Sunday, May 27, 2007

April 2007 New Animes - Late Comers

Denno Coil
Genres: SciFi/Children's?
I've watched: 2 episodes
Art style: Simple and Chubby
Recommended to: Hard to say, because you ought to fully appreciate the cleverness of it to like it.
Summary: It's a bit childish. But , it's a very clever implementation of the ideas from "The Matrix". It describes a future world that virtual reality is integrated using glasses. The clever part of it is how reality is blended into the virtual reality. If you have to, put it against .hack and and others alike, Denno Coil is the most brilliant one among them all. The art is simple, the story is simple (at least for the moment), but it is definitely one of the best among all the animes this season.
Rating - first impression: 4.8 out of 5
Personal comment: You can't be told how clever Denno Coil is, you have to see it yourself.

April 2007 New Animes - Random Remarks

Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica

I'm pretty sure by now, the layout of the story is going to be many seemingly unrelated events to be connected at the end of the series. Generally, this type of story telling suffers a big flaw - the building block episodes get way too cheesy. Although it is essential to have these episodes by themselves to be able to build a better picture that leads to the grant plot. Most time, the there are not enough substance to make itself a good stand alone episode. So when an anime take this approach, you usually end up with a relatively good over all story but many relatively crappy episodes in the middle.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

April 2007 New Anime - Updates

General review is over for the new April 2007 releases. From now on I'll be just doing periodic updates on the ones I'm still watching.

Kono Aozora ni Yakusoku wo

Comments: The story line is not what I originally thought to be, and now I see the pattern they're following: Short stories about each individual in the anime, much like Shuffle - Memories (not the original Shuffle). To be honest, I don't like it, because it gets very repetitive and tend to use the same formula over and over again. If they keep doing this, the rating will keep dropping until I throw it into the trash all together.
Scoreboard: -0.5 for overly repetitive and overly formulaic
Result: 3.2 out of 5

Kiss Dum - Engage Planet

Comments: Um, yeah, episode 4 is a review episode of the first 3. WTF?! The story, also start to evolve into the one man show - the main character is such a bad @ss and everybody is saved by him.
Scoreboard: -0.5 for spend the whole episode to replay the first 3; -0.5 for using old ideas.
Result: 2.7 out of 5


Comments: I think I forgot to do this one in the second thoughts. Oh, well, I'll do it now. Storywise, it's definately getting interesting. Now we know not only they are responsible for saving the earth, but also whoever sits on the driver seat will die. Within the episode, however, most time is devoted for character development. You don't just get some meaningless fights.
Scoreboard: +0.2 for originality; +0.2 for good character development
Result: 4.5 out of 5

Lucky Star

Comments: I'm very glad that I gave it a second chance because it turns out to be much better than I originally thought. The format hasn't changed: 4 high school girls talking about day to day stuff. One of them is a video game + anime fan, so in their conversion, they make lots of references and remarks about animes. People watch lots of animes would find it pretty funny.
Scoreboard: +0.4 for being entertaining
Result: 3.9 out of 5

Romeo & Juliet

Comments: Gonzo's new interpretation of the old classic is definitely interesting. I thought they've previously done pretty well with the modern adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo - Gankutsuou (although lots of other people disagree). I'm looking forward to see more of it.
Scoreboard: +0.2 for keeping the pace of the story up
Result: 4.3 out of 5

Monday, May 21, 2007

April 2007 New Anime - Second thoughts Round 1 part 3

The Good:

Sisters of Wellber
Second thought: Although still interesting, I feel I'm caring less and less about the story as the plot being developed. This is probably the next in line to be dropped. It's in the "good" section for now because I'm not dropping it yet.
Revised rating: 2.75 out of 5 (net gain: -1.2)

Toward the Terra
Second thought: I'm actually surprised that I'm still watching it. Normally, this type of art style would make me cut it lose within 2 episodes. But it had managed to grab and hold on to me.
Revised rating: 3.9 out of 5 (net gain: 0.7)

Second thought: After the first episode, it doesn't look like a female version of Berserk any more. It is still good. The story is a bit formula for this type. I expect it to get out of it soon.
Revised rating: 4.25 out of 5 (no gain, no loss)

Darker Than Black
Second thought: I haven't seen any hint for what's the grant plot yet. The recent episodes demonstrated it definitely has potential.
Revised rating: 4.1 out of 5 (net gain: 0.2)

Love Complex
Second thought: It was interesting and funny to begin with. It actually gets more interesting and funnier. For people like comedies, this is definitely a keeper.
Revised rating: 4.4 out of 5 (net gain: 0.4)

The Bad:

Kaibutsu Oujo
Second thought: Actually, I haven't seen the second episode of it yet. But I'm making the call to strike it off my watch list becaues I don't like the art style very much and I didn't care much about the story either. I still have some old backlogs need time to finish. So I'm just going to throw this one away for the greater good.
Verdict: Gone with the wind
Final rating: 2.8 out of 5 (It's pretty close to my threshold, too)

Heroic Age
Second thought: I don't know why, but it feels retarded. I have not interest of watching it any more.
Verdict: Delete.
Final rating: 1.9 out of 5 (net gain: -0.7)

The Missing:

AIKa R16: Virgin Mission
Status: Hard to find
Second thoughts: I actually wouldn't mind watching more of it. The problem is very few group is doing sub for it, and the one doing sub is very slow. I just can't find more episodes.
Verdict: It's a gonner, unless I can find some more episodes.
Final rating: 3.0 out of 5

Sunday, May 20, 2007

April 2007 New Anime - Theme Songs

These are my favorite opening/ending theme songs among all April 2007 new animes:

Opening Theme of Kiss Dum - Engage Planet - 時空を超えて by II MIX DELTA

Opening Theme of Bokurano - アンインストール by 石川智晶

Opening Theme of El Cazador de la Bruja - 光の行方 by savage genius

Opening Theme of Heroic Age - gravitation by angela

Although El Cazador de la Bruja and Heroic Age are totally worthless, I still like their opening theme song.

April 2007 New Anime - Random Remarks

Touga Gettan
- So far it's just like Momento. Within each episode, time flows normally. But the episodes are played in reverse order. The difference is, however, you get to see all the segments of Momento at once, where you only get to see one segment of Touga Gettan per week (or even more, depends on how fast sub group works). I found myself have to work really hard to recall what happened in previous episode because it has been a week since I saw it. Often, I have to go pull out the previous episode and scan through it.

Sisters of Wellber - Initially I thought it was interesting. But more I watch, I found out that I start to care less about what's really going on. There is nothing in it that could "grab" me to wanting to see more. It is walking on the edge of being dropped out of my list. If it doesn't get more interesting within next 2 episodes, I'm almost certain I'll toss it.

Towards the Terra - The character design of this anime bother the crap out of me. It just feels......uncomfortable for some reason. Normally, that's enough for me to strike it off my list. But, the plot is actually interesting enough for me to wanting to see more.

Friday, May 18, 2007

April 2007 New Anime - Second thoughts Round 1 Part 2

The Good:

Murder Princess
Second thought: As an OVA, the release rate is pretty good (About one a month). The first episode is pretty simple. There was no hint of bigger conspiracy. The second episode, however, start to hint that there's a bigger plot that it originally seemed. With some light comedy mixed in, it is definately one of the best in the April 2007 season.
Revised rating: 4.6 out of 5 (net gain: 0.1, it's already way up there, really hard to gain much more)

Kono Aozora ni Yakusoku wo
Second thought: What originally seemed to be the plot line in episode 1 was resolved in the next 2 episodes. Now I'll have to see how the new plot is planned. Only thing I'm afraid is that there is not going to be another one, because of the formula it's following right now. We'll see.
Revised rating: 3.8 out of 5 (no gain, no loss)

Kaze no Stigma
Second thought: The plot of the first segment is being developed very quickly. At this point, I'm not sure this is going to be the central plot line dragging through the serie or just the starter sub-plot. Either way it's becoming even more interesting. Although it's still primarily drama, more light comedies are being mixed in to lighten things up.
Revised rating: 4.5 out of 5 (net gain: 0.5)
Awards: Top Drama, April 2007 - Early Impression
Additional comment: Gonzo has been one of my favorite production studios. But lately, I have not been impressed with their new works, until this one came out.

Second thought: Overall, it's still good. Plot is moving forward, though not fast enough by my standard. It's still interesting. I'll have to see where is it going.
Revised rating: 4.1 out of 5 (net gain: -0.15)

Shinkyoku Sokai Polyphonica
Second thought: The plot line has been very very very formula so far. However, the it laid out feels like all these are the seeds being planted for the grand plot to be tied up in or near the end, like Kiddy Grade or Daphane in the Brilliant Blue. It actually has some very distinct similiarities with them. By now, I'd say my final rating for this one is probably going to be based on how well it ties up them all in the end. We'll see. Also, as usual, I seem to overlook the pre-opening scenes before the 1st episode. Although there's no clear indication, it looks like the pre-opening scenes will play much larger role in the future plot development.
Revised rating: 4.25 out of 5 (no gain, no loss)

Kiss Dum - Engage Planet
Second thought: Episode 1 is almost complete confusion. Episode 2 cleared up the confusion. Episode 3, however, made everything confusing again. I thought I knew where it's heading, but not any more. Initial episode made me give the comment "highly recommended for everybody". Now I think I'll retrieve that comment. I'll have to see several more episodes before I can make any recommendation for this one.
Revised rating: 3.7 out of 5 (net gain: -0.7)

The Bad:

Seirei no Moribito
Second thought: I just couldn't stand this type of art style for too long. Personally, I'm ok with the main character's design. But all the supporting character are just unacceptable to me. Sometime, too much realistic is not necessarily a good thing. Storywise, I think it has potential. But I just couldn't lay my eye on the art work any more. So, this one is a goner.
Verdict: Off my harddrive.
Final rating: 3.25 out of 5 (no gain, no loss) I'm tossing it away only because I couldn't stand its art style.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

April 2007 New Anime - Second thoughts Round 1 Part 1

The Good:

Romeo & Juliet
Second thought: Personally, I felt it had a pretty boring start. But after episode 2, things are falling into the right place. It's getting more interesting, and a bit faster pace, too.
Revised rating: 4.1 out of 5 (net gain 0.35)

Second thought: After a relative quick start, things slowed down a lot in the next 2 episodes. Then it start to pick up pace again in episode 4.
Revised rating: 4.3 out of 5 (net gain -0.5)

Touka Gettan
Second thought: After watching episode 3, I realized that the episodes are in the reverse order, like the movie Momento. Once that's understood, things start to getting more clear.
Revised rating: 3.6 out of 5 (net gain ???)

Lucky Star (Recalled from the trash)
Second thought: After thinking about it, I decided to give it one more try. It's actually pretty interesting once you get around the simplified art form and almost completely "talk" anime.
Revised rating: 3.5 out of 5 (net gain 1.2)

The Bad:

Shining Tears X Wind
Second thought: It is just not interesting enough. Plus, the character art starts to bother me.
Verdict: In the trash it goes
Final rating: 2 out of 5 (net gain -1.8)

Seto no Hanayome
Second thought: This is an example of over-using hyper deformation. It's just not funny any more. (I think the cause is it's not funny enough to begin with.) Plus the story is really really really dry. And there's no substance what so ever.
Verdict: May it burn in hell
Final rating: 0.8 out of 5 (net gain -1.7)

Idol Master Xenoglossia
Second thought: It is just too stupid, period.
Verdict: Straight to the trash.
Final rating: 2 out of 5 (net gain -1.3)

April 2007 New Anime Report Part 8

Lovely Complex
Genres: Light Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Stretched (Similar to "One Piece" if you've seen it)
Recommended to: Anybody is not bothered by that art style
Summary: This is a story about a tall girl and a short guy. More ironically, the tall girl's name contains konji means "small", and the short guy's name contains konji means "big". Poeple always made fun of them together by switching the konji of "small" and "big" between their names when calling them. One day, after they made a bet to see who will get a boyfriend or girlfriend first. Now the story begins.
Rating - first impression: 4.0 out of 5
Personal comment: I know this particular art style bothers some people, but I'm cool with it. Overall, it looks like it'll be an intereting comedy. Obviously, with a opening like this, you know that they'll end up together when the series is coming to an end.

Heroic Age
Genres: Mecha/Space Fantasy/Sci-fi
I've watched: 1 episode
Recommended to: I'm not recommending this to anybody!
Summary: Some higher being created the universe. They also taught 3 races in the universe to travel between stars. Mankind had now just learned to travel out of their planet, and is looking for the messiah to save them.
Rating - first impression: 2.6 out of 5
Personal comment: Something (I'm not sure what) about this anime just doesn't feel right. Maybe it feels somewhat like Gundum? I don't know. It barely passed my threshold. If my schedule gets busier, this will sure be the first one to drop.

AIKa R16: Virgin Mission
Genres: Comedy Drama + very little Sci-fi
I've watched: 1 episode
Recommended to: People is just looking for something to watch, it's an ok time filler
Summary: A girl got her license for operating a class C mini-submarine. She is then hired by the school's archeology club to hunt for treasure. Then things start to go wrong. (You know the drill)
Rating - first impression: 3.0 out of 5
Personal comment: I might have to drop this one because of the source problem: I can't seem to find a reliable fansub source for this. Although the anime is good enough to get a 3.0 rating, I'm really not interested in this one.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

April 2007 New Anime Report Part 7

Genres: Supernatural/Drama
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common
Recommended to: People like drama involves supernatural events
Summary: 15 teenagers, while playing on the beach, discovered somebody setup a secret computer workshop in a cave. The owner of the workshop claim he is the developer for a new game, and asked the children to participate in game testing. Only after they signed up for the "test", they found out that it's not just a game. The game had come into the reality. Now the fate of earth is in their hand.
Rating - first impression: 4.1 out of 5
Personal comment: Yet another anime from Gonzo. This time, however, it feels that they're on the right track to made another great anime.

Darker Than Black
Genres: Supernatural/Drama
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Semi-realistic/Common
Recommended to: People like stories about daemon powers
Summary: The gateway to hell has been opened. People known as contractee to daemon running around the world with super power. Um...that's what I've gotten so far from episode 1. Everything else is still very unclear.
Rating - first impression: 3.9 out of 5

Kami-chama Karin
Genres: magical girl/children's
I've watched: 0.6 episode
Art style: magical girl/childish
Recommended to: urr.....children younger than 8?
Summary: "slow or limited in intellectual development" - this is the defination of the word "retarded", and that's exactly what this anime is. This is either targeted for children, or the producer is mentally retarded. The typical part of magical girl anime is the transformation sequence, and I have to say this is the most retarded I've encountered. One of the transformation sequence, the character literally says "I am God" in broken English while being transformed.
Rating - first impression: Retarded
Verdict: I'm not even going to finish episode 1 before I throw it into the garbage.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

April 2007 New Anime Report Part 6

Lucky Star
Genres: Talk Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: 2-D/Simplified
Recommended to: People like comedic conversions in anime
Summary: It uses a very simplified art style. The whole first episode is pretty much just conversations. They're trying to make it funny. Maybe somebody do find it funny. But I don't find it funny enough to keep watching.
Rating - first impression: 2.3 out of 5
Verdict: Into the trash
Personal comments: This is what I call being too "dry". They're trying to be funny, and I see where they're going. But I'm just not impressed with it.

Kaibutsu Oujo
Genres: Vampire (kind of)/Supernatural
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Normal/Slightly 2-D
Recommended to: People like anime deals with monster and stuff
Summary: A boy was killed trying to save a girl. She turns out to be a "Monster Princess", who gives him new life. So he ends up working for her in her mansion, with his sister, who is already working there.
Rating - first impression: 2.8 out of 5
Personal comments: Everybody in this anime seemed strange (personality wise). I don't know how much I'll be able to stay with it.

Kiss Dum - Engage Planet
Genres: Drama/Supernatural/SciFi
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Mixed - Semi-realistic + Typical anime
Recommended to: People like SciFi drama about supernatural events
Summary: It is a very fast paced anime (at least in episode 1). Supposedly, a thing called the "Book of Death" is flowing around with sea current, causing sea creature to mutate. While a group is trying to recover the "Book", they were attacked by lots of strange bugs. In the choas, a scientist manage to find the "Book of Death". Then, more strange thing happens.
Rating - first impression: 4.4 out of 5
Personal comments: This one has a very very fast pace from the beginning of episode 1. The plot was somewhat confusing in the first 10 minutes, but clears up and builds up quickly. Effective usage of interleaving events makes the plot very tight. Highly recommended to everybody.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

April 2007 New Anime Report Part 5

Genres: Fantasy
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Fantasy/Berserk Style
Recommended to: People like Berserk style fantasy
Summary: In a fantasy world where daemon could appear in human form and consume people at night when they're not suspecting. The only one could stop them is someone called Claymore - half human and half daemon. Due to some unfortunate event, a boy has been thrown out of the village and end up following the Claymore.
Rating - first impression: 4.25 out of 5
Personal comment: The first episode, feels like a female version of Berserk, but feels a bit different (in a good way).

Toward the Terra
Genres: Scifi/Space/Fantasy/Drama
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Realistic
Recommended to: People don't mind space fantasy
Summary: When earth became unihabitable, mankind fled to other galaxy. Time passes by, people forgot where they are from. (This is what I've gotten so far. Rest of the plot in episode 1 doesn't quite make sense yet).
Rating - first impression: 3.2 out of 5
Personal comment: This type of art style bothers me a little. Generally, I throw away animes like this if the plot couldn't interest me within the first episode. This one is interesting enough to go for the second episode.

Idol Master Xenoglossia
Genres: Cute/Kids/Mecha
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Cute
Recommended to: People like cute anime, and don't mind Mecha
Summary: A girl got accepted to Idol Master Project interview in Tokyo. Since it's her first trip to Tokyo, she was lost. Then she saw the activation of Mecha called "Idol". Then herself also got involed into some mess with an Idol Mecha.
Rating - first impression: 3.3 out of 5

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

April 2007 New Anime Report Part 4

Touka Gettan
Three letter description: WTF!
Genres: Traditional Japanese fantasy
I've watched: 2 episodes
Art style: Artistic Drama/Traditional Japanese
Recommended to: um....I don't know, this one is too weird to say
Summary: Good question. I am yet to figure out what's going on. So far all I've seen is whole bunch of things made me say "WTF?". It seems to be focusing on being artistic. Both the art work and the weirdness reminded me "Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito" ( believe or not, animesuki claim there's still seeds despite it's 4 years old), which is also produced by Avex Mode. It turned out to be not so bad. You just have to get used to the weirdness. So I think I'll give this one a chance as well.
Rating - first impression: "too weird" out of 5
Additional comment: WTF

Sisters of Wellber
Genres: Drama/Fantasy with a hint of comedy
I've watched: 2 episodes
Art style: Kingdom Fantasy
Recommended to: People like drama and kingdom drama
Summary: A female thief, was trying to steal some treasure from the king's palace. But she end up witnessing the princess murdering her fiance, who is a prince from a rival kingdom. So she end up taking the princess with her while escaping from the palace. The marriage between the princess and the rival kingdom's prince is a political marriage to prevent an outbreaking war between the two kingdom. But she didn't love him at all. Now, the only way to prevent the war is to deliver a letter to the king of Wellber.
Rating - first impression: 3.95 out of 5

Genres: Drama/Supernatural
I've watched: 2 episodes
Art Style: Colorful and slightly cute
Recommended to: People like supernatural stories (vampires, etc.)
Summary: A guy obsessed with taking pictures of sky run into a girl while trying to capture the sky of the sunrise. The next day, he run into her again and she's being hunted by a man. So he saves her and found out she is not human. She claim to be a creature can only exist under dark (but she's not a vampire, so far I can tell from their conversation).
Rating - first impression: 4.8 out of 5
Personal comment: For some reason, I found the main female character very appealing. I like the character design (including the voice and personality) and the art work very much. That's part of the reason I've given it such high score. Having said that, the plot build up is quite good too, in my opinion. Although you may have completely different opinion on the rating without this influence.