Now and Then, Here and There: Complete Series

Pre-thoughts

This is a series that has been on my watch list for literally years, probably since I started watching anime 5 years ago or so.  However, I never really got around to watching it…until now.

Series: Now and Then, Here and There
Media: Netflix Online, Episodes 1 – 13

If you open the dictionary and look for “gut wrenching and depressing,” this show will probably be listed under it.  Now and Then, Here and There is truly a work of depression, desperation, and despair.  It puts the eternally optimistic Shu into the world of wanna-be ruler of the world King Hondo.  The rule under the despotic and paranoid King Hondo is brutal, even by historical standards, yet many of the characters there cling to some hope or another that helps them get through the hells of day-to-day life, and to rationalize the brutality they’re forced to inflict on others.

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Right Stuf licenses El Hazard, Funimation licenses several titles at Anime Central

This afternoon, Right Stuf International announced that they had licensed the anime series El Hazard: The WanderersIn addition, as opposed to some more recent Right Stuf announcements, El Hazard will be receiving a dub, per the website.  Right Stuff is releasing it in a single 26-episode box set on September 7th.  El Hazard was originally aired between October 1995 and March 1996.

Meanwhile, this past weekend, Funimation announced several new acquisitions, including:

  • Rosario + Vampire (both seasons)
  • Chaos;HEAd
  • Chrome Shelled Regios
  • Rideback
  • Heaven’s Lost Property (Sora no Otoshimono), and
  • GUNxSWORD

GUNxSWORD and Regios will be released late in 2010, while everything else is slated for release sometime in 2011.

Edit: El Hazard is apparently a rescue from Geneon, not an entirely new acquisition.

Funimation licenses Black Butler

Funimation has announced that they have licensed the anime series Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji). Black Butler is a 24 episode series that aired between October 2008 and March 2009, and was produced by A-1 Pictures and Aniplex.

A second season is scheduled to start airing in July.

Spring 2010 Anime Blog/Watch List

I’m too lazy to create my own season preview on short notice after coming back, so I’ll just be using THAT’s preview information instead.

Angel Beats – It’s an interesting synopsis, anyway.  And given that it’s based off of a Key visual novel (Air, Kanon, CLANNAD) makes this one even more promising.  Add to that the studio who did True Tears and CANAAN, and the fact that it has girls with guns, and it’s hard to see where this one can go wrong.  Judgment: Blogging

Arakawa Under the Bridge – The synopsis of this makes no sense.  If the pair hooked up, why would the rich guy go to live with the girl under a bridge and not vice versa? Who knows.  Judgment: Not Watching

B Gata H Kei – Oh for the love of all that is holy, who came up with this concept? No, No, and No! Judgment: Do I even need to say it? NOT WATCHING

Giant Killing – If I were into sports anime, this would sound interesting. But I’m not. Judgment: Not Watching

Hakuouki – That’s a lot of bishis. Judgment: Not Watching

Heroman – If I were into superhear stuff, this might sound interesting. But I’m not. Judgment: Not Watching

House of Five Leaves – I’m not really into samurai anime very much, but the synopsis part of this sounds really interesting. Judgment: Watching

Ichiban Ushiro no Dai Maou – This sounds like every anime ever done x 10. Judgment: Not Watching

Iron Man – Shouldn’t people be making movies from anime, not the other way around? And I haven’t even seen the movie. Judgment: Not Watching

Kaichou wa Maid Sama – Yet another “Perfect Proper Girl with a sexy/naughty/nerdy/dorky/magical/alien/other secret” show.  On the plus side, J.C. Staff is doing it, who I would probably hold as my highest regarded anime producer.  Even then, it seems like this theme has been run into the ground. Judgment: Not Watching

Kiss X Sis – Shows about incest (even if only step-siblings) only really work well as dramas.  Once they’re turned into comedies, they just get weird. Judgment: Not Watching

K-ON season 2 – Are things so bad this season that I may watch the could-have-been-much-better K-ON? Yes they are. Judgment: Watching

Mayoi Neko Overrun – It’s AIC. Enough said. Judgment: Not Watching

RAINBOW – Haven’t I seen this on preview lists 2 or 3 times already only to be pushed back? In any case, I’m not sure…sounds too depressing right off the bat. Judgment: Not Watching

Senko no Night Raid – I sometimes like shows like this one, but this one doesn’t quite…feel right. Judgment: Not Watching

Uragiri no Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru – This might sound interesting if the guy didn’t have such a lame ability. Judgment: Not Watching

Working – This one sounds like it might have some potential. Judgment: Watching

Yojo-han Shinwa Taikei – I’m trying to figure out the point of this show based on it’s synopsis.  Judgment: Not Watching


So here is the round-up:

Blogging
Angel Beats

I decided I should pick something up, and this was easily the most appealing looking series to me to blog this season.

Watching
House of Five Leaves
K-ON season 2
Working

Winter 2010 Anime Watchlist

I didn’t even have an idea of what was airing in the Winter 2010 season until most of the new shows already started airing, so I’m having to make decisions about what I want to watch based on less information and time thinking than I usually do.

From the Fall Season, Kimi ni Todoke, Fullmetal Alchemist, Kobato, Railgun, and Letter Bee are all continuing, so I’m looking for 3 to 4 shows to replace the shows that have finished up.  Here are some quick thoughts on some of the series airing in the fall.  I’ll skip anything that looks too kiddie or which is a sequel to something I haven’t seen:

Chu-Bra!!

A show about a middle school student starting an “underwear club” to spread the merits of wearing sexy underwear.  Um, double triple quadruple super duper duper hell no.

Sora no Woto

So basically, this looks like it’s like K-ON!, except worse, because they’re in the middle of a war.

Ladies vs Butlers!

I’m not even sure what to think about this series.  It definitely looks like a harem, and it’s along the “girls go wild over young-looking-boys” type.  I guess that’s better than the young-looking-girls shows. Maybe.

Omamori Himari

Another orphaned-boy-taken-in-by-neighbor-girls-parents story.  Except this time the magical girl who pops up is a cat girl. And the boy is allergic to cats.  This at least sounds mildly interesting.  At least far more interesting than any of the shows so far.

Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu

This kind of sounds like Special A, except in reverse.  I’m not sure about the summoning creatures part of this show though.

Dance in the Vampire Bund

I’m not really one for Vampire shows, but this show actually looks (visually) interesting, and it’s done by SHAFT, which definitely helps it.

Durarara!!

Basically sounds like gangs looking for a mythical head of a headless motorcycle rider.  Mmmm…not the worst show I’ve seen this season but I still think there are better things to watch.

Ookami Kakushi

This is a show based off of a game made by the people who did Higurashi.  I’ve never seen any of those series, but I’ve been curious about them.

Seikon no Qwaser

A show about people who can manipulate iron and who draw power from breast milk fighting each other.  That sounds like there is too much that can go bad here.

Hanamaru Kindergarten

This is by GAINAX which, of course, means this show won’t have a proper ending.

Katanagatari

An actually somewhat decent looking Edo-era sword fighting show.  I’ll have to see if it ultimately makes my cut or not, though.

So, My Watch List Is…

I wasn’t planning on picking up another series to blog this season unless there was just something that looked fantastic, and there isn’t, so I’ll only add shows to watch.  I think this time, I’ll only add 3 shows.  I felt like I was going to add either 3 or 5, and I didn’t want 5 new shows, so I went with my top 3, and they are:

Dance in the Vampire Bund
Omamori Himari
Ookami Kakushi

Top 10 Anime Openings of 2009

As I did last year, here is the list of what I thought the top 10 anime OPs of 2009 were. Enjoy!

10. “Aoi Hana” by Kukikodan – Sweet Blue Flowers OP

This is a nice little song to start off the countdown.

9. “Super Driver” by Aya Hirano – The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya OP2

While the ED was the good song from the first season, the OP was the good song from the second season of Haruhi.

8. “Kimi ni Todoke” by Tanizawa Tomofumi – Kimi ni Todoke OP

Another nice soft rock song that I think is pretty good and matches the show pretty well.

7. “Kimi Shinitamō Koto Nakare” by May’n – Shangri-la OP

I wasn’t too sure about this OP to start with, but it kind of grew on me after a while

6. “HANAJI” by Yu Kobayashi – Maria Holic OP

Rather ecchi, but how can one not like this OP?

5. “Karma” by KOKIA – Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom OP1

KOKIA once again makes the list, this time for her excellent, if not eerie, OP for Phantom.

4. “Parallel Hearts” by FictionJunction – Pandora Hearts OP

This OP just stuck on me from the very start.  I think it’s pretty good, anyway

3. “Oyasumi Paradox” by Etsuko Yakushimaru – Natsu no Arashi! Akinai-chū OP

I didn’t watch this show, but I love this OP.

2. “Falling Down” by Oasis – Eden of the East OP

One of the very best OPs of the year, if not for the past few years. And being sung in English (being that it’s sung by Oasis) probably doesn’t hurt either.

1. “kiseki” by NIRGILIS – Birdy the Mighty DECODE 02 OP

However, the #1 OP of the year goes to a show from all the way back in the winter season.  It was a tough choice between #1 and #2, but I thought this one just won out.

Top 10 Anime Endings of 2009

As I did last year, here is the list of what I thought the top 10 anime EDs of 2009 were. Enjoy!

10. “Kimi ni, Mune Kyun” by Yu Kobayashi, Asami Sanada and Marina Inoue – Maria Holic ED

This was kind an odd ED, though it probably fit the series in that regard.  It kind of grew on me, though, after a while.

9. “Hajimari no Asa ni Hikari Are” by midori – Shangri-la ED

I’m kind of surprised this landed as low as it did.  I guess it says something about the quality of the EDs this past year.

8. “Transparent” by KOKIA – Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom ED2

Like KOKIA’s OP for the same series, this one is somewhat eerie, and as a result, fits the series well

7. “Zetsubou Restaurant” by Zetsubou Shoujotachi – Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei ED1

This is kind of a funny ED.  I’ve never seen any of these series, though it kinda almost makes me want to

6. “Link” by angela – Asura Cryin’ ED1

Another good song by angela.  Many of the songs for this show were good, and this was the best one, but the only one to make the lists.

5. “Koi no Uta” by Haruka TomatsuShinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica Crimson S ED

This is kind of a nice, soft but feel-good-like song, with interesting animation to add to it.

4. “BACCHIKOI!!!” by DEV PARADE – Naurto Shippuden ED8

Yes, I even check out OPs and EDs for shows like Naruto when doing this list.  For once, they had one which was not only good enough to make a list, but high on the list.  This ED is just hilarious to me, even though I’ve never watched the show.

3. “Blue sky, True sky” by Aira Yuhki – Tears to Tiara ED1

This was a tough choice for the #3 spot, but I think this song was, overall, a bit better quality.

2. “Don’t say ”lazy”” by Yoko Hikasa with Aki Toyosaki, Satomi Satou and Minako Kotobuki – K-ON ED

This song was a pretty easy choice for #2.  The show might not have been that great, but it did have some good music.

1. “Hikari to Yami to Toki no Hate” by Ceui – Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai ED

I melt whenever I hear this.  This was a no-brainer as #1 on my list.

Sentai licenses Hidamari Sketch, Glass Mask, and Neo Angelique Abyss

Sentai Filmworks has has announced licenses for 3 new anime series: Hidamari Sketch, Glass Mask, and Neo Angelique Abyss.

Section23 will distribute Hidamari Sketch, a 12 episode series that aired in 2007, on January 12, 2010.  It’s unclear whether Sentai has only licensed the first series or both aired series, but the release is explicitly labeled “Season 1,” suggesting that they have either licensed or are intending to license the 2nd season as well.

Section23 will distribute the first of two Glass Mask (Glass no Kamen) sets on January 19, 2010, which will include the first half of the 51 episode series which aired in in 2005 and 2006. The second set has not been scheduled yet.

Finally, Neo Angelique Abyss, a 13 episode series that aired in 2008, will be released January 26, 2010.  Once again, the release is labeled “Season 1,” suggesting that they may also picked up the 2nd season as well.

As is the case with all Sentai Filmworks titles, these are subtitle only releases.

First Impressions: Sora no Otoshimono

230px-Sora_no_Otoshimono_vol01Polaryzed – Now this series threw me for a loop.  I came into it knowing that it’d be a fan service comedy.  The premise/synopsis from ANN made it sound very similar to To Love-Ru.  I enjoyed watching that show, in a mindless zombie way, and I’m never one to shy away from fan service, so I gave this a try.  After two episodes, I’m VERY surprised by this show.  The production quality is much higher than I expected, and it was REALLY FUNNY.

What I usually don’t like about most fan service comedies is the male lead.  They usually are trying to adhere to some mythical ‘higher moral standard‘ that keeps them from acting on their impulses the way that (IMO) most other teenage males would.  For that reason you get the old: “Lala-san put some clothes on!  I don’t want to see that!”, or something similar.

Sora no Otoshimono is handling it differently, which I like.  When an oppai andriod angel falls from the sky and says that she can grant wishes, what does he do?  Wish for money and to be invisible so that he can watch/grope his hawt neighbor.  Perfect!  This is an animated fantasy, so dammit show me some fantasies.  It’s a funny and off the wall show that doesn’t seem like it’s really supposed to make much sense, but who cares?

The clinching moment for me came at the end of the second episode.  After all that pantsu nonsense the whole episode, the show has an ED of beautiful panoromic scenery with pantsu flying in a goose flock formation.  Absolute win.  Definitely going to watch this one to see what else pantsu can do that I didn’t know about.  I’m out!

First Impressions: The Secret of Nogizaka Haruka – Purity

The Secret of Nogizaka Haruka - PurityJosh: There wasn’t very much “pure” about the first episode of this second season, since the first episode attempted to be a fan service fest.  Unfortunately, the main star of the first episode was the steam used to censor all the fan service which was apparently going on behind the, er, steam.  Now, I’m not one for huge fan service shows, but if you’re gonna show fan service, then you just as well show fan service.  What’s the point in having loads of it but not showing any of it.  I can understand if it is an otherwise clean show with a few risque shots that you don’t want going overboard, but the first episode was nearly unwatchable.

Luckily the 2nd episode was mostly steamless and started going back towards what made the first season good in the first place: Haruka being a hot and popular, yet secret, otaku nerd.  However, I do have to laugh somewhat at the lacrosse anime, being an alumnus of Syracuse University.  I didn’t even know that the Japanese knew what lacrosse was, given that it is one of the few sports truly rooted in North America, having originated with Native Americans (though apparently Japan does indeed have it’s own lacrosse association).

Hopefully the rest of the series will go more of the way of the 2nd episode than the 1st…

Polaryzed: I don’t have much more to add that Josh didn’t already say.  I also enjoyed the first season and hope it continues that way.  Steam sucks.  The end.