Thursday, June 30, 2011

[Ended] Astarotte no Omocha: Far Out, Definitely Far Out

From a 10 years old succubus princess requires male's "white liquid" to survive to the succubus queen having a child with 10 years old boy, there are so many thing in this anime is just plain...wrong. I'm surprised that a US based company ( is willing to pick this series up at first place and see it through the end without pulling the plug in the middle, yet other US based company wouldn't even show guns and swords in One Piece.

While I don't think it's a bad series, I don't think there's much of anything here that I would call good either. It's mediocre at best. It's one of those thing you watch once and forget about it. Nothing here leaves any lasting impression.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 72 (Less than mediocre)
Comedy: 80 (Ok, to certain extend)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 81 (So so)
Sound/Music: 80 (Nothing special)
Character: 80 (Copy n' Paste)
Plot: 78 (Not much)
Ending: 70 (Plain)

Re-watch value: 10 - I don't see why would you

Overall: 79 - Um...Ok...Next...

Recommendation: In my opinion, this is completely a waste of time.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

[Ended] A Channel: Blah

As far as manga goes, A Channel and K-ON! are identical in format. However, unlike K-ON!, whose anime propelled it to the next level, A Channel's anime...did not. In terms of format, it's much closer to Lucky Star than K-ON!: there are a lot less serialized material, a lot more random events.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 75 (Nothing special)
Comedy: 80 (So so)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 80 (Typical)
Sound/Music: 80 (I like the opening theme)
Character: 75 (Copy n' Paste)
Plot: N/A
Ending: N/A

Re-watch value: 30 - I don't see why would you

Overall: 79 - B- or C+

Recommendation: While I don't really have anything bad to say about this series, nor do I have anything good about it. Generally, series like this ends up with a score of B-. I'd say this is complete waste of time. You'd be better off spending your time watching something else.

Monday, June 27, 2011

[Ended] Dog Days: Children's Fairy Tale

I have to say this series far exceeded my original expectation. But that doesn't really say much since my original expectation for this series is...pretty much next to nothing.

If you want to categorize this series, it would fall dead center into the slot labeled "Children's Fairy Tale". It has the ability to make a child happy, sad, and scared, all without the loss of innocence. Even the ending is in the typical fashion of a typical children's fairy tales. As an adult, this story may seems too...innocent to even withstand. But for a child, or if you can manage to tune your mind into a 7-year-old, this is a indeed very enjoyable series.

Oh, one more observation: The story revolves completely around the main character, Cinque. The role it takes on, actually reminds me very much of Belldandy from Ah! My Goddess: perfect in all aspects and always manages to save the moments. It literally the male version of Belldandy for Biscotti! As for rest of the characters, they're more or less the cookie cutter  characters for stories of this kind.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 85 (Typical fairy tale)
Comedy: 82 (So so)
Action: 82 (Jumping and flipping)
Art/Animation: 82 (Kind of cute)
Sound/Music: 88 (I like the opening theme)
Character: 80 (Cookie cutter)
Plot: 84 (Children's bedtime story)
Ending: 80 (Perfect fairy tale ending)

Re-watch value: 60 - To tell your children a bedtime story?

Overall: 82 - Children's Fairy Tale

Recommendation: As for absolute quality goes, this is the mediocre of mediocre. However, I think this makes quite a good children's bedtime story.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

[Ended] Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai: Friends, Forever

As a huge fan of stories that evokes strong emotions, this, may well be my holy grail. 

For starters, I want to say I have not seen any anime series that is so emotionally charged since the ending scenes of Angel Beats!. In fact, throughout the course of this shorter-than-normal short anime season (only 11 episodes), I think Ano Hana has brought more tears into my eye than any anime I've ever seen, including the two series of Clannad combine.

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai is a tale about love and friendship; the love that is so strong, it manifests itself long after the death of the person, and the friendship that is so tightly bounded it overtook the obstacles to bring friends separated by hate and regret for many years back together. It is so powerful that you literally would have to have a heart cold as stone to not wet your eyes throughout the course of the series.

The story tracks 6 childhood friends one who die in an accident when all of them were young. One day, she came back as a ghost but only one of them can see her. Slowly, with the help of the ghost, they start to gather once more to find out that even they thought they have grown up to a different person, they really haven't changed, especially those feelings they have towards each other buried deep within their hearts even before that fateful day.

Early on, everything looked simple. It's a simple wish of a dead friend's ghost to reunite her friends. But when new clues start to accumulate, we slowly come to realization that the relationships between these friends are not nearly as innocent as we once thought. Piece by piece, the story builds a highly emotionally charged puzzle, all to be ignited it in the final moments. The process of developing the plot is surprisingly simple, yet extremely effective. There isn't really any complex problem to solve nor would the clues play hide and seek with you, even the art is in the relatively simple style. But when the final moment arrived, the explosion of emotion is so intense, I could not stop tears from flooding out of my eye.

Although the story maintains a heavy-hearted tone throughout the series, it still manages to lighten up from time to time. Not only it strongly contrasts the emotionally charged moments, it also shows that deep down below those the complex issues, they still are just as innocent as they once were.

Even though this is only the fourth series to end in this season, I can already tell you none of the other series that is ending this month would have nearly profound impact as Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai does, therefore, I'm awarding it:

Anime of the Season for Spring 2011 Season

I noticed from my poll that the consensus for the best short season series from this season is Deadman Wonderland. Yes, Deadman Wonderland is indeed a good series, but it doesn't even come close what Ano Hana when it comes to producing powerful emotions. Thus in my opinion Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai wins the award hands down.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 100 (Intense)
Comedy: 97 (Perfect moments)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 99 (Simple yet effective)
Sound/Music: 98 (Also simple yet effective)
Character: 100 (Great)
Plot: 100 (Sentimental)
Ending: 100 (Ends perfectly)

Re-watch value: 80 - Maybe re-ride the emotional rollercoaster

Overall: 100 - Simple and Emotional

Recommendation: I have not awarded any anime a perfect overall score ever since Dennou Coil back in 2007, Angel Beats! and Madoka Magica came pretty close, but never got there. But this, is such a great piece of work that I wouldn't even have to think twice before handing it a perfect overall score. A word of caution, I am a huge fan of sentimental stories, sadder the story makes me, more I actually like it. But for those who isn't quite fond of getting in touch of your negative side of emotions, this may not be nearly as a satisfying experience. You have to appreciate strong emotions in order to fully appreciate this story.

Friday, June 24, 2011

[Ended] C - The Money of Soul and Possibility Control: Present vs. Future

I can't exactly say I'm disappointed about this series, but, I know that it did not quite meet my expectation. Having said that, however, while it didn't turn out to be the A+ grade anime I was hoping for, this is still a very decent series.

While the story is really not that technical, to fully appreciate the story, you really have to know the ins and outs on today's financial market. Since I have vast investment interest in stock market, I am very aware of the current situation with economy and financial market. That alone makes me appreciate the story so much more than some other people did: quite a few extremely harsh online reviews towards this series I came across were all talking about the aesthetics, none had recognized or even hinted the massive parallels this series has drawn in relation to today's world's economic and financial crisis.

In fact, I would even go so far to claim that without the knowledge of today's economy and financial market, it'll be almost like watching a chess game without having a clue what the rule of chess is--all you can say is "oh, cool, that thing move there and took that thing out" without understanding the significance and brilliance of each move. To make it even more interesting, the central conflict of the story is the struggle between protecting the present versus protecting the future. That's the exact same question Ben Bernanke has been struggling with in the past four years.

If I lost you somewhere along the way in last two paragraphs, chances are, you're someone that would most likely agree with those that who do not think very highly about this anime. So you might as well not bother to waste your time on this.

Anyway, for those who managed to get through my praising of its technicalities, let's go back to the anime itself.  The reason I say it didn't quite meet my expectation is that I felt it has rushed in many aspects.  While you see the development in characters, it felt more like a "rush-to-conclusion" in which they developed a bit too...quickly. Aside from that, the rest of the series is mostly satisfactory. As I said earlier, the main concept (aside from the massive parallels drawn to today's world's financial market) is the argument of what's worth protecting, the present or the future, when it will cost one to protect the other. It is indeed very interesting topic. The story ended on a somewhat clean note, it too felt a bit rushed.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 92 (Pretty intense)
Comedy: N/A
Action: 87 (Mystical battles)
Art/Animation: 85 (Not the best work, but I do like Mashu)
Sound/Music: 84 (So so)
Character: 90 (Interesting, but a bit rushed on development)
Plot: 90 (Massive parallels)
Ending: 89 (Also a bit rushed)

Re-watch value: 60 - Maybe

Overall: 89 - Interesting ideas

Recommendation: I think if they have just given it another 3 episodes or so to slow down the development of the character just a little bit, and not rush so much in the ending, it'd be a much better series. On top of that, in order to fully appreciate the story, you really have to be very aware of today's economy and stay current on what's going on inside wall street. It's the difference between watching and appreciating the series.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

[Ended] Oretachi Ni Tsubasa wa Nai: Brilliant Concept, But...

It came pretty close to drop off the bottom of my list, but I sure am glad I kept it. This story has quite a brilliant concept, but, the execution really could have been better. For one, I understand that all those panty and boob shots are probably the byproduct of adapting from the game, but I think the could have tuned it down just a bit without affecting the story or losing certain demographics of the viewer. In my opinion, they completely overdid it and caused more harm than good by driving away audiences.

While the entire series seems like a complete chaos, after finishing the final episode, you'd realize that it has been secretly and strategically dropping small pieces of clues along the way since the very beginning of the series. They plot construction is actually quite brilliant: even though most people probably could get the general idea about what's going on two thirds way through, it managed to keep the actual answer to everything hidden away from audience until the very last episode. That's some cleverly cunning screenwriting and directing.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 90 (Interesting)
Comedy: 90 (Quite funny)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 85 (Typical)
Sound/Music: 84 (Theme song is good, rest is so so)
Character: 93 (Very interesting)
Plot: 90 (Brilliant)
Ending: 89 (Complete)

Re-watch value: 70 - May want to do another quick run through to catch some missed clues

Overall: 86 - Only if it had less panty shots

Recommendation: I felt it had quite a interesting plot. Due to the nature of the story, it's hard to go into details without spoiling anything. In my opinion, aside from somewhat excessive usage of panty shots, this is an intriguing story. I would say most people that likes a good brain twister would probably like this. It's just you have to be able to put up with some excessive panty shots.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sengoku Otome: Just Getting Started

Currently finished: Episode 11

I am really tired of these 80% filler and 20% content series. If you watch episode 1, skip episode 2 through 10 and continue with episode 11, you would not have missed a thing. They literally spent 9 episodes making random Japanese history references and telling fart jokes. Sometime I wonder why didn't I drop this series from the get-go...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Channel: K-ON! Character Transformed?

Currently finished: Episode 10
Since A Channel is pretty low on my priority list so I've been omitting it from my watch cycle until recently. After getting a little marathon A Channel run, I can't help but to notice there are some distinct similarities between the characters from A Channel and K-ON!. In fact, every major character from K-ON! is almost exactly mapped into one in A Channel.

the "caring""Mugi" + the "clumsy"Yui =  Run
The only exception of the one-to-one mapping. If you think about it, they literally rolled "Mugi"-chan and Yui into one character to create Run.
the "model" Mio =Yuuko
Tall, pretty, long black hair, and easily scared, Mio and Yuuko are almost identical in many ways.
the "brain"Ritsu =Nagi
Always plotting something, but more often than not end up with the short end of the stick.
the "nyan""Azu-nyan" =Tooru
Smart and tiny, usually is the driving force of many things, yet because of her size, often ends in many stressful situation.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

[Ended][Movie] Broken Blade

After almost a year, with the release of the 6th installment of the series, we finally reached the conclusion of this high jumping mecha saga. While this concludes the major conflict introduced in the beginning, it's nowhere near the end. There are quite a few loose ends left.

Personally, I'm not a fan of mecha anime, mostly due to the fact majority of them tend to overemphasize on slow-mo mecha battle and cut corners on the actual plot. In my opinion, there are two types of mecha animes: animes about mecha, and animes have mecha in them. Broken Blade is definitely the latter. While there are no lack of slow-mo mecha battles (in fact, I think they slightly over did some of the slow-mo scenes, but they're still in acceptable range), this is not an anime about the hunk of moving metal, or how someone could get their hands on them. There are many complex inner working parts of the plot, and mecha is merely a tool.

The setting of the story is somewhat unique, at least among the all mecha animes. For one, it has gotten away from the mecha being a externally powered mechanical device and went with mecha being powered purely by the driver. The one that isn't powered by the driver in the story actually being call the freak of nature.

As I said earlier, the story is nowhere near complete. There are so many underplots that were introduced but not resolved. Most importantly, the war is nowhere near ending. This 6 movies only completed the first major battle.

I think this series (of movies) achieved a relatively good balance between advancing plots and fulfilling mecha fans lusts for some metal on metal action.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 90 (multiple climax)
Comedy: N/A
Action: 88 (Slow-mo mecha battles)
Art/Animation: 85 (Typical)
Sound/Music: 93 (Love the theme song)
Character: 91 (well developed)
Plot: 89 (Interesting)
Ending: 87 (At a stop point)

Re-watch value: 75 - May still get some more detail out of it

Overall: 88 - One of the better mecha animes

Recommendation:  Whether you're a big fan of metal on metal action, so long that you don't have a hatred against mecha, you would find this series enjoyable.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sket Dance: Transformed

Currently finished: Episode 9

Early on, the series introduced itself in a way that it felt more or less like a Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatach copy cat. However, somewhere along the way, it transformed into something different. It would be best described as School Rumble type of comedy with some extra touch. Depending on whether you liked School Rumble, this could be a turn for good or bad: to me, School Rumble is one of the best among its kind, but I know some people are quite critical about it as well. In Sket Dance's case, I think it fits its style quite nicely. Even though it came pretty close to falling off the bottom edge of my watching list, now, I am enjoying every minute of it.

Dog Days: Flip It Over

Currently finished: Episode 10

This has come really close to dropping off the bottom of my watching list, because the whole this is just...dumb. However, at the end of episode 6, the story took somewhat of a sharp turn in terms of tone that went from light to somewhat heavy. In the next 4 episodes, it literally flipped everything upside down that went from stupidly happy to seriously dark.

While this shift is interesting, I think this is merely a cheap trick for simple shock value. Sure it provided some extra excitement for about 4 episodes, but now the explosion is over and dusts have settled, I realized that even though the tone of the story has changed significantly, they didn't really up the quality of the story at all. It still feels foolish and corny.

Friday, June 10, 2011

GOSICK: The Curious Case of Face Plant

Currently finished: Episode 19

Face planting is quite a common scene in animes and mangas. What intrigues me, is the fact people that ends up in face plant position almost always ends up with arms fully extended and hands way above their heads. 

In order to end up in that pose after a face plant, you either have to
  1. Run or walk with your hands and arms stuck fully extended straight above your head, or
  2. Run or walk normally, as you're about to fall, quickly raise your arms into a fully extended position...and fall flat on your face. 
In most cases this sort of face plant occurs, you can dismiss scenario no. 1, because even in anime, people don't run around like that. So that leaves us with scenario no. 2. However, if you bring forward your arms from a down position to a fully extended up, you would inadvertently catch the ground and stop short of a face plant. That means...the only feasible way for anybody to have a face plant and end up in a position like that, is to swing their arms half circle backwards in a fully extended upward position as he or she falls. Man, I think I just figured out how all anime characters have face plants. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

[Movie] Broken Blade 5

This is the second to the last installment of the Broken Blade movies series. There are quite some predictable moves throughout the movie. On top of that, there are way, way, way too much mecha slow-mos. Along with lengthy in-combat conversations, I think this movies has the shortest in-story time span. Lots of time you know what's going to happen, you're merely just waiting for the inevitable to appear on the screen. In my opinion, that's a little too frustrating.

As for the story, it starts to slowly tie up all the loose ends of many different threads, in reverse order, meaning that the events that introduced later in the story are being resolved first. While it's nice to see the end to some of them, nevertheless, it makes me feel that the last two episode (3 and 4) are some major waste of time because most things introduced in them gets resolved here in episode 5 and are unlikely to have any major impacts to what is to come in the movie 6 finale.

Episode 5 ended in a major cliffhanger. Even with several conflicts already resolved, it still seems there are a lot need to be finished off in the final installment. Generally, big screen releases are better at actually ending a story than TV series. So hopefully, we can see this slow-mo filled crystal mecha saga wraps nicely.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

[OVA] High School of the Dead: Drifters of the Dead

Just like most extra episode OVAs for any TV series, Highschool of the Dead OVA serves no purpose other than showing off some extra skin, and more importantly, boobs, as if there weren't already enough boobs bouncing around in the original series.

Every time I talk to anybody who likes Highschool of the Dead series (not the manga or the franchise as a whole, only the TV series), I always get something like "It's girls killing zombies, how can you not like it?!" as if zombie killing is the ultimate pass for an anime to have as many shortfalls as they want and people would simply just forgive them. Well, in a way, it kind of makes sense, like so long your goal is to kill Hitler, it makes it ok to do as many horrible things as you want in the process of achieving it. 

So that brings my point for this OVA: there are no zombie killing in this episode what so ever, nada! It is an episode consists of nothing but boobs bouncing and rubbing and squeezing and whatever creative things you can do with boobs. It actually makes me wonder whether the team responsible for Seikon no Qwaser is doing a guest work for Highschool of the Dead. So, taking away the only thing that makes the original series "good", I wonder who in their right mind would still consider this OVA anything but a load of crap. If you disagree, I would like to hear about it. 

Score: 50

*EDIT:* As of right now, there are 4 counts of "What are you smoking" reactions on the bottom of the post, yet I still have not seen a single comment telling me why you disagree with me. If you feel there is a need to react to my post by disagreeing with me, at least state your reasons. Consider that a challenge, not as a whole for my blog, but for this particular post.