Monday, January 31, 2011

[Movie] Kowarekake no Orgel

It seems that there has been a flood of short independent anime movies lately (well, actually, the flood came a year ago, and we're just getting them due to the DVD release delay). On top of that, there seems to be a stream of "great concept minus" animes such as Loups=Garous I just reviewed and this one.

The concept is more or less borrowed from first half of Chobits, which was an amazing concept at the time. Almost ten years later, they want to revive almost exact same concept without the complicated mess on top of the simple idea.

The problem, however, is the fact everybody has already know this concept, and this is not more than just a quick shuffle of characters, social background. It doesn't feel fresh at all. It's just "something" to watch when you're really out of stuff to watch (which looking at this season's new animes, it's really not that crazy to think now).

So, again, this anime also get an "you're not missing much if you skip it" from me.

Score: 73

[Movie] Loups=Garous

In a future world when all food mankind consumes can be synthetically produced, the world become a highly organized and controlled society where every move, every action of everybody is being watched and monitored. But even in such a society, there are predators known as Loups-Garous that prey on innocent children for mysterious reasons. A group of girls set on a quest to find out what's behind it when their friend went missing.

This movie, in my opinion is best described as Ghost in the Shell minus. It attempts to create an world that mimics that in GitS with couple of crucial elements missing. And these missing elements, made this story feel quite awkward.

The story is originall written by Natsuhiko Kyougoku, who also wrote Hundred Stories and Mouryou no Hako. He's very well know for his mental horror stories, but is also known notoriously for the slowness and dialog heavy in many of his stories. That was clearly shown in this movie. While the the story doesn't feel extremely slow, but there were multiple points in the story I was just asking "is it over?" or "is it supposed to be over?!"

The problem I see about this movie is there isn't much a continuity. Each segment feels very disconnected, even though they eventually come together, but it's kind of too little too late where the momentum of rest of the story has already vanished (if there were any to begin with).

So overall, my recommendation for this movie is "you're not missing much if you skip it". You can quote me on that :-) I want my hour and half wasted time back.

Score: 70

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Toaru Majutsu no Index II: Chain Events

Currently finished: Episode 15

At the end of season one of Index, I was quite unsatisfied about how the entire series has been. However, recent development in this season start to show some connections that relates all the way back some arcs in season one which seemed to be somewhat unrelated to the main plot line.

Honestly, I think that break between season one and two is probably the worst thing that has happened to this series. I believe much of the discontent people have with season one is the fact there was not much of a central plot other than the main characters all arcs from season one could relate to. Only if they hadn't taken the break, this would be a much better anime.

As for the story itself, it's pretty clear at this point the main plot probably has something to do with the the conflicts between different christian churches, mainly between the Roman Catholics and Anglican Communion. I'm not a religious person, so much of these are just going right over my head. Luckily, someone created a Index wiki on wikia, and you can get much of these religion mumbo jumbo from that if you want. Just remember to watch out for the spoilers.

[Movie] Cencoroll

A huge monster appears in the middle of a city in Japan. Apparently it's controlled by somebody else. A girl got involuntarily involved in the battle between these monsters when she accidentally saw one guy controlling one of the monsters.

This, is a weird one. It starts off by jumping right in the middle of the story with no explanation what so ever. Although you start to pick up clues about what's up, they still never give you any explanation on anything: everything you eventually know (or you think you know) about the monsters and the people controlling them are all made from the assumptions based on information gathered from what's been happening. But nevertheless, I think it's quite interesting.

The story is adapted from a one shot manga named Amon Game. With run time of only 25 minutes, it sure is a short movie. The second movies has already been announced, but I'm still not aware of a release date yet. Maybe they'll talk more about what exactly is everything about in the second movie?!

Score: 81

[OVA] Zettai Karen Children: Aitazousei! Ubawareta Mirai?

If you were hoping this OVA would provide somewhat a closure to the Zettai Karen Children saga, then you'd be in for a big disappointment.

This really is not different than any other arc in the entire series, with exception of the three children are in middle school instead of elementary school.

Honestly, unless you're a too big of a fan of Zettai Karen Children, you may as well skip this. You're not going to get much new out of this OVA.

Score: 79

[OVA] Hiyokoi

Hiroyi is a very small and timid first year high school student who got in the accident before school started and hasn't been coming to school until now. Her shyness was strongly contrasted by Yuushin, who sits right next to her and constantly make fun of her.

I have to admit, this is the type of story that I have no defense against (no, it's not the cuteness that gets me, well, maybe just a little, but that's not the primary reason my defense is weak against it). First of all, it's a shoujo anime. So if you're allergic to shoujo stories, you might as well stop and skip. It very much follows the manly man and girly girl shoujo model. In fact, there is not much more than just a short story gives you warm and fuzzy feelings. So if you feel like a quick switch of pace or just suddenly have the urge to have something give you some warm fuzzies, then this is perfect.

Score: 83

Monday, January 24, 2011

Freezing: The Art of Explosive Deconstruction

Currently finished: Episode 2

While the concept of Explosive Deconstruction of female clothing is simple, there are many different ways to go about it. There's the "one blow take 'em all except the important part" style from Ikkitousen series; there is also the "slowly but surely chipping away until nothing left" style from Queen's Blade series; then there is "simply and properly strip them without resort to force" style found in Aika series.

So you ask, which one does Freezing fall under? Well, from what I've seen so far, I'd say it definitely falls under the Queen's Blade's "slowly but surely chipping away" method. In fact, some part of the story is so efficient in exposing female body in a particular way that it feels like we are watching an alternative universe remake of Queen's Blade all over again.

The story? I'd say it is generic to an extreme--so far every single event is predictable. And when a character appeared on the screen, I can almost tell what role is he/she going to play in the story. Yes, it is that generic.

[OVA][Ended] Tamayura

With Australian Open fighting everything else for the occupying my free time, my anime watching time has been significantly reduced. But with January season being kicked into autopilot, I can now start to pull up some OVAs that I downloaded from last couple of months that I never had a chance to watch. The first one is an OVA called "Tamayura":

Fu Sawatari just entered high school and moved to a small village. She loves photography. And this is the story how photography has become the integral part of her life.

Tamayura is an phenomenon in photography that causes the result picture to have somewhat of a glittering effect. Although very loosely constructed, this story more or less revolves around a picture Fu had taken long time ago about her father that has this phenomenon. Her father had since passed away, but she never stopped searching to once again reproduce the phenomenon.

The story is light, very light. In fact, I'd say it's even light for a light drama. At run time of only 14 minutes per episode, this is a very good change of pace if you just feel like to watch something that relaxes both your heart and your brain, at the same time, feel the warmth of a story about how a girl never gives up in finding her father's legacy.

One other interesting thing about this anime (well, more specifically, the casts) is that three of the main characters are voiced by three very distinctively recognizable loli voices that has played a major loli role lately: Fu Sawatari = Azu"nyan" (K-ON!), Kaoru Hanawa = Poplar Taneshema (Working!!), and Norie Okazaki = "Index" (To Aru Majutsu no Index). It's very interesting to hear them all at the same time in the same conversation.

Score: 86 - Light and Relaxing

Thursday, January 20, 2011

[Poll] Top 5 for January 2011

I've been waiting for this new anime that supposedly done by GAINAX and SUBARU, but I'm getting a bit impatient because according to their web site, the premiere date is February 1st. And after seeing the trailer on their web site ( I don't think it's going to be anything of importance that would affect my decision on this month's top five. So, I'm going to go ahead take my pick on January 2011 season's top five.

Looking back at all the premiere episodes, there are two words I'd like use to describe this season:

Utterly Pathetic

There are only a hand full I would consider to be not completely worthless, and even less I would consider decent. This is probably the worst season my blog has ever seen.

Last season, top three of my top five pick matched up exactly with the poll I put up. I think it's mostly because these three are animes with such exceptional qualities that no other anime in the season could match, and everybody agrees with that. This season, however, from my conversations I had with friends that also watch anime, I can already tell the poll is going to be all over the place. Really, if you have to pick a best out of pool of garbage, there's no telling what you would pick. Sadly, this is what we have to do for this season.

So, my top five pick for January 2011 new anime season are:

  1. Yumekui Merry
  2. Dragon Crisis
  3. Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica [Edit: 2/21/2011]
  4. Level E
  5. Fractale

In fact, this season is so bad, the only sure pick I have at the moment is my No. 1 pick, Yumekui Merry. So don't blame me if number 2 through 5 do not come out as good as you expect.

[Edit: 2/21/2011] I completely didn't see it coming, but Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica is such a good anime, so good that I'm willing to knock off the No. 3 spot anime from the season opener and replace it with Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. Yes, it's that good.

Monday, January 17, 2011

[New January 2011] Cardfight!! Vanguard

Japanese title: CARDFIGHT!! ヴァンガード
Info/Watch Online:
Genres: Card Duel
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Two people, dueling cards.

First impression score: -- ~ I refuse to rate it

Personal comments: I don't know why I even bother to watch it at all. Dueling card anime is dueling card anime is dueling card anime. There's never going to be anything new to it. It's always about some dude miraculously become the second coming of the dueling card Jesus who saves mankind from certain destruction caused by card dueling.

[New January 2011] Fractale

Japanese title: フラクタル
Info/Watch Online:
Genres: Scifi / Drama / Action? / Comedy?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: In the future, people developed a system called Fractale to control the world so everybody can live freely without having to work. One day a boy run into a girl and his life is forever changed.

First impression score: 82 ~ ...huh?

Personal comments: Calling this opening episode weird would be an understatement. I'd say it's close to strangely bizarre. But I'm generally getting somewhat a positive buzz from it. This is actually one of my most anticipated series from this season. I think the premise is interesting, now we'll have to see how everything comes together for the plot.

[New January 2011] Hourou Musuko

Japanese title: 放浪息子
Info/Watch Online:
Genres: Drama / Romance?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: It's a story about a boy who like to dress like a girl, and a girl who want to dress like a boy. They now just entered junior high, it seems they'll have some rough time ahead of them.

First impression score: 80 ~ Just...weird

Personal comments: It's definitely an unusual concept. It gives me a weird tingle on the back of my neck, but I'm not sure if it's a dislike I'm feeling. Because it's so weirdly intriguing, on top of that, it's also a Noitamina anime, I'm willing to give it a couple more episodes just to see.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

[New January 2011] Dragon Crisis!

Japanese title: ドラゴンクライシス!
Info/Watch Online:
Genres: Comedy / Dragon?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Some dude came to help his cousin to retrieve some national treasure, but they end up getting a ... red dragon?!

Familiar Voices:
  • Rie Kugimiya (釘宮理恵) as "red dragon" Rose. This is one voice that need no introduction, the most famous loli voice, ever: Shana, "Zero" Louise, also non-loli roles such as Alphonse Elric.
  • Yukana (ゆかな) as Eriko, she already appeared a couple of posts ago, she's known as of C.C., Teletha, Akiko, and more. Unlike Infinite Stratos her voice here actually sounds more like C.C.

First impression score: 84~ Interesting start

Personal comments: So far, it's pretty interesting. The fact Rie Kugimiya plays a major role just adds extra bonus (even though she only speaks like two words in the entire episode ^_^). I'm actually looking forward to this one.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

[New January 2011] Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season

Japanese title: 君に届け 2ND SEASON
Genres: Comedy / Romance
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: The story of Sawako and her friends continues .

First impression score: 86 ~ Feels just like the previous series

Personal comments: I like this story, I really do. If there is one thing that bothers me, it's Sawako's ability to over analyze every single situation. It's kind of interesting, but I think it slowly starting to get annoying.

[New January 2011] Level E

Japanese title: レベルE
Info/Watch Online:
Genres: Supernatual / Drama
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A guy came to a new town to go to start a new high school. When he arrived his apartment, there is a guy there waiting there claims to be an alien.

Familiar voice: Daisuke Namikawa (浪川大輔) as "the alien". Does he sound familiar? Of course, he is the voice of Italy from Hetalia.

First impression score: 83 ~ Intriguing

Personal comments: This first episode is very intriguing, much better than what their web site looked. Also, is it just me or there's something in this anime feels very much like Occult Academy?

[New January 2011] Onii-chan no Koto nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne!!

Japanese title: お兄ちゃんのことなんかぜんぜん好きじゃないんだからねっ!!
Genres: Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: This is a story about a highly dysfunctional family where the brother is pervert, and the younger sister is even a bigger pervert who loves to tease him and want him to act perverted to her.

First impression score: 72 ~ I just don't understand...

Personal comments: Last season, we've seen a story about brother and sister that breaks the archetype of the "male otaku"/"male pervert" that are seen way too often in the world of anime. Now, this story tries to break almost the same model by taking a different approach, a more perverted approach: rather than a simple role reversal, they still presented the brother as the pervert role, but presented the littler as a far more perverted person. While the concept sounds interesting, honestly, I'm not sure if it work--at least not for me: there is somewhat of a strong dislike about this anime that I don't know where it comes from...

[New January 2011] Wolverine

Japanese title: ウルヴァリン
Info/Watch Online: ??
Genres: Action / Superhero
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: In order to find the girl he loves, Logan comes to Japan.

First impression score: 77 ~ Something doesn't look right...

Personal comments: Maybe because there has been multiple animated adaptation of Wolverine, this tall and skinny version of Logan just does doesn't look right. But I guess time would eventually fix that. Compare to Iron Man, I didn't feel nearly as much power or impact from this opening episode. On top of that, due to the difference in nature between this and Iron Man, certain crazy stunt that they managed to pull off in Iron Man just doesn't feel nearly as smooth or natural here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

[New January 2011] Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?

Japanese title: これはゾンビですか?
Info/Watch Online:
Genres: Comedy / Drama / Magic
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A guy who was killed was turned into zombie by a necromancer. He sets out to find his murderer, but accidentially ran into a magical girl, who lost her power because of him.

First impression score: 78 ~ Huh?!

Personal comments: Um...I really don't know what to say about this anime. As I see it, it could get interesting, but also has potential to go really really bad. Oh, yeah, and I wonder how much did Dyson pay them to make a blatant product placement for the air multiplier fan...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

[New January 2011] Beelzebub

Japanese title: べるぜバブ
Info/Watch Online:
Genres: ...?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A high school bad boy picked up a baby from a river. Now he's stuck with him, who happens to be the son of the demon king.

First impression score: 80 ~ ...

Personal comments: Can I just say the naked baby bothers me a lot? If I ever decide to drop this one, it's probably because I just couldn't take that naked baby any more.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

[New January 2011] Freezing

Japanese title: フリージング
Genres: Supernatual / Alien Invasion
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: The world is being invaded by creatures called Nova from different dimensions. Pandora is an organization that trains trains people to fight against Nova.

Familiar Voices:
  • Mamiko Noto (能登麻美子) as Sattelizer Bridget. If you still can't identify her voice, then you have a hearing problem. She's known for her roles as Sawako from Kimi ni Todoke, Yakumo from School Rumble, Ai, Jigoku Shoujo "Hell girl", and my personal favorite, Shimako from Maria-sama ga Miteru, and many many more.

First impression score: 76 ~ Um...Nudity?! Why?

Personal comments: First off, it's a cheap concept to build a story upon to begin with. To make matter even worse, they decide to include uncensored frontal nudity, which in my opinion is completely unnecessary given the situation. Before I started watching, I was actually kind of hoping this is going to be at least half way decent, but now it doesn't look like it's going to even make that far. What a pity.

[New January 2011] Rio: Rainbow Gate!

Japanese title: Rio - Rainbow Gate!-
Info/Watch Online:
Genres: ??? / Fan Service?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Rio is a girl that people call her "Goddess of Victory" who works in Rainbow Gate Casino.

First impression score: 50 ~ WTF is this s*#t

Personal comments: WTF IS THIS S*#T!! You think Devil May Cry anime is cheesy? This is about a gazillion times worse.

[New January 2011] Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica

Japanese title: 魔法少女まどか★マギカ
Genres: Magical Girl / Children's?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A girl is visited in dream by someone asking her to become a magical girl to save the world. .

Familiar Voices:
  • Aoi Yuuki (悠木碧) as Madoka. Although she too plays a loli role here, she doesn't sound anything like Princess Mina from Dance in the Vampire Bund, except when whe's screaming. In fact, she sounds more like Sunako from Shiki.

First impression score: 80 ~ Magical Girl

Personal comments: Magical girl anime is magical girl anime. It follows a specific formula and usually doesn't go off track. Use your own judgement to decide whether you want to pick up a magical girl anime to watch.

Monday, January 10, 2011

[New January 2011] GOSICK

Japanese title: GOSICK -ゴシック-
Info/watch online:
Genres: Detective / Mystery / Drama
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A Japanese dude came to study in a foreign country, she then meets a girl who could solve mystery crimes.

Familiar Voices:
  • Aoi Yuuki (悠木碧) as Victorique de Blois. It took no more than half a second after she start speaking for me to recognize her as the voice of Princess Mina from Dance in the Vampire Bund, she sounds not a bit different from Princess Mina. Though not nearly as famous as Rie Kugimiya, she's slowly becoming somewhat famous for a different type of loli roles. In additional Princess Mina, her credits include Murasaki from Kure-nai and Sunako from Shiki.

First impression score: 82 ~ Mysterious

Personal comments: I think the theme for this anime season is to make the early part of the story as confusing as possible--although what happened kind of make some sense, nothing else do. I hope they explains everything along the way, not just leaving important details hanging.

[New January 2011] Yumekui Merry

Japanese title: 夢喰いメリー
Genres: Drama / Supernatual / Action? / Comedy?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: This dude has been having weird dreams. He can also see weird color auras from different people and could identify their dreams from that. He's than being chased by some creature from dream world, but was rescued by someone named Merry.

First impression score:
85 ~ Confusing but interesting

Personal comments: The manga this anime is based on has been on my to-read list for a while, but never got a chance to get to it. The story is very confusing at the moment, but I like what I see so far, and I like the art. I think it has potential.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

[New January 2011] IS: Infinite Stratos

Japanese title: IS〈インフィニット・ストラトス〉
Genres: Action / Drama / Mecha / Comedy?!
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Infinite Stratos is a exoskeleton machinery that normally only female could operate (why?). When the world's only male that can operate IS enters the all-female IS academy, things start to get interesting.

Familiar Voices:
  • Youko Hikasa (日笠陽子) as Houki Shinonono. It didn't take long for me to recognize her voice: Mio of K-ON!.
  • Yukana (ゆかな) as Cecilia Alcott, best known as the voice of C.C. from Code Geass, Teletha from Fullmetal Panic!, as well as Akiko from Eve no Jikan. Because of the way she talks in this series, I think she sounds more like Teletha than others.
  • Megumi Toyoguchi (豊口 めぐみ) as Chifuyu Orimura, probably best known as Revy from Black Lagoon series, who has almost exactly same tone in the voice here.

First impression score: 80 ~ Funny but lack of coherency

Personal comments: The setting of this series is a bit absurd. While they make the claim only female could operate IS, they give no reason what so ever on why male couldn't operate IS. On top of that, I find the actions and conversations of the main characters greatly lack of coherency. I'm not sure whether they're only trying to make themselves look like a B-grade anime or are they really intend to make a B-grade anime. I hope it'll get better as it goes.

[New January 2011] Starry Sky

Japanese title: Starry☆Sky
Genres: Romance / Reverse Harem
I've watched: 2 episode

Summary: Some dude came to a school looking for a girl he met in his childhood. She happens to be the only girl enrolled in the school which used to be all male and just recently accepting female students.

First impression score: 78 ~ Huh?!

Personal comments: This is a short episode (~10 minutes) series that is broadcasted via web. I think I know what story they're trying to tell, but, somehow it just doesn't feel right.