Thursday, July 28, 2011

Uta no Prince Sama: The Light Touch

Currently finished: Episode 3

Reverse harem animes are few and far between, and because of its rarity, the general quality tend to be much higher than its counter parts. Although that's not always the case (Starry Sky for example), I find they usually tends to be more interesting.

At the beginning, Uta no Prince Sama looked a bit creepy (mostly because of character's eyes) and story sounds somewhat lame. Then, as the plot progress, I realized this literally is a reincarnation of Kiniro no Corda: Primo Passo, an anime that I considered to be one of the best music themed animes as well as one of the best reverse harem animes (I think my most favorite r-harem anime is still Hanasakeru Seishonen). That said, there are still quite some way to go for this series to be able to achieve what Kiniro no Corda: Primo Passo did. From what I've seen so far, I have high hopes for it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mawaru Penguindrum: Anime on Budget

Currently finished: Episode 3

Longer transformation scenes, less background details, these are the typical techniques anime production use to save money. While the the overall story quality is much higher this season, I'm seeing quite a few animes that exhibiting these symptoms as a direct result of cost saving. Take Mawaru Penguindrum for example, it has one of the longest transformation scenes I have seen lately, combine with the exact same animation dubbed with different dialogs right after, there are about 2-3 minutes of each episode uses the exact same sequence of animation. Then there's the background, they really took that to an extreme. Studio Shaft are know notoriously for doing that, but never to this level. On top of that, Shaft tend to make it visually intriguing while saving costs, this, however, is just...visibly cheap. As much as I'm liking the story so far, I just can't seem to find anything better to say about this.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi: Childish...

Currently finished: Episode 2

Is it just me or this feels like a bed time story for a 4-year old written by a 10-year old?!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

[Poll] Top 5 from Summer 2011

While the economic recession isn't quite over yet, it seems that the anime is back into a booming period. For two consecutive season, there has been so many great new animes coming out that the entire catalog of 2010 would pale by comparison.

However, after the dusts had settled, I realize while the baseline for this season is much better than previous ones, series I would consider exceptional are still few and far between: majority of the series from this season are mostly "above mediocre" line, but, most are pretty far from being exceptional. Among my top 5 picks, I managed to pick out the top 2 without much thinking. But I have to ponder over the other 3 for quite a while before I made the decision because they're just all at the same mediocre level.

My top 5 picks of the summer 2011 anime season are:

  1. Usagi Drop
  2. Natsume Yuujinchou San
  3. Mayo Chiki
  4. Mawaru Penguindrum 
  5. Dantalian no Shoka
First thing first, if you don't agree that Usagi Drop should hold the top spot of the season, then, you may as well stop reading my blog and go surf somewhere else. Chances are, you and I will disagree on 80% of the animes I review here. 

Then, Natsume Yuujinchou San, the only other series I would consider to be exceptional from this season based on the early impressions. What amazes me is that after two full short season series, the story of Natsume Yuujinchou is stilling going strong as ever.

Now, we get into the "group-of-better-than-mediocre-animes", my third place choice, Mayo Chiki. It's somewhat of a cliche, but nevertheless, it's interesting and fun to watch, more so than those who didn't make it to my list.

The fourth place, Mawaru Penguindrum, is just weird and whacky. Generally, I tend to like whacky series that tickles me in the right place. Mawaru Penguindrum did exactly that. I'm very curious about what's going to come out of this. On top of that, whether it'll end up being a tragedy in the end.

Then there's the fifth spot on my top 5 list, Dantalian no Shoka. It seems quite a few people disagree with my comments I made about it feels like a cross between Card Captor Sakura and Pandora Hearts. Honestly, I was not mocking it. Both Card Captor Sakura and Pandora Hearts are series that I was very fond of. I was merely pointing out how I felt watching the opener episode. On top of that, the fact the story this anime based on was written by the original author of Asura Cryin' actually made me respect it so much more. Therefore, it beat all the other "mediocre series" and made into my top 5 list.

The poll for Summer 2011 season is open on the right side of my blog. Feel free to express your opinion about which ones are the best of the season. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

[New July 2011] Manyuu Hikenchou

Japanese title: 魔乳秘剣帖
Genres: Action / Ecchi
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: In a time period where women's breast is everything: big breasts means rich and powerful, small breast means poor and hopeless. The Manyuu clan holds the secret of breast enlargement.

First impression score: 66 - The F$%& is this?!

Personal comments: The success (or lack of failure) of Seikon no Qwaser series inspired many producers to make breast-obsessed animes as close to plain hentai as possible. So far the failure rate in these replicas is right around...100%. Even though they're all about boobs, Qwaser's main line isn't really rooted in boobs, breast just so happened to be the best weapon to get what they wanted--the purpose to get their hands on better boobies is to be able to produce more power. Manyuu on the other hand, is completely rooted in boobs because the sole purpose of getting bigger boobs is to get bigger boobs. In short, in Qwaser, boobs are utilities, but in Manyuu, boobs are goals. It's interesting to see what boobs can be used for, but quite stupid if grabbing and enlarging boobs are all there is.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fairy Tail: Different World, Same Excitement

Currently finished: Episode 87

Honestly, I wasn't really fond of this arc at the beginning because dragging the fight into another world seems to be the last resort a writer would use to carry on the story, because like all ultimate power up animes, once your power level has gone up, it's not coming down. So it seems that once this world barrier is broken, there will be no going back into containment again. Grant it they did plant the seed way back when Mystogan first showed up and when Wendy was introduced, still, it just However, as the arc progress, it exhibits the same high quality as the typical Fairy Tail we've come to know. So, cheating or not, this is just as exciting and moving as it has always been. On top of that, there is a very good chance once this arc is done, this alternate world "level" could be sealed and forgotten without having to become a constant companion of the story down the lone.

What I do like this story so far, is the fact there is almost no pointless fillers. Every time something that might look like a filler comes up, it ends up becoming an in depth development of a specific character. Even once a while there is a one-shot stress release fun episode, it still manages to somehow becoming so touching in the end.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

[New July 2011] Dantalian no Shoka

Japanese title: ダンタリアンの書架
Watch online:
Genres: Drama / Mystery
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: This dude named Hugh inherited a mansion from his grandfather, there he met Dalian, the protector of "Dantalian's Bookshelf" which stores evil and dangerous books.

Familiar voices: Miyuki Sawashiro (沢城みゆき) as Dalian. She's better known as Canaan from Canaan, and Celty from Durarara! For the most part in this episode, she sounds like neither. I barely recognized her voice when she's shouting. 
First impression score: 85 - Recycling more Old Ideas?

Personal comments: The "July Copy Cat" trend continues: this series feels like Card Captor Sakura crosses with Pandora Hearts: instead of fighting cards, they're fighting books; instead of Alice, it's Dalian who he makes a contract with the main guy.

[Edit] I just noticed that the author of the original novel this anime is based on, is Gakuto Mikumo (三雲岳斗), the original author of Asura Cryin', which I was quite fond of. While that doesn't change how I feel about this series at the moment, it does change my expectation to be at a much higher mark than before.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tiger & Bunny: Kicking Up a Notch

Currently finished: Episode 15

Now we're are officially into the second half of the series, the story has kicked everything up a notch, in quite a few ways.

For starter, as if the product placement wasn't apparent enough, the new opening sequence decided to go with even more blatant approach for showing off various "sponsors" on the heroes' costume: now you can clearly see the logo of every single company on heroes' suits. On top of that, there are some new sponsors that start to appear on hero's was not (I double checked) on Bunny's suite during the first half of the series.

Two, there are some indications that some heroes are receiving a power level changes. Who? That I shall not spoil, you should watch it and find out yourself.

Last, on top of the normal business, there has been some interesting romantic side story developments. I'm actually quite interested in what's gonna come out of that. (No, not the tragic one, the one that might actually have a positive outcome.)

After the big tie-in arc at the end of first half of the series, I think it has gone back into the earlier format that each episode focus mostly on character development of a single hero while advancing the overarching plot at the same time. I am actually quite fond of that format because this way, instead of being advertisement models in logo suites, you can get to know each of the heroes in addition to the main pair of the story. So when the time comes, not only would you care for the well being of Tiger and Bunny, you'll have feelings for everybody else in the team as well.

Monday, July 11, 2011

[New July 2011] R-15

Japanese title: あーるじゅうご
Watch online:
Genres: Comedy / Ecchi
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Taketo is a talented high erotic novel writer that goes to a school that only accept outstanding talents and geniuses and free from opinions of society. There he met many strange yet talented people.
First impression score: 85 - Um...Speechless

Personal comments: This one is just out right strange. It feels like Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni with much stronger hentai tendency. I really don't know what to expect of this series down the road.

[New July 2011] Nekogami Yaoyorozu

Japanese title: 猫神やおよろず
Watch online:
Genres: Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Mayu is a daughter of cat gods, because of her recklessness actions in god realm, she's
stripped god power and demoted to human world.

Familiar voices: Haruka Tomatsu (戸松遥) as Mayu. The characteristics of her voice is clear: energetic and playful. She's definitely my top favorite voice actress. Her signature works are probably Lala from ToLoveRu and Nagi from Kannagi.

First impression score: 81 - Funny, to certain extends

Personal comments: This is one of those "just laugh" series. For the most part, you can probably skip it without missing much. But since I'm such a big fan of Haruka Tomatsu, I am going to try to see to the end of this series.

[New July 2011] Kamisama Dolls

Japanese title: 神様ドォルズ
Watch online:
Genres: Action / Drama / Supernatural
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Kyouhe came to Tokyo to get away from his village and what happened there. But little did he know, horrible things have followed him to Tokyo.

First impression score: 89 - Intense

Personal comments: I've come across its manga before, but I never really dug into it. This opening episode started off a little slow, but it picked up the pace fairly quickly. One thing I noticed is that they completely skipped out on the part that they're trying to explain the whole god doll thing to another person. I don't know if they just don't have the time to do it this episode or they're intentionally hiding it from us. One other thing worth noting is that it has a very catchy opening theme song. Both opening and ending theme song are performed by Chiaki Ishikawa (石川智晶), who is one of my favorite Japanese singer, who's credited for the theme songs for all .hack series and Bakurano.

[New July 2011] Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi

Japanese title: いつか天魔の黒ウサギ
Watch online:
Genres: Action / Supernatural
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Taito keep having a strange dream where he was making a promise with someone. After an accident, finally remembered everything.

First impression score: 89 - Intriguing

Personal comments: The story is intriguing, but the color theme used in this anime left even bigger impression. While I don't have a clue what's going on just yet, I'm definitely very interested in seeing what's coming. 

[New July 2011] Mawaru Penguindrum

Japanese title: 輪るピングドラム
Genres: Drama / Supernatural / Comedy?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Kanba and Shouma have a sister who is terminally ill. As she is approaching to the end of her life, a miracle happens, but not without cost.   

First impression score: 90 - Weird and Whacky

Personal comments: This ought to be the weirdest series of this season so far. It just so happens to be the whackiest one as well. I kind of get what's going on, but not really. I'd say this is definitely the most interesting series so far that I couldn't wait to see the next episode. Oh, as you could tell from the title, there are penguins in this anime, real penguins. And it has one of the weirdest transformation scenes I've ever seen, it kind of reminds those in Star Driver, except this is even whackier and more strange. One last word, I somehow think that ultimately, the story is going to end in tragedy. Just a gut feeling. We'll see if I'm right.

[New July 2011] The iDOLM@STER

Japanese title: アイドルマスター
Download: ???
Genres: Drama/Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: The story of several girls who want to become idols.   

First impression score: 81 - Kind of strange...

Personal comments: Not to be confused with iDOLM@STER Xenosaga, this is the realy iDOLM@STER story, not the weird mecha stuff. This introductory episode in a very strange documentary report format. It's kind of interesting. I'm pretty sure they won't keep doing that, but if they do, it could get really annoying.

[New July 2011] Mayo Chiki

Japanese title: まよチキ!
Genres: Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Kinjirou accidentally found out that the butler of school principal's daughter is a girl, and she has to conceal her identify as a girl while serving her mistress.   

First impression score: 88 - Fun

Familiar voices: Yuka Iguchi (井口裕香) as Subaru Konoe the butler. She is also the voice behind Index from Toaru Majutsu no Index. She sounded nothing like Index, except the part in the they were in the infirmary. Eri Kitamura (喜多村英梨) as Kanade Suzutsuki. She has done many high profile voices including Saya from Blood+, Ami from Toradora!, and Yachiyo from Working!.

Personal comments: Aside from loli animes, there has been a stream of gender bending animes such as Maria Holic showing up lately. As a shut-your-brain-off-and-just-laugh comedy, this is actually pretty interesting. The art work in my opinion is very similar to Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

[New July 2011] Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni

Japanese title: バカとテストと召喚獣 にっ
Genres: Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: The story of school summoning battle continues.  

First impression score: 78 - Not as good as season one

Personal comments: I don't know if this is going to be the trend of this season, but this opening episode has nothing to do with summoning battle. In my opinion, this is not nearly as good as season one.

[New July 2011] No.6

Japanese title: No.6
Watch online:
Genres: Action / Supernatural
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: After a world wide disaster, the world government built six cities in the remaining surface on earth that is suitable for living. In the city called No.6, Shion who was determined to have high IQ is sent to special school. One day, a guy with injury broke into his home and things start to change.

First impression score: 83 - Fast Paced

Personal comments: Is it just me or this season seem to have a lots of new animes with recycled ideas? Take this one for example, so far it feels like a cross between Fractale and 07-Ghost.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

[New July 2011] Blood-C

Japanese title: ブラッドシー
Genres: Action / Supernatural
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: By day, Saya is a clumsy high school student, at night, she wields swords to battle evil creatures.  

First impression score: 82 - Interesting

Personal comments: Must all Blood* series anime's main character named Saya? It sure seems so. At least here in Blood-C, Saya's last name is different than Blood+, so we know for sure these are indeed different characters. However, detaching the character from Blood+ raises another question: why is this a Blood series and how is this story related to rest of the Blood series? It can't be merely a convenience to name this series Blood-C.

[New July 2011] Usagi Drop

Japanese title: うさぎドロップ
Watch online:
Genres: Drama
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: At his grandfather's funeral, Daikichi found out his grandfather had a very young illegitimate daughter. Because nobody wants to do anything for her, he decides to take on the task of taking care of her. 

First impression score: 90 - Heavy-hearted, but very likable

Personal comments: At this point, it feels like a grown up version of Aishiteruze Baby, which was an anime that I was very fond of. I don't exactly know what it is, all characters are just extremely likable. It might have something to do with the art work, which is fairly simple but very effective.

[New July 2011] Yuru Yuri

Japanese title: ゆるゆり
Watch online:
Genres: Yuri / Comedy / School Life
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Three friends starting junior high school.

First impression score: 78 - Random

Personal comments: This seems to be a somewhat yuri heavy slice of life anime.

[New July 2011] Uta no Prince Sama

Japanese title: うたの☆プリンスさまっ
Download: ???
Genres: Drama / Reverse Harem
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A girl came to a school specialized for idol training dreaming to become a singer like the one she admires. There she met many guys...

First impression score: 81 - Very Reverse Harem

Personal comments: Can I just say that people's eye in this anime looks...creepy. Aside from that, this opening episode feels like a cross between Kiniro no Corda: Primo Passo and Kaleido Star with a little bit of Ouran High School Host Club thrown in. The whole boy band part is a bit strange, but I think females are largely aimed to be the target audience.

[New July 2011] Natsume Yuujinchou San

Japanese title: 夏目友人帳 参
Watch online: (as episode 27+)
Genres: Drama / Supernatural
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: The story of Natsume and his grandma's Book of Friends continues.

First impression score: 90 - Still great as ever

Personal comments: One of the most amazing quality of Natsume Yuujinchou is that it has the ability to reach in and touch people's heart with very gentle and calm story telling. No massive build up, no fancy plot, it's light and simple, but very moving. That's why I love this series so much.

[New July 2011] Ikoku Meiro no Croisee

Japanese title: 異国迷路のクロワーゼ
Genres: Drama / Loli
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Paris, France, 19th century, a small Japanese girl came to work in an ironwork shop.
First impression score: 81 - Light

Personal comments: So the Loli trend of 2011 continues. Not long after we wrapped up GOSICK, now we have a new story with almost completely opposite character setting: instead of a Japanese guy meeting a loli girl in a western country, now we have a loli Japanese girl meeting a French guy. It's like Hanasaku Iroha, in foreign country.

Friday, July 8, 2011

[New July 2011] Kamisama no Memochou

Japanese title: 神様のメモ帳
Genres: Drama
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Some dude got dragged into a group of NEET who runs a small private detective group.  

First impression score: 87 - Weird, but very interesting

Personal comments: It feels kind of like an extremely dark, twisted and much more violent version of Sket Dance with much more complexity. There are some very interesting characters I'd definitely like to see more about how they work together to solve different problems. It is very conversation heavy. Don't plan to do anything while you're watching it, because you could miss some important clues.

[New July 2011] Sacred Seven

Japanese title: セイクリッドセブン
Watch online:
Genres: Action / Supernatural
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Some devilish thing called Dark Stone is rampaging inside a city. Some dude named Alma who holds mysterious power power called sacred seven is the only person who's strong enough to defeat it.

First impression score: 80 - Fast Paced

Personal comments: Is it just me or this thing looks extremely corny? Having said that, however, the fast flow of this opening episode reminds me somewhat of Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpucho. If this series could sustain the pace Tokyo Majin achieved, it may be somewhat of an interesting series to watch.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

[New July 2011] Ro-Kyu-Bu!

Japanese title: ロウきゅーぶ!
Download: ???
Genres: Loli / Sports

I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: A high school dude whose basketball club got suspended for a year takes on the coaching duty for an elementary school girl's basketball team.

First impression score: 80 - Um, the basketball is literally bigger than those girls head...

Personal comments: It's a continuing trend this year in Japan to roll out all loli themed animes due to potential legislation changes. The title is literally the short hand for "Loli Basketball Club" in Japanese. This, just doesn't seem to be a particular interesting topic. Something could potentially be interesting, but I'm only going to give it till the end of next episode to prove its worth. 

[End] Deadman Wonderland: Fizzled

The first half of the series were somewhat interesting mostly because we were still trying to figure out what's going on. But once they revealed the big secret, it had just went downhill from there and never looked back. At the midway point, I was so fond of its concept that I gave it a unusually high second look score. But then, for the next 6 episodes, it just completely fell apart.

The first half of the story is just clue gathering so there isn't much of a coherency to speak about. But when they did reveal the big secret, the story still hops all over the place without care for some continuity. And there is a lack of coherency in terms of what's been happening and what has caused it to happen. Characters were acting surprised when anybody has the ability to assess the situation with common sense wouldn't have been. And fights that supposed to be exciting just aren't, largely due to the main character being a crybaby and giving everybody a stunningly surprised face every five seconds. That kind of reminds me of the first half of Tales of the Abyss and how annoying it was. The difference between this and Tales of the Abyss is that Luke eventually grew out of it and Ganta never did.

I haven't really read the manga yet, so I don't know whether these incoherent nonsense came from manga or the anime itself. Even if the root of the problem did lie in the story, the directing of the second half is still just out right terrible. It reminded me all about Shyamalan's The Last Air Bender and how much I hate bad directing.

From the ending, you can tell clearly, they're planning to get a next season. But leaving a bigger mess than the series started is not the ideal way to end any series.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 78 (Maybe, but badly directed)
Comedy: N/A
Action: 75 (Aren't very exciting)
Art/Animation: 80 (Acceptable)
Sound/Music: 70 (The main dude cries too much)
Character: 75 (Annoying)
Plot: 70 (Incoherent)
Ending: 70 (WTF was that?!)

Re-watch value: 10 (No)

Overall: 73 - Could have used a better director

Maybe if their second season could redeem themselves for this mess they made. But for time being, don't waste your time on it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

[Ended][OVA] Air Gear: Kuro no Hane to Nemuri no Mori - Break on the Sky

Air Gear is a strange concept. In order to even begin to appreciate the story, you ought to tune your brain into a mode that ignores all the ridiculous stuff and pretend it's the normal. If you can manage to do that, you'll be in for a treat of some great excitements. If not, well, you'd think this is one of the most ridiculous things you've ever seen.

While Oh!Great remains among one of my favorite manga artists, I have to admit that there are some bizarre and wild stuff going on with his stories. We've see it in Tenjou Tenge, we've seen it in the original Air Gear TV series. This Air Gear OVA series, they just kick it up another notch.

The bottom line is, if Air Gear is the type of ridiculous excitement that you like, then go for it. But be warned, it may just be a bit too much for some people.

Score: 81

[Ended][OVA] Black Lagoon Roberta's Blood Trail: The Dark Side of Rock

While we've grown accustom to crazy gun battles started by Revy in Black Lagoon series, "Rock" is probably considered to be the least psychotic person here...until now.

Like I said in the previous posts, even though Rock's appearance in this story is not anywhere close in comparison to other major characters, this is really a story about him. He is probably the biggest focus on character development aside from the primary villain, Roberta.

You can watch this OVA series in may different ways: as a huge mindless over the top action gun battle anime or a game of chess where different political, military, and drug cartels are playing to try to gain control of the region. The story showed us both explosiveness and intricacy.

While certain elements, such as the gun battle and the physical abilities of certain people are just outright ridiculous, the story as a whole in my opinion managed to still stay within the realm of reality, well, just barely.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 88 (Dark and Twisted)
Comedy: 86 (Fabiola provides some)
Action: 93 (Physically impossible but fun to watch)
Art/Animation: 90 (OVA Quality)
Sound/Music: 90 (Interesting choice of ending theme)
Character: 88 (Development of Rock)
Plot: 87 (A bit over the top)
Ending: 89 (Life moves on)

Re-watch value: 60 (Second time through sorts out more confusions)

Overall: 89 - Darker, Bloodier, and more Explosive than ever

The bottom line is, if you liked the two original Black Lagoon series, chances are, you'll love this one. There are just as much excitements here as the previous ones, and there are a lot more to explore for what has become of "Rock".

[Ended] Seikon no Qwaser II: More? Are you F*&$ing Kidding Me?!!

Ok, the first half of the series actually had a pretty good plot, better than the first season if you ask me. But the second half, is just utterly crap. Not only that, it throws in what seems to be the beginning of the third season in the last episode. Clearly, they're trying to get public support for a third season. But the utterly sh*tty second half of this season two makes me not wanting to supporting it.

In short, if you actually liked the first season, you'd probably like the second series up till episode 6. Then, you should skip episode 7 through 11 and watch only episode 12. You wouldn't have missed a thing, unless you actually need a dose of anime boobs sucking to satisfy your fixation of whatever you're desiring. I see no reason to watch those episodes unless you really are just looking for anime porn.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 74 (Half-boobed)
Comedy: 80 (Told by boobs)
Action: 81 (Boob fights)
Art/Animation: 80 (Bouncing boobs)
Sound/Music: 80 (Sucking boobs)
Character: 77 (Different sizes of boobs)
Plot: --? (Boobs vs. Boobs)
Ending: --? (New boobs wars)

Re-watch value: ?? (How much do you desire boobs sucking scenes?)

Overall: 77 - Boobier than the first one

Recommendation: Um...I'm not going to recommend it, nor would I recommend against it. But if you do decide to watch it, at least watch the uncensored version.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

[Ended] Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi: Waste of Time

This anime only worth a three words review: Typical Harem Anime.

It's too much effort to give it a score board, so, moving on...

[Ended] GOSICK: Intricately Crafted

After a slow and a somewhat confusing start, GOSICK had turned out to be quite a piece of work. This is one of those very typical series that clues play with hide and seek with you. On top of that, each arc within the overarching plot is also a small mystery by its own. It's like one of those puzzle solving game where every time you solves a mini-puzzle, you get a piece of clue to the bigger puzzle. The problem, is that the mini-puzzle took a bit too simplistic approach where it was really difficult to get impressed by Victorique's ability, which I think that's what they're trying to get at with them. But, it did manage to do quite well on slowly upping the size of the events and before you know it, it has gotten to the scale of a World War.

Some parts of the story are a bit too heavy on achieving poetic justice rather than simply supporting the story and pull back on reaching too far into the land of far-fetched'ness. It seems it's trying to pull a small Sherlock Holmes stunt every single mystery but without properly building logical support behind it. That in my opinion has somewhat of a negative effect than just making it simple.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 85 (Some are bit artificial, but most are pretty good)
Comedy: 82 (Not bad)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 90 (Quite well made)
Sound/Music: 92 (Both ending theme songs were great)
Character: 90 (Interesting)
Plot: 90 (Unpredictable)
Ending: 94 (Well built climax)

Re-watch value: 70 (May catch more clues)

Overall: 90 - Intricately Crafted

Overall, this is a very good series that well worth your 8 hours of time. The subplot mystery may look corny from time to time, but what it builds up to is actually quite remarkable. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

[Ended] Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko: Series of Random Strange Events...and Legs

What this story did really well, is that it managed to thoroughly confused me about what's real and what's people's imagination in this story. But I think that's exactly what they're trying to do. It starts off with quite a far-fetched claim, then slowly presents evidences to overthrow the claim. But then, just as when you thought the case is made, it throws a piece of evidence in the opposite direction. If this is a civil court case, the case is probably already won overwhelmingly. But if it were a murder case, the opposing evidence is probably enough to create a hang jury situation.

Also, since I haven't read the manga, I can't tell exactly where it came from, but I have to say either the manga artist or the art director of this anime has a leg fetish--there are just leg shots after leg shots. I don't really have a problem with it, it's just seems a bit excessive in my opinion.

The story is mostly interesting and enjoyable, but, keep in mind, this story is exactly described as the subtitle I gave to it: A series of random strange events. So don't expect something big and amazing, it's more of a casual light story than anything else.

Oh, yeah, one thing worth mention is that both the opening and ending theme songs are quite unique and catchy. It's probably one of the animes from this season with the best theme songs.

Quick word about ending, while it did come to somewhat of a climax, I felt it didn't quite have a big enough "bang" to make it feel like the an final episode.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 87 (Weird)
Comedy: 88 (Interesting)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 84 (Legs!!!)
Sound/Music: 92 (Love both theme songs)
Character: 87 (Strange)
Plot: 90 (Unpredictable)
Ending: 81 (Good, but should be better)

Re-watch value: 80 (Might still be interesting)

Overall: 89 - Strange but interesting

Recommendation: While I wouldn't call it a must watch,
this is definitely one of series from this season that is worth your while.

[Ended] Hidan no Aria: Clash Classic Fiction Characters...'s Descendents

Recently, there is a rush to get loli themed animes such as Dragon Crisis, Astarotte no Omocha, and this, Hidan no Aria out on the air due to some legislation is about to take effect in Japan. (That seems to be the rumor out there, I'm not sure how much of it is true.) And when it comes to loli anime, all of which are voiced by the one and the only Rie Kugimiya.

But, that's about the best thing ever happened to this anime. As much as I like to praise all the work Rie Kugimiya is in, there really just isn't much here that makes me want to speak highly of. The problem in my opinion doesn't really have much to do with production quality, it's deep rooted within the story itself. They did a pretty good job on directing and screenwriting to keep the episodes exciting, but the story itself, feels like someone took some random names from classic fiction and attached them onto some random characters then wrap band-aid all around it so it could make sense. I think it'd have been much better of if the author tried to develop some more original characters.

Nevertheless, if you come in with the mentality that is similar to going to watch a Michael Bay movie with your favorite actress, then, it is still decently enjoyable.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 80 (Ok for the most part)
Comedy: 81 (Average)
Action: 86 (Good for the most part)
Art/Animation: 80 (Good enough)
Sound/Music: 81 (I like the ending theme)
Character: 72 (Copy and paste)
Plot: 71 (Quite stupid)
Ending: 80 (Close enough)

Re-watch value: 30 (No reason to)

Overall: 79 - Watch for action and voice, not for the story

Like I said, if you are a fan of Rie Kugimiya, any series could become decently enough to watch, especially there are some decent actions in it. But aside from those, there's really not much this series can offer.

Friday, July 1, 2011

[Ended] Sengoku Otome: Momoiro Paradox: Way Longer Than It Needs

I think this is just a byproduct of recent success of Sengoku Basara series. The series is 80% filler and 20% content. If you cut episode 2 through 10 out, you'd be getting just as much as if you watched the entire series. While all the fighting stuff is fancy, I can't help to notice that the ability to jump seems to be the determining factor of someone's strength--if you pay attention, the higher jumper always wins, and loser almost always gets beaten down by a strike from high up.

I don't really have much of anything else to say about this series, aside from somehow managed to make me go through and watch an entire series that is made of mostly fillers.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 72 (Some)
Comedy: 78 (Not that great)
Action: 80 (Jump high)
Art/Animation: 80 (Acceptable)
Sound/Music: 85 (Like both theme songs)
Character: 76 (Historic)
Plot: 71 (Not much)
Ending: 73 (Stupid)

Re-watch value: 0 (No even worth the first time through)

Overall: 73 - Why did I waste my time on this

I would not recommend anybody to wast their time on this.

[Ended] Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai II: Same Ol' stuff

I know this will make many people angry, but frankly, I don't think this is that great of a series. Yes, I think is a decently good series, but I don't think this is as great as someone make it out to be. Seriously, I read reviews all over the internet that praising it to be the best thing since sliced bread. In my opinion, however, it's only a mediocre to good series that effectively utilized tropes that borrowed from games and animes. One of the biggest problem I have is that because of the cliche it tries to utilize, every arc is done in a completely predictable fashion. When things are predictable, it's boring.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 80 (Predictable)
Comedy: 86 (Some)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 82 (So So)
Sound/Music: 81 (Eh)
Character: 83 (Same Ol')
Plot: 80 (Predictable)
Ending: 83 (End?)

Re-watch value: 30 (I wouldn't)

Overall: 82 - Not Bad, but Not Great Either

I don't know why so many people are obsessed about this series. If you really want to, go for it. I just think there are way better series out there to spend your time on.

[Ended] Maria Holic Alive: Serialized and Over the Top

Compare to season one, Maria Holic Alive is much more serialized than season one was, but not by much. It's more like a daisy chain of events than serialization. This daisy chain, however, provided a much more needed continuity the first season lacked.

Maria Holic has a very strange concept. But that's what makes it unique. This is a series that you can't drill in too far down about. You need to understand that it's a pointless show about very random events. Don't try to make sense about it. Just watch and laugh.

One thing I found it's very interesting is that the comedies in the series are subtle and glaring at the same time. It's kind of difficult to explain, you really have to just watch it to understand.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 87 (Quite dramatic)
Comedy: 90 (Subtle yet glaring)
Action: 82 (Blood spewing)
Art/Animation: 82 (Interesting)
Sound/Music: 88 (Op theme is interesting)
Character: 80 (Many one dimensional characters)
Plot: 87 (Daisy chain)
Ending: N/A

Re-watch value: 60 - I think it'll still make you laugh

Overall: 87 - Entertaining

Recommendation: Relatively speaking, among all series from this season, this is definitely the best comedy. Even though it's a stretch on an absolute scale, I'm still going to hand it
Comedy of the Season for Spring 2011 Season