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

Link: http://www.animesuki.com/series.php/1083.html
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, but...it'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