Monday, June 28, 2010

Giant Killing: FIFA World Cup Effect?

Currently finished: Episode 12

Maybe it's because of FIFA world cup are currently in play, or maybe this anime is just that great, either way I have not been so excited about any sports anime since like...ever. I mentioned in my last post about this anime that this is one of most interesting sports anime for me since Prince of Tennis. But unlike tennis, soccer is a team sports, so the dynamics are completely different in comparison to tennis. On top of that, this is just a very well made sports anime period.

Fiary Tail: Ha, I knew it

Currently finished: Episode 34

The voice of Virgo always sounded familiar but I never bothered to look up who it was. But this time, having just finished watching the final episode of Durarara, I immediately recognized the voice of Virgo is the same as the voice of Celty, which in turn is also the voice of Canaan.

Also, the background music for Erza's back story was Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2, one of my favorite piece, in case someone is interested in knowing .

[Ended] Durarara: The Best of 2010

Just like Baccano!, Durarara is very intricately constructed, every single piece of the clue, no matter how insignificant it looks at the time of introduction, all became useful contribution toward the grand puzzle in the end.

The early part of of the story is somewhat confusing, in fact, it's almost chaotic. However, having already seen Baccano!, I was somewhat expecting it. Instead of hopping back and forth in time, it hops between people: most early episodes were told using first person narrative from different people, in a daisy chain manner. What's more interesting is the fact they are introducing characters in a deceiving way: in the end, all characters ended up being something different as they originally seemed. In fact, in a way, the whole story is a big deception: in the beginning, it seems the story is all about headless rider and her head. Slowly, by shifting one step at a time, the story shifted its focus off the Celty and became something completely different.

Oh, yeah, one last thing to note, like Baccano!, there are lots, I mean lots, of names to memorize. What's worse (depends on your language background), unlike Baccano!, most names are Japanese. So to most English speakers, it's not nearly as easy to remember as they are in Baccano! where all people have western names.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 93 (Lots)
Comedy: 88 (Good enough)
Action: 91 (Dark)
Art/Animation: 88 (Interesting)
Sound/Music: 90 (good)
Character: 95 (Lots, and lots)
Plot: 97 (Well constructed)
Ending: 91 (Solution for everything)

Re-watch value: 80 (Because there are so much information, you might catch some more details you missed first time)

Overall: 92 - Very Interesting

Recommendation: Well, I said it for Angel Beats!, and I'll say the same thing for Durarara: if there is one long season anime you have to watch from the first half of 2010, this would be it. Because it's getting my

Best Long Season Action/Drama for Top Half of 2010


Sunday, June 27, 2010

[Ended] Angel Beats: Life is Beautiful

In the early part of final episode, I actually felt cheated because all pieces of puzzles have been revealed and it seems this is a story that shouldn't have happened at first place, because, really, the whole plot is pieced together with something weren't meant to be. But just as I was letting my guard down because I thought the story is over and I've gotten all solution to the puzzles, I got hit by the last curve ball head on at full force, and the author of the story get to do what he intended to do: tears were bursting out of my eyes as I felt this sudden emotion struck me. Jun Maeda is the master in manipulating emotions. Although I've seen this kind of plot before, the way they threw it out just totally caught me by surprise. I haven't been so emotional for an anime since CLANNAD (which, coincidentally is also written by Jun Maeda).

One thing that I can't help to notice is the fact story writer is trying to pass on the message of "life is beautiful" to everybody: you don't get a second chance to live your life--while you have it, you should live it to the fullest, don't hate your own life.

Adding to all the pluses, this anime is also beautifully made, whether the character art, background art, or the music.

I'm not going to reveal any more about the plot, because if I do, I would have to bare the responsibility of cheating you out of the full emotional experience you could potential get from the anime.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 98 (Great!)
Comedy: 100 (Brilliant!!!)
Action: 91 (Great)
Art/Animation: 94 (Cute)
Sound/Music: 95 (Beautiful)
Character: 95 (Very well developed)
Plot: 98 (Moving!!!)
Ending: 99 (Ultra Curve Ball)

Re-watch value: 80 (Less emotional, but equally fun)

Overall: 98 - Beautifully made

Recommendation: If you're not watching anything else in the first half of 2010, you ought to watch this, and I'm giving it the

Best Short Season Drama for Top Half of 2010


Sunday, June 20, 2010

[Ended] Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou: Explosive

Fighting the God, or even the "Meta-God" isn't really a new concept. Right off my head, I can remember similar concept was used in Utawarerumono and Tears to Tiara. The difference, is that Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou didn't really spent much time in setting up the environment, it just jumped right into the action. There are up sides and down sides about that. The up side is that doing so significantly sped up the plot movement and there's almost no dull moment at all from the start to finish where Utawarerumono and Tears to Tiara requires some patience just to get by the painstakingly long background introduction. The downside, is the fact not enough proper explanation about the background setting causes quite some confusion. It's especially apparent towards the end where it feels like they're just rushing to wrap up the story and there are so many things has left unexplained. But again, I think despite all these shorting comings, this is a very well made anime, with a very explosive feel to it, especially towards the end.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 88 (Interesting)
Comedy: 90 (Some are quite brilliant)
Action: 91 (Great)
Art/Animation: 88 (Censorship...)
Sound/Music: 85 (Didn't leave much impression)
Character: 85 (Shallow but interesting)
Plot: 88 (Little confusing, but mostly good)
Ending: 83 (Could have seen that coming)

Re-watch value: 60 (Don't really think you need to...)

Overall: 88 - Action filled

I wouldn't put this one down as a "must watch" anime, but I'd put it near if not on the top of your secondary watch list. I think it worth 4 hours of your free time.

[Ended] B Gata H Kei: Um...

While the concept is somewhat amusing (actually, it's not that amusing), the story is really not much more than what a 15-year old's daydream could be. While there have been many animes in the past where the main girl is the aggressive perv, B Gata H Kei sets a slightly different tone by having the heroine being both perverted and shy at the same time. Even so, that isn't much of a new concept either, because I vaguely remember there has been some animes in the distant past that have used similar concept. So, all in all, while it does bring some freshness into this particular genre, this is really not much more than a comedic exhibition for panties and censor blocks.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 78 (B-movie grade school drama)
Comedy: 85 (there are some fun moments)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 83 (Typical)
Sound/Music: 81 (Nothing left a big impression)
Character: 82 (I don't think there's much depth to them)
Plot: 72 (Could have predicted it from the beginning)
Ending: 71 (Who hasn't see that coming?)

Re-watch value: 40 (Definitely don't need to see it the second time)

Overall: 74 - B-movie grade anime

If you have too much time to burn, sure, watch it. Otherwise, I don't think it's worth your 4 hours of life.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Working: Brilliant, Just Brilliant

Currently finished: Episode 10

If there weren't Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu, I would totally declare Working! to be the best comedy of the year among what I've seen so far. If Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu is a comedy that tickles audiences using brutal force, then Working! is an intricately crafted tickling machine that only do so in the exact right moment to achieve the maximum desired effect.

Early on in the series, I was a bit skeptical about this anime because I felt the scope of this anime might be a bit too small to last even a short season without being repetitive. Now I know that concern was completely unfounded, because now I can see enough material that could even last a long season.

All in all, I can already tell you before I even see the end to this series, that this is one of the must-watch series of the year, period.

Friday, June 11, 2010

[Preview] Summer (July) 2010 New Anime Season Preview

Finally got time around to track down what's new in July 2010 new anime season. Since it's a small season, the list is relatively short as well. I've searched far and wide, only managed to come up with 15 new TV series that starts to air in July 2010. But, quality over quantity, though the list is short, there are some really good looking animes that I think has the potential to become the anime of the year.

Amagami SS

A boy meets girls during Christmas, lots of them.

Forecast: Sounds like a typical soft harem anime, but sometimes could be very moving

Asobi ni Iku yo!

A guy meets cat-eared alien, everybody else is trying to catch her, except him trying to protect her.

Forecast: I think this concept is getting a little old. I'd give it 50/50, only because it looks cute.

Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu


A fantasy setting, where some guy is caught up in the war.

Forecast: I think I've heard similar stories before.

Gakuen Mokushiroku Highschool of the Dead

Zombies in high school!

Forecast: Japanese high school and zombies? This could be very interesting.

Kuroshitsuji II
黒執事 II

New master and new devil butler.

Forecast: If it's as good as the original series, then this will be a keeper.


Premature elemental school students.

Forecast: No thank you. I think I'll probably pass on this one.

Nurarihyon no Mago

A kid who's 3/4 human and 1/4 youkai is destined to become the leader of youkai, except he has no interest in becoming one.

Forecast: Also seems to be an overused concept, not so sure about it.

Okami-san to Shichinin no Nakama Tachi

A story about a high school "fixer" club that fixes high school's problems.(?!)

Forecast: While not sure what it's about, it sounds somewhat interesting.

Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin

The daughter of former headmaster of private academy dedicated to the study of occult who died in 1999 (?!)

Forecast: It's horror genre, so, it might be worth just to see.

Seitokai Yakuindomo

Story of the only boy in the high school student council.

Forecast: Haven't I heard of this concept somewhere before? Yeah, Seitokai no Ichizon...

Sekirei Pure Engagement
セキレイ~Pure Engagement~

The second installment of Sekirei series.

Forecast: Well, the first one weren't that great, but I'm sure there'll be a lot of bouncing boobs in this one, too.

Sengoku Basara 2

The second installment of Sengoku Basara.

Forecast: The first one is brilliantly fun to watch. I expect the same for this one, too.


Strange death start to occur in a small and quiet village. The hospital staff soon finds out what the cause for these deaths.

Forecast: This is based on original story written by the author of 12 Kingdoms and Ghosthunt. That is enough to convince me to follow through.

Shukufuku no Campanella

Upon finding a mysterious girl in a chapel, a group of people set out to a mysterious adventure.

Forecast: Can't really tell...

Strike Witches 2
ストライクウィッチーズ 2

Second season of Strike Witch.

Forecast: The first season lasted me only one episode, I'm not going to bother with this one either.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood: The Final Showdown

Currently finished: Episode 59

At this point, I can say if anybody remotely liked the story of Fullmetal Alchemist, you should totally watch this series. Regardless whether you have seen the original series, this is going to be a blast. At least to me it is.

I only mildly liked (if at all) the original Fullmetal Alchemist because I felt it dragged on a bit too much towards the end of the series. (Well, guess what, that wasn't supposed to be part of the story to begin with.) This reboot, however, not only it compacted everything, it almost had no dull moment, period. I think this is partially due to the fact they produced this new series with the assumption of fact that most people already possesses some of the background knowledge of this fictional world, or at least be able to find them easily since the original series had quite the cult following. Therefore, the plot progression is on an ultra-fast track where before I knew it, it's already at the brink of topping episode 60.

Supposedly, the story will drop its curtain at episode 63, which is only four episodes away. This final climax is very well crafted where every single supporting role throughout the entire story actually all come together meet in a single point. The result? Quite explosive. With only four more episodes to go, I'm very eager to see how they are going to end this once and for all. I'd be extremely angry if they don't.