Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kaidan Restaurant: Psychological Horror

Currently finished: Episode 9

Although not nearly the caliber of Ghost Hunt in terms of complexity or depth, Kaidan Restaurant is set of pretty well written horror stories that give you the creeps. If you're a big fan of psychological horror (as opposite to graphical horror) like me, you wouldn't want to miss out on this.

[Dropped] Ladies versus Butlers: Pointless and Tasteless

Even for the harem genre, this is about pointless and tasteless anything could go. I'm surprised that I didn't drop it right off the back. If for any reason you like a stupid brainless anime that is nothing but fan service, go right ahead. Otherwise, just skip it all together.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Durarara!!: Daisy Chain

Currently finished: Episode 3

Very much like Baccano!, this story takes a very unorthodox approach to storytelling. But instead of using a massive parallel layout like Baccano!, it uses more of a daisy chain approach. This is just as an effective method as the other, because the story gets into the huge cluster fuck situation just as quickly as they did in Baccano!.

Also, I thought the characters looks somewhat familiar. Then, episode 3 tipped me off with one of the character waving a Yozakura Quartet manga and talking about going to get it signed by Yasuda sensei. That's when I recognized that all characters here look just like the ones from Yozakura Quartet. It turns out, Suzuhito Yasuda, the artist behind Yozakura Quartet is also responsible for the character design of Durarara!!

[New January 2010] Katanagatari

Japanese title: 刀語
Action? / Drama
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: One of the most deadly sword fighting style during warring period Japan is one that doesn't use any sword at all. After the war is over, the ruler is afraid of the power of the style, he exiled the warrior to a remote island. 20 years later, someone came to the island looking for him...

First impression score: 86 ~ Weird Looking

Voice actress: Yukari Tamura (田村ゆかり) as Togame. It's not hard to recognize that she's the voice of Rika from Higurashi, Mostly, the adult Rika voice, with little bit young Rika voice here and there in between.

Personal comments: This one has a very strange looking art style--very simplified style. It's so simple, characters looks almost like they only exist in two dimension. It feels very strange, but it's a good kind of strange, you know, like Mononoke or Gankutsuou kind of strange. Also, there's some interesting attempted 4th wall breaking. Oh, also, this anime has long episodes, meaning each episode is actually 2 normal episodes, about 50 minutes per episode.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Omamori Himari: Harem Harem

Currently finished: Episode 3

For some reason I didn't recognize it in episode one, but as soon as she get in that flirty voice, I recognize Himari is voiced by Ami Koshimizu (小清水亜美), the voice of the beloved wise wolf Horo from Spice and Wolf .

As for the story, let me just say I'm not very impressed. So far it's just a stereotypical harem anime. However, I have to say, the chemistry between the main guy and gal is kind of nice, nicer than many other harem animes I've seen lately.

Also, it seems so far it's getting progressively heavier on fan service as the story goes. The style of the fan service, somewhat reminds me of Kampfer, except somehow, to me, this is a lot more likable than what they had in Kampfer. I guess this is just a personal taste. But I would appreciate if they can get on with the real story...if they have one that is...

Seikon no Qwaser (uncensored): #%^&@^&&$~!!

Currently finished: Episode 1 (uncensored)

After having seen Queen's Blade and Aika series, I thought that's as bad as far as a "normal" broadcast anime would go without getting into the forbidden realm of hentai. But I was wrong, totally wrong.

While visually, this uncensored version of Seikon no Qwaser is actually no worse than any of the Queen's Blade or Aika episode, but at least the latter two limits its own fetishes within the visual perception, where the characters within the story are still trying to achieve goals that isn't quite in align with how they were exposing themselves. Seikon no Qwaser, however, tries to set an bizarre fetish as its fundamental concept while accompanying it with some visual effect. In my opinion, it crosses the line way more than QB or Aika does.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against it. I'm simply amused how far anime producers in Japan is willing to push their boundries. For those who would have problem with these kind of things, I suggest you either stick to the censored version, or drop it all together.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dance in the Vampire Bund: Old Concept

Currently finished: Episode 2

Lycans? Seriously? I thought they'd be more creative than using Lycans for the major role of a vampire anime. Seriously, too many nowadays are using the Vampire/Lycans relationship as the ground to build a story upon. Can't they get a bit more creative than this?

On a separate note, much of the syle of animation and conversation reminds me of Bakemonogatari. Because it's totally different from what the first episode is, I don't know whether they're just trying out all kinds of new styles or they're going to stick with this one.

Ladies Versus Butlers: Worse than Aika?!

Currently finished: Episode 2

Sometimes I put certain screen caps here so people haven't see the episode could let loose their imagination and misinterpret the image. But this, there is no need for misinterpretation--this is exactly what it is: an anime about 90% contents dedicated to fan service. Seriously, I think this is comparable to Aika R-16 or Aika Zero series if not worse in terms of how they try to create fan service every step along the way. I might find it amusing enough to follow it all the way till the end like I did with Queen's Blade. But the more likely scenario would be me dropping it before I even finish episode 3.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

[Movie] Summer Wars

From the directory of Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (The Girl who Leapt Through Time), comes another heart pounding story.

OZ is a virtual online world system where many business, games, even cell phone system hooks into. It's essentially the new Internet and more.

Kenji Koiso is a high school student good at nothing but math. One day, he's asked by his senpai Natsuki to do some short term part-time work. Little does he know there's a big surprise waiting for him.

This is a very interesting blend of real life family drama and Dennou Coil like computer virtual world drama. The concept may sound a little far-fetched. But come to think of it, it's really only a slight exaggeration of today's world. This may be closer to the reality than we think.

The story starts of a little slow, but it gets more and more intense as the it develops. Just bear with it for the first 10 minutes, you'll find this movie is plenty interesting.

Anger, sorrow, joy, pity, shame, regret, guilt, different elements from this story covers almost the entire emotion spectrum. On top of that, it is super rich in characters. One of the most interesting aspect of this story is how that many stereo typical personalities interact with each other in times of troubles, whether with each other or against each other. Although it eventually become one of those everybody come together to save the world feel good story, still, this is one really nice piece of work.

And yes, I did realize how similar its plot is to the movie War Game, but this is not War Game, it merely happens to have a similar concept.

Score: 93

Monday, January 18, 2010

Kiddy Girl-AND: Not Quite Sure What to Make of it...

Currently finished: Episode 13

After every couple of "intelligent" episodes, there's an awfully retarded episode. Every time when it seems there's some solid development in the plot, the retarded episode just wipes right off. Kiddy Girl-AND came pretty close for me to drop it a while back. The only reason I held onto it is my respect for the original Kiddy Grade. But if they keep doing things like this, even that wouldn't be enough for me to keep watching it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

[New January 2010] Hanamaru Youchien

Japanese title: はなまる幼稚園
Comedy / Children
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Stories about some premature kindergarten kids and a male kindergarten teacher.

First impression score: 82 ~ ...

Personal comments: Age inappropriate jokes, high school teach-student relationship, too many things in this anime are common (maybe) occurrences in stories originated from Japan that the western civilization would see as socially unacceptable. It's somewhat interesting, but due to its childish nature, I'm not sure how much of this I can stand.

[New January 2010] Nodame Cantabile Finale

Japanese title: のだめカンタービレ フィナーレ
Download: No English Sub Available Yet
Comedy / Drama / Musical
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: The final chapter of the best musical anime ever created -- Nodame Cantabile.

First impression score: 88 ~ Still Amusing

Personal comments: Nodame is now facing new challenges. This new chapter will wrap up the story once and for all.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

[OVA] Denpa teki na Kanojo

Episode 2

The story of the psycho girls continues. Just like previous episode, this is a story about extreme cases of OCD and strange obsessions.

In previous episode, I said this is a strange story, but not quite to the level of bizarre just yet. Well, I think I'm now ready to call this one bizarre. Not only that, I would like to add that on top of the strangely bizarreness, it's also dark and twisted, much more so than you could pick up from its trailer. This is truly one of its kind.

As for recommendation, I'd say if you could stand a little dark twisted strangeness, you should watch this.

[OVA] Aika Zero: Awe...

I said it before, and I'll say it again: it never fails to amazes me how creative can Japanese get when it comes to bizarre sexual fetishes. I think this ought to be the most sexually explicit anime that doesn't really have anything to do with sex.

People say a picture worth a thousand words, these three screen caps definitely worth more than that. I'm not going to give any recommendation to anybody. Just look at the screen caps, then you should be able to decide whether you want to watch this or not.

Monday, January 11, 2010

[New January 2010] Seikon no Qwaser

Japanese title: 聖痕のクェイサー
Genres: Action / Drama
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Mafuyu and Tomo are two female students in St. Mikhailov academy. One day they ran into a silver haired boy who is a Qwaser that possesses special power and draws energy from...breast milk?!

First impression score: 83 ~ Bizarre Concept

Personal comments: It never fails to amaze me how Japanese can take a concept that is so strangely bizarre and present it with a straight face. I mean, serious, who comes up with ideas like this? I don't think I've ever encountered a concept like this that isn't supposed to be x-rated material.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

[New January 2010] Ookami Kakushi

Japanese title: おおかみかくし
Genres: Mystery
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Hiroshi moves to a small village with his father and sister. He received very warm welcome from his new classmates. However, there seems to be a secret hidden deeply within the village.

First impression score: 86 ~ Mysterious

Personal comments: Yet another work from 07-th expansion, the creator of Higurashi and Umineko series. So far it has the usual suspense thriller feeling to it like all their previous work. It is pretty interesting so far, but, I really wish they would finish up the Umineko series before starting up a new project.

[New January 2010] Dance in the Vampire Bund

Japanese title: ダンスインザヴァンパイアバンド
Genres: Vampire
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Series of murder triggered a debate about the existence of vampires. In the very game show debating about vampires, the princess of vampire shows up.

First impression score: 90 ~ Intriguing

Personal comments: This is by far the most intriguing opening episode among all new series this season so far. It is definitely a keeper.

[New January 2010] Omamori Himari

Japanese title: おまもりひまり
Genres: School Comedy / Supernatural / Ecchi
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Yuuto is an average guy. One day, a girl named Himari crashes into his life. It turns out that he's the descendant of a family who used to protect the world by slaying daemons. Himari is a cat daemon who made a contract to protect his bloodline. To make the matter worse, Yuuto is extremely allergic to cat...

First impression score: 84 ~ Slightly overly ecchi

Personal comments: Is it just me or it seems there has been quite a few animes that the main character is allergic cat? The manga which this anime adapted from was actually on my very long to-read list. I like the manga's art style very much and it seems to have transferred to anime pretty well. The story, however, seems to be a very typical daemon protector themed harem anime.

[New January 2010] Durarara!!

lol, it's interesting how they advertise another anime inside an anime

Japanese title: デュラララ!!
Download: (by gg fansub)
Watch online:
Genres: Mystery / Action / Drama
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Mikado moves to Tokyo to go to high school. There he runs into an urban legend about a headless motorcycle rider.

First impression score: 82 ~ Interesting

Personal comments: This is based off another novel of the original author of Baccano! So far it doesn't seem to be in the cross-threading story telling style as Baccano! But who knows, it may start soon. This is one anime from this season I have very high hopes for.

Friday, January 8, 2010

[New January 2010] Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu

Japanese title: バカとテストと召喚獣
Genres: School Comedy / Card Duel?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A school that implements a duel system using test grades that divides people into different class where class A gets the best classroom equipments and class F gets the worst classrom equipments.

First impression score: 89 ~ So ridiculous it's brilliant

Personal comments: This is one of the most unusual anime I've seen lately. It's a mockery to many duel themed anime in a very strange yet interesting setting. The level of ridicule can not be described by words. You just have to watch it. This is one very refreshing new comedy anime. And it's quite brilliant.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

[New January 2010] Chu-Bra!!

Japanese title: ちゅーぶら!!
Genres: School Comedy / Ecchi
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A story about a junior high girl who is obsessed with underwear...

First impression score: 79 ~ A bit too far-fetched concept...

Personal comments: Only Japanese would come up with ridiculous stories like this. While the concept itself is actually pretty clean, but this probably isn't going to be socially acceptable in any other developed country in the world.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

[New January 2010] Sora no Woto

Japanese title: ソ・ラ・ノ・ヲ・ト
Genres: Drama / Light Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A young girl who joined military to become a bugler comes to an interesting small town.

First impression score: 82 ~ Interesting Start

Personal comments: This opening episode is very light hearted and interesting. While the concept is nothing new, but the style is somewhat unique. I am very interested in seeing more of it.

Monday, January 4, 2010

[New January 2010] Ladies versus Butlers!

Japanese title: れでぃ×ばと!
Genres: School Comedy / Ecchi
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A guy transfers to a school where majority students are female. As soon as he get to school, he run into trouble, girl trouble, of course. Then his childhood friend (female) get him out of trouble. But little does he know, more trouble is awaiting on the horizon.

First impression score: 60 ~ Ecchi, Ecchi, Ecchi

Personal comments: If this is not the definition of tasteless, I don't know what is. Even though it's only episode one, I'm just about to had enough. Demographically speaking, I think only 13 year old boys would be interested in animes like this.

Year 2009 in Review

With the completion of Aoi Bungaku Series, it wraps up another year of animes. Looking back at all the new series that came out in 2009, it seems to me year 2009 is more of a disappointment than anything else in terms of the overall quality of new animes. At the end of year 2008, it took me forever to come up with the award list because the potential candidate for each award category is overwhelmingly long. But now, I'm staring at an empty list of potential award candidates for 2009 because quality wise, there are quite a few mediocre to good animes, but there has hardly been any exceptionally good animes.

Maybe I set my bar a bit too high due the the previous years' performance, or maybe the global economy down turn is affecting anime industry as well. Whatever the reason is, I end up have to pick the best of the mediocre animes to hand the awards to.

With this little depressing news, I don't even want to walk through all the new animes in the course of 2009 like I normally do for the review post. I'm going to just go ahead hand out the awards:

Best of 2009:

Best Short Season Comedy: Maria Holic
Best Short Season Drama: Eden of the East
Best Short Season Action/Drama: CANAAN
Best Short Season Light Drama: Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou
Best Short Season Romance: Hatsukoi Limited

Best Long Season Comedy: Skip Beat!
Best Long Season Drama: Kuroshitsuji
Best Long Season Action/Drama: Asura Cryin'
Best Long Season Light Drama: (Vacant)
Best Long Season Romance: White Album

Best Fantasy: Guin Saga
Best Political Drama: Tytania
WTF of the Year: Sora Kake Girl
Most Unique Anime: Ristorante Paradiso
Most Dazzling Art Style: Kuchu Buranko
[ednt 01/08/09]
Best Horror/Mystery:

In the short season Action/Drama category, I actually pondered quite a bit between CANAAN and Darker Than Black Ryuusei no Gemini because quality wise, they're equally good and either one could deserve the award by itself. But ultimately, I think CANAAN edges over Darker just so slightly in terms of both plot construction and character development. Therefore the award is handed to CANAAN.

As for the Long Season Action/Drama, I believe many people are already shaking their head after seeing my pick. In fact, Tales of Abyss, Pandora Hearts, Valkyria Chronicle were all among the the final candidates for this category. But the main character is just too annoying for getting through the first half of Tales, Pandora never brought the story to closure, and Valkyria is just too formulaic. Even though Asura Cryin' has its own short comings, I think in the core, it is in fact the best among them all. On top of that, I really liked the fact it keeps on emphasizing the concept of equivalent exchange.

[edit 01/08/10]
One other thing worth mention is the absent of Bakemonogatari in the standard category. Bakemonogatari is a great anime. The problem, however is the fact the category it would compete in is the Short Season Drama. But this year, it's really hard to make an argument that any short season drama could top Eden of the East. So, it is very unfortunate Bakemonogatari did not get that title. But I went ahead added a special category that at least make its name to the list. ;-)
[end edit]

At last, without further ado, the

2009 Anime of the Year goes to

Eden of the East

I don't think there'll be many people disagree with this choice, because really, this IS the best anime of the year. However you look at it, whether the plot construction, or the character development, no other animes ends in 2009 could come near in terms of quality. If you have to choose one anime from 2009 to watch, Eden of the East would be it.

Year 2009 is not a good year for animes, but it's now behind us. Let's just hope we have a great new anime year in 2010.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

[Ended] Aoi Bungaku Series: Modern Era Japanese Literature Classics

This is a series of anime adaptation of seven modern era classic Japanese literature. Since I have no idea what these literature are, I really can't pass any judgment on how well it was translated from the original work. But what I could say is that they're all very interesting short stories. It may be slightly creepy for some people, but it fits my taste quite well.

Due to the fact they are many different short stories adapted by different artists, it's really difficult to rate it as I normally do for other animes. So I'll skip that part of the review all together. As for recommendation, if you're interested early 20th century Japanese literature, you might want to give this anime a try.

[Ended] Natsu no Arashi Akinaichuu: Um...

I considered the first season somewhat a disappointment because it tried to get by as something different than what it originally presented itself to be. This second season, however, didn't try the to do that bait and switch again. Instead, it capitalized on what it really is: a almost mindless comedy with a little serious content.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 82 (Not bad for the little it has)
Comedy: 88 (Some are quite brilliant)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 90 (Same as the original)
Sound/Music: 80 (Interesting BGM)
Character: 83 (Still in development)
Plot: 90 (Not nearly as complicated as the original, but still complicated enough)
Ending: N/A

Re-watch value: 30 (This is the type of anime you watch it once and forget about it)

Overall: 88 - Not bad for a comedy

Recommendation: I would give the same recommendation as I did for the first series, put it in the bottom half of your to-watch so when you run out of stuff to watch, watch this.

[Ended] White ALbum: Entangled Fates

Compare to a typical harem visual novel adapted anime, this has a lot more twists and turns. Unlike a traditional visual novel adapted animes, which take a episodic approach with each heroine, White Album lays everything out all together and everything develops together. Even though this creates a much more confusing plot line to follow, the story become much more interesting because you can see step by step how everybody's decision ends up entangling his/her own fate with others.

The center of everything is the main guy (obviously). Early on he seems to be an ok person, meaning he doesn't appear to be a douche like the lead male in many story of the similar type. But slowly, with his many decisions he makes, it has become clear that he doesn't seem to be as perfect as he once appeared. Clearly there is a major flaw in his character, and this story is the quest to find out what it is.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 94 (Major drama)
Comedy: N/A
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 88 (Somewhat retro style)
Sound/Music: 90 (Quite good)
Character: 90 (One of the major selling point)
Plot: 90 (Somewhat confusing but interesting)
Ending: 85 (Everything is revealed)

Re-watch value: 60 (Maybe to clarify some key parts of the story)

Overall: 89 - Entangled Fates

Recommendation: I have a very strong interest in this type of stories, so I almost always have high regards for a well written stories like this. This is a particular taste not everybody has. So if you like stories about entangled fates and don't mind getting frustrated about the characters decisions once a while, then you may find this story very interesting. Otherwise I would recommend you to steer clear of this one.

[Ended] Umineko no Naku Koro ni: No, Not Again...

It seems 07th Expansion can't get away from the habit of not completing the story in one shot while making an anime. The end of Umineko no Naku Koro ni is just like the ending of the original Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, there isn't a closure at all to the story.

Format-wise, Umineko is actually quite similar to Higurashi: short arcs that are slighly different from each other told from different perspective. The difference, though, is that Umineko explained what's behind everything early on in the series while Higurashi kept everybody in the dark until the second series.

But if you're expecting something similar to Higurashi, then you're wrong. For one, because of the background is introduced so early, the shroud of mystery is lifted early on. So instead of trying to figure out what's happening, the audiences are tasked to figure out how everything is happening. Also, due to the fact the background story is occurring the same time the surface story is, there are much more superficial elements such as witch and witches and magic. On top of that, there's a lot less comedy here comparing to Higurashi.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 81 (Somewhat confusing)
Comedy: 80 (Not much)
Action: 84 (Bloody)
Art/Animation: 82 (Typical 07th Expansion style)
Sound/Music: 87 (Matches well)
Character: 81 (Too many, not enough time to develop them all)
Plot: --
Ending: --

Re-watch value: --

Overall: 81 - Incomplete

Recommendation: If you want to watch it, go ahead. But without seeing the second series, I really can't give any recommendations about this series.
Let's just hope they're making the second season sooner rather than later.

[Ended] Darker Than Black Ryuusei no Gemini: The Story Continues

Early on, I wasn't really pleased about this sequel to an anime that I consider to be one of the greatest animes ever made. Although it kept the same art and animation style from the previous series, as well as the plot line, it still feels very different than the original series. It didn't inherit everything from the original series like many sequels do. But later on, it's the qualities which it did inherit from the original series made me too a fan of this series.

Unlike the original series, this story occurs linearly in a single stretch. There are some recurring characters as well as new characters. I was very pleased with the character development in this series. The story may seems simple in the beginning, but later on, you'll realize it too has a pretty complicated plot.

Before you jump right into this series, you should know that you do need to come equipped with knowledge from the original series to understand this one. As much a stand alone story they tried to make it to be, there are just too much background that you have to watch the original series to understand.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 91 (Good)
Comedy: 87 (Not much, but interesting)
Action: 90 (Just like the first series)
Art/Animation: 90 (Same as the original)
Sound/Music: 90 (Love the music and theme songs)
Character: 94 (Very well developed)
Plot: 90 (Not nearly as complicated as the original, but still complicated enough)
Ending: 91 (Wrapped up what it needs to, yet left it open for future development)

Re-watch value: 70 (You might want to go back to certain part of the story to gain better understanding of the overall plot)

Overall: 91 - Inherited everything well

Recommendation: I don't think this sequel measure up to the caliber of greatness as the original series does, but, this is still an equally great anime.
If you are a fan of the orignal Darker Than Black (I can't think of any reason anybody has seen it isn't one), you should most definitely watch this one.

[Ended] Kuchu Buranko: Wacky and Knowledgable

This is a story about a talented psychiatrist with a rather interesting personality who treats his patients using some rather unorthodox methods.

Just like Mononoke, this is one wacky yet wickedly interesting anime. It has a rather unorthodox art style with crazy color schemes and mixture of animation and live action.

I'm no psychiatrist, so I have no idea how accurate everything is according to psychology. I'm sure there are quite some exaggerations, but nevertheless it provides some very interesting insights into psychology.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 91 (Interesting)
Comedy: 87 (Wacky)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 95 (Crazy weird)
Sound/Music: 85 (Interesting)
Character: --
Plot: --
Ending: --

Re-watch value: --

Overall: 90 - Wacky

Recommendation: I think many people would drop this out right due to its crazy art style. You ought to be able to appreciate some crazy art work to like this. So this is not for everybody, you would either love it or hate. I can't image anybody land in between.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

[Ended] Asura Cryin' 2: Complicated

The story of Asura Cryin' is massively complicated. You really have to pay attention to every single detail and remember every character's name (it's somewhat difficult when you're not native Japanese speaker) to be able to fully appreciate the story. I saw many people have given it bad rating because they got confuse due to the complexity of its plot. One of the biggest problem for most people, as I see, is the fact there are so many minor characters that did not get enough screen time but were constantly referenced by name that are critical to the plot. This anime is a test for you to see how well you can pay attention to minor details/characters of a story.

Lots of people didn't like this anime because there seems to be too many pointless episodes that are not related to the main plot. But after you finished the whole story, you'd realized those seemingly pointless filler episodes actually holds some very important key points or key personnel introductions.

Even though the ending is somewhat predictable, there were enough twists and turns early on in the second season to make this anime worth a while to watch. On top of that, I do like the fact this story emphasize on the concept of "equivalent exchange", meaning all happy endings come at a cost. Good guys don't just get good ending for no reason or without any loss. Even though there is the perfect plot device to create a perfect happy ending, the author chose not to do so. Instead, a slightly lesser version of the perfect happy ending is used.

As for its predictable ending, I wouldn't fault them for that because in my opinion, there isn't really no other way out because if that certain concept is introduced too late, it will feel too much like a Dues Ex Machina.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 93 (Some parts are very dramatic)
Comedy: 80 (Not bad for what it had)
Action: 90 (Pretty good action scenes)
Art/Animation: 80 (Generic)
Sound/Music: 95 (Love the music and theme songs)
Character: 90 (Great depth, even for minor characters)
Plot: 94 (Quite complicated)
Ending: 91 (Slightly predictable, but it's ok)

Re-watch value: 80 (You might have to go through certain episodes again to really understand some part of the story)

Overall: 91 - Very well made

Recommendation: I believe there has already been several reader comments on this
blog that expressed negative opinions towards Asura Cryin'. But if you can look beyond certain superficial elements of this story, you'll see the true brilliance of this story. Of course, if you don't like to use your brain to chase around super complicated plots, this is not for you. But for those who do appreciate a nice complicated well built story, Asura Cryin' would be one of my highly recommended animes from 2009.

[Ended] Sora no Otoshimono: Uh...

Take a retarded, tasteless, pointless, perverted concept, and make an attempt to fit a somewhat meaningful story into it, this is the formula for creating the story Sora no Otoshimono. The mixture is quite strange.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 64 (Not much)
Comedy: 76 (Quite tasteless)
Action: 78 (Ok for what it has)
Art/Animation: 80 (Pretty good)
Sound/Music: 80 (Ok)
Character: 66 (Shallow)
Plot: 70 (Unfitting)
Ending: 80 (...)

Re-watch value: 20 (Once is more than enough)

Overall: 66 - Mostly Stupid

Recommendation: In my opinion, this anime really doesn't hold any real value for anybody to watch. I wouldn't recommend this to anybody.

[Ended] Seitokai no Ichizon: Random

One key difference between Seitokai no Ichizon and other seemingly similar animes from this season is that it presented itself to be what it really is from the beginning instead of trying to get by as something else. One of the best part of the story, in my opinion, is the dynamics between all the distinctively different characters. On top of that, it managed to stay creative with tons of references to the otaku and pop culture of Japan. Then it tags on that little back story in the last episode for some added sentimental value.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 80 (Up and down)
Comedy: 90 (If you get it, it's hilarious)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 86 (Cute)
Sound/Music: 80 (Typical)
Character: 80 (Distinct)
Plot: N/A
Ending: 89 (Interesting twist)

Re-watch value: 60 (Don't really need to, unless you don't get certain part of their reference)

Overall: 88 - Pretty good for this genre

Recommendation: If you liked Lucky Star, you'd probably like this. But you really need to come equipped with lots of Japanese otaku and pop culture knowledge in order to understand many of the jokes. I guess it could be a good test of your otaku-ness XD

[Ended] Seiken no Blacksmith: Plain

The problem about this anime, as I see it, is that everything in this story, the hero/heroine, the villain, the plot, even the grand finale, all feels very much like a stereotypical cookie cutter fantasy anime story. It's not a bad anime, but it isn't a great anime either. It is mediocre at best. On top of that, the ending really isn't an ending, and there are quite a few side plots it started without really wrapping up.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 76 (Some, not much)
Comedy: 70 (Barely any)
Action: 70 (Typical)
Art/Animation: 76 (Typical)
Sound/Music: 80 (Typical)
Character: 70 (Cookie cutter typical)
Plot:77 (Little)
Ending: 72 (Opend ended)

Re-watch value: 30 (No need to)

Overall: 74 - Mediocre at best

Recommendation: I'd say skip it unless you absolutely have nothing else to do.