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

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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.

K-ON! – Anime Review

The Essentials

k-onName: K-ON!
Genre: Comedy
Episodes: 13
Aired: April 2, 2009 – June 25, 2009
Based On: K-ON! manga by kakifly
Director: Hisako Yamada
Produced By: Kyoto Animation, TBS
US Distribution By: Not Licensed

Cast

Character Japanese Cast English Cast (N/A)
Yui Hirasawa: Aki Toyosaki
Mio Akiyama: Yoko Hikasa
Ritsu Tainaka: Satomi Satou
Tsumugi Kotobuki: Minako Kotobuki
Azusa Nakano: Ayana Taketatsu
Ui Hirasawa: Madoka Yonezawa
Nodoka Manabe: Chika Fujito
Sawako Yamanaka: Asami Sanada

Review

K-ON! is about a quartet of high school girls – Yui, Mio, Ritsu, and Tsumugi – who have banded together in order to save the school’s light music club.  However, while Mio, Ritsu, and Tsumugi already know how to play instruments (bass, drums, and keyboard respectively), Yui joins the club not knowing any instruments and not even really sure what to expect from the club.

What follows is a relatively humorous comedy.  The four girls (and later five) mix and match stereotypical moe pieces together to create a somewhat new set of characters.  However, K-ON! suffers from something which many series seem to: a show that has a good sounding premise and starts out strong, but then collapses near the end as the creators apparently couldn’t think of how to work the show after they set it up.

Perhaps if this show was a tad more on the serious side and was less focused on moe and outright goofyness, it would have been more successful.  I’m not saying it needed to be a drama in stead of a comedy, but a show about a light music club should probably either be a) about light music or b) use the club as a device to explore, well, something.  The problem is that we got neither of those in this series.  When you start virtually repeating episodes to the extent that K-ON! does (see: “band camp” episodes and concert episodes) in a 12 episode series, then there seems to be a problem.  Repeating episode ideas, i.e. going away for a training camp, isn’t necessarily bad in itself if things get mixed up when you do repeat it.  However, I never really felt that happened here.

That means that this series is driven entirely on humor.  Again, that in of itself isn’t necessarily bad as long as the humor can sustain the series.  However, after we get about halfway through, most of the humor is just a rehash of what we’ve already seen.  Yui somehow manages to play the guitar despite knowing nothing.  Mio is a shy scardeycat.  Ritsu likes harassing Mio.  Tsumugi is rich and likes bringing sweets.  The great bulk of the jokes in the entire show can probably be broken down into one of those 4 categories.

As is usual with Kyoto Animation, the animation is great, and the music, what there is of it, is pretty good too.  This show isn’t necessarily “bad” per se, and it may not be too bad of a watch for a 13 episode series, especially if you’re looking for a mindless comedy, but there are certainly more worthy series out there, especially given what this series could have been.

Scores

Story: 3/5
Animation: 5/5
Music: 4/5
English Dubs: N/A

Overall: 3/5

First Watched: April – June 2009
Do I Own: No
Do I Recommend: Yes (though barely)

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.

Spring 2009 Blog and Watch List

Sorry for not posting in the last week.  That was a combination of the basketball tournament (which took up a good deal of my weekend) and getting into the homestretch of my class (which I usually do on the weekend, but got pushed to my weekday evenings…when I usually do my blogging, thus limited to no blogging for the past little while).

I was initially planning on blogging 2 series for the Spring 09 season, but I think given that I’m probably going to be somewhat slammed with my class for the next month (the final month + oral exit exam for classes I haven’t taken in 3 years), so I think I’m only going to pick up one show to blog.  In my preview, I had 3 shows on my “May blog” list: Eden of the East, Phantom, and Shangri-La.

Now, I’m one who sometimes likes venturing out onto paths that other bloggers sometimes don’t tread on (see: Shion no Ou, Nijuu-Mensou).  Two of the seemingly most highly expected series this season appear to be Eden of the East and Shangri-La which, I presume, will have bloggers falling over themselves to blog it.  As a result, I think I’m going to blog Phantom myself.  My only worry with this show is largely that the only two fansub groups listed as doing it I haven’t really downloaded anything from before, so I don’t know whether they’re of good quality or whether they get things out quickly or not.  So there you have it for my blogging list.

As for shows that I’ll watch, Eden of the East, Shangri-La, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Pandora Hearts were already on my “will watch” list, so I’ll probably grab about 3 shows from the “may watch” list to add to this list.  Out of that list, I guess the most appealing is K-ON, since it was really the only show that didn’t raise some question marks with me, and I guess when I get down to my “may” list, I go from picking shows that look good to picking shows that don’t look bad.  Next on my list is Asura Cryin’.  The preview I saw looked more serious than the “semi-serious” description of the show, and the arrival of what looked like a mecha-like thing put this show into question, but I think overall it looks good.  Finally on my list is Valkyria Chronicles.  This is somewhat iffy to me, but just not as iffy as Summer Storm (highly questionable animation to me) and Tears to Tiara (looks like a fantasy show that is taking itself way too seriously).

So, to roundup, this is what my blogging and watching slate for the Spring season will look like:

Blogging

  • Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom

Watching

  • Asura Cryin’
  • Eden of the East
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • K-ON!
  • Pandora Hearts
  • Shangri-La
  • Valkyria Chronicles