Friday, December 31, 2010

[Ended] Yosuga no Sora: Porn

If you think Queens Blade or Seikon no Qwaser is bad, Yosuga no Sora is way worse. This literally is hentai, broadcasted on TV. The former two only use nudity and lewdness as building block to construct a story that doesn't really have much to do with the "building block" itself. Yosuga no Sora on the other hand, is literally incest porn with a little bit of story. (The fact they saved the biggest one till last made it worse, because that'll be forever what I remember this anime as). Maybe there are other redeeming values in this anime (I doubt it), but it doesn't matter, graphical incest porn is enough to wash everything meaning away and become the sole representation of this anime.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 71 (Porn)
Comedy: N/A
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 83 (Porn)
Sound/Music: 81 (Interesting)
Character: 75 (Porn)
Plot: 70 (Porn)
Ending: 72 (Porn)

Re-watch value: -- (Do you like porn?)

Overall: 73 - Porn, Porn, Porn

Recommendation: If you're looking for hentai, look elsewhere, you can probably find better ones. If you are looking for an anime, look elsewhere, there are definitely better animes out there.

[Ended] Otome Youkai Zakuro: Just Great

Rarely, had there been an anime that not only had I considered it to be the best anime at season opening, but also remained on my #1 spot throughout the season till the end.

Otome Youkai Zakuro is a very interesting story, both in terms of story and characters. For starter, each episode has something going on that advance the story, either by introducing new element to the overall plot, or by developing characters. And once a while when the atmosphere gets too dull or overly intense, it always manages to find some quick comedy to lighten things up.

Although the chemistry between the main pairs mostly came from the typical love/hate relationship, I have to say they implemented this simple concept extremely well. It doesn't matter how many time it keeps pulling the same trick, for whatever reason, it always end up being refreshingly funny. Maybe that's more of a personal preference than anything else.

As for the story, while you can't help to notice certain common plot devices show up here or there, overall, the story is quite unique. On top of that, maybe it's just me, completely out of my mind, but I can't help to notice there is a somewhat of a sly undertone in the story which is very similar in nature as what they where trying to portray in movie The Last Samurai.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 96 (Great)
Comedy: 98 (Brilliant)
Action: 94 (Nicely done)
Art/Animation: 98 (Pretty, with great deformation)
Sound/Music: 96 (Great Opening, and very interesting fighting theme )
Character: 97 (Best character chemistry I've seen lately)
Plot: 93 (Pretty unique)
Ending: 94 (Very well done)

Re-watch value: 65 (Still somewhat fun)

Overall: 97 - Great, Just Great

Recommendation: Like I said at the beginning of this season, this is the best anime of the season, and could well be the anime of the year (I'll decide later in my year in review post)
. If you're going to watch one anime from this season, this would be it. So naturally, it gets the award

Anime of the Season for October 2010 Season

[Ended] Fortune Arterial: Akai Yakusoku: Terrible, Terrible Ending

It seems that it has become a common disease for H-Game adapted animes to end terribly: they more or less cornered themselves by making everything indicate it's going to be a "no happy way out" ending, then they just blatantly cut a big hole in the net they surrounded themselves with and cheat their way to finish line with an ending that doesn't make much sense what so ever. I hate that.

Everything in this anime resembles a typical H-Game adapted anime. While it's not a bad one, it's nowhere near the good ones like Shuffle! in terms of quality. In fact, I'd almost put it down as a "background noise" anime except once a while there are parts randomly scattered throughout the series that you need to catch to follow the main plot. As for the plot, it's more or less a cookie cutter H-Game plot with stupid ending.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 80 (Kind of)
Comedy: 73 (Not that great)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 81 (H-Game Style)
Sound/Music: 83 (Not bad)
Character: 73 (Only the important few are developed)
Plot: 73 (Cookie cutter)
Ending: 68 (Bad, bad, bad)

Re-watch value: 20 (No)

Overall: 78 - Ok story, terrible ending

Recommendation: Unless you have too much time to waste, it's ok to skip this one.

[Ended] Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls: More?! Really?!

Clearly, this is one of those anime that is made to show fan services. The story itself, couldn't be more typical for a "fan service animes". The only up side of this anime, as I see it, is the fact Rie Kugimiya plays a major role in it. I'd also give it that the style of censor is very unique and interesting.

Like Koihime Musou, the attachment of the story with real Japanese history is merely a convenience for them not to come up with characters and backgrounds for them.

The way this story ended, clearly indicated that they have plans to make a sequel. I can't believe a cheap ass anime like this would keep getting sequels while the grand epic animes like Guin Saga and Tytania get sacked.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 80 (Little bit)
Comedy: 78 (Little but not that great)
Action: 77 (Bouncy ink splatters)
Art/Animation: 82 (Interesting)
Sound/Music: 87 (Faylan's op, she's still great as ever)
Character: 71 (One dimensional)
Plot: 73 (Cookie cutter)
Ending: 74 (They want to make more?!)

Re-watch value: 60 (Could still be interesting)

Overall: 75 - Fan Service Show

Recommendation: If you've never seen one or are just interested in watching one fan service heavy anime, this wouldn't be a bad one to watch. Otherwise, I'd say this really doesn't worth your time.

Friday, December 24, 2010

[Ended] Motto To Love Ru: Making Things Worse

As if the ToLoveRu harem isn't big enough, not only it added new harem characters, it also made some recurring non-harem characters into harem characters. The relationship character is just getting more and more complicated. But after all, it's still all centered on the pretty much only male character of the story, nothing like School Rumble style mesh chart.

While this mostly is just a panties and boobs (or fog, depending which version you watch, lol) show that has no substance what so ever, it's actually an ok "background noise"--something you play in the background while doing some other things that does not require full concentration. That's actually how I managed to be able to keep watching this anime without dropping it.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 80 (Barely, but it has its good points)
Comedy: 80 (Mostly pervert jokes)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 80 (Boobs and Panties)
Sound/Music: 80 (Interesting)
Character: 80 (Harem)
Plot: N/A
Ending: 80 (Bigger harem)

Re-watch value: 30 (Why?!)

Overall: 80 - Ok as a background noise

One major reason I kept following this anime while dropping so many others is due to the fact Lala's voice is done by one of my favorite voice actress Haruka Tomatsu. But if you're looking for some background noise, this would server the purpose as well.

[Ended] Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai: Refreshing

Having seen so much incestuous love in the typical anime, it's quite refreshing to see a story that is mainly based on hostile feeling between brother and sister.

The main plot of the story is based mainly upon the fact even though Japan is the home of Otaku, it is still considered mainly in the society as outcasts. What's interesting about this story in particular is the role reversal--instead of the brother, the little sister is the one being a closet Otaku. In a way, it kind of make sense, since female H-Game Otaku is probably amongst those that are deemed to be the most socially unacceptable of all.

Anyway, I digress, back to the anime itself. I've actually read some of the manga back when it was just starting to publish and thought it was an interesting yet very light topic. The anime, in my opinion, managed to render it into a much heavier subject. I think it's just that the anime always manage to dramatize things a lot more than manga could do (well, a well made anime that is). I haven't read much of the manga since the very early chapters, so I wouldn't know how well the anime actually followed the manga. The anime itself, in my opinion kind of neutered itself in the end for sequels, but if they do come up with a sequel, it'd be highly welcome.

One last word about the art, it wasn't nearly as apparent in the black/white manga as in the fully colored anime, but I can see some distinct similarities between this and GAINAX's Princess Maker 4.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 90 (Its focal point)
Comedy: 88 (Some are quite brilliant)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 86 (Princess Maker 4?)
Sound/Music: 87 (Interesting)
Character: 93 (Intriguing)
Plot: 90 (Unique)
Ending: 82 (Wrapped up well)

Re-watch value: 60 (Could still be interesting)

Overall: 90 - Unique and Intriguing

Recommendation: I think this is probably one of the best comedy/drama of the year 2010. I'll soon be putting up my year in review post, but for the moment, it definitely will get award

Comedy/Drama of the Season for Fall 2010

[Ended] MM: Um...

Like I said a couple of posts ago, this started off like an extreme version of Working! As the story go on, it actually gets slightly darker than Working! would ever be (in my opinion at least). While the topic of this anime based on is much more difficult to digest than Working!, in my opinion, this added dimension helps this anime to become much more than what it would be without them.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 80 (Kind of...)
Comedy: 85 (Some are pretty good)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 80 (Typical)
Sound/Music: 81 (Acceptable)
Character: 83 (Not too deep, but beyond just single dimension)
Plot: N/A
Ending: 82 (Good enough)

Re-watch value: 20 (No reason to)

Overall: 81 - B-Grade comedy

Recommendation: If you watch only a few anime each year, then you probably just want to skip this. While I didn't regret spending my time on this anime, I wouldn't recommend to people either. If you are looking for anime of this type, just watch Working!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

[Ended] Densetsu no Yusha no Densetsu (Legend of Legendary Hero): Best Fantasy Anime of 2010

If there's one fantasy anime you watch in 2010, this would be it!

When I first heard the title (which translates to "Legend of Legendary Hero") I thought this is an anime that tries to pull parities and make fun of the entire fantasy anime genre. When I saw the opening episode, it further reaffirmed that thought, because that's almost as cookie-cutter as you can be for a typical fantasy anime. But little did I know, this seemingly random and unserious story eventually turns out to be THE most epic fantasy anime in 2010.

In the beginning, the story is simply a mission to collect lost artifacts. Little by little, as side stories being introduced, it completely transformed itself into an epic struggle between the king and opposing political forces. Then you find out there are also wars being fought between different countries in this world. On top of that, there are forces of other factions to further complicate the situation. It didn't take long for the story to go from seemly simple light, funny and plotless to a huge hodgepodge of plots that every single one by itself could be a story in epic proportions.

Then there's the ending. It is not an ending, it is a beginning. By the time you reached the end, you'd realize that this entire series only serve as an introduction of something much much bigger yet to be seen. So you ask, is this one of those stories that leaves audiences hanging without any satisfaction?

ABSOLUTELY NOT! Even though this is only a beginning of something much bigger, but the ending is highly satisfying. Because not only it resolves (well, sort of) one of the biggest issue in the story, it also used a very clever "calmness before the storm" technique to have a semi-filler episode lead into the final climax.

Now back to the harsher reality: animes as epic as this usually requires more effort to follow, in turn, they aren't usually very well received by the mass. Hell, most people I talk to that watches anime aren't even aware of the existence of this one. Naturally, it creates the problem: when an anime doesn't sell well, it will be hard to receive fundings for a sequel. With what this story had set up, it'll be a huge disappointment if no sequel is ever produced. But that already seem to be the norm nowadays. Some of the most epic animes I've ever seen, namely Guin Saga and Tytania never had a sequel. I guess we'll have to live with it...

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 94 (Epic)
Comedy: 90 (Brilliant)
Action: 93 (Fantastic)
Art/Animation: 91 (Typical fantasy style, but very well done)
Sound/Music: 88 (Good)
Character: 97 (Very well developed)
Plot: 97 (Epically epic)
Ending: 91 (The new beginning)

Re-watch value: 70 (A great story always has re-watch value)

Overall: 96 - Definitely one of the better animes of the year

Recommendation: Like I said at the beginning of this post, if there is one fantasy anime you watch in 2010, this would be it! Whether you like this genre or not, this is one of the best anime produced in 2010, and I'm awarding it:

Best Fantasy Anime of 2010

[New January 2011] Haiyoru! Nyaruani

Japanese title: 這いよる!ニャルアニ リメンバー・マイ・ラブ(クラフト先生)
Genres: Comedy / Shortie (~5 minutes episode)
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Um...Cthulhu girl...and a guy...and some other girl...

First impression score:...

Voice Talents: Kana Asumi (阿澄佳奈) as Nyarlko. I thought her voice sounds familiar, after little digging, I found out that she's the voice of Poplar Taneshima from Working! ("Katanashi"!!!).

Personal comments: It's hard to pass judgement on extremely short animes, since it practically takes no time to watch it. So...just watch it.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

[OVA] Megane na Kanojo

There are four short and random stories about four girls with glasses. The style of the story reminds me very much of Kita e: Diamond Dust Drops as these are just very ordinary stories about very ordinary people. I personally know some people that would turn away from it because they consider it's too..."mundane". However, it is this very "ordinariness" in this type of animes that interests me.

The episodes are really short, (~15 minutes per episode), so it'll take less than an hour to finish the entire series. If you've never seen this type of anime, or don't have anything against it, I'd recommend to spend the hour on it just to see if you're into this genre at all.

Score: 87

[Ended] Katanagatari

Just like Bakemonogatari, Katanagatari is a very dialog heavy, strangely drawn, but very interesting piece of work.

On the surface, the story is about how two people, Togame and Shichika went all around Japan overcoming countless obstacles to collect 12 special and legendary katanas. But overtime, they've discovered that these katanas aren't just simply katanas made for the purpose of fight, there is a much bigger ploy hidden behind them.

Being an one-hour episode anime that airs one episode per month take somewhat of a patient and commitment to follow it all the way to the end. But I'd say in the end it worth the effort.

The early episodes, in my opinion lacks of depth in both the story development and character development. And its highly segmented episodic nature only made it worse. However, the brilliance within the story itself easily overcome the problem and by the time it reached half way point, lack of depth is no longer a problem at all.

It's hard to talk more about the this anime without spoiling anything, but one thing I would tell you is that the ending is somewhat unorthodox. What does it mean?'ll have to watch to find out, 'cause I have my "no spoiler" principle I'd like to keep with my blog.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 90 (Different)
Comedy: 81 (Somewhat interesting)
Action: 86 (Interesting)
Art/Animation: 88 (Very stylized)
Sound/Music: 88 (Unique)
Character: 92 (Very well developed)
Plot: 91 (A-Grade)
Ending: 90 (Unorthodox)

Re-watch value: 50 (Hard to say)

Overall: 89 - Definitely one of the better animes of the year

Recommendation: If you watch it all together, I think it gets rid of it's only shortcoming--the long month long wait. I'd definitely recommend it as one of the top animes of the year to watch.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

[Preview] January (Winter) 2011 Anime Season Preview

I've heard rumors that this coming January anime season would be a loli explosion. Well, after digging up all the new anime info, I don't think that's the case. However, I did notice that industry has shifted their release schedule a bit so that January has become a much bigger season.

This time, I managed to get hold of the preview video again, that make finding things a lot easier. The whole video is about 8 minutes and change long, but only the first 5 and a half minutes are about January season. Later stuff are for new series coming for the rest of the year.

Since I have the video, I lay my preview in the order they appeared in the video, just to make your life easier. I marked each entry with "video time" so you can reference the specific entries with the video preview you see.

Video time: 0:40
Haiyoru! Nyaruani: Remember My Love(craft-sensei)
這いよる!ニャルアニ リメンバー・マイ・ラブ(クラフト先生)

Well from the name, you'd know it has something to do with Cthulhu. But that's as far as my knowledge about this anime goes.

Forecast: Cthulhu is always interesting topic, I'm willing to give it a shot.

Video time: 0:54
Starry Sky

The only female student goes to a school that used to be all guy. (Like we've never heard of this concept before...)

Forecast: Reverse harem anime is actually a rare beast. I'm willing to give it a shot.

Video time: 1:09
Rio -Rainbow Gate!-
リオ レインボーゲート!

Mother and daughter managing a casino, with some weird thing about collecting special cards.

Forecast: I have suspicion this is going to become one of the stupid card dueling anime...

Video time: 1:24
Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season
君に届け 2nd Season

Sawako is doing pretty well at the end of last season, now what are they going to do to mess it up?!

Forecast: I always welcome well made story to make a good return.

Video time: 1:38

We've seen the face of the new Japanese interpretation of Wolverine in Ironman, now we get to see how well this pretty boy version of Wolverine can perform.

Forecast: I don't know, I hope it's a pleasant surprise as Ironman was.

Video time: 1:52

Loli mystery/detective story?

Forecast: I honestly have no clue...

Video time: 2:09
Cardfight!! Vanguard
CARDFIGHT!! ヴァンガード
??? - who cares

Card dueling...

Forecast: Pass!

Video time: 2:21

Humanity is being attacked by creatures from another dimension. An academy is built to harvest special powers of individuals to fight against them.

Forecast: Haven't I seen something like this before...

Video time: 2:35

A juvenile delinquent meets son of demon king who want to conquer the world.

Forecast: No idea...

Video timee: 2:49
Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?

A guy was killed and raised as a zombie, then by accident he deprived some magic girl of her power. Now he has to fight in her place against anti-magical girl group. (WTF!!!)

Forecast: All I want to say is WTF? It's sounds so crazy out of whack that it might just be really amusing to watch.

Video time: 3:04
Dragon Crisis

A high school meets a girl who happens to be the legendary red dragon. (what?!)

Forecast: Um...yeah, equally out of whack, but worth a shot.

Video time: 3:18

"Fractale" is a system that allow human to live freely without worry of anything. 100s of years later, nobody knows how the system work any more. They only know to preserve the system is to preserve humanity.

Forecast: That sounds like an interesting story. I'm totally down for it.

Video time: 3:33
Hourou Musuko

Story about a boy who wants to be a girl, and a girl who wants to be a boy.

Forecast: That's just...weird...

Video time: 3:47
Level E

A guy meets another dude that claims to be an alien.

Forecast: The story sounds somewhat interesting, but the picture they have on their web site...

Video time: 4:01
IS: Infinite Stratos

IS is a flying suit that only women can use (why it's always that way?!), but somehow a boy is in the training program to become a pilot.

Forecast: Artificial gender limitation, it seems if you run out of ideas, you can always use this to create a story...

Video time: 4:15
Yumekui Merry

A guy who can see other people's dream meets a girl from the "dream world".

Forecast: I've actually been trying to start reading the manga this adapted from, if time allows. But this possibly provide an alternative.

Video time: 4:30

The second coming of early maturing elementary student doing gross things...

Forecast: Nope, nope, nope, wouldn't touch it with 100 ft pole.

Video time: 4:44
Onii-chan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki ja Nai'n Dakara ne!!

Story about a guy who like to collect porn and his younger sister, who actually approves of that...

Forecast: What a dysfunctional family. But it could be interesting.

Video time: 4:58
Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika

A magical girl anime?

Forecast: Don't we already have too many of these?

Video time: 5:13

A joint project of GAINAX and SUBARU (since when do they make animes?)

Forecast: I searched far and wide, but can't seem to come up with any info on what this anime is about.