Shaenon checks out a full-color manga, published by the Louvre, from the creator of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure.
8daze's Animetake a look at 8daze's Manga
|Air Master (TV) 7/10 I see people bash this one all the time, and the only conclusion I can come to is that many of them don't realize it's a parody (which I'm certain it is -- episode 17, anyone?). Hilarity with an added bonus of fighting, though perhaps a little repetitive and too caught up in itself sometimes. Could have been better, but it was quite fun to watch, and the fights are actually a lot better than many of those in real fighting shows (which it's making fun of). Sakiyama Kaori is my new favorite psycho.||Very good|
|Azumanga Daioh (TV) 10/10 Time after time this show makes me laugh, and each time I'm not expecting it to. You'd think I'd learn, eh? But that's what makes it so great. This show is pure hilarious brilliance disguised as a train wreck. I can't possibly recommend it highly enough. A must-watch. The sub is definitely superior, but the dub isn't too horrible. Actually, it's quite good (coming from someone who rarely likes dubs) -- I just happen to miss the original voices since I'd already come to love them. Some of the jokes also lose something in translation, though, so at the very least, watch the sub first. A hilarious show that also has the power to make you sad -- because you never want it to end.||Very good (dub), Masterpiece (sub)|
|Azumanga Daioh - The Very Short Movie Short but amusing.||Very good|
|Azumanga Web Daioh (ONA) I liked the ending. Ah, Osaka, what to do with you?||Good|
|Best Student Council (TV) 8/10 Very funny and has a tendency to poke fun at other animes and itself. Characters are likeable and amusing. I thought it was a bit strange at the start, but by the end I was in love with it. A show with a whole lot of heart. One of my favorites. Now licensed! Yay! (But the English title is clumsy. Gokujo Seitokai flows better.)||Excellent|
|Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan (TV) I can't decide whether I hate or just don't really like this show. I watched the first half and became steadily less impressed with each episode until I put it on hold, deeming it "Bad." Then I decided to finish up the rest just to be done with it, and while still not particularly stimulating, it did have some funny moments (I was more than a bit sleep-deprived the second time, so I must wonder if that affected my views, too). So I've decided to quickly rewatch it before giving it a final rating.||Weak|
|Comedy (OAV) 9/10 Short, but it says all it needs to say. The way it's narrated really makes me feel like someone's telling me a story, and the animation is beautiful and distinctive. The use of Ave Maria throughout was great and really set the mood without being overpowering. Definitely worth 10 minutes of your time. Memorable and beautiful.||Excellent|
|Destiny of the Shrine Maiden (TV) Sub and some dub. A show with a lot of different aspects. Some people have found the plot difficult to grasp the first time through because you don't really know WHY everything's happening until the end. The mecha felt out of place, but the show was still...compelling. Very good ending. As for language track, the sub was good, although Souma's screaming got a tad annoying. I only watched about half of the dub; I need to go back and finish it. Some of the voices are a bit high-pitched to my ears *coughHIMEKOcough*, but it seemed good other than that.||Very good|
|Di Gi Charat: Winter Garden (special) The pace dragged, particularly in the second part, but it was cute and had some light humor. Not bad, considering there was almost no story. However, not having seen Di Gi Charat, my opinion is probably not fully qualified.||Decent|
|Digimon Adventure (TV)||Decent|
|Digimon Adventure 02 (TV)||Decent|
|Don't Tell Mother Maria (special) Amusing shorts for Marimite fans. Check out the drunk Shimako in the first season's episodes. #4, I think.||Very good|
FLCL (OAV) Sub and some Dub. I've never seen a show pull off incoherent ridiculousness quite so well. The soundtrack is excellent, and really creates half the feeling of the show on its own. The last episode is standout, and it ends the series on a high that few shows have managed to match. You could almost describe FLCL as a meaningless show with deep meaning. The eclectic cast of characters keeps things interesting, though confusing. Mamimi was by far the most interesting to my mind, at once the most normal and the most screwed-up character of the entire cast.
FLCL just feels like one of those shows you have to watch at least twice to really start to "get it," but at the same time its manic energy can be tiring, so the re-watch value is probably medium. As for ratings, I'd call it Very Good for the first 5 episodes, and Excellent for the last. The ending has enough impact and ties the show together well enough to give it an overall rating of Excellent. A unique show that can't easily be described, but does a good job at...whatever it is it's doing.
|Ghost Hunt (TV) So ignored, but really quite good. A solid show all around. It does use some of the standard ghost stories, like the doll plot that you've probably seen half a dozen times, but it has some nice original touches to it. Though not a masterpiece, everything it does, it does well. And I'm quite fond of the soundtrack. v||Very good|
|Ghost Stories (TV) Without a doubt, the best dub ever. Just hilarious.||Very good|
|Girl's High (TV) 7/10 The humor mixed with the fun characters really got me into this show. Wacky and amusing from the first episode to the last, but way too much fanservice in the first few episodes. Most importantly, it was just plain fun to watch. Decent rewatch value.||Very good|
Green Green (TV) Fanservice? Ecchi? Sick, perverted high school boys? This show's got it all, in massively unhealthy doses. Many jokes were overused or just bad, not to mention uninteresting. The last few episodes were a bit better as something resembling a plot finally came to the forefront, and the ending was better than I expected. I could have forgiven many of the bad jokes were they not so disgusting and creepy.
As a side note, the dub is absolutely terrible. Avoid it even more than the rest of this series.
|Green Green (OAV) Dunno why I watched this, quite honestly. Perhaps I was hoping for a bit of redemption from the TV series. The animation was worse, and it was slow, predictable, and nothing really happened (nor was it funny). But at least it was less ecchi and more watchable. Had the producers managed to find an in-between of the OVA and TV series, they might have come up with a decent anime. As it is, this was boring and the series was stupid.||So-so|
|Hitohira (TV) I quite liked the quick pace of the show, as well as how it managed to jump in between a bunch of different genres without overdoing any. A very balanced series. Art was pretty nice, animation very good, voice acting excellent. The final scene was a great choice by the director.||Very good|
|Kasimasi - Girl Meets Girl (TV) 6/10 Amusing, but it seemed to take its own weirdness too seriously sometimes. From time-to-time it felt like they were just stalling. Worth a watch, but be aware that half the fun is in mocking the more ridiculous aspects of the show (see: episode 1).||Good|
|Kasimasi - Girl Meets Girl (OAV) Cheesy, rushed, a bit nonsensical and hard to follow at times, and, most especially, totally lame. It was almost like a cop out re-ending to placate grumpy fans. And it wasn't well done. I think the OVA almost completely undermined what depth the original series had to try and make everyone feel good. And the reindeer costume? Yikes. All I can say is that it's lucky they made this an OVA instead of a regular episode. It makes it easier to pretend it never happened. See it if you want closure for the (unnecessarily vague) end of the series, but then forget it.||Not really good|
|Kiki's Delivery Service (movie)||Very good|
|Maria Watches Over Us (TV) Purely character driven show, not much plot. That's okay though, because the characters are loveable and interesting. Well written (not surprising, since it's based on a series of novels). Sure it's melodramatic, and yeah, the eyes are huge (and the noses a tad pointy), but the show is charming and way more interesting than you'd ever suspect it to be. It's a series that really reminds me that people are what make life what it is.||Excellent|
|Maria Watches Over Us 3rd Season (OAV) The improved art was really appreciated, even though I wasn't as wild about some of the arcs. Yumi's character development was nice, and I especially became more fond of Yoshino. Animation flowed much smoother, too, although I thought Sachiko's character design was weird at times. Here's hoping for more OVAs!||Very good|
|Maria Watches Over Us Season 2: Printemps (TV) Stays true to the quality of the first season.||Excellent|
|(The) Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (TV) Almost all of the hype you have heard about this series is true -- and considering that it's very probably the most talked about show of the year, that's a lot of well-deserved praise. The animation is simply fantastic, the best of the year in my book (a year that contained other wonderfully animated shows like NANA and Death Note, don't forget). And that's just the start, as Haruhi blows multiple technical aspects out of the water. The dialogue somehow manages to be some of the most witty and yet most realistic I've ever seen in a show. And while the technical aspects are great, the artistic and story aspects are right up there with them. But it is quite unique. That is to say, it's a show that not everyone will love, and I started watching it more than a little skeptical that it could be as good as everyone was saying. But the more I watched, the more I Iiked it. It may not be a show for everyone, but it's a show for almost everyone -- and that's about as much as you could ever expect from any show. Frankly, I have an immensely hard time trying to be objective about Melancholy; it's already won me over.||Masterpiece|
|My Santa (OAV) The first ep was the better of the two. The second was a bit disjointed and rushed at the start, and drawn out too long at the end. As ratings go, the first ep was Good, the second Decent, and overall I'd call it Decent. The second ep kind of took away from the warm fuzzies of the first. It's short and fun enough that it's worth seeing at least once, though.||Decent|
|Noir (TV) Sub and some dub. Fantastic soundtrack. Artistic animation (particularly the backgrounds and colors), gripping plot (which picks up a lot of speed as the show goes along), and well-choreographed fights. An all around solid show, and definitely one of my favorites. I did not like the dub much though. I watched a few episodes of it, but I still haven't managed to go back and make myself watch more (perhaps it gets better). It wasn't terrible, but the lines were still delivered with a bit of a wooden or slightly detached feel, as if the VAs were unsure of themselves. Call the dubbed version somewhere between good and very good, but I believe the Japanese actors did a better job with the characters.||Masterpiece|
|Oniisama E... (TV) Very much deserving of the title of "classic." Quite angsty and sad, especially towards the last arc. This show has a myriad cast of crazy-enough-to-be-real characters that you will love, then hate, then love twice as much. The situations are specific enough to make up a good plot, but generic enough for us all to relate to them -- painfully so, at times. The frozen art used every so often (such as when a character is running) got a little tiring, and the plot felt a bit slow at times, but by the end of each episode I was eager to see the next. The art is also very clearly late 80s/early 90s, but after a few episodes, even fans who've only seen newer shows should get used to it. I thought I was going to hate the ending. I loved the ending.||Excellent|
|Ouran High School Host Club (TV) 9/10 Very likeable and funny characters. Fun through every episode. The OP and ED are both peppy and catchy, perfectly fitting the heart of the series. If you want something simultaneously funny and interesting to watch, this is your show.||Excellent|
|Pikachu's Summer Vacation (movie)|
|Pokemon: The First Movie||Decent|
|Read or Die (OAV) Fast paced, well animated, a great story, and paper fights! What is there not to like?||Very good|
|Revolutionary Girl Utena (TV) A classic. The filler episodes are absolutely insane but extremely amusing. Gets darker and more mature in the last arc.||Excellent|
|Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie Interesting... *cough cough* Would probably be desperately confusing to anyone who had not seen the TV series...and to many people who have seen the TV series. It's strange at (most) times, especially near the end. The animation is good, the colors nice. A unique but not as watchable look at the Utena story. Like most people, I'm still at a loss regarding the ending. It was...unique? weird? trippy? Pick an adjective.||Good|
|School Rumble (TV) This show has become my new opiate. I haven't laughed so often or so hard since AzuDai. It's got a bit of drama thrown in here and there as well.||Excellent|
|Serial Experiments Lain (TV) Simply fantastic. A must watch for anyone who likes psychological shows. Great characterization, thought-provoking plot, and quality animation.||Masterpiece|
|Simoun (TV) I was very critical of this show when it began; I have revised my opinion since then. It's still melodramatic, a bit too much for my taste, but now there's more of a balance between melodrama, plot, and characterization. It works. The kissing to start the ships is still clearly just an excuse to get lots of kissing girls in there, though. Stalled on episode 23. Just work to get past the first episode; it's kind of a total interest killer.||Good|
|Sin in the Rain (OAV) It's hard to critique it too much without seeing more episodes, but it could become more interesting. Right now what we've got is a murder mystery being told in what's very similar (purposefully, I'm sure) to the classic American gumshoe style of detective story. The animation is a bit different; the backgrounds are detailed if fairly static, and the characters are drawn in a way that makes them look almost flat. I can see this, as well as the amount of the story told through strange and upset facial expressions, as being a turnoff for some people, but it didn't bother me too much. The music is almost distracting, being very bouncy and catchy (again, like the old American style) whereas the animation is much darker toned. I'll watch more of it if more gets subbed, but I wouldn't be tragically disappointed if it doesn't. The mix of styles could turn into something quite good if handled properly, or quite mediocre if just thrown together. The first episode seems to be leaning towards the latter, but who knows... I dunno if this is meant to be complete, or what. I may have to rewatch it with that view in mind.||Decent|
|Sky Girls (OAV) A nice little OVA. The costumes are ridiculous, and the main characters fairly stereotypical, but the plot was interesting, coherent, and never really boring. The action is what makes this one worth seeing.||Good|
Spirited Away (movie) Sub and Dub (Have also seen most of the Chinese version.) There were some points in the Chinese version that I quite liked. The voices were pretty similar to the original, and Chihiro's VA did quite a good job in many spots, I thought. But overall I'd give the edge to the Japanese version. The performances are superb and steady throughout. The English dub was also quite good, and did an excellent job of carrying the movie into English-speaking countries. Still, the original Japanese performances were the most and engaging and sounded best for the characters (age-wise and such). The movie did, I fear, lose a bit in translation, but that's understandable considering it was trying to speak to a vastly different culture. There wasn't anything in the dub that would keep me from recommending it to people almost as highly as the original version. Indeed, it is definitely the best dubbing work I've ever seen, and deserves much credit for that alone.
There is, truly, never a clear, coherent plot tying everything together. The movie moves along at its own pace telling its own story in its own way. I think it not only works, it works wonderfully, but if you sit there trying to find that plotline, you could be looking for awhile. Rated primarily based on how much I enjoyed it.
|Masterpiece (dub & sub)|
|Strawberry Panic! (TV) 6/10 Take every yuri show you've ever seen and combine them. Congratulations, you've got Strawberry Panic! Often predictable, usually cheesy, somewhat repetitive, but nevertheless still decent entertainment-wise. The whole aura of the show is not tremendously exciting; in other words, it feels like you should be bored even when stuff is happening. I still tuned in every week to see the latest episode, and most of the time it seemed like a fairly good use of 20 minutes, but I can't see myself ever re-watching this. And, I must stress, very cheesy.||Decent|