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Top 5 of Spring 2010: Mid-season impressions

May 18, 2010

OK tis mid-season so as usual, here’s my picks of the season.

It has been a mixed bag – of the series previewed I’ve kept on 13 and dropped 2 after 5 episodes. I’ll only be giving a top 5 rather than the usual 10 for a Spring season, as there are 5 series that stand above the rest IMO. Anyway, in ascending order, here’s my top 5 series of Spring 2010 (so far).

5. Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin:

Rainbow is very different to anything else currently airing. Its gritty approach and dark subject matter made me sit up and take notice, but its the characters that keep me coming back. Rainbow is definitely a character driven series and of the characters An-chan stands head and shoulders above the rest as the character to watch. The overblown drama can be distracting at times though – there was no need to make the guard quite that pantomime villain evil, but that’s a minor quibble really. Rainbow can be uplifting at times with a strong message about the power of friendship, and at others it makes me squirm at its unflinching portrayal of the abuse the boys have to put up with. It remains to be seen how the story will pan out in the end, but I’ll definitely be sticking this one out till the end.

4. Giant Killing:

Yes the football anime has made it into Cara’s top 5! Giant Killing is fantastic entertainment – I still hate football with an undying passion, but I can watch this series with little bother! The characters are excellent, there’s been a very solid base built-in these early episodes and I’m really looking forward to seeing how they develop. Every episode is a little bit different and adds to the sense that the team is gradually evolving under Takumi’s leadership. Sure the animation is pretty horrendous at times and god knows these aren’t the bishiest of character designs, but who cares!? the writing is great and I’m enjoying the ride!

3. Sarai-ya Goyou (House of Five Leaves):

House of Five Leaves is so relaxing – I love the atmosphere this show creates effortlessly. Not a whole lot has happened really, but I’m really enjoying this series portrayal of the lives of this group of edo-period characters. Nothing feels false or forced, dialogue flows naturally and the characters are completely believable. The shows strong point is its characterisation and the way it gradually bleeds out details of their pasts – interesting stuff without being too over wrought. Some may find it boring, and the art style is definitely not for everyone – but for those that can appreciate the beautiful detailing this show is a treat. Great voice acting and music round the show off – looking forward to the rest of the series!

2. Arakawa Under the Bridge:

SHAFT are back on form with Arakawa – I liked it enough to blog it! The brilliance of Arakawa lies in the fact that underneath the stupidity and wacky characters, there is a lot of heart. I’ve really enjoyed seeing Ric try to adapt to his new life under the bridge and the Residents attempts to get him to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. It’s very simple and subtlety done, but there’s quite a bit of depth to Arakawa. Of course even if you aren’t interested in the layers, there’s still great entertainment value to be had from Arakawa! The colourful cast are brought to life by excellent voice actors and script with plenty of spark – it’s actually succeeded in making me LOL a few times; which is what you want a gag series to do at the end of the day! I’m enjoying each trip under the bridge and am interested in meeting more nutty characters and watching Ric & Nino’s relationship development. Fun show, definitely one of the seasons best offerings.

1. Angel Beats!:

I actually wasnt too sure where to put this on the list, but decided to stick it at the top since it’s the series that’s given the most food for thought and entertainment value of the season. Angel Beats is a very odd mixture of slapstick comedy, classic Key/Jun Maeda DORAMA and a whole boatload of High-school Tropes; yet despite its use of overused elements, the end result has been very entertaining! I’m completely unsure of where the story is going (just when I think I’ve got the show figured out it pulls something that throws all my theories out the window) and I’m not sure I’m going to like where it ends up, but the ride has been great fun. For the simple fact that Angel Beats has managed to surprise me I had to give it top billing – not many shows can really do that these days. Of course the animation is a bit inconsistent at times, and there is a bit of hammy acting going on too – the show is by no means perfect, but still I generally prize entertainment value above all else, and Angel Beats delivers on that front. It just remains to be seen if the end result is a trainwreck or brilliance! 😛

So thats my top 5, whats yours!?

9 Comments leave one →
  1. temperus permalink
    May 18, 2010 11:09 pm

    I’m all for Giant Killing and Five Leaves, and find Tatami Galaxy promising (but I’ve only watched 3 episodes, and worry that it’ll get stuck in a rut by episode 6). The rest of the new shows are all “meh”, and I find most are going downhill. Angel Beats and Arakawa seems to be all about ridiculous extremes, and I just don’t care about any of the characters. I also find the comedy in both surprisingly bland, even compared to purposely-generic shows like B Gata and Working. Maybe I’ll catch up on Rainbow and Night Raid and take a break from Angel Beats and Arakawa.

  2. May 18, 2010 11:12 pm

    What can I say, ridiculous extremes entertain me! 😆

    Watching Tatami Galaxy exhausts me, but I’d probably have it at #6. Night Raid is boring me and its one of the shows I dropped after 5 episodes – it just seemed to go nowhere.

  3. temperus permalink
    May 18, 2010 11:26 pm

    You’re certainly not alone with respect to “ridiculous extremes”, and I’ve been known to enjoy them too (FLCL, Gurren Lagann, Bantorra, Read or Die, etc etc).. I don’t really know why Angel Beats and Arakawa are so boring to me, but it’s probably just because I don’t share their sense of humor. I dropped Night Raid after two eps, so it seems you’ve got more patience than me to begin with.. maybe with more patience I could appreciate the others as well? 😀

  4. May 19, 2010 5:35 am

    I haven’t started Rainbow. I’m afraid to get involved with something that intense unless I hear it was all worth it in the end, so I’m going to read final reflections before committing to watching this one.

    I agree that Angel Beats keeps defying my expectations, which is generally a good thing. Not my fave of the season, but it has been a very entertaining ride so far.

    I couldn’t be more impressed with House of 5 Leaves. Probably my favorite of the season.

    Arakawa, occasionally hilarious, and has a lot of potential. I would like to see this show end up strong, that is, with some real development. Definitely top 5 material.

    I am enjoying , even the somewhat crude art style. In fact, in a way, the art style enhances the experience. I particularly like how angular things are (like Tatsumi’s nose).

  5. May 19, 2010 10:28 am

    I feel like a lot of people don’t see that subtlety in Arakawa Under the Bridge and see it as aother lolrandom show. While the absurdist comedy is a portion of it, I consider the character development and story progression to be the emphasis and the more important aspect of the show. It’s what keeps me coming back.

    And in the opposite sense, it’s the comedy that keeps me coming back to Angel Beats. Because even though the plot showed potential at the beginning, it’s really gone down the crapper the last couple episodes. The cliffhanger at the end of the last episode gives me some hope, though.

  6. May 19, 2010 1:17 pm

    I have yet to watch House of Five Leaves and has put Rainbow on hold because of how busy I am but I agree with Angel Beats! being the most entertained one. Working came in second in my list and Oofuri and Giant Killing are third and fourth respectively. Arakawa in fifth. I just feel like Arakawa has lost it’s charm after the second episode.

  7. May 19, 2010 4:01 pm

    Angel Beats on 1st.. Brain melt alert! 😛

    Well, I would certainly put Arakawa there, it’s so surprisingly good.

    Also, I’d switch Rainbow with Five Leaves, the second one is waaaay too slow and I just can’t get myself to watch it.

    Still, good picks for top 5, just our tastes vary so much when it comes to their order.

  8. May 19, 2010 7:00 pm

    @temperus: I think thats the 1st time I’ve been called patient 😮

    @Joojoobees: Rainbow is excellent but intense – its manageable weekly though, not one to be marathoned. 5 Leaves is probably the best of the season in terms of sheer quality I agree.

    @lvlln: Its definately the subtlties of Arakawa that keep me coming back too – the comedy is great, but the little character developing moments are quite special.
    Angel Beats I doubt will deliver anything brilliant plot-wise, but its damned entertaining regardless!

    @kluxorious: 5 Leaves has a very subtle charm – you need to be in the mood for it though (same with Rainbow, but for a completely different reason). Working is quite hit or miss for me, too much of a mixed bag to put in the top 5 due to its overdependance on ‘lolquirky character!’ Havent started Oofuri.

    @Velore: I’d expect most people to have the order shuffled quite alot. I have an odd ranking system were I prize entertainment value above everthing else.

  9. Topspin permalink
    May 20, 2010 2:21 am

    I don’t really have 5 particular ones that I like either. Almost everything is lumped in the middle of my entertainment range.. for instance, Neko Overrun entertains me about as much as Arakawa. Night Raid entertains me about as much as Angel Beats. I’m not a teenager anymore, so just tossing moe, slapstick, and melodrama into a big tub and shaking it won’t make an instant classic for me. Most shows are on the down-swing for me because they’ve established themselves and aren’t promising to be anything that stands out in my memory.

    Giant Killing, Five Leaves, and Tatami are the only shows that’ve kept me consistently entertained. Giant Killing has no budget, but makes up for it with interesting characters. Five Leaves is slow but soothing, and I like the uniqueness of a show about Edo that isn’t trying too hard to be the same samurai thing we’ve seen a million times. Three eps in, Tatami is the most “interesting” show overall, but it’s also the most fragile – outstanding ED aside, it’s fairly heavy and could get boring pretty fast.

    But really, what self-respecting otaku would root for those three shows? I’m not surprised everyone else heaps so much love on Arakawa and Angel Beats. They *are* designed for mass appeal, after all (moreso Angel Beats).

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