Thursday, July 29, 2010

Amagami SS: The Forces of the Universe

Currently finished: Episode 4

Although the principle of my blog is to not to spoil anything, but there really is no point hiding the fact unlike Kimikiss, Amagami SS is taking an (in)finite reset approach on telling the stories of different girls.

While I'm not so much against this idea, but to use the infinite reset method rather than a single plot that is capable of covering all threads makes it feels that the screen writers are either incapable of doing so or just plain lazy. Either way, it tends to make me look down upon them, either to their incompetence or laziness. I mean really, what's the point of bring a game story to screen when the only extra thing you get from the anime is the motions between the key frames in the game?

Put that aside, let's talk about the story. I predicted in my previous post that this is going to be one of those "everything works out" story. Well, that was an understatement. It seems that all forces in the universe are working together behind the scene, even the most mismatched pair would have no trouble in becoming a couple. In my opinion, this kind of story is no fun, because no matter what happens, you know everything is going to work out in the end.

Often as I do while watching stories with good ending, especially the ones with crafted plot to make things work out, I find so many places in episode 4 where I would call them "vulnerable points" which are so easy to insert catastrophic events in that could totally turn the story upside down into a tragedy. If I were the story writer, I'd totally do that.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Asobi ni Iku yo: Um, Reality Check?

Currently finished: Episode 2

Ok, I know this kind of wacky fiction would have some kind of detachment from reality, but most animes that are similar in concept usually have at least one character that is aware of surrounding reality when everybody else is oblivious about it. In Asobi ni Iku yo however, it seems that not only every single character is oblivious about the surrounding environment, the surrounding environments (for example, people on the street) are equally oblivious about them as well--wouldn't any normal earthling people be at least a bit curious when they see a girl with cat ear and tail walks around the street with hundreds of small robots following her?

Put that aside, however, despite this slight difficulty to wrap my head around this "anomaly", the story is actually somewhat enjoyable. I think it's due to the fact while you are watching it, the detachment of reality tend to makes you somewhat ignore the conventional thinking, which in turn will give you more freedom to explore the concept the story writer actually tries to push through. Come to think of it, it is quite a brilliant setup, if that is indeed what they intended.

At the moment, what I am concerning about, is that it seems to be rolling a bit faster than I was expecting. My original thought that the crossfire of all the different faction making up the majority of the story is highly unlikely to happen now. I'm actually not sure where it's heading at the moment. I guess we'll have to watch and see.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

[Dropped] Nurarihyon no Mago: Terrible Directing

Watched: 2 episodes

If I haven't just watched M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender which reminded me how much I hate bad directing and screen writing, I probably would have stayed with this one for a bit longer. The directing and editing for this anime is just plain terrible, if not in the caliber of what Shyamalan did to The Last Airbender, it's close.

Sure you can argue that there may be decent story or plot. But at this point, they all don't matter to me any more, because for me, bad directing is enough to ruin everything. Disregard how good the underlying story could be, there is a very discontinuous feel in the flow. Scenes and moods jumps and shifts around very unnaturally. While I can't exactly tell what's wrong with it (since I'm no director material), I can definitely tell you this just isn't right.

Final score: 69

p.s. If I happened to offend you with what I said about The Last Airbender, don't bother to post replies arguing about it--I'm simply going to delete it.

[Dropped] Mitsudomoe: Erh...Gross

Watched: 2 episodes

Although I was mentally prepared for this anime to be a series of fart jokes, I wasn't really prepared for it to get gross this far this quickly.

If you like MTV's Jackass, then you probably don't have much of a problem with this anime. Personally, I'm not a fan of Jackass at all. I found it generally to be somewhat disgusting. That's how I feel about Mitsudomoe.

Final score: 61

Friday, July 23, 2010

[[Dropped] Shukufuku no Campanella: Blah

Watched: 2 episodes

Overall, I don't really have anything against this anime, except it feels a bit too childish. You can tell within the first minute that this anime is adapted from a gal game, because it feels just like a gal game. It's nice for them trying to stay true to the spirit of the game. The problem, however, is the fact this is an ANIME, NOT a game. So many part of this anime feels just plain silly because it feels like they literally pasted multiple scenes from the game and added intermediate motion to make it animated. If I want to play the game, I'd play the game. There really is no point to watch an anime that feels just like a game.

Final score: 67

Kuroshitsuji II: When is this?

Currently finished: Episode 2

I'm a little confused now, what exactly is this series about? On top of that, where in the time line does this story lie in relative to the first series? And on top of that, what does the first episode have to do with the rest of the story? If this were a side series like Fumoffu to Full Metal Panic, then what is the purpose for the first episode?! There are just too many unanswered questions here. I hope it gets answered sooner rather than later.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Amagami SS: That's where I've seen it before

Currently finished: Episode 3

Since the beginning, Amagami SS gave the feeling that I've seen something very similar before. Then I remembered, everything in this anime, art style, story, even the strange logic in the thought process are almost completely identical to Kimikiss. So I went to look it up. Just as I thought, both games (Kimikiss and Amagami) are developed by the same company -- Enterbrain.

Knowing that, there are a couple of thing I can probably safely predict. For one, it's probably going to have a "everything works out" happy ending like Kimikiss did. I'm not so against this kind of ending, except there's no excitement at all for this type of ending. I mean really, what's the point of watching a story when the story only goes from "good" to "better" in a highly predictable manner? This is one of those "feel good" anime that all it does is to show you how things would be if everything goes right -- a situation only occurs in fictions.

I might sound a bit overly critical, but by no means I'm trying to say this is a bad anime. In fact, I think it's pretty interesting so far. The only thing I'd like to warn you about is that it seems the anime carried a bit more perversion over from the game than Kimikiss did. I think they went just a bit overboard on that.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Among the New Releases

Is it just me or is this July season much much smaller than usual? As it just starting to whet my appetite, it comes to an end to all new releases for this season. Either they squeezed all the new releases into the first two weeks of July or the economic downturn has really affected the entertainment industry that much. Either way, this new season just feels way too small.

But again, it doesn't mean there aren't any bright spot among the new releases. There are quite a few of them seems to have high potential to be something great. Before I start my poll for this month's new release, let me lay out the top 5 anime of my choice for this season:

  1. Occult Academy
  2. Kuroshitsuji II
  3. Shiki
  4. Sengoku Basara 2
  5. Amagami SS
Although I really want to squeeze Asobi ni Iku yo! into the ranking, I really can't decide which one that is already on the list to be axed. On top of that, although I somehow doubt that's going to happen, right now it is a little hard to tell whether Asobi ni Iku yo! would become another pointless boob show like Kampfer. So I'll be conservative and leave it off my top 5 list for the moment.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

[New July 2010] Asobi ni Iku yo!

Japanese title: あそびにいくヨ!
Watch online:
Comedy / Drama / Scifi
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A boy meets
an alien with cat ear and tail. Now it seems everybody is after her.

First impression score: 88 ~ Intense

Personal comments: Before I watched this opener episode, I thought this is probably just another alien girl anime like ToLoveRu. But I was wrong. The scope this opening episode sets up is way beyong a simple comedy. I'm actually quite surprised by the level of complexity it introduced in only one episode. I think this is a keeper.

[New July 2010] Sengoku Basara 2

Japanese title: 戦国BASARA 弐

Genres: Action / History / Sequel
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Continues the highly explosive history action about warring period of Japan

First impression score: 88 ~ Explosive as ever

Personal comments: Because of the amount of ridicule this series involves, I can potentially see many people not liking it. So if you didn't like the first series, then you wouldn't like this one either. On the other hand, if you LOVED the first series like I did, then this is a must watch for you. It feels exactly like how the first series felt like. And as before, a little background in Japanese history and geography would be really helpful for understanding the series.

[New July 2010] Shiki

Japanese title: 屍鬼
Watch online:
Horror / Drama / Comedy?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Sotoba is a small quite town in the mountain.
Megumi is a high school student in Sotoba envies urban life. One summer, series of strange death start to occur and she got caught in the middle of it.

Voice talents: Haruka Tomatsu
(戸松遥) as Megumi. Nagi from Kannagi, Lala from ToLoveRu, she has one of most distinctively playful voice among all famous Japanese voice actresses.

First impression score: 88 ~ Mysterious

Personal comments: This is the most highly anticipated new anime for me that comes out from this season. For starter, the author of the original story is Fuyumi Ono (
小野不由美), the author behind 12 Kingdoms and Ghost Hunt. That alone would be enough reason to follow it all the way to the end. On top of that, being a horror story is another plus as I am a huge fan of horror genre (horror, not gore).

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

[New July 2010] Occult Academy

Japanese title: 世紀末オカルト学院
Watch online:
Horror / Supernatual / Comedy?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Maya is the daughter of the headmaster of an academy that is dedicated to supernatual study
, but she hates everything supernatual.

First impression score: 89 ~ Something unexpected

Personal comments: From the preview and the synopsis, I would have never thought there would be any comedies in this. But this first episode, aside from the usual supernatual and occult stuff I was expecting, what left most impression is actually the amount of comedic elements. I think so far this is the best new anime I've seen so far for this season. Definitely a keeper.

[New July 2010] Nurarihyon no Mago

Japanese title: ぬらりひょんの孫
Watch online:
Fantasy / Comedy / Drama
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Rikou is the grandson of currently leader of all youkai (spirits)
and supposed to be the next leader, except he doesn't really want to be.

First impression score: 80 ~ ...

Personal comments: It seems to me that his anime (or at least this episode) isn't very well directed. For one, the flow of the story isn't fluent at all. On top of that, the conversation and action sequence feels very...disconnected. I'm interested in the concept and the story, but if they don't get better in make a more fluent flow soon, I'd probably end up dropping it.

[New July 2010] Mitsudomoe

Japanese title: みつどもえ

School Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A guy who recently just become a teacher is assigned to teach sixth grades. Little does he know, there are three sisters that are probably the biggest trouble makers he'll ever encounter.

First impression score: 81 ~Funny

Personal comments: I was never a big fan of premature children and I never found any series has to do with this topic interesting. While this one is giving me a slightly better initial impression, I still don't think this is going to last. We'll see.

[New July 2010] Sekirei ~Pure Engagement~

Japanese title: セキレイ~Pure Engagement~
(via Baka-updates)

Action / Ecchi / Drama / Sequel
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Continues where the first series left off.

First impression score: 76 ~ Filled with fan service...

Personal comments: Boobs, bouncing boobs, I almost forgot how bad the fan service was in the original series. At least they use fan service where it's appropriate (unlike Ikkitousen, uses fan services disregard where they're at). I wasn't a big fan of the original series. I only found it to be slightly above the line of "acceptable". So I'm not sure whether I can last for another season of this gravity defying boobs.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

[New July 2010] Shukufuku no Campanella

Japanese title: 祝福のカンパネラ

Fantasy / Drama / Comedy / Harem?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Huh?

First impression score: 81 ~Feels...childish

Personal comments: This anime reminds very much of Kobato, but more childish. I don't know how much of this childish laughter I can take before I throw it away.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

[New July 2010] Seitokai Yakuindomo

Japanese title: 生徒会役員共

School Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A guy is attending a new high school that is accepting male student for the first year. Upon first day of class, he gets drafted into student council by the student council president.

First impression score: 87 ~Funny

Personal comments: Style-wise, it feels very much like Seitokai no Ichizon. The different, is that instead otaku reference, it's very heavy on sexual reference.

[New July 2010] Densetsu no Yusha no Densetsu (Legend of Legendary Hero)

Japanese title: 伝説の勇者の伝説
Watch online:
Fantasy / Comedy / Drama
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Lute has eyes called Alpha Stigma
, which could see through any magic. He and Eris set out in a journey to look for the artifacts of legendary hero.

First impression score: 82 ~Typical fantasy anime

Personal comments: So far everything feels somewhat like a cookie cutter fantasy anime. I hope it gets better.

[New July 2010] High School of The Dead

Japanese title: 学園黙示録
(via Baka-updates)

Survival Horror / Ecchi
I've watched: 1 episode

Zombies! In high school! Chasing big boobed panties flashing high school girls.

First impression score: 80 ~ Can you say panties?

Personal comments: To watch this show, you need to turn down your brain's the reasoning function a bit to stay with the it. Quite a few times during the first episode, I've found myself looking at the screen thinking "WTF?" Other than that, it's really just resident evil plus Tenjou Tenge, with lots of unnecessary panties shots. While it's somewhat interesting to watch for now, I think it's also going to be the first one to drop if my schedule gets to busy.

[New July 2010] Kuroshitsuji II

Japanese title: 黒執事II

Watch online:
Drama / Sequel
I've watched: 1 episode

Another story of the mysterious black butler.

First impression score: 87 ~ Looks good

Personal comments: Beginning part of the opening episode of the series feels significantly darker than the previous series, but it lightens up towards the end. I think it looks very interesting and it introduces another dimension to this already interesting story.

Friday, July 9, 2010

[New July 2010] Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi

Japanese title: オオカミさんと七人の仲間たち

Drama? / Comedy?
I've watched: 1 episode

Otogi Bank is a student organization in Otogi high school that helps people to solve their problems in return for a favor in the future (the kind of scheme appeared in the movie "Pay it Forward"). There many wacky and interesting things happen.

First impression score: 81 ~ Fun, but they need more

Personal comments: It is interesting how they twist another famous anime and a famous fairy tale together to form a subplot. If they make this a recurring theme, and manage to keep finding new materials to build up this kind of subplot, it'd definitely would be worth looking into. Otherwise I really can't think of anything that is impressive about this anime at all.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

[New July 2010] Amagami SS

Japanese title: アマガミSS

Romance Drama
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A dude got his heart broken when his date stood him up at a Christmas eve. Now he meets a group of new gals, which he again felt the hope for love.

First impression score: 88 ~ Light and warm

Personal comments: Adapted from a dating sim game, it looks like another typical soft harem anime. If made well, it could turn out to be something good like White Album.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

[Ended] Seikon no Qwaser: Boobs, Boobs, and more Boobs

Like I said since the beginning of the series, unlike Queen's Blade or Aika series, where nudity is merely an accessory comes with the story, the lewdness is the core of this story. Really, it's a bit difficult to keep track of the story itself. On top of that, if you cut off all the boob sucking scenes, you could really shrink the actually story down to 6 episodes or even less. So in essence, this is really just a boob show that happens to have a plot with it.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 70 (Boob-centric)
Comedy: 80 (Boob jokes)
Action: 80 (Boob fights)
Art/Animation: 80 (Huge boobs bouncing)
Sound/Music: 80 (Exaggerated boob sucking sounds)
Character: 72 (Lots of different boob sizes)
Plot: --? (Boobs vs. Boobs)
Ending: --? (Beginning of new Boobs)

Re-watch value: ?? (Depends, on whether you want to see lots of boob sucking scenes again)

Overall: 73 - Can you say "Boobs"?

Recommendation: There is no intrinsic value in this anime what so ever. The on
ly reason you would want to watch it is to be amused by how they managed to build an entire story on top of this ridiculous concept, and there are quite some interesting acrobatic boobs moves as well. Here are some random boob scenes for your own amusement:

[Ended] Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood: Perfect Solutions

After 64 episodes intense struggle, the "real" story of Fullmetal Alchemist finally came to an end. This, in my opinion, is far superior than the original series (there probably would still be some debate about which you should call "original", maybe I should just call it the older version). In fact, I was never a big fan of the "original" Fullmetal Alchemist because I felt it dragged for a bit too long and it was just too out of whack towards the end. This series actually fixed all that.

The ending, I would say contains the "perfect" solutions to all problems that arose from the story. Literally, it solved every single problem that arose out of a perfection. Personally, I'm not a big fan of perfect ending, in fact, I'm not even a fan of good endings (If you've followed my blog long enough, you'd know I'm big fan of tragic endings). But come to think of it, what really bothers me is the Deus ex Machina most stories use to get to the good ending. So in this case, because all solutions had some amount of foreshadowing, I'm actually liking how it ended. (Well, except that last philosopher's stone, but it doesn't really affected any of the outcomes, so it's ok).

Then there's that last part of the last episode, that is really one brilliant touch to put a period on an already perfect ending. Very well done.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 95 (Totally)
Comedy: 90 (Pretty good for what they had)
Action: 97 (Great!)
Art/Animation: 90 (Not very fond of its art style, but I grew to like it)
Sound/Music: 90 (Very good)
Character: 98 (Best character development I've seen lately)
Plot: 97 (Well written)
Ending: 98 ("Perfect" solutions)

Re-watch value: 80 (Because it's very long, you could actually re-learn the story and might discover something new)

Overall: 96 - One of the best multi-season series I've seen

Recommendation: If you liked the "original" Fullmetal Alchemist, you should watch this, because this is what it intended to be. If you weren't too fond of the "original" Fullmetal Alchemist, you should also watch this, because it is far superior than the "original".
Basically, unless you really really really hated the series, you should watch this.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

[Ended] Arakawa Under the Bridge: Huh?

Honestly, I don't know what to say about this anime. In my opinion, it's just a bit too out of whack. Honestly, I think this got pretty close to how bad Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei was, which was close to unbearable towards the end. (ok, I know I'm going to get rocks thrown at, because, frankly, lots of people are fond of Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, but not me). But at least here they still managed to stay pretty original without getting an infinite self-repeating loop.

Proceed to its scoreboard:

[Edit 7/7/10]: (Somehow I copied and pasted the score board from another anime and forgot to change it to reflect the actual score for it)

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 80 (Huh?)
Comedy: 82 (Gets old after a while)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 80 (Interesting)
Sound/Music: 80 (Nothing much)
Character: 80 (Lots, but not much depth)
Plot: 83 (Ok for a comedy)
Ending: N/A (Not really)

Re-watch value: 60 (Loses most of its fun)

Overall: 81 - Acceptable

Recommendation: It's an ok comedy, but nothing stellar. If you have too much time to waste, go for it. Otherwise, you're not missing much.

Monday, July 5, 2010

[Ended] Working!: LOL

Last spring, K-ON! sets the new height for comedy animes in general. This spring, while K-ON!! tries again with a longer second season, Working! steals the spotlight.

Working! is built exactly the same way as K-ON! was: semi-random comical events threaded together with a continuous and somewhat organized flow. Although it may look more chaotic due the the new characters it keeps introducing, Working! actually narrows its focus down on a particular pair.

It took me a bit pondering, but ultimately I think Working! actually edges over Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu for the

Best Comedy for Top Half of 2010


Final scoreboard:

Drama: 91 (There are actually quite some)
Comedy: 99 (Brilliant!!!!!)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 91 (Cute)
Sound/Music: 92 (Good choice of Op and BGMS)
Character: 95 (Interesting characters)
Plot: 93 (Great for a comedy)
Ending: N/A (I don't think it ends here)

Re-watch value: 90 (Still funny)

Overall: 96 - Brilliantly Funny

Recommendation: It's funny that I don't use this phrase very often yet I'm about to say it for the third time in matter of weeks: If there is only one comedy you watch from top half of 2010, THIS IS IT.