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Monthly Reflections – April 2010

April 30, 2010

Since I watch a tonne more than I would ever have time to blog, I thought it may be more useful to have a monthly summary. Originally I was going to do this weekly, but since I generally follow the guts of 20-25 shows, it wouldn’t really be feasible to do this every week.  Anyway, this month I’ll split the post into new season and long running shows.

New Season Shows

Angel Beats!

Angel Beats’ mix of comedy and drama has struck just the right balance for me and I’m really quite enjoying the series.  The rather uninspired character designs and inconsistent animation quality, are the only major negatives I have against the show.  Its fun to ponder just whats going on – After Life? Purgatory? The Matrix? A Computer Game? we’re not quite sure and I’m enjoying reading everyone’s opinions.  I was glad the series managed to avoid getting stuck in a pattern – its managed to mix up the elements surprisingly well and the characters are quite genre-savvy.  Next month will be crucial in seeing if Angel Beats! can build on its solid base.


Arakawa Under the Bridge

Ah SHAFT, thank god you’ve got your mojo back.  I love Arakawa – it’s so perfect for Shibo/SHAFT as its got the quirky characters and ridiculous premise coupled with the sharp dialogue they do so well. Plus it has Sister, who is the best character of the season 😀 The characters are OTT nutjubs, but they’ve also got something innately likeable that stops them from being cold caricatures.  Watching Nino and Ric try to make their 1st date a success was just sweet – I’m so looking forward to seeing these two develop.


B Gata H Kei

I’m surprised by how much I actually like this series, I can’t seem to find it in me to drop it!  Yamada’s insane plotting and rampant libido are fecking hilarious, and the series is just so hyper-aware of itself that it’s really difficult not to enjoy.   Also for its premise there is surprisingly little fanservice, and what’s there is well done and doesn’t cause me to break out in fits of eye-rolling.  I’m actually rooting for Yamada and Kosuda, but seeing what new method of cock-blocking the show comes up with is fun too 😛


Giant Killing

For all my hatred of football, I find myself thinking Giant Killing is one of the best shows this season.  Takumi has a unique kind of charisma, and the players are an interesting and varied bunch.  I also like the way the supporters aren’t faceless masses – they display a diversity that accurately reflects that of real football supporters.  I just hope that ETU don’t suddenly become brilliant under Takumi’s unorthodox management style – a steady improvement would be much more realistic and satisfying.  Regardless I’m enjoying the series despite its less than stellar animation – even the character designs are growing on me 😛


Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan

I don’t quite know what to make of this.  Its pretty….I like the pretty, but at the same time its pretty boring – it doesn’t really feel like anything has happened yet and Chizuru is a bit bland – like a much less interesting Shuurei from Saiunkoku Monogatari.  I know I’ll be keeping it on though, I’m liking the visuals a lot and the brief action scenes are quite fun.  I’m hoping the plot will kick in soon though, there’s been enough hints of mystery to keep me fairly interested – hope they don;t drag it out too much though.


Heroman!

I wanted to like this, I really did!  But have had to drop it as of episode 5 since I could barely sit through the episode without wishing I was watching Independence Day instead 😆  The characters are just too boring – I really don’t give two shits about what happens to the lot of them.  The aliens are one-dimensional and uninteresting, Heroman itself is still fecking scary and ridiculous looking and Joey’s whiny voice is grating on my nerves.  On the up side I loved the animation – it’s really glorious, and the visuals of the alien invasion itself was pretty damn good.  But visuals alone aren’t enough to keep me interested, and unfortunately I just can’t get into Heroman’s cheesy plotline – dropped.


The House of Five Leaves (Sarai-ya Goyou)

I’m really loving the serene atmosphere this series creates effortlessly.  Really nothing much has actually happened in the show, yet the episodes manage to hold me spellbound.  I really like the whole feel of the show, sure the character designs are less than beautiful – they have bags of character and that’s whats important!  The animation is gorgeous – the backgrounds and colouration is a visual feast, but where this show truly shines is in the soundtrack.  I love the music, the OP & ED are both excellent, but the background music is like a supporting character in how it shapes the atmosphere of each scene.  definitely liking Sarai-ya Goyou.


Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou

Yeah this is another series that I just can’t seem to drop despite my vehement hatred of this genre.  However Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou takes the usual tropes and just runs off with them!  The writing is sharp and very, very self-aware – I just can’t find it in myself to dislike the show.  The fanservice and censoring is overblown and probably the worst thing about the show – it would have been much better if they didn’t force it so much.  Sai’s moment of GAR badassness was surprisingly gruesome and awesome and kind of sealed the deal for me.  I’ll be keeping this on for another while yet.


Kaichou wa Maid-sama

Oh the sparkly, bubbly, flowery shoujo-ness – its hard not to grin like a simpleton when watching the spontaneous showers of confetti that infest this series.  It’s so shallow, and I don’t particularly like Misaki yet (she’s not a patch on the wonderful Kyoko-sama), but Usui’s dry wit is quite amusing.  Ep 4’s playing of the Trap-card was also pretty fun (although I spotted it quite early……Trap senses were tingling), but as a whole I havent fallen in love with the show in the same way I was cooing over Kimi ni Todoke at the same episode count.  Hoping that the ED’s suggestion of angsty bishie vibes isn’t lying and we get Usui’s backstory soon – that could tip the scales firmly in Kaichou wa Maid-sama’s favour.


K-ON!!

*sigh* Why do I do this to myself – I know this isn’t going to get any better and I know that I’m going to be bored shitless……..yet still, every fecking week I download the episode and make myself watch the inane chattering of these five moe-blobs……..its like an illness!!  I demand a vaccine be arranged immediately!  K-ON!! just hasn’t gone anywhere – you can take the moe-blobs to Kyoto, but you can’t make them interesting.  The only character I can tolerate is Sawa-chan (probably because I can relate to her better…….god I’m old), and she doesn’t have nearly enough screen-time.  Despite my dislike for this show, I know for a fact I’m going to end up watching it to the bitter end……..just so I can say I did and bitch about it 😀


Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin

Ah Rainbow – so flawed, yet still so interesting.  Suffers from horrendous over-acting at times, and too much hammering of the ‘tragic-past DORAMA!!’ button – yet in spite of this I can’t help but be sucked into this series.  I like the fact its trying to present something different – this isn’t the kind of series you’d normally see in anime format, its much more common in live action dramas/films.  I also think An-chan is fecking amazing –  such an effortlessly GAR character!  Still the overblown aspect of Rainbow is part of its charm and I’m really enjoying the show.  Looking forward to seeing what new hell our prisoners are dragged through for our entertainment 🙂


Senkou no Night Raid

I don’t know what to think of this series to be honest.  It’s such a weird jumble of elements that I can’t decide if its srsbns or something light-hearted.  I’m leaning more towards it  being a spy caper like James Bond at this point; especially after watching that odd episode 4 in all its inconsistent animation glory!  Clearly they’ve decided to dance around the whole historical accuracy issue by introducing the superpower element.  The amount of chinese dialogue threw me as well……I don’t speak chinese and even I can tell that the seiyuu are tripping over their pronunciation – it must be ear-cancer to anyone who actually does speak the language!  I’m keeping it on for the time being, as I really do want to like it – it’s an interesting premise, but they need to decide what angle they’re going for – this mixture isn’t really working for me.


Uragiri wa Boku no Namae o Shitteiru (UraBoku)

I’m actually surprised by this – I knew I would be watching it regardless of what it turned out like (such is the draw of the cast and BL tag), but it’s actually turned out to be quite interesting!  I like the gothic edge to the styling, and the whole setup has lots of potential (even if it is quite lacking in originality).  Basically Uraboku is nicely put together, it’s not amazing and it’s not terrible – so that’s me happy!  Plus the voice cast never fails to trigger fangasms – yes I am shallow, so what!? 😛


Working!

I dropped it after its uninspired 1st episode, but then picked it back up this week out of curiosity.  Glad I did, seemed the 1st episode was the dullest since it had the most of the incredibly dull Poplar – but I really quite enjoyed episode 4 with Takanashi’s mad sisters and Souma channeling Izaya in the kitchen!  And then there’s that horrendously catchy OP…..I caught myself singing it in work this today, which attracted a few curious looks from my underlings 😆  Working! isn’t going to bowl anyone over with its originality – it’s not got a single idea of its own; however it does provide a few giggles per episode.  I’ll keep it on for as long as it continues to do that.


Youjo-Han Shinwa Taikei (The Tatami Galaxy)

Well I’ve only seen the 1st episode thanks to the lateness of the airing of the final series of the season.  I desperately want to love this series – its jam-packed with everything I love – I just wish to god I could keep up with it!  I’m frustrated that my reliance on subtitles is, for the first time ever, hindering my enjoyment of a potentially brilliant series.  The headache I got watching episode one was no joke – I seriously did need to lie down for an hour afterward with a couple of paracetamol in me.  I’m hoping episode two will be easier to cope with……if not I’ll be forced to drop this.


Ongoing Series

Bleach

Well Bleach finally remembered that it had abandoned the characters in Hueco Mundo long enough and decided to pop back and see them – good times.  Unfortunately they decided that even though its been months since we took a little detour to chase swords around Soul Society, and the manga is quite a bit ahead now, that they should proceed at a snails pace…….god this series is frustrating!  The end of the filler arc was really welcome – it was truly dragged out a bit too long, I didn’t mind most of it – it was pretty entertaining, but the end was awful.  But now we’re back to canon, and this Ichigo Vs Ulquiorra fight was bloody good (if ridiculous) in the manga, but the anime is already dragging it out too long……stop making me hate Bleach goddamnit!!


Dragonball Kai

Awesome, awesome, awesome month for DB:Kai!  I fecking love the end of the Namek arc – Goku Vs Freeza is shounen at its finest.  The fact Kai cuts the shit and really gets to the point so much quicker than the original DBZ, just makes the fight all the more epic!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen DBZ – the nostalgia I feel for the series is immense, but Kai has just been better in nearly every way.  I actually cheered when everyone made it back to earth, and grinned like an idiot when Goku finally beat Freeza down – its such a pleasure to rewatch this series.


Durarara!!

Its been a mixed month for Drrr!!  The end of the first arc was filled with tension and anticipation.  This 2nd arc has been a bit different – its more focused, there’s more information being thrown out than ever before; yet we’re still completely clueless about whats going on!  The addition of new lulzy characters like the Traffic Cop and Shinra’s nutty Da have kept things fresh and interesting – yet at the same time I kind of feel that the plot is becoming a bit messy and is lacking the sense of mystery that attracted me to the show to start with.  Still Drr!! has fantastic characters – the 2nd half would have to fail really, really badly to affect my high rating of the series.


Fairy Tail

Good god – spoilerific new OP, way to ruin the next arc folks!  Really odd place to stick a new OP – it’s clearly got nothing to do with the current Phantom Lord arc (although I am pleased the song is better than that awful 2nd OP…….although only marginally, the OPs and EDs are not Fairy Tail’s strong point).  Anyway, the Element Four fights were much, much quicker than I was expecting – I remembered them going on for a lot longer in the manga.  Not that I mind this streamlined approach, it’s better than Bleach’s slo-mo approach; but the pace is a touch too fast than the ideal.  Still Fairy Tail remains entertaining and above all fun, it’s never going to be the best series in the world.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Epic month for FMA:B.  The breakneck pace has been slowed right down to focus on each group of characters independent actions over the course of this single day – there is just so much going on simultaneously in this series that this attention is necessary.  The action scenes were just jaw-dropping – the Armstrong siblings going up against Sloth and Mustang confronting Envy, were scenes I was really looking forward to, and BONES in no way disappointed!  This series is just so good, both in terms of animation quality, pacing and writing – its got the whole package.


Hetalia Axis Powers

So the third season of Hetalia is up and running. Its more of the same really – but there is an increased focus in some of the side characters.  Greece’s episodes were really quite dull, but I’m loving the Poland episodes.  Poland’s valley talk always cracked me up in the manga – poor Lithuania!  Wasn’t impressed to see Chibitalia back again, however short the segments are – seriously let it die already.  Still waiting for Prussia to show up in all his glory – brief scene he had only wet my appetite!


Katanagatari

Episode 4 threw me for a loop.  It was so different to what I was expecting – yet I lapped it up.  I was kinda annoyed that I got trolled so spectacularly (and had Togame & Shichika rub my nose in it by discussing their epic fight play by-play!) but at the same time I applauded White Fox’s audacity for doing that to us – and to be honest the episode they delivered was pretty damn awesome.  Nanami suddenly emerged as a force to be reckoned with – I didn’t see it coming, and I’m glad the formula got shaken up.  There has always been a very real fear that Katanagatari would get bogged down in its format – the fact it managed surprised me was pretty awesome.


Naruto Shippuuden

For a training arc, this has been pretty good.  The start of the invasion was handled well too – not much more to actually say, most of the month has been spent on set up for the big fights that will be happening as Pain tears through Konoha.  Still I was pleased by how they managed to make the training arc quite interesting  as it was dull in the manga.  Looking forward to the rest of the arc.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. May 1, 2010 1:03 am

    Holy crap you follow a lot of anime. I was honestly surprised when below Naruto there was no One Piece. How can you follow Naruto and Bleach but no One Piece!

    I kinda wished I started watching Dragonball Kai when if first started airing. It feels way too late now. Ah well~

    • May 1, 2010 1:06 am

      Aye I do follow a lot of stuff weekly – once I had 35 shows going……that was overkill. 20-25 is normal for me these days.

      Ah with One Piece I like to let it build up and then go on a binge. I’m currently about 100 episodes behind broadcast – the craving is back though so I’ll be marathoning it again shortly 😀

      Its never too late to jump into some Dragonball – the show is made for marathoning!

  2. May 1, 2010 1:35 am

    You were spot-on with a lot of my impressions of the spring anime season so far! It’s nice to hear some thoughts on so many shows, haha ^^ I’m loving the dramedy of Angel Beats, more crazy characters in Drrr!, and how I still tune in for K-On, even if I don’t regard it that highly 😀

  3. May 1, 2010 9:54 am

    😐 that really was a long post :O your poor wrist :S

    but you’re watching k-on *stops feeling sorry for mummy’s wrist*

    • May 1, 2010 12:37 pm

      Self-inflicted pain deserves no sympathy 😦 Its really fecking sore though!

  4. ukato permalink
    May 1, 2010 12:00 pm

    Wow, seriously never knew you watched that many shows, lol, and i thought i followed alot of the current stuff but man, you’re ACTUALLY watching ALL of the current series arent you!?!? XD

    Just a random question; what would be your top five current/new season shows so far?
    Mine would be (in no particular order): Angel Beats, B Gata H, Kaichou, Working, Daimaou

    Cya next post~

    • May 1, 2010 12:38 pm

      Not all……but yeah, most 😛

      I’ll be doing my mid-season picks either next week or the week after – I’ll hold off on answering that till then 😀

      • ukato permalink
        May 2, 2010 2:18 am

        Ooohh!! More awesomeness for us to read 😉

        • ukato permalink
          May 2, 2010 2:20 am

          hmm thats weird, ive got 2 different avvys on the same page… >.<

  5. May 1, 2010 4:46 pm

    Our thoughts on the new season’s series are almost identical, with the slight exception that I find K-ON!! enjoyable. 😛 I also found it interesting to hear your thoughts on the stuff that I’m not watching; seems I was right to drop Heroman and avoid UraBoku, though I may have to give Working! a second chance some day.

    Good luck with the second episode of Youjo-Han Shinwa Taikei, I agree that it could be brilliant, but I don’t have the willpower to try and follow those subs again.

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