05-01-12, 3:47 AM
April (2012) titles
Anime Relations: Shuffle!, Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku, Haibane Renmei, xxxHOLiC, Busou Renkin, Rosario to Vampire, Hatenkou Yuugi, Soul Eater, Sekirei, Tentai Senshi Sunred, Natsu no Arashi!, Higashi no Eden, Higashi no Eden Movie I: The King of Eden, Nyan Koi!, Higashi no Eden Movie II: Paradise Lost, Redline, Ladies versus Butlers!, Arakawa Under the Bridge, Bakuman., Kuragehime, Ladies versus Butlers! Specials, Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai, Hiyokoi, Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai, Yosuga no Sora: In Solitude, Where We Are Least Alone., Steins;Gate, Hanasaku Iroha, Ao no Exorcist, Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai., Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai II, Mayo Chiki!, Kimi to Boku., Ao no Exorcist Specials, Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: 4-nin to Idol, Steins;Gate: Oukoubakko no Poriomania, Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai!, Ao no Exorcist: Kuro no Iede, Ano Natsu de Matteru, High School DxD, Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou
- (8.4) Steins;Gate: Very enjoyable series with great characters and an ever intriguing theme. However, a few minor flaws throughout the more dramatic plot line irritiated me somewhat. Why was it possible to avert Kurisu's death with a 'simple' D-Mail (ep#1) or by faking it (at the end), whereas Mayuri's death was set in motion no matter what (by very different causes)? Why did they necessarily assume that reverting to the original time line would prevent Mayuri's death? There are several more quite unpleasant plot conveniences such as Okabe repeatedly trying to prevent Mayuri's death but not talking to the others (for almost 2 episodes), running around like a headless chicken (very unscientific) and always managing to get back to the time machine (even when he was captured by armed men...). Why would he not immediately try to revert Moeka's D-Mail which was obviously linked to the disappearance of the IBN5100? Despite having said all that, I still sat through the series in 2 days and the 25th episode (OVA) was a great way to wrap up the story.
- (7.9) Astro Fighter Sunred: The idea of a parody on the super hero genre was pure win. Even though it was a little slow at times and some segments seemed unnecessary (like cooking with Vamp or the dog-host called Reiji) it was overall such an enjoyable ensemble of weirdos and made me grin all over my face. Sunred as the tsundere super hero, the gentle evil boss Vamp-sama, the duo Khamenman & Metaleo and best of all - Hellwolf! I kill youz! Fantastic! The seiyuus did an awesome job and the translation by ANBU was hilarious too, punk bitch!
- (7.6) Ano Hana: Accepting the pretext of this ficitonal story, I found it to be a very well executed idea and for most of the time a pleasant and captivating watching experience. While the characters were not exactly the likable kind (especially due to their obsessions) I'd consider them quite believable. Watching them interact and deal with the situation and their motivations was an interesting ride. Menma and her centrality in the show annoyed me at a certain point but that would be more of a design flaw. The ending was well done and with 11 episodes it was wrapped up nicely and just at the right time.
- (7.5) Ano Natsu de Matteru: This was surprisingly good with its strong focus on romance, appropriate pacing and likeable characters. Not being an adaptation from previous material seems to really work in favor of this genre (just as Ano Hana), nothing feels dragged out. I didn't really appreciate the sci-fi elements in the story but until the 11th episode I didn't really mind either. That being said, the last 2 episodes were absolutely horrible. The silly sci-fi backstory completely hijacked the conclusion of the show, derailed the focus from the relationships (Mio & Tetsuro, hello? Anyone?) and threw an astoundingly absurd ending at the viewer. I was furious. And bored. Still, it's been a while since I could enjoy a romance anime so much as these first 10 episodes.
- (7.2) Kuragehime: Enjoyed the show for what it is. Not too fond of otaku characters so I pretty much disliked all of the Amamizu residents but the main character pairings were fun to say the least. Especially enjoyed the side story of Shuu and Inari - wish it had gone somewhere. Most awesome character of the show obviously goes to the Benz-crazy driver Hanamori (with the uncle in sailor uniform being a close second). Too bad there's no real conclusion to any of the story lines.
- (7.1) Redline: Tired after a long day, I decided to keep me awake with this supposed adrenaline rush of an anime. The action was fast-paced and engaging, the characters fun and the story easy to follow. During the Redline race the whole thing got way too chaotic though, at times I kinda even stopped trying to figure out what was going on during the race (maybe I was too tired after all) and the whole battle parts (especially with the monsters...) was too excessive and unnecessary. My grandpa used to say "much helps much" (more is better) sarcastically.
- (6.9) Soul Eater: I really liked the setting/premise and the characters were pretty cool but somewhere along the second half I started losing interest in the main story line. Kinda had to fight through the last 10 eps which got too generic and had too much talking when they were supposed to smash each other's heads in. Ironically, the Kishin was beaten by talking too. Yawn. The foundation laid out by the manga was good though. Sadly, the anime adaptation decided to overemphasize Maka in the end and let her get all the glory, whereas at the beginning it felt as if the 3 main characters would receive equal attention.
- (6.9) Hiyokoi: Quite sweet and gentle romance, sadly no whole series so far. Started reading the manga afterwards, doesn't seem to be avoiding the usual mechanisms of the shoujo genre though (male lead admired and loved by everyone, cripplingly slow progress - if any, lackluster support characters, etc.). At least no fugly drama.
- (6.8) Eden of the East: Interesting idea but I fail to see the point of compressing that promising story into 11 episodes which made them actually talk through most of the show in order to unsolve the mysteries. Due to that, the pacing felt rather slow at times despite them having to tell the viewer so much. Moreover the plot was forced to stay incredibly focused on Akira's memory wipe (including the Careless Monday/NEET incident) that nothing else was allowed to happen or develop. Having 2 movies as a follow up shouldn't justify such a design.
(4.9) The first movie however was a complete letdown. Another amnesia and the separation of Akira and Saki seemed totally unnecessary and basically stalled the story. I felt so bored at times with all the talking that didn't even reveal much except maybe for a little catching up to what's happened during the time skip. Having a whole movie as nothing more but a setup for the next is a blatant waste of time.
(5.4) Grotesquely enough, the 2nd movie wasn't much better. It brought the whole story to a semi-decent conclusion (nothing as grandiose as the setup would have suggested initially) but in the end the choice to switch from TV series to movie really didn't work out in favor of the show. The pacing of these movies slowed down so much that it lost all of its momentum until there was no excitement left whatsoever. The characters turned so bland, I couldn't even tell their significance to the plot any longer. Disappointing after all, they should have just gone with a longer TV adaptation.
- (6.7) Hanasaku Iroha: This show was a real looker - beautiful animation and nice character designs. Ohana is an adorable main heroine, I felt like hugging her all the time. I enjoyed the romantic nuances in the otherwise mostly slice-of-lifeish approach, sadly they didn't do much with it. In the 2nd half of the show it felt a little slow or rather directionless at times but in the end still a pleasant watch. On a side note, I was a little appaled by the palpable propaganda of hard work paying off or even becoming a passion. I assume it was a broad hint directed at Japanese youth who probably enjoys anything but tough labor but Ohana's almost obsessive disorder with working was really overdone.
- (6.7) Arakawa Under the Bridge: I liked being reminded of Bakemonogatari, the quirky characters and weird humor. Some jokes worked really well, others didn't so much with me. Still a quite enjoyable show which serves its purpose.
- (6.6) Bakuman: Very interesting insight into the creation of manga, I realized I knew next to nothing (assuming it's an accurate depiction of the process) - this turned pretty much into the sole reason to watch the series somewhere along the way. The pacing could have been better - and the 'love' between Saiko and Miho was irritating to say the least - I get the idea of a pure love but really, if you don't even talk to each other it feels rather pathological.
- (6.6) Now and Then, Here and There: Finally got around to watching this classic. I can certainly feel the flair of 90s anime here with solid story telling and great direction. While I must commend the creators for the heavy message and dark mood, I've also got to say that for such an approach a much more realistic handling would have been necessary. Shu winning fights with a wooden stick against guns? Over and over? Seriously? The 2 assassins failing in their attempt at Hamdo's life? Ridiculous! In a non-anime-environment a character like Shu would not have lived long enough to even make one of his generic speeches. "Everything will turn out well, I promise" - really? I really couldn't come to like his character, it seemed so stereotypical and uncalled for with such a dark story. There were also quite a few questions left unadressed that I felt were rather important, one being Abelia's loyalty (or rather devotion) for such a creep. Some things were just so convenient, simply to make the story run for 13 episodes. Having said all that, I was weirdly fascinated by the show and watched it in a single day. However, I can't really say that I enjoyed it. Important message but somewhat lackluster execution in the details. The series could not transcend its anime-origin - which I feel it needed to in order to fully succeed.
- (6.5) Nyan Koi!: Expectedly generic yet surprisingly enjoyable. Fun female characters throughout, boring male harem lead as usual. As a result the comedy was fine but the romance fell flat, if there even was any. Lots of girls having interest in a dense guy who looks only at one of them but doesn't make any advances regardless - get rid of this formula Japan!!
- (6.4) Daily Lives of High School Boys: This Gintama'esque humor was fun even though I feel that the show couldn't step out of that very same shadow (especially since the humor relied heavily on the seiyuus). Some jokes were hilarious, others not so much and some quite predictable.
- (5.8/6.9) The World God Only Knows & II: Hilarious premise and fun main characters got me hooked. However, the first season was poorly executed with some horrible pacing (the 3 episode arcs about the idol and the librarian had so much bore in them) and rather weird girls. If it hadn't been for the interesting foundation I would have rated the 1st season even with a 5. Luckily, the 2nd season turned out to be much more enjoyable with better episodic characters and proper pacing in the arcs, not to mention a few incredibly funny episodes (especially #8).
- (6.2) Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai!: Qualitatively this can't compare to Usagi Drop or even Kurenai. The whole premise was far too shaky. There was a big family that was discussing to take in the girls - so why wouldn't they at the very least financially support the guy who takes all 3 of them (he obviously never tried to even bring up the topic since working your ass off 24/7 is a much smarter move). When I realized that the whole topic of losing one's parents and raising 3 children on your own is handled in a silly anime-fashion I was able to enjoy it, because I stopped questioning practially every scene. However, there were still too many slice-of-life-ish moments throughout the series that weren't really capturing my interest. I appreciated Raika for being a walking fanservice though.
- (6.2) Ao no Exorcist: Average shounen anime that turns into a trainwreck by the end of the show much alike Soul Eater. As so often with this genre I enjoyed the comedy and the characters were decent, I was also glad that the action sequences weren't too drawn out with weird name calling and all that - but that story they made up for the anime was just a mess.
- (6.0) Mayo Chiki!: The problem with these kinda shows is that the manga original ususally gets adapted way too early in the publishing stage. Therefore the series doesn't progress nowhere near as much as it would need to within the 12-13 episode format. As a result we get once again some decent comedy and mildly romantic developments but also more than half the time just random things that completely derail from any actual focus on characters or relationships (or even comedy for that matter). I'd also have to facepalm nonstop at the idiotic twist of a gynophobic male harem lead - nosebleeding and fainting upon any form of physical contact with women (as if the obligatory nosebleed in erotic situations wasn't nearly dumb enough). Oddly enough, the gynophobic Jirou is constantly surrouned by women - at least the anime honestly shows that it doesn't bother to make the slightest sense. Considering the open ending I'd actually hope for some closure in a second season when more material is done.
- (5.9) Yosuga no Sora: Lackluster drama and rather bland characters (except for the twincest pairing), I usually feel these kinda shows would fare better if they'd drop the pretentious dramatic developments/character backgrounds and just go for some comedy/light-hearted mood. Certainly not everyone will agree with this, but I just don't enjoy melodrama/soap opera. Sex scenes are always a plus though and make perfect sense in an eroge adaptation.
- (5.8) xxxHolic: Not quite what I had hoped for. The atmosphere was very unlike the magnificence of Mushishi or Natsume. The stories didn't really captivate me either, often too simplistic or just not much to do with ayakashi in any way. Same goes for the dialogue, maybe impressive or insightful for a younger audience. The character design was weird, even for CLAMP those limbs were just ridiculously disproportional. Sadly not what I was looking for.
- (5.2) Natsu no Arashi!: Characters were fine, comedy was OK but not exactly hilarious. Didn't really appreciate the dramatic twists with the WWII events. In the end not much to see.
- (4.9) Busou Renkin: Watched it mainly because of an interest in the main couple and while they seemed promising, the story itself was so bland and full of convenient holes. I also can't stand the fact that characters get pierced and slashed and then they stand up with intact clothes and keep walking. Sigh. I'll admit shounen anime are not exactly my cohort anymore.
- (4.7) Heibane Renmei: It pains me to say, but I expected an intricate and compelling story, probably dialogue-driven, certainly philosophical. In fact my expectations were so high, I thought it might be a less sinister "No Exit" (J.-P. Sartre). Alas, it's another stagnant slice-of-life show with boring characters doing boring things. I read there's supposedly some drama later on but I really can't help but falling asleep through the early chapters of the story - the recommendation on the Mushishi page was treacherous.
- (4.5) Highschool DxD: Hooray for boobies! When looking for ecchi, don't expect any more than that. This anime teaches that lesson well, however I was still a little bitter about the whole thing turning into some crappy half-assed shounen battle story (with ripped clothes to retain the ecchi-ness). Instead of taking itself so damn serious, a little more comedy woulda helped.
- (4.5) Ladies versus Butlers!: Another generic ecchi, had a few laughs and the 2nd half got a little better. Dangerous amount of loli/shouta and idiotic hair style for main heroine (aka the Drill). No resolution whatsoever, I expected no more.
- (4.3) Hatenkou Yuugi: I actually liked the characters and their dynamics but this show came along with the weirdest kind of story delivery. For one thing the inhuman abilites of the main cast created a rather humorous atmosphere and I thought 'oh well, they don't take themselves seriously' - which is fine by me. However, why do we find ourselves in super serious single-episode story arcs suddenly, which are completely opposite of that very mood? Not to mention the fast pacing which is actually beyond anything called pace, but rather just skips a lot of scenes to the point where our imagination has to fill in most of the plot. Due to these unfavorable choices (probably mainly due to bad direction, the manga is a long-running series after all) it was quite impossible to feel any involvement with its episodic tales - which were also too central to watch the show for any other reason.
- (4.2) Sekirei: I tried to look past the idiotic story - the comedy was decent and the characters bearable (except for the stereotypically pathetic male lead). But seriously, some oversized titties once every episode really don't make up for the IQ-lowering impact the show has.
- (4.2) Kimi to Boku: Yawn, slice of bore. How did I fall for this trap? Dull characters doing essentially nothing. The list of genres including drama, romance and shounen is rather misleading I'd say, maybe they crammed that in the later episodes after they lost most of their ratings.
- (3.8) Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai: Welllllll, I would have taken the otaku younger sister as a premise for a nice comedy setup, I certainly didn't find it very exciting to see her trying to live two seperate lives, being all selfish and abusive towards her brother while keeping an appearance even infront of her best friends. Not even sure if she classifies as a tsundere because I never saw a loving side in the few episodes I watched. It's kinda amusing how anime characters can end up super intelligent, super beautiful, super atheltic, good at everything - and yet so awkward and unlikable.
- (2.8) Rosario + Vampire: Yikes, all I wanted was some ecchi paired with good comedy. Yet, all this provides during the first 3 episodes are a few panty shots and wobbling breasts - which isn't nearly enough to make up for 0 story, boring characters, no actual comedy and an incredibly repetitive episode formula. Not worth my time.
- (2.1) Shuffle!: Yaaaaaaawn. So... very... boring. I wish beautiful girls would hang all over me just for showing them the way after they got lost. 4 episodes in and nothing happened. NOTHING! Just some random blather. The protagonist seems rather uninterested in girls. Well, in real life when a guy hangs around so many girls you'd assume just that - disinterest in the opposite sex. No comedy or ecchi either, these genres should be removed from the anime page.