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.

Summer 2009 Mid-Season Report Card

We’re about halfway through the Summer 2009 season, so it’s time to see where all the series that I’m watching currently stand.  Number of episodes watched are in parenthesis:

1st Tier

1. Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom (19)

Phantom has shot up to the top of my list as one of the best shows this year.  Good writing, acting, storytelling, music, animation, you name it.  It’s also been unpredictable, which is always nice for a series like this, where it can very easily fall in the trap of everyone knowing exactly what’s going to happen.  This show is finally headed into it’s final arc which will truly determine where on the scale it ultimately ends up.

2. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 (5)

Pushing Phantom for the best show I’m currently watching, however, is Tokyo Magnitude 8.0.  It’s also an extremely well told story about what might happen in Tokyo if a magnitude 8.0 earthquake were to hit the region, and so far it hasn’t disappointed.  I think the main reason why I have it at #2 is that at times it seems slightly forced, and the animation quality isn’t as good, but it’s still a very good watch.

2nd Tier

3. Sweet Blue Flowers (7)

The second tier is headed by the new show I’m blogging: Sweet Blue Flowers, aka Aoi Hana.  The storytelling in this show has been pretty solid, if rather slow going.  It’s still a good watch if you’re a yuri fan, however, and while this series hasn’t been one for doing anything particularly explosive all at once, we could be headed towards some interesting times soon.

4. Fullmetal Alchemist (18)

The new Fullmetal Alchemist series is pretty much in the same place in the Summer report card as it was in the spring report card.  Unlike in the spring, we’ve now gotten into episodes which diverge from the first series, and that has made the series more interesting and has started to pull me into this series a bit more, and I”m looking forward to see how things turn out this time.

5. CANAAN (6)

I think the past couple of episodes have helped pushed CANAAN up in the list from where it was probably at to start with.  We’ve started to delve into some very good and interesting character development episodes, while at the same time we keep getting fed bits here and pieces that which will, presumably, all come together towards the end.  Oh, and the animation is also killer in this series.

6. Taisho Yakyuu Musume (6)

Taisho has kind of turned into my guilty pleasure and surprise show of this season.  I keep expecting this show to let me down, but thus far it hasn’t.  It has continued to charge along just fine, and I’ve been fairly interested in where it’s headed.  It certainly has the potential to move up this list even more if it keeps it up as well.

7. Shangri-la (19)

Shangri-la is close to the same place it was in the spring, as far as where it is in the list, though I have bumped it up from the 3rd to 2nd tier for the summer list.  Some of my worries from the spring about it being “too complex for it’s own good” have been alleviated, though I still think it’s still a partial problem for this show.  But I think the plot line and what’s been going on has become a lot more straight forward and easier to understand, which has greatly improved this series from where it was in the spring.

8. Pandora Hearts (19)

Pandora Hearts is yet another series which gets promoted from the 3rd tier to the 2nd tier from the spring to the summer.  While the improvements aren’t as pronounced as they are in Shangri-la, the trend of the seeming improvements in the episodes that I noted in the spring has continued, allowing this show to get it’s legs under it.  While it’s still somewhat a “muddled mess of confusion,” as I put it in the spring, it’s not nearly as bad.

9. Valkyria Chronicles (19)

Valkyria is really the only show from my spring list that has taken a dive once hit got into the summer.  It still remains at the bottom of the 2nd tier as it did in the spring, but it’s much lower in the rankings relative to other shows, compared to the spring.  While I think this series is holding it’s own well enough to keep it out of the third tier (so far), it really seems to have lost a lot of what made it good to begin with.

3rd Tier

10. Sora no Manimani (4)

Sora no Manimani is right on the border of the 2nd and 3rd tiers, but right now I’m sticking it into the 3rd tier of shows.  Some of the astronomy stuff in this show is pretty interesting, but I just haven’t been able to really get into it.  The characters all seem too one-dimensional and dull and the animation hasn’t seemed to be all that great in places either.  This show definitely has the potential to move up, but if it moves more into “romance mode,” as it is threatening to, it’ll probably stay low in the rankings.

4th Tier

11. Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Season 2 (9)

I’m skipping to the 4th tier for this show – a special tier I have reserved for those shows that deserve to be subjected to a special amount of beating.  I think we all know why this show is here.  Nine episodes have aired, but only 4 could really be considered “real” episodes (and that’s being generous).  We wait 3 years for the sequel, and what do we get? Eight episodes of Endless Eight.  This series will almost certainly move up into at least the 3rd tier by the time it’s done, just because we’re actually going to be hitting some new content again, but it’s already fallen into such a deep hole that it’s hard to see how it will end up being seen as anything other than mediocre by the time it’s finished, unless they’re going to give us a lot more than 14 new episodes.

Haruhi, Endless Eight, and the Five Stages of Grief

If ANN is to be believed, Endless Eight will finally end in a matter of a couple hours (sorry CCY).  However, I thought I would repeat something that I posted to Twitter last night, because I thought it was still appropriate.

Obey Haruhi

(Image by Aceman67)

The reaction to Endless Eight has been somewhat fascinating, much like the stages of grief:

  1. Denial: “They aren’t REALLY going to keep repeating the same episode over and over, right?”
  2. Anger: “I can’t fucking believe they’re wasting 3/4/5 episodes on the same freaking thing!”
  3. Bargaining: “Maybe, just maybe, it’ll be just 6 episodes instead of 8, or the remaining 13 episodes!”
  4. Depression: “This has completely ruined haruhi! it’s now the worst series ever!”
  5. Acceptance: “Just get this over with so we can watch the last 5 episodes in peace.”

They’ve successfully placated everyone by completely and utterly demoralizing their own fan base.  You don’t see very much raging and rioting anymore, really.  Mainly just grim acceptance that it’ll be over once it’s over.

Endless Eight Finally Gets to Hitler

This is classic, especially since I think I encouraged CCY to make this on Twitter lol.  There are a couple of boo-boos, but it’s the thought that really counts, right?

Update:

P.S., here is another one for your enjoyment.  Maybe we’ll get a new one of these every week?

Summer 2009 Blog and Watch List

It’s finally time to make a decision about what series I want to watch and blog for the Summer 2009 anime season.  There are 5 shows carrying over from the Spring 2009 season, including one show that I’m blogging.  As a result, my target for the Summer season was to pick up a second show to blog along with about 4 other shows to watch.  Well, I’ve now picked the new show to blog, and I’m going to have 5 additional shows instead of 4, for a total of 11 shows that I’m keeping track of, 2 of which I’ll be blogging.

The new show that I’ll be blogging in the Summer season is Sweet Blue Flowers, a.k.a. Aoi Hana.  As I said in my preview, to me, this series seems to have very little on the surface for me to dislike.  The art looks good, it’s being animated by J.C. Staff, it’s being directed by Kenichi Kasai, who has directed Honey & Clover and Nodame Cantabile (the latter of which I haven’t personally seen, but it appears to be held in rather high regard).  And with an ending theme by Ceui (who also did the ending theme to Munto TV), this one seems to have “great show” written all over it.

Now, onto the shows that I’ll be watching but not blogging.  The other show I was considering blogging, Sora no Manimani, is definitely on my watch list, as is the already in progress second season of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.  Wrapping up my watch list for summer are CANAAN, Taisho Yakyuu Musume, and Tokyo Magnitude 8.0.

CANAAN was probably was close to “will watch” as a show can get without being on my “will watch” list on my preview.  The lack of a good description was the main reason I held back, but I couldn’t really find anything to displace it, so onto my final watch list it goes.  Once I read the description of Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, I was also pretty sure it would end up on my final watch list as well, and here it is.  Finally, the show I’m taking the biggest chance on this season is Taisho Yakyuu Musume.  As I said in my preview, I’m not really all that hot on sports shows, but this one seems to be a bit different, so I’m hoping for the best.

For the two other shows on my “may watch” list, Sea Story ended up being cut due to my increasing doubts about the show.  Meanwhile, Bakemonogatari got cut due to my just running out of spots (I wasn’t intending on picking up more than 5 total shows as it was).  If watching 11 shows at once isn’t suicidal and I hear some good things about this show after a couple episodes, I might go back and pick it up, but to start off with, I’m leaving it off.

That means, going into the summer, my complete schedule looks thus:

Blogging

  • Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom
  • Sweet Blue Flowers (new)

Watching

  • CANAAN (new)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (new)
  • Pandora Hearts
  • Shangri-La
  • Sora no Manimani (new)
  • Taisho Yakyuu Musume (new)
  • Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 (new)
  • Valkyria Chronicles

Gender Bending

Seriously, I don’t get it. I’m just going along minding my own business, and all of a sudden an avelanche of Haruhi gender-switching art appears everywhere. No really, I don’t get it. I mean, here I am a guy, and I see a picture of Haruhi, who is now equipped with manly equipment. Am I supposed to be turned on by this? Or Kyon gets his manly equipment removed and becomes a female ala Hazumu in Kashimashi. But he was a guy. Ditto – is this supposed to turn me on?

Oh, and by the way, here is Sekai and Kotonoha in their lovely boy forms:

Sekai and Kotonoha as guys.

(Yes, this entire post was just an excuse to post that picture)

Haruhi 2 logo

While I was doing some other stuff today, I suddenly thought of the Hummer H2 logo and then thought – “hey! H2 – that sounds like something Haruhi Season 2 would do”

Thus I made this (I don’t recall anyone else making something like this, so I thought I would):

Haruhi Season 2

Click here for the larger version.

I don’t think the font for the “2” is thick enough, but that’s the best I could do with the fonts on my computer. If I find a better font some day, then maybe I’ll made a second, better version of this.

Oh, and if you want to use it for some reason, feel free to, just link back to this blog if you don’t mind.

We don’t even know when it’s airing – it could range from this fall to next fall, yet I’m still getting excited over it.

Kyoto Animation: Big Teases

While the announcement in NewType Japan still seems to be pretty definitive about a second season, what popped up on the official Haruhi website (and has apparently come back down) wasn’t an official announcement, but a live-action video about an event in the 3rd volume of the Haruhi light novels (I think I know what it is, but I won’t look because I don’t want to spoil it if I am wrong).

Sooo…we’re still waiting for any actual news like an official official announcement or when it might air, or even how long it is.

I also posted this in an update to the post below, but I mentioned a debate in the podcast about the show possibly being “2 seasons long” or something like that. Since I can’t read Japanese, I can’t say whether this was mentioned for sure in the NewType scans, but I just thought that it may be possibly a misinterpretation of the “season 2” announcement (ie, reading 2nd haruhi season as 2 seasons long or something). In any case, like I said, we’re still waiting. The 10th – really the 9th our time, will probably be the next time we might learn something new.

It's Official (maybe)

The Melancholy of Haruhi SuzumiyaThe Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is getting a 2nd season, presumably to air after Clannad is finished (whenever it airs, so depending on how long Clannad is supposed to be, we’re probably looking at summer or fall of 2008).

Actually, It’s supposed to be officially “official” when the official website announces it on July 7, 2007 (or 7/7/07 – why am I not surprised?) and when the announcement is made in the August issue of NewType, which hits stores July 10th.

In any case, all Haruiists rejoice!

Addition (7/7/07):
Well, the 7th came and went and nothing showed up on the official Haruhi Japanese website. Newtype Japan in still coming out on the 10th, so that should give us the definite answer. If the person who translated some of the text is correct, it seems to be pretty sure, though. Also, the report of it being “two seasons long” may just be a misinterpretation of the text saying that it’s the 2nd season.

Added English Cast for Haruhi Suzumiya

I finally added the English cast for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Not sure what took me so long. I won’t re-review with the English dub score until I watch the entire series dubbed.