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:
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.
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.
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.
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.