Saturday, June 30, 2012

[Ended] Jormungand: Excitingly Explosive, and Intricately Crafted

At first, it may look like a Black Lagoon style shoot 'em up story, but as the story progresses, it quickly transformed into something that is much more: it combine geopolitical issue and negotiation tactics along with some very interesting character development and some philosophical discussion about weapons and arms dealers.

First thing first, Jormungand is an action anime, and this story got some gooooood bullet flying, blood spilling, and even brain splattering actions. As many head shots as this anime has, I don't think this is suitable for the faint hearts.

The story is on a case-by-case format, where the previous case really doesn't have much connection with the next one. But there are some small key details that do spill over. It's very much like how the original Darker than Black is formatted, which makes me think whether there's also a grand conspiracy towards the grand finale of the story (not this season obviously, but we already know for sure the second season is coming in October). The plot format too somewhat resembles what we've seen in Darker than Black: The arcs shifts between being character centric and plot centric. With a large central cast, this is probably the best way of introducing all characters without getting too dry.

At the center of the story, Koko is the key to all everything. While her goal is only to profit from arms dealing and wouldn't really hesitate on killing people that got in her way, she does have certain principles. Those principles are really what distinguishes her from the other low lives in the story. In certain sense, you can even say she's a dark knight, without the will to go after bad guys that is. LOL

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 92 (Dramatic)
Comedy: 90 (Dark humor)
Action: 96 (Explosive)
Art/Animation: 89 (Interesting enough)
Sound/Music: 90 (Great theme songs)
Character: 98 (Very interesting)
Plot: 90 (Slowly building up)
Ending: -- (To be continued)

Re-watch value: 75 - Still might be interesting

Overall: 93 - Explosive and Exciting

Recommendation: While many may still disagree (include my fellow contributor to this blog, danchou), in my opinion this is unquestionably the best anime of the season. So I'm handing it

Anime of the Season for Spring 2012 Season

Saturday, June 23, 2012

[Ended] Medaka Box: Trolling Along

Medaka Box is one of those animes that you have to know the background of the author and his other work in order to understand and enjoy it. I've seen quite some negative reviews about it floating around the internet which it is pretty obvious they either aren't aware of who the author is and what other works has he done, or just somehow didn't bother to draw the connections between this and his other works.

In short, Medaka Box is meant to be a troll, so anybody who's accusing that it trolls too much just didn't get it at all. If you have seen all the *~gatari series, you'd recognize just how much he pooled contents from his other stories only to be trolled here. (And just in case you still don't know, the author of Medaka Box is also the the author of Bakamonogatar, Nisemonogatari, and Katanagatari).

While everything is exaggerated to certain level, it's somewhat interesting that they explain itself within the story why they exaggerate to the level they did (the conversation at the beginning of episode 12). I guess in a sense they're trolling their own trolls, LOL. While visually, it's not nearly as intriguing as any of the *~gatari series, the character development is just as intriguing.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 83 (Overly dramatized)
Comedy: 88 (Somewhat brilliant)
Action: 83 (Over the top)
Art/Animation: 84 (Interesting enough)
Sound/Music: 84 (So so)
Character: 93 (Brilliant!)
Plot: 83 (Kinda sorta, mostly character centric)
Ending: -- (To be continued)

Re-watch value: 30 - Mostly not worth it

Overall: 85 - Just Trolling

Recommendation: Once you understand this is supposed to a big troll, you'll probably have a somewhat different mentality while watching it. That could be the difference of able and not able to appreciate this story.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Space Brothers (Uchuu Kyoudai): Highly Underrated

Currently finished: Episode 12

As I mentioned in my initial post about this series, despite neither the art style nor the topic is something I'm interested in, it somehow managed to grab my attention from the get-go. Now having seen half of the series already (assuming it's a long season, not longer), I have to say I agree with my friend danchou's assessment that it is probably "the most underrated or under-appreciated show of the season".

There are some amazing depth and very well paced character development along with some highly interesting plot development. Though I have to say they've pushed a bit too hard on the some plot devices that any intelligent person would have figured out what's coming. LOL.

Put that aside, however, so far this has been a very interesting story, along with some witty humors here and there to keep it from getting too dry in pushing the plot along. If you haven't started it, I would highly recommend it to give it a shot. I think this may very well on its way to become the best drama of the season.

Monday, June 18, 2012

[Ended] Kore wa Zombie Desu ka of the Dead: Lost the Touch

Throughout the first series, there have been series of cleverly setup moments that are designed to create some heart-wrenching moments to contrast the over the top outrageousness that the other 90% of the anime consists of.

This second season, however, either they've lost their touch, or they have intentionally tuned it down, these supposedly heart-wrenching moments has not been nearly as effective or emotional. In my opinion, that was about the only redeeming point of the story. Without that, it has gone from an emotional turmoil to some cross dressing nonsense. Grant it that it still retained some intricacy in some of the plot setup, but it's not nearly enough to make the story impressive.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 80 (Scattered)
Comedy: 82 (Getting old)
Action: 82 (Magical Girl Man)
Art/Animation: 81 (Same stuff)
Sound/Music: 80 (So so)
Character: 86 (Somewhat interesting)
Plot: 76 (Too much filler)
Ending: 80 (They want to make more)

Re-watch value: 30 - Mostly not worth it

Overall: 80 - Far Inferior

Recommendation: If you really like the first series, I'd say give this one a shot, you may find something else they did in this series to be interesting. But if you didn't care much for the first series to begin with, then I'd say this series does not worth your time.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

[Ended] Upotte!!: Guns Don't Kill People, People Kill People

I have to say this is one of the more ridiculous ideas I have seen lately. While it's much like series such as Nodame Cantabile or Mayoshimon, where it cleverly packed useful knowledge everywhere, unlike the two I mentioned, these vast knowledge about assault rifles feels somewhat...out of place. I'm not sure what exactly, something just doesn't feel right. And, unlike Hetalia, even though this is mostly nonsense comedy, the serious part of the plot makes these personifications of assault rifles feels rather...odd. Still, the informative side alone would be enough to make it receive a better grade than some of the online reviews that just shreds it to pieces.  I am rather impressed with what they did.

While most of the story is just a jumbo of nonsense, there is however one very good message it hammered in at the very end: Guns don't kill people, people kill people. Without the people who wield them, guns could not have taken a single life.

p.s. I wish they had my favorite, FN P90 personified in the story. But I guess the reason it's not in the story is because technically, it's a sub machine gun rather than assault rifle and this story is all about assault rifles, sigh...

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 77 (Somewhat stupid)
Comedy: 80 (There are some ok ones)
Action: 80 (Personified assault rifles...)
Art/Animation: 80 (Acceptable I guess)
Sound/Music: 76 (So so)
Character: -- (Assault rifles -_-')
Plot: 78 (Assault rifles, team spirit!)
Ending: 80 (Rather impressed by the way they sent the message)

Re-watch value: 20 (Why would you...)

Overall: 80 - Ridiculous, informative, and with good message

Recommendation: This is one of the edge cases that I don't really want to give advise either direction. I myself is having trouble to decide whether I should give it a thumb up or a thumb down >.<

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Late, Late, Late Top 5

Well, as evilcat said, I planned on catching up on this season and posting my top 5. Well, I am just now caught up with most of it, and we're about 10 episodes in on most series... so I figured I could do it now. Anyways, danchou's top 5, with some extra sauce. The ordering is based by the beginning of the season. The number in parenthesis is the rating based on ~6-7 episodes.

No 5: Tasogare Otome x Amnesia-  Unlike Space Brothers, this is probably one of the most overrated series this season. It is good, but too many of the relationships seem forced and the directing of the series is just a little off. Other than that, the premise and the story are fairly interesting and the comedy usually delivers.

No 4: (Tied No. 3) Space Brothers (Uchuu Kyoudai)- This is probably the most underrated or under-appreciated show of the season. I see very little chatter about it, despite being an excellent slice-of-life story in an original setting. There are a handful of excellent characters that you can't help but love. The main character stands out even among these. The tension throughout the series is more than enough to prove how good the series is.

No 3: (No. 2) Jormungand- This series is fun, high-octane, and well thought out. Several characters are developed well. Most importantly, every episode (or arc) manages to stay interesting.

No 2: (No 2.) Fate/Zero- I decided to follow evilcat in saying that this series doesn't count as this season. However, this series manages to have great animation for truly gripping action while developing characters in a very interesting fashion.

No 2: (No. 1) Sakamichi no Apollon- This series started out really good and managed to go beyond that. An array of well developed characters put into an interesting setting allowed for a strong premise to be in the background of an excellent drama. The show has only managed to get better.

No 1: (Tied No. 3) Sankarea- This series had the most interesting premise and first few episodes out of any series this season. It had a unique feeling to it, several interesting characters, nice character designs, good music, funny comedy, a dark theme growing underneath, and just about anything else you could ask from this genre. However, a few of the newest episodes have not quite been up to par.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

[Ended] Ozuma: Submarine Battles, in Sand

While the story has somewhat of a moral behind all that's been happening, what really makes it exciting enough to make you want to watch, is the intense naval battles...fought in liquid sand. I would almost say that for whatever they're trying to establish with this story, there are way too much focus on the mechanics of the submarine battle, not enough on building the central plot.

As far as the moral of the story goes, it's a very typical message about how mankind is responsible for destroying the planet and we have to stop it. A very typical message you see from the tree hugger. On the flip side, however, depending how you look at it, I think it's also pushing an idea from the opposite side as well: no matter how hard we try, human would never be able completely dominate the power of nature--if humankind does exhaust nature's resource and become extinct because of that, then that's nature's healing power at play to be rid of us like a bad infection. There is no need to fix what we do, because in my opinion, human greediness is incurable. I'd even go so far to say most if not all environmental activists are probably out there for political gain. We might as well all go back to stone age if we want to protect the environment. The only true way to protect the environment is to be rid of humankind. But since the most efficient method for such: war, is highly frowned upon by almost everybody, I'd say us humans as a race trying to survive in this planet forever are hopeless. So you might just enjoy you current way of living and not to worry about the inevitable. Or if you truly care about the planet's future, start a war to wipe the humankind. Raising awareness won't do anybody any good, period.

Final scoreboard:

Drama: 83 (Submarine warfare)
Comedy: N/A
Action: 80 (Little bit)
Art/Animation: 81 (Old School)
Sound/Music: 80 (Eh)
Character: 800 (Not well defined)
Plot: 73 (Too much battle not enough plot)
Ending: 80 (What is that)

Re-watch value: 20 (Not really)

Overall: 78 - Too much battle, too little plot

Recommendation: Being only 6 episode long, I'd say it worth the time just to watch some exciting submarine battles.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Zetman: Typically Exciting

Currently finished: Episode 7

While the story is pretty nicely paced and packed with good actions, I just can't help but notice this is all too typical plot among the series with similar themes: some dude unintentionally got some badass superpower where almost everybody else with the same power is using it for bad things. Then our main hero half got tricked into and half out of his own will, starting to beat up the bad dudes.

Being typical doesn't automatically means bad, however, when you see something similar to what you've seen before, you just want to keep predicting what's going to happen next. And when you're able to predict almost every move along the way, it becomes less and less interesting. That's how I feel about Zetman in its current state. -_-'