Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Gunslinger Girl ~ Il Teatrino: Epic Fail

Currently finished: Episode 5

Last time, I only tagged this anime "inferior" than the original series. After watching episode 5, it's clearly a complete failure.

It tries to be dramatic, yet it feels like a drama written by a elementry school student; it tries to be emotional, yet it couldn't get me emotionally involved even I'm trying to; it tries to make the characters cuter, but all it did is to make me feel uncomfortable seeing the difference between the new and old character art work; it tries to create cool action scenes, but the action sequence are worse then those in most B-movies I've seen.

Right now the only reason I'm allowing it to occupy my 25-minutes per week is out of respect of the first series. I just have to see to the end of this one. Fortunately, it supposed to be a 15-episode series. I don't have to suffer two full season of it.

New rating (out of 5): 2.2 (net gain: -1.0) ~ Fail, Fail, Fail...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Spice and Wolf: From Light and Happy to Dark and Heavy

Currently finished: Episode 5

What seems to a light and happy anime suddenly took a turn to become somewhat dark and heavy. Personally, I think it'll turn back to light and happy for a little bit before it gets darker and heavier. The plot also got a bit more complicated, with all the business logic flying left and right. (Ok, I have not business brain, many people, i.e. those who has a business brain, may completely disgree with me).

Regardless where it will go, the bottem line is that it is getting interesting.

New rating (out of 5): 4.45 (net gain: +0.1) ~ Even more interesting

p.s. This anime is based on a novel, which now will be on my book-to-read queue as well. The current anime related books in my queue are: Trinity Blood, 12 Kingdoms, Story of Saiunkoku.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Dragonaut: Gonzo does what Gonzo does

Currently finished: Episode 17

One thing you can always count on Gonzo's anime is dramatization (sometime over-dramatization). It is no exception here. The events occured lately are being dramatized to the extreme. At first, the feeling reminds me what I liked Gonzo about. But after a while when the dramatization just keep piling up, it start to remind me about the few things I didn't like Gonzo so much about. People's opinion differ, some may think it is just enough, but I think more would agree with me that certain event occured recently has been over-dramatized.

H2O ~ Footprints in the Sand: Wha~~~

Currently finished: Episode 5 (I know I'm a bit behind, but I'm catching up)

The story, in general, is interesting. But at the moment, it seems that aside from several more predictable events, most things had resolved it self. It leaves me thinking, is it going to be mostly fillers asides from the obvious that need to end the series, or the story writer has something neat up its sleeve and will surprise us all.

Aside from how predictable it has become, there has been a random cross-dresser event in the recent episodes. I don't know what is it about Japanese being obsessed with cross-dressers, it is just too unpredicable where you are going to find them.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Kimikiss Pure Rouge: Trigonometry

Currently finished: Episode 15

Triangles, triangles, triangles. Lately, it is what Kimikiss Pure Rouge all about. Like I said early on, there is no clear main character or main plot in this anime. Everything is occurring in parallel and tangled up. Now we have come down to three big love triangles. All but one guy are in the good end of the deal. Meaning they have the choice, or at least something they could fall back to. On the other hand, all but one girl are on the short end of the stick - they'll have to fight it out if they really want it.

It's interesting how everything evolved into this. There are so many thing could go wrong right now. I wish something DOES go wrong. Perfect solutions are never interesting. Sharp contrast between winners and losers is the reason we watch drama like this.

New rating (out of 5): 4.5 (net gain:+0.3) - Good setup so far, now something needs to happen...

Clannad: Someone with Bad Memory

Currently finished: Episode 15

Key/VisualArts seems to like recycling old ideas a lot. So many things from Clannad are just taken straight out of Kanon. The most recent one is the main character always have bad memories. There's always this big thing that he forgot, then recovering the memory became the turning point of current ongoing event.

Granted they made it very very well, and I have nothing against it, I still think they ought to start to come up with some new creative concepts. Because eventually people will get tired of it when they realize it's really the same thing over and over again.

At the same time, I got to admit that Key/VisualArts are the master of telling outrageous jokes with a straight face. It had occurred twice by now. Both time it got me laughing so hard that I was almost rolling on the ground. They play the moe and the naiveness into the joke so well, yet able to keep an straight face like nothing is going. I just love it. They'll earn extra credit for this.

New rating (out of 5): 4.7 (net gain: -0.2) - Re-use of an overused old concept
New rating (out of 5): 4.9 (net gain: 0.2) - Outrageous comedy

True Tears: Still Confusing

Currently finished: Episode 3

I'm lagging behind on this series because there's a lack of interest. So far there hasn't been anything from this anime that could grab my interest at all. There's a bit messed up family, a bit messed up relationship, a girl with a bit messed up brain, and a recurring character that I couldn't figure out her relationship to the main character. It is definitely a strange one. But again, this is from the people who made Da Capo, so there has to be some greater meaning to all these, right?

New rating (out of 5): 3.5 (net gain: -0.25) - Also slipping away...

Persona - Trinity Soul - : Still Slow...

Currently finished: Episode 3

The story has started to lay out some puzzle pieces, but, it is still going at a extremely slow pace. In my opinion, there are just way too much small details it's describing that doesn't contribute much to the plot advancement yet takes up lots of time. I suppose there is a reason they're doing it. But whatever it is, it better come soon - I just don't have enough patience for it.

Shakugan no Shana II: Quick In, Quick Out

Currently finished: Episode 15

The plot has been on holding pattern for a little while with occasional advancements here and there. Then all the sudden all hell broke lose, things start to go wrong left and right. Before you can put two and two together about what has just happened, everything ceases and life become calm and uneventful again.

It's amusing that how quickly story became a huge cluster fuck and then suddenly manage to pull itself out of it. Afterwards, it left you thinking, "did all those just happened in last three episodes?" They have been seeding it as far back as episode 3. Then, at episode 13, everything just ignited.

Ever since it slowed down, I started to getting concerned about the quality of the series because it seems to be stuck in a longer than usual filler block. Now I know they are really just quietly planting the seeds. Though all current ongoing messes seemed to be temporarily resolved, everything seems to be back on the calm side again. But I doubt this is the end of the surprise round yet. This may be the starting of the final climax.

New rating (out of 5): 4.75 (net gain: 0.25) - Still Excellent

Monday, February 11, 2008

They Are My Noble Masters: Something Not Right...

Currently finished: Episode 5

So far it seems to be take the standard "bitter sweet comedy" template. However, there's a distinct feeling of unease about this anime, something unnatural, or something not right. I can't quite tell what, but there's just something making me uncomfortable about it.

It's not that I have problem with its plot. It's not really its presentation either. There's just something I couldn't get a grasp on that is making me uncomfortable.

Until I could figure out what, I'll keep watching it. In the meanwhile, my recommendation is watch it if you have free time that needs to be filled up. Otherwise, I think you can find far better anime than this.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Shigofumi: Interesting Twists

Currently finished: Episode 3

At first, I thought it is going to be just like Jigoku Shoujo (Hell Girl), which mostly is a collection of short stories that shows the dark side of mankind, and doesn't really get into the identity of the main character until later in the series. To my surprise, by now, we're already starting to discover the true identity of the main character (rather, the main recurring character). So what I thought the series is going to be may be completely different than it actually going to be.

Gunslinger Girl ~ Il Teatrino: Clearly Inferior

Currently finished: Episode 3

Inferior is the word I would use to describe this follow-up Gunslinger Girl series. It is nowhere near the level the first series had achieved.

Though the art work in the first series isn't the particular type I like, in my opinion, it is still better than this one. The plot is flat. It completely lost the dark theme of the first series, which in my opinion, is what so great about this series. It seems to be trying really hard to get audiences emotionally involved, but so far failed miserably. The action scenes, in my opinion, are just plain cheesy.

Maybe the first series set a too high of a standard. This new follow-up so far is only bringing shame to the title.

New rating (out of 5): 3.2 (net gain: -0.3) - Inferior

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Spice and Wolf: Another Mysteriously Attractive Series...

Currently finished: Episode 3

The plot development is slow, the idea is new, but the story itself is not that interesting. Yet, for some mysterious reason, I am attracted to the series, just like Mokke. I admit its art work is one of my favorite, but that alone usually isn't enough to completely "glue" me to the series. A good example would be Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-ku, even though I like the art work very much, it came very close to be dropped.

Ok, let talk about the series itself. The idea is this wolf goddess is travelling with the business man. She speaks in weird slang and very interesting accent. She appears to be playful and naive, but very wise. I guess one of the property that attracted me is the character being the blend of naiveness and wisdom, not a common archetype.

New rating (out of 5): 4.35 (net gain: 0.1) - Still Unique

Ayakashi: Forgetful...

Currently finished: Episode 7

I find no obvious problem with the show itself. However, I don't know how, the events occured in each episode are just not leaving any lasting impression for me. Everytime I start to watch an episode, I somehow don't recall at all what had happened in previous episode. I almost always have to pull out the previous episode to see where the last episode left off. If I don't, almost nothing in the current episode makes sense.

This is on the extreme opposite end to series like Mokke and Spice and Wolf, where I can find no clear reason why I would like them, I just do.

New rating (out of 5): 2.75 (net gain: -0.25) - Slipping away...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Hatenko Yugi: Thumb down

Currently finished: Episode 3

Just finished off episode 3 of the series. It, um..., how dow I put it, SUCKS!

The first episode is somewhat refreshing, because it's something new. The second episode, freshness is wearing off, but there are some mysteries about the main characters you hope they'd reveal soon. The third episode, is just plain lame. The plot doesn't make much sense; the action scenes are pretty retarded; and everybody seems to have an IQ below 20.

There are way too many unknowns in the series. It not only doesn't make any attempt to explain them, but also keeps teasing you with short flash backs.

Normally, I'd dumped it before I'm half-way through episode 3. But, since this is a relatively sparse season, I'll give it another one or two episode before I make the final verdict.

New rating (out of 5): 3 (Net gain: -1)- Sucking

Friday, February 1, 2008

Mokke: Myteriously Interesting

Currently finished: Episode 15

There's something about this anime that attracks me in a way I don't quite understand. Just like Mushishi did. This anime is slow going, with non-continous plot, and semi-unfavorable art work. By my normal standard, this wouldn't last more than 5 episodes for me. But somehow, for some mysterious reason, I just couldn't pull myself away from it.

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

Rosario + Vampire: Shuffle?

Currently finished: Episode 4

There are only very few animes that is produced by Gonzo made shake my head while watching it. Unfortunately, Rosario + Vampire is one of them. Take the most recent episode, it blatantly took the something out of Shuffle!. I didn't mind the early lame episodes whose purpose is to introduce new characters. But some pointless random episode inserted into a plot line that is already not moving at a sufficient speed, that's just too much.

New rating (out of 5): 3.2 - Lame (net gain: -0.3)