Friday, July 31, 2009

Bakemonogatari: Blend of Many Things

Currently finished: Episode 3

According to the little poll I set up, this is leading the poll for the best anime from this season.

The scenary rendering style, strange visual cues, and conversation heavy story, feels very similar to Ef series; the weird mystery and strange events reminds me much of Mononoke; and the sarcasm heavy dialogs feels just like Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei. This anime is a blend of many things, many good things I dare to say. It does somewhat concern me a little bit by being similar to Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, however, at the moment, I haven't seen any indication that it would endlessly repeat the same format over and over again. Hopefully, that would not happen.

Although I'm willing to put this in my top three anime of the season, I'm not sure I would hand the anime of the season award to it just yet. Sure it's interesting and brilliantly done, but I feel there's something missing. I'm not quite sure what it is yet, I just feel there ought to be something else in it to make it to be able to step onto the seat of the best anime of the season. Maybe in time I'll be able to figure out what it is.

[Dropped] Fight Ippatsu Juuden-Chan: Mostly Tasteless

If you ask me to use one word to cover what I feel about this anime, it would be "tasteless".

It seems there was an attempt of actually putting some contents other than fan service and tasteless comedies in episode two. But that was not enough to counter balance all the stupidity and tastelessness that it is so heavily reeking of.

Seriously, do they really expect people to have enough patience to stay with this tasteless nonsense all the way to the end? I don't.

[Dropped] Sea Story: Typical and Boring

Aside from some pretty art work, I really don't see anything else in this anime that is worth keep spending 20 minutes a week for. It had turned into nothing more than a typical magical girl anime that only young girls would like, which for people like me, is highly annoying. The episode also has become highly formulaic, with random fights and no good explanation what the fight is for or why is it even there.

It's really disappointing consider I thought this might be one of the better animes from this season. With my backlog slow creeping up on me again, I'm taking this one off my list.

Aoi Hana: Girl loves Girls

Currently finished: Episode 2

Remember I said in my last post about this anime that there hasn't been any clear yuri content yet? Well, we can totally scratch that now. There are so much yuri contents in this second episode that I don't even know where to begin if and when I want to discuss about it. They really didn't hold back at all. Frankly, I don't have a problem with it. But I know there are people out there do. So, a word of warning for you guys/gals who have problems with yurism, you probably want to just stay away from this anime completely.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~: Getting Intense

Currently finished: Episode 17

Even though there are few minor flaws, Phantom has been a very good story. What's really interesting is the fact it is not a fast moving plot, yet there is a sense of intense pressure everywhere it turns.

In the last few episodes, the story had gotten even more intense. There are few twists and turns that I was somewhat anticipating, but wasn't expecting to show up so early in the story. With the most recent episode, it seems that the story has opened up its last flood gate. The next episode may well be the beginning of the final showdown.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Umineko no Naku Koro ni: Strange Behaviors

Currently finished: Episode 4

This is definitely one of the most exciting stories of the current season. It's been almost nonstop excitement.

However, there is one thing I would like to comment on: why nobody thought Maria's behavior was a bit strange? Sure she has been a bit spoiled and naive, but lately, her behavior has been vastly differently than what she's like in the very beginning. Why nobody even raised an eyebrow until now? I hope there could be a good explanation later on. Otherwise, this might be something that would taint this otherwise great anime.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

[New July 2009] The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya 2009

Japanese title: 涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱 2009
Genres: Comedy / SciFi / Drama
I've watched: 4 episodes?

Summary: The story of Haruhi Suzumiya continues...

First impression score: 80 ~ Not very smart

Personal comments: The first 11 episodes (except episode 8) which actually started airing in April season are episodes from the original The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya in chronological order. Starting from episode 12, is the new add-on to the original story, so far, is only one recurring story called "Endless August" (some place translate it to "Endless Eight"). To be honest, I haven't been very impressed by this "Endless August" so far. It feels like a badly made version of Higurashi no Naku Koroni without all the horror and thriller elements.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

[New OVA] Dogs: Stray Dogs Howling in the Dark

Apparently, this anime has two titles: Dogs: Stray Dogs Howling in the Dark and Dogs: Bullets and Carnage. Both appeared in the anime and both are referenced by the rest of the anime communities. These two names are from the two manga series this OVA is adapted from. So I guess they're implying this supposed to cover stories spans across the both mangas.

The first two episodes have been out for a while, but it's been on my back burner because I have too much in my current running queue.

This is a story about mobs and assassins (if you couldn't already tell from the title). Supposedly, there are only total four episodes in this OVA. After watching the first two, I'm not quite sure where they're going with it: In the first two episodes, it's mostly character introduction. And according to the synopsis, there are three more characters yet to be introduced. That'll leave no time for an actual plot, unless they're building the plot into the character introductions, which I'm yet to see any hint of it.

First impression: 80


[New OVA] AIKa: Zero

This is a sequel to AIKa R-16: Virgin Mission, the anime has more panty shots than anything I've ever seen (including hentai animes, because they usually skip the panty shots and go straight to nudity). This new OVA, AIKa: Zero, seems to want to break its own record. There's panties everywhere you turn. And no matter how a person falls, as long as it's a girl, she'll always fall in a way that expose her panty the most to the current camera angle.

Just for the kicks, I think I'm going to go back and watch AIKa R-16: Virgin Mission one more time to find how many panty shots are there, then compare with this when it finishes airing. For episode one, I think AIKa: Zero is winning.

Back to the story itself, even though it's drenched with fan service, the story itself is actually not that terrible, compare to some other fan service heavy animes like Ikkitousen. At least it's working with camera angles rather than weird physics that rips clothes apart.

Episode one impression: 75

Currently I haven't seen any English fansub group pick up this one yet, maybe someone eventually would.

[New July 2009] Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

Japanese title: 懺さよなら絶望先生
Genres: Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: More sarcasms from Zetsubou Sensei.

First impression score: 75 ~ Repetitive

Personal comments: After two season and a couple of OVAs, personally, I don't quite understand why people still find this anime funny. It's the same old joke over and over again. I got tired of it half way through season one, yet according to, this has a higher user average rating than most animes from this season. Why? Am I missing some piece of critical knowledge that would make this anime funny? Sometimes the opinions of the mass just can't be trusted...

Friday, July 17, 2009

[New July 2009] Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

Japanese title: : 東京マグニチュード8.0
Download: Torrents available through
Genres: Disaster / Drama
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: What would happen if a magnitude 8.0 earthquake hits Tokyo?

First impression score: 81 ~ Disaster starts

Personal comments: This seems to be one of the standard disaster story that is told from one of the random victim's point of view. It might have a similar build like Bakurano, where individual's life stories are told through series of events during or after the disaster.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

[New July 2009] GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class

Japanese title: : GA 芸術科アートデザインクラス
Download: Torrents available through
Genres: Comedy / School Life / Art?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Story about students in Geijutsuka Art school.

First impression score: 73 ~ Plain

Personal comments: This is yet another anime in style similar to Azumanga Diaoh and Lucky star. But this is much more plain in terms of activities. Equipped with quite a few tips in art craft, this feels almost like an educational anime.

[New July 2009] Sora no Manimani

Japanese title: 宙のまにまに
Genres: Comedy / School Life
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: After being away for many years, Saku returns to the town he grew up in for high school. Here he's reunited with his childhood friend, Mihoshi, who is working hard to start a astronomy club.

First impression score: 81 ~ Energetic

Personal comments: There's nothing special about this anime, just another energetic anime about school life. I'll see how long it can last before I lose interest in it...

[New July 2009] Kanamemo

Japanese title: かなめも
Watch Online:
Genres: Light Comedy / Light Drama
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Kana's grandmother just passed away, now she's all alone. While struggling to find a place to live, she run into a newspaper carrier that provides food and boarding (really?!).

First impression score: 80 ~ Light comedy, very light

Personal comments: This is adapted from a four-panel comic, which has a very similar style to Azumanga Diaoh and Lucky Star. There's one problem with this kind of anime: it tend to get very repetitive in a very short period of time, that could potentially cause me to lose interest in it half way through. I just hope this doesn't become of that.

[New July 2009] Princess Lover

Genres: Harem / Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Arima's parents died in an accidents. Then he found out his grandfather is the head of one of the richest and most powerful corporation. To avenge for his parents, he has to accept his fate to become the successor of his grandfather's corporation.

First impression score: 84 ~ Standard harem start

Personal comments: This is a very typical start for a hentai game adapted harem anime. So far it got some interesting dynamics and its style is one of the many harem anime styles that I actually like (both the art and the story). I just hope it doesn't go down the route Tayutama did.

[New July 2009] [Dropped] Element Hunters

Genres: Supernatural / Childrens?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: In near future, disaster strikes earth, where elements are being sucked into a different dimension. Now it's up to the element hunters to bring them back to earth.

First impression score: 45 ~ Horrendous...

Personal comments: A cheesy concept, a cheesy plot, and some cheesy art work, add in some cheesy conversations, mix with some bad voice acting, this is the recipe for the anime Element Hunters. There's bad, there's terrible, there's horrendous, then there's Element Hunters. I don't think I've ever seen an anime this horrible. Seriously, aside from the opening theme song, I cannot find a single thing that is good from this anime. This is one anime doesn't even worth the electricity that you would use to try to download it.

After reading all these, if you still want to watch it, be my guest. I bet you would wish you had taken my advise.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

[New July 2009] Needless

Genres: Action / Comedy / Supernatural
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: After world war III, Tokyo become a giant crater called "Black Spot". Some people lives in Black Spot gained special power, they are called "Needless".

First impression score: 82 ~ Errr...

Personal comments: The background music feels like they pulled the sound track out of a street fighter game, and the concept of the story seems to be a completely copied from S-CRY-ed. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's bad, it just feels like something has been made in the past.

[New July 2009] Bakemonogatari

Japanese title: 化物語
Genres: Horror / Mystery
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Araragi caught a girl falling, and found out she almost has no weight. He's determined to find out her secret. But at the same time, he too has his own secret.

First impression score: 88 ~ Bizarre

Personal comments: This is definitely the most bizarre anime I've encountered this season so far. It uses weird effects similar to Ef, mixed with creepy and conversation heavy story telling method of Mouryou no Hako, to create a feeling somewhat similar to Mononoke. This is something truely bizarre and interesting.

[New July 2009] Taishou Yakyuu Musume

Japanese title: 大正野球娘
Genres: School Life / Drama / Sports
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Japan, 1921, two all girl school students, Akiko and Koume want to form a unprecedented girl's baseball team.

First impression score: 80 ~ So so

Personal comments: This kind of topic, in my opinion is only interesting when there is a much bigger plot/conspiracy or has some comedies accompanying it (like Bamboo Blade). As it is right now, it probably won't last more than three episodes for me before I drop it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

[New July 2009] Yokuwakaru Gendaimahou

Japanese title: よくわかる現代魔法
Watch Online:
Genres: Comedy / Magic
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Yumiko wants to become a modern day magician. But on her way to find the magic school, she was hunted by a mysterious man.

First impression score: 88 ~ Interesting

Recognized voice talents: Haruka Tomatsu (戸松遥) as Yumiko Christina Ichinose. She's been a quite fast rising star in voice acting community. Ever since her debute role as Corti from Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica, she has been Lala from ToLoveRu and Nagi from Kannagi. To me, her voice is always immediately recognizable due to the energetic playfulness. She has fastly become one of my favorite voice actress.

Ai Nonaka (野中藍) as Koyomi Morishita. Her voice sounds very familiar, but I couldn't pin it down where I've heard it recently. After a little search, I found out that she is the voice of Imoko from Sora Kake Girl, as well as Fuko from Clannad.

Personal comments: There is a OVA episode "00". Though it does help on understanding certain part of the episode one, overall, I feel more confused while equipped with the knowledge from episode "00". So you might want to hold off on watching episode "00" until later. The concept of modern magic seems to be no more than computer programming. In fact, the "magic program" code they showed in episode 1 is written in C++!! Are they trying to imply C++ is the "magical" programming language?!

[New July 2009] Aoi Hana

Japanese title: 青い花
Watch Online:
Genres: School Romance / Yuri?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Fumi's family moved back to the town they lived long time ago. She then ran into her best from the old time.

First impression score: 80 ~ Soft

Personal comments: The art style has a very light water color feeling to it. The story, at the moment has nothing to do with yurism, but, the opening sequence (see the screen cap) clearly indicates this is going to eventually be yuri themed. Oh, and if the screen cap is a bit misleading, let me clarify a little bit: No, it's not an Hentai anime.

Monday, July 13, 2009

[New July 2009] CANAAN

Genres: Action
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Not sure what's going on yet...

First impression score: 85 ~ Exciting

Personal comments: This is adapted from a game named "428" by TYPE-MOON, the original creator of Fate / Stay Night and Shingetsutan Tsukihime. You can definitely tell from the look of the art work. The first episode has quite some exciting actions. And with TYPE-MOON's track record, I think I can safely say this is going to be at least a decent story if not an outstanding one.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

[New July 2009] Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-Chan!!

Japanese title: ファイト一発!充電ちゃん!!
Watch Online:
Genres: Comedy / Fan service
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A girl named Plug who is from a paralell work that is capable of charging people up when they're down.

First impression score: 60 ~ Fan service everywhere

Personal comments: Comedy + Fan service, this is a common formula for B-anime comedies. I'll might watch another episode, but as it is right now, it's most likely not a keeper.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

[New July 2009] Umineko no Naku Koro ni

Japanese title: うみねこのなく頃に
Genres: Suspense / Thriller
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: As the head of the wealthy family Ushiromiya about to die, family members gather on their private island to discuss about the inheritance. There they heard the legend about the witch named Beatrice, who granted wealth and hidden treasures to this family...

First impression score: 90 ~ Thrilling

Recognized voice talent: Ami Koshimizu (小清水亜美) as Rosa Ushiromiya: It's interesting how familiar voices are heard everywhere. If you haven't recognized her name or voice, she is the voice of the wise wolf Horo from Spice and Wolf series. Though sounds slightly different here, but it's definitely recognizable.

Personal comments: From the 07th Expansion, the creator of Higurashi no Naku Koroni, comes a new suspense thriller. Light comedy, sudden turn of violence, suspense, this first episode definitely has the feel of Higurashi in it. I just hope it turns out to be as great of an anime as Higurashi series are.

[New July 2009] Spice and Wolf II

Japanese title: 狼と香辛料Ⅱ
Genres: Light Drama / Light Comedy / Fantasy
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: The journey of Lawrence and Horo continues...

First impression score: 90 ~ Continue on with the greatness

Personal comments: I usually watch new animes in their chronological release order. But since I've been anticipating it since the turn of the year, I'm grabbing it out of the order. After seeing the first episode, I was relieved that even though they have changed production studio, nothing from the anime has changed. Though it kept the same formula of mixing light comedy with light drama, I can't help to notice the overall tone of the story seems to be slightly darker than the previous one.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

[New July 2009] Umi Monogatari ~Anata ga Ite Kureta Koto~ (Sea Story)

Japanese title: うみものがたり ~あなたがいてくれたコト~
Genres: Fantasy / Magical Girl?!
I've watched: 2 episode

Summary: Marin and Urin (nice name...) are two sisters lives in the deep sea (kind of like mermaids). One day they found a ring falling into the bottom of the sea and decide to return it to its owner. In the process, they accidentally released something that is dark and evil. Now it's up to Marin and the owner of the ring, Kanon to save the future of the world...

First impression score: 80 ~ Fun

Personal comments: It started like a light comedy. Then slowly grew into a magical girls story. I just hope they don't put their focus on this magical girls thing, because that could quickly become annoying. Other than that, I kind of like it so far.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

[Ended] Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo: Making Sense out of Nonsense

Sora Kake Girl is one phenomenal anime. It is so not because of its art work, nor is it because of its plot. It is phenomenal because this is a story that everything single building block comes with a huge "WTF?!" attached to it. From the beginning to the end, almost everything happened is random, ridiculous, and absurd. Yet, in the end, they just seem to mysteriously make sense.

I usually judge anime by its story, art, and character. But Sora Kake Girl is something that cannot be quantified using conventional measure. It is something completely different, something that can't be expressed in words, something you have to see yourself to understand what it's like.

If you do decide to watch this, you have to first learn to not get hung up on the absurdness you encounter. Just accept what you see, it'll eventually make sense to you. If you can't, you're probably better off not wasting your time on this because not being able to let going something absurd could ruin the enjoyment of this anime completely.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 98 (Totally out there...)
Comedy: 95 (Got me rolling on floor laughing)
Action: 90 (Got some quite nice action scene)
Art/Animation: 90 (High quality animation)
Sound/Music: 90 (Not bad)
Character: 96 (Depth and variety)
Plot: 97 (Making sense out of nonsense, that's just brilliant)
Ending: 95 (Grand finale is presented)

Re-watch value: -- (Too hard to tell)

Overall: 95 - Incredible

I thought about taking the Most Unique Anime of 2009 title from Ristorante Paradiso and grand it to Sora Kake Girl. But then I thought this is far beyond being just unique, the only title would be fitting for this anime is:

Weirdest Anime of 2009
Recommendation: If you like to see something amazing in a very unconventional way, this ought to be THE anime to watch.

Monday, July 6, 2009

[Ended] Hatsukoi Limited: Resolutions

Once again, the author of Ichigo 100% show us how amazing she is when it comes down to making relationship dramas: Being only 12 episodes long, Hatsukoi Limited presented a story that has a such amazingly complicated relationship chart that it made the massive relationship matrix from School Rumble looks like childs's play. On top of that, almost all relationship started in this story met a resolution in the end.

This is one of the most impressive relationship dramas I've ever seen.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 98 (It's all about dramas)
Comedy: 90 (Few, but good)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 90 (Hot chicks...)
Sound/Music: 90 (Not bad)
Character: 96 (So many...)
Plot: 97 (So complicated...)
Ending: 95 (Tied up almost all loose ends)

Re-watch value: -- (It's all depends)

Overall: 93 - Great relationship drama

Recommendation: If you appreciate good relationship dramas such as Nana and Peach Girl, you definitely don't want to miss this. But if you can't stand relationship dramas, then you should definitely stay away from this.

[Ended] Natsu no Arashi: Not What I thought

I have to say I'm somewhat disappointed about what Natsu no Arashi turned out to be. Early on, it seems to be a School Rumble style comedy. But then, it started to introduce a plot that is almost too serious to fit. Technically, it would still be considered as a dark comedy. But I would have liked it a little better if it has introduced itself that way, or, less wacky.

Drama: 81 (Dark Comedy)
Comedy: 90 (Depends on how you look at it)
Action: 85 (For the little it had)
Art/Animation: 90 (The art is quite nice)
Sound/Music/Voice: 90 (Interesting BGM and theme song)
Character: 83 (Variety and depth, but not very good in either)
Plot: 85 (False early impression)
Ending: 90 (The major problem did get resolved)

Re-watch value: 60 (Mediocre plot, mediocre comedy, really not worth second time through)

Overall: 87 ~ A good start turned into something mediocre

Recommendation: This is one of those animes I would recommend to be placed somewhere on the bottom half of your to-watch list: if you have enough time to burn through the top half, this would be a good starter for the bottom half; otherwise, I really don't think you're missing that much.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

[Ended] K-ON: 萌え

K-ON posesses a style of comedy that is very similar to Hyakko or Azumanga Diaoh, which is random and outrageous. But unlike Hyakko or Azumanga Diaoh, the story of K-ON actually has a continuous and semi-organized flow which makes it much more interesting to follow.

In my opinion, this is not only the best comedy anime from the April new anime season, it's by far the best comedy anime of the year so far. I really wish they would make a sequel to this.

Drama: 90 (Interesting)
Comedy: 98 (Brilliant!)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 92 (Slightly simplified, but fits quite well)
Sound/Music/Voice: 95 (Great music)
Character: 95 (Brilliant!)
Plot: 90 (Simple yet effective plot to follow)
Ending: N/A (Comedy like this usually don't have a definite ending)

Re-watch value: 90 (I think it'll still be funny second time through)

Overall: 95 ~ Brilliantly funny

It's too early to hand out the comedy of the year award, but it definitely earns:

Comedy Anime of the Season for April 2009 Season

Recommendation: No doubt this is one of the MUST-WATCH anime of the year. It should be on everybody's to-watch list.

Friday, July 3, 2009

[Season One Ended] Asura Cryin: Equivalent Exchange

Although everything is still vastly confusing, I do like the ending of this first season. This is the type of ending of a story (in this case, a season) I really like. It demonstrated a very important concept that many story writers nowadays seems to simply ignore: the equivalent exchange.

Too often we see stories where characters struggle against problems throughout the plot only to find out in the end, deus ex mechina is used to have them resolved at little or no cost to anybody. In Asura Cryin', even though the pressing issue met a resolution in the end, people involved also paid a hefty price. To me, this is a much more satisfying ending than those miracles endings.

At this point, there are still too many questions left unanswered. In fact, they haven't even explained how the system works yet. Normally, I'd burn a series on review for the lack of explanation. But in this case, since they have ensured us that the second series is already in production, I would go easy with it.

Drama: 83 (Some parts are just plain cheesy)
Comedy: 80 (Not its focus)
Action: 85 (Ok, nothing special)
Art/Animation: 83 (Slightly simplified, took a bit to get used to)
Sound/Music/Voice: 85 (Not bad)
Character: 85 (Lots of mysteries)
Plot: 80 (Still confusing)
Ending: 90 (Not a conclusion, but I like the way they ended it)

Re-watch value: 70 (Maybe there are something need to re-visit after seeing the second series)

Overall: 83 ~ Average

Recommendation: There are many WTF moments in this first season due to the lack of explanation of the background. I think if the second season explains what we need to know to understand the system, it'd be a much better anime. For now, I'd put this one on the low priority list. Depending on how the second season is, this might change.