Seen all Rating▲ Comment
MD Geist (OAV) Bad
MD Geist II - Death Force (OAV) Bad
Abnormal Physiology Seminar (OAV) Not really good
.hack//Legend Of The Twilight (TV) Not really good
Koe de Oshigoto! (OAV) Not really good
Pupa (TV) Not really good
Lunar Legend Tsukihime (TV) So-so So.... that sure was an anime-- an obviously early digipaint anime with an obviously limited budget, no less. Though I haven't (yet) read the visual novel, I have read the manga, and that adaptation was much more superior. Not only did the characters prove more interesting there, its story was denser with more details & relevant plotting and conveyed more kinetic energy through its fights than the anime itself did. That being said, the romance between Shiki and Arcueid appeared to be developed more nicely than not, and the soundtrack proved to be good as well, with a memorable OP to boot (though at least one track seemed to be overused).
Nyaruko: Crawling with Love! (TV 2) So-so A disappointing followup to the original series, Nyarko: Another Crawling Chaos. The cast of characters pretty much stayed the same with the exception of a certain older sister, but not much seemed to be added to the character dynamics . There seemed to be fewer things of interest to this Lovecraft novice, instead playing up the harem angle more than needed, and the references seemed to reference the same things as the last season (or didn't seem as inspired). There is still some shallow, dumb fun to be had here, but not close at all to making the impression the first series did.
Ai Mai Mi (TV) Decent Of all the three minute shows I've seen, this might've been the strangest I've seen yet (as of late September 2014), even stranger than Strange+. Sadly, it was also a bit louder, uglier, and even more nonsensical, yielding more than its fair share of confused laughter. There is little consistency in it, aside from the fact that it stars three girls who are in the manga club but are too distracted by their own imaginations and exaggerated circumstances to get any manga actually done. A silly decent show that probably wasn't wise to more or less marathon, really.
Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo (TV) Decent
(The) Comic Artist and His Assistants (TV) Decent Also known as Manga-san to Assistant-san, this was a Spring 2014 one-cour series, though with 10 minutes instead the usual 20 minutes of original content per episode. Coming into the series expecting a dumb ecchi comedy, and with an idea of what Carl Kimlinger's review of the anime said about it, I was pleasantly surprised to find… a somewhat-enjoyably dumb, ecchi-workplace comedy. There actually wasn't nearly as much explicit fan service as I'd have thought of-- but what might be just as much of a turn-off, if not more, was the regular sexual harassment that Aito-sensei (the manga artist) would demonstrate towards his female assistants and editor. Fortunately(?) Aito's perversion seems tilted towards the girls' undergarments more so than their bodies, though that's not to say they're ignored; Aito still comments on bust sizes and would obviously want to peek if he could. Now obviously not all are receptive to this behavior-- the busty, cheerful ditz Rinna is between tolerant and encouraging of it; editor/high school friend Mihari and chid-like Sena lash against it somewhat tsundere-like; and Ashisu, Aito's longest-standing and 'main' assistant, largely tries to ignore or have saint-like patience until push comes to shove (or hand comes to grope, more rather). But at the end of the day, they still all ultimately tolerate him for vague and possibly-romantic reasons, continuing to assist him on a pantsu-inclined manga that actually seems rather mediocre. If the show is blessed with anything, it's the energy that its characters and their actors seem to be infused with, which helped me appreciate them all the more. Well, maybe except for the editor in chief that's a legal loli for no real reason at all, but she doesn't get much screen time either. While the characters deviate very little from your first impressions of them, doing little to get outside their cliche-bubbles, they are still fun and entertaining to watch. Most impressive of all is Yoshitusugu Matsuouka's performance as the protagonist, who surely had some fun as Aito-sensei in expressing his various situational vocal pitches (like the nasally 'cute' voice he put on when trying to 'innocently' speak of his perverted intentions) and over-dramatic responses to his hardships. It also helps, again, that it did make me laugh a fair amount. I'd say this anime is one of the better 'Decent' anime in the list I have compiled here.
Deadman Wonderland (TV) Decent
Kite (OAV) Decent
Kite Liberator (OAV) Decent
My mental choices are completely interfering with my school romantic comedy (TV) Decent Also known as "Noucome", or the booru-friendly title of "ore_no_nounai_sentakushi_ga_gakuen_love-comedy_wo_senryoku_de_jama_shiteru," this was a pretty stupid and somewhat fun anime. An anime ostensibly about its MC being faced with random options (set forth by a deep-voiced Absolute Choice) as if he was a visual novel protagonist, the premise's stupidity eventually outdoes whatever cleverness comes with it in the execution. The choices (which are predominantly binary) and the results themselves tend to go for the cheaper laughs, though still laughs. Kanade, the MC, plays the straight man to (and often victimized by) the zaniness that surrounds him, and does his job well, making him entertaining to watch. It seems very self-aware of the many archetypes it employs-- the genki girls, tsundere girl, the imouto, the dominatrix, the loli, the Student Council President-- and put their quirky spin on them. There's how the huge breasts of Ayame, the dominatrix type, are actually silicone implants; the imouto/childhood friend of the MC tries to make all other characters her Onii-san or Onee-san; how genre-savvy the SCP is; how the loli is actually the bitter and deeper-voiced homeroom teacher, who also suffered Absolute Choice). Still, some voice performances largely hew too close to the archetypes so as to almost grate, and the aesthetics feel rather cheap, though not particularly bad at the technical level. --------------------------------------------------------------- 'Episode 11,' the OVA bundled with one of its light novels, is more stupid fun, literally placing Kanade inside the world of a favorite gal game of his and having to complete it, all the while facing the lewd randomness of Absolute Choice and having his harem's 3 main girls serve as the base for the gal game's girls. It is a bit clever, though, when Kanade realizes that the eroge's actual MC is clueless of all the girls' one-sided-love while *he himself* is such an MC in relation to his little harem IRL.
Oneechan ga Kita (TV) Decent Alo translated as "my Big Sister Arrived." A cute and appropriately brief show, with twelve 4-min episodes that plays an admittedly light-hearted, incest-romance-but-it-isn't-really angle. The sister having a cute triangle mouth much like Renge of Non non Biyori definitely helped.
Queen's Blade: The Exiled Virgin (TV) Decent
Recently, my sister is unusual. (TV) Decent I think "Key" Theron Martin's review on this gives a pretty good perspective on this series. Basically, it's a show that, despite its absurd and unfunny premise, actually showed promise in some notable areas-- areas that don't even have anything to do with fanservice (which it largely lacked outside a couple episodes)-- but didn't really go all the way in them. There's some sense of merit to how the step-siblings's awkward relationship has some realism, resembling my image of how a relationship b/w sudden step-siblings would work in real life (sans a perverted ghost that tries to hook the sister with the brother). But...... eh. Many aspects really didn't go anywhere. At the very least, though, it had a funny and awesome reference to Metal Gear Solid in a post-credits scene in episode 6.
Vampire Hunter D (OAV) Decent
Wizard Barristers: Benmashi Cecil (TV) Decent What a.... show? It was definitely interesting, in a rough, chaotic, and kinda stupid way. The virtual slideshow that was episode 11 aside, it had some appealing production values courtesy of Studio Arms, as demonstrated by some cool action set-pieces and distinctive (though sillily-designed) character designs by Umetsu. The familiars were definitely highlights, even if the Frog familiar (voiced amusingly by Norio Wakamoto) became too creepy and perverted at times, and someof the story concepts were sort of neat, like a Lw & Order show about wizards. Still, there was too little logic going on in many of the show's proceedings, making it too hard to treat its court system (as canonically biased against wizards as it is) with any seriousness or hold personal investment in some of its characters. Also, there were some mysteries that really weren't handled well or satisfactorily resolved, like how there's the implication that a supporting character was a demon/Satan but little was done with it.
Akira (movie) Good
(The) Animatrix (OAV) Good
Aquatic Language (special) Good Also known as Mizu no Kotoba, this was an early short anime created by Yasuhiro Yoshiura, who would go on to create the excellent "Time of Eve." You can definitely tell where ToE took some of its elements from. Still, it is rather short, somewhat obtuse, and can look a bit ugly in some places (like the CG or character designs).
Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan (TV) Good
Blue Exorcist (TV) Good
Cannon Fodder (movie) Good
Cat Planet Cuties (TV) Good
Cat Shit One: The Animated Series (ONA) Good
Cat Soup (OAV) Good
Comedy (OAV) Good
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya (TV) Good
Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (movie) Good
Golden Time (TV) Good At it's heart, Golden Time is a "very good" story-- certainly a highly relatable one, in how down-to-earth it feels and how it 'gels' with my own recent college experiences, making me nostalgic for those days sooner than I wanted. Most of the characters themselves felt down to earth, relatable and even likable. (Linda & 2D-kun were among my favorites.) However, this seems to be a case where content was underserved by those working with J.C. staff. As likable as the character designs generally were, the production & animation overall felt very stiff and cheap. Thanks to the show's direction and writing, it sometimes felt like people were much too blunt with their feelings and some drama too contrived or quick-to-happen, all showcased with little artfulness. For much of the time it aired, I was never loco for Koko, or sold on her being such a great fit for Banri when compared to Banri's would-be-girlfriend Linda.... which made it all the more aggravating when Koko and Banri were the only characters to ever feature in the OP/EDs. (Surely it wasn't like this with the light novels?) And then, there's the awkwardly-executed drama involving the pre-amnesia "Ghost Banri" and his relationship with the current Banri .
High School of the Dead (TV) Good
Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens (TV) Good
MAOYU (TV) Good
Nyaruko: Crawling with Love! (TV) Good A very dumb-fun series that's definitely worth more than the sum of its parts; it's been a while since a series has made me chuckle or laugh as constantly as this did. And even better, I am now even more intrigued by H.P. Lovecraft's universe...
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt (TV) Good
Pet Shop of Horrors (TV) Good
Pocket Monsters: The Origin (special) Good A gloriously faithful-yet-terribly-condensed 4-part anime adaptation of the storyline of the original Pokemon Red and Blue games. It's hard to imagine someone that played and liked the gameboy games to *not* get a kick out of it; it is certainly a crowd-pleaser for older fans that don't mind nostalgia trips. The characters themselves are quite charming, and just so damn earnest and passionate in a world where nothing but a pure, candid spirit, the strength of one's Pokemon, and FRIENDSHIP are all you need to get by. Kudos to making Red the awesome Pokemon trainer/power fantasy we always wanted Ash Ketchum. I also give this major props for dedicating one of the four episodes to Mr. Fuji and the going-ons of Lavender. At the end, particularly the final scenes involving the new XY generation mega-evolutions, it may have still been an advertisement, but nonetheless an animated treat worth seeing.
Queen's Blade 2: The Evil Eye (TV) Good This was definitely a more valuable viewing experience than I could've imagined, coming into the second season that I thought would be roughly be the same exact cheesecake experience as the first. The characters and the story became much more developed-- enough so to actually get attached to and invested in a few of them! By comparison, whatever fan-service there was felt more arbitrary than not and whatever nudity there was was noticed much less.
(The) Red Spectacles (live-action movie) Good
Seitokai Yakuindomo (TV) Good
Shaman King (TV) Good
Sin Strange Plus (TV) Good
SoniAni: Super Sonico the Animation (TV) Good An unexpected surprise of the season-- for an anime that stemmed from the popularity of the titular Nitro+ mascot, it was pleasant slice-of-life fun doused with various eccentricities and somewhat tame fanservice throughout. Naturally(?), Sonico is never seen without her headphones, and no one ever questions it. Her manager always has some flame-headed demon mask on. Practically everyone is inexplicably nice to her! Many of the episodes are very distinct from each other, from zombie and mystery-spoof episodes to supporting character-centric episodes that can actually be touching! (The episode focusing on a disgruntled editor and her picking back up her dreams of authoring is a personal highlight.) A nice little show indeed.
Starship Troopers: Invasion (movie) Good
Strange+ (TV) Good A funny, fast, slapstick-oriented anime that works well in short bursts... making it a rather natural fit for its 5 minute-and-under timespan! Jun Fukuyama as the Detective Agency's head-- a blue-haired boy that's all too comfortable with cross dressing-- is a highlight here.
Trigun: Badlands Rumble (movie) Good
Trinity Blood (TV) Good
Another (TV) Very good Another proved to be a great horror mystery-thriller that kept me gripped over the course of the two days that I watched it. It had beautiful aesthetics, as well as a number of memorable death scenes that happened at irregular enough intervals to be morbidly interesting to watch. Sadly, there felt to be a little too much build-up in some places (especially early on in the series), all the doll imagery didn't seem to mean all too much of anything at the end, and it didn't feel like I got to know some of the characters as much as I should've.
Armitage III (OAV) Very good
Armitage: Dual-Matrix (movie) Very good
Birdy the Mighty Decode:02 (TV) Very good
Birdy the Mighty: Decode (TV) Very good
Blood+ (TV) Very good
Death Note (TV) Very good
Dusk maiden of Amnesia (TV) Very good This series had some alright-to-good comedy at the start, but then it became a vessel for some surprisingly great drama and suspense entering into the second half of the series. Top this off with a truly superb visual direction (discounting the "okay" character designs), and this was a certainly memorable series for 2012. A bit of a mixed feeling on the ending-- some may feel it's a "cop-out"-- but there's still plenty of inherent value in the emotional finale, as long as you interpret it in a certain light.
Elfen Lied (TV) Very good
Fate/Zero (TV) Very good The somewhat weaker half of the two cours that comprise the Urobuchi-written prequel to Type/Moon's Fate/stay night, Fate/zero introduces viewers to the cast and circumstances of the Fourth Holy Grail War. There are boatloads of exposition here, which were surely done to be both faithful to the novel and bring some non-Type Moon fans up to speed. As one that had already avidly read the FSN novel (hadn't seen the anime adaptation, probably for the best), I'm not too sure how effective it really is, but even so, it's probably a little too talky for its own good. I also feel that a bit too much time was given to Caster and his equally crazy master-- it took away some time from other more interesting characters, and the aesthetics of his noble phantasm and the battle its used in aren't as impressive as they could've been. Maybe there is less purple pea-soup fog in the BD release?
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet (TV) Very good
Gungrave (TV) Very good
INTERSTELLA 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem (movie) Very good
Is the order a rabbit? (TV) Very good Also known as "Gochuumon wa Usagi Desuka?," or Gochiusa for short, this is a slice of life adapted from a 4-koma seinen manga (much like Kiniro Mosaic) produced By Studio White Fox, which has already had experience in the SOL genre with Super Sonico. It is a very pleasant watch and, save for occasional male gaze angles at a female figure or two that just does''t go with the faces (like Riza and Chiya), rather innocent. Since SOL anime often comes down to Cute Girls doing Cute Things, they can benefit from having distinctive quirks to set them apart from others in the genre, and such is the case with this. Gochiusa has a distinctive setting, taking place in a picturesque setting with good European vibes (Holland?) and lots of bunnies roaming around. In fact, it takes the bunny motif fairly far to humorous effect-- the show's main cafe's original owner is stuck in the form of an Angoran rabbit fluff ball, characters may don bunny-ears or clothing like a bunnies, films and books will involve bunnies, board games and puzzles will be bunny-based, even cold medicine will be bunny-branded. This is already on top of a good base of character humor as exhibited through the relationships and interactions between the five main girls, who may not be cliche'-shattering but are healthily distinctive and have their own nice quirks all the same. The 'central' three of the five are those who work at the Rabbit House Cafe-- they are Cocoa, who is the energetic new girl in town that desires lot be looked up to as a good Onee-chan by her younger peers; Chino, the middle school granddaughter of the owner-turned-bunny, is like a matured yet more precocious and shy Renge-chon; and Rize, the elder cafe part-timer who comes from a high-class background and is a big military otaku (she was even trained in CQC by her Father!) who tries to be, and sometimes is, more feminine. The other two of the five work at different places but are still around often-- there's Chiya, the sweet-natured proper lady (and classmate of Cocoa) who helps run a tea cafe but isn't shy about messing around with others; and there's Sharo, the blonde with a sempai-crush on Rize at their elite school, albeit an expensive school she only succeeded at gaining a big scholarship for with her hard work and smarts alone, so she is very self-conscientious about her relative-poverty. That most-all of all the shenanigans in this SOL take place outside of school, mostly in the Rabbit House cafe, is definitely a good change of pace from what I consider 'the norm.' I hope that there will be a second season of this!
Is This a Zombie? (TV) Very good
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (TV) Very good
Kinmoza! Kiniro + Mosaic (TV) Very good
Knights of Sidonia (TV) Very good A beautifully animated and directed CG science fiction series that Netflix decided to choose as their entry waypoint into the market. Found myself to be pleasantly surprised by it-- despite the initially unsettling CG-fication of the just about everything in the show, it soon came to be a very natural fit for all the enthralling action that entailed between the human-piloted mechs and the shape-shifting, organically gooey Gauna, which are so fluidly animated and well-choreographed that it's difficult to imagine a 2d TV anime of the same budget reaching the same levels of competency. Fortunately, these high-octane sequences aren't all flash, as they're supported by a unique setting and great foundation of solid plot and character developments. The "gardes" that are piloted are thankfully given minimal "characterization" (with their being the more-functional-than-flashy tools of war one would expect them to be in a more 'realistic' science-fiction setting and all) and there aren't many overly-complicated fictional politics involved either, making it all the more easier to focus more on the generally distinctive characters and their relationships to each other-- such as the one-sided rivalry the white-haired Kunato has with MC Nagate Tanikaze, Nagate's infatuations with Shizuka Hoshijiro (and her visage), or the "third-gendered" Izana's great like for Nagate. (And who can forget Lala Hayama, the dorm mother that looks like some bear for some yet unexplained reason?) NOTE: This is only the first season of Knights of Sidonia, which first premiered overseas in Spring and I only got around to finishing in November 2014, so things may happen to affect my overall appreciation of the series. For now, though, I am very content with what we have here-- so I look forward to seeing season 2 start up next year!
Level E (TV) Very good This series from the same creator of Yu Yu Hakusho & Hunter X Hunter is a hilarious collection of science fiction-y vignettes involving a Master Troll of a prince aptly called Prince Baka. As loosely tied as the individual arcs may be, the majority of them are very entertaining and unique-- where else would one find an anime that involved a mermaid, super sentai and RPG parodies, and a somewhat poignant tale of a transgendered girl? To my surprise, as the show's last arc proves, there is a greater (if fairly simple) point to all the wacky events that have occurred since Baka has landed on Earth, paving the way for an actual conclusion of sorts. I imagine the dub starring Vic Mignogna will be supremely entertaining as well.
Little Witch Academia (movie) Very good
Love Live! School idol project (TV) Very good The first animated entry into the Love Live multimedia project (which I've never heard of before this anime FYI), this is a Sunrise-produced anime that follows a group of high school girls who become singing idols to attract new prospective students and keep their school from shutting down. Though already being a bit of an established franchise, it responsibly decides to start its story from the beginning, when the girls are finding out if they can even become a legitimate school idol group in the first place. The hyper sophomore Honoka comes up with the idea after seeing the success that actual school idol groups have enjoyed (such as "A-RISE"), and so she soon excitedly brings her two friends Kotori-chan and Umi-chan in tow. Much of the twelve-episode series follows Honoka’s steady recruitment of other girls in Otonokizaka Academy to her cause and the idol performances and training regimens that entail. Through this process, the trio becomes acquainted with distinctive characters neither crushingly chained to clichés nor dictated by them. Eventually nine unique members in all form up to complete μ's (pronounced muse) , though not without having their own relational and personal struggles before and after said-formation. There’s admittedly the feeling of an afterschool special to it all, including the dramatic and admittedly exciting final episodes and the season’s ultimate resolution, but there’s enough cheery earnestness to Love Live that makes it shine in a sea of anime with decidedly less innocent-and-good-natured outlooks. Of course it helps that the girls themselves look ‘quite cute’ and their songs are upbeat and catchy yet neither devoid of meaning nor depth.
Lupin III: Island of Assassins (special) Very good
Magi - The Kingdom of Magic (TV) Very good Technically a second season, this is an impressive followup to the what I had already considered to be a great foundation in "The Labyrinth of Magic." It reminds me a lot of 'shonen' shows I used to follow and enjoy, but with much better pacing, more consistent excitement, and even deeper commentary (like the classism and discrimination that had been shown between magicians and magoi alike). After this, I definitely look forward to a third season of Magi.
Magi - The Labyrinth of Magic (TV) Very good
Mardock Scramble: The First Compression (movie) Very good What an unexpected treat. Was thinking it'd be awfully hard-edge and "cool" but emotionally cold film, coming into this Sci-Fi "Psychosexual Thriller." While definitely hard-edge, it was more appropriate than not for the setting, and Balot and Oeufcocque were pretty good characters within the sixty minute time frame. Also, props for a cathartic arrangement of Newton's "Amazing Grace" in the end credits.... can't wait for the rest of this trilogy.
Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku (OAV) Very good
Muromi-san (TV) Very good
Nisemonogatari (TV) Very good It would be nice if this series was tighter, even though some of the extended comedy scenes that filled up time were quite funny. Some of the scenes got a little too long awkward as well, like the Sengoku bathing scenes and the infamous force toothbrushing of Karen. Still-- again, the humor worked very well most of the time, the characters were fun to watch, and both arcs came to pretty nice conclusions.
No Game, No Life (TV) Very good This was definitely a light novel show! Though a discernibly clever one, with oftentimes logical and fun mechanics. Sora and Shiro are the (NEET) protagonists, gamers collectively known as "Blank." At the series' start they're challenged to a game by the "God" of the fantasyland "Disboard," come to lose even though they're supposed to be the Best Gamers Ever, and then are teleported to Disboard to put their 1337 gamer skillz to the test and show how awesome they are in a world where all conflicts are settled by games rather than warfare or open human conflict. (Goodness this sounds more wish-fulfillment-y than I thought before writing!) They're joined by a colorful cadre of supporting characters like Steph (the sweet but dispossessed Princess of the Elkia Kingdom; has big boobs; butt of most jokes), Jibril (youngest of the ancient Old-Deus-created-warrior race known as the Flugel; has bigger boobs; warms up to "Imanity"), and-- somewhat tangentially-- the Kurami/Fiel pair (a human/elf 'team,' the latter of whom might have the biggest boobs!). Yes, it has its fair share of fan service and crudeness with what's essentially an expanding harem-setup, but the characters are lightly endearing and the service is kind of funny. Perhaps the biggest stars here, though, are the hyper-competency of "Blank" and the interesting games its put to use in, which makes "Nogenora" a very clever (if labyrinthine in all its logic and hyper competency) anime that is very fun to watch. The vibrant Madhouse production, with all its colors and shading that might clash and hurt people's eyes a bit, helps accentuate this as well. Looking forward to Season 2-- just hope I'll be able to follow along with the show quicker!
Non Non Biyori (TV) Very good
Occult Academy (TV) Very good
Outbreak Company (TV) Very good With no fantastic expectations going into this work, originally written by the same guy that did Scrapped, I came out rather surprised and pleased during much of its 12 episodes. It was definitely an otaku comedy with harem aspects, which served up its own conventional if banal fun-- like a beach episode where characters know it's a beach episode, a tourist-in-Wacky-Japan episode involving the hal-elf maid Myucel, or a make-an-otaku-targeted-movie episode. There are a couple other more great standalone but less conventional episodes, like a soccer match episode between the elves and dwarves or one where Princess Petralka was educated on being a Hikikomori for a day. (I have a feeling that latter episode's message isn't so unlike what "Welcome to the NHK" may tell.) However, it also ended up being a somewhat insightful and entertaining commentary on 'Cool Japan' and cultural imperialism as enforced through otaku culture, particularly the first four episodes and the last two. (Episode 11 is a highlight.) It helps that the production values remain solid enough overall, and the cast of characters consistently prove themselves entertaining if cute and pandering. I hope to be there when a second season ends up happening.
Read or Die (OAV) Very good
Record of Lodoss War (OAV) Very good
RIN - Daughters of Mnemosyne (TV) Very good
Samurai Flamenco (TV) Very good What a show. What a show! This might be the most deconstruction-y deconstruction in all deconstruction this side of 2013. Just when you think it'll be a semi-realistic satire about real-life vigilantes a la "Kick-Ass," then something happens (Guillotine Gorilla!) that lets it suddenly become some satire on super sentai shows. But it doesn't settle down and become too comfortable with some numbing monster-of-the-week format-- before long, enemies progressively escalate in size and scope, literally and figuratively, while taking the super sentai trappings farther and farther. And after encounters with the likes of politicians and aliens, we suddenly get a 3-episode plot that brings to mind The Dark Knight and its duality b/w Batman & The Joker! One might think that such a show would become an utter trainwreck, but luckily for us, it is just a train that employs some MULTI-TRACK DRIFTIN. Basically, it's a show that never crashes off the rails because a)the writers had a direction(s) in mind for it after all & b)there are some great and entertaining characters, like Masayoshi, his police officer-buddy Goto, and Samurai Flamenco's more brutal female counterpart, Mari (or Flamenco Girl). Too bad there's an awful lot of QUALITY in the anime's art & animation, though, at least in the broadcast run.
(The) Sky Crawlers (movie) Very good
Tiger & Bunny (TV) Very good
Towanoquon (movie series) Very good
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (movie) Very good
WATAMOTE (TV) Very good This is a show that has at times been both hilarious and melancholic during its run-- an odd sort of combination that I wouldn't have dreamt of seeing in anything except black humor. (I'm not sure if 'black humor' is a really apt term for this show, though.) The music is largely appropriate, with changing EDs and an at-times-ear-stinging rock opening, and there are a lot of neat and occasionally obscure otaku references intwined with some of the art and animation. From a personal standpoint, I found watching this quite therapeutic, and even helpful in recalling my own social anxiety and behavior: Having been a big introvert myself, I've felt sympathy and even some compassion as Tomoko tries, and almost always fails, to make her 'high school debut' through these twelve episodes. Mileage will definitely vary, as some of it proves awfully hard and sad to watch, and there is no steady rate of progress in Tomoko's development. By the end, she appears to finally have made some semblance of headway in getting a little bit outside of her shell-- though certainly not enough so to discount more wacky Watamote material. :)
When They Cry - Higurashi (TV) Very good
Witch Craft Works (TV) Very good A very charming, quirky and super colorful modern fantasy series. Not particularly deep, with Honoka and the distinctly taller Kagari being free of a lot of development (the latter, stoic and dark-harked bishoujo more-so), but fun, especially with the 'Team Rocket' crew of Tanpopo and her Tower Witch pals involved. Thomas Zoth (@ABCBTom) put it pretty well in the conclusion to his review of Episode 12 on Fandom Post: "The first episode seemed to hint that we’d be looking at a gender-reversed otome anime, but the show never really followed up on the gender politics in any significant way. What I did get was a wonderfully inventive, charming show that always managed to be more fun and surprising than I expected. It managed a fun balance of slice of life antics and life-or-death supernatural action, switching back and forth between the two at moment’s notice, destabilizing both narrative threads in hilarious and often thoughtful ways. There were no deep messages, just one of the best silly shows I’ve seen in a long while."
Witchblade (TV) Very good
World Conquest Zvezda Plot (TV) Very good
Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files (TV) Very good
Bakemonogatari (TV) Excellent
BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad (TV) Excellent
Boogiepop Phantom (TV) Excellent This ended up becoming a much more involved and complex series than I thought as I started watching. I adored it from a very literary standpoint-- the symbolism and metaphor put into here is very noteworthy, especially in regards to the Pied Piper, and the themes that include childhood's death and transitioning into adulthood add up to some great commentary (surely a critique on Japanese society) that can sometimes be particularly poignant. The visuals are favorably distinctive, as is the whole sound design. I only kinda wish that this was able to stand even better on its own (though it seems to mostly do), looking at all the media that's out related to it. Highly recommended, and definitely worthy of one more re-watch, if not more.
Carnival Phantasm (OAV) Excellent For fans or anyone that's familiar with Type-Moon's works (primarily Fate/Stay Night and/or Tsukihime): this is for YOU. As one that consumed all of the Fate/Stay Night VN and read the Tsukihime manga before Starting this OVA collection, I thought it was an excellent way to see fun poked at characters and situations that are otherwise primarily serious. For the extended collection of inside jokes that it basically is, Carnival Phantasm is the best that I've ever seen. But, if you HAVEN'T seen anything in Type Moon: well, what are you doing thinking about this anime? The more that you know about F/SN and Tsukihime (and maybe even their spin-offs), the more that you'll get out of this show... so read up on those other Type-Moon works!
Castle in the Sky (movie) Excellent
Cowboy Bebop: The Movie Excellent
Eureka Seven (TV) Excellent
Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo (movie) Excellent
Fate/Zero (TV 2) Excellent The more diverse and stronger season of the greater two-cour Fate/Zero anime-- and what a season it was! After finally dispensing of a Servant that might have overstayed his welcome, the pacing ramps up to create an even more exciting, if even more emotional, story of betrayals and tragic circumstances. Character development and motivations become necessarily clearer and further developed, particularly in the case of Kiritsugu and Irisviel. Continuing from their enjoyable and scene-stealing partnership of the first season, Waver and Rider become an even stronger team, helping to give Waver a good character arc as one of the greater protagonists of Fate/Zero. In the end, not only does Fate/Zero serve as a wonderful prequel for Fate/Stay Night, it is grand piece of fiction in its own right.
Flowers of Evil (TV) Excellent
From the New World (TV) Excellent Perhaps better known by its Japanese title of "Shin Sekai Yori", this 25 episode anime series is based on a 1000 page novel of the same name, written by Yusuke Kishi. It was probably the very first anime (or at least the first in a very long time) that my sister showed to me, and thankfully it was pretty rad. It's a show set a 1000 years into the future, in a theoretically utopian Japanese society on an Earth whose population is a tiny fraction of what it once. All 'civilized' humans in this relatively pastoral setting are psychokinetic users-- of whom Saki, Satoru, Shun, Maria, and Mamoru are our focus, in what I'd consider to be descending order of importance-- with the only 'abnormal' aspect of their environs being the existence of Monster Rat societies, whose members end up playing a key role in the events of Shin Sekai Yori (particularly Squealer and the noble Kinomaru, who are very interesting in of themselves). Eerie and suspenseful, yet intellectually engaging and what I'd consider melancholically-intoned (which is beautifully accentuated by Dvorak's New World Symphony's "Going Home," which is occasionally played over the towns speakers), it was an altogether superb series to watch. Watch your heart rate as you go through the show's second half, though! ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ EXTRA: ENDING THOUGHTS: Among the 'messages' that could be learned here, I thought there was a strong message of entrusting the future to our children with hope, not fear-- or, to perhaps put it more eloquently, nurture our children so there is HOPE, not FEAR in our future. Some of the finale's symbolism & dialogue obviously get at this, but this is a message carefully built up to through the series: particularly with these potential 'problem children' who 'require' elimination by Impure Cats, & then the appearance of a being who was only 'nurtured' to hate + kill that could only be defeated by the 'humanity' she rejected.
Fruits Basket (TV) Excellent
Fullmetal Alchemist (TV) Excellent
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (TV) Excellent
(The) Garden of Sinners (movie series) Excellent Kara no Kyoukai is essentially a 7-part film series that totals to about 9 hours. First seen in its original, and thus predominantly non-chronological, order of release, it is indeed a difficult series to understand, at least at first. The Nasu-originated dialogue consistently sounded more dense and somewhat awkward than it probably should've been. Even so, as I came to more fully understand what was going on with each successive film, my appreciation became ever sweeter in regards to this story: one of of the quiet girl named Shiki Ryougi, who attempts to come to terms with her multi-faceted identity as she intimately gets swept up in several series of murder, along with the mild-mannered Mikiya Kokutou and sorceress/puppet-maker Touko Aozaki who investigate them. It becomes more and more involving--perhaps reaching the greatest general climax in the 5th film called "Paradox Spiral--as the viewer questions with greater interest what Shiki's exact nature is and what the deal was with those weird murders she *apparently* committed in 1995. "The themes presented here-- relating to uniqueness, identity, happiness, protecting said happiness, the sin and burden of murder (perhaps best evidenced in film 7), and Yin & Yang-- may be somewhat obfuscated, but still more or less resonated with me. The aesthetics greatly enhanced the films, as the art and animation are consistently clean and top-notch, and Yuki Kaijura's music is appropriately haunting and beautifully evocative. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Note: There is also an (effective!) 60 minute recap called Gate of Seventh Heaven and 30 minute epilogue that probably gives the fullest answer to Shiki's true nature-- an identity comprised of Shiki, the 'male' SHIKI, and the Shiki Ryogi that is representative of the primordial 'body,' 'The Void' .
(The) Garden of Words (movie) Excellent
Gatchaman Crowds (TV) Excellent An ingenius little show that, while I may have not been mega-invested in it the first time around emotionally, proved to be wonderfully entertaining and intellectually meaningful. It's protagonist, the happy and hyper-energetic yet reliable Hajime, is essentially the anti-Batman; as she "combats" the Joker-like force of Katze and the chaos he represents, she takes measures quite different from those of the (personally beloved) Dark Knight. She is in harmony with the good natured civil servants that serve their city, thrusts her and her team's identity out into the open, and, to the very end, relies on others (like the GALAX-founder Rui) and encourages everyone to be a hero that betters the world around them. Could one call it a "deconstruction" of the superhero? I think so. Let CROWDS uplift you and take you on for a wild and relevant ride-- maybe you, too, will be able to spread your wings and no longer act as a caged bird!
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (TV) Excellent
Gosick (TV) Excellent A period setting, art nouveau aesthetics and character designs under the supervision of Toshihiro Kawamoto (Cowboy Bebop, Wolf's Rain), and a showcase of the range of Aoi Yuuki (Madoka Kaname in PMMM)…. what's *not* to love about this show by Studio BONES? Granted, much of this was noticeable from the first episodes alone, but I really thought they'd not be enough to carry the show nor would there be much to it. Was happy to be shown that I was wrong about this light novel adaptation. What might've been a hum-drum episodic mystery series with too many leaps in logic for viewers to get behind became a high-stakes character drama/pulp-adventure that spelled serious consequences for the world that Vicotrique and her 'Dr. Watson' sidekick, the kindhearted Kazuya Kujo, inhabited. (There is a reason this alternate-yet-discernibly-European backdrop was set in 1924, b/w the two World Wars after all!) It would've been really nice if the series was longer, as it definitely did feel rushed some towards the end from all that cramming in of endgame light novel material. Nevertheless, Gosick eventually culminated in one of the sweetest, most endearing anime endings I saw in recent memory when I semi-marathoned it in August 2014. Hope the novels are somehow able to find an American release once more….
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders (TV) Excellent
Kids on the Slope (TV) Excellent A thoroughly enjoyable and emotional roller coaster through the eyes of a few Japanese teenagers living through their jazz and friendship and (jazzy friendship?) in the mid-to-late 1960s. Though some pacing issues became definitely noticeable in the last few episodes, it was still altogether sweet and wonderful, especially given the episode count Watanabe & co. had to work with.
Kiki's Delivery Service (movie) Excellent
Kill la Kill (TV) Excellent This is probably the best of the two-cour shows to finish out in Winter 2014. What a wild and immensely fun ride it's been, and all thanks to Studio Trigger! Off the bat we see a very distinct aesthetic that brings to mind Gurren Lagann and bits of Panty and Stocking (particularly in the animation department, where movement is just as much implied as it is actually done). This is understandable, since it's head creators were heavily involved with those two shows at Gainax. The epic and loud story and characters fondly evoke those found in Gurren Lagann, though to a personally more memorable degree. (KLK is probably home to my first one-true-pairing, or OTP, that might as well be canon at this point: Mako and a certain big guy whose name starts with G....) It's also quite cool that the drama itself works on a fairly deep level, making some meaningful statements (feminist or otherwise) through a rejection of being enslaved by clothing and by extension societal/marriage norm. (To amusingly great effect, this translates into our main characters duking it out in skimpy clothes and the existence of a guerilla group called "Nudist Beach.") And of course, the music deserves some mention-- it's suitably on-note with all the action and drama, making for some very strong compositions and pretty rad OPs/EDs.
Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine (TV) Excellent
Macross Plus (OAV) Excellent
Magnetic Rose (movie) Excellent
Moribito - Guardian of the Spirit (TV) Excellent
My Little Monster (TV) Excellent
Nagi no Asukara (TV) Excellent "This is probably the best of the two-cour shows to finish out in Winter 2014." Oh wait, I said that about Kill La Kill! Seriously, though, this anime-original work penned by Mari Okada looks to be one of 2013/2014's best anime already. It's definitely a quite gorgeous and polished anime, with animation and artistry maintaining a sophisticated degree of consistency courtesy of P.A. Works. Music is also of phenomenal quality, with all the OPs & EDs deserving of regular listening. The setting that's established with the premise, where there are land people and sea people that largely live and remain within their respective town/village, make it very unique. Though it may appear that these more unique elements (which include the conflicts that arise between the people of the land and sea, the world seeming to reach an end, etc.) get pushed to the background by the relationship drama between the main cast, it really isn't. As the show proves to the very end of the series, these unique elements-- the sea, the sea god, the sea village and their stories-- serve as meaningful vehicles for its powerful and in-depth exploration of what Love truly is. With a conclusion providing more beauty and resolution than I thought Mari Okada would allow, Nagi no Asukara is certainly a journey worth seeing through.
Night on the Galactic Railroad (movie) Excellent
Now and Then, Here and There (TV) Excellent
Paprika (movie) Excellent
Psycho-Pass (TV) Excellent
Redline (movie) Excellent
Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie Excellent
Silver Spoon (TV) Excellent
Squid Girl (TV) Excellent
Summer Wars (movie) Excellent
Time of Eve (ONA) Excellent This was a pretty but too short series that makes me empathize more with android characters than those in most anything else that I have seen in visual media. Provocative and charming, it beautifully dramatizes relationships between humans and androids (or even androids and androids) in a future in which robots appear to acquire and develop a "soul" of their own. It would be great to see a second season come out of this property.
Welcome to the NHK (TV) Excellent This is a truly meaningful, if not super-wonderful show that speaks to me in a way not unlike Watamote. In fact, as it focuses on a college-age (& college drop-out) NEET with some severe social anxiety and his concerns about his future, it might speak to me even more! Sure, there's comedy here in his initial situation, as well as the situations he gets himself into with his ero-game creator-wannabe and the girl who wants to 'save' him (among others). But it's definitely not an otaku-soothing, light-hearted 'romp'-- far from it! The characters, most of whom are college-age-or-older young adults, are carefully written and end up feeling very real and sympathetic. While the animation might not do anything noteworthy, its musical score really helps to accentuate the show's content, especially the OP and both EDs (themes which you really ought to read the English subtitles for!). It's rare for me to consume entertainment that makes me reconsider just how meaningful my current anime-and-game-obsessed life really is, but that's what Welcome to the NHK does. And I strongly commend it for that-- for its provision of such valuable medicine-- and the altogether great execution of it through its characters and story.
Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo (TV) Masterpiece
(La) Maison en Petits Cubes (movie) Masterpiece
Millennium Actress (movie) Masterpiece
Monster (TV) Masterpiece
Mushi-Shi (TV) Masterpiece
Penguindrum (TV) Masterpiece
Ping Pong (TV) Masterpiece Probably the most pleasant anime related surprise I've come across all year. Having a nearly-dosheartening unfamiliarity with Masaaki Yuasa, only being aware of his credits in The Tatami Galaxy and Kick-Heart, I came in for the radical free-form visuals, but not really anything else. I didn't appreciate them fully at first, but they definitely grew on me, thanks to how confident the show was in its aesthetics and beautifully storyboarded it all was. Little did I think I'd stay on for a story full of great humanity and depth, one that celebrated human passion and friendship rather than the conceit of simply *having* to win at everything. The heartfelt bonds between Yutaka Hoshino ("Peco") and Makoto Tsukimoto (the barely smiling "Smile") may lie at the heart of this story-- and very much deservedly so, for they tie things up so well thematically-- but Ping Pong wouldn't quite be Ping Pong without it's strong supporting cast. There's Ryuichi Kazama, for example, who might even be a deconstruction of that character that *has* to win all the time, whatever the toll on his heart may be. And then Manabu Sakuma ("Akuma"), who develops from having a nasty-eyed rivalry with Smile to becoming accepting of his own limitations and "moves on." Of course, no one can forget Peco and Smile's respective coaches, the latter of whom is the most pleasant Engrish-speaking (and perhaps kawaii?) old man you may ever see in an anime. If one can only have room for one sports anime in their life, let that anime be "Ping Pong: The Animation."
Puella Magi Madoka Magica (TV) Masterpiece
Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part 1: Beginnings Masterpiece
Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part 2: Eternal Masterpiece
Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie Part 3: Rebellion Masterpiece
Revolutionary Girl Utena (TV) Masterpiece A timeless story with a beautiful ending.... a one-of-a-kind series, for sure. So much spectacle, so much absurd humor, and yes, so much artistic and literary substance that make me sure I'll want to revisit this series again and again.
Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal (OAV) Masterpiece
(The) Wind Rises (movie) Masterpiece
Wolf's Rain (TV) Masterpiece
Wolf's Rain (OAV) Masterpiece
5 Centimeters per Second (movie)
Angel's Egg (movie)
Animation Runner Kuromi (OAV)
Animation Runner Kuromi 2 (OAV)
Appleseed (movie)
Appleseed: Ex Machina (movie)
Armitage III: Poly-Matrix (movie)
Attack on Titan (TV) An intense shonen-action-thriller that became *the* mega-hit anime property of 2013. While unevenly paced and prone to being as subtle as a sledgehammer, it has atmosphere and action in spades, thanks to cool spiderman-like cinematography and one of the best and most bombastic anime OSTs of 2013. There is also plenty of drama and mystery as well involving an admittedly interesting-to-follow cast of characters alongside our 3 primary ones of Eren, Mikasa, and Armin. What is the *real* identity of so-and-so? What *are* the Titans? Who is going to die next? What's in that darn basement? There are still plenty such questions up in the air after the conclusion of its 26th episode, questions whose answers will surely be answered in the inevitable episodes to come.
Baccano! (TV)
Black Lagoon (TV)
Black Rock Shooter (OAV)
Blood: The Last Vampire (movie)
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (TV)
Cowboy Bebop (TV) A true anime classic. I watched the entirety of this series on DVD spread across 16 days, the vast majority of the episodes (including the two-parter ending) for the very first time, and it was so wonderful. I probably didn't fully realize until the very end how much the characters with al their experiences grew on me and until those last few episodes. Upon further examination of and listening to the final ED "Blue," I truly cried. Other than the main "plot" episodes like "Ballad for Fallen Angels" & "The Real Folk Blues," some notable episodes for me in particular were "Speak Like a Child," "Mushroom Samba" and "Hard Luck Woman."
Detroit Metal City (OAV)
(The) Diary of Tortov Roddle (ONA)
Eden of the East (TV)
Elfen Lied (OAV)
Escaflowne: The Movie
Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone (movie)
Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance (movie)
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (movie)
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (US CG movie)
(The) Final Flight of the Osiris (OAV)
FLCL (OAV)
Fullmetal Alchemist: The Movie - Conqueror of Shamballa
Genshiken (TV)
Ghost in the Shell (movie)
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (movie)
(The) Girl Who Leapt Through Time (movie)
Gurren Lagann (TV)
.hack//SIGN (TV)
Haibane Renmei (TV)
Howl's Moving Castle (movie)
Inuyasha the Movie 2: The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass
Jin-Roh - The Wolf Brigade (movie)
Last Exile (TV)
Lupin III: Crisis in Tokyo (special)
Lupin III: Dead or Alive (movie)
Lupin III: Farewell to Nostradamus (movie)
Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (movie)
Lupin III: The Columbus Files (special)
Magical Witch Punie-chan (OAV)
(The) Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (TV)
Memories (movie)
Miss Monochrome (TV)
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (movie)
Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV)
Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion (movie)
Only Yesterday (movie)
Patlabor 2: The Movie
Patlabor: The Movie
Perfect Blue (movie)
(The) Place Promised in Our Early Days (movie)
Pokemon 2000 - The Movie
Pokemon 3 - The Movie
Pokemon: The First Movie
Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (movie)
Porco Rosso (movie)
(Le) Portrait de Petite Cossette (OAV)
Princess Mononoke (movie)
Princess Tutu (TV)
Queen's Blade Rebellion Premium Visual Book (OAV)
Queen's Blade Utsukushiki Tōshi-tachi (OAV)
RahXephon (TV)
Ringing Bell (movie)
Rurouni Kenshin: Reflection (OAV)
Serial Experiments Lain (TV)
Shakugan no Shana (movie)
Shamanic Princess (OAV)
She and Her Cat (OAV)
Shinesman (OAV)
Spirited Away (movie)
Stink Bomb (movie)
Strait Jacket (OAV)
Stray Dog (live-action movie)
Superflat Monogram (movie)
Sword of the Stranger (movie)
Tales of Symphonia the Animation (OAV)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Legend of the Supermutants (OAV)
Trigun (TV)
Voices of a Distant Star (OAV)
Yu-Gi-Oh! (TV 2/2000)