Monday, March 31, 2008

Clannad: (Ended) Noooooooooooooo

Last time when I blogged about Clannad, I just finished watching episode 20. I was assuming that Clannad would end at episode 24. But no, the story didn't end at episode 24, it ended at episode 22!! That makes the final sub-plot only 3 episodes long. The ending? There is none. Or at least there is none that I would considered "proper". This confirmed the fear I had when I watched Clannad the Movie: because of how the movie ended, there is not going to be a "proper" ending for the TV series.

This actually create quite a peculiar situation: if you had watched the movie first then the TV series (which might be the intended order since the movie was released before the TV series), the TV series feels like a redemption for the movie (you'll know what I mean once you watch them both); however, if you finished watching the TV series then jump on the movie, the movie feels like a extension to the TV series, but with quite a blow to the final experience you gained from the TV series. Much like Wolf's Rain OVA did to its TV series (You probably wouldn't know what I'm talking about if you watched the US version of Wolf's Rain).

Personally, I prefer the latter, because I like to take the blow rather have the feelings of redemption throughout the series. But that's just me, I also like stories to end in tragedies that most people would hate the writer for.

Either way, Clannad is laid out in such a way that the story would be incomplete if you miss out on either one (TV series or movie). I don't know if it's just a tactic they're using trying to sell the DVD for the movie or the story writer legitimately wanted the story to be this way.

The bottom line is Clannad ended in a way I consider to be quite disappointing. It achieved nowhere near what Air or Kanon did.

Final Scoreboard (of 5):

4.5 (Regardless how it ended, it's still decent drama)
Action: N/A
Comedy: 5 (This is where it shines)
Art/Animation: 5 (This is one thing Key/VisualArts are good at)
Sound/Music: 5 (Same as above)
Character: 5 (Extended character development)
Plot: 4 (Aside from the last segment, it's quite well done)
Ending: 3 (Less than satisfactory)
Re-watch value: 3 (May be amusing to see those comedies again...)

Overall (not average): 4 (Only if it had a better ending...[hum, I seem to say that alot lately])
Recommendation: Even though the ending is less than satisfactory, I still recommend it for people who like relatively heavy emotional drama along with some light comedies. I would also highly recommend to watch the movie as well, but you would have to decide on the order you would want to see them in. (See above)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Clannad Movie

Finally, I got around to see this supposedly "alternate retelling" version of Clannad. Having watched Air Movie and Air TV, I was expecting some discrepancies between Clannad Movie and Clannad TV. What I wasn't expecting is how big those discrepancies are. If Air TV series and movie are two versions of same story that is told by different people in the same world, then Clannad TV series and movie feel like the same story that is told by different people lives in two different universe. Aside from some key elements, they are almost completely different.

However, come to think of it, Air is actually the same way: all the earlier side plot were cut off, and the last sub-plot is stretched to cover almost the whole hour and a half. The difference, I guess is that Air is a much shorter series which the last sub-plot is relatively long compare to the whole series (4 episode out of 12 is much more significant than 4 episodes out of 24). Also, I have seen the end of Air TV, so there are something I can actually relate to; where I haven't seen the end of Clannad TV, so I really don't have a point of reference.

I've mentioned earlier the reason I'm rushing onto Clannad Movie is because chronologically, Clannad Movie was released before Clannad TV even started airing. So, it is meant to be seen before the TV series.

Before I watched Clannad Movie, I'm not quite sure how the TV series would end, and hoping I might find out some answers. After watching Clannad Movie, I REALLY don't know how the TV series would end.

On the other hand, Clannad Movie did filled in some blanks that are left open from the TV series. It feels almost like the experience with RahXephone's TV series and movie: the movie is much different than the TV series, but it fills in all the blanks TV series didn't explain, including a proper ending. If that's any indication, I'm afraid that Clannad TV series probably won't have a "proper" ending just like RahXephone did. The "proper" ending has to be found in the movie.

Recommendation: It's possible this is the only way to see a proper ending of Clannad TV series. Other than that, I think this movie is mostly unnecessary. It doesn't not contribute to the TV series like Air Movie did to its TV series.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Hatenko Yugi: End? More Like Mid-season Break

I haven't been liking this series lately. Fortunately (for it), before it ever dropped below my threshold of dumping a series, it ended itself. 10 episode series is a bit unusual, unusually short that is. All the short series I've been seeing are either a full short season (12~13 episodes), or half of a short season (6 episodes).

Anyway, the last 3 episodes actually have gotten a bit more interesting and complicated. But it ended abruptly at episode 10. Surprisingly, in three episodes, it roughly explained almost everything that it has been reluctantly to explain throughout the series, which somewhat brings the series into a quasi-conclusion. However, the last scene indicates that this is not the end, but the beginning of the real story. This could be a mid-season break like Black Lagoon did. However, it's also possible to be just a scheme to sell more manga. Either way, I'm not going to care because this series doesn't attract me at all.

Final Scoreboard (of 5):

3 (Can't really call it drama...)
Action: 2.5 (Quite cheesy)
Comedy: 3 (Some, not good though)
Art/Animation: 4 (Not bad)
Sound/Music: 3 (Aside from opening theme, nothing left much impression)
Character: 3.5 (Couldn't call it lack of depth, just too many unexplained)
Plot: 2.5 (Disjoint)
Re-watch value: 1 (Can't think of anybody want to watch it again)

Overall (not average): 2.75 (Not worth watching)
Recommendation: For now, the recommendation is don't bother waste your time on it. It might change when and if the second part comes out.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

March 2008 New TV Series: Bus Gamer

Link: (Official) (No English sub availible yet)
Genres: Action / Drama
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Pretty boy (That's the best one I can come up with...)

Who would like it: If you like Saiyuki series, you'll probably like this one. If you don't like Saiyuki series, could go either way...

Summary: There is a game called "Bus Game" which is run by many large corporations, where they each have a group of three people to either snatch or protect a disc that contains the corporation's trade secrets. This is a story about a team that formed by three complete strangers.

First impression: 3 ~ Too much posing...

Personal comments: This is based off manga work by the author of Saiyuki. Half way through the first episode, it reminded me why I couldn't stand Saiyuki: posing. There are a lot of time and frames are devoted to characters with "cool" posing. It feels more like a illustration of "pretty boy" art than something has a legit plot.

H2O ~ Footprints in the Sand: I Knew it

Towards the end of the series, it sure had my hopes up that it'll end "properly" (tragically). But I should know better that nobody (except me) want to see or write tragedies. It had the perfect setting for a tragedy, but they ruined it, in the worst possible way. Because people like happy ending still would like how it ended. It is possible they're playing the old trick to make you read the manga. It just happens way too often.

Final Scoreboard (of 5):

3.5 (Decent enough, I guess)
Action: N/A
Comedy: 3.5 (Could use better placement)
Art/Animation: 3.5 (Not bad, but nothing significant either)
Sound/Music: 3.5 (Same as above)
Character: 3.5 (There are just too many missing blocks in character development)
Plot: 3 (Quite predictable)
Re-watch value: 1 (Once is enough)

Overall (not average): 3 (Only if it had a better ending...)
Recommendation: Hard to say, this is right on the edge. On one hand, I want to recommend it because of certain aspect of the show, on the other hand, there are just way too many flaws.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Preview of April 2008 Season

As usual, April season has significantly more new series than January season. The quality of the series also seem to be much higher. The list is long. I didn't list everything I found. There are some obviously wouldn't make it to the "keeper" list, because of art style, or story content. I only put out those that I think are worth looking into.

Wagaya no Oinarisama

I just recently got hold of some of the manga this series is based off. I think it's a story about some fox god/goddess in a shrine. The art work is somewhat interesting.

Forecast: Looks like could be interesting, for the moment

Toshokan Senso

As you can see from the picture, Toshokan Senso translate to "Library War". Supposedly, it's based of a series of books about free speech, censorship, and other similar civil liberties. I'm really curious about how this anime express those opinions.

Forecast: whatever...

Vampire Knight

A girl got attacked by a vampire, then saved by another vampire. Supposedly, it's a Shoujo anime. The art style seems to fit, but I couldn't image how would this kind of content to be fit into a Shoujo series. The art style is what I call elegant hard-edge. I'd watch it just for its art. The art style also reminds me of Zombie Loan, but this is definitely superior.

Forecast: I want to see it, I want to see it...

Soul Eater

There are some human weapons that supposedly eat human souls. That's what I know so far. It's produced by BONES animation studio, who has a pretty good track record (Oran Highschool Host Club, Darker Than Black, etc.). So I expect this to be at least somewhat decent.

Forecast: Yeah...Maybe...Sure

Special A

It's a story about a group of elite student in a elite private school. The description somewhat reminds me Gokujo Seitokai, which is a similar theme and setting. From the look of it, it's going to be somewhat a light comedy. It's produced by Gonzo, and if it's a comedy, then...I'm not so sure about its quality. Gonzo hasn't had much good track record for comedies.

Forecast: I'll see if I have enough free time....


Another anime has something to do with fox-girl/wolf-girl, seems to be the new theme lately. This one, looks like a pure comedy. Looks like something similar to Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun.

Forecast: I'll decide when I see it...

Kamen no Maid Guy

This one is weird, supposed to be some maid guy with mask protecting some girl. From the picture above, it might be one of those overly unnecessarily gory anime.

Forecast: I'm really unsure about this one...


When D.C.II ended in December, I said there is no way that's the end of it. There are just too many unresolved things. Now it's back, hopefully, we get to see the rest of the story without having to take another break.

Forecast: I want to see it, now.


This is an anime by Gonzo, and it's not one of their cheesy comedy. That's enough for me to want to watch it. I'm a big fan of Gonzo's work (not those cheesy comedies though).

Forecast: It's Gonzo, what do you think?

Macross Frontier

About a month or two ago, there has been a release of a preview episode of this series. From what I remember, it looked ok. Hopefully, it doesn't go down the road of cheesy sequels where Zoids went.

Forecast: Somewhat interesting, mabye... I don't know....


The description from the web site is a bit too cryptic to understand. All I know is there's a guy and there's a young girl.

Forecast: I'll know when I see it...

Nabri no Oh
From what I understood, it's a series about ninjas and stuff. The art seems to be elegant hard-edge style. I'm a big fan of this type of art style.

Forecast: I'd at least like its work

Allison to Lillia

There is a continent, divided into two countries, who are engaged in an endless war. Then there's some girl is about to do something (for the most part that I manage to understand).
Usually, this kind of animes aren't received too well by me, however, there are exceptions. I'll have to see to decide.

For the moment, doesn't seem to have much offering

Druaga no To ~ The Aegis of URUK~

Another Gonzo's new anime (that's quite a few for one season). Doesn't seem to be a cheesy anime. It's in a fantasy setting. I have mixed feeling towards fantasy animes. Hopefully, it's one of the better work of Gonzo.

Forecast: Even though it's Gonzo, but I'll see....

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Movie: Vexille ~ 2077 Nippon Sakoku

Link: (Japanese Official) (English Official, include trailers) (Fansub download available through

Vexile is not the first of its kind. There has been multiple 3D CG animation movies in recent years such as Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within, Appleseed, etc. This one, I think is one of the more mature product among them all.

Movies like these are played through virtual actors, rather than construct all actions from the thin air. One challenge has been the degree of realism. I've seen 3D CG movies that has problems caused by putting too much realism into the rending that the whole thing just feels unnatural. In Vexille, however, they solved the problem by using cel-shading on most objects. It worked so well that I think it looked better than the cutting edge photo-realistic rending.

The story, evolves around the event of Japan isolating all communication, including visual from outside world in 2067. The key issue of the story seems to be human evolution and machine human relationships. It's a bit over used topic, but I think they managed to make a good story out of it.

Rating (out of 5): 4.25 ~ Nicely Done

Recommendation: Highly recommended, unless you really don't like 3D CG movie.

Majin Tantei Nōgami Neuro: Amusing, and, ...

Currently finished: Episode 22

High school student private detective, is being used by a daemon king that feeds on mysteries. It sure is amusing. Once a while it drops in some comedy just to lighten up the atmosphere around it. The only problem I have is the IQ level of everybody around them. It doesn't take a genius to notice that she is not the one solving the mysteries. I mean, at least try to use something to hide the OBVIOUS FACTS in a DETECTIVE anime.

Spice and Wolf: Happiness Never Lasts

Currently finished: Episode 10

Just as it seems to be getting back onto the road of happiness, there comes another huge blow head-on. So far, happiness doesn't seem to be able to last at all. Something always goes wrong at the critical moment. I guess a happy story is never as interesting as a story of misery and suffering.

I've been getting my hand on some Spice and Wolf manga as well. While the art work of the male main character is almost identical between manga and anime, there's a big difference on Horo, our beloved wolf goddess. The illustration of Horo in the ending credit very closely resembles the art work that is use in the manga. The art style in the anime give me a distinct feeling of "cute", while the manga gives me the feeling of "lovable". Depending on what mood I'm in, I actually find myself going back and forth between them on which one is my favorite.

Persona - Trinity Soul: Pacing Change

Currently finished: Episode 10

So far it has been several segments that has significant difference in pacing: It started really slow, then it picked up its pace for a couple of episodes, not it's slow again. If it had been the same slow pacing all the way, I probably would have thrown it away for lack of plot development. But it sped up just as I was ready do that. The much needed plot development actually got me hooked onto the story and willing to keep watching when it slowed down again (Damn you director.)

Clannad: Finally, the Sub-plot that Matters...

Currently finished: Episode 20

With all the side plot settled, we're finally get into the "real" plot that is going to seal the fate of the main character. As usual, the episode itself is still mostly light hearted. However, there's something in the background that is foreshadowing some catastrophic event in the near future, just as all previous Key/VisualArt's animes had.

The DVD of Clannad Movie finally came out. Looking at the dates, Clannad Movie was in theater before the TV series ever started to air. So I think the the movie is intended to be seen before the TV series. Unfortunately, I don't have that kind of luxtury. But I'll make sure I watch the movie before I finishes the TV series.

True Tears: Interesting, Indeed

Currently Finished: Episode 10

It has been rich in relationship dramas in animes in the past few months, as waves of unusual, and sometimes even strange dramas unfolded in front of our eyes. True Tears is probably one of the most strange one.

The overall pace is still slow, but very eventful. Not only it's eventful, it's full of interesting events. Early confusion caused me to not be able to follow the plot line effectively. After certain relationships between certain people being explained, it had gotten much more interesting. It'd be nicer if it hasn't kept the audience in the dark for that long.

By now, we can mostly see how everything going to end. But there are still 3 more episodes to go, I wonder whether they're going to make something go wrong and create another small drama again...

New rating (out of 5): 4 (net gain: +0.5)

H2O ~ Footprints in the Sand: Overly Simplified

Currently finished: Episode 9

Yes, yes, I know I'm far behind here, but I'm trying hard to catch up.

Anyway, while I like H2O in general, there are some problems. For one, some events seems to be overly simplified. Even though the attitude of the students could change quickly because of certain influences in school, I don't believe that rest of the town would just let it go like that. Granted there are some repercussions were excerpted in episode 9, that's not nearly soon enough or big enough giving the town's attitude towards her in the early episodes. (Yeah, yeah, I'm a evil person; I like to see people suffer, blah, blah... any other comments would you like to make about me?) Also, about Hinata being "transformed" into Hotaru, it seems to completely ignored what happens back in her home. I'm sure something has been working out in the background, but it's just a little too strange to skip all of that. I mean either completely ignore them - find a way not to show them in earlier episodes, or have some thing to explain them. It's just too much of a contrast.

Despite all that, I still like the series so far. Since the last episode is already out, I should be able to wrap it up soon.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Dragonaut: The End is Near

Currently finished: Episode 22

All pieces of the main puzzle have been laid out, and all side plots has been terminated. Now it's time for the grand finale.

Looking at current situation, many important people are probably end up dead. Normally, I'd be worried because most writers don't like to end their story tragically; they usually find some cheap way out so everything ends unhappy. I hate that.

But, since it's a Gonzo production, I'm not too worried. One thing I can always count on Gonzo is that they won't drop the ball when a story needs to be ended tragically (Saikano, Chron Crusade, Bakuretsu Tenshi, Witch Blade, etc.) They never try to find some easy cheap way out of a tragic ending like some other studio does. So I have full faith in them to have a "proper" ending to the series.

Shigofumi: Very...Unique

Currently finished: Episode 10

Even though the pace is somewhat slow, the plot development is very fast. It's amazing how deep it dove into the plot with so few episodes. I guess because the series is only 12 episodes long, it is necessary to have a somewhat compact plot line. But this is just exceptional. Normally, a compact plot line either feels like something is being left out, or everything is happening in a hurry. You wouldn't get any of those impression from Shigofumi. It definately deserves a thumb up for the directing.

Ok, enough about the production, let's talk about the story. The plot took an very interesting turn about half way through the series. The real identity of the post-woman is being revealed. Let's just say, it's a bit different than what I was expecting, but more interesting.

New rating (out of 5): 4.25 (net gain: +0.5)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ayakashi: It's over, finally

It's never a good sign when a series is over and all you feel is a burden being lifted. Sadly, that's how I felt after seeing the end of Ayakashi. The plot, the conversations, the action scenes, nearly everything in this anime feels retarded. It feel like it was written by a elementary school student, not even a talent one. So many things in it make you want to say "why hasn't he done that to begin with?". On top of that, this is one of the few animes that I was bored watching the final battle, which is supposed to be the biggest and most exciting one among all. I can't believe I actually followed this series to its end. I should have thrown it into trash long time ago.

Drama: 2 (Retarded)
Action: 2 (Childish)
Comedy: N/A
Art/Animation: 2 (Very amature looking)
Sounc/Music: 3 (The only thing acceptable from this anime)
Character: 2 (No depth)
Plot: 2 (Boring)
Re-watch value: 0 (Shouldn't even watch it first time)

Overall (not average): 2 (Terrible)
Recommendation: Unless you're really really really really really really out of stuff to watch, don't bother.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Gunslinger Girl ~ Il Teatrino: Can Still Redeem Itself

Currently finished: Episode 8

After a run of several episodes that I considered to be "epic fail", this sequel to the great dark epic story may have a chance to redeem its own worthiness.

It's almost like they had a change of heart in the middle of the production. In the most recent episodes, even though there has been the same things as usual, I've noticed that instead of putting out those worse-than-B-movie action scenes, they have avoided them all together. The plot line and the conversations also have gotten much better, as it was written by sombody that actually has a IQ of higher than 100.

Overall, if they keep up with these changes without going back to the stuff they've been failing, it could still end up being a good series. But for now, I'm going to leave the score I gave it from last time unchanged, in case these changes are just a shooting star in a dark sky.

Kimikiss Pure Rouge: Shafted!

Currently finished: Episode 18

Like I said last time, I liked the construction of this series because with this setup, there isn't going to be happy ending for everybody, and there is no obvious "bad person" that you want to give the short end of the stick to. So, it'll be interesting to see who is going to leave happy, and who's not.

The current score count: One girl has voluntarily gotten the shaft, and one guy was given the shaft, unwillingly. So, there is only one more unresolved case left. From where it's been heading and one of the "shafting", it's pretty clear who is going to get shafted in this relationship. However, there are still 6 more episodes to go. That's a bit too much for shafting just one person. Something else going to change, too. That's just speculation though.

Monday, March 10, 2008

They Are My Noble Masters: Awe

Currently finished: Episode 7

When I saw the first episode of this series, I said "WTF?". Now, seven episodes later, all I can say is "Seriously, WTF?!!" I mean the whole anime is just a big "Blah". There are nothing you can gain from watching this anime, except some laughter of pure ridicules. But I'm perfectly fine with that. At least it's not trying to present itself as something it isn't. On top of that, it periodically presents something interesting enough that I don't get bored. I guess that's the only difference between the ones that I keep and the one's I dump in this category (meanless comedy, that is).

Shion no Ou: Slowly Transformed

Currently finished: Episode 17

Last time I blogged about this anime, I said that shougi is merely a glue that holds everything together. But slowly, without being notice (at least by me), shougi had become much bigger part. Even though the focus and main plot is still on the murder case, everything else around had become much heavier than earlier. Personally, I really didn't care that much either way. But I do know that someone wouldn't like to watch it at all if he knew how shougi heavy had it become.

Kaiji: Still Interesting, But...

Currently Finished: Episode 20

Ever since the first segment is over, there hasn't been much about the actual gambling psychology any more. There were games, but none of them has much strategy involved, nor much gambling psychology.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing this series in any way. I think it is still a great series and it's still much fun to watch. It's just that the fundamental focus has somewhat changed from gambling psychology to perspective on live. I really don't have a problem against the current focus, I just like the gambling psychology much better.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sisters of Wellber 2: More Side Stories Than Main

Currently finished: Episode 8

Clearly, by stretching the series (1+2) into 24 episodes long, they're running out of ideas. The pace has been going slower than ever and now I can't even tell what's the main plot any more. It was a mediocre series to begin with, now it just has suck written all over it. But I've invested a bit too much time into it, giving up now just not seem to be a wise thing to do. I might as well go ahead finish the remaining 5 episodes.

New rating (out of 5): 2.6 (net gain: -0.4) ~ Barely Hanging On

Ayakashi: Very *Un-spectacular*

Currently finished: Episode 11

As I said in last entry regarding to this anime, it's very "forgetful". Now it's only one episode away from the finale, but there is nothing the previous episodes has built up to make me anticipate this final climax. Everything is just so...unspectacular. Nothing makes lasting impression, period. It's been dragging along ever since about half way through. I'm not sure what's to blame, bad story, or bad screen play, or just bad animation.

New Rating (out of 5): 2.5 (net gain: -0.25) ~ Not good

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

True Tears: Drama

Currently finished: Episode 4 (I know I'm behind, I'm trying...)

Originally, I didn't like it so much because everything are just all so confusing. However, one episode is all it took to change my mind. It's not that they have the consufing element sorted out, in my opinion, it went into some drama that I really like. (If you've been reading my blog, you should know what kind of drama I like). Because it involves something that I personally like, my review about this series probably going to get more subjective than others. Unless you like the same type of drama I do, it's best not to follow my recommendation on this anime. You're probably better off watching it and deciding for yourself.

Persona - Trinity Soul: Finally Getting Somewhere

Currently finished: Episode 5

After suffering those painstakingly slow episodes, the plot line finally starts to move. It's not moving very fast yet, but faster than what it has been. There are still quite some confusions needs to be sorted out before it proceeds further, but it's getting there...slowly. For those who just gave up after 2 ~ 3 episodes, you might want to re-consider. The concept is interesting, and the plot seems to becoming interesting and faster.

Rental Magica: Something Big is Coming

Currently finished: Episode 17

The plot of of Rental Magica has been piling up like a rolling snowball. What used to be a single focal point plot now is a big mesh. By now, I think most of the preparation works for the final climax are complete. We should be seeing some big event soon.

Rosario + Vampire: Substance Needed...

Currently finished: Episode 6

Lack of substance. That's what I would say about this anime so far. Maybe it means to be a completely non-sense comedy, but if that's the case, the comedy in it is not enough to make it a selling point.

Sometimes, I really wish I know what are those people at Gonzo thinking. They've produced so many good animes, but once a while it just seems that a crappy script would just sneak past the quality control and make into a real anime.

New rating (out of 5): 3.0 (net gain: -0.2) - Lack of substance