Monday, June 30, 2008

The Tower of Druaga ~ The Aegis of Uruk: (Ended) Is this supposed to be some kind of joke?

Gonzo, as one of my most highly rated anime production studio, has not been producing works that live up to the standards they've set in the past. The Tower of Druaga is just another example. However, as bad as I think it is for an anime produced by Gonzo, there are some redeeming values: though it's a bit late, they weren't afraid to kill major (well, somewhat major) character(s). Also, the story itself is not that bad, what made it terrible is the fillers. It would be a much better anime sereis if they'd cut out all the fillers and compress it into a six-episode OVA.

The worst part, I think is how it ended. Clearly, they're just planting the seeds for the next series "The Sword of Uruk". I have no problem with breaking long anime into multiple short season with breaks in between. But with an abrupt ending and the giant cliffhanger, along with large amount of filler of the first season, you start to wonder whether the decision of breaking this series into multiple seasons is purely money driven.

Like it or not, this is how it's going to be. We won't see the next part of this series until 2009 - that's the date given at the end of last episode about when the next season will start.

One more thing, the openning credit scene, which I was kind of hoping I could find out what is that all about by the end of this series, will stay as a mystery until the next season (or even possibly forever). At least now I understand why the poster behind them says July 2009. That means...We have to wait an entire year before we get to know the rest of the story. No!!!!!!!!!

Final scoreboard (out of 5):

Drama: 3.5 (Some, but the episodes made it too hard to connect)
Comedy: 3.5 (Mostly contributed by certain character's retardation)
Action: 2 (Doesn't look very impressive)
Art/Animation: 3 (Nothing special)
Sound/Music: 3 (Don't remember much)
Character: 3.75 (There are some character development)
Plot: 3 (Only if they could get rid of all the fillers...)
Ending: 1 (For now. I hate cliffhanger endings like this, even when I know there is another season coming)

Re-watch value: 1 (Why would you ever want to watch it again)

Overall (not average): 2.75 (They'll have to come up with something impressive to redeem themselves in the second season)

Recommendation: With an abrupt ending and huge cliffhanger, I can't give any recommendation yet. My best suggestion would be keep it somewhere until the second season come out, then I can give you a definite recommendation.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Special A: Heading Somewher...

Currently finished: Episode 11

Gonzo, in my book is a very fine drama anime maker. When it comes to comedy, I'm yet to find one that I would call "good". Special A may change that.

Special A is the type of comedy that really doesn't serve any purpose other than being a comedy. In my opinion, one major thing separate it from rest of their "failed" comedy lineup is the subtleness of the comedy. The biggest problem I've had with Gonzo's comedy lineup is that all they try to do is stuff the comedy down your throat. It may look interesting at the beginning, but soon after, I just couldn't take it any more. In Special A, by making most of comedies subtle rather than blatant, it gives you a smooth and polished feeling. I like it very much.

New rating (of 5): 4.1 (Net gain: +0.3) ~ One of Gonzo's better comedies

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kurenai: (Ended) Unusual

Kurenai paints a bit unusual, dark, and somewhat disturbing story. The pace is not fast enough for me to be comfortable with ever since the beginning. But as I said earlier, there seems to be a strange attraction for me that is coming from deep within the story, even before the somewhat disturbing facts was revealed (as most of you already know by now, I'm evil, twisted, and like things most people consider disturbing). And the ending, I have to say is brilliant. Not only it did not go down the typical cheap route, it also tied up most loose ends so you won't feel left hanging.

Final scoreboard (out of 5):

Drama: 5 (Quite some drama, including some disturbing stuff, too)
Comedy: 4.5 (I wasn't quite expecting any, but the dark humor is just great)
Action: 4 (Looks good for the most part, but there are some cheesy action moments)
Art/Animation: 4.5 (Very elegant style, I love it)
Sounc/Music: 3.5 (Ok, I guess; Op/Ed didn't leave much impression, didn't notice much BGM either)
Character: 5 (This is where this story shines)
Plot: 5 (Quite some ups and downs, also some sudden turns in the middle)
Ending: 5 (I like it very much, ties everything up, yet doesn't feel cheap)

Re-watch value: 3.5 (Maybe go through it again for its artistic value)

Overall (not average): 4.75 ~ Quiet yet powerful

Recommendation: This is not an anime you watch to get big excitement or deep and long plots. It should been seen as a piece of art, where it shouldn't be judged by convensional logic. If this kind of anime doesn't interest you, or you don't have the necessary patient to understand the artistic value it presents, DON'T EVEN BOTHER to pick this one up.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A New Anime I'm Not Going To Watch: Ikkitousen Great Gardians

Info: (official)
Genres: Fan service / Fighting /Boobs
I've watched: About 10 seconds
Art style: Big Boobs

Summary: Sequel to Ikkitousen Dragon Destiny, which is the sequel to the original Ikkitousen. There're something in it has to do with The Romance of Three Kingdoms. Lots of fighting, boobs flashing (no nipples, of course).

Rating: No, I'm not going to rate it

Person comments: Ikkitousen series has been focused on nothing but big boobs and torn clothes that almost reveals them. They even name their sequels after breast size: Dragon Destiny (DD) and Great Gardian (GG). I don't even know how I managed to finish the first series, but this anime is just completely tasteless. Go watch it if you like, I'm not going to bother with it at all.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

RD Sennou Chosashitsu: So Damn Interesting

Currently finished: Episode 9

I couldn't say enough about how much I totally hate its art style. At the same time, though, it's just so damn interesting. I literally couldn't pull myself away from it despite how much I hate it's art style. It's not that I get used to its style and starting to like it (Mononoke is an example of that type). I still hate it everytime I watch it.

That, to me, proves that Masamune Shirow (士郎 正宗) is a true master of this kind of stories.

New Rating: 4 (Net gain: +0.5) ~ I hate the art, but can't stop watchin...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Da Capo II Second Season: Here It Comes...

Currently finished: Episode 10

Alright, now everything I could predit going to happen had all happened. One bit surprise is that I was kind of expecting it to happend around the final two episodes. But it actually happened in episode 10, so there are three more episodes that I couldn't guess what's going to happen. This, in turn, brings up my biggest fear: there might be some "divine interventions" that is going to "fix" everything. That's what I don't want.

However, it's also possible in the final three episodes, they only make failed attempts to "fix" thing but does not end up fixing it. That's what I would like to see. (Yes, yes, I'm evil and twisted, haven't you learned that long time ago?) But it's going to really piss me off if they manage to find a middle ground right between those two.

To be honest, I really wouldn't mind if it ends right here right now. But I know most people would like to see a better "wrap-up" and there is going to be a "wrap-up".

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Allison and Lillia: So...where is Lillia?

Currently finished: Episode 11

The story is on and probably approaching the end of the third segment of the series, yet we still have no clue who Lillia, the other person named in the anime's title, is. After a quick dig into, I found that this anime is actually based on two separate manga series that are written and illustrated by same people. One is called Allison, the other called Lillia & Treize. That explains why it's been almost half way through and we still have no clue who Lillia is.

The art of this anime is not among my favorites. The pace of the anime is not exactly fast. However, the director knows how to properly use cliffhangers, which has been the main reason that I haven't dropped it. Gotta give it bonus for that.

New rating (out of 5): 4.2 (net gain: +0.2) ~ very good use of cliffhangers

Sunday, June 15, 2008

July 2008 Anime Season Preview

The hottest month of the year is on its way, so is the new anime season. From what I can find, July season is not nearly as big as April. But again, January and July are the two minor seasons, where April and October are the two major seasons. At least I don't have to worry about stacking too many new ones onto my 20+ list of ongoing series I'm watching.

School Rumble 3rd Term

Ah, School Rumble, one of the most outrageous comedy animes I've ever seen. Too bad this 3rd term is only an OVA.

Forecast: If they keep doing what they've been doing, this should be good.

UltraViolet Code 044

I'd assume this is somewhat related to the UltraViolet movie. Hopefully, it doesn't turn out to be as cheesy as Devil May Cry did.

Forecast: Too hard to tell, especially movies turn to animes haven't had a good track record.

Koihime Muso

Yet another anime loosely based on Romance of The Three Kingdom. Japanese seems to have some strange fascination about Romance of The Three Kingdom. Just hope this isn't a all-fan-service anime like the Ikkitousen series.

Forecast: Supposedly it was a game, and hentai game nonetheless. At least it doesn't have the outrageous breasts size like Ikkitousen does.


Supposed to be an sequel to Code-E, which I dropped half way. I probably not going to watch it. But for those who liked Code-E, you might want to keep your eyes open for this one.

Forecast: Unknown...Don't care...

Natsume Yujin-Cho

Some guy who can see spirits got hold of a strange book belongs to her deceased grandmother. He found out the spirits are bound to the book with an contract. He then tries to free them.

Forecast: For some reason, it gives me a distinct feeling similar to Shonen Onmyouji. If it turns out to be true, it should be interesting.

Zero no Tsukaima: Princesses no Rondo

Oh....I so saw it coming when they ended the second Zero no Tsukaima. The second series had a very sharp contrast comparing to the first series. I wonder how this one going to turn out.

Forecast: Highly variable, because the amont of changes they made from the first series to the second series.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Persona Trinity Soul: Totally Confused

Currently finished: Episode 21

Slowly, I thought I was catching on the big secret behind the story. But after this latest episode, I am again thoroughly confused about what's going on. I may have to go back and re-watch some of the dialogs they had. I think what they intended to do is to explain lots of things in a short time before the final showdown begins. But what they actually managed to do is to confuse me. Maybe I just need to go back and watch their dialogs again more carefully.

Kurenai: Something Disturbing

Currently finished: Episode 9

There is something very disturbing has been revealed in the recent episodes.It has been said that fictions are usually based on real life events. It make me wonder whether such thing actually exists in Japan.

Nabari no Ou: Sneaky Plot Device

Currently finished: Episode 8

I haven't been talking much about this anime because there hasn't been anything worth mentioning...until now. Nabari no Ou has been going along its "natural" course of action since the beginning. Not many surprises, nor any excitements. What is interesting, though, is that at this point, it's really hard to tell who's the friend and who's the enemy. Of course, there are still what "perceived" to be friends and foes. But the latest series of events make you start to doubt whether you can take that at its face value.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Wagaya no Oinarisama: Another Snowball Anime

Currently finished: Episode 8

This anime is another example of what I call typical "snowball" storyline: each episode is mostly independent and self-contained, yet each latter episode inherits something that are left over from previous episode. Another example of "snowball" storyline is Rental Magica. However, Rental Magica suffered from what I call weak snowball syndrome where the series ends with a snowball that isn't significant enough on size. What you get from that is a very unfulfilling ending. Let's just hope Wagaya no Oinarisama doesn't end up that way.

Itazura na Kiss: Transformed...

Currently finished: Episode 8

I just commented several days ago that it feel somewhat like Bokura ga Ita. Now, it's entering its second stage, and everything become so much like...Lovely Complex. There are just so many things that resemble Lovely Complex that it now feels so much like a clone of it.

However, try as they may, it did not reach anywhere near the caliber Lovely Complex did. So you shouldn't make comparison between those two, because Itazura no Kiss is only partially Lovely Complex.

Blassreiter: Not Invincible

Currently finished: Episode 8

The development in last several episodes, I have to say, is quite satisfying. No, not the plot itself, rather, what the writer was willing to do. One thing that I'm mostly unhappy with these days' tv shows and animes is that everything ends way too happy. Good guy always end up surviving, and bad guy never gets good ending. Once a while, I wish that things doesn't turn out what everybody hoped they would; once a while I wish things could turn out the completely opposite to the "good ending".

Blassreiter is not any where near the end yet. However, they've show that they're willing kill any character in the show, even the most important one at the time. That gives me lots of motivation on watching the show because now I know not everybody from the good side is safe. You won't have a safety net called "it'll be ok in the end" any more. Anybody could die at any moment. They chance of survival isn't always better on the good guys side any more.

New rating (of 5): 4 (net gain: +0.25) ~ This is the Gonzo I knew

ToLoveRu: Water...Coming out of my Nose...

Currently finished: Episode 8

The picture a bit misleading about what this anime actually become, but that's just too good of a scene to miss out on taking a screen cap. I was drinking water when this scene came up, and I end up shooting half of what I drank out of my nose.

With this picture, you must be thinking this is just another fan service anime. Actually, it isn't. Although they never hesitate on cashing in on the fan service part of the show, that was never their goal (or at least I don't think it is). It's actually another Ranma style comedy (make fun of stuff for the sake of making fun). It's quite different than those whose sole focus is to show fan service.

I think I underestimated the potential of this series earlier. Even though everything resembles Urusei Yatsura, ToLoveRu does bring some new freshness into this genre.

New rating (of 5): 3.75 (net gain: +1.0) ~ Much better than I though

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Weed Out Time

Monochrome Factor never left a good impression from the beginning. More over, there are some hidden yaoi thing pops up once a while. Thirdly, it has been mostly retarded lately. I've given it enough time to redeem itself and it failed to do so. Now all there is left to do is to cross it off my list.

Amatsuki is somewhat interesting up to this point. However, I rate it mediocre at best. Though I don't have anything against it, there is nothing I see in it worth keeping. With July season approaching, I need to get rid of all the mediocre ones and focus my time only on catching up with the good ones, otherwise I'll be so far behind when July season starts.

Himitsu - Top Secret: A Different Kind of Detective Show

Currently finished: Episode 6

Even though the art style is not the type I like, the initial episode gave pretty good impression about this anime. Generally, I'm not into detective shows very much. However, Himitsu - Top Secret is different. It's not a show of solving crime for the sake of solving crimes. It approaches the topic with a very strong personal perspective. Not only it's a show of solving crime, it's also about showing that everybody out there solving crime is also a normal person like everybody else.

On a separate note, section 9 seem to be a common landing department for special police unit. Here MRI is the section 9 of the Japanese police department. As you recall, section 9 is also the special cyborg unit in the police department in Ghost In the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.

Itazura na Kiss: Another Bokura ga Ita?

Currently finished: Episode 6

Most recent development, had made this series feels somewhat similar to Bokura ga Ita. Although some roles maybe switched around, I think the general concept is kind of similar. Both are about saving a relationship which never existed. though this one is a bit more hopeless than the one in Bokura go Ita.

Even though I liked Bokura ga Ita, I'm not sure I'm ready to see another story just like that. Watching Bokura ga Ita is frustrating, and Itazura no Kiss is no better. On top of that, supporting character in Itazura na Kiss is a bit more annoying than those in Bokura ga Ita.

Nijuu Mensou no Musume: Not Bad

Currently finished: Episode 6

I haven't really talked about this anime other than the initial review. Mostly because there isn't really anything to talk about: everything is just so..."normal". That is, up till now.

Recent development, however, had earned more respect from me. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'd know one thing I like most in a story is when bad things happen to good people. In another word, I love tragedies.

New rating (out of 5): 3.5 (net gain: +0.5)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Crystal Blaze: Arrogant Brats...

Currently finished: Episode 6

When you see an arrogant brat in a series as a top supporting characters, you always know that he/she will be the one to mess up something majorly due to his/her arrogance. That's what's been happening lately in Crystal Blaze. There really isn't anyting could enrage me more than watching brats like that to screw a perfect plan over and all he/she can do is apologize afterwards. But guess what, arrogant brats never learn. Next time around, they'll act exactly the same and keep doing it over and over again, until somebody is hurt badly or dead.

As the story goes, I don't find it interesting at all. But now I just want to see how that arrogant brat get killed or get somebody else killed.

Macross Frontier: Music Driven Anime

Currently finished: Episode 7

One of the background driving force for Macross series has always been the music and songs. While it was true for the first Macross, a.k.a. Robotech part I, the English version songs are just plain horrible, and the English dub of lead female character was just plain annoying.

Macross Frontier showed once again how effective a proper music/singing blending with anime could be.

About the story, its approach is nearly identical with the original Macross, with some position swapping. They didn't even bother to come up with a different name for the flight squadron: "Skull Team" once again at the center of Macross stage.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

RD Sennou Chosashitsu: Something Weird

Currently finished: Episode 7

I just notice that this anime is based of original works by Masamune Shirow (士郎 正宗), who is the creator of Ghost in the Shell. That really explains a lot about this series: the weird concepts, the focus on human consciousness, etc.

I hate the art style; the plot is too strange to fully understand at the beginning; story development is very slow; but interestingly enough, some mysterious force from this anime had drawn me into it much like Mokke did. Even though there is almost nothing I like about this anime, I just can't stop watching it.

On a separate note, I've rolled past the ending credit and saw some ads for RD manga, the character in the manga doesn't appear nearly as chubby as they do in the anime.

New Rating (of 5): 3.5 (Net gain: +0.7)~ Mysteriously Interesting

OVA: Ice: Trippy...

If you're looking for something trippy to watch, you should not miss Ice. It's actually hard to give an overview of the OVA without spoiling the plot. There are lots of "Wha...." and "Did they just..." moments. I think the screen capture above is enough for anybody to decide whether they want to watch it or not. If you do decide to watch it, you're in for a trippy ride.

BTW, it's only a 3 episodes OVA of 30~40 minutes each episode. So it doesn't really take long to finish it.

Final Scoreboard (of 5):

Drama: 4 (Weird)
Comedy: N/A
Action: 4 (Strange)
Art/Animation: 3 (Retro)
Sound: 4 (Acceptable)
Character: 5 (Bizarre)
Plot: 5 (Trippy, Duuuuuuude)
Ending: ~~~~ (Too tripped out to remember)

Re-watch value: Dude, you really want to watch it again?

Overall (not average): 4

Recommendation: This is definitely not for normal people, because they're going to come out hating it. If you have that little wildness in your brain, it might just be right for you.