Archive for the ‘Fall 2011’ Category

I’m feeling a little bit lazy this week, so I’m just going to cut straight to the chase. Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai ended up being a pleasant surprise.

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai

I went into this show really thinking I wouldn’t like it at all. I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m extremely biased against most anime that promote themselves with fanservice. Many anime have gotten the axe from me before I even bothered watching a single episode because the posters showed a bunch of girls with oversized boobs. And while Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai had a semi-interesting premise, I was having difficult time getting past some of those pictures. Turns out I can be wrong from time to time. While this show does not shy away from fanservice, it’s actually got an interesting plot and cast of characters to balance it out. Even though I didn’t really care for all the suggestive shots in the opening sequence, nor the argument about whose boobs were better, this show made me grin and laugh quite a bit. And while there was, indeed, some fanservice, there was not nearly as much as I was expecting. The majority of it was in that opening sequence, and then the commercial break card. Of course…this is just the first two episodes, so that leaves this show plenty of time to turn into what I was initially expecting…but since it hasn’t yet been as bad as I was prepared for, there’s a decent chance it won’t stray so far that I’ll feel the need to stop watching this. It’s not going to get the “Best Show of the Season” award by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s entertaining enough to make me want to keep watching it (and its less formulaic then Mashi-iro Symphony, which gives it an extra gold star).

Final Verdict: Pass



And now for a show that  did live up to my expectations…Kimi to Boku:

Kimi to Boku

The best way to sum up how I feel about this show is: UGH. It’s so obvious that this show was written by a woman. And not just a woman…but a woman who clearly has zero understanding of how friendships between males work. This series is pretty much a shonen-ai-wannabe. The only thing stopping it from being that is the fact that, unless I missed something, none of the characters are gay. It feels like they should be though. ’cause these characters aren’t boys. They’re girls trapped in male bodies. I’m serious. I know I’m probably being really terrible by saying something like this…and if I offend you, I apologize…but it’s true. NO GUYS PLAY WITH OTHER GUYS’ HAIR. Girls will do that. But not guys. And NO guys are THIS touchy feely with other guys. Girls are. But not guys. I realize there are exceptions to the rule…really, I do…but stereotypes exist for a reason. And it’s usually because a certain pattern of behavior is so common with a specific group of people that it becomes very easy to generalize those actions in such a way that you assume it’s one of those across-the-board sort of things. Of course this is not entirely true for everybody…but it probably is mostly true for the average person. Now to get off my little soapbox…and to stop saying controversial things before I get myself into trouble…I can’t watch this show. I just can’t. It’s like watching another one of those slice-of-life comedies with cute girls in it. Just with boys. Except the author forgot to make the characters stop like cute girls and start acting like real boys. So it might as well be another slice-of-life comedy with cute girls in it. And what’s up with the cats? A couple of the random cats are kind of cute, but a lot of them look really creepy, if not downright scary. Whoever was drawing the cats is making the feline species look bad.

Final Verdict: Fail


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I have to say that this week’s prelims round has been quite disappointing for me. Maybe it’s ’cause I’ve not been feeling so well the past couple of days…can’t tell if I’m coming down with something or not…or maybe it’s just ’cause this week’s anime is disappointing. Whatever the reason, my feelings are what they are, so moving on now.

I’ve never been one who watches all the mainstream “collectors” shows like Yu-gi-oh or Digimon. I did watch a little bit of Pokemon, but not more than a handful of episodes. And while Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle is not a “collector” anime, it certainly feels like one. Part of this is due to the animation style, and then of course there’s the formula that it follows. I suppose I can’t really criticize it for following a formula…after all, I’ve watched plenty of anime that go by the “monster of the day” pattern…but for some reason, I’ve never been able to get into this type of show.

Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle

I’ll be honest…when I began watching this show, I did not have my hopes up very high. It only took a glance at the promotional pictures to give me the impression that this would be one of those anime that, while not bad, would not be for me. I did hold out a tiny smidgen of hope, though, for its premise. I am a huge lover of puzzles. Be it jigsaws, crosswords, sudoku, or something else, I could spend hours upon hours on puzzles. And the first episode of Phi Brain did make me think my hopes would not be dashed to the ground…momentarily. It was fun following the characters as they worked their way through the puzzles…I enjoyed feeling like I could solve the puzzles right along with them. And then episode 2 happened. All of a sudden, Daimon Kaito (what a name!) has his little Orpheus thingy that allows him to “tap into” his full potential and he effortlessly solves the puzzles. Effortlessly in the sense of…”I KNOW THE ANSWER, SCREW THE AUDIENCE, MOVING ON.” Now…sometimes this works…a lot of detective shows will present a mystery and then solve it without giving viewers a chance to participate. They make you wonder, and then they hand you the answer. Like Gosick. Gosick does this with almost every single mystery it presents. Where Gosick and Phi Brain differ, though, is that the mystery…the puzzle…is not the central focus of the story. Gosick is more about the development of the characters’ relationships…the mystery premise just gives it a certain atmosphere that helps move the story along. Phi Brain, on the other hand, is all about solving the puzzles. Kind of like all those “collector” series are about capturing whatever monster or item the characters’ have made it their goal to obtain. And while Phi Brain has plenty of time to change…it has given me little reason to continue watching it. Perhaps if I hear lots of rave reviews, I’ll give it a second chance…but for now, not so much.

Final Verdict: Fail



And now for a show about cutesy girls that like to show their panties, make fun of each others’ chests, and battle each other…

C3: Cube x Cursed x Curious

I like this art style. I really do. There’s something about this cutesy design that really attracts my attention. I do not, however, enjoy a lot of fan service, especially when all the characters look like they should be in elementary school. I know “moe” is all the rage in Japan, but…at least, for the most part…I’m not on board that train. And what really makes me sad is when the fan service is done so tastelessly. Fan service has the ability to be humorous…it really does…and I still don’t like it, but at least if it makes me laugh, I’m usually willing to tolerate it to a very limited extent. C3‘s fan service did not make me laugh, unfortunately. It just made me roll my eyes, if not avert them from the screen, every time nudity, skimpy clothes, or random panty shots flooded the screen. Disturbing and pointless fan service aside, C3 was tempting me to give up on it before ten minutes had passed. I can’t stand it when a story just throws a ton of information at you, expecting you to simply accept it…and that’s what C3 spends the first ten minutes doing. A mysterious box shows up in the mail. The protagonist puts the box away. Later that night, a strange naked girl is stealing food from his kitchen, and he automatically knows she’s the box and seems perfectly ok with this fact. Nobody throws a fit. They just kind of seem to treat this like this is how things normally go. Of course…this really is how a lot of these type of anime go…the premise of a mysterious girl suddenly having to live with the protagonist is nothing new. And so…if that’s taken into consideration…maybe C3 was really doing us a favor…kind of throwing us a bone by saying “We know you’ve seen it all before…let’s skip this and get straight to the good stuff.” Which it actually does. After that first ten minutes, the show does start picking back up. I really liked the local residents…they made me smile. And then by the second episode, we’re already seeing the true nature of certain characters revealed…something that usually takes half a series to get to. So…really…it feels like C3 just fastforwarded through all the typical stuff in order to hurry up and get to what it really wants to show. And I do have to admit that…while I’m still not willing to pass this series…the end of the second episode really had me wavering. It was suddenly interesting. Really interesting. I think I’ve said it before…crazy characters really interest me…and all of a sudden, we wind up with a whole handful of them! So…while C3 hasn’t really made a good impression on me so far…it’s piqued my interest enough to make me consider giving it one more episode to change my mind…

Final Verdict: Recommended for Resubmission

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Chibi Devi was not originally on my list of anime to try this season. However, after seeing the cute promotional pictures, reading a couple of positive reviews, and learning that the episodes were only five minutes long, I decided to give it a shot.

Chibi Devi

And let me tell you, this show is absolutely adorable! With only five minutes per episode, there’s not much plot or character development. Animation quality is also lacking. But it’s just so cute and it makes me chuckle! Now…I do have to say…my love for Ribon-style shoujo certainly has an effect on my opinion. But if you just need a quick pick-me-up that will give you a momentary break from your day, Chibi Devi does the job. It’s extremely light-hearted and succeeds at its one simple goal: being cute. So, while those who want something with substance should probably avoid this show, if you’re bored and have five minutes to spare, Chibi Devi might be worth your time.

Final Verdict: Pass



Awkward, antisocial teenage boy meets hot way-out-of-his-league girl and acquires superhuman powers. Sounds like just about any other anime story designed for geeky, hormone-driven, high-school-aged boys right? Right. Well, ladies and gents, let me introduce you to the latest addition to this genre: Guilty Crown.

Guilty Crown

Protagonist with whom the average anime geek can identify? Check. Super powers? Check. Cool weaponry (i.e. mecha)? Check (and check). Hot love interest? Check. Skimpy clothes? Check. Cute cat girl? Check. Fanservice shots? Check. Sweet action sequences? Check. Check, check, check, check-check-check. Guilty Crown appears to be pretty much an amalgamation of everything that the average teenage male otaku wants in an anime. Which really doesn’t make it much different than a lot of the other anime shows we see released one year after the next. What Guilty Crown has, though, that the average anime series does not is: top-of-the-line graphics, an excellent soundtrack, and what appears to be a substantial budget. And, in addition to all of this, Guilty Crown does have its own little unique quirks. Not only has Guilty Crown introduced a non-white character, it also includes a paraplegic as a member of the main cast. Also, despite the fact that Guilty Crown is aimed at the male side of otakudom, the series has introduced some characters that have clearly been designed for female fans. *coughGaicough* So…my point is…Guilty Crown is attempting to reach out to a fairly broad audience and is, thus far, (at least by my standards) succeeding. The story does not feel particularly original at this point in time, but it has another twenty episodes to work with…plenty of time to fix that little issue. And even if it does stick with its safe little mainstream storyline,  the path it has chosen seems to be a decent enough one to keep me watching. The potential is there…it’s just a matter of whether or not Guilty Crown will choose to utilize it.

Final Verdict: Pass

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First and foremost, let me say that I hate the Persona game series with a passion. I dislike the art style, the music, the protagonists, the mood/tone, and just about everything in general. This is not because I think the Persona games are bad in any way, shape, or form…I simply have a personal disgust for the games, the story behind which is simply too lengthy to go into right now. Thus, I can tell you that I hemmed and hawwed before finally making myself sit down and watch the first two episodes of Persona 4. I did not, not, NOT want to watch them, but I made myself do it anyways. Because I know that this is a series that is quite popular, and I feel that I cannot always avoid previewing certain series just because I dislike them.

Persona 4

During the two episodes I watched, there was a lot that reinforced my dislike of the series…primarily what I already listed. I don’t like the animation style. I don’t care for the music. The protagonist disgusts me. The bear…thing…is annoying. The animation direction gets on my nerves…it feels like I’m watching the game being played, and I simply do not care for that. And the entire dark and angsty tone of the series gets under my skin. Even so…even so…the storyline ended up catching my interest. Because the truth is that Persona 4 is built upon quite an intriguing premise full of mystery, suspense, and good old psychological horror. And Persona 4 should be given some credit for having some pretty cool battle scenes. They weren’t frequent in these first two episodes, but they kept my attention, dazzling me with fancy lighting, movement, and so on. Thus, in the end, while I’m not so sure I myself will be able to continue watching this show, I can certainly see why other people would really enjoy it.

Final Verdict: Pass



And now for another show full of mystery, suspense, and psychological horror: Mirai Nikki. I have not followed the manga series, but as a person who likes watching those little yandere girls snap, I had read a little bit about Mirai Nikki due to a certain character in the story. As such, when I heard about the upcoming anime adaptation, I was instantly interested in watching it. I even went and found the first couple of chapters and skimmed them to see if I was really interested in investing time in it, and ended up deciding I was. Thus, I can say that Mirai Nikki is one of this season’s few series that was on my “must watch” list prior to its release.

Mirai Nikki

And, just as I was expecting, Mirai Nikki has got me for the long run. I do have to admit…yandere character is a bit on the extreme side for me…but she still has my favor. Honestly, with how wussy the main protagonist is, it’s nice having the psycho receive equal attention…helps balance out the show a little more. Honestly, considering how much attention she has gotten thus far, it makes me wonder who the main character of the anime adaptation really is. Should certainly be interesting to see what the directors will do with this one. Even without psycho girl, though, Mirai Nikki has a very intriguing story that reminds me a bit of shows like Death Note…another one that I enjoyed immensely, despite how long it took me to get around to watching it. So, in conclusion, I can definitely say that Mirai Nikki will be staying exactly where I put it: my long-term lineup with Chihayafuru. I’ll be looking forward to seeing what other series will be joining them (if any)…

Final Verdict: Pass with Distinction

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When the new season’s anime is revealed, the show usually falls into one of three categories: definitely watching, interested in trying, and not watching. And, unfortunately, due to time constraints, most of the anime series that wind up in the “interested in trying” category never get watched, or at least not for a long time.

Both Chihayafuru and Mashiro-Iro Symphony fell into the “interested in trying” category, but the former was much closer to the “definitely watching” category than the latter. I knew that I wanted to try watching Chihayafuru, but it hadn’t caught my attention enough to become a definite contender on my permanent watchlist. And honestly, it was not first in line in my “interested in trying” list either. Until I saw the reviews. On the various anime review sites I follow, one after the other praised Chihayafuru, giving the series high marks. And the more I read about it, the more I wanted to watch it. Thus, I decided to make this series the first contender in the prelims.


Two episodes in, and I am already hooked. This is a fun, intriguing series with characters that actually interest me. I absolutely adore the protagonist, and she will probably keep me watching this show to the very end.

Final Verdict: Pass With Distinction



There is no point in hiding it: I enjoy a good “harem” style anime. Despite the patterns they all tend to follow, I enjoy the characters and stories they present. And often times, the art style is very appealing to me. I do not like all visual novel-based series though. Ones that focus too much on fan service or are not original enough tend to turn me away. As long as I do not feel like poking my eyes out by the end of the episode and remain interested enough in the characters and story, I am usually willing to tolerate these series. And once in a blue moon, I am fortunate enough to run across one that I absolutely adore (i.e. anything by Key, ef ~a tale~, and so on). Thus, it was perfectly natural for Mashiro-Iro Symphony to wind up on my “interested in trying” list.

Mashiro-Iro Symphony

Easy on the eyes, Mashiro-Iro Symphony presents an interesting premise, a lively cast of characters, and a protagonist who has yet to get on my nerves. Like with most harem anime that I try, a couple of yellow (potentially red) flags have popped up: primarily the potential incest and the fanservice. I honestly do not think the potential incest is going to go anywhere, and the fanservice has not been nearly as bad as what I’ve seen in other anime. I could be completely wrong about this, of course, and may change my mind about the show later. But for now, while Mashiro-Iro Symphony will not be a priority for me to finish, it is one that I will probably continue to watch when I can find time for it.

Final Verdict: Pass

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Alright…I am going to be trying something a little new (for me) this season. I am actually going to make a point of watching at least the first episode or two of any new anime that interests me. A lot of times I just tend to focus on a few and spend my time watching those, even though there are more series being released that interest me. And, of course, being that time is limited, it often takes me a very long time to ever get around to watching those series I don’t initially try out…usually because by the time I finish the series I started, a new bunch of shows are being released. So…this season…we are going to see how many shows I can “sample.” I already have in mind the few I will probably actually watch until the end, but maybe by putting the shows through “prelims,” I will change my mind or add an anime to my list that I otherwise might not have. If I leave out a show, it is probably because of one of the following reasons:

1. It’s the type of show I would never watch anyways (i.e. hentai, yuri/yaoi, and so on).

2. The show is a sequel to a series I have yet to watch (i.e. Shakugan no Shana III and Fate/Zero).

3. For whatever reason, the show simply does not interest me (i.e. Mobile Suit Gundam AGE and Battle Spirits: Heroes).

4. I run out of time or shows to try.

5. I get bored and just want to watch the shows I’ve decided on.

6. Any other whim that hits me.

So, please understand that I am only doing this because I enjoy it. And so, the instant I stop enjoying it, I will stop the prelims. Thus, I apologize ahead of time if there is a show you were really hoping I would try out and I do not get around to it. Or if I listed one of the shows you really like as one of the ones I definitely would not watch to begin with. I feel that I am entitled to my opinions, though, (as you are entitled to yours) and so plan to stick with mine. If, however, there is a particular show you really, really want me to give a shot, feel free to say so. I won’t promise to fulfill your request, but I will certainly be happy to give it serious thought and consideration.

Planned Prelims: Chihayafuru, Mirai Nikki, Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing, Persona 4, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Mashi-Iro Symphony, Tamayura, Kimi to Boku, Phi Brain, Chibi DeviHorizon in the Middle of Nowhere, C3, Guilty Crown, and Un-Go.

Let the prelims begin!!!

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