Lifesong's blog

10:39 PM on 01.19.2014

My Favorite Anime Openings of the Winter Season 2014

I love to compare openings and endings for a new season even when I don't always like the shows themselves. I think I've seen all of them and so I've decided to share my "objectively" proven list with Jtor! Without further introduction here are my top three favorites of the season.

3: Golden Time

I would never pick a video purely for the sake of controversy! Okay so maybe I would and maybe I did, but I really do like this Opening. Golden Time's new OP didn't appeal to me at first, but after watching it maybe a dozen times I've fallen for it. The energy it builds up is initially an assault of sounds and hard to digest as a result. The thing that really sold me on this OP is how well it fits the mood of the show itself. Watching Koko's frustration building up and her panic as it boils over is exactly the atmosphere we are being asked to buy into.

The song quickly transitions from peaceful to aggressive, but Koko's fantasy land isn't brought down so easily. Koko is still laying peacefully in her fantasy land until she wakes up at forty five seconds in. By the one minute mark the song dives into a headlong panic as Koko rises up, abandons her shoes and chases after the things she doesn't want to lose as her fantasy world comes to an end. All that before the song returns to being peaceful again. It all just fits perfectly with the themes of the story and I love it for that.

2: Engaged to the Unidentified

Have I sung the praises of Dogakobo on Jtor yet? No you say? Ever since Love Lab I've been in love with the this studio. They have an amazing amount of talent for animation, timing, direction etc, you name it and they are probably good at it. The only thing Love Lab lacked was a bit of ambition and while this new venture may only prove to be a small step in the right direction for them, it does a great job of showcasing their talents and of course the OP is particularly impressive.

If you want to see character personality established in an OP this is one that shouldn't be missed. The first ten seconds provide a seductive intro before transitioning into a high energy beat. The timing of the animation fits the beat perfectly and makes this OP an instantly addictive substance. The thing that impresses me the most is how well this OP establishes the characters personalities and relationships. Things like the little girl's expression when she is harassed by the older sister around the thirteen second mark or the way our heroine's eyes move at the one minute mark or her shoulders twitch when her finance lands on the moon beside her. That is visual storytelling at its absolute best.

1: Noragami

Finally Noragami is my favorite OP of this season. You might be surprised to see this as my top pick as Noragami is certainly more style than substance, but it brings home that style so well. I haven't seen an OP that I just want to watch over and over like this since Durarara!!

Sure you might not learn much about the characters from this OP, but what Noragami lacks in personality it makes up for with attitude. It's all about the timing as this OP blares its pop rock beats in unison with its studio recording ascetics. The characters themselves bare their emotions along with the attitude and it makes for a catchy display. At the end of the day that is what makes this my favorite new OP, it's just so catchy!   read

11:37 AM on 11.19.2012

An Open Letter to Western Otaku on Influence and Belief

"When you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you" - Friedrich Nietzsche

Psycho-Pass used that quote in a recent episode so it's totally cool if I kick off a blog about western minds consuming Japanese things with it right? The way the human mind develops based off what a person is exposed to is something I've had an interest in a for a long time. I'm not any sort of expert on philosophy, but It's something I once enjoyed reading quite a bit, and have very recently been reacquainting myself with.

For several years now I've been in the habit of writing letters to myself whenever I am conflicted on something, and want to sort my thoughts. By writing it down I can go back over my own thoughts objectively, and see if they measure up the way I think they do in my head. For this Bloggers Wanted I've decided to share one with the Jtor community. This particular letter is one that I've been trying to write for years, but only recently have I felt like I have all the pieces needed to actually write it. This is going to be a bit of an experiment on my part so I apologize in advance for being verbose, and honestly only marginally related to Japan by the context of who I am; however, with the amount of time I spend on Japanese fiction I believe this is still relevant here. Also, just a quick warning there are spoilers for Guilty Crown, My Hime, Casshern Sin's, Sword Art Online, and possibly more inside this post.

In trying to debate various idea's and beliefs I hold on the internet, mostly with people I consider friends, I've frequently found myself on the receiving end of some heavy patronizing which has provided motivation to investigate my own beliefs and their origins, many of which can be credited to Japanese fiction. I want to write about this here even if Japan it is not directly related with what I am writing about. Also, I will say this about the philosophy of Freidrich Nietzsche, and be done with it here: I think he ran the spectrum from totally brilliant to completely insane, but managed to write some very interesting truths in the process.

The modern world we live in is one based around information. The days where a man or woman could live their lives in private is quickly vanishing to the convenience of being able to quickly share and find information. This is a great thing in some ways, but the implications for the future are also quite frightening. The internet is an amazingly easy medium for information misuse, abuse, and loss of context.

More than ever before the importance of being able to defend yourself, your beliefs, and your hobbies is on the rise, and all this is happening in an environment where anything goes. People preach both political and religious tolerance without understanding that many powerful political and religious groups in the world are not in and of themselves tolerant in many ways. People are persecuted by those who do not understand them, and do not wish to understand them. With the rise of information comes a rise in people realizing just how different other people can be and are. Cultural boundaries clash with each other, and instead of a mentality of unity what we really get is a dark dirty secret no one want's to admit: Tolerance is unnatural without genuine understanding.

I won't tell someone what to believe, and I won't even tell them that belief in a religious or political group is something they should consider. In fact I am not even going to tell you what my own religious beliefs are unless someone asks because it is not directly relevant. I believe it is very important to understand what you believe and why, but even that is not at the core of why I am writing this. What I want to accomplish here is awareness of the importance fiction plays for humanity as I see it.

Why anime? Why manga? Why visual novels? Why Japan? What is it about these things that draws us in? These are questions I've pondered ever since I started digging into the fandom. Perhaps I am just an introspective sort, but I like to stop and inspect my lifestyle choices in an attempt to understand why; however, before I can write about those things I need to stop, and take a moment to ask why fiction?

For me fiction has had a large influence on the way I think, and even on the way I behave in the real world. It has been, and continues to be a way to experience things in a world removed from our own world. I believe that I am hardly alone in that, and that fiction serves an important role in society that allows the human mind to expand and learn based off imaginary experiences.

J. R. R. Tolkien coined the term Secondary Belief in a famous essay of his in defense of and definition of fairy tales. His reason for doing so was to contrast intentional suspension of disbelief with another form, and that is not the reason why I am bringing it up, but he makes a statement I believe to be of incredible value about fictional works in the process.

"Children are capable, of course, of literary belief, when the story-maker's art is good enough to produce it. That state of mind has been called willing suspension of disbelief. But this does not seem to me a good description of what happens. What really happens is that the story-maker proves a successful sub-creator. He makes a Secondary World which your mind can enter. Inside it, what he relates is true: it accords with the laws of that world. You therefore believe it, while you are, as it were, inside. The moment disbelief arises, the spell is broken; the magic, or rather art, has failed. You are then out in the Primary World again, looking at the little abortive Secondary World from outside." - J. R. R. Tolkien

What Tolkien is writing about here is the creation of a secondary world where an illusion of thoughts becomes believable inside the human mind, and the way that is lost when disbelief arises.

Recently I've been introduced to the term Chuunibyou, thanks to the anime which has this term in the title, and I've begun to find ways to put into worlds concepts that have been floating about in my head for years. It's incredible what something as simple as finding a new slang word to express a concept can do for defining context and perspective. In this case I've found a way to express my belief that the human mind is capable of indulging in fantasy while also realizing they are doing so outside of the normal constraints of the real world. It is something so simple that any child exposed to fantasy should learn to understand this difference in rationality between fiction and reality automatically as they grow up, and are forced into reality, and yet so easily misunderstood when taken out of context.

My imagination is poor, so I can't make myself believe in God as well as other people do.

I never did believe in Santa Clause myself so this is a somewhat arbitrary example, but I think most children will realize on their own that Santa is not real without being told. Sometimes you meet an older child who is in denial about the whole thing, and wants to believe in something they know is not really true. Illusions from a secondary world collapse under the pressure of the real one. Even a child who may not be able to adequately express why learns to understand this process.

Going back to Tolkien, he expressed his concept of secondary belief to draw a contrast between a situation where the reader willingly suspends their own disbelief, and one where the writer suspends it for them by creating a consistently believable secondary world. Now as I said above he did this to make a distinction between literary technique's and not a statement that encompasses all fictional settings, but in the process also created an illustration for I what I believe to do the two states of being someone takes on while participating in any fantasy. One where you willingly suspend your own disbelief, and one where it is suspended for you.

Frankly any particular piece of fiction can be taken on as a willing suspension of disbelief depending on the particular consumer and their own mentality, but occasionally we can find fiction that manages to create a second world believable enough that it can serve as a coat hanger for our suspension of disbelief. Inside this ability to have our disbelief suspended for us lies a potentially dangerous prospect. What if the fictional world becomes more believable to us than the real one?

Tolkien's words which he original uses to draw a contrast between storytelling techniques becomes a bit more profound when he expresses his belief in christian faith using an analogy of his secondary belief to connect it to his faith in the christian gospel.

"I would venture to say that approaching the Christian Story from this direction, it has long been my feeling (a joyous feeling) that God redeemed the corrupt making-creatures, men, in a way fitting to this aspect, as to others, of their strange nature. The Gospels contain a fairystory, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy-stories. They contain many marvelspeculiarly artistic, beautiful, and moving: mythical in their perfect, selfcontained significance; and among the marvels is the greatest and most complete conceivable eucatastrophe. But this story has entered History and the primary world; the desire and aspiration of sub-creation has been raised to the fulfillment of Creation. The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man's history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy. It has pre-eminently the inner consistency of reality. There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many sceptical men have accepted as true on its own merits. For the Art of it has the supremely convincing tone of Primary Art, that is, of Creation. To reject it leads either to sadness or to wrath.

It is not difficult to imagine the peculiar excitement and joy that one would feel, if any specially beautiful fairy-story were found to be primarily true, its narrative to be history, without thereby necessarily losing the mythical or allegorical significance that it had possessed. It is not difficult, for one is not called upon to try and conceive anything of a quality unknown. The joy would have exactly the same quality, if not the same degree, as the joy which the turn in a fairy-story gives: such joy has the very taste of primary truth. (Otherwise its name would not be joy.) It looks forward (or backward: the direction in this regard is unimportant) to the Great Eucatastrophe. The Christian joy, the Gloria, is of the same kind; but it is preeminently (infinitely, if our capacity were not finite) high and joyous. But this story is supreme; and it is true. Art has been verified. God is the Lord, of angels, and of menand of elves. Legend and History have met and fused." - J. R. R. Tolkien

I've struggled with the concept that a fictional settings can become more important to an individual than a real one because I can't deny that it doesn't happen. I've been there myself many times in fact. Unwilling to accept it as something that is only dangerous I've been looking for a way to define what I see as the process by which we learn the difference between reality and fiction, and how even those who absorb themselves in fiction entirely are still capable of recognizing a healthy difference between what is real, and what is learned from experiences though secondary belief. In the process of all this I've realized something: My approach was wrong. Instead of looking for a way to defend against something I no longer believe to be true I've instead decided to look into the significance and value of what secondary belief brings to reality, and how it influences us.

With Tolkien Joy is the ultimate goal of his secondary world, but the goal's and beliefs of any particular writer is going to be different, and this type of secondary belief can be found in far more than fairy tails, and children's stories.

Let's look at Fate/Stay Night for example, it is a universe that is both obviously taking place in the real world, and obviously not. Tolkien's principle literary techniques of a secondary world do not entirely apply, but his principle of secondary belief is easily found inside the universe of Fate/Stay Night. I can even draw an analogy out of the magic behind Nasu's reality marble, and the way secondary belief crumbles before the real world leaving only it's influence behind.

In Fate/Stay Night the reality marble is not particularly well defined, but we can still easily accept the way it works. Fictional creations of the mind giving way to reality is a natural thing that does not need to be questioned. Inside a reality marble the power of reality is actively denied, but once the reality marble is gone all the remains is the influence it had on the real one.

The value of fiction can be found in one simple concept: Humanity learns by experience. Experience is the natural way a person comes to truly believe something. I personally believe that it is impossible to believe something simply by hearing it spoken. As children it is something we are capable of, but as we age, and become adults that ability dies. The sense of wonder we have about Santa goes away with time, and even the most aloof of people will come to understand that Santa didn't fly down from the north pole to give gifts, and that someone else put them there.

As a kid my dad was my best history teacher. I loved history as a kid, and I still love it as an adult; however, my siblings never really have. I've only recently realized why I love history while they all hate it: My dad is a storyteller. Growing up he would often read stories to me, or turn history into a story, or have me read stories. My dad is a much busier person now, but sometimes one of my siblings will talk to my dad, and receive one of his history lessons only to wonder why their teachers don't do history the same way he does.

My dad is pretty cool, he took something that can be boring and dry, and in the process of making it fun by turning into a story he turned it into an experience; because it became an experience I learned to believe in the power of history, and in turn out of that belief in the power of history I learned the power of a story.

There is a stark difference between learning answers to a text book, and experiencing a story. Stories both fictional and historical have the ability to share experience in a way that a text book cannot. Fictional stories have the added ability to share an experience from imagination. To allow you to experience things that you cannot otherwise experience in the real world.

Preaching and teaching straight information is a very bad way to communicate belief, challenge faith, and inspire guilt. Instead of real belief what is often created is a nasty sense of apathy, or worse an emotional high followed by a nasty sense of apathy. The power of experience is something that even some text book teachers and preachers understand. Emotional manipulation is the best way to make a ton of people come forward, and accept religious revival during a public event. Conversely anger and frustration can be a great motivator for political activists of all sorts. Have you ever seen a calm level headed person leading a successful political movement? Of course not, it's all about the experience because as people right or wrong what we believe is not based off facts or information it's based off experience.

Fiction allows the human mind to process things it does not have access to otherwise. In other words it creates a platform for experiencing things in a way that cannot be realized without the art that is fiction. I think in general this is an accepted thing as far as things we enjoy in fiction go, but people start to ignore context when it's not. Which brings me full circle back to the reason I wanted to write this in the first place.

Often enough there is a piece of fiction that is considered by someone harmful to society, and instead of looking at the benefits such a thing might have the only thing that is put on the table is real world disgust at the depictions presented. The real world implications become an out of context, and easily misunderstood thing before a point of moral judge that is itself lacking in understanding.

I am sure many remember Tokyo's Youth Ordinance Bill which passed back in 2010, or the Christopher Handley case which saw the man in jail for 6 months thanks to the 2003 Protect Act in the US. These instances of treating fiction as reality may not be every day occurrences, but it's not hard to find them either. Both inside the US, and in Japan there are examples of freedom of expression being squashed by fear and intolerance.

Another belief of mine is that fiction always has value merely by being fictional. Fiction has a very distinct meaning. Everything under the label of fictional has one thing in common: Fiction is established as taking place within a certain level of secondary belief. In this context the difference between Marvel Comics and the Christian Bible is that no one was ever intended to believe that Marvel characters are real. This context is clear and understood by fans of marvel comics, but not necessarily understood by those who do not wish to understand.

Light and darkness become reversed inside a story. The more broken a character the more room for redemption, the more evil a villain the more justified the hero, the more twisted the story, the more value in the experience. In this sense just as light illuminates the real world darkness illuminates a story. The same goes for the mentality and direction of a writer as it is in the way a writer's experience is twisted by their own imagination that allows fiction to exist in the first place. It is because conflict between light and dark is born of human dilemma that fiction is both so valuable, and also so easily misunderstood. Urobuchi put it really well in his defiance of Tokyo's Youth Ordinance Bill upon receiving an award for best script writer from the Tokyo Anime Awards.

"I feel greatly honored to have received this award. A society which considers cleanliness to be a virtue may feel that the adult game industry is like sludge. However, the scripts for this work came from the sensibility that I nurtured in that industry.

I am renewed with joy that the people who praised me realize that even this lotus flower, which first found nourishment in sludge, blooms.

I will not stop praying for a society where all creators, who believe steadfastly in the freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution, need not hesitate to spread their wings of creative endeavors." - Urobuchi Gen

I think most of the principles I am portraying here are probably things that most fans of fiction will be able to understand, and probably have a hard time arguing against; however, tolerance is often lost the moment something is made that a person is not a fan of. The same sadness, and rage that Tolkien described at the rejection of christian scripture can also be found be found among fans of SAO who didn't like the way Asuna survived the end of Aincrad, or the way Inori dies, and Shu becomes blind at the end Guilty Crown. For an example of an anime event I don't like the ending of My Hime comes to mind. I still rage about that ending in fact.

Some may argue that artistic value is something that can be quantified, but I do not believe that to be the case. I do not think that artistic or scientific value can be placed upon any piece of art because art is beholden to the mind that processes it. The beliefs of each and ever human mind are built from a different framework. Sure lots of us have similarities, but it's our differences that allow a person to be defined as an individual. To quite Friedrich Nietzsche again. "The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."

Friedrich Nietzsche had some interesting things to say about art and belief. I think these help frame the point I am trying to get at as they have helped to frame my own thoughts in the process of getting here so I will include a few more.

"Young people love what is interesting and odd, no matter how true or false it is. More mature minds love what is interesting and odd about truth. Fully mature intellects, finally, love truth, even when it appears plain and simple, boring to the ordinary person; for they have noticed that truth tends to reveal its highest wisdom in the guise of simplicity." Friedrich Nietzsche

For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity or perception to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication - Friedrich Nietzsche

"The man who is responsive to artistic stimuli reacts to the reality of dreams as does the philosopher to the reality of existence; he observes closely, and he enjoys his observation: for it is out of these images that he interprets life, out of these processes that he trains himself for life." - Friedrich Nietzsche

"Without art we would be nothing but foreground and live entirely in the spell of that perspective which makes what is closest at hand and most vulgar appear as if it were vast, and reality itself." - Friedrich Nietzsche

If the point hasn't been harmed home yet then perhaps quoting Hitler will help drive it there.

"How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think." - Adolf Hitler

"I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few." - Adolf Hitler

"It is always more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge." - Adolf Hitler

"If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed." - Adolf Hitler

"It is not truth that matters, but victory." - Adolf Hitler

"All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach." - Adolf Hitler

"All great movements are popular movements. They are the volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotions, stirred into activity by the ruthless Goddess of Distress or by the torch of the spoken word cast into the midst of the people." - Adolf Hitler

Anyone who sees and paints a sky green and fields blue ought to be sterilized. - Adolf Hitler

"As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice." - Adolf Hitler

Hitler is in many ways one of the most powerful storytellers the world has even known. His propaganda was both vile, and quite obviously dangerous to the minds of German youths. In defeat Hitler's story has had a profound effect on human history, but I have something for you to ponder. What if someone had dreamed up the story of Germany's Nazi Party before World War 2 happened? What if that story in all it's grisly gory detail had been required reading for German youth's in school. In that scenario would Hitler still have been capable of the things he did?

Now I obviously can't give you an answer for the above scenario as it is not an experiment that can be carried out, but I still see value in pondering it. Also, someone is surely wondering why I am drawing contrast between the idea's of Hitler, and Friedrich Nietzsche. The idea that the two shared a common philosophy is myth. For one Hitler was a Christian, and Friedrich Nietzsche an Atheist; however, and more importantly Friedrich Nietzsche was something of an anarchist, while Hitler was clearly a statist. The two are like oil, and water. In this case they got mixed because they were both German, but if you investigate the philosophy each held were clearly not even close to being on the same page.

With the above idea's in mind let me ask this: Which is more dangerous? The lie of fiction, or the lie of truth? I extend this question to the many darker subjects of Japanese fiction as well. There are many fictional stories in which awful things happen. These awful things are sometimes done in a way that glorifies the awful things being done. I want to make a few examples, and I ask that you keep an open mind about the extent of the concept that I want to present to you.

Rape fantasizes, story of revenge and murder, stories where the protagonist is evil, and the good guy loses, stories of glorified crime and injustice, stories where the slaver wins, and the slaves are broken, and stories of sexual deviancy. I think that list reflects the darker side of Japanese fiction pretty well. Can this sludge still be of value? Can fiction be propaganda? Can fiction be dangerous? I've fought against these questions in the past, but have come to believe the answer to all of these questions is a very clear yes.

Personally I believe there is value in being able to experience the perspective of a wrong doer not only through the eyes of a hero, but through the eyes of a would be villain. How valuable can it be for a cop to understand the mentality of a brilliant criminal? This is a common theme in cop and robber stories one Pyscho-Pass has been using. I'm not suggesting these things to be absolute, but rather something that we should be open to pondering instead of a thing we shy away from understanding.

There is a case to be made for the value of sludge, and it is rarely heard. The beautiful thing about fiction is the context that it didn't really happen. In a fictional story the only victim is the human mind. The beautiful thing about the sins of fiction is that they are in and of themselves fictional so long as fictional context is understood. I will admit my truest concern is that in binding fiction with the constraints of censorship we damage the ability of society to experience tragedy.

Before I finish this all up what about the experience of a would be criminal on their own? Could reading a rape fantasy help a would be rapist to understand what it is he would be doing if he carried out such a crime? What about a would be murder? Could a murder fantasy help to understand the weight of such a crime? My personal belief is that yes it could. Just as light becomes something dull inside fiction darkness and conflict becomes an illumination. Would this stop awful things from happening? I don't know, but I think this is something that should be pondered.

I do believe this: humanity shares emotion by experience, and through that experience we believe. Primary belief can be challenged by secondary belief, but secondary belief is bound to the constraints of reality, and even children learn to easily differentiate between the two. In a world that seems to encourage conformity I have a genuine fear for the direction the future of human history will take. There is value in learning the cultures of others, and that extends beyond the things a culture is proud of. If we were to eliminate the dirt would we still have flowers? I will leave you all this question once more: Which is more dangerous? The lie of fiction, or the lie of truth?   read

7:12 PM on 10.14.2012

Glorio Fall 2012 Anime Impressions Guide

Hello again, that group that takes anime way too seriously is back again to tell you all about this Fall season! We are doing things a little bit differently this time as our crew wrote a ton of words for this season's anime. If I were to take all the words we used and stick them into cblogs it would probably fill up like six of them all at once; filling up six cblogs with a single post is for people who suck, and we don't want to be people who suck so instead I am going to take highlights from all the words we wrote. I get to suck less, and you have to read less to get to all the good stuff; we all win!

If for some reason you want to read our tons of words you can find them at The Glorio Blog I know what you are thinking... "you traitors started your own blog site!?!?!?. Yeah, we did, but Jtor is still a home for us. We all started out blogging here, and Jtor is totally awesome so we want to continue sharing our stuff with you all; hope that is cool.

Introduction time for you new folks; basically we have a tradition at glorio of watching a little bit of everything when the new anime season starts up, and writing about it. This started as something I was just doing on my own, and kind of spiraled into this massive thing all at once that everyone wanted to get in on. At first we tried to watch an episode of EVERYTHING that aired. When I say that I seriously mean it; some of us even watched raws to fill in the blanks. As time went on we decided it was kind of pointless to watch all the various two minute shows, and stuff made for ten year old boys or girls, and just focus on the stuff that is actually relevant to our interests; we have all become happier people as a result.

Joining me for this guide are @Dragonzigg; our resident British skeptic, @irothtin; our picky old man who is actually one of our youngest members, @MarlinClock; our shoujo lover, and gag anime fan, @Gee0Man; our MANLY man who loves righteousness, and believes that with enough hard works, and guts that his drill will pierce the heavens, @ItsaTimmy who loves moe little girls; especially when they are armed to the teeth, @Aquagaze; our resident hipster, and also a lover of cute things, @brannewlovesong; also known as a Jelx he is the one who keeps us all in line, and lastly myself, @Lifesongsoa; the weeaboo who hates dubs, and hopeless anime nerd who is always wrong about anime.(at least if you ask the rest of these guys) Now that we have that boring intro stuff out of the way; lets dig into the anime!

Blast of Tempest
Manga Adaptation by BONES
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

Premise: A young witch is stranded on a desert island, and strives to get help. In Japan, the senseless murder of Mahiro Fuwas sister drives him to bitter revenge, and by chance, to the witch. With the help of her powers, he plots to find and punish her killers. This leads him back to his home town, where he saves his old friend Yoshino right before a mysterious magic claims his town.

@MarlinClock There are a lot of serious No. 6 vibes going on in this production. Long-estranged friend comes back to save another from magical city-wide destructive power, hunted down by a government agency, theres more than a little to draw parallels between.

@Lifesongsoa We kicked things off with a lot of exposition, but the mystery worked well enough that I never felt bored. The magical powers show cased here were a lot of fun, and the one big fight scene in the middle of the episode was expertly crafted.

@brannewlovesong I didnt see No. 6 so Im coming into this with a fresh slate and I have to say I enjoyed it. The magic powers vs. guns stuff was pretty cool and I think the mysterious tie-ins with both Mahiros dead sister and our stranded mage have a lot of potential. It feels like theyre making a very concerted effort to be different.

@irothtin Ive heard this manga has a thing for not explaining much, and we have plenty of that this episode. Busty mages trapped on desert islands, giant floating eyeball creatures, and Shakespeare references abound, this show is definitely trying to sell itself pretty hard.

Glorio Verdict?

Pretty Cool

Manga Adaptation by Madhouse
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

Premise: Ryota Sakamoto is a 22 year old NEET who lives with his mother. Despite his mundane life, hes one of the best players in the world at the online game Btooom! One day, he wakes up on a tropical island with no recollection of how he got there. However, it turns out that a real life version of Btooom! is taking place on the island and Ryota will have to survive against the other contestants if he wants to find out how he got there and escape.

@Gee0Man The main character, despite supposedly being the 10th best player of this particular game in the world, finds himself completely incapable of figuring out what the mysterious cubes in his bag are, despite the fact that these cubes are identical the ones he sees in the game he spends all of his time playing.

@Lifesongsoa I will often say that realism is overrated, and that exaggeration is part of the magic that makes anime work; however, there is a clear difference between exaggeration that plays well with the theme of a story, and exaggeration that does not; the explosions of Btooom! clearly fit in the later category.

@irothtin This guy is in the top ten BTOOOOOOOOM players in the entire world, and he couldnt figure out how to use his own bombs? Are you fucking kidding me? And then he manages to survive half a dozen explosions in close proximity, when every single one of those should have killed him.

Glorio Verdict?

Complete Mess

Busou Shinki
Toy Line Adaptation by 8bit
Stream Pending on The Anime Network

Premise: Shinki are 6 inch tall robot girls built to assist their masters with incredible devotion. Busou Shinki are a special type that can equip weapons and fight. A set of three Busou Shinki join their master as he returns to Japan for high school and try settle in to their new life.

@brannewlovesong I figured Busou Shinki would be a little creepy based on the premise but I didnt think theyd go all in with sexualizing tiny little toys that come to life. Its certainly not Queens Blade levels of perversion going on here, but as an example one scene has the main girl robot thing carrying a milk carton and accidentally spilling it all over herself.

@Lifesongsoa On the one hand I can totally nerd out fantasizing about my toys coming to life; I will admit that, on the other hand the episode itself was fantastically bad on so many levels. Ill be watching for now, and honestly I suspect that even if this anime is absolutely awful in the long run; I will find a way to enjoy it regardless of the quality.

@MarlinClock Every single part of this show was so stupid. The sexualziation of the toys is so creepy. The utility of these toys is utterly pointless. The animation outside the fight scenes is so bad I almost thought they were using 3d or something. It is just so bad in every possible way.

Glorio Verdict?

Humanity Has Declined

Manga Adaptation by Kinema Citrus
Simulcast on FUNimation

Premise: Sakura Sakurakouji witnesses a bizarre murder in which several people are killed with blue flames. The next day she confronts a new transfer student in her class whom she believes to be the killer.

@brannewlovesong I just dont see anything to be excited about. There was a whole lot of general anime stupidity like lets transfer the important guy into her class THE NEXT DAY, lets say big dramatic things to look cool (see the whole do you want to be a vigilante line) or my favorite lets run at the guy that just set my friends face on fire!.

@MarlinClock A lot of super generic tropes were on display here, which really did not help the shows case. The heroine is kinda cool and I like her no-nonsense attitude, but learning about how she comes to affect the story on the wiki page, she really comes off as lame. Basically she has Touma powers, except it seems to be just she cancels anything, instead of having to touch it first.

@Lifesongsoa I kind of wanted to like this, the heroines warrior like personality, and sense of justice remind me of Saber of Fate/Stay Night fame, and I can see room for some interesting contrast between her moral views, and the moral views of the male lead; the male lead who happens to be a cold blooded vigilante for hire with magical fire powers. All the right pieces are here to make up an interesting shonen story, but Im just really not feeling it.

Glorio Verdict?


Even If He Is My Brother, It Doesnt Matter As Long As There Is Love!
Light Novel Adaptation by Silverlink
Simulcast on FUNimation


@Dragonzigg Even if the entirely repulsive concept didnt turn you off already, the appalling execution of every part of this endeavor will. Theres not even the barest hint of a story, of any sort of likeable personalities or, god forbid, any humour or irony. Just a cheap, ugly container for a bunch of creepy as fuck fetishes.

@brannewlovesong This is possibly the worst thing Ive ever watched. There is ZERO attempt at story or characterization along with some half-hearted incidental attempts at humor. Its like a hentai setup without the hentai, theres absolutely nothing of value whatsoever.

@Lifesongsoa This anime is by no means something anyone outside the imouto fan-base will enjoy. For those initiated there may be a sense of this is so bad its incredible, but if you are not so inclined then I will say this clearly: Avoid with the power of a thousand suns!

@irothtin Hentai manga without the sex. Nothing to see here. Move along.

@MarlinClock Considering how these other girls act, maybe by the end of the show well learn that it was all actually about an insane asylum and the high school aesthetic was only the delusional construct of our sick little imouto.

Glorio Verdict?

Love is over; only darkness remains.

From the New World
Light Novel Adaptation by A-1 Pictures
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

Premise: A thousand years into the future, humanity has developed psychic powers. 14 year old Saki has recently finally grown into her powers, allowing her to graduate and join her similarly empowered friends in the Unified Class. But mystery and intrigue surrounds the whole system and indeed the entire world they live in.

@Dragonzigg Theres a fascinating atmosphere permeating the show, one thats equal parts intriguing and unsettling, which makes watching it a slightly uncomfortable experience, but in a good way.

@irothtin This seems to be one of the artsier-looking shows this season, and one of the weirder ones. Theyre clearly trying to build a horror vibe here, and it works for the most part, but this first episode amounts to a bunch of strange and unsettling stuff happening with no real context.

@brannewlovesong The most immediately striking thing about From the New World is the setting. The designs of the buildings and characters clothing is a really cool mix of old and new, I still am not totally clear if the events we saw take place in the past, present, future or all of the above. Beyond that not a lot of details are given, which makes it a little hard to latch on to anything and want to watch more.

@Lifesongsoa I am a little concerned simply because of how little this episode established. There was little connection with the cast, and the magical stuff is largely just mubo jumbo at this point; however, the setting itself feels refreshingly fantastic, and is wonderfully crafted.

@MarlinClock I have to say Im really impressed by this first episode. It does all the right things to pull you into this strange world without giving too much up. If I had to compare it Id have to I can see a bit of a similarity to Another in how it builds up its dread through its backgrounds and through the bleak character interactions.

Glorio Verdict?

Pretty Cool

Girls und Panzer
Original Work Animated by Actas
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

Premise: In a world where operating a tank is considered a traditional martial art, Miho Nishizumi, who dislikes tanks, transfers to a high school that specifically doesnt have a tank club.

@ItsaTimmy Overall what you will get out of this will depend on how much you like watching girls be cute and tanks. My enjoyment will probably be directly proportionate to the amount of time they spend outside the school but if cute girls being cute is your thing you may find some substance here no matter where the location.

@Lifesongsoa Girls und Panzer has some good things going for it; chief among them is the fact that it feels genuine, and cute without being creepy. To give you an example of what you can expect from this anime: One of the tanks in the opening sequence is hot pink. The premise is incredibly silly, but if this anime can keep up the fun with the tank combat, this might make for a decent action show in a very cute wrapper.

Glorio Verdict?

Pretty Cool

Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb
Manga Adaptation by SHAFT
Stream Pending on The Anime Network

Premise: There are still six art students living together in an apartment building and they still dont do jack shit on a daily basis. What did you expect?

@Aquagaze If you expected me to write anything more than Its more Hidamari Sketch and this is always a good thing then you were expecting way too much.

@Dragonzigg For me, the main draw is Shafts usual superlative artwork, which breathe fantastic, brightly coloured life into this sleepy world. Its not just the animation, but also the delightful design touches, like the art deco arrangement of the apartment doors or Yunos named footprints pattering across the screen.

@Lifesongsoa I was a little bit creeped out by the bathing scene; It feels like they are so aware of how odd their artwork is that they can just show anything they want. Most likely this is just Shinbo being Shinbo; everyone knows the man is a lolicon at this point, and just dont care because hes an incredibly skilled director.

@MarlinClock The atmosphere is perfect, really portraying these girls as a pack of adorable girls without a care in the world.

Glorio Verdict?

What is this wonderful shiny thing? Can I take it home?

Ixion Saga DT
Online Game Adaptation by Brains Base
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

Premise: Kon Hokaze meets a girl in an online game and thinks hes about to get lucky, but instead she catapults him into a fantasy world where he gets caught up in a chase between a fleeing princess and her fabulously attired pursuers.

@Dragonzigg Ill happily confess several jokes in this episode got me to laugh out loud, including the ridiculously snazzy boots and Kons amazingly brutal crotch kick. If they can keep me chuckling, then Ill be happy to keep watching.

@Lifesongsoa The thing with Ixion is that it is so generic it hurts, but at the same time it subverts so many of the tropes it pulls out ever so slightly with something amusingly self-aware. For example we also have a bad guy whos name abbreviates into ED for short, and several other hard to miss generic RPG jokes that fit the theme here painfully well.

@brannewlovesong Brains Base must have had so much fun adapting a mobile game with presumably no story the last time they did it that they had to come back for more. This go-round theyre taking on a game that hasnt even been released yet and based on what Ive seen theyve once again taken a LOT of creative license here. Given the results, I am totally OK with that.

@irothtin I was prepared to dislike this, whether it was because of the generic looks or the mostly unimpressive production values, but I rather enjoyed this first episode. Brains Base manages to make the show self aware enough to barely avoid being obnoxious, while still being funny.

Glorio Verdict?

What is this wonderful shiny thing? Can I take it home?

(Lifesong's note: Ixion Saga is the one, and only anime everyone who watched it enjoyed. Yup, a season full of high profile anime, and our top collective pick for the season is a mobile game adaptation; irony is cruel sometimes.)

JoJos Bizarre Adventure
Manga adaptation by David Production
Currently Unlicensed

Premise: In the 1800s, Jonathan Joestar (Jojo for short) is the carefree son of a nobleman, but his life is turned around when his father adopts orphan boy Dio Brando, who plans to usurp Jojos position as heir. Throw in ancient Aztec artifacts, psychic martial arts, and supernatural beings, and things only get more bizarre from then on.

@irothtin This first episode has shown me pretty much everything I could have possibly wanted from a Jojo adaptation. Crazy poses, dynamic manga sound effects, and silly color overlays abound, basically everything about the presentation fully embraces the campy tone this series thrives on.

@Lifesongsoa I dont know what I was expecting, but everything about this anime, the setups, the characters, the insults, and even the manga effects that take place on the screen; I hated all of it. There was nothing here that appealed to me.

@brannewlovesong I imagine there will be two very steadfastly opposed camps on this: those who shun its lack of cute animu girls, complex storytelling and logic, and those who see it as a breath of fresh air from the status quo.

@Dragonzigg I know intensely likeable camp when I see it and this falls right into my wheelhouse. Its refreshing to see something so unashamedly over the top and which revels in its old-school roots. The men are manly, the villains are intensely boo-able and the romance is accompanied by the narrator proclaiming ROMANCE! in a dramatic voice.

@MarlinClock I can see potential, but Iro and others keep talking it up on its camp factor. For me, Mobile Fighter G Gundam will always hold a special place in my heart as my favorite camp show, as well as my favorite Gundam in general; however, I really cant see all the best parts of camp from that show that made me love it in JoJo.

@Gee0Man Believe me, Jojos Bizarre Adventure wrote the book on campy crazy shonen. I wont lie though, the beginning of Jojo is a slow burn, and it doesnt really build up speed until about a third of the way into the first arc. However, this episode does a great job of adapting the first few chapters and honestly, establishing the only piece of information that matters.

Glorio Verdict?

Battle Lines Drawn!

(For when there is no consensus among the collective.)

@irothtin, @brannewlovesong, @Dragonzigg, and @Gee0Man, Verdict?

Pretty Cool

@Lifesongsoa, and @MarlinClock Verdict?


Original Work Animated by GoHands
Simulcast by ViZ Media(USA) and Animax Asia

Premise: In the near future, in the not-so-near city of somewhere in Japan, seven esper Kings, each backed by a colour-coded gang, fight for absolute turf control or something. Yashiro Shiro Inaba, a local high school student, heads into the city to run an errand, but ends up being chased by the gang of the Red King, as well as a mysterious third party. Meanwhile, the enigmatic colourless King starts raising hell

@Aquagaze Where do we go when this curtain of gorgeous visuals rises? What the hell are you, K? You are so full of yourself it becomes ridiculous, rockets off to the moon and crashes right back in a blazing inferno. You are so cheesy in a completely uncampy way, juggle the trashiest of 90′s aesthetics with a completely straight face and burn what seems to be thousands of yens on vomiting out some of the most insane angles a camera can pull off.

@irothtin Gang wars with magic flame, color-coded Kings, and modern-day samurai, all twenty minutes into the future? Sounds ridiculous (and it is), but judging from the first episode, K is going to be fairly fun. Also, its scratching my urban fantasy itch, and Im all for that.

@brannewlovesong K is just oozing with style. The slick visuals and smooth soundtrack certainly are a treat for the senses, but whether or not the show also ends up a treat for your brain and/or heart remains to be seen.

@Lifesongsoa This is one of the most exciting anime this season in my book. There is something special about an anime original that adaptations just cant pull off, and I am looking forward to seeing if K can capitalize on that advantage, or if we are looking at a show that is all style and no substance So far I say we are off to a good start.

@MarlinClock The somewhat bland main character is a bit of a warning flag, but Im assuming this end-of-episode development is going to grow into something that allows us to see his character more clearly. I really like this whole supernatural gang war feel thats going on, and having pseudo-Shizuo around is never a bad thing.

@Dragonzigg Aesthetically and artistically this show is a mess, and unlike Aqua I dont find that endearing but rather irritating. Instead I see sloppy, ill focused directing, throwing in every possible angle, shot and cut in a maddening mishmash of styles that utterly fails to establish a coherent look for the show.

Glorio Verdict?

Pretty Kool

Little Busters
Visual Novel Adaptation by J.C. Staff
Currently Unlicensed

Premise: A group of close friends decide to challenge the mediocrity their mundane lives by playing baseball before one of them graduates, and is forced into to join the work force as a salary man leaving the group behind.

@Lifesongsoa I am okay with what Little Busters is. It may not be Kanon, or even Angel Beats, but Jun Maedas magic is still alive and kicking here. Sure the animation is a bit stiff at times, but it is at least consistent, and no this director/studio combo does not have the finesse of KyoAni, or PA Works; however, the charming characters, and nonsensical fun that mark the start of all Jun Maeda stories is still here!

@irothtin This was apparently one of, if not the, most anticipated anime this season. I assume this is on Key Visual Arts brand name alone, since the first episode didnt do much to impress me. Id probably enjoy this a lot more if I liked anything Key produced, or if I had played the game beforehand, but as it stands Little Busters! has left me a little wanting.

@brannewlovesong Knowing that this is a Jun Maeda tale and it will no doubt have plenty of twists and turns ahead, I am not going to write off Little Busters after one episode. I will say however, this was not the best made introduction. It does accomplish its purpose of introducing our main characters and how they are connected but it does so with little sense of purpose or direction.

@Dragonzigg This episode was a sad parade bereft of everything it strives for empathy, pathos, or anything beyond a sort of half-hearted stab at slice of life, with none of the skill or pacing the best of the genre can bring. The cast are a piled up collection of clichs, the angry violent girl, the dumb muscle et al showing no charm, depth or variation from a well worn template, and no reason to be interested in their lives or root for them.

@MarlinClock Im not into frail girls and the sheer volume of waifs that seems to be on display is really off-putting. Whats especially strange is that this is a group even including our main character, who is honestly more girly looking than some of the girls, which is seriously saying something.

Glorio Verdict?

Battle Lines Drawn!

(For when there is no consensus among the collective.)

@irothtin, @Dragonzigg @MarlinClock Verdict?

Complete Mess

@Lifesongsoa, and @brannewlovesong Verdict?

Pretty Cool

Manga Adaptation by A-1 Pictures
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

Premise: Aladdin and Alibaba meetup and become bros in an Arabian Nights tale.

@Lifesongsoa This first episode of Magi was nothing short of gorgeous; every other frame makes for a beautiful screen capture. Aladdin and Alibaba are both characters that managed to really create a warm atmosphere right off the bat with some great chemistry, and an a good deal of humor as the powerless Alibaba deals with the not quite human Aladdin and his Djinn.

@irothtin Ali Baba is slowly working up cash to make an expedition into the local cave of wonders, keeping one jump ahead of the bread line and one swing ahead of the sword, until he meets Aladdin. Aladdin has djinn Robin Williams at his side, so Ali Baba is brought into a whole new world of Arabian Nights since hes never had a friend like him, and they quest to get their eternal reward.

@Gee0Man No way around it, Magi is a pretty fun anime to watch. It looks great, the setting is interesting, and the characters stand out, even if Im not a huge fan of them all yet.

@brannewlovesong For what it is, Magi was quite entertaining. The premise of a couple of kids going out to find treasure and adventure is so simple that it really boils down to execution and this episode delivered. Everything looks, moves and sounds great, and the fated meeting between Aladdin and Alibaba did a nice job of setting the tone for their relationship. As long as they keep the giant fighting Djinn action and body slamming tigers coming at us, Im sure it will be a fun watch.

@Dragonzigg Both Aladdin and Alibaba show off a surprising depth to their character under the pressure of the monster attack, with Alibaba realizing hes been living a lie and leaping to the rescue; a cool and unexpected way to establish him as our hero. Meanwhile, theres something beautifully naive about Aladdins wish for friendship, and his last minute save was very endearing. Im also drawn by the surprisingly dark heart here the slavery angle looks to be a dramatic one if they keep exploring it and the shot of Alibaba frantically reaching for the girls while the merchant dived for his barrel of wine was a deliciously dark juxtaposition.

Glorio Verdict?

What is this wonderful shiny thing? Can I take it home?

My Little Monster
Manga Adaptation by Brains Base
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

Premise: After bringing worksheets for a suspended classmate, Ice Queen Shizuku Mizutani finds herself entwined in the life of delinquent genius Haru Yoshida. As they come to understand each other, a strange friendship and an unlikely romance grows.

@MarlinClock These characters are really off the wall and Im really enjoying this quirky vibe they are giving off. Now, the huge elephant in the room is that one line. You know what Im talking about. I dont really know what possessed the mangaka to use that line or the writer to keep it in, or really even CR to translate it that way. Still, Im not going to let that one line ruin what was otherwise a cute first episode. (Lifesong's note: There is a line where the to be love interest threatens to rape the protagonist.)

@irothtin The Most Socially Awkward Guy meets Apathetic Straight-Laced Girl, and cue cheesy romance at rapid speed. Its almost a bit depressing just how ridiculously awkward this guy is, to the point where he can barely function in school. While I can appreciate the unorthodox progression of the relationship, Im also not interested enough to keep watching.

@Dragonzigg The whole delinquent guy meets straight-laced girl plot has been done before, but theres a winning charm and surprisingly sharp sense of wit to this endeavour, with more care paid to the details than youd normally expect from the average boy-meets-girl setup.

@brannewlovesong I kind of liked how this episode threw a lot of romance anime conventions out the window, particularly the forthrightness of our incredibly strange male lead. That being said, he reminded me of Yui from K-ON! if you swapped her personality into some good looking, book-smart dude.

@Lifesongsoa Frankly I was fairly impressed with this first episode. I usually hate shoujo anime, especially shoujo manga adaptions; its the pacing, drives me insane. The first episode actually had a full self-contained story right off the bat, and managed to avoid most of the cliches I expect to see shoujo manga fall into; color me impressed.

Glorio Verdict?

What is this wonderful shiny thing? Can I take it home?

Pet Girl of Sakurasou
Light Novel Adaptation by J.C. Staff
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

Premise: Our young protagonist attends a prestigious art school. He is caught tending to a cat he adopted and forced to move into Sakura Hall; a dorm for the schools more eccentric kids. As time went on he adopted more cats, and now has six of them under his care, but hes not done finding cute creatures that need taking care of just yet.

@Lifesongsoa Pet Girl reminds me a lot of Toradora; following the same basic premise, and setup that Toradora did with its first episode. Protagonist boy reflects on his melancholic life, goes to school where some comedic antics ensue, and then has a run in with a girl who cant take care of herself worth a dime setting himself up as care taker. All this inside a melancholic-dramatic atmosphere that mark most of Mari Okadas works.

@Dragonzigg Maybe Im a prude, an old man shouting at the kids to get off my lawn. But theres something that inherently disgusts me about a show where the entire point is that the female character is a helpless, borderline autistic child who is entirely dependent on a man to work her life for her. And if that makes me wrong, I dont want to be right.

@brannewlovesong Im sure a lot of people are immediately going to be turned off the by the concept of a pet girlfriend as mentioned in the title. Its possible theres something lost in cultural translation there somewhere, but regardless I think it will make a lot of people want to hate this before even watching it, myself included. So in a way I was relieved to find this episode was pretty inoffensive overall, with our main heroines lack of attention span more curious than degrading.

@irothtin Harem show with eccentric-yet-generic cast, and the main heroine cannot function as a human being without the protagonist doting over her like a parent dressing their toddler. Presentation was good for what it was, but I have no interest in this. Pass.

Glorio Verdict?

Battle Lines Drawn!

(For when there is no consensus among the collective.)

@irothtin, and @Dragonzigg Verdict?

Humanity Has Declined

@Lifesongsoa, and @brannewlovesong Verdict?

Pretty Cool

Original Work Animated by Production I.G
Simulcast on FUNimation

Premise: In the future, a citywide system allows law enforcement to instantly read the latent criminal level of any citizen and act accordingly. They employ a squad of Enforcers who are themselves latent criminals to catch the most dangerous of the lot. As a fresh face on the force, Akane Tsunemori must adjust to the brutal and indifferent methods the city uses to deal with its seedy underbelly.

@irothtin The first episode here did what a first episode should do: established the setting, characters, and the main concepts the show is going to run on. The city can measure a persons Psycho Pass to determine their crime level, the guns only shoot depending on the crime level, the society has lost sight of justice, yadda yadda yadda. Theyre interesting concepts, if somewhat cliche, its just that the show would ideally set it up in a slightly more engaging way apparently a lot of people were bored.

@Lifesongsoa Creating a sense of doom that never comes up for air can easily encourage a stiflingly atmosphere for the viewers who disconnect from the dark broody nature of the work. Madoka got around this by throwing cute little girls at us, Fate/Zero had an intriguing world that played off the philosophy of kings, servants and chivalry. This first episode of Psycho-Pass had self-indulgent gun porn, and generic broody criminals which instead of contrasting with the stifling atmosphere actually encouraged it.

@Dragonzigg The entire rookie female cop thing needs to die right now Akane is a ludicrously incompetent character who appears to have no idea what the hell anything is about. The idea that she graduated top of her class yet is entirely oblivious to the way the system works is laughable, and shes nothing more than a weak, ineffectual shell of a character throughout this episode. Urobuchi also indulges some of his less savoury habits here, such as nasty brutal violence against women, and the kill shot on the target is so ridiculously gory it had me laughing at the stupidity of it all.

Glorio Verdict?

Battle Lines Drawn!

(For when there is no consensus among the collective.)

@irothtin, @Gee0Man, and @Aquagaze Verdict?

Pretty Cool

@Lifesongsoa, @Dragonzigg, and @brannewlovesong Verdict?

Complete Mess

(Lifesong's note: Psycho-Pass is probably our most clearly divisive first episode of the season. Not to patronize, but I've noticed that the younger teen audience seems to love this show both inside our group, and elsewhere on the net, while all us slightly older anime fans are a lot less forgiving. Maybe we are just getting too old for this stuff?)

Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date!
Light Novel Adaptation by Kyoto Animation
Stream Pending on The Anime Network

Premise: As Yuuta prepares to enter high school he makes every effort to forget his time infected by Chuunibyou or Eighth Grader Syndrome an affliction that made him believe he had special powers. His plan is interrupted when he meets Rikka, a girl still very much affected by the disease.

@brannewlovesong What a moving, insightful take on the pain of searching for your identity anPFFFF HAHAHA OK I couldnt keep a straight face on that one. I certainly would like to see the series take a turn in that direction, but for now this was simply a fun little comedy about crazy mixed up teenagers with a healthy dose of moe for good measure.

@irothtin After I enjoyed Hyouka, I was hoping wed get something Id like from KyoAni again this season. I was quickly proven wrong this is more moeblob comedy involving girls who are clearly out of their minds and character designs that look like elementary schoolers.

@Dragonzigg The premise is sort of the thing youd expect from bargain basement fanservice comedy, but the typical KyoAni spit and polish is in full effect here and this thing looks just gorgeous, especially in background detail.

@Aquagaze Yes, I too pretended to open automated doors with my psychic powers (Ziggs note I totally do this too) (Iros note: youre both fucking crazy)(Marlins note: Sorry Iro, you just musta had no imagination as a child.) and used umbrellas as a makeshift weapon of mass demolition. In fact, I still do.

@Lifesongsoa This anime is like a mirror into my past reminding me of why I so easily relate with escapist culture. Its not even that this is even particularly deep, but it manages to capture what being a delusional child is like with a degree of finesse that only KyoAni can bring to the table.

@MarlinClock I cant say I really had much of these delusions outside of force-opening doors, but there was a very short period where I believed the Harry Potter world was real, so I guess that counts. Weve still been shown nothing substantial as to why these other three girls are a part of the plot whatsoever, but I suppose thats going to be remedied quickly.

Glorio Verdict?

Pretty Cool

Visual Novel Adaptation by Production I.G
Simulcast by FUNimation

Premise: In the near future, nonplussed lackey Kaito Yashio and adorable nerd Akiho Senomiya are trying to build a giant robot for their high school robotics club. Somehow, as we are told, they will save the world.

@MarlinClock Akiho is absolutely adorable, and her energy really carries this episode. I have a soft spot for hopelessly optimistic characters and she really takes the cake. On the other hand, Kaito is a very boring protagonist. I really dont like how indifferent he is about the proceedings and his almost snobbishness at his position in a video game really make him unlikeable.

@Lifesongsoa Really not too much happens in this first episode. We are introduced to our cast in a somewhat typical way, but the futuristic setting does a lot to give it a fresh feel, and did I mention the heroine? She is a cutie. This is one I will not allow myself to miss.

@brannewlovesong Of all the things Ive watched this season, I think Robotics;Notes may have the broadest appeal. The premise of saving the Robotics club is inoffensive and creates a pretty cool near-future setting that anyone could get behind. I mean lets be honest, who doesnt love Giant Fighting Robots?

@irothtin Peppy heroine, bored guy, high school club antics, giant robots all the typical anime trappings. The execution is solid, so chances are you wont hate this.

@Gee0Man Seeing Akihos passion for her club and dreams is inspiring and reminds me a lot of myself. She definitely carries the show and her enthusiasm is inspiring. So far, the show itself has been on the slow side, but its charming and I never found myself being bored while watching. (Lifesong's note: I kid you not when I tell you that Akiho says things word for word that we hear out of Gee all the time.)

@Dragonzigg I am really, horribly sick of apathetic male high school protagonists. Characters are not made of a void of personality, but theres nothing interesting, likeable or worthy of note about Kaito here hes a boring, slightly jerkish cipher. Akiho on the other hand, plays into the genki girl clich but nevertheless remains a bundle of energy and inspiration, almost single handedly raising this episode to watchable status.

Glorio Verdict?

What is this wonderful shiny thing? Can I take it home?

Say I Love You
Manga Adaptation by ZEXCS
Currently Unlicensed

Premise: As Yuuta prepares to enter high school he makes every effort to forget his time infected by Chuunibyou or Eighth Grader Syndrome an affliction that made him believe he had special powers. His plan is interrupted when he meets Rikka, a girl still very much affected by the disease.

@Dragonzigg This is a fantastically produced show, one which offers beautiful, classically styled characters, smart background art and a moody soundtrack which fits perfectly with the slightly melancholic air. The proceedings are treated with a seriousness and straightforwardness thats refreshingly down-to-earth and though were not given too much time to learn these characters they still manage to make a strong impression.

@Lifesongsoa This introduction was trope filled to the max, and really did nothing to sell me on its cast or characters, instead relying entirely on trying to appeal to my inner fragile teenage girl; which for the record does not exist. Maybe this is an enjoyable experience for a young teenage girl? I wont pretend to know.

@MarlinClock Honestly I didnt hate this show. I think most of the things negatively affecting my views on it came because I watched the show with Life, who kinda accentuated all the negative aspects; however, its not really doing a whole lot of new things.

Glorio Verdict?


4:20 PM on 06.09.2012

Iro and Lifesong Talk about storytelling Fate/Zero Edition

So hey Fate/Zero is coming to a close and it got Iro and I talking about storytelling techniques, in particular the emotional impact that a story can have and how they work their magic. I had the brilliant idea of sharing that chat with the rest of Jtor to see if anyone else might have something interesting to share or discuss on the topic.

Be warned this is sure to have a few spoilers about Fate/Zero, F/SN Samurai Jack, TTGL and also contains roughly an hour of our (mostly)unedited thoughts and spelling/grammar mistakes. That said I think a few of you out there might find it interesting and I'll be sure to respond to any thoughts that you might have if you share them.

Iro: lifesong tell zigg how good that episode of f/z was

Lifesong: Awesome

Iro: corroborate my recommendation
Iro: yes
Iro: did i even use that word correctly
Iro: i did
Iro: awesome

Lifesong: I don't even need the rest of the show
Lifesong: It is of no concern to me at this point.

Iro: pfffffft
Iro: well you do know exactly how it goes down from this point forward pretty much
Iro: but SOME of us actually like kiritsugu yknow

Lifesong: eh
Lifesong: The rest of the show is just finishing off the inevitable
Lifesong: I know pretty much EXACTLY what is going to happen

Iro: yes pretty much
Iro: but don't you want to see the fight

Lifesong: hrmm
Lifesong: Not really

Iro: pffft
Iro: you guys make me sad

Lifesong: I mean
Lifesong: I am going to watch it
Lifesong: for sure
Lifesong: But there is no magic left for me in how it goes down from here out.

Iro: you could argue that about the entire show really

Lifesong: I would not argue that about the rest of the show.

Iro: haha

Lifesong: Part of the story was Urobuchi's original ideal's inside the Nasuverse
Lifesong: Part of it was the prequel of Fate/Stay Night
Lifesong: The original portion is almost entirely finished now.
Lifesong: And that was the part that was really interesting to me.
Lifesong: If that makes sense

Iro: i guess

Lifesong: It's not like I dislike the rest of it.
Lifesong: Urobuchi's stories are kind of a world apart better than Nasu's stuff.. Nasu's older stuff at least.
Lifesong: And it really sticks out to me in Fate/Zero
Lifesong: Maybe just because their style is so different.

Iro: (some of us actually liked fate/stay night)

Lifesong: (I like Fate/Stay Night)
Lifesong: It's really obvious when something is Nasu craft or Uro craft inside Fate/Zero
Lifesong: I don't think Nasu wrote it very well.
Lifesong: And actually Nasu admits he doesn't think he wrote it very well.

Iro: it is like what
Iro: 8 years old

Lifesong: Yeah it is
Lifesong: It's not like I think I can do better on my first or even second attempt at writing fiction.
Lifesong: Or that it's a bad story.
Lifesong: Or even that I would change it.
Lifesong: But I do think that some of Nasu's story telling techniques don't always work very well.
Lifesong: The punch is there when it needs to be and that is what counts in my book.
Lifesong: Actually Urobuchi is kind of the opposite imo.. his skills at building up events are amazing.
Lifesong: But his conclusions are hit or miss.
Lifesong: I can't think of a Nasu ending I don't like.

Iro: haha...have you seen all the bad ends?

Lifesong: Hrmm
Lifesong: through UBW
Lifesong: yes

Iro: well
Iro: i guess i mean the like
Iro: actual route endings
Iro: the sad ones
Iro: tsukihime has more of those

Lifesong: I think I have
Lifesong: Does Fate/Stay Night even have a happy ending outside of Rin?

Iro: uhhhhh
Iro: heaven's feel route
Iro: i guess

Lifesong: I have not read that yet though

Iro: "happy"

Lifesong: good and happy are different things

Iro: people die in every route

Lifesong: right
Lifesong: I think Nasu is pretty much an expert at killing characters
Lifesong: Better than Urobuchi imo

Iro: urobuchi puts them through the wringer
Iro: which is probably
Iro: better for dramatic purposes

Lifesong: I find myself laughing at the end though

Iro: ah
Iro: well

Lifesong: But maybe that is just me

Iro: yes

Lifesong: In fact I know it is

Iro: i think that is all on your end

Lifesong: But the thing is
Lifesong: I can see what he is doing
Lifesong: because Urobuchi is trying so hard

Iro: how do i put this
Iro: sometimes i laugh
Iro: but it's not like
Iro: a bad laugh
Iro: i laugh because "oh my god this guy's life sucks"

Lifesong: Well
Lifesong: Yeah, same, but I still feel like it missed the emotional mark it was going for.

Lifesong: Like with Kariya
Lifesong: that was his name right?

Iro: yeah

Lifesong: I predicted exactly where that ending was going
Lifesong: And was spot on

Iro: right

Lifesong: So when it happened I couldn't help but laugh and feel like Urobuchi was trying too hard.

Iro: but like

Lifesong: Does that make sense?

Iro: yes

Lifesong: I'm not saying it was bad

Iro: but there is a difference between predictable and inevitable
Iro: that said ideally you want it to be both surprising and inevitable

Lifesong: That is neither here nor there with emotional impact though

Iro: i think it's related

Lifesong: I never believed in Kariya
Lifesong: Not for a moment

Iro: but is that because you already knew he wouldn't make it

Lifesong: I never really felt any empathy for his cause.

Iro: or just because
Iro: ah

Lifesong: Nah
Lifesong: That was the only thing that did make him interesting
Lifesong: imo
Lifesong: And when I think about Nasu death scenes/endings I really can't think of one I didn't think was really good.

Iro: i think i am just more willing to suspend my disbelief than you are

Lifesong: Even in Fate/Extra I think they all hit home about perfectly.
Lifesong: I analyze everything that really pulls me in. If I am doing it that means I am being entertained but at the same time it's not something I can turn off.

Iro: haha remind me to never show you anything i do
Iro: you would smash my ego

Lifesong: Haha, it's not like I have Urobuchi or Nasu in this chat with us. :P
Lifesong: I do not need to be an ass..
Lifesong: And really I like the stories from both writers quite a bit.
Lifesong: It's why I talk about them like this to begin with ;P
Lifesong: I wish you would watch some of the Key stuff.. I could explain the difference I see between Nasu's story telling and Urobuchi's story telling really easy if you did.
Lifesong: Jun Maeda is probably the best example of someone who tells storys in a fashion where everything lines up but you don't see it till right before it happens.
Lifesong: Nasu does that as well I believe.

Iro: when i get really caught up in something i don't even try to be predicting what comes next

Lifesong: I do it naturally.
Lifesong: If I am paying attention I am doing it

Iro: that is why i like to get things that are done and just
Iro: run straight through

Lifesong: I usually pick stuff up while I am watching not after.
Lifesong: So it doesn't mater much how I watch it.
Lifesong: If anything in a marathon it's all fresh in my mind so I don't forget the details.
Lifesong: Madoka was an exception though
Lifesong: that show kept me guessing long after the credits rolled
Lifesong: but I think it did that for everyone
Lifesong: I am really happy with how Fate/Zero went down though so don't think otherwise.

Iro: it just annoys me when people are like "why didn't he do this?" where it's the most logical possible thing you could do, but it also requires the omnipotent view of the story and disregards the actual character of the character

Lifesong: I think emotional impacts are kind of like this.. if you want to hit someone in the gut you have to do it when they least expect it or have let their guard down.
Lifesong: It's not even about predictability versus inevitability. More about when and not how or why.
Lifesong: Does that make sense?

Iro: but by the same token just killing someone off when nobody expects it is the wrong way to give emotional impact
Iro: in my opinion

Lifesong: Like the scene with Iliya in UBW where Shirou and Rin go to see her estate and find her "preoccupied".
Lifesong: Oh for sure you are entirely correct.

Iro: haha you make it sound dirty

Lifesong: haha
Lifesong: I guess I did

Iro: i'm pretty sure nobody is paying attention to the conversation anyway

Dragonzigg: I am
Dragonzigg: :3

Lifesong: But the reason that scene is so disturbing is because just a moment ago the story was all about building up hope.
Lifesong: And then you are smashed in the face with someone who has their heart ripped out of their chest.
Lifesong: Nasu is really good at that.
Lifesong: With Urobuchi I always know when it is about to go down and I don't get that moment of emotional recovery before it happens.
Lifesong: So it doesn't sting as much.
Lifesong: I'm not saying it's bad.

Iro: i get what you're saying but i think it can work just fine either way

Lifesong: I don't think it's wrong to do it the way that Urobuchi does.
Lifesong: I just think Nasu's way of doing it carries more weight.

Iro: i think they can carry equal amounts of weight

Lifesong: Ah, well maybe part of it really does just depend on the audience.
Lifesong: I am also kind of thinking out loud because I still want to write my own story.

Iro: you want to be surprised
Iro: is that what you're saying

Lifesong: Hrmm
Lifesong: It's not even that

Iro: are you sure

Lifesong: I want the story to hit me at the right time.

Iro: i think that it is possible for it to do that but also have the sense of inevitability

Lifesong: Yes
Lifesong: That is why I wish I could use Jun Maeda as an example lol
Lifesong: His stories are like that
Lifesong: Nasu as well though
Lifesong: For example the way Archer's backstory is done in UBW
Lifesong: Or maybe that is not the best example
Lifesong: I'm trying to think of a good way to explain what I mean lol
Lifesong: With Urobuchi he likes to kick you when you are down, the first part hurts but the kick doesn't always have much impact because you already had the pain from before. Where with Nasu I feel like he gives you time to get back up first and then kicks you again to finish you off.
Lifesong: It's not that what happens is changed
Lifesong: The execution is just a bit different.

Iro: i understand

Lifesong: okay

Iro: i just think that they can be equally effective based on the situation
Iro: or to put it another way
Iro: urobuchi drives people to the depths of despair as far as they can go but Nasu characters don't really go that deep
Iro: either approach can have different purposes

Lifesong: Eh, that is the thing though.
Lifesong: There is a disconnect when that happens.
Lifesong: I think both are valid ways to tell a story.

Iro: it depends on the story

Lifesong: Maybe, but I can't really think of an example.

Iro: too many hope spots makes it silly

Lifesong: Well
Lifesong: There are more positive emotions than Hope

Iro: you know what i mean

Lifesong: Like that scene in the latest episode with Rider you have Pride
Lifesong: Urobuchi very much gave us a positive emotion there.

Iro: like
Iro: have you ever seen samurai jack

Lifesong: I have
Lifesong: yes

Iro: right so like
Iro: every other episode or something
Iro: he tries to get into a time hole and fails
Iro: and having that happen so often cheapens it
Iro: like
Iro: coming close and not being able to

Lifesong: Oh yeah for sure

Iro: you can't have them try hard and come close every time

Lifesong: But doesn't that have more to do with the fact that it's repetitive?

Iro: and you can't do it often
Iro: maybe but that is part of my point

Lifesong: Well it doesn't need to be hope
Lifesong: Or pride

Iro: in anything

Lifesong: In Nasu's storytelling It's usually pride I think.

Iro: that isn't my point
Iro: i don't know if we are on the same page

Lifesong: I get what your saying but it's not really what I am driving at.
Lifesong: I am more talking about the natural reaction you and I have depending on the way a story goes down.
Lifesong: It takes a bit of both for sure.
Lifesong: Too much of anything is bad.
Lifesong: Maybe I feel like Urobuchi pours too many negitive emotions into his work?

Iro: i am okay with those

Lifesong: I am okay with those so long as I am capable of staying on the same page as the story.
Lifesong: Like with Rider I think he had the prefect balance of both worlds.
Lifesong: But with Kariya I never did.
Lifesong: Or with Kiritsugu or even Homura.

Iro: i think that is on your end then

Lifesong: Kariya probably is
Lifesong: I don't think the other two are
Lifesong: People liked Homura because magical lesbian >_>
Lifesong: And it seems most people don't like kiritsugu.

Iro: i feel like i am being lumped in with a group here

Lifesong: who is pretty much the same character in a different wrapper

Iro: i liked homura because she was clearly kiritsugu in a different wrapper

Lifesong: I don't mean you specifically when I say that
Lifesong: I mean the general reaction that I see from most people.

Iro: maybe
Iro: i don't know if people just
Iro: don't like tragedies
Iro: or what

Lifesong: I think both you and I spend entirely too much time on fiction to be a part of any majority reaction.
Lifesong: The way I see it the tragic aspect doesn't sting enough. People have their guard up when it happens so they look for something to be wrong with it even if there isn't.

Iro: like people complaining when kiritsugu had kayneth killed after the fact
Iro: i was just like
Iro: "do you people not get it at all"

Lifesong: Yes, that is what I mean.
Lifesong: I even fell into that one myself initially.

Iro: if you understand the character kiritsugu is
Iro: then you understand that is the only thing he would have done
Iro: he would not have even looked for another solution

Lifesong: Well I got it once I saw his back story.
Lifesong: But it is really my fault I didn't get it before that?

Iro: maybe
Iro: even during the flashback there were a lot people like
Iro: "why didn't he do X differently"
Iro: and i figure
Iro: if you're not getting it after all that

Lifesong: I wish I could throw this conversation at Jtor and see what people think lol

Iro: you just don't want to get it
Iro: ah well

Lifesong: Yeah I think you understand what I mean.

Iro: reminds me of a dude i used to know who absolutely hated gurren lagann purely based on the notion that the ending was not 100% happy
Iro: he said that because nia died it ruined the entire experience

Lifesong: Well you know me, I love tragedy.

Iro: haha

Lifesong: And I loved that ending.

Iro: but yeah with that guy i was just
Iro: "are you serious"
Iro: that is completely missing the point

Lifesong: It's worth pointing out that most of my favorite characters die.
Lifesong: Sometimes I wonder if that is part of why they are my favorite characters.
Lifesong: It probably is.
Lifesong: Would you mind if I posted this converation on Jtor? I bet a few people at least would read it and I am now curious what other people think.(and I don't want to write an entire blog on the topic atm)

Iro: haha the entire one?

Lifesong: Pretty much

Iro: with all our crazy ass rambling

Lifesong: I can show it to you before I post it

ItsaTimmy: Yay for rambling

Lifesong: and I would tell them what it is before they read it lol

Iro: do what you want

Lifesong: cool, I will then.   read

12:54 PM on 05.01.2012

Glorio Spring 2012 Anime Impressions Guide Part 3 of 3

Part 1 Here
Space Bros
Scarlet Fragment
Accel World
Kickoff to the Galaxy!!
Queen's Blade Rebellion
Saint Seiya Omega
Kore wa Zombie desu ka? Of the Dead
Medaka Box
Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna
Sengoku Collection
Natsuiro Kiseki

Part 2 Here
Acchi Kocchi
Fate/Zero Second Part
Moe Moe Assault Rifles!!
Kuroko's Basket Ball
Mysterious Girlfriend X
Saki: Side-A
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia
Moe Moe Nyarlathotep
Eureka Seven AO
Kids on the Slope
Shining Hearts: Bread of Happiness

Part 3
Hyouka: You Can(not) Escape

Hyouka: You Can(not) Escape

A kid who wants to keep his life boring and low key winds up in a club solving mysteries for an enchanting young girl.

Jel's Thoughts
This pushed a lot of the right buttons for me. Meshing the gorgeous animation and subtle beauty KyoAni is known for with dreamy, surreal moments of realization is an easy way to get my attention. You could argue not too much actually happens and I'm very tired of the "low energy" Kyon-clone protagonist, but the pace was good, the dialogue crisp, and the rest of the cast looks poised to pick up the slack. And while the "mysteries" they encountered seemed pretty mundane, I think the twist at the end was a pretty clever way of showing us the type of wit we will be treated to as the series goes on.

Jel's Verdict? More Haruhi Than K-ON!
There are a lot of directions Hyouka could go from this initial set-up episode and I think most of them are good. That will depend greatly on whether they actually uncover any real mysteries or simply keep stumbling through accidentally locked doors. Given the series' description and Eru's mysterious motives for joining the club, I think things will be fine. If it does reach its full potential, I could easily see this being my favorite show of the season.

Timmy's Thoughts
Boring guy wants nothing but a boring high school life but thanks to his sister forcing him to join a club is looks like that isn't going to happen. First impressions are good as the characters are interesting and Kyoani's art is stellar as usual.

Timmy's Verdict? Haruhi Without Haruhi
Exactly what it says. I would imagine Haruhi would be something like this if it didn't have Haruhi and all the bullshit that comes with her. If you like Haruhi but hate Haruhi then you would probably like this. Hell you are probably going to like this anyways so give it a watch. This one is pressing all the right buttons and I can't wait for more.

Lifesong's Thoughts
By all means this show should have bored me to tears and put me to sleep but something about grabbed my attention and kept my interest.. at least for the first episode. KyoAni's attention to detail really is amazing. One of those bits of detail that I noticed is that everyone but the main character has an incredibly rare eye color and his eye color is still pretty much impossible for someone Japanese I think. The MC is green the heroine is purple the best friend is amber and the chick who doesn't show in episode 1 is red. For a show with an otherwise down to earth style that really sticks out to me.

Lifesong's Verdict? Kyon Without Haruhi
For better or worse that is what this show feels like. I'm neither blown away or turned off. I'll keep watching for now if only for the studio pedigree at work.

Irothtin's Thoughts
Bored unambitious anime protagonist starts off by meeting pretty girl with really huge and unnatural eyes. They solve mysteries that aren't really mysteries (it's like Anime Scooby Doo) with his peppy best friend and some other girl who shows up in the OP and the next episode preview. She's probably a tomboy.

Irothtin's Verdict? Everyone Else Is Probably Right
It looks nice, but everything by Kyoto Animation does. I feel like the protagonist is too obviously trying to connect with that bored student type of person, and in general nothing much of note happened in the entire episode. I think people will enjoy it, though. Hell, I'll probably enjoy it since I'm right in the center of the target audience.

Marlin's Thoughts
I’m still not sure exactly what the plot is going to be for this show, but I enjoyed the first episode. I will admit that the “mysteries” were things I solved the second I saw that they were positing it as a mystery. The animation was beautiful as KyoAni is wont in doing. The main girl is at bit akin to a hyperactive Mio, but Mio’s cute and her hair is super gorgeously animated, so I guess there’s no real problem there. The main character is the laziest motherfucker ever but I can’t blame that attitude sometimes, and he always has room to grow.

Marlin's Verdict? Trial Basis
While I’m sure KyoAni knows what they’re doing here, and I would encourage anyone to watch it, I would put this show on the list of ones that need to impress soon or get dropped. I think that is a task easily accomplishable for this show, but there’s always a risk. Still, I’d say give it at least three episodes.

Dragonzigg's Thoughts
Like many other people I was intrigued to see how KyoAni would handle a return to slightly moree serious territory, and on the evidence of this first episode it's pretty well. It can be a little hard to shake K-ON! out of your minds eye when you look at the characters, but the rest of the show feels a very different beast. Protagonist Houtarou is a disaffected, almost cynical character and while his bouncy best friend Satoshi is cut from more traditional slice-of-life cloth, mysterious girl Chitanda is a little more difficult to place. There's an undercurrent of darkness in this episode that I didn't expect at all, a moodiness that I really enjoyed. The actual mysteries they solved were pretty rubbish to be honest, but hopefully that's something that can be stepped up. And as ever from KyoAni the animation is superb, with Houtarou's flower filled dream sequences wonderful touches of eye candy

Dragonzigg's Verdict? Waiting To Be Solved
It's something enjoyably different from the moeblob masters. Light on plot but heavy on visuals and atmosphere, let's hope it can develop into a strong all rounder.

Anime original animated by Satelight

In a future where being an idol has become illegal 4 young girls aspire to join AKB0048 an underground Idol group.

Lifesong's Thoughts
Lots of voice talent here, enough to make me want to like this. The Idol scene in the first portion of the episode was kind of neat. The girls keep singing even when they are being fired at by a riot squad. They also have mecha and stuff it's not hard to see why the cops are after them. Then we get to the new girls and they throw all kinds of drama at us. Girls being sad and dramatic might be a sure selling point but I much prefer to know the characters and then be asked to care about them in that order.

Lifesong's Verdict? More Hardcore Than Macross
Which may or may not be a good thing. I liked this better than Natsuiro at least, but at the same time in a season with plenty of great stuff for me to watch I don't know how long I'll want to stick with this. I'll give it a few more episodes at least if only to see more bullet dogging idol's with light sabers and magical girl stun rods. The Touhou girls would like this line of work quite a bit I think.

Jel's Thoughts
Jel's thoughts: While this season's other Idol vehicle (Natsuiro Kiseki) has taken a more laid back approach in showcasing the group's talents, it seems AKB0048 is taking the most grand, preposterous, over the top angle possible to mask their lack thereof. That might not change my mind about their real life counterparts but it does make for a much better anime. I'll admit I was not expecting mech battles and light sabers and stun wands, in a way it kind of feels like a tween edition of Macross. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing, but it sure is… something? And that's already more than I was expecting from this.

Jel's Verdict? Macross Frontier Without The Aliens…
or Yoko Kanno… or decades of anime history supporting it… or… OK look, if you have no tolerance for idol groups or music this does not have nearly enough streaming missiles to change your mind. But it does accomplish it's purpose in presenting a real life idol group in a way that is much more palatable in anime form. I don't think that will be enough for me to keep watching, but I'm sure there will be an audience for it.

Irothtin's Thoughts
Girls are auditioning to be space idols, which are banned. The military has rockets that say "No Idols" on them. The idols have turned their idol props into weapons to fight the military. I'm cheering for the military.

Irothtin's Verdict? This Shit Is Bananas
If you have to choose between this and Natsuiro Kiseki, watch this one. Ideally, you won't be watching either, but...this one at least has the WTF factor.

Timmy's Thoughts
Idoling is illegal so its up to a group of underground Idols that go by the name of AKB0048 to entertain everyone and kick the asses of anyone who tries to interfere while they make their grand escape. Guerrilla Concerts are what they do and they are recruiting! Yaaaayyy!

Timmy's Verdict? Not So Fabulous Max
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this show yet somehow I still felt a little disappointed after watching it. Maybe it was the lack of character development, maybe the lack of an explanation of why entertainment is illegal, I dunno. I just didn't enjoy this one as much as I would have liked. I really do hope I am wrong but I get the feeling this is going to be an anime just so AKB can say they had an anime. This show did have some serious potential given the setting and I don't feel it was fully utilized in this first ep. I may stick around for a couple more but the main reason for doing so is to find out where the blue haired girl went. Half way through the episode you realize there were not three girls but four in the beginning. Where the hell did she go?

Closing Thoughts

Jel's Closing Thoughts
If I may get up on my soapbox for a moment, I feel like this season of anime has galvanized a change in attitude that's been building over the past couple of seasons. I'm not going to make any lame, pointless statements like MOE IS DEAD or whatever, but whether it's adding heavy doses of surrealism, embracing an old school art style, or actually making a show about boys, anime feels just a little bit different these days. Is that a result of studios realizing the otaku money won't last forever and they need to adjust, or is it BECAUSE they have all that otaku money and can make shows more to their liking? I really couldn't say. But I CAN say I'm all for it, and while this season may not end up with any sure-fire hits or instant classics it is at the very least going to be interesting to watch.

Jel's Top 3 Seasonal Picks

1. Hyouka - Stunning KyoAni production values with source material that is more substantial than girls eating cake, so yeah, I'm all over this. With only one episode out at the time of writing I don't have much to add here, so scroll back on up for my reasons why.

2. Kids on the Slope - We all knew the soundtrack was going to be fantastic, but beyond that this is shaping up to be a tidy and effective drama. It's pretty straightforward and this could have just as easily been a live-action JDrama, but the setting is so unique and it uses its hook (the music) so well I can't help but love it.

3. Tsuritama - I love the art style of Atsuya Uki and seeing it fully realized with all it's bright colors, quirky expressions, and surreal vignettes has been a treat. The actual plot has been down right bizarre and almost a non-sequitur in itself, but with a glimpse of more serious, relatable issues looming beneath the surface I think Tsuritama has tremendous potential to be something special.

Lifesong's Closing Thoughts
What can I say? This season is full of lovely dead girls and I am sure there are a few people who will never let me forget that I picked 3 shows with heavy dead girl themes even if one of them is technically a necromancer and not actually dead herself. So yeah It's a great season to be dead, actually it's a pretty good season all around but the theme of undeath is coming on heavy this season and doing so with great success. A top three doesn't quite cut it for giving credit to all the fun shows this season. Accel World, Ao and even show of the season Moe Gun's Upotte!! all deserve mention this season. That said I bet a few of you can guess my top 3 without even reading them.

There is one other thing I would like to point out and it's how much fun I had and I think we all had putting this beast together. I hope it's been even half as fun to read as it was to make.

Lifesong's Top 3 Seasonal Picks

1. Sankarea - Most demented father figure in anime? Rea's father might not win the all time award but I bet he makes the list. The character dynamics all play together in a great way that really pulls you in and helps get you over the fact that well the main character is a necrophiliac who created a potion of resurrection. This show feels surprisingly down to earth for all the crazy that's going on when you stop and think about it. The way everything here plays together so well has made this into my favorite thing going into this season.

2. Kore wa Zombie desu ka? Of the Dead - I admit I feel a bit crazy for this but 2 out of 3 of my top picks for the season are from Studio DEEN! I would have been happy with more of the same but this season of Zombie has turned out to be even funnier that the last round. The plot is a bit slow going but things are obviously in motion. For now we are saddled with crazy antics as Ayumu deals with the fact that everyone in his school knows about his cross dressing hobby. The tsundere maid cafe about killed me with laughter. I can't wait to see how this all plays out.

3. Dusk Maiden of Amnesia - I am equal parts sold on Dusk Maiden's character dynamics and the directing at work. Yuuko's so what If I'm dead personality puts an intriguing spin on something you would expect to be creepy, all the while keeping the mystery interesting by throwing other characters at us who take up an interest in learning more about Yuuko's past. Maybe I'm just a sucker for the whole tragic past thing.. actually scratch that I definitely am but I'll still throw my recommendation out. If you haven't given this show a shot yet and can take a little bit more undeath in your anime season give this a go!

Irothtin's Closing Thoughts
A bunch of good shows that I'm not watching.
A bunch of bad shows that I'm also not watching.

Irothtin's Top 3 Seasonal Picks

1 Fate/Zero - I'm the resident Type-Moon fan in the GLORIO chat, which means I get to hear everyone assure me they like the show while they simultaneously talk about how shitty it is. I was looking forward to Fate/Zero since before the anime was even announced, so it has all my hype. I just have to pretend to not enjoy it.

I still don't get why everyone seems to like Homura but hates Kiritsugu - they are pretty much the exact same character. I guess anime lesbianism is a truly powerful force.

2 Mysterious Girlfriend X - I pretty much like everything in this show apart from the spewing and the fact that their saliva is the consistency of maple syrup. It has a cool 90s vibe to the art style and it just gives off the vibe of being an old-school kind of anime.

Except for the spewing. That shit's kind of nasty.

3 *Insert Your Favorite From This Season Here* - Whatever show you like is probably adequate. I am validating your opinion. It has the Irothtin Seal of Approval. Whatever show you want. I'm sure you're enjoying it by now and probably think I'm a massive jerk anyway for hating on half the shows this season.

Marlin's Closing Thoughts
If the eleven new shows I’m watching this season is any indicator, I’m quite pleased as to how this year is turning out. There are only two or three shows I have any thoughts of dropping with, there are just so many enthralling stories. What I love most about this season is, despite a slight undead theme with three shows, there is an overall great heterogeneity within this season’s genres. Gritty theft and war dramas, slice of life shows that take romance seriously and those that don’t, , from the strange and surreal to the straight and serious I’d say it would take a cold heart (or Iro) to not at least pick up four new shows this season.

Marlin's Top 3 Seasonal Picks

1 Kids on the Slope - I have to announce a bias here first, I’ve always been a big lover of jazz, and the fact that this troupe appears to include a trumpet, my instrument of choice, instead of the standard sax really won points with me. However, it’s still a great show outside of this. I’ve really enjoyed the character interactions. These people actually seem real unlike a lot of shows I’ve seen over the years. It’s still early, but from what I saw in episode 3 I have real high hopes for how this show will turn out in the future.

2 Sankarea - Ever the sucker for a story that adds a different kind of romance, I love Sankarea’s spin on the old boy-meets-girl. Chihiro has to be hands down the most morbid protagonist of this entire season, and I find it hilarious. This is a real feat considering he’s in the company of a crazed arms dealer and the actual undead. Rea is incredibly cute, and the show really makes you feel for her situation, locked up in a prison of her father’s making. There’s still a lot to find out about what exactly is going on, and I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen next.

3 Accel World - I came into Accel World’s first episode loving the world concept, but being let down by its final reveal, that it all seemed to really just be a veil for a standard shonen fighting show. However, when I gave it the three episode chance, it really blew me away. It didn’t just abandon the characters and their issues, it addresses them. While the relationship between Arita and Kuroyukihime (man is that a mouthful) is still a bit of a stretch, I really liked that Arita’s reaction to it seemed to reflect that strangeness and insecurity. I don’t want to give anything away, but let me just say the third and fourth episodes really had some powerful moments that are guaranteed to keep me watching for a long while.

Dragonzigg's Closing Thoughts
It's looking to be a good, strong season of shows, but perhaps more importantly, a fantastically diverse season as well. We've got an excellent spread through drama, fantasy, slice of life and more, and there looks to be something to accommodate almost everyone's taste. With the bold stylings of Lupin, the playful surrealism of Tsuritama and the studied period look of Kids on the Slope, it's refreshing to see shows with strong independent art resurface, and even the stuff that didn't quite work this season generally had something worth praising. It's telling that for once I have to parse down the number of shows I want to watch rather than scaling up.

Dragonzigg's Top 3 Seasonal Picks

1 Tsuritama - Gorgeous skies, beautiful seascapes and a healthy dose of surrealism, what more could you want? Tsuritama packs all the quirky characters, wonderful art and terrific silliness that I like in my shows and bundles them into a sharp looking and highly appealing package. Essential.

2 Lupin III - If Tsuritama is all blue skies, this is all smoky clubs, cigarette burns and glasses of scotch. Looks wonderful, like a lot of things this season, but its's in the unashamedly throwback narrative style that Lupin really finds his chops. It's grittier, darker and more violent, but never loses the goofy, playful heart of the character, resulting in a rip-roaring adventure. Not for the kids mind you.

3 Eureka SeveN AO - It's not yet the glorious free-flowing fantasy that its forebear eventaully grew into, but I've always admired Bones' determination to do different things with the franchise, and AO paints its own compelling world, full of drama, intrigue and mysteries to uncover. Helped in no small part by its stunningly beautiful animation, it has the potential to climb to great heights.

Timmy's Closing Thoughts
I find myself watching a lot of anime this season. It may mean this season is better then others but the more likely cause is the simple fact that I actually have to watch all this stuff to write about it instead of sitting back and seeing what shows people talk about and picking up the popular ones. Sadly there is a lot of stuff I at the very least like this season but not a whole lot of time to watch it. That puts a lot of honorable mentions on this list including Shining Hearts, Hyouka, and even Nyarko-san and Upottle! to name a few. There is a lot of good anime this season and sadly it seems I am watching only about half of it.

Timmy's Top 3 Seasonal Picks

It was really tough picking favorites but here they are as follows in no particular order:

Lupin - A great art style, gratuitous gun-play, an awesome heroine, and glorious boobs to top it all off. And that doesn't even take Lupin into account. Lupin is a great watch every week and I sure as hell can't wait for more.

Accel World - Every time I worry Accel World is going to revert into generic shonen crap the show either plays with this Brain Burst idea a little more, throws out something completely unexpected, or both. I mean confessions in both the third and forth episodes? This show does not mess around.

Mysterious Girlfriend X - Man, this show has me hooked to it like I was bonded to a girl via her s... The show keeps throwing out fresh new ideas with this spit thing every episode and I am gobbling them right u... Guh! Urabe continues to be great with all her odd quirkiness and all the mystery the show is surrounding her is making me droo... Fuck it, I quit.

Aqua's Closing Thoughts
The spring season of 2012 will be one you will not quickly forget. Blessed with a line-up that provides a seemingly endless source of entertainment, you will have to try your worst in order to not care about any of the shows gracing the screen this spring. Unless your name is Irothtin.

With a healthy mix of sequels to popular franchises (Lupin III: A Woman Named Fujiko Mine, Saki: Achiga-hen Episode of Side-A, Fate/Zero II, …), cult classics in the making (Kids on the Slope, Tsuritama, …), sleeper hits (Polar Bear Café, …) and shows that are just plain old fun (Hyouka, Jormungand, …), this season has one of the strongest line-ups in recent history. However, it remains to be seen if any of these shows will stand the test of time. Even the biggest and best can plummet straight into the abyss of mediocrity after a well-timed leap over a conveniently placed shark.

So far for the obligatory backhanded aside directed at AnoHana.

Anyways, in the world of anime nothing is certain. Except for the fact that 50% of the lineup will always consist of shows about cute/obnoxious/supposedly sexy teenage girls doing cute things/falling in love/becoming magical girls/turning out to be guys/having their tops ripped off. Be creative and choose your generic anime plot. There are no incorrect answers.

Aqua's Top 3 Seasonal Picks

1 The Legend Of Korra - No, you piss off. The Legend of Korra looks like an anime, sounds like an anime, and has more anime tropes in it than your average episode of Shakugan No Shana. Of course it totally counts as anime.

Yeah, looks like that comment section will finally be used now. Hehe.

2 Tsuritama - A psychedelic slice-of-life anime about fishing, aliens and Indian secret services with ducks? This anime couldn’t be any more noitaminA if it tried. Which Tsuritama doesn’t. Everything in Tsuritama comes naturally. It slowly drifts on the quirky waves it creates. Who knows where this ship will take up? Wherever that is, it will be amazing nonetheless. Tsuritama is original, yet accessible. Familiar, yet alienating. Quirky, yet creepingly dramatic. It looks like a clown exploded all over the screen and sounds like a surfer van having taken the wrong ferry, but most of all does it feel as warm as the sunlight raining down on the Enoshima coast. Watch it and regain your will to live.

3 Kids on the Slope - CHK CHK CHK CHK







PWEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEaaaaaaaaAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaa aaa aa a










DAM DAM!   read

11:47 AM on 04.24.2012

Glorio Spring 2012 Anime Impressions Guide Part 2 of 3

Part 1 Here
Space Bros
Scarlet Fragment
Accel World
Kickoff to the Galaxy!!
Queen's Blade Rebellion
Saint Seiya Omega
Kore wa Zombie desu ka? Of the Dead
Medaka Box
Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna
Sengoku Collection
Natsuiro Kiseki

Part 2
Acchi Kocchi
Fate/Zero Second Part
Moe Moe Assault Rifles!!
Kuroko's Basket Ball
Mysterious Girlfriend X
Saki: Side-A
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia
Moe Moe Nyarlathotep
Eureka Seven AO
Kids on the Slope
Shining Hearts: Bread of Happiness

Part 3
Hyouka: You Can(not) Escape

Acchi Kocchi
4-Koma managa adaptation animated by AIC

Cute people do cute things.

Irothtin's Thoughts
Slice of life with typical anime caricatures. This a yonkoma adaptation, so presumably we're supposed to be laughing every thirty seconds or so. I could barely stomach ten minutes.

Irothtin's Verdict? Waste Of Time
If you're going to watch a slice of life, watch something that doesn't suck.

Lifesong's Thoughts
In a word, cute. There really isn't much else to say about this show.

Lifesong's Verdict? Muscle Relaxer
Acchi Kocchi doesn't try too hard and it's quite obvious that the focus is on being low key like so many other slice of life anime are. This is a good anime to watch after a stressful day. I would compare it to muscle relaxer or sleeping pill. Unless you are stressed out and or need something cute and heartwarming before bed this doesn't have much value, if however you are under a lot of stress and just need something simple to unwind you might want to check this out.

Marlin's Thoughts
In a world where Konata grew up introverted, Acchi Kocchi is born. I swear the girl is a dead ringer. I’ve always been big into good slice of life, and while this show wasn’t great by any means, I really enjoyed it. Its characters are cute and I had some genuine laughs through the proceedings. I most especially enjoyed the intercom bits. While it definitely isn’t the smartest show out there, I think I’m going to be using it as a nice relaxer after a long day.

Marlin's Verdict? Brain Slug
I really enjoyed this show, but it definitely isn’t very smart in its comedy or cutesy mannerisms. I personally am very weak to moeblobs and our doppelganger is the moe-est thing I’ve seen this season.

Fate/Zero Second Part
Continuation of a light novel adaptation animated by Ufotable

All hell has broken loose, the monstrous Cthulhu like being is headed for shore forcing a temporary alliance between other servants and masters. The time for the conclusion to the epic battle royale between the mages and their servant's is drawing near, things are about to get bloody.

Irothtin's Thoughts
After the snore-fest of talky bits that was Part 1, Fate/Zero ramps up the action in a dash to the finale. At least, that's the idea. If it follows the novels, there should be a lot more action in this part and a lot less standing around and philosophizing. The season kicks off following Part 1's cliffhanger, starting strong with duels between magi, otherworldly dogfights, and a giant sea monster.

Irothtin's Verdict? Coooooool
Either you're already watching this or you aren't, and at this point nothing I say is going to change your mind. But for the record, I think it's pretty sweet.

Lifesong's Thoughts
I am going to miss caster when he inevitably loses. I enjoyed the first half quite a bit and considering the author at work here I can't wait to see how terrifyingly wrong and twisted things becomes before the end.

Lifesong's Verdict? Let The Battle Royale Begin!
The first half of this show is all about the philosophy behind the cast and characters and is surprisingly without bloodshed, red-shirt's aside. I haven't read the light novel but I have read Fate/Stay Night so I know upcoming events can't be pretty, I am dying to know how it all ends, I'm counting on you Urobuchi! Don't let me down.

Jel's Thoughts
This is EXACTLY what I wanted to see coming back from the break. Actually, this is exactly what I wanted to see since I was first introduced to the Fate Universe. High stakes drama, tense action and just about every servant and master getting their hands dirty.

Jel's Verdict? The Anime Of Promised Victory
This is the safest bet of the season. Other shows may turn out to be something special, but I have more confidence in Fate/Zero than any of them. Definitely worth catching up on the previous season and getting in on the action if you haven't done so already.

Dragonzigg's Thoughts
I was very much a skeptic of the first season of Fate/Zero, which tempered its shamelessly awesome moments with great deal of boring waffle. Here though we've got the advantage of leaping straight into the middle of the plot, and boy do ufotable take advantage. We've got it all here - epic battles, tense showdowns, sneak attacks and some seriously messed up monsters, all backed by some fantastic animation and top notch music and voice acting. In addition to the pyrotechnics we're getting some more juicy character development and the escalating conflict looks set up to deliver a series of explosive showdowns as we draw closer to the close of this conflict.

Dragonzigg's Verdict? Epic
Fate/Zero is beginning to deliver on the huge promise that it showed from the beginning. I'm not convinced the problems are entirely gone, but this is a hugely promising sign for the rest of the season.

Aqua's Thoughts
It's the second season of Fate/Zero. You’re gonna watch this if you watched the first part and you’re not gonna watch this if you haven’t. Life, why are we giving our first impressions on this?

Aqua's Verdict? It's The Second Season Of Fate/Zero
It’s the second season of Fate/Zero, kiddo. Seriously. That’s it.

Gee-Man's Thoughts
The best anime of the fall season returns with a vengeance. Leaving off where the first season concluded, we find our valiant heroes of ancient myth squaring off against the eldritch abomination created by Caster. You’ll find mythic dogfights, abhorrent ideology, and pragmatic combat here. So in other words, a return to glory.

Gee-Man's Verdict? Look At What Everyone Else Has Said
Seriously, it’s the second season of Fate Zero. What more do you need?

Marlin's Thoughts
The beginning of the second part really kept the action going. I really liked the dogfight even if it was really weird in context. More F/Z is never a bad thing.

Marlin's Verdict? You Better Still Be Watching
Fate/Zero reminds me that the premise of the whole Nasuverse is actually pretty interesting if you actually have a decent writer. With Gen Urobuchi at the helm for the story I knew this was going to be an enjoyable ride, and that hasn’t changed.

Moe Moe Assault Rifles!!
4-koma adaptation animated by XEBEC

A new teacher has just transferred into an all girls school. This school is a special school for girls who are actually assault rifles. How will this human teacher fair? Will he learn to treat the girls with the delicacy and respect that guns deserve? Or will he cause their hammers to fire off prematurely?

Jel's Thoughts
Part of the appeal of anime for many of us are those totally bizarre "WTF Japan" ideas that somehow get produced. This is one of them. Now don't get me wrong, it's still pretty terrible and I felt like I needed a shower after watching it. But I can't say I wasn't entertained by just how hilariously ridiculous and unapologetic the premise is.

Jel's Verdict? One In The Chamber
If you have 24 minutes to kill it might be worth watching an episode for a laugh. But I can't imagine watching anything beyond that.

Lifesong's Thoughts
I can still remember the first time I met sensei. He approached ready to fire with both hands firmly griping his gun, careful not to put too much pressure on the small stock. He shifted his center of gravity forward slightly to guard against the recoil as he prepared to fire his load, almost as if preparing to fire an assault rifle, just the sight of it nearly made my hammer fire... He took his shot, hitting me square in the forehead several times. I'll never forget that encounter.

Lifesong's Verdict? Skeleton Stock
Lightweight pervy humor that's so bizarre it's hard not to find funny. This whole show is pretty much a bunch of sexual euphemisms with guns. It is actually quite funny in a I can't believe they are actually going there kind of way and may well turn out to be a guilty pleasure for many. Upotte!! is based off a 4-koma so you can't really expect too much depth from this, however if you are away from polite company and looking for a cheep laugh, you can't go wrong here.

Timmy's Thoughts
Where the hell am I even suppose to begin with this. Given the premise I had my eye on this for quite some time expecting the most bizarre, insane thing I could possibly imagine. And that is pretty much what I got. Lots and lots of gun porn mixed with a whole heap full of crazy, over the top WTF anime goodness. Everything about this show is absurd.

Timmy's Verdict? Something To Get Trigger Happy Over
And that is really its greatest strength. This show is cute, funny, perverted, bizarre, absurd, over the top, basically all you could ever ask of an anime. As long as it can keep its material fresh and doesn't start hammering out the same jokes every episode, this pervy gag comedy will be very much worth a watch every week.

TL/DR Watch this, love this, NO REGRETS! The show sure as hell doesn't have any.

Dragonzigg's Thoughts
I really, honestly am lost for words when it comes to this show. It's like the Matrix - nobody can tell you what it is, you have to experience it for yourself. What I can tell you is that this show has some cute character designs and one or two decent puns. There's also a ton of neat references for gun nuts (which I, with my rudimentary weapons knowledge, just about grasped). And finally, there's tons of super inappropriate, stunningly creepy sexual innuendo. They even avoid showing the lead male character's face, like some sort of second rate porno doujinshi.

So yeah. If you're in the target demographic of crazy assault rifle wielding pedophiles then you'll probably eat this up. For everyone else it's probably worth seeing once just so you can again experience that feeling of 'Oh my God Japan, what the fuck did you DO?' that you thought anime had hardened you against forever.

Dragonzigg's Verdict? Major Misfire
Without the fanservice this would be barely recommendable as a weird, demented spin on the cute girls genre. But with it it becomes a thoroughly unpleasant experience altogether. If you must watch this, take a shower afterwards.

Irothtin's Thoughts
Gun jokes. Gun double entendre. Girls that are guns. She wants her teacher to grab her and shoot her off.

Irothtin's Verdict? A Bullet To The Brainpan

Marlin's Thoughts
What the fuck did I watch? I would have half a mind to make this my oddity pick of the season just to turn off my brain but I already have three shows that would do a better job at that.

Marlin's Verdict? Off its Aim
I don’t see who this is appealing to besides the otaku from High School of the Dead.

Kuroko's Basket Ball
Manga adaptation animated by Production IG

A middle school basketball team called the miracle generation had a legendary player who was amazing at passing. Using his impressive ninja like lack of presence, he would fade from view and misdirect attention. Now in high school he has transferred into a new school and joined their basketball team. After teaming up with another player who's power level is over 9000, he has decided to live in that players shadow and push him to the top!

Jel's Thoughts
If you think this is another ridiculous Shonen sports show that replaces fighting with basketball then you are correct. But it's a pretty well made one and as a big basketball fan myself I really enjoyed it. I may not like it all the time, but something about unapologetically defying logic with super abilities and power level readings warms my heart every now and then.

Jel's Verdict? Buzzer Beater
I can't believe I'm saying this but I will most likely keep watching. I had every intention of laughing this one off and yet even though it is exactly what I thought it would be I still enjoyed it. Your mileage may vary depending on your tolerance of Shonen shows and sports in general, but I'm sticking with it.

Lifesong's Thoughts
Ninja boy plays basket ball, his power level can't even be read by the scouter.

Lifesong's Verdict? Ridiculous
I am no fan of sports anime and I'm often at odds with shonen so this anime really isn't for me. If you are looking for a ridiculous shonen sports show look no further, this has what you need.

Marlin's Thoughts
Never really been a fan of sports anime. They always just seem way to unrealistic to me, and this one is no different. Weird scanner girl that can somehow determine your strength, mystery basketball player who has magic teamwork skills, it all screams superpower sports show. I think I’ll pass.

Marlin's Verdict? Low Percentage Shot
If you like basketball maybe it’ll still gel for you? However, I doubt many others would enjoy it greatly.

Irothtin's Thoughts
She can tell sports power levels. The one guy is over nine thousand, because he went to school in America. The eponymous character can turn invisible and is therefore super great at passing the ball.

Irothtin's Verdict? Silly In A Fun Way
More enjoyable than that soccer show, though. This one is actually decent. I probably won't watch the rest, though.

Mysterious Girlfriend X
Manga adaptation animated by Hoods Entertainment

A mysterious girl transfers into a new school. When she is happy she vomits spit. A young boy tastes her spit and becomes addicted.

Lifesong's Thoughts
I felt ill watching this. I don't get disgusted easily, I made it through Yosuga no Sora where the MC goes at it with his sister on multiple occasions and was still able to enjoy that story. I made it through Elfen Lied and was able to respect that for what it was.. I can't do this.

Lifesong's Verdict? Disgusting Filth
I was utterly appalled watching this, much to amusement of others on skype. Gross things are my weakness. I only have a few buttons I really hate to have pushed and this pushed most them all at once. This may have some value beyond what I see it for but I am unable to judge it for that while being utterly disgusted by the premise.

At least there wasn't any scat...

Irothtin's Thoughts
Uh, I like the art style, I guess. It has a sort of old school look to it. Expect for the lovingly animated saliva that kind of looks like nasty green syrup and how it just slides around like goo and is all just kinda nasty and unsettling and why does this exist why am I watching it.

Irothtin's Verdict? Unsanitary
If this didn't have the whole exchanging-bodily-fluids angle and she was merely an odd person, I would be more interested.

Jel's Thoughts
I'm torn here because the premise is disgusting and yet I really want to like it. The nostalgia stained presentation and blunt but effective dialogue made the episode feel barely exploitative at all. Rather than fetish fuel, I saw it more as a means of two lonely people making a desperate, base connection. I mean think about it: sure their method of swapping spit is bizarre and nasty, but is it that much different on paper than kissing your girlfriend/boyfriend? I'm sure it's still meant to shock and provoke but I am almost OK with that. Almost.

Jel's Verdict? Open Mind, Strong Stomach
I am not sure I possess enough of either of those qualities to keep watching, but there is a part of me that wants to give it another episode. I very well may be reading into things too much and giving the show more credit it deserves, but I can't help but be curious where it goes from here.

Gee-Man's Thoughts
As a fan of the manga, I believe I may be forced to accept that this is one that should not have been animated. Out of the many “romance stories with weird twists” that I’m a fan of, Mysterious Girlfriend X has always been one of my favorites. That said, the manga goes about depicting saliva in a much less creepy and disgusting manner. In the end though, it’s still a romance story about two strange people trying to find something special in life.

Gee-Man's Verdict? Check Out The Manga
Seriously, I love the manga, and the anime would be great if they just toned down the depiction of saliva because as it is now, it’s kind of nauseating. It’s an interesting romance story without a doubt, but if you’re getting into this, be sure to keep an open mind.

Marlin's Thoughts
Well that was certainly something. I’d have to say what’s tying me most to this show is its interesting art style. Its premise is really disgusting and the relationship is really weird. Maybe there are some twists that’ll make it more interesting but so far it’s just one of those shows people can show others and go “LOL Japan.”

Marlin's Verdict? LOL Japan
See? It’s that easy.

Timmy's Thoughts
Awkward boy meets awkward cute girl, This seems to be a slightly similar premise to last season's Another and I am getting similar mysterious vibes about Urabe that I got from Mei last season. Of course this time around the are tied together with spit instead of mutual isolation.

Timmy's Verdict? Unsettlingly Interesting
I would liken this show to meeting a cute, generally attractive girl and then seeing her light up a cigarette in front of you. Some will be ok with this and some will not, I stand somewhere in the middle. While she may or may not smoke nearly as much as first implied, the only way to know for sure is to get to know her a little better. For now I will be proceeding with caution, and a strong stomach.

Dragonzigg's Thoughts
Has it really come to this?

Dragonzigg's Verdict?

Saki: Side-A
Spin-off manga adaptation animated by Studio Gokumi

Girls play mahjong at a small school out in the country aiming to be the best! And meet up with their old friend who moved away.

Lifesong's Thoughts
Time skips, flashback and childhood drama all right off the bat? They barely even played any Mahjong. I'm entirely bored, the execution here is something I can only see as awful.

Lifesong's Verdict? Even Gonzo Can Do Better
I watched the first few episodes of the original Saki and remember all kinds of crazy awesome with the Mahjong playing. There isn't a single bit of that personality in this spin-off. I am put-off and disappointed by how bland this is.

Aqua's Thoughts
I have no idea about how you play mah-jong. Hell, I haven’t even seen the first season of Saki. Yet still, I adored this all-new spin-off. Why? Because I am a sad, pathetic, lonely teenage boy who is way too easily entertained. Am I going to admit that? Hell no. So here are a few excuses. The voice acting in this show is just amazing. If anything, the all-star cast really manages to portray just how insanely enthusiastic and passionate everyone in this weird universe is about mah-jong. Saki: Achiga-hen is a bit of a huge mess, but it is also a surprisingly cute mess.

Aqua's Verdict? Engagingly Adorable
This rating comes with the Aquagaze Grain Of Salt Requirement™. For professional, unbiased advice, please consult someone with a Common Sense Certificate.

Marlin's Thoughts
For a first episode, I actually liked how they developed the relationship between the main characters. I have no experience with Saki, but it was almost like an entire season being played out in a single episode. I thought they did it pretty well and made each character memorable. The weird part where they sexualized who I was told is the Saki main character when she is supposed to be 12 was really weird, but otherwise I thought they did a good job.

Marlin's Verdict? For Mahjong Lovers
While I kinda liked this first episode, I don’t think the premise is enough to keep me. I’m sure fans of Saki will continue to enjoy more, but I don’t see it gaining that much of an audience.

Irothtin's Thoughts
I don't understand mahjong and after watching this show I don't think I want to.

Irothtin's Verdict? Vapid
Creepy sexualized elementary students and their creepy sexualized lesbian adventures. Count me out.

Dusk Maiden of Amnesia
Manga adaptation animated by Silver Link

A first year high school boy is a member of a club that investigates rumors of the occult. The twist is that the the president of the club is a ghost. Together they solve mysteries and search for her lost memories.

Irothtin's Thoughts
A ghost girl with amnesia is the president of the Detective Club, and gets up to antics with the boy that she likes. One person can't see her and is entirely clueless. Apparently they're going to be spending time looking for her memories or something.

Irothtin's Verdict? Dead End
This was incredibly dull - essentially nothing happens over the course of the episode, and the one joke they had wore out its welcome within three minutes. Pass.

Lifesong's Thoughts
Club solves ghost myths with a unique twist to the usual formula? Count me in. Dusk Maiden throws a wrench in the usual occult formula by quickly establishing that the president of this club is in fact a ghost herself. We don't really get to see too much of it but the relationship between the main character and ghost girl has a romantic vibe about it, one that is actually quite endearing, or at least as endearing as a scene that ends with groping a feel can be.

Lifesong's Verdict? Better Starting Point Than C³
Dusk Maiden seems primed to go in a really interesting direction, giving off hints of things far more sinister in the future. That said, honestly not too much really happens in the first episode. I can only speculate how it will end up but between the gags and character dynamics I'm in this one for the long haul.

And hey C³ turned out to be pretty damn good after one of the most abysmal first episodes I've seen in a long time. If Shin Oonuma can pull off another maneuver like that Dusk Maiden could well be one of the better shows of the season.

Jel's Thoughts
I'm going to give the writers the benefit of the doubt and say they recycled half the episode for story purposes, but that doesn't mean it made an already slow episode any more interesting. I guess this is supposed to be some kind of romantic comedy but I didn't find it particularly romantic or funny and the concept not terribly original. It wasn't bad, I just found it boring.

Jel's Verdict? zzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
I'll admit this may have just been a dull episode and Dusk Maiden does have some potential to be entertaining. But with plenty of other shows to watch I don't plan on finding out.

Gee-Man's Thoughts
The third of the three “weird romances” of the season, and quite possibly a direct competitor with Sankarea in the rather narrow-scoped “Paranormal Romance” genre, Dusk Maiden sets up an interesting premise, despite a somewhat mediocre opening episode. However, the main heroine, the titular ghost girl herself, manages to be one of the most interesting characters this season on merit of simply acting out of the norm. Her voice is sensuous and womanly, unlike the usual girly squeaks that dominate anime. And even better, she’s an individual who’s assertive and knows exactly what she wants: The main character.

Gee-Man's Verdict? Unorthodox With Potential
I wouldn’t say Dusk Maiden is truly unique, but the fact that it displays two characters with romantic feelings for each other within the first episode in a manner that isn’t trite or overstated already puts it in my good books. As one who is sick of the usual tsunderes and moeblob wish fulfillment characters that comprise the majority of female anime characters these days, the main heroine is a breath of fresh air. I just hope it can make things more interesting than the first episode. A character this enthralling doesn’t deserve to end up in a bad anime.

Also, her voice. Absolutely. Amazing.

Marlin's Thoughts
I really disliked how they basically made me watch the same scene twice but with a little bit of extra dialogue. Still, the second part of the episode had me intrigued. I think it’s worth one more episode.

Marlin's Verdict? Skip The First Ten Minutes
Really that was my biggest complaint, I suppose it was good to establish who can see her and who can’t I guess, but it could have been achieved by just showing the second part.

Moe Moe Nyarlathotep
Novel adaptation animated by Xebec

Nyarlathotep is an alien who takes the form of a young girl. She comes to earth to get laid and buy eroge.

Lifesong's Thoughts
Derp, no really that is all that comes to mind, I was not able to think while watching this and am dumber for having done so.

Lifesong's Verdict? Man Was Never Meant To See This
This may well be the most boring gag anime I have ever watched. I can't even tell if the anime is trying to be funny or not, the jokes are that BAD. Everything is an unfunny Lovecraft pun. This anime only got one laugh out of me the entire time and it was only because it ripped off pokemon for a joke that was so bad I couldn't help myself.

The one positive thing I can say for this anime is that Kana Asumi clearly had a lot of fun voicing Nyarlathotep, that said no amount of voice talent would be enough to save this miserable thing...

Irothtin's Thoughts
"I do not recall distinctly when it began, but it was perhaps a few weeks ago. The general tension was horrible. To a season of Japanese animation of a mostly inoffensive and normal breed was added a strange and brooding apprehension of hideous physical danger; a danger widespread and all-embracing, such a danger as may be imagined only in the most terrible phantasms of the night.

I recall that the people went about with pale and worried faces, and whispered warnings and prophecies which no one dared consciously repeat or acknowledge to himself that he had heard. A sense of monstrous guilt was upon the land, and out of the abysses between the stars swept chill currents that made men shiver in dark and lonely places.

And it was then that Nyarlathotep aired. Sh said she had risen up out of the blackness of twenty-seven centuries, and that she had heard messages from places not on this planet. Into the lands of civilisation came Nyarlathotep, swarthy, slender, and sinister. Men advised one another to see Nyarlathotep, and shuddered. And where Nyarlathotep went, rest vanished; for the small hours were rent with the screams of nightmare.

Never before had the screams of nightmare been such a public problem; now the wise men almost wished they could forbid sleep in the small hours, that the shrieks of cities might less horribly disturb the pale, pitying moon as it glimmered on green waters gliding under bridges, and old steeples crumbling against a sickly sky." H. P. Lovecraft

Irothtin's Verdict? The Darkness Comes

Jel's Thoughts
This is not exactly an original or thought-provoking piece of art BUT I did find it pretty funny. Nyarko-san constantly rolls out self-aware, irreverent in-jokes at a breakneck pace. In that regard, it reminded me of the dumb but fun humor you'd find in a Disgaea game, just without the game part of course. It's confident in itself and it's audience, although that means it will probably be too weird or obnoxious for anyone else.

Jel's Verdict? For Otaku Eyes Only
Nyarko-san is pretty funny if you can tolerate the hyperactive main character and otaku pandering. Still it has the moe incarnation of Nyarlathotep summoning pokemon and kicking a Nightgaunt in the nuts so if that sounds like something you would laugh at, check it out.

Marlin's Thoughts

Marlin's Verdict? Just No

Timmy's Thoughts
Comedic gags delivered at the speed of light by a hyperactive alien. Reminds me a little of Dokuro-chan but without all the bloodshed.

Timmy's Verdict? A Little Overwhelming
It feels like this show is throwing tons of different things at me in quick sucession with the hopes that something sticks. While some references I get and often do garnish a chuckle or two, most of the stuff seems to be flying right over my head. As for Nyarlathotep herself, she somehow manages to for the most part stay pretty entertaining without becoming an annoyance. Probably will keep watching as some of the jokes and visual gags that stick are pretty funny.

Manga adaptation animated by White Fox

Arm's dealers in Africa blow shit up for the sake of world peace.

Lifesong's Thoughts
So many pretty explosions! The leader of the group seems be a moral compass of sorts for her band of mercenaries who are all very loyal to her. This show reminds me a lot of Black Lagoon right down to throwing morality around like a rag doll. The moral deal is the real kicker here, I imagine a few people might be up in arms over it. As for me?

Lifesong's Verdict? BOOM! Head Shot
I find the action stunning and moral pondering interesting enough to want to invest more time into this and see where it goes. If nothing else the explosions sure are pretty.

Gee-Man's Thoughts
The premise is like something right out of Black Lagoon. Koko is a bipolar mildly insane arms dealer leading her nine bloodthirsty and equally mildly insane mercenaries in their quest to sell guns and…bring world peace? Whatever, I’m still not exactly sure where the plot is going, but I can’t help but love a show that throws the moral compass out the window in favor of something more pragmatic. Overall, the impression it gives me is a lighter version of Black Lagoon. I doubt Koko could hold her own against the likes of Balalaika, but she’s delightfully dangerous enough to keep things interesting all the same.

Gee-Man's Verdict? Her Name Is Koko! She Is Loco!
I keep bringing up Black Lagoon, but the comparisons aren’t exactly perfect. It seems like Jormungand is definitely going for a (slightly) lighter tone than the cynical nihilism of Black Lagoon. Throw in some entertaining gun fights and a rather…unique main character and we have a show that’s worth checking out if it keeps things interesting. If nothing else, it introduces a heroine that definitely falls outside of the norm of most anime. I look forward to seeing her and her motley crew mess up anyone that gets in their way.

Marlin's Thoughts
This is the grittiest show I’ve seen in a long time. It pulls no punches on the nature of the arms industry or the use of child soldiers and mercinaries. The slapstick moments like when Koko was sleepwalking around were really jarring, but the rest of the episode had some pretty good action. I can’t think of many shows outside of a few crime dramas that have kids murdering other people, and I respect how it seems to respect how wrong it is.

Marlin's Verdict? Worth A Look
I’m sure not everyone’s gonna love this show, but I find its premise intriguing and I’m definitely going to see where it goes from here.

Irothtin's Thoughts

Irothtin's Verdict? Gun Action
If you liked Black Lagoon you'll probably like this, since it's pretty much the same thing but more anime.

Anime original animated by A-1 Pictures

An alien with a telepathic fish, the Prince of Fishing and some ordinary kid who transfers school's a lot meet, become friends, and just might save the world.

Jel's Thoughts
Having watched this immediately after its noitaminA block mate Kids On the Slope, I couldn't help but notice the thematic similarities. They both seem to be taking the social outcasts united by (insert hobby) route. But while that show seems like it will go a heavier, more dramatic route, Tsuritama plays its lighter, quirky counterpart. Maybe quirky isn't strong enough a word; things do get kind of weird and at times downright surreal. The look of the series has the stamp of artist (and Cencoroll creator) Atsuya Uki all over it, and I'm rather impressed seeing what he's capable of with a full staff behind him. Oh, and for my money, OP OF THE YEAR.

Jel's Verdict? Critical Darling
While I think there will be a definite audience for something more straightforward like Kids On the Slope, Tsuritama seems a just a little too odd for mainstream acceptance. Still, it pushes all the right buttons to my artsy side and has potential to be something special. I could see it being a cult favorite in the same line as last year's Penguindrum although it seems to lack that series' flair for the dramatic. Either way I'm down for more.

Lifesong's Thoughts
The "alien" has a water gun that can make people do as he pleases, I want one. This show.. first off I enjoyed it but damn is it strange. I know some people have issues making friends but maybe because I was home schooled the whole I transferred schools things and can't make friends thing just doesn't do anything for me. That said this show has a certain charm that is hard to put my finger on.

Lifesong's Verdict? Telepathic Fish!
Want a verdict that means something? Sorry wrong anime, this thing is full of nonsense but still manages to be fun regardless. Since it's so strange I'm not really sure where it will be going but I think I will tag a long for the ride, if nothing else the WTF factor should keep me amused for a few more episodes.

Marlin's Thoughts
Well, this show was confusing. I love the art style for this show, and I like how upbeat it is so far. I hope it continues its laid back style, as it really has me hooked.

Marlin's Verdict? Watch It To Wind Down
For those of you who need to wind down but unlike me do not want to watch the Adventures of Introverted Konata will definitely want to check this show out.

Irothtin's Thoughts
Something about fishing and aliens I guess?

Irothtin's Verdict? ????
I don't really like surrealism. Check it out for yourself.

Dragonzigg's Thoughts
Anybody who knows me knows I like my anime weird, and boy, we've got a weird one here. Fishing, aliens, anxiety issues - it sounds like it should be a huge mess. Luckily though, the show knows how to parlay this into something worth watching, and the result is a series that looks to be trading on its wonderfully kooky charm. From the lush blue sea and sky landscapes, the energetically silly voice acting and the gentle lulling harmonica and banjo soundtrack, this is a slow, relaxing delight to watch. Utter space cadet (and the alleged alien) Haru is particularly fun, his goofy joy being utterly infectious. It remains to be seen if it can go anywhere with substance, but its charm and verve are enough to carry it for me.

Dragonzigg's Verdict? Catch Of The Day
It's like fishing; a little slow, not for everyone and you have to be kind of weird to like it. But I do

Eureka Seven AO
Original story that is being adapted into both manga and an anime by BONES.

A young boy living on a small island suddenly finds himself in the middle of an attack on his home by Scub Coral. When a mysterious organization attacks the coral he activates a giant robot.

Lifesong's Thoughts
The original Eureka 7 is one of my all time favorite anime. This first episode of Ao feels very much the same while changing up the formula just enough to be interesting. I am okay with that, I came for Eureka 7 and I got Eureka 7. I am a little confused as to which continuity this ties into if it is the movie or the original series but I think I will be okay with either.

On another note Bones pulled out the A Team for this one, Eureka 7 is easily the most gorgeous anime this season, in a season with some pretty anime I might add.

Lifesong's Verdict? Gorgeous
So hey not too much is explained yet but Bones did what they do best here and went all out on making sure this show looked and felt fantastic, I am hyped.

Gee-Man's Thoughts
The original Eureka Seven was one of my favorite anime in the past decade. AO so far seems to be playing itself relatively similar to its predecessor, but there are enough changes to keep things interesting. Still, just like Eureka Seven’s beginning, AO introduces quite a few characters with relatively little explanation. However, the buildup in this episode looks like it’ll pay off. Based on the preview of the next episode, it looks like we’ll get our true return to Eureka Seven soon. And just like its predecessor, AO is stunning to look at. If Lupin the third is the most stylish anime this season, AO is one of the best looking from a technical standpoint. True to Bones tradition, it looks great, moves great, and is full of life.

Gee-Man's Verdict? (Hopefully) The Sequel You Desire
I won’t say this is the thing we’ve all been waiting for. The original Eureka Seven had one of the slowest buildups I’d ever seen in an original anime and I fear AO may do the same. That said, the potential is there for it to be just as great. If nothing else, AO is yet another showcase of Bones’ top notch animation. It truly is gorgeous.

Marlin's Thoughts
It really has been too long since I last saw Eureka 7. Watching this episode, terminology that would probably have made perfect sense to me was confusing as I’d simply forgotten what it meant. I like the characters so far, with the descendant of Renton and Eureka having the same effect on me as his predecessors did. I do wonder if this means I will need to re-watch all of the original series though, because it didn’t seem like the old references are going to be explained with any great detail anytime soon.

Marlin's Verdict? Refresh Yourself First
That’s really the only advice I can give at this time. It looks like it had promise the same way E7 did. At this point its hard to see whether or not it truly will be great, but I say it’s at least worth following so far.

Dragonzigg's Thoughts
The original Eureka Seven is one of my favorite shows of all time, so it's understandable that I approached this sequel with some trepidation. Whether that's founded or not we shall see, but this first episode certainly does a good job of drawing in those new to the franchise. From the opening shots of a devastated city to the later attacks/appearances by weird scrub coral it's clear this is a very different beast from its predecessor. Lead character Ao seems a touch on the surly side, but there's plenty of interest to be had from the tantalizing bits and pieces of plot we're allowed to glimpse, while longtime fans such as myself will be happy with some intriguing possible links to the original show. Indeed, trying to work exactly where in continuity we are has been a lot of fun so far. And as ever for a Bones production it looks stunning, one area in which its already surpassed its (also very pretty) predecessor.

Dragonzigg's Verdict? Learn to Fly
It's a promising start, but Ao will need to carve out its own identity in the next couple of episodes. Once we get airborne we'll see if its a worth heir to the Eureka name.

Kids on the Slope
NotaminA Manga adaptation animated by MAPPA and Tezuka Productions

Set it the late 1960's a kid transfers to a new school and discovers friendship, jazz and a new outlook on life.

Jel's Thoughts
I'm not a fan of Jazz, but as someone who has dabbled in making music this really struck a chord (pun intended!) with me. They did a great job capturing that feeling when you first discover your desire to play music with others. It's something that's hard for me to describe in words, but I really got the impression whoever wrote this had been there before.

Beyond the music, who doesn't love a good social outcast story, perhaps with a dash of romance? It helps too that the show looks gorgeous. In my opinion, the beautifully mundane presentation of 1966 Kyushu stands out just as much this season as the ultra-stylized free-flowing visuals of Lupin. If I were to make one small criticism I'd say there some of the casting for the voice acting seemed a little out of place, but I got used to that pretty quick.

Jel's Verdict? Gateway Drug
This has all the makings of a series that will be shunned in Japan only to find success abroad, right down to the jazzy soundtrack composed by Yoko Kanno. Even Sentai Filmworks (who recently licensed it) seems keen on this, announcing a Bluray and DVD release even though the series has just begun. Personally I already know a few of my non-anime-fan friends I would show this to. Let's just hope it lives up to its potential.

Lifesong's Thoughts
I expected to like this more than I did, the first episode felt slow to me while it went about showing us how pathetic this main character is and how bad he is at dealing with people. The support casting are great but our lead just felt like a real drag. That was of course the point but I still felt bored because of it.

Lifesong's Verdict? Potential Cult Hit
I was bored through most of this episode but I still want to watch more so I certainly can't call it bad. The supporting cast really helped to pull me in. I think that a few episodes from now I will be in head over heals with this anime, but right now? I could easily drop this and never look back.

Gee-Man's Thoughts
For those familiar with Shinichiro Watanabe and his legendary works Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, Kids on the Slope already had a lot of interest generated before it even aired. I suppose I should get this out of the way, Kids on the Slope is an adaptation of a preexisting manga and if you’re expecting something like Bebop or Champloo, you won’t find it here. That said, the show managed to grab me nigh instantly with its down to earth storytelling and interesting characters. Within the first episode, we already have the dichotomy set up between our antisocial main character and the brash jazz-loving classmate who sits behind him. Watanabe ear for music shows and while only glimpses and murmurs of the anime’s jazzy potential are heard, one can tell there’s going to be some good music showing up in this show.

Gee-Man's Verdict? One To Both Watch And Listen To
Kids on the Slope is a distinct departure from Watanabe’s past directed pieces, but it still retains his distinct fondness for music as well as introducing us to a cast that is both relatable and engaging at the same time. I won’t deny it; I’m a huge Jazz fan so anything that features Art Blakey’s jazz masterpiece Moanin’ is going to win me over instantly. Regardless, the potential groundwork has already been laid within the first episode; it’ll be exciting to see where things go from here.

Marlin's Thoughts
This show came out with a lot of hype, but I have to say it’s answered it pretty well. I really enjoy jazz music, second only to my love of the great Romanticist works that preceded it. The first episode did a real good job establishing our three mains and I love how the music works so well to show someone struggling to learn how to play.

Marlin's Verdict? Platinum Record
Everything about this show is gelling really well so far. You have realistic characters, an interesting setting, and Yoko Kanno making the score. What more could you want?

Irothtin's Thoughts
Transfer student has vertigo, becomes friends with a delinquent, and they play jazz.

Irothtin's Verdict? Alright
Good music, I guess. The premise isn't interesting enough for me to actively keep watching though.

Dragonzigg's Thoughts
There's a lot to like about this. The smart, old-school style character designs, the strong animation, the cool soundtrack and the unique premise. Having siad that, this left me a little cold, and I'm not entirely sure why. It might be because we've seen this basic set up done quite a bit before (albiet not with jazz music) - shy oner finds the class bully actually has a soft side, teams up with him. I'm not particularly digging lead character Kaoru either - he's a little mopey, and his anxiety issues might have come across a little better if Tsuritama hadn't already played that card to great comedy effect. But class rep Ritsuko is a warm and affecting foil, and I would heavily bet that this is a show that will get considerably better as the characters are fleshed out.

Dragonzigg's Verdict? Low Key
...but all the better for it. Might take a little while to wind up, but already there's flashes of great character and style.

Shining Hearts: Bread of Happiness
Roll playing game adaptation animated by Production IG

A man who lives in a shored ship works with 3 beautiful girls baking bread. Shining Hearts is based off an RPG of some form so unless this is Recettear the anime something else must happen.


10:27 PM on 04.15.2012

Glorio Spring 2012 Anime Impressions Guide Part 1 of 3

The new season is here and what better way to have some fun with it than writing a massive guide with some friends? That is what we have for you today! Because this blog is going to be massive without help of the section no one reads anyway I'm going to get right to the point, Anime!

As mentioned above I know that everyone who reads a guide like this pours over every word and would never want to skip around and just look at the bits that interest them, for the sake of being complete I'm going to include an index anyway. Due to the limitations of the tools for cbloging here I can't actually fill this index with links, I can however provide a quick reference to the order the shows will appear in this blog below.

Part 1
Space Bros
Scarlet Fragment
Accel World
Kickoff to the Galaxy!!
Queen's Blade Rebellion
Saint Seiya Omega
Kore wa Zombie desu ka? Of the Dead
Medaka Box
Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna
Sengoku Collection
Natsuiro Kiseki

Part 2
Acchi Kocchi
Fate/Zero Second Part
Moe Moe Assault Rifles!!
Kuroko's Basket Ball
Mysterious Girlfriend X
Saki: Side-A
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia
Moe Moe Nyarlathotep
Eureka Seven AO
Kids on the Slope
Shining Hearts: Bread of Happiness

Part 3
Hyouka: You Can(not) Escape

Original story animated by LandQ Studios

In a future where earth's environment has been decimated by the sun, a band of human traders pick up a beautiful woman on the run from the government. They help her evade capture by submerging their ship in the sand and running away from the government's army of clone soldiers.

Lifesong's Thoughts
The first thing that comes to mind when starting this show up is how nice the old school art style looks in beautiful HD, the second is how old school and dated the characters feel. I LOVE the captain she is exactly what I was hoping for when I started up Space Pirates last season. The rest of the cast are about as boring as the animals that come to mind when you see them.

The main character is a chimpanzee who wants to become a man like his brother. Then you have the childhood friend who is the kitten character around to look pretty and crush on the main character. Last of all the mysterious woman they picked up who I will now call Penguin Rei, because she doesn't really have much personality, she does however, remind me of a penguin.

Lifesong's Verdict? Hard To Appreciate
I like the look of this anime, the old school art style is really neat to see with some modern animation, the rest is kind of lost on me. The captain is my kind of woman, the rest of the cast are boring and wind up feeling stupid for all their heroics. It's worth pointing out that part of my issue with the cast is that Ozma only has 6 episodes and so this anime comes across more like a movie extended out over the time slot than a TV anime. I will watch the rest of this thanks to it's short duration but I can't really get excited for or recommend it.

Irothtin's Thoughts
Does every single anime start with a nubile young woman appearing in front of the main character? The only real variance seems to be whether they show up naked or not. In this case, she's being chased by an indiscriminate organization, but the bossman is wearing a mask, so they are obviously EEEEEVIL.

Irothtin's Verdict? Leiji Matsumoto Fans Only
Everything about this show feels dated, or I suppose "nostalgic" if you're into that sort of thing. I'm not. If you really liked Captain Harlock and just NEED to get more of Leiji Matsumoto's character designs, or really need your desert punk fix, then this is the show for you.

Marlin's Thoughts
The thing I hate most about sci fi shows is when they have technology that could only be known by people within that universe. Yell about random terms that don’t even exist and you’ve found the quickest way to bore me to death. This is basically how you can describe the first episode of OZMA. I actually was excited at the prospect of some kind of sand whale, if only from the fact that I thought it might be drawing from real biology or in a vain hope that the beast would be on a campaign of vengeance for a pilfered accordion. Unfortunately, the real deal is very boring looking, which is pretty much the same I can say for the rest of the cast. Don’t watch it.

Marlin's Verdict? Only For The Most Devoted Fans
As I said, the sci-fi babble gets nauseatingly obfuscating. The art wasn’t even that good, which isn’t a good plus for Leiji fans. At one point you could just see things appearing into the picture as if summoned out of nowhere. I’d skip this show if I were you.

Space Bros
Manga adaptation animated by A-1 Pictures

Two brothers have an experience with a UFO as children and vow to become astronauts. One of them succeeds, the other builds cars until the fateful day his supervisor insults the space fairing brother. After headbutting his manager like a Krogan, he is off to join his younger brother and uphold the vow they both made as kids.

Lifesong's Thoughts
Space Bro's strikes a balance somewhere between serious and seriously silly, the opening looks like something that would fit better in a show about hippies doing drugs than a serious space show and I am never quite sure what kind of mood the show is going for. As for the show itself I find it interesting but I'm not hooked.

Lifesong's Verdict? Trying Too Hard
Space Bro's relies too much on the viewers inherit fascination with space and tries to play off that instead of building up a sense of wonder itself. All the flashbacks and family dynamics are hard to care about with an epic adventure being held out in front of our faces, just out of reach. I can see strong potential here but so far I'm not incredibly impressed.

Gee-Man's Thoughts
Space Bros appeals to humanity’s natural desire to achieve greater things in life. The main character’s dreams of going to space and his position as an older brother resonated with me quite a bit, due to my own status as an older brother and as a guy who’s been fascinated by space ever since childhood. Throughout the whole thing, the show stays relatively lighthearted and silly. But in the end, you still want to root for the immensely likable main character all the same. Also, I can’t get enough of the utterly fun and trippy opening.

Gee-Man's Verdict? Potential To Become Something Special
The show isn’t perfect, and it does have some pacing issues here and there in the first two episodes, but overall, the likable cast and the themes of the show have kept me interested all the way through. The main character is so charismatic in his own dopey way that you can’t help but want to watch his journey and hope for his success. If the anime keeps this up, I can see it becoming something truly special.

Irothtin's Thoughts
A sappy "follow your dreams" adventure, which hits all the notes you'd expect. It's more subdued than a typical shonen "To Be A Master" story, which clearly aims it towards an older audience and probably makes the show better in the long run.

Irothtin's Verdict? Alright
Not amazing. The thing is that the whole "I could have been somebody" and "follow your dreams" concepts are so obviously universally relatable, and the show really throws it into your face - it works, but the concept is also a bit tired. If you're not as much of a cynic, then you'll probably enjoy it.

Marlin's Thoughts
As the youngest of three sons, I have plenty of experience being a brother of a brother. I don’t know if it’s just some kind of cultural difference or what, but this seemed like the most unrealistic depiction of brothers I’ve ever seen. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the show, the characters were funny and it appeals to every boy who even for a second had a dream of going into space. However, my experience with bigger brothers is they are not exactly there to be better than you, or even to get along with you. At all. I suppose maybe a two child brotherhood has different circumstances that I never got to experience, but

Marlin's Verdict? Has Potential
Like a certain intelligence core, I do love space, so I will be looking forward to more. As it is a show about brothers I want to see how brothers really act, especially when they are in direct competition as astronauts.

Scarlet Fragment
Visual novel/otome game animated by Studio DEEN

Ghosts are just gods that no one worships anymore and the descendants of Tamayori hime have the power to seal them away. This story takes place as the torch is passed on to a new girl with the blood of Tamayori hime, but she will not have seal them alone! The Shugogo family are sworn to protect the Tamayori hime and so together with the help of 5 boys from the Shugogo family the ghosts must be sealed once again.

Irothtin's Thoughts
Circumstances conspire to surround a plain girl with a harem of hot guys. So, the basic expected plot of an otome game.

Irothtin's Verdict? Target Audience Only
Chances are you know whether you'll like this or not. I personally have little reason to watch a show about a girl wooing a bunch of pretty boys.

Lifesong's Thoughts
Could they make this more boring? This show has all the elements of a good story presented in such a bland fashion that I doubt even the target audience will be excited for this.

Lifesong's Verdict? Boredom Incarnate
I believe that just about anything can be turned into a good story if the execution is right. This show is a signature example of execution done wrong, taking bits and pieces of something that by all rights should be interesting and insuring that It is not. If you are simply watching this for the boys you can do better, maybe try Fairy Tail or Fate/Zero.

Marlin's Thoughts
Incredibly boring. I suppose this show isn’t really aimed at my demo, though.

Marlin's Verdict? Yaoi Fangirls Only

Manga adaptation animated by TMS Entertainment

Monsters were created for the sake of an underground arena where high society gamblers come and make bets on fights between the beasts. One day something went wrong and the monsters became self aware killing all the gamblers instead of fighting each other. One of the scientists responsible ran away with a super human child during the chaos and raised him in secret, This is that boy's story.

Lifesong's Thoughts
Everyone's a bastard except the prostitute who has a heart of gold. This show is dark and gritty for the sake of being dark and gritty. The contrast between the pure innocent homeless and the corrupt filthy rich just makes me laugh, at and not with. The fight scenes are pretty at least.

Lifesong's Verdict? Dark Super Hero Garbage
I don't really like super heroes to begin with so I am a bit biased but this show just didn't have anything for me.

Irothtin's Thoughts
When cockfights between genetically altered monsters go wrong, thirteen of them escape, thus setting up an obvious eventual Gotta Kill 'Em All plot. The main kid has super powers, is homeless in a supposedly heart-warming way, has his grandpa killed by said monsters, wants revenge and to figure out what is going on, et cetera. And he can transform into a superhero to kill them.

Also, as a child, he somehow did not understand the concepts of "death" or "hope", but he did understand how to extort money from a a hostess being accosted by thugs.

Irothtin's Verdict? Inoffensive
The animation was pretty good, I guess. Otherwise there isn't much making this stand out to me as exceptionally good or bad.

Marlin's Thoughts
It’s definitely an interesting super-hero story. I know little about the original story but it’s definitely got a kind of grungy style like Deadman Wonderland and I like it. Albeit, I find it weird how this kid is ten or so already and still hasn’t been taught basic human realities. I do like that they’re starting off early to give us some perspective as to how he grew up. His justice loving friend is over the top, but he’s likeable in that non-pompous rich guy way.

Marlin's Verdict? Superheroy
I can see this show going either way. I'm hoping the show isn't going to be the mc repeatedly being shocked by the realities of the dark side of humanity or something. I'll give it a few more episodes at least.

Accel World
Light novel adaptation animated by Sunrise

Even in a future where people can directly network through their body's and install programs on themselves, bullying is still a problem. One kid who is lacking in self-esteem wishes he could just disappear into virtual reality. His wish is granted when a pretty girl at school gives him a program that can accelerate his mind. Of course this power comes with a cost and he must duel to replenish the ability. And just what does this pretty girl want from him in the first place? He will have to fight to find out.

Irothtin's Thoughts
Like I said, practically every anime starts with the main character meeting a pretty young woman. The catch this time is that her motives for recruiting him are clearly suspect, but the protagonist is too down on himself to bother questioning her about it. Apart from that mildly interesting driving question, the hypertime and virtual reality elements are a cool idea.

Irothtin's Verdict? Not Bad But Not Amazing
I don't have any glaring problems to point out, but I can't think of anything particularly amazing either. If you really like the premise or really connect with the protagonist or something, you could probably do worse.

Jel's Thoughts
So the main character is the annoying fat kid with low self-esteem that has the same voice as Shu Ouma? DROPPED. Seriously though, once I got past that initial hurdle I found a lot to like in Accel World. The technology and just-believable-enough virtual future setting were probably the highlight for me. Kuroyukihime is going to win a lot fans with her cool demeanor and at the end of the day Haru ends up being less obnoxious than your average loser turned hero. I also found the dynamic between Haru and his other two friends intriguing; if they can pull off an actual non-romantic friendship triangle I will be impressed.

Even with those strong points though, I'm not sure Accel World is for me personally. I'm kind of out-of-love with action oriented shows these days and even less in love with under confident protagonists. Those things may get more appealing as the show realizes whatever grander purpose it seems to have in mind, but I'm not sure I'll be sticking around for the ride.

Jel's Verdict? Time Casualty
I did enjoy Accel World and if I had unlimited amounts of time I'd probably continue watching. The cool tech and premise along with some potentially interesting relationships are worth checking out for yourself, but personally I'm going to hold off for now. If some of the other shows vying for my attention don't pan out I'll gladly revisit it.

Lifesong's Thoughts
This anime did everything right for me. Accel World is like this crazy awesome mix of Summer Wars and Persona. The future tech they use had all my nerd senses firing and as a long time MMO gamer the virtual reality stuff hit all the right notes. The tech here is just really cool, it makes me think this is what .Hack would have been if it had lived up to it's potential.

As much as I loved the world this story takes place in the thing that has really pulled me in is the cast of interesting characters. I am usually okay with the low self-esteem character type so long as something interesting happens around him or her but rarely do I find that character interesting of their own right, this kid lacks sense esteem but he's sharp and that has my attention. The bits of wit from the main heroine here are another strong selling point. If the wit shown in the first two episodes holds up and we get some good development from the cast this could well become my favorite thing of the spring season.

Lifesong's Verdict? One To Watch
If you couldn't tell from my above bit I am pretty hyped. I would say that Accel World is a definite must watch for anyone who loves other world and or virtual reality stories.

Timmy's Thoughts
Fat ugly kid in a thin kid school is where this one kicks off complete with all the bullying and feeling of self worthlessness that comes with it. There is also the girl who likes him to boot who, naturally, he is a dick to as can't seem to think that someone might actually care about him. Pretty standard emo stuff to be found here. The big hook to draw you in to this show is the alternate digital world remiss of the Matrix. Summer Wars boasts a similar idea and I imagine that show's tech would look quite similar to this given a good few years. I enjoyed this idea of a digital world when I saw it then and I found this iteration interesting as well.

Timmy's Verdict? Make Time For This One
This time around things are quite different, however, when he manages to get the attention of the class president who hooks him up with a program that does, in short, some crazy ass shit. Big things are in store for this little piggy as he has joined a world where people have to duke it out to be able to continue to possess the awesome abilities that he has gained. In her dept for making him a somebody he has opted to do the presidents bidding, whatever that may be. This one has loads of potential and is quite pretty too. Well worth a watch.

Dragonzigg's Thoughts
This is exactly the kind of thing that I like to see - an interesting, clever premise with plenty of room for expansion, a compelling lead character who's something a bit different than your vanilla Shonen protagonist, and some excellent bright and colorful animation. While the whole 'virtual world' thing is not entirely new the implementation here is pretty smart, especially with the real world aspect that the first episode highlights.

If I have a concern it's that the show does tend slightly towards one of my least favorite tropes, massive info-dump conversations. But there's enough cool ideas and smart presentation to overcome that for the most part.

Dragonzigg's Verdict? Switch On
Definitely a highlight of the season so far, a smart, modern and cool looking slice of action adventure. Definitely one worth taking a look at.

Marlin's Thoughts
Man, I really was surprised here. I came in knowing nothing of the show but I was immediately put off by the weird style the mc was drawn in. I suppose it’s more meant to be a symbolic representation since he’s the only one that looks that way. I am a sucker for AR type shows and this ended up being no different. The acceptance by the super popular girl is still kinda cliché but I loved how the AR systems work and I’d love to see how this can go in the future.

Marlin's Verdict? Surprise of The Season
I’m not a naturally pessimistic person about anime in general but this is definitely the show that impressed me the most with its first episode. While the mc’s design is still weird to me, I’m digging the setting and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

Kickoff to the Galaxy!!
Novel adaptation animated by TYO Animations

A young boy is on a soccer team but it disbands because it does not have enough players. He runs into a professional soccer player and is inspired to rebuild the team.

Lifesong's Thoughts
The episode is over already? How am I supposed to write up a premise after an episode where NOTHING happens? I'll be doing good if I can make it more than one sentence.. There is more plot in your average episode of K-On!

Lifesong's Verdict? ZZZZzzzzZZZZzzzz
I won't pretend to like sports anime, it's never been my thing, usually I can appreciate it at least a little bit, this? no. This is just a complete snooze-fest. I can't see Kickoff being worth anyone's time. Like Soccer more than I do? Re-watch an old match, I expect you will enjoy it more than this.

Irothtin's Thoughts
Typical sports story. These all tend to start and the same way and end the same way. Spoiler: They win at the end. By one point.

There are also sixth graders who don't really act like sixth graders, but that's in everything I guess.

Irothtin's Verdict? Boring
Go watch Shaolin Soccer instead. Or something else that won't make you fall asleep.

Marlin's Thoughts
I am not going to watch any more of a soccer show for sixth graders than I need to.

Marlin's Verdict? Are You Under 12?
Seriously, it’s pretty clear that it looks like a show for children.

Queen's Blade Rebellion
Anime original animated by ARMS

BOOOOOOBS! PANTIES! An elf loli with a giant robot elf maid! Also some fighting for good measure.

Lifesong's Thoughts
Introducing characters tits and panties first? Classy.

Hey this pirate actually has a cool des.. wow she lost her top quick! Oh it's all good, she is wearing starfish underneath.

An elf loli with a giant robot elf maid? I will never get tired of saying that.

Oh god the gladiator has a goblin taskmaster? His face is tattooed on her ass? I couldn't make this up if I tried.

Why is the goblin sexually stimulating his gladiator with an electric whip, won't the monster just eat both of them? Seems like bad timing for that sort of play.

OH GOD this chick wears a strap-on as part of her design? Is she hitting on that old man? Wow... mind = blown.

A new chick in armor that completely exposes all her critical spots appears!

Wait who the hell could possibly believe someone with a rack like THAT to be a man? Seriously, and did she just summon a horse with her tits?.. Oh... It's a magical mountain scaling Skyrim horse, makes sense now.

Is this nun lifting her skirt to god while praying? I don't even...

Lifesong's Verdict? One Classy Anime
How do you rate a show that is bad on purpose, where the entire appeal is how bad it can be while making ridiculously costumed women fight each other? The best way I can think to put it is that Queen's Blade Rebellion is a masterpiece of filth. I won't be following, but I have no doubt this will please it's target audience.

Irothtin's Thoughts
This show is like being thrown into a pool of horseshit and being forced to eat it.

Irothtin's Verdict? Keep Your Pants On
If you really must masturbate to anime bitches, surely you can do better than this.

Timmy's Thoughts
it's one of those shows where girls duke it out and tend to lose their clothing in the process. Also panty-shots galore. So, is it good?

Timmy's Verdict? So Bad It's Watchable
Really that is what it amounts to. The show hardly takes itself seriously and the second you even think of caring about any of the characters it quickly washes that thought away by reminding you exactly what show you are watching. The only reason to watch this one is to see just how far they are willing go to to shove the characters crotches and chests in your face. Best example so far would have to be the transparent horse. If you are looking for something to mock while you watch and have a good laugh, this is it. If you are simply looking for fap material you can do much, much better.

Marlin's Thoughts
Well, I was thoroughly confused. It almost seemed like we missed an episode or something. Although, when I’m talking about a Queens Blade show and trying to debate its story telling merits I suppose I’m missing the point. Tits were jubbly and the Crunchyroll stream was using that super annoying censorglare, but I wasn’t gonna keep on this even if that wasn’t a factor.

Marlin's Verdict? There Were Boobs
What a shocker.

Saint Seiya Omega
Original story animated by Toei Animation

Athena is the protector of the universe, together with her saints wielding the power of cosmos they defend the earth and keep the peace. With the revival of mars drawing near it is time for an new saint to be born and take his place as a defender of Athena and the Universe!

Dragonzigg's Thoughts
If you're nostalgic for the old days, this seems to be the season for you. While Lupin III has received the biggest slice of attention, the rebirth of Saint Seiya is a big draw for old skool action fans too. And there's reason to be cautiously optimistic, as this first episode delivers a good, solid dose of shonen adventure.

The show wisely appears to be a near total reboot - aside from a few brief appearances by Seiya and some clumsily handled exposition, there's not too much to tie it back to it's predecessor. But that's not necessarily a problem - new protagonist Koga is a stereotypical reluctant young hero but is not overly offensive either, big bad Mars looks bad-ass and there's an intriguing plot being set up here. With a solid voice cast and some strong, flashy 80's looking art, there's plenty of potential for a rollicking adventure to ensue.

Dragonzigg's Verdict? Shows Promise
We're hardly talking a super original setup here, but Saint Seiya is delivering a good solid blast of action with a pleasingly throwback style. Lots will hinge on how well the plot develops, but it's a good start.

Irothtin's Thoughts
I know next to nothing about Saint Seiya, but even I can appreciate that the OP is a remix of the original anime's OP, and that they brought back the original director. This appears to be a sequel of sorts, starting off with the typical So-Last-Season loss that seems to happen with all shonen anime. And of course, a new guy who has more or less the same personality and the same hair as the old hero succeeds him, like in all sequel shonen anime.

Irothtin's Verdict? Typical Shonen
If you like that sort of stuff, or were really into Saint Seiya, then knock yourself out.

Lifesong's Thoughts
As someone with no past Saint Saiya experience, I went into this blind not sure what to expect. What I got was a whole lot of cheese mixed with some 90's style angst, pulling off a what if a 90's anime were remade with modern visuals feel very well. This show won't break any new ground but that's not what it's about.

Lifesong's Verdict? Let Your Cosmos Burn!
This show was a lot of fun, nothing spectacular but it didn't need to be. Personally I don't know how long I will watch this but I've had enough fun so far to tag along for a bit.

Marlin's Thoughts
I remember watching the old show on Toonami so I was excited to see more. Shonen shows are usually hit or miss with me but I can see me keeping with this one for nostalgia’s sake.

Marlin's Verdict? Cautious Optimism
While I remember little of the original show I watched as a teen, this still hit that nostalgia sweet spot the right way, I definitely am going to keep with it.

Kore wa Zombie desu ka? Of the Dead
Continuation of a light novel adaptation animated by Studio DEEN

More antics with everyone's favorite boy turned zombie turned magical girl. The cast is back and has an addition in the form of a new magical girl! Where will the show go from here? Only time can tell, but I'm sure it will be one crazy ride.

Lifesong's Thoughts
We are dropped off back into the show with an introduction and a reminder of who everyone is and what our protagonist's woes are. Largely more of the same from the last season, lots of silliness and cross dressing antics ensue. I see that our protagonist's magical girl killer has returned if only the in OP giving us some hints as to where the plot might be going.

Lifesong's Verdict? Can't Get Enough
This show is just as trashy and awesome as I remember it being while still having that extra touch of sincerity below the surface, I hope it never changes. I loved this show last time around and it looks to be pointed in a good direction for this season. I am very much looking forward to seeing how this all plays out.

Dragonzigg's Thoughts
The appeal of DEEN's subversive zomcom has always been the sheer wackiness it can bring to bear and this first episode wastes no time in doling out the ghost zombies who vomit rainbows, creepy raper squids and fountains of blood. Zombie remains the anime equivalent of junk food - it's made out of spare parts and probably isn't great for you but it's so gloriously trashy you can't help but be swept along in the bare faced silliness of it all. There's an art to constructing highly watchable rubbish and Zombie nails it perfectly.

Dragonzigg's Verdict? Highly Entertaining
It'll probably have to learn some new tricks along the way if it's going to keep the momentum up, but this first episode reminds us all exactly why we loved Zombie so much.

Gee-Man's Thoughts
What can I say? It’s the second season of one of the most absurdly entertaining shows of the previous year. Within the first episode, we’re treated to rapist squids, ridiculous amounts of blood, and more cross dressing. The show plays fast and loose and nothing is taken particularly seriously, both by the viewer and the cast itself.

Gee-Man's Verdict? You Know What You Want
If you were a fan of the first season, you know exactly what you’re getting into. If you thought the first season was too crazy or stupid, then you definitely won’t like what the second season offers.

Marlin's Thoughts
Another enjoyable episode for KoreWa. I do wish that more happened they would lay off all the crossdressing close-ups but apparently you buy in for some of the deviant humor and you’re in for the whole pot. Anyway, the jokes were funny and that’s all that really matters with me for this show anyway.

Marlin's Verdict? More Of A Good Thing
You wanted more Korean Zombie Desk Car? It’s here for you, in all its glorious depravity.

Medaka Box
Manga adaptation animated by Gainax

This is the story of a girl who believes in redemption. She is brilliant and easily succeeds at anything she tries, ranking number 1 for the nation in academics. She is also the student council president and solves problems for the students left for her to handle in her suggestion box. However what this girl has in skill she lacks in common sense which is where her childhood friend comes in. Can he help make her dreams come true? Or will he just be in her way?

Jel's Thoughts
I yawned through the first half of the first episode as I watched the entire animation budget getting blown on the Gainax Bounce™, but they won me back in the second as we got to know the main characters a little better. While their dialogue wasn't anywhere as sharp as anything in the -monogatari series, it did have that Nisio Isin give-and-take flavor to it and that is a good thing. But I guess what really appeals to me is this show just seems to have swagger. Medaka is basically perfect and Zenkichi is no slouch himself. I could see that turning some people off, but personally I'm all for confident and capable main characters for a change.

Oh yeah, and if anyone questions Aki Toyosaki's acting range, show them this and then slap them.

Jel's Verdict? Optimistic
While the production values were average and the premise kind of thin at the start, I can't help but think Medaka Box will pay off in the long run. Nisio Isin excels at crafting dialogue and relationships and I am willing to put up with some pretentiousness and bouncy fan service for a chance at that.

Irothtin's Thoughts
If Haruhi were a billion times as pretentious as it already is, and had a dozen times the amount of tits, then you'd have this show. When you have to spend time in the show itself saying why you should like the main characters, then maybe you should rethink your writing.

Irothtin's Verdict? Pretentious As Fuck
But it's written by the -monogatari guy so it'll probably be way popular anyway. Enjoy.

Dragonzigg's Thoughts
I came into this with low expectations and yet somehow it still managed to severely disappoint me. The hook here is nothing special - we've seen this sort of 'energetic girl cleans up the school' plot dozens of times, so the show has to rely on good characters to carry it.

No luck there - the titular Medaka is an overbearing busybody with huge breasts, which the show won't let you forget by putting them front and center in every shot possible. She's impossibly perfect at everything and therefore boring as sin. Her childhood friend Zekichi couldn't be a bigger Kyon clone if he tried and the obligatory token loli Shiranui is a lazy amalgamation of all the loli characters we've ever seen.

Character design is passable but hardly outstanding, the art is well short of Gainax's best efforts and the fact that there's two panty shots in the opening credits speaks volumes to the audience they're going for. It's not all bad - Aki Toyosaki delivers a great vocal performance as Medaka - but I think it says a lot I enjoyed the (numerous) Gurren Lagann references more than the show itself

Dragonzigg's Verdict? Disposable
There's nothing really appallingly bad about Medaka Box, but there's very little good about it either. It's dull, predictable, assembly line anime that's made to be gobbled up by fanboys. I predict it will be a colossal hit.

Lifesong's Thoughts
I've loved the monogatari and katanagatari stories by the same author so going into this I was hoping for more or of the same. The dialog is there but feels watered down. In both of his other stories the characters instantly jump out at as you as something interesting, here I just felt like the nonsense was turned way up and the charm and wit way down.

I hate to be the one who points out artwork as something that detracts from a show but I'm going to do it anyway. Even more so than how pretentious Medaka's character is her design really makes me have a hard time liking her. My mind is playing tricks on me telling me she is really some 30 year old woman from a nearby trailer park who can't properly dress herself, she is completely spilling out of her outfit in a way that sure happens in anime all the time but doesn't look consistent with the rest of the artwork. It bothers me, greatly.

Lifesong's Verdict? Undecided
Not the most meaningful verdict I know, but the best I can give. I will likely watch the first 6 episodes before I really know if I like this show or not.

Timmy's Thoughts
Hot, well endowed, generally perfect in every way except for the fact she is dense as all hell girl gets voted as class president and childhood friend gets dragged along for the ride. As far as I can tell, this is Ganiax's verson of Haruhi. Medaka seems to think she is gods gift to humanity and uses the Student Counsel as a front for solving people problems. The problems themselves are rather boring and normal but somehow she finds a horribly over the top method of fixing them.

Timmy's Verdict? Not Bad But Hardly Perfect
The way she solves stuff varies from slightly entertaining to head scratching. How she deduced the culpret of a shoe slashing for instance made little if any sense what so ever. This one however does have Gainax's style written all over it, not to mention lots of ganiaxing for good measure, so if that is your thing this is watchable. If not you may want to consider watching something else. It's allright enough for me to keep at it but if I find myself with a lack of time this one is first on the cutting board.

Marlin's Thoughts
Iro once described this story to me as “There’s a girl with huge tits and she’s perfect at everything.” The man is prone to hyperbole quite often so you can understand my skepticism, but he was spot on. The huge tits don’t even look good. It looks more like she’s wearing a suit that gives her big tits or something they just look unnatural.

Marlin's Verdict? Iro Was Right Again
I cannot see the appeal of this show. Its characters are very unrelatable and its scenarios are very blasé. I wouldn’t encourage more of it.

Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna
Manga adaptation animated by TMS Entertainment

What could be more thrilling than stealing something away from someone else? But what is left for the thief who has already done it all? This time hes after a woman, but not just any woman, a mighty fine woman!

Jel's Thoughts
I can guarantee Lupin will be unlike any other anime you watch this year. Whether that is a good or bad thing depends on what you're looking for. There's no doubt it is oozing with style but I don't know if it will ever evolve beyond the Heist of the Week format. I'm sure it will also spark plenty of Old vs. New debates, but I'm not even touching that one.

Jel's Verdict? Style Over Substance
Lupin is super cool and entertaining to watch but if you prefer anime with FEELINGS than this probably won't hold you attention in the long run.

Lifesong's Thoughts
Talk about a blast from the past, did the porno jazz ever stop? I have mixed feelings about this anime. On the one hand I feel like it's utter garbage, on the other it has a sense of style that I can't outright dismiss and I do love the voice acting here by Miyuki Sawashiro. My biggest complaint would be how appalled I am every time this anime attempts to be sexy, which is quite a lot. Maybe it's just too old school for my taste?

Lifesong's Verdict? I Don't Really Like Porno Jazz Spy Games
I won't call this bad, I don't want to upset the old timers who I imagine this is specifically aimed at, but this is just not my thing. If I want cheesy sleazy spy games Bond is the only one for me.

Dragonzigg's Thoughts
From the opening shots you know you're in for something special here, as we fly through a crazy, distinctly James Bondian opening sequence full loving shots of naked ladies in silhouette. And from there we're thrown straight into the scratchy, noirish world of Lupin, as he and his opponent Fujiko Mine trade barbs, banter and bullets while competing to see who can spirit away the treasure belonging to a disgusting lecherous old priest-cum-drug dealer.

Fujiko runs around topless for half the episode and generally uses her hyper-sexualised wiles to get her way, while Lupin smokes, shoots and generally is awesome, culminating in an insane breakout that might be the best action sequence this year. Darker and edgier than the goofy recent iterations of Lupin, this nevertheless retains a sly sense of humor and an eye for silliness that makes it tremendous fun to watch. It's incredible to look at too, drawn in a smoky, thick lined style and backed with the perfect soundtrack of pulpy jazz.

Dragonzigg's Verdict? Style AND Substance
The first anime to bear the Lupin name in years is outstanding, a wonderful adventure full of verve, humor and action, sexy women and sly men. Essential viewing.

Irothtin's Thoughts
The first shot we get is of her naked boobs, so uh, that's a thing.

Actually, much of this show can be summed up with boobs. And jazz. And style. And more boobs.

Irothtin's Verdict? Stylish Shallow Fun
I'm definitely going to keep watching. I really enjoy the general style of this show, though it's clearly not something with an important overarching plot or thought-provoking themes. If this is just all witty repartee between Lupin and Fujiko with a new thievery scheme each episode and a backdrop of jazz, I am perfectly fine with that.

And while I like a sexy lady as much as the next guy, I do hope they tone it way down.

Aqua's Thoughts
Hold your horses, because we are in for one hell of a ride. No marriage in the anime world has been more effective than the one of Takeshi Koike and the middle-aged Lupin III franchise since Shinichiro Watanabe teamed up with Yoko Kanno. The eye-poppingly gorgeous animation that graced Koike’s Redline does not even try to give the impression of being present in this series, but the toned-down budget hardly hurts. The Lupin III team finds original ways around budget issues that would make Shaft jealous. Koike’s edgy; hand drawn style creates a stylish experience that is Smokin’, Slick and Sexy beyond the very prominent breasts that grace your screen every other minute. An SSS rating, and an R one too. Speaking of which…

Aqua's Verdict? Rated R For Radical!
Behold, ladies and gentlemen! Did fanservice hater numero uno Aquagaze just tell you to get off your ass and watch an anime that has more nipples in it than Ouran High School host Club has sparkles? Yes, he did. Chop, chop, off you go. If you miss this, all hope of you ever being cool is all gone.

Oh, and about Shinichiro Watanabe? Yeah, he did the music direction for this show. It shows.

Gee-Man's Thoughts
Without a doubt, this is the most stylish anime of the season. The visuals, the music, everything just oozes with flare and style. Takeshi Koike, the famed director of RedLine returns and while he may not have the 7 years and ridiculous budget he had with the sci-fi racing movie, he still manages to evoke visuals that you won’t find anywhere else. Throw in Shinichiro Watanabe’s music direction and you have something really special.

Gee-Man's Verdict? Style, Substance, Sound; It Has It All
While certainly not the most thought provoking anime of the season, it’s definitely the best looking and having seen the second episode, you’re definitely in for a wild ride through the Lupin universe. Bond-inspired plots, shootouts, and a great cast of classically charismatic characters make this new take on Lupin the Third a good one.

Timmy's Thoughts
It may be a surprise to some but this is my first experience with the Lupin franchise. So did I find it enjoyable?

Timmy's Verdict? Oh Hell Yes!
The best way I can describe this show is that it is some crazy Bondish anime that everything that is great about that show; the sexy girls, absurd escapes, cool style, crazy gunfights, whacky gadgets, and ramps it up to absurd levels. Lupin, for instance, seems to have a knack for attaching rockets to things and making his great escape riding on top. As awesome as that is there is also some fantastic storytelling here.

The one off characters the second episode introduced were great and the way their story was told was fabulous. It may or may not have been the best self contained episode of anything I have watched in quite some time. The show also oozes style all over the place and I dare say the nudity actually fits and was rather inoffensive. The franchise has been around for quite awhile and it doesn't surprise me that the target audience is someone old enough to not mind a tit or two. This one looks to be among the best this season so if you haven't started it yet you should probably do so.

Marlin's Thoughts
Well, I wasn’t expecting this to be so risqué. I suppose I should have looked at more art for it. Speaking of which, it is gorgeous, I love this style with all its muted tones and sharp angles. Lupin the Third was another show I greatly enjoyed on Adult Swim so it’s reassuring to see it come out in good form.
Verdict: The Redline award for being animated by those people who did Redline

Marlin's Verdict? The Redline Award
Animated by those people who did Redline, It’s an absolutely gorgeous show. The style oozes class and I can’t wait to see where they take us with the rest of the story of our beloved femme fatale.

Sengoku Collection
Social network game adaptation animated by Brains Base

Girls from a parallel universe's sengoku period earth come to modern day Tokyo and experience Japan. Among them is Nobunoga who must collect the sacred treasures from the other girls visiting Japan in order to return to her own time.

Jel's Thoughts
A girl fell from the sky and now she's in my bath..." - Generic Male Protagonist. I don't have much more to say than that. If I had to dig for positives, the character designs are kind of nice and the OP and ED were OK.

Jel's Verdict? Not Worth It
Don't let the prospect of moe Nobunaga fool you, there's nothing to see here that hasn't been done better a million times before. Not overwhelmingly bad or offensive, just a waste of time.

Irothtin's Thoughts
Did you know that all the Sengoku Period warlords were teenage girls with colorful hair wearing entirely non-period clothes? Me neither. And then the miko with animal ears showed up and I pretty much entirely stopped caring in any way, shape, or form.

Irothtin's Verdict? Total Shit
This is tying Queen's Blade as perhaps the worst thing this season. Why, Brain's Base? Can't we get more Baccano or Durarara?

Lifesong's Thoughts
Looks like it is my role to be the contrarian here. First off I want to point out that this kind of thing inherently appeals to me, I have a figure of Hitler turned pop Idol looking down over my room as I write this to prove that point. So how did I feel about Sengoku Collection?

Lifesong's Verdict? Lightweight Fluff
It was alright, funny at times stupid at others and occasionally cute as well, nothing to write home about. Since this is on crunchyroll I could see myself watching the rest of it, but it's not something I will be going wild over.

Marlin's Thoughts
Nothing happened. Also, didn’t we already have a show about Oda Nobunaga being a chesty woman?

Marlin's Verdict? Boring
I guess Nobunaga’s character design wasn’t that bad? I still say don’t watch it.

Natsuiro Kiseki
Anime original animated by Sunrise

Four girls made a wish upon a rock to become idols as kids, now in middle school the girls have begun to drift apart and one of them is preparing to move away. They make another wish upon the rock before she leaves. Will they be able to rediscover their friendship and dreams? Or will they be forced to give them up?

Jel's Thoughts
With nothing to go on other than some connection to singing-seiyuu group Sphere and a dreadfully boring trailer, my expectations were super low for this. So I was pleasantly surprised when it was actually kind of good. Barely a few minutes in they were already pulling out the DRAMA and although it is silly middle-school girl friendship drama it's still played pretty serious. I was expecting an easy, lighthearted Slice of Life show and while there will no doubt be some of that, they've already set a different tone. Add some solid production values on the art, top notch voice talent and a surprising sense of purpose and there just might be something here.

Jel's Verdict? Sleeper Hit
K-ON! if it took itself seriously, with the art style of A Certain Scientific Railgun? Sounds pretty cool to me. I just hope people don't completely write it off as a vehicle to sell Sphere records the way I almost did. Not sure if this will amount to anything special in the long run but I'll be watching.

Lifesong's Thoughts
I wasn't expecting this to be a drama so when it turned out to be one I was surprised to   read

8:14 PM on 04.11.2012

Guilty Crown AMV


There is a lot of controversy going on about Guilty Crown but watching this reminded me that there is at least one thing we can all agree on, Guilty Crown sure is pretty!   read

5:40 PM on 01.07.2012

Lifesong Recommends: Katawa Shoujo Shizune Route

Katawa Shoujo is a visual novel I have been hearing talk of for a few years now but one that I honestly hadn't paid too much attention to before it was completed a few days ago. I never did pick up the demo for act 1 and so going in all I had was a bit of curiosity and no real expectations for how this would play out. I wasn't sure if Katawa Shoujo would turn out to be an excuse for some bizarre fetish porn or attempt to take a more serious look into the lives of these crippled girls. I am happy to report it as the latter.

I have been pleasantly surprised with how professional this visual novel feels. The music in particular really managed to impress me with how much it adds to the sense of atmosphere. What surprised me the most however is how much this story really hit home in a personal way. I was home schooled as a kid well actually all the way though high school. My only real experience inside a classroom has been a course I took at my local community college a few years back now. Because of this high schools in fiction have always been a nostalgia free experience for me as in my mind they are nothing more than a fantasy world. But enough about me for the moment I'll get a little more into my story later on.

Usually when playing though a visual novel I don't really play it at all. Before I even turn the program on I will hunt down an answer key that will guide me through the choices and just read the story instead of trying to navigate through it. I decided against doing that with Katawa Shoujo. I thought it might be fun to experience at least one route this visual novel had to offer the way it is intended. I am glad I did as the first route I wound up on is one I can very much relate with. Now that I have completed Shizune's route I want to share a bit of it here through my eyes.

Shizune Route Spoilers Ahead!
Shizune is one of the first characters you meet in Katawa Shoujo. She is the deaf-mute student council president who is seemingly joined at the hip to her happy go lucky translator Misha. The two create an interesting dynamic as Misha is a loud energetic girl who is really good at sign language and will sign everything she hears and says constantly. Shizune is a serious girl with a childish competitive streak. The two girls go out of their way to recruit the main character Hisao into their student council.

The first strong impression Shizune made on me was playing risk during one of her attempts to get Hisao to join the student council. It's quite obvious that Shizune loves a challenge and will be quite good at risk but Hisao is caught up in playing with her anyway. He is destined to lose with no way around it but Hisao has two ways he can go down. He can either hold out and try and defend like a coward or attack her aggressively and die like a man! not one to run away from a challenge myself the aggressive path was the only one I could find acceptable. Shizune still slaughtered Hisao in the end but she was impressed with his daring. This was my first clue that I might be heading toward her route.

This was the second strong impression. Shizune and the class rep from another class Lilly clash over some deadline's Lilly has had extended. This scene struck me as something thrown in mostly for comedy but it managed to get me thinking. The joke here is that Lilly is blind and can't actually speak to Shizune directly at all. At the same time I found myself pondering just how difficult it must be to communicate to someone through proxy. At the time I didn't realize just how much depth there really was to this theme.

When Shizune tries to drag the main character into the argument you are given two options. You can either defend Lilly or defend yourself. You are burning a bridge either way so I decided to burn Lilly's. I am pretty sure that at this point my fate was set and I would be spending the rest of this story with Shizune.. my assumption turned out to be correct.

It's not long before the main character starts to become more interested in Shizune and begins learning to sign a bit. He has become inspired by her challenges and wishes to stand on equal ground with her feeling he needs to be able to communicate directly to do that. One of the days where the student council has nothing to do Shizune drags Misha and Hisao to the club room to play games. It becomes more and more apparent that Shizune is the type who expresses herself though overcoming a challenge. Even if she is the only who brought the challenge about in the first place.

While the three of them are deciding what kind of game they wish to play Hanako a girl with burns on one side her body walks into the student council room looking to replace her student ID. Shizune catches her eying the chess board setup in the room and not being one to miss an opportunity challenges Hanako to a game. While they are playing Hisao thinks to himself that it would be nice if Shizune and Hanako could become friends through playing the game. The two seem to be on equal footing at first but eventually Shizune wins. They play a second time this round it's speed chess and Shizune wins nearly instantly. Hanako being the timid sort runs off before she can be challenged a third time.

The moment that follows Hanako running off Shizune asks Hisao if he likes games that involve luck. Hisao says something about how he doesn't like luck based games but most games have a little bit of luck involved in them, that is what keeps them interesting. Shizune's reply hit home.

Keep in mind that the following are Shizune's words as they come out of Misha's voice. Hisao is still not very good at signing yet.

"That girl isn't good at chess."

"Chess is a formulaic game. So~! it's a game that isn't suited for her... There was nothing formulaic about her. Someone who plays chess like that, looking only at the next piece, playing shallowly, can't be called a serious chess player."

"Anyone who loves chess to the point where their eyes sparkle like that when they see a chessboard would be the kind of person who would study the game."

"If you study it just casually, you can learn to see at least two moves ahead, even against pros."

"Why would someone who loves the game so much... with that enthusiasm.. know so little about it? Even less than someone with just a passing interest in it?"

"Her feelings are real, but her feelings for the game aren't real. Do you understand, Hicchan?"

"There is no luck in chess~! It's very important to realize that. Luck in games is good because it gives everyone a chance. Just enough to matter, but not so much that skill is penalized. Chess is boring because it's not a game; to me, it seems like formulas."

"Hanako isn't the kind of person who would love something like that either~."

"If you value something, you fight. Struggle is proof of precs- preciousness? I think so, at least. Or~! You concede immediate~! Since it's so precious that it stops your thinking. The first is a passionate love. The second is a gentle love."

"I tried to fight her, chasing around her king, and trying to bait her. I didn't succeed though, because she stuck to only what would work."

"The trickiest moments were when she moved the fastest. That means she knew exactly how to deal with those situations."

"That means someone taught her. Do you understand, Hicchan~?"

"If you love chess that much. but you can't give it your all, it's because you love the memories attached to it and not the game; it's too precious to her to see as a tool for true competition."

"Due to that you can't become friends over it. Not without words."

The reason I chose this bit to excerpt because this is the part that really hooked me and got me thinking. Partly because I realized that I view chess the same way Hanako does or at least in a similar way to how she does. The part that really hit home was the underlying theme of making friends through playing games. The reason this bit hit so close to home is because that is how I've made most of my friends and really gotten to know them, by playing games with them.

Which brings me back to my personal story. Remember how I mentioned earlier that I was home schooled? Well it wasn't quite as simple as that. I think my parents would have home schooled me no matter what but I had a something that disabled me pretty badly for most of my early life. From the time I was born till sometime between the ages of 18 and 19 I couldn't sleep correctly. It's an issue I don't mind talking about now because it is completely gone. If you are wondering it was an issue with the top of my spine that a chiropractor was able to fix completely it just took me 18 years to figure out that was the problem.

When I was younger it was common for me to go days at a time without sleeping. I originally started playing online games because I would be awake in the middle of the night with nothing to do so I would slip onto my dad's PC and play something usually wanting to play something multiplayer so that I could be with other people. Maybe I was just lonely since I was the only one awake, I don't really know and I can't remember well enough to figure it out at this point. There are two problems I remember really well from back then. One was that I simply couldn't remember anything it didn't matter how recently I had heard it, It was in one ear out the other and made learning anything really difficult as memorization was out of the picture.

The second was that I was always drained and couldn't communicate with people very well because of how tired I was. Because of this my oldest sister who was almost always with me would do 90% of the talking any time the opportunity came up. Trying to understand other people was pretty much the most exhausting thing I could think of. It wasn't that I didn't want to be around people I just didn't want to talk to them. Because of this I didn't really make any friends growing up despite my parents best efforts to find people to befriend me. Because of this my dad told me later in life that he even suspected I was autistic. Which by the way if I haven't made this clear enough yet I'm not.

Why am I summing up my life story in a blog you might wonder? Well I am not entirely sure myself and do feel a bit silly for it actually. But I think the reason I want to share this is because Katawa Shoujo really made me stop and think about my uncomfortable past. Something I honestly haven't done in years. It's not that it is painful really but rather that I really don't remember it very well it's kind of all a blur so thinking about it can be kind of pointless. That said Katawa Shoujo managed to bring a lot of back to the top of my mind. Maybe this is weird but I never do feel a large degree of nostalgia for my early life when I am reading a story, watching anime or playing a game. I think Katawa Shoujo may be a first for me on that.

I've often heard the phrase that opposites attract. It's one my mom likes to use a lot. I think that in a good story it's the opposite. You look for bits of yourself in the characters and grow along with them as they work their way through the plot. Perhaps because of the fact that this visual novel was actually written for and more importantly by a western otaku audience the characters really jumped out at me in a way I wasn't expecting.

If you told me a week ago that I would be able to relate my own inability to make friends without the use of games and see so many other parallels between myself and a deaf girl I would have thought you mad. Or if you actually knew my history I would have likely been offended at the very least. Yet here I am wishing there was more of Shizune's and Hisao's story I could read.

It's been a real pleasure reading this story and I want to thank everyone involved in making this a reality, especially since thanks is the only payment I can give. I feel pretty melancholic having finished this but at the same time I feel inspired. I haven't given much thought to my own hopes and dreams for the future lately. I am generally a jaded pessimistic person who attempts to wears the shell of an optimist to fool anyone outside my nerd circle into leaving me alone. That is something that likely won't be changing but I feel challenged to try a bit harder to be a bit more creative myself in the coming year, maybe try and write a story of my own, I don't really know what come of it yet.

In the end I think the theme that I really appreciated the most is that these disabilities neither break nor define people. It's really a beautiful concept when you stop and think about it. If anyone else is out there on the fence about giving Katawa Shoujo a shot I can't recommend it enough.   read

11:16 PM on 01.03.2012

Hire Me Tip Time

So right off the bat let me say that this is not a real hire me blog but rather my attempt as a community member at seeing this community grow. Now forgive me for a moment while I act about as pretentious as is possible and explain something important to anyone who is or has tried writing a review for this whole "hire me" deal...

Drooling is bad!

See how cute yamada is here drooling on her bear? You are NOT this cute.

I think it's safe to say the vast majority of Japanator's reader base likes anime. Most of us love to talk about the anime we like and share it with our friends. In the past I've often read reviews and thought this is awful I bet I can do better. I learned something when I started writing about anime. There is a massive! difference between what is enjoyed and what is quality. It can be really difficult to tell the difference if you have not tried writing about anime before but trust me it's an important point that needs to be understood. I have a few tips for anyone considering writing one of these.

1. Pick something you hate!
Or at least something that is not your ZOMG! BEST EVER NERGGASM ORGY TIME!. It's natural to write about something you don't like because while you are watching it those points jump out at you. When you are talking about something you love the tendency is to gush or drool all over it. No one wants to read that. If you are having a hard time thinking about something subjectively DO NOT review it!

2. Try to understand both the target audience and the reception it had.
This seems simple enough but so many anime reviewers are guilty of screwing this up. Ask yourself these questions before you start writing your review. What was this anime trying to be? who was it made for? why was it received the way it was? If you can't answers these questions chose something else.

3. Stay on target!
When you are writing a review what people want to read about is the anime or game you are reviewing. NOTyour uncle Fred and how he hates all anime that wasn't made 20 years ago.

4. Word Count.
750 is the minimum... seriously it is. I don't know how people are missing this but they are so here it is.

I'm sure if stop and think about it longer I can give more tips but if you manage these 4 you are doing pretty good.

Most reviews are boring!

This is an average reaction to the average review.

There really isn't much personality in a review, honestly half the time people will just look at the pictures you leave and your final score and leave. That is all they come for because it's just a review. If you are having a hard time writing a good review I have a few suggestions for other things you can write about.

Something this site does even more of than reviews and I bet none of you even considered it! Try taking a bit of recent and relevant news and write something up about it. I doubt the staff will care if it's something that has already been covered just go for it.

Opinion Piece
Alright so I will admit these are a lot harder to write BUT it's a great way to show off your personality a bit. This is not something for anyone but if you really want to write about your favorite anime or game and failed my number 2 this is the way to do it. If you chose to do this there are two things to keep in mind.

1. This is not about the quality!
This time it's about you and something you got out of the anime or game or w/e it is you want to write up. This is NOT a review. If you start reviewing in the middle of an opinion piece you will bore your reader. Bored readers close web pages and you don't want that.

2. Pick a topic and stick with it.
Just like a review you want to stay on target. If your opinion is that K-On! sucks monkey balls because Yui! is dumber than a monkey make your point and stick to it. Don't go off on a tangent about how moe is the bane of the universe. If it doesn't support your main point don't write it!

Alright and there you have it. The most pretentious blog I've posted on Japanator is now complete. I will leave with just a few more words of wisdom. Have fun! I've been told by a receptionist that the trick to the job is keeping a smile on your face even though they can't see you. Same thing applies here. If you are bored you will bore your reader. If you have fun it just might come through.   read

11:47 AM on 12.31.2011

My 2011 Anime List

It's that time of the year again. 2011 has been a pretty sweet year for anime. We have seen a good number of original stories as well as a return to the darker story telling that got many of us hooked on anime in the first place. This year has been a real morality booster for myself and my anime loving friends. Both in seeing the direction anime seems to be taking and in being able to enjoy an unusual amount of original stories not just adaptions of existing works.

As I have spent time going back through a years worth of anime to write about it I can see just how strong of a year this has been. I somehow managed to watch even more anime than last year and so I've decided to cut back my honorable mentions to a simple list. As with all of my anime lists/guides I only write about stuff that either started or ended in the time period. So until they actually end you never will see Fairy Tail or anything ongoing like it in one of my list's or guides. I have also come up with a few awards to give out as I go along which I will list below. I have had a lot of fun going over this past year and I hope anyone reading will as well as I unravel my year in an anime for you.


Best Male Character in a Leading Role
Best Male Character in a Supporting Role
Best Male Character in a Villainous Role
Best Female Character in a Leading Role
Best Female Character in a Supporting Role
Best Female Character in a Villainous Role
Best Animation
Best Character Design
Best Art Direction
Best Voice Acting
Best Music
Best Adapted Story
Best Original Story
Best OP
Best ED

Shining Gems
Anime that really stick out in my mind. These are the anime I am tempted to talk about around people who have no clue what it is I am going on about. The anime that I think goes above and beyond the expectations I have for a genre exceeding them thoroughly enough that I can't help but talk about them and share my love for them with someone else... even if that someone else happens to be one of my very confused siblings who are simply amused at my own amusement.

Polished Gems
Anime that plays by rules and plays them out in a fashion that still manages to be fresh and enjoyably despite minor flaws. The type of flaws that are usually invisible to someone new to the genre or work. Anime that shines within its own genre but does not surpass it.

Unpolished Gems
Anime that I would only recommend to an existing fan of the genre or work. The kind where generally something is off about it. Still a good anime that I enjoyed but one that was not even close to perfect usually lacking pretty strongly in one way or another but still managed to contain something of value that set it apart and above mediocre or bad. This type of anime often knows its target audience and is aimed squarely at them. Usually a low budget and a lack of quality control hold these shows back.

Diamonds in the Rough
Stuff that for the most part I dropped generally due to a lack of time. Sometimes dropped just because of a general lack of interest in the genre. In a few cases I never picked them up at all but believe them to be of value and so will list them here.

Diamonds in the Rough

Working 2
Kaiji 2
Hana-Saku Iroha
Nichijou TV
Mawaru Penguin Drum
Usagi Drop
Kimi to Boku.
Lotte no Omocha!
Ro-Kyu-Bu ~ Fast Break!
Mashiro-Iro Symphony: The Color of Lovers
Hourou Musuko
Tiger & Bunny
Carnival Phantasm
Black Lagoon: Roberta's Blood Trail

Unpolished Gems

The moments where you get to see the form each character's shadow takes are always fun.

32. Persona 4 The Animation

The Persona franchise is something fairly new to me as of this year. I have had the pleasure of playing through Persona 3 on my PSP recently and I really enjoyed it. I had high hopes for Persona 4 going in and while I have found it to be an enjoyable experience the series falls short in many ways. Still this list wouldn't be complete without it. Despite it's flaws most of the characters feel genuine and engaging. The overall mystery is seemingly missing while the characters set ou on a journey of self discovery. I am looking forward too seeing what lays in story for the cast in the second half of this series.

Deep characters, the cast really pulls you in and makes you care about their plight.

The main character is personality challenged and loves to pull incredible amounts of power out of thin air to the point that I've nicknamed him Robo Jesus. The personality starved messiah of P4.

Not going to lie, the animation is acceptable at best. The adaption also sticks far too closely to the original material and feels incredibly gamey as a result.

These girls spend more time brutalizing each other than they do fighting Nova.

31. Freezing

I know what you are thinking, this is on my list and not at the bottom? This anime suffered from some pretty big broadcasting issues and honestly if not for seeing bits of the final HD version streaming on Funimation's video page I would not have included it at all. This anime has a strong blend of Claymore and RahXephon that pull off an atmosphere very similar to the former. The anime focuses mostly on Satalizer and her guarded emotional problems. A flawed adaption but still something enjoyable for fans of the manga.

A strong post apocalyptic atmosphere and a cast of gorgeous if a bit cliche characters.

Severely lacking animation and awful broadcasting. The main character is also quite pathetic throughout the majority of the anime and painful to watch.

Clearly a low budget work. Bland music and sound as well as poor animation jar the experience. There is also a gratuitous amount of nudity both ecchi and otherwise for those bothered by it.

Mecha will never be the same.

30. We Don't Have Many Friends

A school life story much in the same vein as Haruhi only without any time travelers aliens or espers. Going into this anime I remember reading quite a few predictions of this becoming the next Haruhi. Being that this is based off a popular LN series it seemed to have that amount of potential. Did it you might ask? In my opinion it falls a bit short. There is a strong theme of friendship portrayed in this series but much of it lacks depth. This may be the fault of the production staff and director as having read a bit of the manga I can clearly see a rise in the amount of ecchi portrayed throughout this adaption. Ultimately this anime is a fun experience just a bit lacking in depth and development.

A fun and often hilarious take on kids who have issues making friends.

The friendship theme falls flat and sometimes feels a bit forced. Some of the main heroines play the part of an unlikable character a bit too well.

The ecchi is played up a lot in this adaption and some of the funniest moments from the manga are either condensed or cut entirely.

Best Female Character in a Supporting Role Rika Shiguma
This award is a no-brainer for me. Rika single-handedly took a show I was close to dropping and carried me all the way through it with her unique sense of perversion and hilarious attempts at getting some sexy time out of the main character. She also changed the way I will view mecha battles with a hilariously voice acted reading of her mecha x mecha doujin.

Be warned lots of loli glomping takes place in this series.

29. A Dark Rabbit Has Seven Lives

Sometimes a sudden girlfriend appearance can be something enjoyable to watch. Particularly when that girlfriend is a supposedly evil vampire who will bring about the apocalypse with her depression. Lots of magical circles and shouting at both allies and enemies alike fill this anime with loads of angst as our main character deals with his relationships. The whole thing comes across as cute in a puppy love kind of way. The big jarring thing holding back this series is that it doesn't go anywhere. The build up is for nothing and being that this series is on record as losing money for the production staff it is unlikely to ever be revisited. Still a fun stop if you are looking for a school romance filled with a bit of magic.

Cute characters caught in a struggle against impossible odds.

The story is just getting started when the anime ends.

Awkward panty shots and a good deal of pointless yelling fill this anime.

The musical scenes are easily Guilty Crowns strongest point.

28. Guilty Crown

Production values the anime. Guilty Crown has been one of the more controversial series this past year. On the one hand it's gorgeous and has an incredible sense of atmosphere with music that fits so well it's scary. On the other hand the plot is a generic mish mash of characters and tropes. Often giving us a bit of development only to backtrack on that when it is convenient to do so. Still thanks to the production values this is one to watch.

Someone spent some money on this one and it shows. Gorgeous animation and some of the best music we have heard in anime this year.

Awful writing, the events work on an individual basis but looking at them as a whole they fall apart.

Painfully cliche at time. The main character feels like someone we know from a past work stuck in a cycle of being completely lame in the most pathetic ways possible.

Best Music Euterpe
Best music was a hard choice for me but this one piece really hit a home run with me. The music in this series is something of angels and I wish the anime itself would do more to add up. The iDOLM@STER and Break Blade were both considerations for this award but in the end I felt like it really deserved to be here.


Everyone's favorite scene on the space straw.

27. Fractale

Nessa loves love! and is really the only reason this series is listed at all. Fractale set out to be something far greater than it was able to achieve but still managed to be incredibly cute and endearing along the way. A flawed experience to be sure but still one you should find enjoyable if you are looking for an adventure.

Nessa, if I were going to give out an award for cutest character she would get it.

The ending and pretty much everything not involving Nessa being cute and adorable.

Both the opening video and the last episode lead me to believe the production staff were on some hardcore drugs when they made this.

When you can't think up a punchline just have your character go apeshit instead!

26. Softenni

Random, ecchi and insane are all things that describe this anime but it's also quite hilarious in the process. Rarely do these girls play any real Tenis but it is there as a theme at least as much so as K-On! is about music. Softtenni earned it's spot on my list by sheer force of ridiculous events. Ever wondered what it would be like to play Tenis in a Tsunami? They have that. Want to tame a giant bear while lost in the woods completely naked? That happens as well. This is not an anime for everyone but for those of you who are willing to subject yourself to the worst kind of perverse random logic Japan can throw at you this is one to watch.

Hilarious both because it can be awful and genuinely funny.

Oh so random and can be very perverse.

Naked middle school girls and middle of the road animation. Never looks bad but never looks great either.

Gosick is at it's best when it is like this.

25. Gosick

Mystery and Intrigue! that is what this anime sets out to be but falls short of. There are several mysteries throughout the length of this series and with the exception of the bits directly related to revealing info about the main cast are predictable and badly executed. That said the dynamics between the two main characters really helps give some life to this anime. The relationship between a boy who has never been good enough and the development of a girl who never knew love into one who does and fears she may lose it is the true mechanic at work behind this series. It is hard to forgive this series for it's massive blunders in attempting to be a mystery but the characters have a charm that is hard to resist.

Beautiful character dynamics and development.

Awful mysteries that are boring and full of holes.

There are things in this anime that just shouldn't happen. For example at one point the main character is kidnapped in a drive by wagon only to reveal that his capture is a malnourished loli with no money that couldn't possibly have a carriage nor would she ever be able to lift the main character. I'll be the first one to say that realism is overrated but something like this should break suspension of disbelief for anyone who catches it.

Never before this anime have I considered the various battle uses of a super market cart.

24. Ben-To

Hungry? No? That won't last long once you start watching this anime. This is one of the silliest concepts I have seen in a long time. The characters duke it out in a super market for half priced food complete with a code of honor the cast abide by. This food is like the holy grail to them and the lengths they go to obtain it are completely insane. The characters never do develop much but a strong sense of atmosphere really helps to bind all the ridiculous logic and shameless ecchi and turn in into something incredibly fun.

Lots of fun, this anime knows itself well and really sticks to it's theme perfectly. Also the hottest display of legs you will see all year.

Filled with one-dimensional characters who don't develop much but for the most part are still fun anyway.

Hope you like to look at legs because this anime caters very clearly to that sort of fetish.

"Mayucchi, that's even bigger than a horses!".

23. Oh! Samurai Girls!

Never before have I considered a 15 minute bath scene a good thing in an anime. Or another 15 minute scene where the main character attempts to convince one of the heroines that nudity is nothing to be ashamed of so funny. Maybe I am a bit twisted for this but Oh! Samurai Girls! was easily the funniest anime I watched this past year. It even attempts to be more than a comedy throwing around a strong theme of family and questioning the value of a country. In the end the real selling points are things like watching Norio Wakamoto's character beat up the prime minster after laying some pretentious dialog on him. Oh and the cast also spends an entire episode at Japan's infamous penis festival.

Hilarious harem lead who instead of being dense spends his time trying to avoid his harem rather than falling victim to them.

The themes thrown around in this anime add a good deal of atmosphere but sometimes fall flat to all the silliness involved.

The animation is often nothing exciting. A lot of talking heads and simple animation.

Just remember no matter how important you are to Merry, you will never be above donuts in her eyes.

22. Dream Eater Merry

Dream Eater Merry is one of the greatest tragedies of this past year and not because it is sad. Sometimes a manga will catch the eyes of a production staff before it really should and get an anime green lit before the original story has enough content to fill it. That is what happened with Dream Eater Merry. Only the first half of the anime is part of the original story and while the characters are both interesting and endearing the plot suffers from pacing issues ending on a disappointing note. With any luck once the manga is a bit further along the anime will pick up again.

A breath of fresh air for it's genre. This anime is creative and artistic and the characters all really come to life with ease and pull you in and make you care about their plight.

Awful pacing issues. A silly ending that deviates from the original work completely.

Filler and lots of it really hurt the experience. This manga deserved better.

Best Character Design Merry Nightmare
Dream Eater Merry easily has some of my favorite character designs not only from this past year but of all time with Merry herself standing at the top of that. Maybe I just have a thing for girls wearing silly hats and bearing their midriff but Merry's look hit all the right notes with me. Not quite human oh so stylish and manages the perfect mix of cute and sexy somewhere between her doe eyed look and energetic demeanor. Merry is also a total bro so she has that going for her as well.

Mecha versus money. This is what (C) The Money of Soul and Possibility Control should have been.

21. Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon

Ever wonder what it would be like to get thrown into an alternate version of history with touches of all your favorite fantasy elements? That's pretty much what Horizon does and it throws the guide book out the window as well. 13 episodes in I am still not entirely clear on all the factions, characters and their abilities but that hasn't stopped me from enjoying this show quite a bit. Many things go on throughout the first half of this anime but there is one clear theme that is obvious throughout. The main character wants to confess his feelings to an android who reminds him of a dead childhood friend.. because they ripped his dead friends soul out and stuck it in the android.. oh and her emotions are sealed away in incredibly powerful weapons that are spread out amongst various nations who need to them stop the apocalypse predicted in some holy book that everyone calls the "testament". Am I losing you yet? This anime is like that.

Tons of awesome logic, word games and some of the craziest combat you will ever see.

Impossible to follow without going into study mode and digging hardcore into the world this series takes place in.

Can be filled with monologue as it tries to explain to the viewers just what the hell it is they are watching. Sadly it would take a super computer to actually keep up with it on a first viewing.

This is the type of anime where the main character takes pictures of her grandfather doing a 3-finger peace sign.

20. Tamayura: Hitotose

Cute girls do cute things in a cute heartwarming slice of life way. There really isn't much else to say about this series as it doesn't even try to break the mold. This is an original story from the same studio that animated Aria and much of the same healing feel to it. Everyone is super nice and and life is the most laid back thing. Next time you are stressed out or just having a bad day give this anime a shot. If nothing else it will help put you to sleep.

Cute, heartwarming slice of life.

Hard to watch too much of at once and can easily become boring. Not something you want to sit though all at once.

The animation is simple and could be considered lacking but the anime is very pretty to make up for that. Honestly there isn't much going on to animate in the first place.

Hououin Kyouma!

19. Steins;Gate

Have you ever wanted to be a mad scientist? Maybe dream of building your own time machine and using it to win the lottery? If not I am confident you will by the time you finish this series. The plot itself falls apart when it all comes together at the end but the build up is an incredibly fun experience thanks to all the personalities involved. Mamoru Miyano expertly nails his role as Rintaro. This anime seemed like it could accomplish so much at it's mid point and in many ways it did the emotions connected in an awesome way for the finale but the technical aspects of the plot never quite add up. This is one anime I really enjoyed and would have liked to give a higher rating but some jarring plot hole issues hold it back. Still something I would readily recommend to just about anyone.

Awesome voice acting and an amazing sense of atmosphere really make this anime shine.

The plot doesn't hold up under inspection.

There are some bits of obvious plot convenience when it comes to the rules of time travel and what can or can not be done.

Best Male Character in a Leading Role Rintaro Okabe
Mamoru Miyano really outdid himself in this role the voice work here in fantastic. Both his crazy antics and his development over the length of the anime were a lot of fun to watch. It's really interesting to see Rintaro change from someone who is pretending to be paranoid to someone who really is. And watch as Rintaro develops from a fool in over his head to someone who really can change the world and questions what that means. Rintaro really shines as a character who did so much for his series and that is why I chose him for this award.

Polished Gems

Beware the crazies. Is there something wrong with me if I find this hot?

18. Deadman Wonderland

Never before have I seen a shonen so bloody. But here this stands to prove that not all shonen titles let their cast off with just a scratch. Dark bloody and supernatural this anime takes an innocent school kid murders all his friends and classmates in front of him and frames him for it. Stuck in a privately owned prison the MC is forced into gladiatorial games for his own survival. This anime actually manages to be a lot lighter than it sounds thanks to the heroine, a cute albino character voiced by Kana Hanazawa. That said even with someone to lighten the mood this anime is very dark and not for the faint of heart. I very much enjoyed it myself and hope we will see another season in the future.

Great setting and atmosphere really help to set the stage for this anime's various members. Dark and twisted in a refreshing way that is uncommon for a shonen.

Feels unfinished. Ending is somewhat unsatisfying.

Occasional quality control issues with the animation. Nothing too major but you can find a few minor mistakes if you pay attention.

Best Female Character in a Villainous Role Hummingbird
This was the most difficult award for me to decided on. I was between C3's Peavey Barowoi, Future Diary's Minene Uryuu and Hummingbird but in the end I decided to go with Hummingbird. Of the 3 Hummingbird spends the shortest time as a villain but she manages to establish so much in her one episode of villainy that I feel she earned this award. Or maybe I've just fallen for a pretty face you decide.

When you find yourself in a pinch sometimes you just have to reach into your magical loli and pull out a solution.

17. The Mystic Archives of Dantalian

Dantalian starts with our main character a former military pilot inheriting his grandfather's estate which his grandfather has filled with a collection of rare books. Along with the books comes the keeper of a filled with the knowledge of demons in the form of a young girl. Most of the series is episodic but it does have a theme of salvation as the MC wishes to save the girl from the world inside the archives a world he stumbled upon as a child. A theme which honestly isn't fully explored within the scope of the anime. The real strong point of this series is the sense of and old world atmosphere and the dynamics between the two main characters that builds upon it. I am reminded of Spice and Wolf in the way the two interact with each other. Of all the LN adaptions this year I wish I had the capacity to go out and read for myself this is easily at the top. I hope that against all odds Gainax will give us a second season.

Amazing sense of atmosphere and intrigue. The dynamics between the two main characters is enchanting.

Untapped potential, the story ends at a good point but leaves much unfinished.

In some of the more action filled moments this anime can be strangely dialog heavy. A common issue with light novel adaptions but worth pointing out none the less.

When your friend goes and butchers a bunch of people as kid you just might have a few emotional issues growing up.

16. Kamisama Dolls

One of the common complaints I hear from other aging anime fans is that the lead characters are always kids. Kids are great and make for good story telling but sometimes it would be nice if the cast were a bit more mature. Even if that maturity is only as superficial as age and moving to a university instead of a high school. That is what we got out of Kamisama Dolls. Here the main character has moved away from his small village life filled with dark secrets to try and start over in the city. Of course moving away from home is never that simple especially when the village you are from controls powerful wooden gods. Kamisama Dolls was a fun show that had a unique air of maturity to it even if it was only knee deep. I am hopeful we will see a second season and that all the build up from the first will not go to waste.

Adult characters caught up in the politics of growing up. Good art and animation.

Unfinished, this story ends just as it really feels like it starting to go somewhere good.

The torpedo-chested main heroine looks like she walked out of Highschool of the Dead. Not bad per say but it does look a bit awkward artistically since the rest of the women look more.. normal?

The underworld has never looked so good.

15. Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below

I had the pleasure of being able to watch Makoto Shinkai's new movie at this year's Otakon and while I was not blown away quite the same way I was when I watched 5 Centimeters Per Second it was still a very enjoyable experience. After the movie I waited to hear a few words from the creator himself where he explained his motivation for creating this movie. Makoto said that he wanted to make a movie everyone could enjoy. This movie has a very Studio Ghibli feel to it in fact I would go so far as to say if I didn't know any better I would think I was watching a Ghibli movie. The only critique I really have for this movie is that it felt like it was fit into the Studio Ghibli mold and lost some of Makoto Shinkai's flair. It really is a beautiful movie in more ways than one but it goes about it without breaking ground the way 5 Centimeters Per Second did.

Absolutely gorgeous.

Feels like a derivative of Studio Ghibli.

No, you have never seen an underworld quite this gorgeous before.

In true pick your favorites fashion here we see all the girls dressed as various fruit. I'm a grapes and pineapple fan myself.

14. The iDOLM@STER

Creepy old man time, I really liked this anime as uncomfortable as it makes me to actually say that. Now for the part where I tell you something and you don't believe me. This anime isn't made for creepers! As bad as some of the fans this series has are it has been a genuinely fun show to watch. IdolMaster is very much an idealistic take on 12 idols and their rise to fame. It's fitting however considering that we are watching the rise of idols that the show focuses on the ideal instead of trying to be more realistic even pitting the two concepts against each other at times. That is where the magic of this anime really kicks in. I honestly believe that anyone who isn't afraid of getting a few nasty looks from fellow anime fans and family members will find something to enjoy here. In the end It's very cute and has a surprising amount of drama most of which really hits home.

Cute idols and their idealist rise to fame. Between the 12 girls and their individual plights you are sure to find one you can relate with.

Has been known to get viewers labeled as creepers.

Some of the outfits they make these girls wear are a bit ridiculous but most of the really awkward stuff was left behind in the game.

This isn't the Yuuji I remember

13. Shakugan no Shana III

After season 2 I think I speak for all Shakugan no Shana fans when I say that I had my doubts about a 3rd season. I was prepared to watch something awful if it meant I could see the end of the story I loved from season 1. Let me tell tell you that was completely unnecessary as Shakugan no Shana III might be the best part of the story yet. The somewhat wimpy male lead that served as the viewers eyes for the first and second season has become fed up with always following behind all his friends. He has made a pact to work together with an ancient god who was banished to the abyss for attempting remake the rules of the universe.. or something along those lines. This has been one of my favorites for this past year and I can't wait to see where this goes next.

Plot and pacing that are moving toward ending the story of a classic in a satisfying direction.

The villains are more engaging than the good guys. I feel bad when they lose and find myself cheering them on hoping for their victory! Maybe I am just a bad person.

The visuals are solid but the animation itself leaves a bit to be desired on occasion.

C³ has a very "artistic" way of being sadistic.

12. C³

Best second episode of the year! I usually give everything I watch 2 episodes at least. C³ I was ready to swear off at half way through the first. Thanks to Chris's review of the second episode in Annotated Anime I decided to stick though the second episode. I am so glad that I did. What looked like a silly poorly made slice of life turned into an engaging tale of redemption thanks to the antics of some of the most bat-shit villains I have ever seen. Pretty much every character evil or otherwise has an ace up their sleeve and a load of dark baggage and hidden secrets. I am hopeful we will see a second season for this.

Awesome artwork and engaging female cast.

Main character is a bit boring at first. The story ends on a satisfying note but it is obviously unfinished.

This first episode raised the bar for how NOT to introduce your cast. If you give this show a shot please watch past the first episode. It is not a good representative for the rest of the series.

Best Art Direction Shin Oonuma
Shaft got out shafted this year. It didn't take very long before I realized that something was incredibly familiar about the art work and the way it was being used to bring out the emotions of the cast. At first I just assumed it was a really well done imitation of Shaft's typical style. It just so happens there is more to it than that. Remember Ef - A Tale of Memories? Turns out that the director is the same person. I can't stress enough how much the art adds to this anime. I am very much looking forward to seeing what this director will put out in the future.


11. Yuru Yuri

Cute lesbian girls doing cute things in a funny ways pretty much sums up this series. While not a masterpiece this proved to be a nice break from the usual all girls slice of story with it's self aware sense of humor and it's heartwarming moments with the cast. I am looking forward to season 2 next year.

Cute funny and very self aware and honest with what it is.

School girls doing cute things in school again. Not really a bad thing for this show per say but it is the number 1 reason I get from people who don't want to watch this.

Hope you like cute lesbians because while not every character is completely obvious about it some of them are. Not an issue for me at all but know what you are getting yourself into if you decide to pick this up.

King Arthur, Alexander the Great and some Irish man practically no one has heard of walk into a bar...

10. Fate/Zero

Insert rabid fanboyism here. And now that that's done give me a moment while I project a shield powerful enough to protect me from those who won't find 10th place good enough. Fate Zero has been a really fun ride with some great characters filled to the brim with personality. It also made circle walking into a thing. I was worried that without Nasu behind the wheel this just wouldn't be the same but oh was I wrong. Ufotable has done an amazing job with this anime and I can't wait for the second half in 2012.

Awesome animation and intense combat. Some of the most interesting and entertaining characters this year.

My god some of the fans.. just wipe off the drool and this really is a good show.

Circle walking is now a thing. I miss my talking heads. I blame Nasu for this as it happens in Fate/Extra as well.

Best Male Character in a Supporting Role Rider
Behold the ultimate king of bros! His ultimate power is the strength of his bonds with the people he leads! Rider has been an awesome addition to the cast. Everything from his support of his master Waver to the surprisingly deep conversation he has with Archer and Saber about what it means to be a king just add so much to Fate/Zero. It wouldn't come close to being what it is without him.

Best Male Character in a Villainous Role Ryuunosuke Uryuu and Caster
I was bit split about who I should give it to honestly. In the end I just can't decide which is better Casters amazing voice work or Ryuunosuke's take on worshiping god and god's love. These two Villains make a great pair and it will be a shame when they meet their inevitable demise in the second half.

Good Night!

9. Future Diary

Wait can they show that on TV?! I've lost count of the times I've had that thought go through my head while watching this anime. Maybe I am just picky but I find most anime thrillers to be poorly done and I expected the same from this. I am still a bit worried about the ending but at very least I can say that I was oh so wrong about the journey. The characters and the situations they find themselves in bring about a psychological rush in a way not much fiction can. I am on the edge of my seat with nearly every episode waiting to see what will happen next and how the resident Yandere will react. I can't wait to watch the rest.

Best psychological thriller I have seen in a long time. Maybe my favorite one depending on how it ends. Shion and Rena beware, Yuno is coming for you!

Intense, not something for the faint of heart.

Exploding middle school kids as well as middle school kids making out. You never know when the Yandere will pull out a weapon and someone will lose a limb and or die. This is not something everyone will be able to enjoy.

Best Female Character in a Leading Role Yuno Gasai
Possibly the most bat-shit yandere of all time. At the same time she is a loving dedicated "girlfriend" Maybe the easiest award this year as she adds so much to her story. There are moments where things become incredibly intense and the only thing I want to know is how Yuno is going to react to solve the "issues" they get themselves caught in. Yuno is large portion of the reason I catch myself on the edge of my seat watching this. I can only hope she continues to be like this for the rest of the anime.

Shining Gems

A futon with legs.

8. Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko
+4 points for being an insightful look into someone outcast by society. -3 points for ending, not the ending mind you just ending period. +2 point for shinbo's wacky style. +5 points for the best granny in anime ever. Or for those of you who didn't watch the anime this is a cute story about a boy who transfers to a new school and moves in with his aunt and cousin. His cousin is a young girl who has dropped out of school after having vanished for a year and returning with no memory of where she was. On the surface Denpa is cute and funny but dig a bit deeper and you get so much more. There is a a strong theme about what it means to communicate with someone else at work here. Questioning things like friendship and relationships and what the value of those are. I found this to be a beautiful story and I hope it will be continued with another season sometime down the road.

Very pretty. Has a lot more depth than meets the eye.

It ends.. just stops.. really wish there were more. It's satisfying enough just feels like there should be something else.

Very Shaft. For those of you who don't know what that means, the animation falls apart pretty badly at times.

Best OP Os-Uchuujin
Catchiest tune of the year for me so this wasn't a hard choice. Beyond that I feel that it really helped set the right atmosphere for the anime and it's unique cast. I would love to find and embed a video of this right into my blog but my choice for best OP and ED are both related to Sony in some way and their Nazi's will remove it before anyone gets the chance to watch it so I'll have to ask you to look for it on your own if you wish to see it.

If this isn't an obvious Key reference I'm not sure what is.

7. The World God Only Knows

The World God Only Knows sorely lacked one thing last season. The main character was a bit one-dimensional. Not too much changes in season 2 but something still manages to feel a bit more real. I think the credit for this goes to two of the new characters from this season. One is the main character's teacher and other is an "ordinary" girl he doesn't want to date because she is too boring. Thanks to the main characters interaction with these characters we get to see a good deal of depth in his character as well as some hints at real development we never got to see in the first season.

Character development. Interesting interactions with characters who give us an introspective look at the way the MC thinks.

Remains unfinished something that will likely continue even should we get a season 3.

Keima can be oh so mean to the girls sometimes. Visuals were pretty solid as I remember it.

There are two types of people who can do something for the dead, writers and detectives.

6. God's Notepad

This one surprised me multiple times. The first episode did a lot to pull me in but in another early arc I lost interest when it became clear to me that the writer lacks a solid understanding of technology. For a few months I dropped the show expecting it to go downhill like so many other JC Staff shows have but I had one friend who took my early recommendation for this show and watched it all the way through who kept reminding me that I should finish it. Am I ever glad that I did. An anime that originally managed to rise above it's premise before losing my interest pulled me back in and left my in tears by the end. While not without it's flaws I believe that the storytelling here is something of enough value to trump them all. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a slightly different take on the NEET mentality or anyone simply looking for a good mystery series. God's Notepad managed both.

Dark undertones manage to create an unforgettable sense of atmosphere and tragedy.

The author clearly lacks a good understanding of computer technology. As someone who works in IT this bothers me more than it will likely bother most viewers.

A lot of of talking heads in this anime. While fairly intelligent it can be considered wordy at times.

I was going to find an image of the main character playing fetch with the princess but I am short on time so here is a flying chocobo instead.

5. Dog Days

What would you do if I told you I had a fantasy anime with the voices of all your favorite heroines casting in it? Oh and Norio Wakamoto is coming along for the ride as well. That is what Dog Days managed for me. While not quite all of my favorite voices are present here a surprisingly large amount are as even the smaller side characters are veteran voices you are likely to recognize. What else does this anime have going for it you might ask? Dog days managed to tell a heartwarming tale in a fantasy land filled with anthropomorphic people. The main character has been summoned to play the role of champion for the people of Biscotti who have found themselves stuck in a demoralizing losing streak in a war game played between nations and are looking for a hero from another world to help them out of it. An epic fantasy tale in a foreign land filled with people voiced by angles. What is there not to like? Dog Days is one of the most underrated shows from this past year and as you can see one of my favorites.

Epic casting for the vocals. Gorgeous fantasy world. Awesome character designs. Did I mention that this is an anime original?

Slow start.

Occasional bits of nudity may detract from the experience for some. The majority of this anime is clean.

Best Voice Acting The Entire Cast
I don't think I can say too much more about this so instead a role call. Ami Koshimizu(Spice and Wolf's Holo) Yui Horie(Kanon's Ayu) Mamoru Miyano(Death Note's Light) Youko Hikasa(K-On!'s Mio) Ayana Taketatsu(K-On!'s Azusa) Tetsuya Kakihara(TTGL's Simon) Norio Wakamoto(DBZ's Cell) Takehito Koyasu(First of the north Star's Kenshiro) Nana Mizuki(Nanoha's Fate Testarossa) Kana Asumi(Working!'s Poplar)
That list is only the more important characters the all star casting goes on. This anime is voiced by angels!

Merry Christmas!

4. Is this a Zombie?

Yes that's right, sitting near the top of a year filled with good anime is a harem made by Studio Deen. How this happened I am not so sure myself but It did. Is this a Zombie managed a perfect balance of plot and fan-service mixed with a touch of comedy and drama that worked together in a way that needs to be seen to be believed. Some would say that something so shameless shouldn't be allowed such high amounts of praise but I am going to have to disagree. Is this a Zombie? is what this type of shameless anime should aspire to be like.

Funny and self aware with a surprising amount of depth.

It's a shameless harem, that should be enough to keep a few people away.

Deen actually did a surprisingly solid job with the animation. Considering the studio at work here this a masterpiece.

Being Meduka is suffering

3. Madoka Magica

Gen Urobuchi has become a house hold name among anime fans this past year. Both for playing the part of the best troll and for writing one of the most heart wrenching stories told in anime form, one that will be remembered for many years to come. All of this in the wrapper of a cute magical girl show. What Madoka Magica did well it did perfectly. I haven't seen an anime capable on uniting anime into one fandom quite the way Madoka did. Personally I felt that momentum died off a little before the end. I wouldn't say I was disappointed as the ending was surprisingly thought out and had a great impact. Truly one of the best anime of the year.

Intricate plot with a dramatic sense of irony. Beautiful artwork, animation and character designs.

The entire plot revolves around the concept of energy entropy which as silly as that sounds actually worked pretty well in practice. The bad comes in with the solution something I dare not spoil here.

There are some minor hiccups in the animation. For a shaft production Madoka was surprisingly solid.

This bit of the ending is one of the most iconic moments from the series.

2. We Still Don't Know The Name Of The Flower We Saw That Day (AnoHana)

Sometimes a character manages to pull at your heartstrings in a way that leaves you with an emotion that lingers long after the credits roll. Kind of like when a friend you don't get to see very often come over for a visit. At it's core that is what AnoHana is all about. From the first episode AnoHana managed to create an environment where it was easy to care about the characters and their issues. One where you want to laugh when they laugh and cry when they cry. In the end it is the way the characters come to life and manage to feel like old friends that really earned AnoHaha this spot on my list.

Great sense of atmosphere and tragedy. A strong cast that really pulls you in.

Very dramatic, personally I do not consider this a flaw with AnoHana but it's a common complaint that event's sometimes feel a bit forced.

Prepare the tissues as you are likely to need one by the end.

Best Original Story Mari Okada
I suppose it goes without saying that my best original anime would get the award for best original story. Truth be told it was a hard choice between this and Madoka Magica. Both stories managed to really pull me in and leave me desperate for the next episode week by week. Both also have plot elements that feel a bit forced toward the end. I decided to go with the anime that managed a greater emotional impact on me and that was easily AnoHana. AnoHana was a beautiful story that nailed the emotions of things perfectly. Maybe not the grandest in scale but sometimes it's the simple stories that hit home with the most force.

Best ED Secret Base
No video again Nazi's and all.. sorry. This ending was an incredibly iconic one for it's series that I often found myself replaying more than once after the credits would roll. It's rare that an ED adds much to an anime but this one managed to carry on the mood of the series incredibly well and add something to that atmosphere that would linger from week to week. That is why it's my pick for best ED.

The bar for backdrops has been raised.. I wish all anime looked this impressive.

1. Break Blade

What AnoHana managed with it's cast and characters Break Blade managed with it's world and scale. This universe and the plight of it's people really pulls you in and my god is it gorgeous. Everything from the mecha to the sprawling landscapes to the city of Krisna this universe has been recreated with an astounding attention to detail. The manga is still technically ongoing but the vast majority of it covers a single war which is the focus of these movies and the ending is quite satisfying. If you are only going to watch one thing from this past year this is what I would recommend. I hope that someday when the manga is finished we might be able to revisit the The Kingdom of Krisna. Until then I will be keeping up with the manga and helping to spread the news of this epic tale so many people seem to be missing out on.

Gorgeous artwork and animation. Awesome sense of atmosphere and attention to detail. If I had an award for best universe it would go here.

There are a few bits that are not very well explained in the adaption. For the most part unimportant things you will only notice when you look for them.

As with all movie adaptions not everything can get screen time. There are a few scenes I wish had been animated that were not. In particular a scene between the main character and heroine. What they did have was beautiful.

Best Animation Production I.G and XEBEC
The artwork, animation, music and impressive attention to detail that go into this series of movies can't be expressed enough. Perhaps it is cheating to pick a series of movies for this award but I feel it has been earned. The bar for epic settings has been raised. I can only hope that going into 2012 we see something else on this scale.

Best Adapted Story Yunosuke Yoshinaga
An epic story of war told in a universe where magic is a science of sorts. There is also a hint of forbidden romance and a journey of philosophical understanding as the MC is forced to come to terms with what it means to protect the people precious to him. This adaption was hit out of the park and is one that really deserves to be watched by all.

And there it is! I really enjoyed this past year and revisiting it has been a real joy. Let me know what you think of it as well. What are your favorites? Which of these shows do you feel the same way about? Or.. Maybe not? Which items on my dropped list should I add to my backlog? Any other comments or questions are appreciated as well. Thanks for reading!   read

9:44 PM on 08.17.2011

JManga My Experience

J-Manga is a new legal source for Manga on the web. opened it's site to the public today and so I decided to check them out. I browsed around for a bit before opening any manga and found that everything is obviously very new, they even openly acknowledge the site is still in beta so I decided to try and be forgiving of small errors and mistakes. Well my mentality didn't last very long as I found my self face-palming at the summary for the very first manga I decided to click on "Fate/Stay Night".

"This is a comic version of a popular personal computer game. Shiro dreams of becoming a white knight like his foster father, who saved his life. One day, he comes across some mysterious men that immediately try to kill him. But just as he is cornered, he is saved by a girl aptly named Saver. "

For the sake of anyone who is not familiar with Fate/Stay Night let me say two things about the original work. First the girl who saves Shiro is named "Saber" and not Saver which is actually not her real name at all but rather her "class". Saber is one of out of seven servant classes summoned for the sake of a Holy Grail War. The class of Saber is named the way it is because she is a famous hero from history who wields a sword. "Saver" is not even a class from Fate/Stay Night at all. Second there is only one assailant! no men show up chasing after Shiro the one after him is in fact not even human at all but another heroic spirit summoned to fight in the Holy Grail War. Not only is this summary poorly written, its flat out wrong.

I browsed around for a little longer after reading the summary I shared above hoping to find it to be the bad apple of the bunch but the next two series I opened had similar poorly written summaries leaving me thoroughly disappointed with this new site before I even made it to the manga itself.

Well I didn't give up just yet I decided that I needed to at least read some manga on this site before going off to rage about it so I decided to open up Excel Saga which was the first series I came across that allowed me to preview it. Honestly I was fully expecting to find more of the same poor writing I shared above but oh was I in for a surprise when I loaded up this preview. The entire thing is in Japanese! They didn't translate it at all! The final blow was dealt I can't believe this site is open to the public like this. How do you even make a mistake like that? Or maybe they intended to share the Japanese Excel Saga? It is hard to tell as nothing on the site does very much to introduce the site and it's features.

While I hope for the best with the future of J-Manga, my first impression has left me sorely disappointed. Has anyone else had a better experience?   read

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