Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kaiji 2: Gamble Excitement

Currently finished: Episode 8

Just when I thought that this part of the story involves no strategy since the game is purely based on luck, they surprise me by analyzing gambling psychology on cheaters and cheating. When dusts settles, you'd realize there really isn't anything big or complicated, nor is it that difficult to figure out once they started the process. But man, that was some intensely exciting gambling. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Seikon no Qwaser II: Awe

Currently finished: Episode 6

Take away the unorthodox presentation, you'd find out the core concept lies beneath the surface is actually not much different than most other action/drama animes: love and friendship in its purest form versus evil who tries to take over the world. In the case of Seikon no Qwaser, this "love" is presented in a very, um..., "pure" yet bizarre form (in fact, I'd say even the word bizarre is an understatement for it). I am completely blown away by the talent of the story's author.

While my opinion was somewhat mixed for season one, I have to say so far this second season has been somewhat impressive. The biggest difference, I think is that without having to ease audience into this bizarre concept, it jumped right into the actions. There was almost no dull moments and plot movement is extremely efficient. A little boobs sucking actions in the uncensored version actually help to reduce bad action scenes: think this way, wherever there would be a somewhat lame action sequence, they simply substitute it with the squeezing, sucking, moaning, and stuff. I'm not saying this is a particular good substitution, it is a very...interesting substitution, so long they don't abuse it.

Oh, on a side note, I just realized that as the voice goes,


That, actually came somewhat a surprise. Now the image of Mio is forever tainted. (No, just kidding)

Deadman Wonderland: Interesting Twist

Currently finished: Episode 7

Aside from Ano Hana, this is probably the only other good series from this season that didn't enter the midseason slump. By continuously introducing new puzzle pieces, the story stays fresh. Whereas most other series at this point already start to cash in on what they've built up so far by repeating events with essentially same contents. 

One thing that I'm really glad about the recent development is the fact they finally start to address the biggest questionI had since the beginning: who is Shiro and why is she here and free to move around as she does?

Like Ano Hana, I think Deadman Wonderland is also worthy of being granted a 

Second look score: 95

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai: Slowly and Steadly

Currently finished: Episode 7

While series like Tiger and Bunny, [C], Ao no Exorcist, entered the midseason drag, Ano...(let's just call it Ano Hana for short), is slowly but steadily climbing. At the moment, I think it has overtaken every other series and has become my new No. 1 series for the season.

The story manages to lighten up quite a bit here and there while maintaining a very heavy-hearted tone overall. On top of that, as the story progresses, it starts to slowly reveal the somewhat complex relationships, both past and present, among these childhood friends.

Another thing I really like about it is the rapid shifts between the two extreme ends of the emotion spectrum: one moment it could be making you burst into laughter, the next moment you'd be sobbing from the sorrow you're feeling. To me, the contrast between the two extremes brings out much stronger emotion, but to some, this extreme bipolar shift drive them nuts. I guess it depends on how you like strong emotions to be presented to you.

Lately I haven't been awarding any animes with a "Second Look" score because none has touched me enough for not waiting till the end of the series before adjusting my first impression score. But Ano Hana is so good, I will award it:

Second Look Score: 96

Monday, May 16, 2011

[C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control: The Parallels

Currently finished: Episode 5

Unless you're really detached from money and investment or economic in general, you can't help but notice there is a sly undertone of the story where the mysterious Midas Bank symbolically represents the group of elitists who are in control of today's financial market; and the "deal" being the battle of money and power amongst the elitists where only the few who are granted the privilege could participate but the outcome is likely to affect everybody else in the world as well.

I think that's why I was so intrigued by it at first place, that and Mashu is such a cute "asset".

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hidan no Aria: It always happens like that

Currently finished: Episode 5

This is about one of the most commonly used plot device in all animes: despite the main guy/gal has feeling towards the main gal/guy, he/she will not admit it. When it is clear it's just a tad too late, he/she confesses his/her feelings. But that's ok because either the clock is a bit off or some mysterious miracle is going to happen, or, simply, some sheer will power will make something happen so the couple will live happily ever after.

Don't writers ever get tired of this?

[Ended] Moshidora: Management Like Nothing Else

This, is a fairy tale of epic proportion, a Cinderella story that with not magic, but logic.

Before this, I have never thought I'd be a baseball themed anime other than One Outs. Moshidora, not only managed to get me interested, but also pulled me so far in and get emotionally attached that when the pre-climactic drop hit, I could not stop tears from rolling out from my eyes.

Grant it the part that got me so pumped up emotionally doesn't really have anything to do with baseball itself, nevertheless, that was a very well made climax. People knows me knows that when I tell you an anime is good, you ought to ask me whether back whether it's good in a traditional sense, or it is "my type of good", which usually involve very strong negative emotions. While this is definitely a good anime by traditional measure, the final climax (or pre-climax depending on how you look at it) just put the icing on the cake by acing the emotional part of the story.

Another interesting thing about this anime is the fact it's almost a full length short season (10 episodes is slightly short of a normal short season), but instead of the traditional three month airing schedule, they aired one episode per day for 10 straight days. With an extremely tight schedule like that, not only it helps in building continuity of the story, the shortened delay between the pre-climax and what is to come really helped in rendering a much heightened emotional climax.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 93 (Emotional)
Comedy: 88 (Deformation)
Action: 90 (Baseball)
Art/Animation: 92 (Typical, but very lovable)
Sound/Music: 90 (Good)
Character: 98 (Very distinct personalities)
Plot: 94 (Applied management theory)
Ending: 90 (Fairy tale like)

Re-watch value: 60 - May not be as emotional, but still intriguing

Overall: 94 - Sports anime of the Season

Recommendation: Strictly speaking, this really isn't a sports anime, just as One Outs is not really a sports anime either. But if you are looking for a sports anime to watch and don't mind baseball anime, this actually provides enough to satisfy your craving. However, if you're simply looking for a well written, emotional story, and don't mind a little Cinderella style fairy tale, definitely pick this one up. It is a very good anime. Maybe I can find a better award for it when rest of the season finishes up, but for time being, I'm going to at least hand it:

Sports Anime of the Season for April 2011 Anime Season

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Oretachi Ni Tsubasa wa Nai: Failed SHAFT Imitation?

Currently finished: Episode 5

Ok, first thing first, W!T!F!?

Now that's out of the way, is it just me or this feels like a terrible attempt of imitating SHAFT style anime? It got this weird camera shift thing going all over the place, clearly borrowed from SHAFT animes like Ef and Bakamonogatari. But something in this just doesn't feel right. For one, I think the overemphasis of the camera work on boobies and panties did more harm than good (well, overusing boobies and panties shots are just annoying in general, except when they are done really right, then it just become somewhat amusing). 

On top of that, unlike SHAFT, who normally defines the character before putting them into a massively confusing environment, there are so many different characters introduced so quickly here, five episodes in, I'm still having trouble matching faces to names or what anybody had done in previous episodes.

Then there's the story. I bang my head left and right after each episode, yet I still couldn't figure out anything sensible about the plot. It starts to make me wonder, do they actually have a plot? It seems whenever things start to make slight sense, they scramble them and start over in a different realm. Sure it could be amusing from time to time. But if they play the exact same game over and over again, you'll start to wonder whether they actually have anything at all in their bag.

Sengoku Otome: Yoshimoto's Dress

Currently finished: Episode 3

Did anybody else notice that Yoshimoto's dress is awfully similar to the one wear by Mouri in Sengoku Basara?

I think we've seen too many anime adaptation of warring period Japan lately, because I for one is getting a little tired of this. Unless something really interesting happens soon, I think Sengoku Otome won't stay on my watch list for much longer.

Monday, May 2, 2011

[Dropped] Toriko: Imaginary Food

Latest episode seen: Episode 2

This is an anime about food, imaginary food. Maybe I'm missing something, but what can you possibly get from a story about imaginary food?

Beelzebub: Again and Again

Currently finished: Episode 15

Is it just me or things in this anime are getting really really old?

It was somewhat new and interesting at first. Then when it got repetitive, introduction of new character manages to keep thing going for a little bit. But now, it's just same ol' stuff over and over and over again.

With 28 new series competing for me time, if this doesn't get interesting again, it will end up in the trash soon.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Moshidora: That's a Stupid Execuse

Currently finished: Episode 5

If that's her problem with baseball...why doesn't she just play softball?! That's some pretty far out excuse.

But, I'm not going to hold it against this anime, because frankly, this has been the only anime aside from One Outs has gotten me all excited about baseballs.