Spring 2009 Mid-Season Report

Since hell month struck right at the start of the season, I wasn’t able to do my usual first impression posts for show that I was watching, so I decided to do a Mid-Season report once I caught up.  As a result, here it is!

Number of episodes watched are in parenthesis.

1st Tier

1. Eden of the East (6)

It’d be hard to rank anything above this at the time being.  This show has everything: music, animation, story, intrigue, you name it.  Eden of the East is definitely not your usual fare, and given that it appears to obviously in good hands as far as writing and production, it is shining brightly as a result.   While the last episode was a tad confusing on the first viewing, there is very little to find wrong with this show so far.

2. K-ON (7)

I believe K-ON was the 8th of 8 shows that I decided to watch at the start of the season, and I picked it for the sole reason that Kyoto Animation was producing it and I seem to like their stuff, even if the premise of this particular show didn’t appeal to me very much.  Well, I’ll say it right now:  Oh please forgive me KyoAni for ever doubting you!  K-ON is everything Lucky Star ever wished it was, and more.  Good music plus interesting and hilarious characters make this a fun show to watch.  And while the characters use most of the standard “moe” characteristics from many past KyoAni series, they seem to be mixed and matched differently, giving the characters some freshness.

2nd Tier

3. Requiem for the Phantom (5)

OK, yes, I know, I’m probably the only person in the anime blogosphere who doesn’t hate BEE TRAIN (though admittedly, I’ve only seen 2, maybe 3, of their shows total), but I’ve so far been digging Phantom.  This series seemed to take an animation quality dip come the 4th episode or so, but the storytelling seems to be rather solid to me.  Sure, there are some issues, but compared to many of the other shows on my watch list, this one is doing pretty good.

4. Fullmetal Alchemist (6)

I kind of have this and Phantom tied at 3rd right now, but I think overall I’ll put this at 4th right now.  One reason is that thus far the series is just going through stories which I’ve already seen before in the first series, which is to be expected.  It is going at a far brisker pace than the first series thus far, though, having gone through the material of about 16 episodes of the first season i only 6 in the second, though we’re only up through about chapter 8 of the manga or so I believe.  There are various other things which I think don’t make this as strong of a series as it could be, but it’s still pretty good so far.

5. Valkyria Chronicles (6)

I didn’t really know what to expect or how much I’d like a show like Valyria.  I have, after all, not really watch any show very much like it before (though I’m sure many have been produced).  However, I have been pleasantly surprised by it so far.  The “courseness” of the animation, while good in concept, could be pulled off better, however.  But as far as the story and characters are concerned, they seem to be well thought out and executed pretty well so far, and it’s one of the shows that I actually look quite forward to seeing more episodes of.

3rd Tier

6. Shangri-la (6)

Shangri-La starts the series of 3 bottom-feeder series for this season.  While I appreciate an anime series which has some (apparent) thought and depth to it, I’m almost wondering if it’s too complex for it’s own good.  We have jibber jabber about carbon markets and bubble economies and the like and after a while i’ts just kind of like “wut?”  Also, while I realize most shows aren’t exactly realistic, being able to create a bubble and burst it in a nation and forcing whole industries to go bankrupt in mere seconds is more than what I’m really able to believe.  I think this series still has some promise if it gets it’s act together, but it has a long way to go.

7. Pandora Hearts (6)

Pandora Hearts is not last for one reason:   The chracters.  I love the characers and I love the character designs.  It’s a pity that they couldn’t actually be featured in, you know, a good show.  The show has gotten a little bit better in the past couple of episodes, so maybe there is hope, but so far the episodes have largely been a muddle mess of confusion, where I don’t really understand what’s going on half the time.  Add to this the sub-sub-standard animation quality (I had read about XEBEC having crappy animation before, and now I know what they were talking about) and Pandora Hearts is quickly becoming a rather forgetable show.

8. Asura Cryin’ (5)

It pains me to put this last since I keep watching it hoping that it will get better, but I think drooling on my pillow while I sleep is better written than this show up until this point.  So we have three factions, which all run different student councils at this school, and they have these Asura things or whatever, and, well, hell if I know what’s going on after 5 episodes.  All I know is that banging Demons is bad and Natsume using his Asura thing might be hazardous for his ghost-girlfriend’s, er, health.  Perhaps the main good point to this story are (some) of it’s characters and what humor exists, but it all goes downhill once it starts getting serious.  And it’s animation isn’t all that stellar either.

Anime DVD and Manga Releases for May 19 – 25

I got so far behind with this that I’m not even bothering to catch up on what I missed.  At least I’m finally getting around to doing these again.

Princess Resurrection DVD Set #2
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Manga Volume 2

Anime DVDs and Blu-Rays

May 19, 2009
Chance Pop Session – Box Set
Claymore – Volume 5
Dragon Ball Z – Season 9 Box Set
Dragon Ball Z – Movies 12 & 13: Fusion Reborn / Wrath of the Dragon (DVD & Blu-Ray)
Fist of the North Star: The Movie
Princess Resurrection – Set #2 (sub)


May 19, 2009
Case Closed – Volume 29
Fullmetal Alchemist – Volume 18
Kekkaishi – Volume 17
King of Debris – Volume 1
Negima! Magister Negi Magi – Volume 22
Oishinbo – Volume 3
Papillon – Volume 3
Pluto – Volume 3
Princess Resurrection – Volume 6
Psycho Busters – Volume 5
Sayonara, Zetsubo Sensei – Volume 2
Toto! The Wonderful Adventure – Volume 5
Vagabond – Volume 29
Yokai Doctor – Volume 1

May 20, 2009
Akihabara @ DEEP – Volume 4
Flower of Life – Volume 4