Monthly Reflections – October & November 2010
Ok, so October’s monthly summary didn’t happen, sorry about that! I’ll roll the last two months into one and this will also serve as a kind of mid-season review – two birds, one stone and all that jazz. The Autumn season has turned out surprisingly solid, I have quite a lot of shows still on the go.
Anyway, as usual, the post is split into current season & ongoing shows.
Current Season Shows
Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge
The second season of Arakawa has been a nice mix of gag comedy and ‘plot’. We’re finally getting some insight into Nino, and even thought we’re being drip-fed hints about her past it’s still very satisfying to finally get to know a bit more about our favourite self-proclaimed Venusian. The two new characters of the Amazoness and the Captain, haven’t really added much to the series, but their individual episodes were pretty entertaining. Still, it’s definitely the episodes focusing on Nino & Ric’s relationship that stand out as Arakawa at its finest. Really looking forward to the final month of this series.
I’ve got very mixed thoughts about the Bakuman anime adaptation. When the show is concentrating on Mashiro & Takagi being ridiculously excited about their manga, the show is great. Unfortunately most of the time so far has been spent on the rather stupid and boring romance of Mashio & Miho. Having read the manga I’m fairly anxious to get onto the hot-blooded rivalry aspect of the show – Bakuman is a shounen series after all, however the anime seems determined to pursue the slice of life aspect, with mixed success. I’m still enjoying the show, mainly because I like the characters – but the anime has highlighted just how weak the romance part of the series really is.
Ah Hakuouki. I approve of your costume upgrades however I’m still annoyed by the fact your heroine is as about as interesting as a magnolia wall. I really do think this show would have been so much better if they had just got rid of the pretense of having a girl and just made the show BL. It works so much better as BL – even if we had to keep Chizuru, swapping her for her identical twin brother wouldn’t have really affected the plot any! I am amused by how determined Hakuouki is to kill off most of its cast though; it’s quite disappointing as the only reason I’m watching this show is for the pretty, and they keep killing off my bishies!
Scratch up another success for the Noitamina time slot – Kuragehime is an absolute gem! I had an inkling that this show would be good, but it’s really surprised me by how it takes the most overdone tropes and makes them feel fresh. I mean we have your standard Pygmalion set up with Tsukimi & the other Nunz being forcibly made over by the glamorous crossdresser Kuranosuke, yet the characters refuse to change their core personalities – they completely reject the hipster lifestyle. Kuragehime’s characters are wonderful and the script just has that sparkle that makes each episode a joy to watch. Really looking forward to the rest of the series – hoping for a Shuukimi end!
Letter Bee: Reverse
The second season of Letter Bee is off to an excellent start. As I hoped the show is making ample use of the large amount of world building & character development that S1 did, and is ploughing on with the actual plot. We’re getting plenty on whats happened to Gauche, and in the past couple of fantastic episodes we got Niche’s past laid out. Letter Bee S2 maintains the fabulous production quality that made the show so attractive to begin with, and adds in some really stunning directorial choices – I’m really loving this 2nd season, even though there is still a wee bit of filler its the character building variety that Letter Bee actually does really well. Massively looking forward to next month’s episodes.
Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai!
Oreimo is a frustrating series. It lulled me into a false sense of security in its initial episodes were it seemed to be promising some well written non-squicky, sibling interaction……but then it seemed to get bored with that and headed off into otaku pandering blah-ness. Despite that I’m still watching the show, and quite like some of the characters – Kuroneko is awesome, Saori is really intriguing and Manami & her grandparents are loads of fun. Actually this series is at its best when Kirino isn’t in it. Kirino’s variety of uber-bitchiness isn’t enjoyable to watch and it grates to see Kyousuke take her attitude like a classic doormat – especially since he’s the elder sibling. I don’t really have any expectations for this series anymore, it’s just mindless entertainment now; more side characters less Kirino next month please!
Otome Youkai Zakuro
Now this show has really surprised me. I had originally dismissed Zakuro as generic bishie rubbish with an over abundance of pink…….I am now forced to eat my words! Zakuro is a joy to watch – sure its full of the usual shoujo tropes and is fairly easy to predict, but it’s so well written and has some excellent animation (sword fight in ep8 springs to mind). Plus it has the most adorable couple ever in Suzukihotaru & Riken – serious d’awww~ material there! Its been a while since I enjoyed something this girly so much, but I don’t really see Zakuro disappointing me anytime soon.
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt
Back when I was previewing this series I thought that it would either be an utter disaster or pure genius – seems like Gainax haven’t lost the plot, because Panty & Stocking is absolute genius. Its frantic, has its mind firmly in the gutter and sometimes tries way to hard to gross the viewer out, but all that is tempered with moments of undeniable genius. The B parts of ep 3 & 5 the A part of ep 7 and ep 6 all stand out in my mind as amazing pieces of animation and triumphs of direction. Oh and the music, dear god the music – I need this OST in my life! Of course Panty & Stocking isn’t going to be for everyone – it can actually be quite sickening and some of the jokes are overdone at this stage, but it’s still a series that continues to top itself – and I’m really enjoying it.
Shinrei Tantei Yakumo
Ah Yakumo. The major fear I had about you was the fact you were Bee-Train, and unfortunately this time my fears were realised. Yakumo is very Bee-Train, its slow, disjointed and yet has moments of brilliance were you can see how this show could have been brilliant in someone else’s hands. I do like the premise, Yakumo is an interesting character and its been a while since there was a really good mystery series…….Yakumo isn’t what we’ve been waiting for though. The latest arc was good, but it was too rushed and way too reliant on coincidences rather than actual good plotting, and the antagonists are utterly generic with no clearly defined objective. The show feels like it should be over now, but there is another arc looming so god knows how that will go down. I’m thinking that I’ll check out the manga to see how things were done there. Still at least Yakumo is pretty~!
Star Driver is an intriguing series – its extremely camp and so far it hasn’t really indicated that its got a firm destination in mind. Each episode seems to try out something different, while still keeping to a general frame-work with Tauburn’s ritualistic decimation of the Glittering Crux’s Cybodies at its core. Character development has been fairly limited – Takuto in particular is keeping his cards close to his chest and in general the characters feel fairly one-dimensional. However I still see lots of potential in this show – there are tantalising tidbits of information peppered throughout the show and I’m extremely interested in just what is going on on this island. Plus there is absolutely no denying that Star Driver is an absolutely gorgeous show – the production values never fail to stun, the colours are just eye-popping and the movement is so fluid, it’s just a very visually appealing series. If I get nothing else out of the show at least my senses will be satisfied!
The World God Only Knows
Still watching this, and still hoping it’s going to show some sort of originality or genre subversion – so far my wait has been in vain. TWGOK is a nicely done series for its type – the writing can be quite good and the production is solid, however its nothing to write home about. The characters are dull and I really think they missed the boat by not casting FukuJun as Keima – Hiro Shimono is decent, but there’s definitely something lacking in his performance that I can’t quite pinpoint (think its the amount of squawking he does when agitated). The girls are just your bog standard cookie cutter haremettes, and the resolution for each arc to date has been rather predictable. Still, it’s not doing anything particularly wrong and remains watchable so I’ll be sticking it out.
To Aru Majutsu no Index II
Index hasn’t learnt its lesson – S2 has the exact same flaws as S1! Touma talks too much and falls into women’s crotches/cleavage waaaay too much to be considered ‘misfortune’, Index has still received no development as a character, the arcs have no continuity and everything is just too random. The action is undeniably good though, even if the rather unflinching violence is still quite jarring given the art style and Accelerator continues to steal the show (even if he’s only been in it for a grand total of 5 minutes so far!). I’m kind of stuck with the show regardless of how much it annoys me since I’m a ridiculous completionist – oh well at least it’s pretty.
Togainu no Chi
Togainu no Chi is terrible. It doesn’t have a single redeeming feature – the bishies aren’t even pretty like those in Hakuouki! And yet, despite the fact I can say that its awful with utter conviction, I’m still watching and really enjoying the show…….go figure! The show entertains me – nothing makes sense, the dialogue and acting is cheesy but I sit and giggle my way through every episode. Togainu no Chi is based on a BL eroge, yet bizarrely they have decided to pull all the BL out of the anime adaptation – the result is laughable because it is so glaringly obvious that there are meant to be BL scenes in this show; they should have just gone for broke and made the anime a smutty BL show, it may have attracted more viewers that way! 😆
Yosuga no Sora
I had originally dropped Yosuga no Sora after the 1st episode, but ended up continuing with it anyway. I had thought that the show was going to be the über generic dullness with a side of incest…….I was somewhat right. However Yosuga no Sora mixes things up with blatant H-scenes that come out of nowhere, pure comedy omake’s at the end of every episode and the fact its taking a leaf out of Amagami’s book and employing a reset arc approach, so Haruka can fuck every girl in the show! The result is a weird trainwreck of a harem show that I can’t stop watching – Haruka has all the personality of cardboard, but must be emitting some serious pheromones as every single female in this show is throwing themselves at his feet; his twin sister included! Yosuga no Sora is worth watching just to see how low it will go (although how they’ll top shota rape remains to be seen!).
So Bleach then……October’s episodes were basically Aizen rambling about how awesome he is and how the world revolves around him, whereas November’s episodes have a been mostly fillery tie-in’s to the new Bleach movie. I’ve actually been watching the majority of the latest episodes on double time – the squeaky chipmunk voices never fail to entertain! Ah Bleach, I remember when you were good – what happened there?
DB:Kai has been epic these past two months. Cell attaining his perfect form, the Saiyans training in the Room of Time and Space, Vegeta being awesome, Cell being awesome, yelling, explosions, more yelling, more explosions – basically everything that I adore about Dragon Ball present and accounted for! Hugely looking forward to next month’s episodes since it’s the start of the run up to the Cell Games – good times!
I’m really enjoying Fairy Tail at the moment. October was mainly fun episodic stuff to fill space between major arcs, and November has been all about getting the Nirvana arc started. The Nirvana arc is probably my second favourite from the manga so far (the Tower of Paradise arc is still my favourite), and I’m quite pleased with how things are going at the moment. The new characters are fun and the action is turning out well. Next month should be good!
Hetalia continues to be hit or miss. The Nekotalia episodes were bizarre, but I liked the Sealand and China episodes. The latest mini-arc that took up most of November’s episodes was England trying to escape from the Italy brothers by trying to blend in with the locals and failing miserably – I enjoy England episodes. Another episode of the Axis Powers being shipwrecked rounded out the month.
Katanagatari is really starting to pull out all the stops as it reaches its climax. October was all about solidifying Togame & Shichika’s relationship, uncovering Togame’s past and learning more about the nature of the Deviant Blades as well as firmly establishing the final boss of the series. November’s episode contained an awful lot of information and gave us our first real look at Shikizaki Kiki and the founder of the Yagiri family. November also left us on an incredibly evil cliffhanger and promises that the finale of Katanagatari will be suitably epic – I can hardly wait!
Legend of the Legendary Heroes
DenYuuDen continues to surprise me – just when I think I have the show figured out, it fires in a bunch of new characters, ups the stakes and shakes up the animation……..lately this show has been excellent, is this really Zexcs?? However at this stage its difficult to see how the series can possibly wrap up all the plot threads, especially since it insists on firing new things into the mix every bloody episode! At the moment we have Ryner’s issues, Sion’s current weirdness, Gastark stuff, Tiir’s magic eye group, Miran’s plans and Milk & Luke’s faction…….and there’s probably some other stuff I’m forgetting too! There is no way this show can end neatly – 2nd series where!?
Filler, filler and more fucking filler! Jesus christ Shippuden, I used to salute you for avoiding going the way of the original Naruto series by turning your filler arc’s into coherent arcs rather than episodic shittiness. The current spate of Shippuden filler has been utterly craptastic and is upsetting my happiness since I feel obligated to watch the stupid things! The worst thing is that it’s all flashback stuff to pre-timeskip Naruto so it really is like reliving the horror of endless Naruto filler! MAKE IT END ALREADY!
Shiki has been absolutely brilliant lately – everything has gone to shit in Sotoba, and everyone is DOOMED! The last few episodes have been so utterly devoid of hope that it is really hard to see how the humans in the series can ever recover from their loses – in Shiki no one is safe, named character status means nothing. Episode 14 also saw the series show why its got that ‘horror’ tag – dear god that episode was horrifying, marking a turning point in both the show’s direction and the whole outlook of the remaining characters. Shiki is easily my favourite currently airing series and I am dying to find out what else it has in store for us!