Monthly Reflections – September 2010
Since I watch a ton 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. It’s the end of the summer season so a fair few shows hit their finale’s – fun month! Anyway, I’ll split the post into current season and long running shows.
Current Season Shows
So this month was all about Squeaky-chan Sae, and with the resolution of her arc I’ve finally dropped Amagami. Not that Sae’s arc was particularly awful (it was much more entertaining than Kaoru’s), it’s just that I couldn’t care less about this series so its time to bid it farewell – I lasted much longer than I thought I would! Anyway, I ended up watching Sae’s arc purely for the snarky Narrator (hoorah for Jouji Nakata) that suddenly materialised – seriously this is how you do narration; but Sae turned out to be less annoying than I thought she’d be – still annoying though. Fun month – I laughed quite a lot at the stupidity.
Status – dropped
Rating – 3/5
High School of the Dead
So this month saw HOTD’s finale (if you can call the utter lack of closure a finale) and it was a pretty interesting way to end the series. After the chaos and ridiculous fanservice of last month, this month was a lot quieter and more restrained as the group rested in relative safety at Saya’s house. The series finished in a manner that clearly demands a sequel – I’d be more than happy to hop on this bandwagon again – HOTD was very entertaining!
Final Rating: 4/5
And so ends the entirely anime original second season of Kuroshitsuji, and what a surprising end it was! I never expected great things from this series, I honestly thought it was going to be utterly disastrous. Thankfully that was not the case and this series turned out to be one of the best of the summer season IMO. This month managed to completely wrap up all the loose ends nicely and the end actually successfully surprised me – I didn’t consider that possibility. Hopefully they’ll leave the series alone now – really don’t think a 3rd season would be wise since the show is so drastically different from the manga at this stage.
Final Rating: 4/5
Legend of the Legendary Heroes
Rather underwhelming month for DenYuuDen – I really don’t know where this series going anymore. The resolution to Ryner’s berserk Alpha Stigma moment was kind of anticlimactic, and the rest of the month has just been Miran continuing his bloody campaign of murder, Ryner & Ferris taking another young Alpha Stigma bearer under their wing, and the introduction of a nation of over-powered pink-haired people hell-bent on conquering the whole continent (guessing this is the main plot arriving?). I hope the 2nd half of the show picks up – I still like the characters, just getting bored with all the rather directionless set-up.
It was more of the same in Mitsudomoe’s final month – well it does have a sequel already lined up for Winter and it’s not like there’s any plot to speak of, so more of the same was to be expected! The last few episodes were mainly given over to expanding the side characters a bit more – Shin’s trio of stalkers, the tall tomboy in Mitsuba’s group and Sugisaki’s family all got a bit of screentime, which kept things interesting (although Mitsuba was really the star this month). The humour remains lowbrow and repetitive, but Mitsudomoe is still a weirdly charming show, and I’ll be watching the sequel.
Final Rating: 3.5/5
Nurarihyon no Mago
My opinion of this show hasn’t really changed one bit from last month. NuraMago continues to tick along at its own pace, managing to be interesting without being overly exciting. This month gave some much-needed development to Kana and Yura as well as introduced some proper antagonists. Unfortunately ep13 turned out to be a fecking recap episode (god I hate those things!), so I’ll have to wait till next month to see where they’re going with this new arc; hopefully there’ll be more Night Rikuo (yay pretty!).
Seikimatsu Occult Academy
Whatever I was expecting from the finale of Occult Academy, this sure as hell wasn’t it! Episode 10 came out of nowhere with its madcap randomness and action – truly the plot came back with a bang! I was hugely entertained this month, however I feel that Occult Academy could have done a lot better. The show was well written for the most part and character development was pretty sound – there was no real need for this kind of lulzy surprise ending; something more controlled and logical would have worked better with the slow pacing up till this month. Still if nothing else the end was memorable, and Occult Academy was a pretty solid way to close the Anime no Chikara timeslot.
Final Rating: 4/5
Sengoku BASARA Two
So the majority of this series has been building up the conflict with Toyotomi and as such there was lots of political chit-chat and not a hell of a lot of action for the most part…….and this month wasn’t really much different. I went into SenBasa2 looking for the same ridiculous OTT stupidity that made me grin and giggle like a loon in S1, but unfortunately I didn’t really get that. Instead there was a weird determination to have a proper plot, which resulted in long boring (to me) dialogues, way too much of Kenji’s pacificist whining and not nearly enough shouting and punching! Despite the fact I didn’t really get what I was looking for in this sequel, it was still fun to watch, and I’m quite excited about the prospect of a film.
Final Rating: 3.5/4
Ah what a month for Shiki! Even though the show decided to go on a 3 week hiatus after ep11, it’s still easily the best show this month. All of a sudden all the careful build up paid off and the last few episodes have been crammed full of interesting developments and surprising twists. I now really like Natsuno as a protagonist, he’s gone from irritating emo teen, to proactive sometimes intelligent vampire hunter and I’m dying to find out what his next move will be. Ozaki & Muroi have also proven interesting – but Sunako & Tatsumi steal every scene they’re in! The 2nd half of this series promises to be something special.
So the odd Arabian Nights filler was a one-off to celebrate the manga reaching 10 years of serialisation (has it really been that long!?) and it was right back to Hueco Mundo the following week for an episode to get Ichigo heading back to the real world with Unohana. The rest of this month’s episodes mainly focused on the fight with Tousen and it was every bit as boring and stupid as I remember it being in the manga! There’s nothing I’m particularly looking forward to in the Bleach now – kind of just watching out of habit; a bit of stupid filler would actually be a welcome change.
I love this series! Norio Wakamoto’s Cell is brilliant fun to listen too, and I’ve really been enjoying watching Piccolo being a complete badass in his fight against Android #17. Goku is awake and has dragged the other Saiyans off to that very convenient Room of Time & Space for a quick power-up before the almighty clashes that are to follow as the Android Saga ticks on. Kai really has been fun to watch – there’s no filler to worry about and everything seems to be zipping along with very little lag. Great stuff.
There really is no hanging about in Fairy Tail! This month has the conclusion of the Battle of Fairy Tail arc and it was action packed from beginning to end! I had been looking forward to Mirajane’s episode, and it was very well done in the anime (if a touch rushed). The fight with Laxus took up a full two episodes, which just enough time to make sure the fight stayed interesting and tense throughout. It’s weird how even though I know whats happening, it’s still thrilling to see these scenes animated – I especially loved seeing the Fantasia parade in all its shiny glory. Fairy Tail has been greenlit for another year so we’ll definitely be moving onto the long Nirvana arc next.
Absolutely brilliant month for Giant Killing – this series demands and deserves a 2nd season! Once again the majority of the month was given over the conclusion of the ETU Vs Osaka Gunner’s match, and even though I knew how the score line would turn out (given the name of the show and all) it was still really exciting to watch how ETU did things. I am by no means a football fan, but Giant Killing made me cheer and yell at the screen – a very successful sports series. Of course there were budget issues, but this has to be one of DEENs best series and I sincerely hope we get a sequel – I need to know where the characters and team are going next!
Final Rating: 4.5/5
Yeap it is definitely more entertaining to watch ~4 episodes of Hetalia in one sitting rather than an episode a week. This months episode dealt with Spain’s troubles with Turkey and his money problems which lead to mostly sitting out WWII. There was also a rather random segment were the countries were turned into cats…..twas odd. The little Nordic segment about product manufacture made me chuckle (Finland designs, Sweden builds, Denmark sells, Norway criticises), we need more Nordic segments! The rest was all about Germany looking out for Japan’s health, and the only highlight was a brief appearance from Prussia being Prussia.
Maid-sama ended in a fairly predictable manner, although that’s not to say that it was in any way bad – rather it delivered exactly what I wanted from this series; pure fluffy shoujo and some giggles. Shintani added some spark to the show when it was starting to get a bit dull and he got quite a bit of development this month, however the final episode was pure Misaki X Usui fanservice. I kind of wish Usui had of gotten some meaningful development – he’s still pretty 1 dimensional; although saying that I have no desire to read the manga or get a 2nd season – I’ve had my fill of Maid-sama now.
Final Rating: 3.5/5
I thought that I only had to suffer through 2 episodes this month, but then they went and had 2 fecking extra episodes and I still haven’t seen ep26 so can’t mark this ‘complete’ yet. Why are you doing this to me KyoAni!? I just want it to end, but noooo, now there’s a fecking movie greenlit! A MOVIE of K-ON! What is wrong with the world!? Zetsuboushita~!
Anyway, this month has been all about graduation and they milked it for all it was worth – trying every trick in the book to make this as emotional as possible. Which failed abysmally for me since I couldn’t give a flying fuck about any of the characters 😆 The two extra episodes are basically filler (much like every other episode in the series really). If nothing else K-ON!! has taught me a valuable lesson – if I’m not enjoying a series I need to bail early, otherwise I’ll end up trapped into the rest of the show and any sequels – I never want to go through this again.
Final Rating: 2/5 (1 star for the animation and the other for it finally being over!)
I really enjoyed this months Katanagatari. It may not have really moved the plot forward, nor did it have any spectacular action scenes – rather this was a very intimate episode that really furthered Togame and Shichika’s relationship. They’ve been growing closer inch by inch over the run of the show, but in this episode Togame is forced to deal with her feelings in a very immediate sense, and Shichika takes another step forward in terms of dealing with his growing humanity and making decisions for himself. Its episodes like this that remind me why I liked Katanagatari to start with – it’s the witty dialogue and character interaction that keep me coming back rather than the plot. That being said, I’m very much looking forward to the final quarter of this series – tensions are running high on the sword hunt and I’m interested in seeing how Shichika and Togame overcome the odds together.
Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn!
So this month saw the rather excellent end to the Future arc. Even though things worked out a touch too perfectly, I quite liked that there was still a touch of melancholy to the victory. One thing I really like about Reborn is how Tsuna always rises to a challenge – his whiney weak moments are annoying, but he can kick a whole load of arse when occasion calls for it, plus he’s yet to appear to be too god-moded. I’m quite interested to see how they top this arc, its been very good indeed.
Shippuden has been taking a rather novel approach to filler this month. Rather than just make up shit, they’re putting in some current canon stuff (aftermath of the Pain arc) and mixing in some flashbacks to the very start of the series, although this time it’s from the perspective of the adults. The Iruka stuff set during Naruto’s time at the academy was completely fabricated (and I think I’ve read way too many fanfics with a similar plotline), but managed to further develop his character and show just how far Naruto has come as character. We’re now being shown Kakashi’s point of view with a touch of Danzo scheming on the side, although we seem to be moving on to the next arc with Sasuke in the next episode.
So we reach Rainbow’s final month and its been a very solid month and great way to end this series. I’m glad we ended on such a hopeful note with all the boys looking forward to their future – after all they’ve been through they deserve a bit of hope! Rainbow has been an interesting series; for me the 1st half set in the prison and immediately afterwards was the best, as even though it could be a bit overblown and cheesy, it was gritty, dark and fascinating. My interest started to waver once we started these mini arcs to tell each boys post-prison story, but this month has been really good. Rainbow may not be Madhouse’s finest moment, but it’s still a great addition to their record.
Final Rating: 4/5
So unfortunately the finale failed to deliver – rather we were left with no resolution and the show was clearly fishing for a 2nd series (which I very much doubt will ever materialise). This month’s episodes were pretty solid right up until the end though, I really wish they had of just done an anime original end to close the anime off in a satisfying way – nothing spoils a series more than a wishy-washy ending (well except for an out-and-out shitty ending I suppose 😛 ). I was also quite disappointed with how little development our ‘main’ characters received – Yuuki and Luka are essentially exactly the same as they were at the start of the show, we still don’t know much about Yuuki’s past life, or Luka’s whole story with his family – the side cast was much better fleshed out in comparison. Still despite the massive flaws, I really enjoyed Uraboku – it was entertaining, very pretty, had some great action scenes and a fantastic cast; a much better show that I was initially expecting.
Final Rating: 4/5