Saturday, January 31, 2009

[Dropped] Akikan: Lacking Something...

It was funny and somewhat amusing at first. As the story progresses, it just feels something is missing in this anime, something make you want to come back to the next episode of the story. With the backlog slowly creeping up again, I decide not to waste too much time on something pointless as this.

Score so far: 70 (Previous 85)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Chrome Shelled Regios: Somebody Tell Me What's Going On Here...

It seems that the WTF animes arrived early this year. This is the second anime from this month to earn a "WTF". I'm sure they'll explain the background at some point. In the meanwhile, though, almost everything got a big "WTF" tag on it. While the "WTF" is amusing and all, if they don't start to explain some of them soon, it'll quickly lose my interest.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ah...That Time of the Year Again

It's Grand Slam season again. Australian Open is on till next weekend.

Tennis, my only other hobby, holds a spot in my priority queue in front of anime. That means when a Grant Slam events is on, time allocated to anime would have to yield to the Grand Slam. This normally would only happen during Australian Open and US Open, since the other two Slams don't usually play live in the evening in central time.

So, this blog will be in hibernation until the Australian Open is over.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Tower of Druaga: The Sword of Uruk

New Chemistry

Currently finished: Episode 2

The first series of the story, The Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk, in my opinion is utterly crap. That, in turn affected the initial impression of this new series. However, after the second episode, I have to say, Gonzo has done a much better job here than the first series. The story is actually getting more interesting, instead of getting more retarded like the first series did. Though there are still some moments you just scratch your head and say "WTF?", It doesn't feel nearly as retarded as the first one did. On top of that, there're a lot more chemistries going on between the characters, and chemistry is always good for dramas :-)

New score: 78 (Previous: 70)~ Getting Better

Sunday, January 18, 2009

[New January 2009] Genji Monogatari Sennenki (源氏物語千年紀)

Genres: Traditional Japanese Drama
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Traditional Japanese

Summary: This supposed to be the oldest Japanese novel. So far all I can tell this is the story about a guy named Genji.

First impression score: 75 ~ Probably a bit too deep into the Japanese culture

Personal comments: I'm sure this is more significant anime for someone that grew up in Japan since this is probably one of the required literature they read in school. Since I didn't grow up in Japan, I'm really not that interested in this story. On top of that, it's very deep into Japanese culture that I may not have the background to understand some of them.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

[New January 2009] Sora o Miageru Shōjo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai (空を見上げる少女の瞳に映る世界)

Info: (Official)
Download: Subtitle by m.3.3.w
Genres: Supernatural / Drama / Action / Fantasy
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Slightly Simplified

Summary: So far it's a replay of the original Munto OVA.

First impression score: 80 ~ Somehow Feels better than the OVA

Personal comments: The first episode of the Munto TV series (the name is way too long, I'm going to just call it this from now on) is actually a scene-by-scene replay of the OVA, with a slightly slower pace. When I watched Munto OVA, one of my biggest complain is that it was going a bit too slow. However, by slowing down even further in the TV series, it somehow made it feel...better. Maybe the fact it's a 20 minutes episode instead of a full one hour story at once has something to do with.

Friday, January 16, 2009

[New January 2009] Slayers Evolution-R

Can you guess what Lina is about to do this time?

Download: No English sub yet
Genres: Fantasy / Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Slayer

Summary: Picks up where the previous series left off...(this seems to be the trend this month...)

First impression score: 80 ~ Still funny

Personal comments: When I get some free time, I will go finish up the previous Slayers series...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Maria-sama ga Miteru 4th: The Loss of Innocence

Just finished: Episode 2

I had always seen Maria-sama ga Miteru as a shoujo anime that is pure, innocent, and free from those weird stuff that occurs in Japanese society that we see so often in the other animes. This episode, however, completely shattered that image. In a sense, the story is still pure, but it's no longer free of those weird Japanese social problems. I really really wish they hadn't done it. I have to say though, this is not just a sudden occurance. The seed has been planted long time ago, we just didn't know what would come out of the seed.

I really don't want to, but I'm going have to deduct some points for this for breaking the perfect image of innocence.

Current score: 78 (Previous: 80) ~ Loss of innocence

Zettai Karen Children: Final Segment

Currently finished: Episode 40

After three short seasons of ESP madness, the final segment finally arrived. On the surface, Zettai Karen Children looks like a children's show. But there is actually an extensive plot line that existed ever since the beginning. In my opinion, the buildup process could have been sped up a little early on and they could probably shrink it by a full short season without hurting the plot development. But I didn't really mind it that much because it's still somewhat enjoyable to watch.

One thing I'm really curious about is how they're going to end it. Because so far they seemed to have cornered themselves to only have one way out. Any other ending would cause an incomplete ending that would require sequels to wrap up. That would suck majorly.

Score (so far): 80 ~ Light and entertaining

[Doujin Anime] Touhou Project - Musou Kakyou

Touhou Project is a manic shooter game series that has many spin-offs. Supposedly it's somewhat famous among Doujin fans. This is the first anime spin-off from the series (I think). The story itself, is actually interesting. So are the characters. I can see why there's such a big fanbase for the characters from these games.

So far only episode one has been released. The story hangs somewhat on a cliffhanger at the end of episode one. I'd definitely be interested in seeing more of it.


Score (so far): 85 ~ Interesting characters

[New January 2009] Chrome Shelled Regios (鋼殻のレギオス)

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

Summary: Um...not sure yet, everything is just so confusing for the moment...

First impression score: 75 ~ Confusing, but looks interesting

Personal comments: I'm not sure what's going on here. There was no background explanation for anything that happened in episode one. I'm not quite sure what it is, but something here feels very similar to Mamoru-ku ni Megami no Shukufuku wo!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

[New January 2009] Ride Back

Genres: Action / Drama
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Semi-realistic

Summary: In 2025, GGP has conquered the world. A girl has given up ballet because of injury came to a new school. There she found a new interest in "Ride Back", a robotic motorcycle that could respond to simple commands and body movement. (Sounds like a futuristic version of Segway)

First impression score: 78 ~ Interesting start

Personal comments: Supposedly the main story of this anime is how she's using Ride Back to go against GGP's dictatorship. So far it looks pretty interesting. Though I'm not very fond of its art style, it's somewhat acceptable.

[New January 2009] Kemono no Sou-ja Erin (獣の奏者エリン)

Download: No English sub yet
Genres: Fantasy / Drama
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Round edge

Summary: In a world that "dragon" is used for combat, a small town is known to breed and care for the "dragons". A young girl named Erin want to be just like her mother, a "dragon" trainer/doctor.

First impression score: 60 ~ Slooooooooooooow

Personal comments: Depending on how many animes I'm actively following, this one is most likely to be dumped even before episode two shows up. It just doesn't have anything interesting enough for me to keep wanting to watch it. On top of that, I'm not particularly fond of its art style either.

[New January 2009] Viper's Creed

Download: No English sub yet
Genres: Scifi / Action / Mecha
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Mecha

Summary: Global warming caused environmental disaster (that load of crap again...) started another world war. Now all the surviving country put together a city called Fort Diversity. Team Viper is one of the top elite teams that is responsible for protecting the city from the left over unmanned weapons which are leftover from the war that periodically attacks the city.

First impression score: 80 ~ OK for an action flick

Personal comments: Is it just me or everything in this anime looks extremely similar to Blassreiter?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

[New January 2009] Tetsuwan Birdy Decode 02

Download: No English sub yet
Genres: Scifi / Action / Drama
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Slightly Simplified

Summary: Picks up where the first series left off...

First impression score: 80 ~ Interesting start

Personal comments: The first Decode series is somewhat interesting. But, as I said in my final post about the series, it's good, but it's not "must watch" good. It's an interesting story, but as an action anime, it's just not exciting enough.

[New January 2009] The Tower of Druaga: The Sword of Uruk

Info: (Official)
Watch online:
Genres: Fantasy
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common

Summary: Picks up about half a year after the first series ended...

First impression score: 70 ~ Still below standard for GONZO

Personal comments: Aside from those ridicule filled comedy animes, the previous season of this anime series, The Tower of Druaga: Aegis of Uruk is probably one of the worst animes that are ever produced by GONZO. I never though GONZO was capable of producing such terrible anime. In late 2008, I read in some news that GDH, the parent company of GONZO announced that GONZO will be going through restructure process and reduce the number of annual anime output in order to cut cost. Well, with products like The Tower of Druaga: Aegis of Uruk, and Rosario Vampire, I can see why they're in financial trouble. GONZO has fallen so far from its peak back in the days of Black Cat, Trinity Blood, Chrno Crusade, Basilisk, and Gankutsuou.

However, with this new season, I see hope for GONZO redeeming themself as one of the best action/drama anime production studio. Though the first episode is still a bit shaky, I can tell that it has a much more serious tone than the first one.

One other thing worth mention is that the entire The Tower of Druaga series is being released on youtube with official English subtitle (as oppose to fansub). It's a very interesting business model they're employing. I think in the long run, it would benefit them greatly, because most English speaking anime fans that normally watches fansubbed anime would settle with lower video quality and watch the youtube version because it's being simultaneously released and availible all the time. This would literally kill the fansub for this series, therefore reduce the download and availability of the actual recorded episodes on the Internet. That's indeed a very clever move.

[New January 2009] Asu no Yoichi (明日のよいち!)

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

Summary: Yoichi is a samurai boy that grew up in the mountain. In order to further his training, he is now stepping outside the mountain to learn the world.

First impression score: 75 ~ "Urban Samurai"

Personal comments: Obviously this is one of those stories that a person that from different time tries to settle in the modern world.

[New January 2009] Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo (宇宙をかける少女)

Genres: Scifi
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common

Summary: In a futuristic space world, a girl run into a giant space thing, and strange things start to happen...

First impression score: 70 ~ WTF?

Personal comments: All I want to say after watching the first episode, is "W.T.F.?!"

[(Not so) New January 2008] Shikabane Hime Kuro (屍姫 玄)

Info: (Official)
Download: Torrent available from
Genres: Drama / Supernatural / Action
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common

Summary: Continues where the first series left off, literally...

First impression score: 75 ~ Still ok story, but the voice acting bothers me

Personal comments: This is not a new series. There's no season break in between the first one and this one. It literally started a week after the first series finished airing. Hell they didn't even change the opening theme song. The only difference is the title. WTF?

[New January 2009] Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou (続 夏目友人帳)

Info: (Official)
Download: Subtitle by BSS
Genres: Supernatural / Light Drama
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Soft edge

Summary: Continues where the first series left off, kind of...

First impression score: 85 ~ Continue with more heart touching stories

Personal comments: The previous series, Natsume Yuujinchou was given the Most Heart Touching anime of 2008 award by me. I would expect no less of this one. However, higher expectation would bring bigger disappointment if the sequel doesn't live up to the standards set by the first one. Let's just hope it's at least as good as the first series.

[New January 2009] White Album

Genres: Drama / Love Story
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Retro

Summary: Story of one guy and lots of girls around him...

First impression score: 82 ~ I can already see some entangled fates

Recognized Voice Talent: Aya Hirano (平野) as Yuki Morikawa. Her voice is very easily recognized. Ever since the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Lucky Star, she become one of my favorite voice Actress. Her other well known roles are Reira from Nana, and Misa from Death Note.

Personal comments: I'm not sure exactly what, but something about this anime reminds me about True Tears. The art style is a bit more retro than I like, but I guess they're trying to stay true with the game since it came out in the late 90's and the popular art style back then is somewhat retro by now.

White Album
was originally published as a visual novel by Leaf, who is also the creator for To Heart series. Though To Heart are considered by many to be a classic for love story animes, I was not entirely impressed by it, even less for To Heart 2. I've heard that White Album is a very good and addictive game, but that usually doesn't automatically mean it'll be a good story material for an anime. Though I wasn't impressed by To Heart, I still liked the story. Entangled fates are usually good story material to bring out the richest emotion. If it's done well, it could make you love, make you hate, make you laugh, and make you cry.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

[New January 2009] Maria-sama ga Miteru 4th (マリア様がみてる 4thシーズン)

Genres: Shoujo / Yuri /Drama
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Elegant hard edge

Summary: Continues where the OVA (the third series) left off...

First impression score: 80 ~ Mysteriously interesting shoujo anime...hmm....

Personal comments: Normally I wouldn't be able to withstand shoujo anime for more than 2 episodes, especially at the shoujo level like this. However, for some unknown reason, Maria-sama ga Miteru managed to grab me for more than three series. This is probably the longest shoujo series I've followed and will ever follow.

Unless you have seen the first three series (TV 1, TV 2, OVA), there is no point watching this, because there are so many background stories in play that you wouldn't be able to understand how or why people are acting the way they are. The good news is both first and secon season of TV series are available for rental from Netflix, though the OVA is still nowhere to be found. I'm sure you can find the torrent for the OVA somewhere on the internet.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Year 2008 in Review

Year 2008 is over. Now let's have a quick recap of what we have seen in 2008.

There are some long season animes that started in October 2007 spilled over into 2008, namely, Kaiji, Clannad, Shion no Ou, Bamboo Blade, Mokke, Majin Tantei Nogami Neuro, Shakugan no Shana II, Kimikiss Pure Rougue, Dragonaut, Rental Magica. Some were good, some are not so. Since they never got a chance to compete for award in 2007, they will be competing for the 2008 awards.

January season was relatively small. Most new series are slow paced drama, include H2O ~ Footprints in the Sand, Persona - Trinity Soul -, Shigofumi, True Tears, Spice and Wolf, Sisters of Wellber Season 2. Among them, Spice and Wolf stands out the most.

Then the April season rolled in. Since that's one of the bigger season of the year, I was expecting lots of high quality animes. Well, I was not disappointed. Good series like Wagaya no Oinarisama, Vampire Knight, Kurenai, ToLoveRu, Himitsu - Top Secret, Blassreiter, Soul Eater, Allison and Lillia, Macross Frontier, Special A, RD Sennou Chosashitsu, Toshokan Senso (Library War) showed up. But there are also some series with good looking start ends up being terrible: Nabari no Ou, Da Capo II Second Season, Nijuu Mensou no Musume. The biggest disappointment, I have to say is Narbari no Ou, because it looked so good early on, then it just slowly turned into something terrible. The biggest surprise, is RD Sennou Chosashitsu because I was so ready to throw it away as soon as I saw its art style, but it turned out to be one of the year's best.

In the small July season, there was really nothing worth noting except Natsume Yuujinchou, which was exceptionally good in my opinion.

When the heavy weight October season entered the ring, I almost suffered a knockout punch by the 29 new series coming straight at me. What made it worse is that most of them are good: After applying the quality assurance filter, I still had 22 of them left on my list. Lucky that there were only two ongoing series that are left from earlier this year, otherwise I'd have to sacrifice sleep to catch up with them all. These 22 are Toradora, To Aru Majutsu no Index, Shikabane Hime Aka, Hyakko, Yozakura Quartet, Tales of Abyss, Clannad After Story, Akane-iro ni Somaru Saka, Earl and Fairy, Kuroshitsuji, Ef ~ A Tale of Melodies, Skip Beat!, Kuragane no Linebarrels, Nodame Cantabile Paris, Vampire Knight Guilty, Kannagi, Chaos; Head, Kemeko Delux, Mouryou no Hako, Kurozuka, Tytania, Ga-Rei Zero.

Alright, now it's the time to hand out the awards. If you are a regular viewer of my blog, you probably already know most of them. Compare to last year, the general category more than doubled in size because there are just too many good animes that I wouldn't want them go award-less.

The categories are pretty standard. I guess the only one need some explanation would be the category of "Light Drama". For a story to be considered as light drama, it would usually consists all elements of a drama except one: an overarching main plot that gets resolved in the end. The subplot of light drama are mostly disjoint, whereas a typical drama would have most subplots contribute to the main plot (well, at least the good ones do). So the result is light drama feels more like a collection of short stories whereas drama feels more like a single long story.

By breaking the category to short and long, I managed to eliminate ties in all category except one: short season light drama. 2008 is a year rich with light dramas. There are just too many of them competing for the top spot.

One more thing, because Vampire Knight and Vampire Knight Guilty are so closely related, I consider it as one long season anime. There is really no point to rate them separately.

Best of 2008 Awards

Best Short Season Comedy: Hyakko
Best Short Season Comedy/Drama: Nodame Cantabile Paris
Best Short Season Drama: Ef ~ A Tale of Melodies
Best Short Season Action/Drama: Ga-Rei Zero
Best Short Season Light Drama: Tie: Toshokan Senso (Library War) and Spice and Wolf

Best Long Season Comedy: Special A
Best Long Season Comedy/Drama: Bamboo Blade
Best Long Season Drama: Macross Frontier
Best Long Season Action/Drama: Shakugan no Shana II
Best Long Season Light Drama: Allison and Lillia

Best Scifi: RD Sennou Chosashitsu

Best Fantasy: Earl and Fairy

Most Heart Touching Anime: Natsume Yuujinchou
Most Artistic Anime: Ef ~ A Tale of Melodies
Most Unique Anime: Spice and Wolf
Best Sequel Anime: Ef ~ A Tale of Melodies

Weirdest Anime: Kurozuka

Now, the award you've been waiting for (drumroll..........)

2008 Anime of the Year goes to:

Macross Frontier

This is really a hard choice because even though I liked everything about Macross Fronter, the ending was a bit short of total satisfactory. The runners-up for 2008 anime of the year include Library War, Spice and Wolf, RD Sennou Chosashitsu, and Ef ~ A Tale of Melodies. I think they all deserve a piece of anime of the year award. But, if there can be only one Anime of the year, Macross Frontier is the choice, because it combines drama, action, scifi, musical, love, and tragedy into one single package and did very well in all of them. On top of that, because I personally don't like Mecha animes in general, which in turn makes me to be more strict on them when it is time to rate them. Macross Frontier has to overcome that scoring bias from me to win the anime of the year award from me. That shows you how good Macross Frontier really is.

Now the serious award is over, let's do some fun awards:

Weirdest Anime of the year: Kurozuka
Best Female Nudity Scene: ToLoveRu

Best Male Nudity Scene: Unknown
... Sorry I intentionally forget about them after I saw them...
Most Sexually Explicit Anime: Rosario Vampire
Bloodiest Anime: Kurozuka

Biggest Disappointment of the Year: Nabari no Ou
Biggest Surprise of the Year: RD Sennou Chosashitsu
Most Retarded Anime: Kemeko Delux!

WTF of the year: ICE--
Most Heartless person: Will from "Allison and Lillia"
Hardest to Follow Plot: Mouryou no Hako
Most Appeared Non-Human Feature: Cat/Wolf/Fox Ears (Appeared in Strike Witches, Kanokon, Spice and Wolf, Kanokon, Wagaya no Oinarisama)
Best Sequel Anime: Ef ~ A Tale of Melodies
Biggest Boobs: Sekirei
Worst Anime of the Year (that I managed to finish): Ayakashi
Worst Voice Acting: Shikabane Hime Aka
Most Anticlimactic Ending: Rental Magica

These some honorable mentions where I feel bad about not giving them an award because they are also very good animes but their categories happened to have better ones (i.e. you probably want to watch them :-):

Short Season Comedy Runner-up: Kannagi
Long Season Light Drama Runner-up: Mokke
Long Season Drama Runner-up: Shion no Ou
Long Season Drama Runner-up: Vampire Knight+Vampire Knight Guilty

2008 is definitely a busy year for animes. Now the awards have been handed out, 2008 is officially behind us. Let's hope we have a great anime year for 2009.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

[Backlog] [OVA] Munto

This OVA has been my my backlog for quite some time mostly because back then when I roughly scaned the episodes, I didn't think the art work was attractive. But in this month, a new TV series called Sora o Miageru Shōjo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai is going to start which supposed to be the alternate retelling of the part II of the Munto story. Because I prefer to watch things in the chronological order of their release date, I decide to pull it out of the my backlog queue and finish watching it before the new TV series starts.

The story, I have to say is somewhat strange. It's interesting, but strange. The pace of the story is quite slow, even though it only has two episodes running 50 minutes each. It's a story about two people from two worlds, that is separated by the wall of time, come together to save them from the ultimate destruction. Because it's an OVA, the background information is really brief. Even after finishing the whole series, there are still many unanswered questions. Some of them are quite crucial because without them, parts of the story just don't quite make sense. I can see why having a TV series is necessary to clean everything up. Let's just hope the TV series does answer those unanswered questions. I'd be pissed if the TV series is literally the retelling of Munto II without anything extra.

The concept of this story, actually reminds much of Escaflowne. It's not a complete copy, but you definitely see the resemblance.

Final Score: 80 ~ Interesting, but a bit too slow

Monday, January 5, 2009

[Backlog] [OVA] Yotsunoha

I finally caught up on all ongoing animes (I think there are about 20 or so on my list), I can start to go through some of the backlogs I've accumulated over the year...

Yotsunoha is a story of four old friends come back to their old school, which is now abandoned, looking for a time capsule they put in ground three years ago. While they're looking the time capsule, they slowly recalled the memories from the past when they used to attend the school together.

It's a slow paced story about friendship and love. Being only two 35 minutes episodes long, I found it quite enjoyable and heartwarming. But if you don't like slow story or if you have a heart cold as ice, you might not enjoy it.

The story is originally a visual novel game. So it may explain why there are many unexplained loose ends such as the character named Yuki that they referenced multiple time in the story but never actually showed up. You might have to play the game to get the full story.

As soon as she starts speaking, I recognized that Yuzuki is voiced by Yuko Goto (後藤邑子). Her most famous role is the voice of Asahina from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. She also played Hikari from Special A but is not nearly as recognizible.

The character Nono has a very heavy accent, though the story indicates it is Osaka accent, somehow it was different than the Osaka accent as I remembered. Hm...

Final Score: 80 ~ Nice little story

Sunday, January 4, 2009

[OVA] Candy Boy (Episode 5)

Alright, I'm going to officially name today as the day of perversion. For some reason, everything I watch today managed to have some degree of perversion in it.

After episode 4, I thought Candy Boy would start to cool down on the whole lesbian sister lover theme because the background has been introduced. But no, not only it didn't cool it down, they completely fired it up in episode 5. If you're not comfortable with this kind of topic, I'd recommend you to stay away from this series completely.

[Special] Kamen no Maid Guy DVD Special

Uh...yeah, another DVD special that is 90% eye candy.

[OVA] Zettai Shougeki Platonic Heart: This is Retarded

Just image combine the exploding clothes of Ikkitousen with the ultra lewd camera angle of AiKa R-16: Virgin Mission, that's what you get from Zettai Shougeki Platonic Heart. If you're a fan of plot-less non-stop fan service anime, don't miss this. Otherwise, don't even bother with it.

[Extra] Zero no Tsukaima: Princess no Rondo DVD Extra

The picture is enough to tell you the content of this dvd special episode...

[OVA] D.C.I.F. ~ Da Capo If

As if CIRCUS thinks that Da Capo series is not long enough, they decide to produce yet another story that is based off Da Capo storyline. The "If" in the title clearly indicates that this is not something that goes along with the rest of the storyline. It would be an alternative storyline about what would happen if the main character had made some different decisions, much like the Clannad Special.

The story occurs after the original Da Capo but before D.C.S.S. Kotori is now the main character. From the look of it so far, I can already tell that this will be a better story than Kimi ga Nozome Eien ~ Next Season ~.

First impression score: 75 ~ Not a bad start

[New January 2009] Kurokami (黒神)

Info: (Official)
Download: Only thing I can find it's being subbed by a group called "今日のSUBS", but they don't seem to have their own web site, you'll have to search for torrents yourself
Genres: Action / Drama
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common

Summary: Bad luck seems to land upon Keita's friend. As a result, most people that are close to Keita have died of accidents. One day, Keita met a girl called Kuro, and claims to be a "Mototsumitamas". Now he's being introduced to a completely different worldview.

First impression score: 80 ~ Interesting start

Personal comments: "Mototsumitamas" (元神霊), I'd assume is some kind of god/spiritual being just from the meaning of the kanji. However, it's an author created word that we really have to wait for the plot to unfold to get a better understanding about what it really is. The first episode has been somewhat violent and they don't seem to bother with avoiding scenes with excessive blood. So, if you are those who doesn't like excessive violence, the you probably want to say away from this one.

[New January 2009] Maria Holic (まりあ†ほりっく)

Info: (Official)
Download: (gg fansub)
Genres: Perverted Comedy (Yes, another one)
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Common

Summary: A girl that is allergic to man (which implies she likes girls) came to an all girl boarding high school. There she met "Maria". Soon after, she finds out that "she" is actually a cross-dressed boy. "She" is also the superintendent's grandson. In order to make her keep the secret, "Maria" force her to become "her" roommate.

First impression score: 85 ~ Perverted and Funny

Personal comments: The concept is not that new, but the presentation is quite refreshing. So far 100% of this year's new anime has been perverted comedy. Is this some kind of new trend or something?

[New January 2009] Akikan! (アキカン!)

Genres: Perverted Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode
Art style: Hard Edge Slightly Simplified

Summary: A can of melon juice turns into a girl when Daichi Kakeru is taking a drink out of it. Now she calls him master and start to live with him. She also get jealous when Daichi drinks other type of soda or juice instead of her...

First impression score: 85 ~ Funny and perverted

Personal comments: Ok, image the plot that is similar to Sekirei combine with perversion that is equal or even worse that Inukami, that is what the first episode of Akikan! feels like. If you've never seen Inukami is, just go catch the first episode off youtube, then you'll understand what kind of level of perversion is this.

**PS** As pointed out by "T", that I titled this "New January 2008" when I posted it initially. I guess 2008 just doesn't want to go away just yet :-) Thanks, T

Friday, January 2, 2009

Good Bye 2008, Hello 2009; New Year, New Scoring Scale

With the wrap-up of Mouryou no Hako, all series that are going to end in the last season of 2008 have ended. But there is no time for a break, because several January 2009 season animes has already started, though most are webcasts instead of aired on televisions.

The scoring scale I've been using up till now is the common "5-star" system, which is a 5-point scale. Some of my friends told me that this scale is a bit confusing because many people are used to the 10-point scoring scale. Since I don't have those fancy star icons, people that are not familiar with my blog might get confused what kind of scale am I using unless I explicitly state it every time. To fix that, from 2009 onward, I will switch to 100 point scoring scale. To compare the old scale score with new scale score, simply multiply it by 20 should be roughly accurate.

Mouryou no Hako (Ended): Answers, Finally

This is probably the most thought intensive anime I've seen lately. It is definitely not for those impatient people. You have to take your time to try to understand and digest it. To someone, re-watching an some episodes entirely or the whole series may be necessary. Once you do have everything together, you'll realize that this is one true masterpiece.

Come to think of it, more than half of the story are spent on conversations. It's especially bad towards the end of the series, where some episodes almost entirely spent on talking. I can't think of any other anime that has more talk than this one.

The structure of the story is also quite interesting. There are lots of narrative mode changes where it'll switch among the first, the second, and the third person point of view many times even within the same episode. That's what gave me most trouble because sometime the changes aren't very clear, and by assuming the wrong narrative mode, there are massive confusions. I guess that's another reason it is so thought intensive.

Final scoreboard (out of 5):

Drama: 4.75 (Intense)
Comedy: N/A
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 4 (Interesting...)
Sound/Music: 4 (Not too much impression)
Character: 5 (Great depth)
Plot: 4.75 (Very well constructed)
Ending: 4.5 (Typical)

Re-watch value: 4 (You probably have to in order to clear couple of things up)

Overall (not average): 4.75 ~ Complicated

Recommendation: If you're not interested in thought intensive or complicated story, then this is not for you. If you don't have the patience with lots of conversations in an anime, this is not for you either. Otherwise, I would recommend this as a first tier anime.

Vampire Knight Guilty (Ended): Crafty

Vampire Knight is a very intriguing story. It managed to hide its biggest surprise factor very well until the time is ready to reveal itself. In fact, it purposely deceit the audience by lead them to a different route while slowly putting together the solution to the ultimate puzzle. It is indeed a brilliant story.

The ending, in my opinion is somewhat anticlimactic. The boss battle just doesn't feel that exciting. Also, I didn't quite like the pace of the last couple of episodes. There are just lots of idle time with someone sitting there wondering, pacing. Lots of them, in my opinion are unnecessarily slow. However, because of the the final climax isn't that great, it reduced the contrast between the climax and the lengthy post-climax follow-up, in turn, reduced the "wash" effect of weak follow-up after the climax.

One other thing I like to mention is that I'm not quite seeing the purpose of breaking up the story into two separate series. The story is pretty much one continuous flow from the beginning to the end. Though the end of the first series is somewhat a break point, but it's also significant enough for the next event following that I personally wouldn't take a stop there.

Final scoreboard (out of 5):

Drama: 4.5 (Very good)
Comedy: 4 (Nice touch to lighten up a serious drama)
Action: 4.5 (Vampire Fights!)
Art/Animation: 5 (Love the art work)
Sound/Music: 4.5 (Love the music, too)
Character: 5 (Great depth)
Plot: 4.75 (Intriguing)
Ending: 4.5 (Somewhat anticlimactic)

Re-watch value: 3 (Nice story to re-live through)

Overall (not average): 4.75 ~ Very Nicely Done

Recommendation: This, combine with the first series, would be recommended as one of the "must watch" animes from 2008. Though it may not be earning any award, it is still one great series.

Chaos; Head (Ended): Chaotic

I really liked this series early on when it was still a suspense horror thriller. Towards the end, when things start to get explained, it feels more and more...idiotic. I think it's a good concept, but somehow just doesn't feel quite right the way they chose to demonstrated it.

Final scoreboard (out of 5):

Drama: 3.5 (Feels somewhat over dramatized...)
Comedy: N/A
Action: 3 (Not that good)
Art/Animation: 3.75 (Interesting, but nothing special)
Sound/Music: 3.75 (Wasn't bad, but wasn't that great either)
Character: 4 (Somewhat interesting characters)
Plot: 3 (Idiotic)
Ending: 3 (Passable, only barely)

Re-watch value: 1 (There's no need...)

Overall (not average): 3.5 ~ Wish it had presented in a better way

Recommendation: I wouldn't recommend this to anybody, but if you decide to pick it up, I wouldn't recommend against it either.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Telepathy Girl Ran (Ended): Strong Start, Weak Finish

It's never a good sign when I feel like a finishing up a task when an anime ends. Telepathy Girl Ran had a relatively strong start and mid-season follow-up. But somehow, they managed to arrange what I consider the "weaker" sub stories towards the end, which really has gotten me sick and tired of it. The finale, just feels like a forcefully attached part that is there only to please the tree huggers. It was very disappointing.

Final scoreboard (out of 5):

Drama: 3.5 (Here and there..)
Comedy: 3 (Not that great)
Action: 3 (Kind of lame)
Art/Animation: 3.5 (Nothing special)
Sound/Music: 3.75 (Wasn't bad, but wasn't that great either)
Character: 4 (There are some interesting characters)
Plot: 3.5 (Mixture of good and bad)
Ending: 2 (Weak)

Re-watch value: 1 (detective animes usually don't have much re-watch value...)

Overall (not average): 3 ~ In the green, only barely

Recommendation: I have to admit that my disgruntlement towards the ending has affected my ability to judge the anime itself in an objective manner. But if I have to give an advise, it would be "don't waste your time on it, I wish I didn't".