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:

Monday, October 29, 2007

Da Capo II: Better than the First Impression

Currently finished: Episode 3

Just like all the other new animes from October, the first episode of D.C. II did not leave me any good impression at all. Then it changed. Something in the next two episodes grabbed me. D.C. II is not like the previous series. It didn't start as a full comedy like the original Da Capo did. So far it's a light light comedy at best. With the track record of all previous Da Capo anime series, I'm pretty sure it's going to either end tragically or become very very heavy towards the end. Without starting up with too much comedy,it sure won't build up as much constrast as the original Da Capo did. But maybe this is a better way.

Recommendation level: Moderate

New rating (out of 5): 3.75 (net gain: +1.25) Not Bad

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Minami Ke: Lucky Star + Kyou no Go no Ni + Azumanga Daioh

Currently finished: Episode 2

After I watched episode 1, I didn't think it has much potential. After episode 2, my opinion completely changed. I guess because episode 1 is jut setting up the environment, so it didn't quite go into its intended plot foramt. I was laughing almost non-stop while watching episode 2.

It has a very similar format to Lucky Star/Kyou no Go no Ni (Today's Class 5-2)/Azumanga Daioh: the whole episode is made up from random events that occured in the school or at home. It's more like Kyou no Go no Ni then Lucky Star or Azumagna Daioh, in terms of art, layout, and comedy. Fan of Kyou no Go no Ni should not miss this one. Fan of Lucky Star or Azumanga Daioh would also find this anime very entertaining.

New rating (out of 5): 4.25 (net gain: +0.75) Excellent

Recommended to: People liked Lucky Star or Kyou no Go no Ni or Azumanga Daioh, or people just want to have some good laugh.
Recommendation level: Recommended

Baccano: A Very Very Complicated "Snatch"

Currently finished: Episode 10

Earlier in the series, some sub plots of Baccano occasionally bumps into each other. Now almost all plots crosses over at least one other plot. It's like the movie Snatch, except this is a much much more complicated version. The way sub plots are crossing each other, is just as brilliant as in Snatch if not more.

The openning theme, where it lists all major characters with a picture and a name actually serves some purpose: 17 main characters are a lot to remember, more than 10 different sub plots interleaving throughout the series make it even harder to have a face with matching name sink into the memory. The opening theme actually reinforces that memory which helps to identify the characters in the sub plot.

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

Shugo Chara: Why am I liking this anime?

It's so childish and magical girl style, but... somehow I'm liking it. Normally I wouldn't even think twice before I throw away any magical girl anime. But not only I'm not disliking Shugo Chara, I think it's quite fun to watch. What's wrong with me?!

I guess it's like Mermaid Melody all over again: something in the anime have me hooked and I can't quite tell what, and I couldn't shake it off either. In fact, in the case of Mermaid Melody, the only reason I stopped watching is the sub group stopped putting out new episodes.

On the bright side, if the sub group does stop before the series finishes, I wouldn't feel too bad because while it's available, I like to watch it; but when it's not available, I won't really miss it either.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Mokke: Mushishi Light

Currently finished: Episode

Just like Mushishi, Mokke is an anime about spirits, ghosts, and other traditional Japanese supernatural beings. What it differs is that Mushishi is almost always in a dark or heavy tone, where Mokke mixes light and dark tone together, and even thrown in some comedy once a while.

If Mushishi is knowledgeable, then Mokke is both knowledgeable and entertaining at the same time.

New rating (out of 5): 4 (net gain: +0.8)

New recommendation: Follow along

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Baccano: Bloody Hell!!!

Currently finished: Episode 9

F*ck!!!!! There is no such thing called censoring in this anime, head shot, beheading, decapitation, you name it, this anime has it, in full frontal and side angle shot, none of the camera trick crap. I'm surprised this anime didn't get taken off the air after the girl with an axe incident.

Aside from that, the plot of Baccano finally start to come together. It's no longer in random pieces any more, the big picture start to show up. Very interesting piece of work.

New rating (out of 5): 4.5 (net gain: +0.5)

Da Capo II: Um...chocolate banana...

Currently finished: Episode 2

Um...yeah, that's chocolate coated banana...moving on...

Denno Coil: When SciFi becomes Fantasy

Currently finished: Episode 19

The latest episode of Denno Coil doesn't feel like a SciFi anime any more, it feels more like a traditional fantasy. The transition however, is almost unnoticeable, and the blending is almost perfect. You can map everything found in this SciFi world into something that would normally appears in a traditional fantasy world. The anime itself is really a fantasy that is translated into SciFi "language". Very interesting and unique idea.

New rating (out of 5): 4.95 (net gain: +0.15)

Award: Best SciFi Anime of 2007

Although it's not the end of 2007, nor is the end of the series, I'm still going to award Denno Coil best SciFi anime of 2007. Like I did to Darker than Black. By now I have seen all the new animes that came out in the last season of 2007, and there is none that could beat Denno Coil. Even though the ending of Denno Coil could still be disappointing, what I have seen so far is already enough to earn it the best SciFi of the year status regardless how it's going to end.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Lucky Star: Hit or Miss...

Recognize this scene?

Hit or miss, that's how I feel while watching Lucky Star. I think it's largely due to the wide range of animes/mangas/games/novels it references to. The range is so wide I can pick out probably less than half of them. When I understood what they're referencing to, it was funny as hell. But when I don't get what they're referencing, the whole episode just flew by like running water. But that's not the anime's fault.

Also, Lucky Star seems to have taken the entire voice acting crew of Melancholy of Haruhi as either main character or guest characters.

Anyway, here is the score card for Lucky Star:

(Full score is 5)

Drama: N/A
Comedy: 4.5 (The ones I understood, they're great; the ones I didn't, well...I assume someone did)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 4.5 (It kept its original 4-panel comic style art, quite refreshing)
Sound/Music: 4.5 (Music from lots of animes, and some original as well)
Character: 5 (It's one of the reason this anime is so funny)
Plot: N/A

Re-watch value: 3.5 (Maybe re-watch some of the really funny scenes, but can't image to re-watch the entire series)

Overall (not average): 4.5

Recommendation: If you haven't seen lots of animes or you're not familiar with Japanese culture, this is definitely not for you. Otherwise, you'll find it very amusing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sketchbook ~ Full Colors ~: Boring

Currently finished: Episode 2

The amusement of retardation lasted only as long as the first episode did. Second episode came along, everything just seems so...stupid. In a sense, it's very similar to Lucky Star, except, it's not nearly as good as Lucky Star.

New rating (out of 5): 2.25 (net gain: -1.25)

Verdict: Into the trash

Lovely Complex: All ends well

Finally, after the first round of October new animes, I got some free time to finish up the animes from previous seasons.

At last, everybody resolved his/her problem with the significant other. Though the tone for the last several episodes are rather heavey, there are still enough outrageous comedies that made me spray water out of my nose.

Animes like this are not going to have a clear ending. But I am satisfied with what they did to wrap up all the loose ends. All major issues are resolved. There is almost no unanswered questions. Very well done.

(Full score if 5)

Drama: 5 (There is no lack of that)
Comedy: 5 (One of the best I've seen)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 4.8 (Great use of deformation)
Sound/Music: 4 (Not bad, but didn't leave me much impression either)
Character: 5 (Great character development)
Plot: 5 (Lots of turns and twists)

Re-watch value: 4.5 (It's still fun to watch it again)

Overall (not average): 4.9

Recommendation: If you haven't seen it, go watch it NOW! It is on my all time favorite now. One of the best comedic dramas I've ever seen.

Dragonaut: Dragon's operator

Currently finished: Episode 2

I said in the previous post about this anime that I have not been impressed with any of the GONZO's new animes lately. After I watched the first episode, I thought Dragonaut would be another one of GONZO's anime that is going into my sub-standard category. The second episode, however, completely changed my mind.

Though I still think there are improvements can be made in the presentation, the plot makes up what it's lacking. The new twist that is added into the plot immediately grabbed me. Now I'm really interested to find out what's going on.

New rating (out of 5): 4 (net gain: +1.0)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Night Wizard: Not interesting

Currently finished: Episode 2

The first episode didn't impress me at all, the second episode is even worse. It a old plot that has been beat up by so many animes, and there is just no real substance. If they keep going down the same path in the third episode, I'll just have to cut it off my list.

New rating (out of 5): 2.8 (net gain: -0.7)

Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun: Girl vs. Succubus

Currently finished: Episode 2

It seems that once a while the "succubus" girl completely loses control of her power and she acts like a curious kitty. On top of that, the student body president is also into Ninomiya. And being a sccubus, losing control also means that she become a mean girl towards anybody that tries to get close with Ninomiya.

I don't know what it is about this anime, it just feels so relaxing and enjoyable. I really couldn't tell what it is better over some other comedy animes. I just like it.

New rating (out of 5):
4.6 (net gain: 0.1)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpucho Tou 2nd Act: Another Unfinished Business

Just like the first series, Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpucho Tou 2nd Act ended without a complete resolution. I know the story itself is long. I'm kind of glad that they didn't just make a 50+ or 100+ episode series becaue I'm not sure I can hang that long. I do however have problem with them ending the second segment of the series in episode 10 and then throw in 2 review episodes. If the segment ends at episode 10, let it end at episode 10. But don't throw out two random worthless review episodes so the time slot can be filled AFTER the series has ended. There are plenty of places I can think of in the middle of the series that those two review episode can be put in. But they chose not to, instead, dangling them at the end of the series.

Having said that, my score card is not going count the last two episodes as part of the series. I will rate it base on the first 10 episodes:

(Full score is 5)

Drama: 4.5 (Interesting story, more so than the first one)
Comedy: N/A
Action: 5 (Just great)
Art/Animation: 4 (It's not the style I like, but still good)
Sound/Music: 4 (Matches the animation quite well)
Character: 4.5 (Good character development)
Plot: 4.8 (Very well planned out plot development)

Re-watch value: 4 (Loses some of the surprise elements, but still good)

Overall (not average): 4.8

Recommendation: Highly recommended, but you'll need to see the first series first. (I know the English sub is slow or even impossible to find. But definitely keep an eye on it. If nobody is subbing it anymore, well...let's just hope ADV Film (the studio licensed first series) is putting the second series out as well.)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mushi Uta: A Dream, Very Confusing one

It ended. That's it. I didn't feel much of anything towards the ending. What seemed to be a somewhat spectacular final battle really isn't that good. Also, from the reaction of some of the characters, it seems that a plan has backfired. The problem? We never really quite understood what the plan supposed to do at first place. That's only one of the many unanswered questions. Nothing from this anime left any lasting impression for me. Soon, it'll be complete forgotten.

So, the score card:

(Full score is 5)

Drama: 3 (Nothing really stands out)
Comedy: N/A
Action: 3.5 (Somewhat interesting action, not whole lot though)
Art/Animation: 3 (It's not the art style I liked, and the contrast is way too low)
Sound/Music: 3.5 (Not bad, but nothing exceptional either)
Character: 3.8 (Somewhat distinct personalities, but nothing deep)
Plot: 3.8 (Only if they can clear up what the original plan was...)
Re-watch value: 2 (Unlikely anybody would want to watch it twice)

Overall (not average): 3 (Not bad enough for me to throw away half way, but close enough)

Recommendation: Better off spending you time elsewhere.

October 2007 New Anime: Moyashimon

Genres: Comedy / Supernatural
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: noitamina / common

Special note: Noitamina (!!!)

Recommended to: People liked Noitamina's animes
Recommendation level: Not sure yet

Summary: It's a story about a guy that has the ability to see germs and bacterias. He sees them as small living creatures that have emotion, and can talk. (WTF!!!) He is now attending an agricultural university. On the first day of school, he started to run into weird things.

Richard's rating - first impression (of 5): 3.8 - Ok, but didn't quite meet my expectation

Personal comments: At first, I didn't recognize it being a anime from noitamina. Then comes the openning theme. Immediately, I recognized it as Noitamina's trademark style openning theme. Not quite convienced (because the art style is a bit... normal), I looked it up. It really is a new anime that is produced by Noitamina. The bar of expectation is now much higher than before this discovery.

Maybe Honey and Clover and Nodame Cantabile had set too high of a standard, it did not come anywhere near what I'm expecting. It doesn't have the outrageous comedy, and the art style is way too "normal". Hopefully, it'll get better as it goes.

October 2007 New Anime: Jyushin Enbu

Link: (Official) http://www.jyushin.jp/ (Torrents only available through http://www.baka-updates.com/)
Genres: Fantasy, somewhat / Martial art
I've watched:
Art style: Realistic, somewhat

Recommended to: People like martial art fantasy anime
Recommendation level: Follow along

Summary: In this world, there are seven people that is chosen by destiny. There is a sword that is kept in an temple, which legend says the one who could pull it out of its sheath will become the king (Hm...I think I've heard about a similar story, oh yeah, Excalibur). One day, an army come to the temple and tries to take the sword.

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

Personal comments: I remember reading somewhere online that the manga, which this anime is based on is inspired by a Chinese online novel. The setting of the story looks like ancient China. The author of the manga is the author of Full Metal Alchemist, so the art works are very similar to Full Metal Alchemist. The voice of the main character sound extremely familiar, so I looked it up. It turns out that he's voice of one of th twin from Oran Koukou Host Club.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

October 2007 New Anime: Prism Ark

Link: (Official) http://www.p-ark.tv/ (Torrents only available through http://www.baka-updates.com/)
Genres: Fantasy
I've watched:
Art style: Fantasy

Recommended to: People like fantasy (knights, magic, etc.) animes
Recommendation level: Follow along for now

Summary: It's a world with kinghts and magic. It's a fight between good and evil. Of course, there's always romance in this kind of plot as well. Everything is still a bit confusing at the moment, but it seems to be the fight between a kingdom and evil crusaders. First villain seem to be somebody called "Sister Hell" (!), who can summon evil "Angel"(!).

Richard's rating - first impression (of 5): 4 - Not bad

Personal comments: This is the first anime in a "true" fantasy setting in the past several seasons (I don't consider Zero Tsukaima a true fantasy setting). The meta plot, though, seems to be based on the medieval crusade, portaiting crusaders as the evil party.

October 2007 New Anime: Shion no Ou

Genres: Drama / Mystery / Shougi
I've watched:
Art style: Common

Recommended to: People like murder mystery and don't mind some shougi
Recommendation level: Recommended, for now

Summary: Shion's parents were murdered right in front of her when she was really young, but for some reason, the murderer spared here life. Because of the emotional trauma, she couldn't talk anymore. The neighbor, who is a 8 Dan professional shougi player, adopted her and trained her to become a skilled shougi player as well. Her parents' murder case was never solved. Seven years later, that murder seem to start to haunting her again.

Richard's rating - first impression (of 5): 4.25 - Very good

Personal comments: When I heard about this anime, I thought it's going to be another one just like Hikaru no Go, which everything evolves around learning go. Surprisingly, that's not the case here. Shougi, for the most part, is only the "glue" that holds everything together. The anime itself, seems to be more about solving the mysteries behind her parent's murder than playing shougi. While it does have some amont of shougi play in the anime, it is nowhere near what Hikaru no Go is. Becaue shougi is not the main theme, the anime makes no attempt to try to get audiance to be interested in shougi like Hikura no Go does.

October 2007 New Anime: Kaiji

Genres: Gambling / Drama / Psychological thriller
I've watched: 2 episodes
Art style: Hard edge / Long face / Hook nose

Recommended to: People interested in gamble psychology (In a sense, game theory)
Recommendation level: Somewhat

Summary: Some guy is deeply in debts. One day he got an offer to go on a cruise to participate a gambling game. If he wins, all debts are wiped out. If he loses, he'll be doing hard labor for next two years. He accepted the offer. Now the unusal gambling game begins.

Richard's rating: 4 - Surprisingly good

Personal comments: The animation art bothers me. It bothered me so much, I was ready to throw it away before I wathed it. Luckily, I scanned through the episode and saw something really interesting. So I decided to go ahead and give it a shot. Despite how much the art work bothers me, I actually find it very very interesting. So interesting that I went ahead to fetch the second episode and watched it right there.

October 2007 New Anime: You are under arrest: Full Thottle

Genres: Action / Police
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common

Recommended to: People like outrageous actions that completely disgard laws of physics in an anime
Recommendation level: No. And if you do like it, you shouldn't be taking anime advices from me any more, ever

Summary: About two traffic policewomen. Sequel to previous series.

Richard's rating - first impression (of 5): 3 - Not bad, but I'm not going to recommend it

Personal comments: There has been at least two series before this. I've tried to watch the original series once upon a time, but gave up before I even finished the first series. I guess my biggest problem is that while the setting is normal world, the actions are just way too "abnormal". For example, one of the trademark of the show is that one of them always tries to use her foot to slow down a car that is going at about 60 mph to a stop. I happened in the first episode of both the original series and this new series. Action scenes in it are just ridiculous. If it occurs in a fantansy world, or scifi world, or maybe an unusual setting in a normal world that the laws of physics can be bent, that's fine. But what they're trying to portrait is a normal world where the normal laws of physics would apply to everything. Yet they're pulling all these crazy stunts completely ignoring them. I really cannot recommend the series to anybody.

Verdict: Off my drive.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

October 2007 New Anime: Shakugan No Shana II

Genres: Supernatural / Drama / School
I've watched:
Art style: Common / Loli

Recommended to: People liked original series; you need to see the original series
Recommendation level: Highly, for now

Summary: Our favorite Flame Haze, Shana is back. But they seem to have lost their memories, and everything seems to be repeating itself. Yuuji seems to be the only one that remembers everything.

Richard's rating (of 5) - first impression: 4.5 - Excellent

Personal comments: Very interesting start. Jumped right into the action. Feels even more interesting than the first season.

Special note: J.C.STAFF has produced quite a few animes that are in the top section of my favorite list, including Ai Yori Aoshi, Honey and Clover, Nodame Cantabile, original Shakugan no Shana, Shingetsutan Tsukihime, The Melody of Oblivion, Daphne in Brilliant Blue. Now, Shakugan no Shana II which is also produced by J.C.STAFF is exceptionally good as well.

So, J.C.STAFF is now my preferred production studio: I would hang on to an anime that is produced by J.C.STAFF longer than others that I do not have a good first impression. It also means my rating towards animes produced by J.C.STAFF would be slightly higher than an anime normally would, because I have higher expectation on its future potential. At the same time, my expectation of the quality of the anime is also raised for this studio, which means any sub-standard anime produced by them would get my harsher-than-normal criticism.

My only other preferred production studio is GONZO. However, due to its recent track record, it's getting close to be crossed out from my preferred list.

October 2007 New Anime: Kimikiss Pure Rouge

Genres: School Drama w/ Light Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common / Rectangular shaped eyes

Recommended to: People interested in high school drama
Recommendation level: Anticipating

Summary: Kouichi's (male) childhood friend (female) has just returned from France and now living with him now. They happened to be going to the same high school, except she's one grade higher than him.

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

Personal comments: The openning plot reminds me much of Ichigo 100%. But it's not completely the same. For one, it seems that the plot does not only evlove around a single character. Normally, this kind of art style (the shape of the eyes, to be exact) bothers me; but not this one. The characters are very...likable. (When I say "characters", I usually mean female characters. I don't usually care about the male character much). So far, this is the best one I've seen in this genres among all October new animes.

October 2007 New Anime: Rental Magica

Genres: Supernatural / Drama / Detective
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common

Recommended to: People interested in supernatural events/ magic related anime
Recommendation level: Follow along

Summary: Astral is a magician dispatch service, solves cases that involves supernatural powers.

Richard's rating (of 5) - first impression: 3.2 - Average

Personal comments: It's too...um...plain. Nothing unusual, nothing too exciting, nothing grabs me. Overall, it's not bad, but, at the same time, it's not very good either.

October 2007 New Anime: Dragonaut - the Resonance

Genres: SciFi / Drama
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common / Hard edge / 3D CG

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

Summary: The first flight of an advanced space craft exploded in mid-air, killing everybody onboard except a boy. It was struck by three flying objects that came from space. Now he's all alone. Several years later, there has been murders happening in the city continously. One day the sole surviver of the crash ran into the monster that is causing the murder. Then he's save by a mysterious girl. Everything else is still to confusing.

Richard's rating (0f 5) - first impression: 3 - Average at best

Personal comments: Man, there is no telling what GONZO is doing nowadays, I wouldn't have guessed that this is from GONZO. They sure have been putting out some weird stuff. The art style somewhat bothers me a little, and I'm not very impressed with the plot so far. But, just because it's GONZO, I'm going to hang on to it longer than I normally would.

October 2007 New Anime: Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun

Genres: Outrageous School Comedy / Light School Drama
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common / Cute

Recommended to: People like outrageous comedies
Recommendation level: Top 10 percent

Summary: Ninomiya is a high school student that goes through tough trainings to become the world's best (of what?!). Because of his "best" status, he's being picked on by all of her friends, including all the girls at school. One day, a pretty girl arrived. Apparently she is a succubus (what?!) and possesses power to attract males and take living force from them. She couldn't control her power and at the same time is afraid of males, so she constantly attracts males around her and has to constantly run away from them. Ninomiya seems to be the only one that is not affected by her power. She'll be living with him from now on, and he's going help her.

Richard's rating (of 5) - first impression: 4.5 - Excellent

Personal comments: It's something abnormal, outrageously abnormal, and funny at the same time, somewhat. I like the main female character's design very very very much. I'd keep watching just to see her. So...the rating above might be a bit higher than it supposed to be...

Monday, October 15, 2007

October 2007 New Anime: Suteki Tantei Labyrinth

Genres: Supernatrual / Detective / Mystery
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common / Soft edge

Recommended to: People don't have enough anime to watch
Recommendation level: Barely hanging on

Summary: After a huge earthquake, Tokyo became a wasteland. Most have left, but few remains. In another city, mysterious murders have been taken place. One person from the old Tokyo has been tipping off the police with leads of the murders. Finally, the police decided to pay him a visit in a mansion in the ruined city. Something usual and mysterious is happening in that house.

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

Personal comments: Seems to be some cheesy detective + supernatural show. Everything still a bit confusing and not particularly interesting. If it doesn't get interesting soon, I think this will be the first one to drop.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

October 2007 New Anime: Ef ~ a tale of memories

Genres: Drama / Very Light Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common and something unusual visual effects

Recommended to: Not sure yet
Recomendataion level: Not sure yet

Summary: Bit too strange and confusing at the moment.

Richard's rating (of 5) - first impression: 3.8 - Weird, which is good

Personal comments: It is a very strange and unusal piece of anime. Subplots come and go throughout the episode. I really couldn't figure out what exactly is going on. It uses some rather strange yet interesting visual effects, made it feel...mysterious. At least it's in a art style I like very much.

October 2007 New Anime: CLANNAD

Genres: School Drama / School Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Like Kanon / Air

Recommended to: People liked Kanon or Air
Recommendation level: Follow along

Summary: Tomoya is a high school student. His mother died of accident when he was young. His father has been drinking and gambling ever since. One day on the way to school, he met a girl, the unusual story starts from here.

Richard's rating (of 5) - first impression: 4.5 - Excellent

Personal comments: One thing you can count on from Key/VisualArts (the game production company of Air, Kanon, and CLANNAD) is that the main character is not a douche. Both opening, character designs, comedy style, and even voices are very simiar to Kanon and Air. Key/VisualArts has never disappointed me before, and I don't think it will on this one. From the look of first episode of CLANNAD, it's going to be another funny, interesting yet heart touching anime.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

October 2007 New Anime: Shugo Chara

Genres: Comedy / Children's / Magical girl
I've watched:
Art style: Slim / Childish

Recommended to: Um...people like magical animes
Recommendation level: Uh...Um...

Summary: An ordinary girl who has been misunderstood by everybody in school woke up one morning found three colorful eggs in her bed. They're her "guardians", and they posess magical powers that helps her to change her perception among her friends.

Richard's rating (of 5) - first impression: 3.8 - Better than average

Personal comments: It reminds me much of Mermaid Melody, which somehow got me helplessly hook for a while. While feeling extremely childish, there is something about this anime that I couldn't put down. I think part of it is due to its art style: the original work is done by Peach-Pit, the author of DearS, Rozen Maiden, and Zombie Loan. Also the comedy style, which is very similar to Peach-Pit's prior work as well.

October 2007 New Anime: Minami-ke

Genres: Light Drama / Light Comedy / Everyday life
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common / Soft Edge

Recommended to: People don't mind some normal day-to-day life comedy/drama
Recomendation level: Barely hanging on

Summary: It's a story about three sisters' day-to-day life. Each sister has an adistinct personality.

Richard's rating (of 5) - first impression: 3.5 - Good, but may not be good enough

Personal comments: "Don't expect too much, it's only stories about three sisters", says before the opening credit. Well, it is true. The story itself is very plain, but the presentation of the three complete different personalities clash actually exceeds my expectation. At the same time, however, I think it'll grow old quick, if it keeps going over same content without coming up with something new.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Touka Gettan: When head becomes tail, tail becomes head...

After I finished episode 26, I just could not leave it as is. So, before I moved it from my harddrive to burned disc, I watched the whole series again in reverse order (yes, I did, literally).

By doing so, the story itself become sooooo much more clearer. So many things in early episodes (especially the first 5) are making sense now. This series is definately better watched in reverse of the broadcast order.

Having said that, I have to say, they did insert some information in early episodes as an attempt to try to make things less confusing. But, that early in the series, I have no clue what to watch out for. So most of which I would have caught if I know a little more about the story, have just gone wasted first time through watching the series.

In my opinion, they tried to play something very smart and to make it very interesting. But instead, they completely messed it up. Unlike The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, which is short and simple enough for people to catch what's going on, Touka Gettan's story itself is already very complicated. And to play the "chase the answer" game with it made it almost impossible to understand. They would have done much better with this kind of scheme if the story itself is less complicated and shorter. As the current story goes, it requires way too many complete recalls from earlier episodes in order for audiance to stay in track to get a grasp of the whole picture.

If anybody would like to watch the series, I would STRONGLY RECOMMEND you to watch it in reverse of the broadcast order; that is, start from episode 26 counting backwards, but skip episode 25 and 19. Episode 25 and 19 are "information" episodes. They're really just the bi-product of telling the story backwards, and won't be necessary at all while watching the series in reverse of the broadcast order. I would recommend to cut them out all together or watch it after you have finished episode 1 and don't consider them as part of the series.

So, the ideal order for Touka Gettan would be: 26, 24-20, 18-1, (25, 19)

If you really really want to watch it in the broadcast order, you better have a photographic memory that is enough to hold the first 20 episodes. Otherwise, you'll be end up watching it again in the order I just described after the first time through.

Touka Gettan: Ahhh, my brain hurts

Throughout the series, just as I thought I figured out what the big picture is, it inserts a "clearification" episode and answer some open questions. In my opinion, however, they're "confusion" episodes because answers to some of the questions created more and bigger questions that caused more confusion than before.

When the final episode arrived, I thought "finally I'll get the answer to everything". Well, I kind of did. The problem is, at the same time, it kind of voided many things that I had answers to without leaving any clue for further answers. Throughout the series, there was only one thing I was very positive about: the episodes are laid out in reverse order. The final episode, however, made me to be unsure about that too.

Looking back at it, I don't know how I managed to keep following it. I guess that reverse order is what dragged me along all the way.

I'm still in a puzzling state towards this anime, I really could not describe it. You just have to watch it to understand it. So, let's jump to the score card:

(Full score is 5)

Drama: 4 (Um....I don't even why I'm giving this score, just feel like it should be...)
Comedy: 4 (There are some good comedy in the right place)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 4.8 (One other thing kept me watching it is the art work, definately one of my favorite type)
Sound/Music: 4.5 (Some very nice and interesting theme music)
Character: 4 (Can't justify why, just feel like the right score for it)
Plot: * (Um........)
Re-watch value: 4 (It actually holds execelent re-watch value because it literally not understandable first time through)

Overall (not average): * (Maybe I can figure out after I watch it second time through)

Award: Richard's Pick: WTF of 2007

Recommendation: Um...I don't know. I really don't know. I'd say go ahead watch it. If you understand it, please, tell me about it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Higurashi Kai: Holy Crap

I've finished: Episode 13

Arc 8 just ended at episode 13. All puzzle pieces are presented, and everything is become clear. But man, I can see why they canceled airing of the series after the girl with axe incident. On the other hand, the story is bit too farfetched to be happening in real life, so a future ban of this series is very unlikely.

Now, since all mysteries are either solved or have known solutions, clearly, next arc going to be how all problems are solved so a grand finale can occur. It may need to go into extra details for this final arc, however, I think 11 episodes for a single arc is bit too long. There might be one of the extra arc to be included in the series after the next arc.

Richard's new rating (of 5): 4.8 (Net gain: +0.3)

Inukami the Movie

Peeper, cross dresser, underwear thief, exhibitionist, and all the perversion on the world, these pretty much identify Inukami. Hentai, or pervert, is the main theme of this movie. Well, it has been the theme of Inukami all along. The movie, though, kind of takes it to another level.

I really couldn't describe in words how perverted it actually got, you have to see it yourself.

October 2007 New Anime: Mokke

Genres: Supernatural / Mystery / Light drama
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common / Slightly simplified / Slightly childish

Recommended to: People that able to stay slow moving light drama/mystery
Recommendation level: On the edge

Summary: Two sisters, one could see lots of mysterious things, the other often get possessed by mysterious things. They live together with their grandparants who have lots of knowledge about these Mokke (strange things). Even so, strange things still happen to them.

Richard's rating (of 5) - first impression: 3.2 - Average at best

Personal comments: The presentation, art style, music, also the content all remind me of Mushishi. So, it may appear to something light, but at the same time, it's also something very heavy. Just like Mushishi, it's slow, but mysterious, somehow makes me couldn't put it down. The presentation is somewhat boring, but at the same time, mysterious enough that I'm willing to be dragged around.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Mononoke: Creepy trip

Unusual visual effects, crazy art styles, creepy stories, put them all together, you get Mononke. The whole series is made up with segments of short mysteries. All of them involves ghosts, devil, daemons. They are all quite creepy as well. While watching it, it feels like going through a creepy acid trip. The difference each and everyone made sense after it ended.

I have to say, this is one of the most unusual anime I've ever seen. Nothing even comes near it. Therefore, I'm awarding it:

Award: Weirdest Anime...Ever


Award: Best Horror of 2007

(Actually, Ghost hunt would have beaten Mononoke in this category, but I conside Ghost Hunt 2006 anime because it started airing October 2006)

Now, let's see the score card:

(Full score is 5)

Drama: 5 (Very very interesting)
Comedy: N/A
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 5 + 1 bonus = 6 (I award extra credit for its unusualness)
Sound/Music: 4.5 (Creepy sound effect, not much of music though)
Character: N/A (It really doesn't apply here in this anime...)
Plot: 5 (Great mysteries)
Re-watch value: 3 (After having seen the facts behind the mysteries, you really don't go back to watch the stories again, butO you can watch for creepiness sake)

Overall (not average): 4.7

Recommendation: Unless you really really really couldn't get around the crazy art style and visual effect, I highly recommend it to everybody (everybody that doesn't mind creepy stories that is).

October 2007 New Anime: Sketchbook ~ full colors ~

Link: (official) http://www.sketch-full.net/ (No English sub yet)
Genres: Light school drama / Light school comedy
I've watched:
Art style: Childish / a bit simplified

Recommended to: If you want to see a somewhat retarded comedy
Recommendation level: Follow along

Summary: The story is about sketching. The main character is a girl that likes to sketch everything, but afraid to talk to people. It's the story about her and her friends in the art club.

Richard's rating (of 5) - first impression: 3.5 ( +0.5 for retardation) = 4 - Retarded but interesting

Personal comments: It's a bit...retarded, and it feels pretty retarted just watching it too. But somehow it's interesting.

October 2007 New Anime: Majin Tantei Nōgami Neuro

Link: (Official)http://www.ntv.co.jp/neuro/ (No English sub yet)
Genres: Comedy / Mystery / Supernatural
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common with something very bizarre

Recommended to: People like fantasy supernatural drama
Recommendation level: Somewhat recommended

Summary: Neuro is demon from hell likes to eat "riddles". He forced a high school to act as a private detective so he'll eat the "riddle" when he solves the mystery. (Don't ask, I'm not quite sure how that works either). She's called upon to solve mysteries.

Richard's rating( of 5) - first impression: 4 - Too weird to say anything

Personal comments: Some of the art are just plain bizarre. The rest are very normal. First episode's mystery is fairly simple. I assume it gets more complicated as it goes. With right amont of comedy mixed in, it's quite interesting. It's worth to keep following for time being.

October 2007 New Anime: Myself; Yourself

Genres: School Drama / Light Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common (Somewhat similar to Futakoi) / H-Game

Recommended to: People like light school drama
Recommendation level: Follow along

Summary: A boy left his hometown when he was 11. 5 years later he returns to his home village. Things have changed, but his old friends are still around.

Richard rating (of 5) - first impression: 3.5 - Average

Personal comments: Good but not exceptional. The art work, presentation, even voice reminds me of Futakoi. So, that's where I'm going to set my expectation - light school drama plus light comedy, nothing special, nothing too dramatic, just something light and cute.

October 2007 New Anime: Night Wizard

Genres: Comedy/Present day fantasy
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common

Recommended to: People like present day fantansy, closest one I can think of would be like Fate/Stay Night
Recommendation level: Follow along

Summary: The world is constantly invaded by daemons. The ones that have the power to fight them is called Night Wizards.

Richard's rating(of 5) - first impression: 3.5 - Average at best

Personal comments: The fight scenes seemed a little cheesy. The comedy scenes seemed to be bolted on. But overall, it's still interesting enough to watch. Not sure how long I could hang, it's a keeper for now.

Monday, October 8, 2007

October 2007 New Anime: Blue Drop: Tenshi-tachi no Gikyoku

Genres: Supernatural/SciFi
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Mostly common, but something is weird

Recommended to: People like some weird SciFi anime
Recommendation level: Not sure yet

Summary: Um....Some girl, lost her memory 5 years ago, came to a boarding high school. She's a bit anti-social. Then some weird things start to happen.

Richard's rating (of 5) - first impression: 3 - sub-par

Personal comments: Something about the art work bothers me. On top of that, it's a very slow start. However, the last minutes or two got me interested what's going to happen next.

October 2007 New Anime: Bamboo Blade

Link: (Official) http://www.bambooblade.jp/pc/ (no English sub yet)
Genres: School Comedy/Sports
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common

Recommended: Everybody, unless you really don't watch watch Kendo related anime
Recommendation level: Moderate

Summary: The faculty advisor of a high school Kendo club made a bet with his friends who is also a advisor for Kendo club for a different school to compete against each other. The only problem is, currently, there is only one member in the Kendo club. Now he and his energetic member of Kendo club is on a quest to seek out the best Kendo students in the school.
Richard's rating - first impression (out of 5): 4.5 - Better than I thought

Personal comments: It's light comedy in general with some outrageous comedic scenes thrown in. The comedy is just right in the right moment.

Darker Than Black: It's an end, but...

In last review about Darker, I said, whichever ending they decide to go with, it would be a good finish. After viewing the final episode, while I'm sticking with my statement, I do want to add some comments.

Yes, things does get resolved. But in my opinion, they did kind got away with a "jail free" card. Generally I consider this kind of ending is "cheap", in this case, however, throughout the series, they did have hints of it. They didn't just slap it on there for no reason. I'm ok with that.

Enough said, this is my score card for Darker Than Black:

(Full score is 5)

Drama: 5 (Great, just great drama)
Comedy: 4.5 (Not much of it, but right amont at the right time)
Action: 5 (Fantastic actions)
Art/Amination: 5 (Quite flawless)
Sound/Music: 4.7 (Original score is a bit generic, but still good. Both opening songs are great)
Character: 5 (One of the best I've seen lately for character development)
Plot: 4.5 (I was hoping for better ending, but everything is still great)
Re-watch value: 4 (I'm sure some new details can be picked up when watching it again, it won't be too bad to watch it all over again)

Overall (not average): 4.8

Award: Richards' Pick: Best Drama of 2007

Recommendation: If you haven't seen it, I would recommend you to go watch it right now. It's one of the best in 2007.

October 2007 New Anime: Da Capo II

Genres: School Drama/Comedy/Supernatural (maybe)
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common

Recommended: People liked original Da Capo, or Da Capo Second Season
Recommendation level: Not sure yet
Summary: In the same place as the story of Da Capo occured, new story is unfolding. This time, it involves the daugher/son (or granddaugher/grandson, need to do some more research on that) of the original Da Capo.

Richard's rating - first impression (out of 5): 2.5 - Did not meet my expectation

Personal comments: A slow starter for sure. Nothing is really happening, and it's not energetic or funny as the original Da Capo. Basically, nothing grabs me at all. I'll give it several episodes before I make a decision. For now, it is hanging on barely.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpucho Tou 2nd Act ~ Spectacular Battles

So far, Tokyo Majin 2 has been nothing but excitement. There are 1 or 2 slow episodes, but the plot flow never slowed down. Season 2 has more, a lot more spectacular battles than season 1. While more time has been devoted to battle, there are still quite a lot in depth character developments which some animes tend to miss out when lots of epic battles are involved. It is definately one of the season's (or maybe even the year's) best.