Sitting in front of the TV, just me & my 2D friends.
Since nobody asked:
8 is the highest score for something I've only watched once.
Titles I didn't finish, short/historical films & music videos generally don't get scored (if they even get added).
1 is reserved for something so terrible I probably wouldn't finish it.
Not all equal scores are equal.
A 7 in 2014 is probably a 5-6 now (but I sure ain't rewatching everything to check)
Chances are I've forgotten why something got the score it did.
The Bubblegum franchise has multiple entries that deserved better & Crash is no exception. Its visuals suffer for being on an OVA budget & while watchable, its Boomers gone wild story didn't need three 40 minute episodes to tell.
The show's gender politics are a hot, hot mess. However, when the dragon-pilot dynamic is being used as an analogy for ambition rather than romance; Dragon Pilot is a quirky, fun, colourful romp that, due to its ASDF setting, does occasionally veer into "I don't think they considered the implications of using the image of a mushroom cloud in WW2" territory. Forest of Piano (TV)
The first half is a pretty gripping if also somewhat stock story about the power & limitations of imagination & being your own worst enemy that you can tell just by watching is from a previous decade. Unfortunately, that part was already adapted, & the second half suffers from both a change in & loss of focus & you won't be surprised that this is Gaku Nakatani & Gaina's first regular length TV work, which makes it harder to recommend this series. Back Street Girls
Girls who are boys who like boys to be girls. YMMV, but I rarely was more than bored by this convoluted excuse to make jokes where women swear & fart. The idea is kind of neat & when it works, it works. But even when it does, I've read comics with more animation than this three hour slideshow. So unless you can't read, just read the manga. Hi Score Girl
Street Fighter II: Love Triangle Edition. A love letter to arcade games & the bonds made playing them. The thing keeping me from liking it more is the love triangle feels there more to add to the episode count rather than the story. Ending on the cliffhanger it does then selling the final episodes as a separate OVA is also really tacky. Baki (ep.1-13)
I was hoping to see Baki grappling with other fighters instead of teenage love. A torturously slow slog; on the few occasions that the action isn't being ruined by poor framing, drawn out pacing & ugly CGI or blood splatter, the stock music soundtrack is sucking out what little life can be found in the dreary visuals. Presumably they dug up an old hand like Toshiki Hirano to direct this because he was as cheap as everything else about this production. Ninja Batman
The character & art design is pretty cool (topknot Robin being a notable exception) & the action scenes are some of the best CGI I've seen in a Japanese production. Just bare in mind that this film prioritises having castle-mecha Joker fight a giant Batman made of bats over there being any reason for it to happen. Flavours of Youth
These three short films have the glossy, bright look of a CoMix production; but the relentlessly saccharine violin soundtrack & stories of differing quality & all peddling in well worn cliches result in a rather underwhelming experience. Of the three, only the second might be worth a second watch. Angel Beats
In anime, even death is no escape from high school. Jun Maeda tries his hand at writing his own original screenplay, with the unsurprising result that it comes off like a visual novel adaptation in dire need of some serious editing. Still, as trying as it often is, there are moments when that magic from the KyoAni Key adaptations breaks through the smug nonsense.
Favourites of each year
Favourites of 2018
Bob Team Epic
> I could watch Bob Team Epic all day. Rest of it is a bit more hit & miss, though its best moments far outweigh its worst. & hey, you don't have to get a joke to find it funny.
> Pulls its punches somewhat & the metal gimmick gets a little stale, but is still an office comedy that approaches the subject with more wit & maturity than most workplace anime. Dragon Pilot
> The show's gender politics are a hot, hot mess. However, when the dragon-pilot dynamic is being used as an analogy for ambition rather than romance; Dragon Pilot is a quirky, fun, colourful romp that, due to its ASDF setting, does occasionally veer into "I don't think they considered the implications of using the image of a mushroom cloud in WW2" territory.
> The character & art design is pretty cool (topknot Robin being a notable exception) & the action scenes are some of the best CGI I've seen in a Japanese production. Just bare in mind that this film prioritises having castle-mecha Joker fight a giant Batman made of bats over there being any reason for it to happen. Hi Score Girl
> Street Fighter II: Love Triangle Edition. A love letter to arcade games & the bonds made playing them. The thing keeping me from liking it more is the love triangle feels there more to add to the episode count rather than the story. Ending on the cliffhanger it does then selling the final episodes as a separate OVA is also really tacky.
Favourites of 2017
The Moment You Fall in Love
> A rather standard teenage romantic drama that none the less manages to tell a more complete love story in 60 minutes than many anime manage in four hours. Kemono Friends
> Two strangers find friendship & seek purpose in a setting that's somewhere between The Island of Dr Moreau, The Prisoner & Westworld.
The Laughing Salesman New
> Darkly ironic humour as a shadowy businessman gives seemingly deserving people an offer they can't refuse. Blame!
> Arguably Polygon's best Netflix Original yet as a village on the brink of collapse receives unexpected help from a man of few words. The Royal Tutor
> The good kind of bishoenen comedy where the protagonist is the main character & not merely a vessel through which the audience interact with the others. Tsugumomo
> A throwback slapstick sex comedy where a boy finds himself fighting evil manifestations with the help of a feisty loli spirit. Ninja Girl & Samurai Master 2nd
>The continued comical conquests of Oda Nobunaga from the perspective of his chibi shinobi henchwoman. Night is Short, Walk on Girl
>A quasi-spin off from The Tatami Galaxy, a girl who doesn't stop to think before acting is romantically pursued by a guy who can't stop thinking long enough to act. Amelie continues to cast its long shadow on Japanese romance.
Netsuzou TRap -NTR-
> Heightened, lesbian melodrama that is faintly reminiscent of Manji (Masumura,1964); two girls struggle to come to terms with their feelings in a genre where love between girls is just practice. Pikotarou's Lullaby La La By
> Bedtime stories for a middle aged man. Uh! Internet meme. Owarimonogatari 2nd Season
> Arararagi finally stumbles into adulthood; though once again it takes Senjougahara to stop him & the show from getting lost up his own arse.
Favourites of 2016:
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
> Perhaps best surmised as a combination of Floating Weeds (Ozu, 1959) & Blue (Ando, 2001), an accusation of murder leads to a story of the struggles of two Rakugo actors in post war Tokyo. Oshiete! Galko-chan
> Appearances deceive as the main character's bodily proportions soon reveal a show more concerned with the thoughts of teenage girls than the views of adult men. Kono Danshi, Mahou ga Oshigoto Desu.
> Soubi Yamamoto returns with another boys love story that's got a lot of heart & none of the sexual aggression that too often characterizes yaoi relationships. Pandora in the Crimson Shell
> Two lesbian androids on an island that looks like a pierced labia fight robots & fall in love. Momokuri
> A rom com so sweet you'll develop tooth decay while its main character learns that you can't have a real relationship if you refuse to take your partner off the pedestal you built for them.
Space Patrol Luluco
> An almost perfectly realised first love story takes on intergalactic proportions as Hiroyuki Imaisihi homages almost everything he's worked on since his Gainax days. ]Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou
> Though it perhaps lacks the ambition, it's probably closest anime has come to realising the teenage rockstar (or DJ in this case) fantasy since Beck (2004).
Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! LOVE!
> Second verse more or less the same as the first, but with enough variation to keep things as entertaining as the first season. Mob Psycho 100
> Instead of the usual special snowflake who wants to be normal until the first damsel needs saving, Mob seeks self-improvement while being confronted by those who can't see past the one thing they think makes them special. First Love Monster
> A rough first couple of episode ends up being a surprisingly entertaining comedy about adults acting like children to play children that look like adults. Takes a turn for the worse whenever it takes itself seriously, though. Ange Vierge
> A straightforward battle babe anime that somehow manages to stand out by virtue of how competently it executes the genre formula - something fewer anime seem able to. Onara Gorou
Life is like a fart. Some pass without notice. Some linger far too long. But all must eventually fade away, just as we all must one day pass on through this transient life. We are all farts in the wind. Your Name
> One can think of it as either 5cm Per Second with a plot; or The Lake House (Agresti, 2006) with a tonne of teen/anime tropes added. It has a myriad of issues; yet somehow I'd still recommend it despite its best efforts to put me off.
Yuri on Ice
> An ambitious tale of love on & off the ice that is arguably guilty of trying to be too much in too short a space of time. Drifters
> Historical figures clash with fantasy creatures in an entertainingly violent action series hamstrung by a tiresomely puerile sense of humour. Chi's Sweet Adventure
> A cute cat does cute things cutely. Dream Festival!
> In a sea of forgettable idol shows, Dream Festival manages to stand out with its amusingly silly stage performances & engaging characters. Sengoku Choujuu Giga
> Historically themed improv comedy combines with side scrolling animation to produce one of the more original anime comedies in years. To Be Hero
> A triumphant debut as an original creator for Li Haoling. A playboy toilet seat designer is sucked into the sewer & begins a vulgarity laden allegory for a mid-life crises as he struggles to confront his failings & reconnect with his teenage daughter before it's too late. Ninja Girl & Samurai Master
>The comical conquests of Oda Nobunaga from the perspective of his chibi shinobi henchwoman.
Favourites of 2015
Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!
> Beautiful boys bathe & battle bad guys, all the while questioning why they have to dress up as magical girls to do so. DRRR!! x2
> A flawed & at times quite ugly conclusion to DRRR!!, but at least they made the effort when few other franchises bother. JJBA: Stardust Crusaders - Egypt Arc
> JoJo at its simplest &, I'd argue, its best as the best ensemble of the series so far travel the world to finally bring an end to the conflict between the Joester's & Dio. Maria the Virgin Witch
> A bawdy comedy that manages to have more to say about war, religion & the role of women than many more serious series. Samurai Warriors
> Manly men being manly during a period of history that writes itself. Yuri Kuma Arashi
> A somewhat obtuse take on Frank Wedekind's Mine-HaHa (1903), Kunihiko Ikuhara's third original series offers social critique & lesbian bears.
> Arguably outstays its welcome, but few series can claim to be as gratuitously gross & yet as entertaining. Wakako-zake
> A woman drinking beer for three minutes shouldn't be this engaging.
> Cute dog does cute things, cutely. Lupin III (2015)
> A fine return to TV for one of the great anime franchises that will appeal to old fans while being as good a start point as any for newcomers. Miss Monochrome: The Animation 3
> The little idol series that could. Owarimonogatari
> Accepting at this point that the Monogatari series might as well just be an assortment of short stories, these more mystery based ones are a welcome addition to a series. Peeping Life TV: Season 1??
> Peeping Life turns its improv comedy onto classic characters from Tezuka & Tatsunoko productions. Monster Strike
> Takes a while to settle into a groove, but once it does it's pretty fun.