby Doo, Inspector Gadget), but it's a bit uncommon in the world of anime.

While it's interesting, at the same time, it feels quite lame. At the moment, it's still fun and amusing, however, I don't know how long that amusement going to last. We'll see.

AiKa R-16: Virgin Mission: Speechless...

I am truly speechless after seeing the final episode of AiKa R-16: Virgin Mission. Though come to think of it, the previous episode is not much better.

It's almost like a exhibition of pantie shots. It has pantie shots of every single imaginable (and unimaginable).
If you like pantie shots in an anime, you don't want to miss it. Otherwise, there is really no substance in this anime that is worth to mention. But if you're interested, it is still amusing to see how may different ways a pantie shot can be made.

Here are just selected few for your amusement: