Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse: the Logic Behind the Alien Invasion

Currently finished: Episode 3

Once upon a time, like everybody else, I too enjoyed animes with big mechas for their metal-on-metal actions. However, after having seen more or less every single animes from last 10 years (in a literal sense, I'm quite serious), I'm starting to notice that pretty much all mecha animes since the late 90's are all just beating on the same dead horse (with few exceptions here and there) both action and plot-wise. So instead of watching the variants of the same fights I've seen so many times, I start to pay more attention to the details and logical consistencies of the stories themselves. That is when I noticed that majority of mecha animes place so much emphasis on actions, they almost always leave everything else unpolished. This, is where my often-unfavorable-biased opinions towards mecha anime come from. Because while it's exciting to watch, blow away the dust storm stirred up from the metal-on-metal actions (which I have nothing against, I too enjoy a good Michael Bay movie once a while), you are left with many logical inconsistencies underneath.

Let me just dissect Muv-Luv real quick to show you what I see:

First, the main villains of the story are those giant alien creatures called BETA who are trying to invade earth. One major pitfall for stories of this kind is that it's really hard for me to image aliens with highly advanced technology that is capable of interplanetary travel who can invade earth with such ease would be such an unrefined savage specie that they wouldn't just send some automated armament to wipe out humankind. Even if you want to argue such technologies are difficult to come by, these aliens seems to be completely naked aside from their natural armor like shells. You'd think if they're technologically advanced enough to invade earth, they'd at least have some sort of armor to protect their infantries' lives, or, you know what, better mecha to fight us, right? Can you image if we human somehow decide to invade an alien planet, all the infantries we're sending to the battle field are butt naked? You wouldn't even do that if you want to invade a rat's nest, let alone rats in the nest are swarms equipped with metal exoskeletons which are capable of firing high velocity projectiles, which I think that's what the BETAs would see us as, LOL. So why would BETAs do that here?!

Second, outside basic exoskeleton, mecha hardly seem to be an efficient equipment for combat--if that's the case, I'm sure the top military research nowadays would all be circled around mecha development research instead of these so called armored viechles, helicoptors, jet fighters, etc. right? Well, of course unless the "mecha physics phenomenon ", where somehow a pilot could make the macha push harder or go faster by simply pushing harder on the lever or stepping harder on the pedal even though the mecha has already previously reached its physical limit, is an undeniable fact in all mecha universe.

Lastly, what's the point of the "TopGun" type pilot training when the enemy isn't another country with comparable mecha technology? Wouldn't it be better to have combat training scenarios where your simulated enemy behaves more like your real enemy instead of your wing man who's going to fight along side with you?

I'm sure by now I have angered some mecha loving or Muv-Luv loving fans out there. If you like to defend your beloved genre with some intelligent comments, I would converse with you in the comment area and would even agree with you if you can bring valid points to the table. But if you have nothing intelligent to say, then don't bother commenting, I'll just ignore and delete them as quickly as you post them.

Monday, July 23, 2012

[Poll] Evil Cat's Top 5 for Summer 2012 Season

Now the last of this new season is out, let's take a look at the best this season has to offer, shall we. While this season seems to be somewhat above average, it lacks a stellar crown jewel among all these better-than-mediocre anime. But again, extraordinary anime may not show itself immediately, as we've seen in the past like Madoka Magica, Ano Hana, and Mawaru Penguindrum. So, don't weigh this initial opinion too much on what the best of season could be. So, I'll start calling them "seed" from here on out.

No. 5 seed: Natsuyuki Rendezvous
There isn't anything special, but I have a good feeling about it. It has a very similar vibe to Ristorante Paradiso which I was quite fond of. I think this has potential to become something good.

Too bad there aren't that many people appreciate this series. While it's a bit difficult to wrap you head around, the first season is an epic story that is based on a rather unconventional fantasy world building process. Even though nothing seemed to make any sense on the surface, if you are willing to let go of your common sense a bit and accept those "magic" thing as something normal in its realm, then the story actually is very interesting. Since it's a continuation of the first series, you do have to watch the first series to understand this one. If you've seen the first series once and didn't quite get it, I would highly recommend you to run through it again, because the information revealed later in that series would make the earlier episode make more sense. In fact, I just watched the entire first series and it helped me tremendously in understanding the characters because first time through it's kind of difficult to digest the setting and characters at the same time.
No. 3 seed: Moyashimon Returns
One of my favorite series is making an return. Anybody who have seen the first series would know this series is outrageously funny yet highly knowledgeable at the same time. This sequel, from what I've seen, is continuing to build upon its success. I think this has potential.

No. 2 seed: Sword art Online
As far as production quality goes, this is definitely the best amongst all summer season new releases. The story is interesting. Even though it looks like another overused .hack clone, it's actually fundamentally different. In fact, because the setting is what it is, it feels more like a mix blend of Scifi and Fantasy.

No. 1 seed: Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita (Human has Declined)
You may disagree, but I think this series is just made of pure brilliance. It's using a fallen human society to dissect today's world's problem one at a time. Because of the background setting, with a much simplified human society, it's able to pin one problem at a time to fully and exaggeratedly exploit the issue in hand. This, in my opinion is the best series of this season at the moment.

Oh and in case you haven't noticed, the poll for this month's new series is open on the right side. Put in your votes for your top 5 series of the season.

[New Summer 2012] Ebiten

Japanese title: えびてん 公立海老栖川高校天悶部
Download: available through
Genres: Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Someone is looking to join the astronomy club, but instead, she ended up in an otaku club whose name sounds very much like astronomy club...  
First impression score: 81 - Parities of Saint Seiya

Personal comments: If you've never seen or read about Saint Seiya, then you'd probably miss 90% of the joke in this opening episode. Pretty much the entire episode is jokes that relates to Saint Seiya. In my opinion, it's rather hilarious. But again, I pretty much grew up on Saint Seiya manga, and I can more or less relate everything they're poking fun of in this anime. So the bottom line is, if you've seen or read Saint Seiya, this would be a great piece to get some laughs out of. If you haven't seen or read Saint Seiya, well, I'd say go ahead skip it, 'cause you'd miss just about all the jokes.

Friday, July 20, 2012

[New Summer 2012] Chouyaku Hyakuninisshu: Uta Koi

Japanese title: 超訳百人一首 うた恋い。
Download: available through
Genres: Drama / History / Poem
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: It seems to be an anime about the stories behind the 100 poems.  
First impression score: 83 - Short Stories

Personal comments: Honestly, I was not looking forward to this story at all as I'm really not interested in finding the source of those poems. However, they way they compiled the stories is rather interesting, which is making me wanting to keep following it for a bit longer.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

[New Summer 2012] Tanken Driland

Japanese title: 探検ドリランド
Download: available through
Genres: Chibi
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: In the land of Driland, a princess wants to become a "hunter" to travel around the world.  
First impression score: 77 - Very Chibi

Personal comments: Somehow the chibi style animation just couldn't make me take it seriously, even when the story tries to be serious...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

[New Summer 2012] Joshiraku

Japanese title: じょしらく
Download: available through
Genres: Talk
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: From the author of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, comes a story of 5 girls'...conversations... 
First impression score: 80 - Talk and talk and talk
Personal comments: At the beginning of the series, one of the girls literally says 'why are we making this an anime, it's more or less structured like a manga anyway...' For the most part, I agree. I think this is mean to be something for people to burn their time with. It has a lot jokes play on pun and kanji. I can get a kick ou
t of it since I understand kanji, but for those who don't, probably gonna just get very lost very quick.

[New Summer 2012] Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon II

Japanese title: 境界線上のホライゾン II
Watch Online:
Genres: Drama / Scifi
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: More weird futuristic people fighting with some weird super power, along with more nonsense talk, exciting as hell though.

First impression score: 88 - Still nonsense, still amusing

Personal comments: During the first season, my opinion for this anime had taken a 180 degree turn, gone from thinking it's a stupid worthless tasteless idiotic nonsense to considering it a rather brilliantly written story filled with WTFs. Seriously though, with some effort, many could build a story/world that reasonably explains everything. It is however, in my opinion, rather difficult to write a story where all of its building blocks makes no sense what so ever yet the story as a whole is perfectly coherent. I've only seen one of such anime before, Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo (a.k.a. Girl Who Leapt through Space, NO, not Girl Who Leapt through Time, that's a completely different anime). This kind of anime is highly amusing to watch because it requires you to completely detach yourself from your present reality in order for your brain not to reject what's going on in the story. The biggest difference between this and a typical reality altering fantasy/scifi story is that the latter is still built loosely on the present reality and more importantly common sense of the world we're living in, where as the former just throws it away completely and build something on top of a void.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

[New Summer 2012] Rinne no Lagrange Season 2

Japanese title: 輪廻のラグランジェ season 2
Watch Online:
Genres: Drama / Scifi
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Now earth has officially made contact with aliens, what would happen to Madoka and jersey club?

First impression score: 81 - Continuing

Personal comments: In my opinion the first season ended well enough that the second season isn't required to finish the story. It did, however, leave something open (i.e. rebel force escaping, etc.) to continue the saga. This opening episode for second season is rather exciting, and ended with a rather big cliffhanger. I think for time being I'll continue with it to see where it's taking us.

[New Summer 2012] Hagure Yuusha no Estetica

Japanese title: はぐれ勇者の鬼畜美学
Download: available through
Genres: Ecchi / Harem?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: 30 years ago, a supernatural event where people start to be summoned to fantasy world started to occur. When they returned, they still possess their skill and magical power. UN created a special district called Babel for these people.  
First impression score: 79 - Unnecessary Nipple Exposure

Personal comments: In my opinion, there really isn't any reason for that nipple exposure scene to be there. It simply cheapens this otherwise halfway-decent episode.

Monday, July 16, 2012

[New Summer 2012] Kokoro Connect

Japanese title: ココロコネクト
Watch Online:
Genres: Supernatural
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Five very different high school student, in the culture study group they formed to satisfy school's extracurricular activity requirements, suddenly start to encounter random body swaps with different people in the club.

First impression score: 88 - Something Different

Personal comments: For starters, since the original character design is done by the same person, this looks very much like K-ON. I wonder whether they are in the same school as K-ON, since their uniform is more or less identical, not to mention Azu-nyan's cameo appearance in one of the scenes. I would not be surprised if at some point they are attending their school festival with K-ON's concert events.

[New Summer 2012] Oda Nobuna no Yabou

Japanese title: 織田信奈の野望
Watch Online:
Genres: Fantasy / History?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Yoshiharu somehow got sent back to Sengoku era of Japan, only to find out all the famous historic figures are...girls?

First impression score: 80 - Cashing out more on the Sengoku Trend

Personal comments: It seems like another sengoku era transformed anime, but the production quality is much better than what we've been seeing lately. Depending on how well they can keep this up, it may be a keeper for this season. At least in this series they're making a half-way attempt in explaining why some of these historical figures are female and rename them (only slightly) accordingly.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

[New Summer 2012] Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru!

Japanese title: この中に1人、妹がいる!
Download: available through
Genres: Harem
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Shougo's father, who is a head of a large enterprise, has passed away. He is then sent to the high school his father attended to find his true love. However, things starts to get complicated and weird when he was told that he has a sister separate at birth that he's never met is also attending this school.
First impression score: 76 - Pure Harem Anime

Personal comments: Um...Sister Princess anybody? This seems to be a harem anime to its purest form. I think this might just live at the very bottom of my list from this season that it'll get dropped first.

[New Summer 2012] Dogs Days'

Japanese title: ドッグデイズ'
Watch Online:
Genres: Fantasy / Children's?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Cinque, the summoned warrior of Biscotti, is making a return for more exciting "wars".

First impression score: 82 - Dog vs. Cats vs. Squirrels?

Personal comments: I have to admit that sometimes I'm strangely attracted to some rather...stupid looking animes. (It's a bit embarrassing to admit, but I was very fond of the original Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch and followed it for quite a while back when it was airing). While I don't know exactly what it is just yet, I do know that not all animes of similar type attracts me. So something in Dog Days' is making me tick that I'm yet to find out...

[New Summer 2012] Moyashimon Returns

Japanese title: もやしもん リターンズ
Download: available through
Genres: Comedy / Educational
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Our favorite microbes are making a return to the tv screen. As the Sawaki, who can see microbes as tiny creatures that talk to him, continuing his education at the agriculture university he started working in the fermenting lab to try to create different fermented food products.
First impression score: 86 - Funny and knowledgeable

Personal comments: I think if they can make every subject in school into an anime like this, everybody would be an A students. It's really hard not to like what you're learning if they're all presented like this anime does. The original series is just hilariously funny and full of WTF moments. Having seen the many standards Noitamina had set, I expect no less from this sequel.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

[New Summer 2012] Binbougami ga!

Japanese title: 貧乏神が!
Download: available through
Genres: Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Sakura has the strange ability to absorb good fortunes from people around her. In order to restore the balance to the world, god of misfortune is sent to take her ability and fortune away.

First impression score: 83 - Funny, for the most part

Personal comments: This is the text book case of the over-the-top comedy where it's just throwing everything at your face with brutal force trying to make you laugh.

Friday, July 13, 2012

[New Summer 2012] Natsuyuki Rendezvous

Japanese title: 夏雪ランデブー
Watch Online:
Genres: Supernatural / Drama
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Some dude falls in love with the owner of a flower shop. Eventually he ends up working there, but never had the courage to ask her out. But for whatever reason, he can see the ghost of her dead husband. Things start to get stranger and stranger.

First impression score: 87 - Different

Personal comments: This is giving me a very similar vibe to what I felt while watching Ristorante Paradiso, which was very unconventional unique piece of work. It's slow paced, but doesn't really feel very slow, which in my opinion has lots to do with some high quality directing work. This, I think is a keeper.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

[New Summer 2012] Campione!

Japanese title: カンピオーネ!
Watch Online:
Genres: Fantasy
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Some dude is trying to return an old stone plate of his grandfather's to its rightful owner. Little does he know, he is now involved in some war of gods.

First impression score: 90 - Exciting and Funny

Personal comments: This looks very interesting. Not only it has explosive and exciting actions, it also have some right on cue comedies scenes. This seems to have potential to be something good.

[New Summer 2012] Sword Art Online

Japanese title: ソードアート・オンライン
Watch Online:
Genres: SciFi / Fantasy
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: When the newest virtual reality fantasy game called Sword Art Online is released, everybody rushed to log onto the game. But soon people realized that nobody can log out of the game. In order to leave the game, player has to beat the game. Any other method of forcing player to log off will result death, so does dying inside the game.

First impression score: 89 - Very Interesting Introduction

Personal comments: This is rather different than conventional MMORPG based anime. For starters, it explicitly created the setting so that all players are trapped in the game, so there is not such thing as players coming on and off line. If you think about it, it literally created a fantasy world instantly without having to worry about coming up with the background story of the world. It's a rather brilliant way to create the setting.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

[New Summer 2012] Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate

Japanese title: 恋と選挙とチョコレート
Download: available through
Genres: Drama
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: seems to be a story about food research club at a school, in order to prevent itself from being disbanded, decide to compete in the upcoming student body president election.    

First impression score: 87 - WTF!

Personal comments: Crossbreed Sket Dance and Medaka Box, spiked with some extra WTFs, that's the recipe for Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate (at least for the first episode lol). Overall tone is somewhat comedic, but there is somewhat of a drastic mood shift between the prologue and the beginning of the episode. Don't take it the wrong way, this is actually a compliment, since I'm rather fond of both Sket Dance and Medaka Box.

[New Summer 2012] Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai

Japanese title: だから僕は, Hができない
Download: Available through
Genres: Fantasy / Ecchi
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: This pervert guy meets a girl claims to be from the underworld, who needs energy from his soul. Then this seemingly useless pervert guy somehow possesses some super power that is activated by his pervert though blah blah blah

First impression score: 60 - Boobs and Nipples

Personal comments: Um, this is like a clone of High School DxD, except this is even worse than High School DxD was. I see no value in this anime what so ever. I'd say low teen boys or mentally equivalents are probably their target audiences. I can't image anybody outside that age group would be interested in this...

[New Summer 2012] Tari Tari

Watch Online:
Genres: School Life / Musical?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Konatsu wants to create a new chorus club, partly out of grudge, partly out of passion. She is now gather the required five members to start the club.   

First impression score: 80 - Normal school life so far

Personal comments: This looks a bit too...plain. The reason I still haven't completely given up on slice of life anime as of the moment, is that sometimes something good like Natsuiro Kiseki or Ano Hana does show up. Hopefully, something good too would come out of this.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

[New Summer 2012] Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita (Humanity has Declined)

Japanese title: 人類は衰退しました
Watch Online:
Genres: Drama / Comedy / SciFi?
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: In the future, when human society declined to a highly primitive one, a small fairy like creature is the only intelligent creature that guides human being.   

First impression score: 88 - Poking fun at today's society, brilliant!!

Personal comments: The title of the anime, literally translates to "Humanity has Declined". At first I thought this is one of the dumbest anime ever. But then, as the episode progresses, I realized this is not an anime about the fallen human society, instead, it's a story using a fallen human society to poke fun at today's society, from politicians' dirty tactics on how to keep a society in order, to mass production where people work in lower level is so far remove from chain of command that they have no idea what they're actually doing, to how food we eat nowadays is almost never what they seem to be. It's just a string of quick-witted ideas mean to show the problem in a potential "declined human society". The irony here is that today's society is in a state that isn't really far from this so called "declined society" state. This is pure brilliance, though you need to be a bit aware of today's state of society. If you're as ignorant as the people this story is trying to poke fun at, you'd probably wouldn't have a clue where the brilliance of this story lies. (No, I'm not trying to say I'm smarter than you, really, that's not the point here.)

[New Summer 2012] La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia

Japanese title: アルカナ・ファミリア
Watch Online:
Genres: Action / Comedy
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: Arcana Famiglia is the organization that protects the island. People in the organization has powers linked to Taro cards. Now the head of family is retiring and he wants to use a duel to decide who will take over to become the new head of family.   

First impression score: 83 - Interesting concept

Personal comments: Is it just me or this somehow feels like a mixed blend of Soul Eater with Baccano? With all that over the top action, it's hard to notice this is actually a reverse harem anime. The work has some distinct similarities to Pandora Hearts, which I really like.

[New Summer 2012] Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse

Japanese title: マブラヴオルタネイティヴ トータル・イクリプス
Watch online:
Genres: Mecha Girl
I've watched: 1 episode

Summary: In an alternative world, a being named BETA from mars started attacking human and eventually invading earth since 1976. The story is about some pilot training school for the mechas that is used to defend earth against BETAs.    

First impression score: 78 - Mechas + Boobs, the formula where there's always somebody willing to watch

Personal comments: feels somehow just like IS: Infinite Stratos, except there's a reason for these girls to pilot these mecha. But unlike IS, Muv-Luv here doesn't really bother to explain why there're only girls in this school. As for mecha battle goes, it has the exact same pitfall I consider all mecha animes have: during mecha battle, it is as if the strength of the pilot actually matters--somehow screaming louder and pushing harder on the levers could make the mecha push harder. It's such a stupid concept that I can't believe all the mecha fans out there just completely ignoring. Can any mecha fans out there how you find this logical?

Monday, July 9, 2012

[Ended] Tsuritama: Excitement from Simplicity

The level of nonsense in this series is almost comparable to those in Star Driver, which is more or less the defining anime of recent years as far as out of whack nonsense goes.

The concept underneath is amazingly simple and amazingly straightforward, yet, they somehow managed to make it amazingly exciting. Seriously, I never would have thought fishing can be so exciting. There's no drawn out complicated plot, they're simply fishing, from the beginning all the way to the end; There's no unexpected twists and turns, everybody had a simple goal of their own: the aliens wants to fish, the duck wants to catch the alien, Yuki wants to have friends, and Natsuki wants to be a pro. But roll them all together, it somehow become a weird ball of cluster f**k that was extremely entertaining to watch.

The pacing of the series is also great. Early on when people still aren't familiar everybody's intent, it paced moderately while intentional let loose some WTFs to keep people iinterested. Once all foundations are laid out, it wasted no time and immediately shifted into high gear and unfolded in an explosive manner. The excitements just keeps on piling up until the very last moment, while they still not forgetting throw in some WTFs once a while. Overall, it is just very well paced plot development.

If Mawaru Penguindrum is something that uses its craftiness and complexity for an dazzling display of storytelling, then Tsuritama is something made best use of simplicity and what simplicity could achieve in terms of explosive excitements.

In my opinion, Tsuritama has done everything right. If Space Brothers (Uchuu Kyoudai) is the most underrated long series of spring 2012 season, this would be the most underrated short season series of spring 2012 season.

A quick word about the ending. I can see they're trying to throw some more fun WTFs around. But by doing so it left a bit WTF with a huge question mark in the end where I think did more damage then good--it just doesn't make sense, period. Well, the rest of the anime doesn't really make too much sense either, but it does in its own realm. This ending, however, doesn't even make sense in their realm. That makes me wonder what's the purpose of putting that 2 minutes in the end of last episode there...

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 94 (Simple and with WTFs)
Comedy: 97 (Lots of WTFs)
Action: 93 (Made excitement out of fishing)
Art/Animation: 90 (Simple yet effective)
Sound/Music: 83 (Interesting)
Character: 92 (Simple but interesting)
Plot: 93 (Well paced)
Ending: 90 (WTF?)

Re-watch value: 50 - Still fun WTFs to watch

Overall: 92 - Excitingly simple

Recommendation: If you haven't gotten the point after reading everything I wrote above, let me spell it out for you. This is an amazingly interesting anime that belongs to the "must-watch" list so long you don't mind some out of whack WTFs. And it would no doubt get the award

WTF of the Season for Spring 2012 Season

and even though it's a little stretch, I'd also hand it

SciFi Anime of the Season for Spring 2012 Season

Sunday, July 8, 2012

[Ended] Sankarea: The...End?

Was it just me or did everybody else feel the story ended a bit too abruptly? I was fully expecting another episode or at least another scene after the final scene of the final episode. But no, there isn't such a thing. It just ended there. That was just extremely unsatisfying.

Back to the story itself, it's about someone who's obsessed with zombies, in a strange way: he wanted to have a romantic experience with a zombie. How he find zombies attractive, I'm yet to understand. While the story is rather compact, it feels a bit disorganized. It shifts focal point from zombie to Rea then back to zombie. In the end, they managed only have a partial closure to one of the thread and left rest of them terminated in a very cryptic manner. With no announcement of follow-up season, this is a highly undesirable ending. This, in my opinion, is another otherwise good series that is ruined by a bad ending.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 82 (Zombie romance)
Comedy: 85 (Somewhat)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 90 (Quite good)
Sound/Music: 85 (Eh...)
Character: 92 (Definitely character centric)
Plot: 86 (Weird)
Ending: 70 (Weak!)

Re-watch value: 30 - Not really worth it

Overall: 80 - Very Weak Ending

Recommendation: While the ending is rather weak, the rest of the story is rather interesting. I would either wait to see whether there's a second season or just read the manga.

[Ended] Nazo no Kanojo X: Srange Fetishes

This story has a very strange concept, very very strange concept--people can feel each others inner thoughts by simply tasting their spits. The interesting implication about this concept is that people could learn each others true intent by exchanging spits (yuck!). That alone creates a very strange dynamic where lies between the couple could be simply exposed by merely tasting the other person's spit (yuck! yuck!). The story, which is about how two people get close and fall in love with each other (in a very strange way more or less) fully exploit this idea where misunderstandings are solved through this method and in turn brings two closer to each other.

While I more or less got used to (or numb about) the whole spit exchange thing, every time it comes up, I still can help but to think how bizarre it is for anybody to perform such act.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 87 (Weird)
Comedy: 83 (Strangely funny)
Action: 84 (Scissor actions)
Art/Animation: 80 (Somewhat weird)
Sound/Music: 85 (So so)
Character: 88 (Slow and steady depth development)
Plot: 86 (Weird)
Ending: 90 (Decleared)

Re-watch value: 50 - If you happen to like spit exchange...

Overall: 84 - People with Strange Fetish

Recommendation: As far as recommendation goes, it's an interesting story, but definitely on the weird end of the spectrum. If you like weird stuff like this, go ahead give it a try, maybe you'll like it.

[Ended] Natsuiro Kiseki: Lightheartedly Charming

Animes about cute girls' life are drop a dozen, hardly any of them are worth mentioning or even watching. But once a while something pops up, that is special not in terms of being extraordinary, rather, being ordinary.

The story is about four BFF girls due to a certain circumstance that their friendship is on the brink of destruction. By an odd chance, a rock with mysterious powers that grants wishes made some interesting wishes of the girls came true in a very strange way. With those wishes, not only they have reaffirmed their BFF status, some of them also learned to accept changes of life as it is and make best of it. The story may not sound that interesting, but the distinct personalities of the four girls just made it so much entertaining to watch. And since the rock grants wishes in a very peculiar and unpredictable way, there's no lack of fun mishaps these girls suffer through.

As I mentioned in the previous post, Natsuiro Kiseki is a comedy that does not rely on exaggeration to make its point. While animes like K-ON! emphasizes on moe plus over the top bounciness to attract audience, Natsuiro Kiseki on the other hand is far calmer than those in the same category. It showed that subtlety can be equally funny if done right, and it adds an extra dimension of mellowness where it would be somewhat difficult to insert into a bouncy comedy anime.

 Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 90 (BFF drama)
Comedy: 90 (Subtly)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 86 (Cute)
Sound/Music: 85 (So so)
Character: 91 (Very interesting)
Plot: 83 (Slice of life)
Ending: 90 (Ended well)

Re-watch value: 50 - For fun, maybe

Overall: 89 - Lightheartedly Charming

Recommendation: I don't think I'd put this on a "must watch" list, but I'd definitely put it on "if you have extra time to burn" watch list.

[Ended] Sakamichi no Apollon: Jazz of Life

The animation style is simple, the settings is the era when people still have simple lives, but the story and the characters involved are anything but simple.

The story started with a rather simple concept, the love of Jazz music and how it connected a rather unusual group of people together. Slowly, as each character's back stories being revealed (to each other rather than to audiences), situations grew complex. What's so intriguing about this story is how it portrayed the relationships between different people in a very delicate manner.

The ending, in my opinion, managed to escape the pitfall of similar series where they end with either an unreasonable happy ending or an overly blunt shutoff. Most plot threads met with either a full closure, or a partial closure where the result is implied. Technically, the story ended on a somewhat tragic note (it actually depends on which thread you consider the primary one), but it isn't anything need to be upset about because characters in the story have simply accepted the fact and moved on. Since it's a story about how kids mature emotionally and eventually become an adult, I think that's a very fitting ending to the story.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 92 (Love and Jazz)
Comedy: 82 (For what it had)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 88 (Simple and interesting)
Sound/Music: 92 (All the Jazz)
Character: 98 (Very well developed)
Plot: 96 (Life's twists)
Ending: 90 (Casual yet effective)

Re-watch value: 60 - May catch certain details you missed

Overall: 93 - Jazz of Life

Recommendation: While it isn't anything ground breaking, this is an example of a solid good anime. If you are looking for something to watch that won't disappoint you, this is it. And I'm handing it

Best Short Season Drama for Spring 2012 Season

Saturday, July 7, 2012

[Ended] Fate/Zero: Sophisticated and Explosive

Fate/Zero is probably one of the most highly anticipated series in both 2011 and 2012. People say bigger expectation brings bigger disappointment, but I can assure you that is not going to be the case here. In my opinion the production team of Fate/Zero did everything right to meet the expectation.

As the prequel to Fate/Stay Night, it's quite a bit more sophisticated than its predecessor, both in plot and character design, probably due to the fact it was trying to tie the back story of every major character from Fate/Stay Night into a single plot. It presented few interesting philosophical dilemma, especially the discussion between the different historic figures about what it really means to be king.

Alongside with the complex plot and interpersonal relationships, one of the selling point of the story is the explosive battles among the summoned warriors. Although from the get-go it was pretty clear who is the ultimately dominating servant (even when you haven't seen Fate/Stay Night, you could tell), the battles along the way (both between servants and the masters) are rather exciting.

I can go on for quite a while about Fate/Zero, but the bottom line is that it is definitely worth your time, whether you have previously seen Fate/Stay Night or not.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 97 (Exciting)
Comedy: 85 (For the little it had)
Action: 98 (Explosive)
Art/Animation: 95 (Same style, more sophisticated)
Sound/Music: 97 (Great theme songs)
Character: 96 (Very interesting)
Plot: 98 (Well crafted and sophisticated)
Ending: 99 (Great)

Re-watch value: 80 - May be good for catching some missed plot point

Overall: 97 - Sophisticated and Explosive

Recommendation: Fate/Zero is probably one of the "must watch" anime of 2011/2012. Regardless what your background in anime is, I think you'll enjoy it. Anime studios lately have gotten a habit to taking a season break between two parts of long series, probably to ease the financial strain on producing large projects like this (this way they can use the profit from the first part to fund the second part). It makes it difficult to decide which season this series actually belong. But for now, I'd just shove it under October 2011 season and give it

Best Long Season Action-Drama for Fall 2011 Season

Sunday, July 1, 2012

[Ended] Tasogare Otome x Amnesia: Good Story, Terrible Ending

First thing first, WHY do they have to destroy a perfect ending of such a good series?!! Aside from potential future profit, I really can't see a real reason why they would do this. I mean it's so terrible that it's comparable to the level of disappointment I was met while watching Clannad After Story's finale. It's like they are up to toy with your emotion all series long, and after they finished performing the final act and had all of our hearts twisted and turned out of shape, only to see them taking a backstroke to invalidate them all. That's just completely maddening . 

As far as the story goes, the first half looked like a horror and comedy mix that plays off various urban legend where the latter half thread them together to be part of Yuuko's past that the characters trying to resolve. It's rather cleverly written how all unrelated haunts all comes to play part of Yuuko's background. If it weren't for the ending, this may be award worthy. But as it is right, borrowing my friend and fellow blog contributor danchou's words, the ending just kill it for me. 

As art style and directing goes, I can't help but notice it has borrowed certain techniques on directing and art direction from studio SHAFT, whose style is just so vastly different than conventional anime and is rather easily identifiable. While many who tried to imitate SHAFT's style have failed in the past, MediaFactory (the studio behind Tasogare Otome x Amnesia) did rather well here.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 90 (Dramatized)
Comedy: 90 (Very good)
Action: 89 (Haunting)
Art/Animation: 89 (Little SHAFT influence)
Sound/Music: 90 (Good music)
Character: 92 (Very interesting)
Plot: 90 (Nicely crafted)
Ending: 50 (Terrible)

Re-watch value: 60 - Maybe

Overall: 87 - Good Story, Terrible Ending
Recommendation: Generally it's a good story, but I'd say you probably want to skip the last 5 minutes of the last episode, if you don't want to just feel being played emotionally. If I'm to hand it an award, it'd probably be the most disappointing ending of the season.