Seen some Comment
Attack on Titan (TV)
Banner of the Stars (TV) Watched the first DVD, but then got away from it.
Berserk (TV) Have seen random episodes at Anime Club, wouldn't mind seeing more.
Candy Candy (TV) Have seen through episode 5. Quality is pretty bad, so I will be watching very slowly. Which is a shame, because it's an incredibly charming show.
Castle in the Sky (movie) Watched about half the movie, then forgot about it.
(Le) Chevalier D'Eon (TV)
Chi's Sweet Home (TV)
Chibi Maruko-chan (TV) Have seen one or two random episodes in Ohashi-sensei's Japanese class, would love to see more.
D.N.Angel (TV) Have seen through episode 4. I can't decide if the series is cobbled together, or if it's just the haphazard way I've been viewing it...

For further commentary, check out my blog.

Started: 30 April 2007
Completed:
Devil Survivor 2 The Animation (TV)
Galaxy Angel A (TV) A step below the original and Z on the amusing scale, but still good, clean fun. However, I'm severely pissed at the lack of a serious Forte episode. What the hell's up with that?

For my various commentary on all the seasons of GA I've seen, head to my blog.

Started: 1 May 2007
Completed: 3 June 2007
Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo (TV) Have seen through episode 5. Very interesting story, nicely acted characters, but very unfortunate art which may end up spoiling the series for me.

For further commentary, see my blog.

Started: 13 November 2007
Completed: --
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet (TV)
GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka (TV) Have seen through episode 3. I think this series is definitely going to live up to its hype!

For more commentary, see my blog.

Started: 24 November 2007
Completed: N/A
.hack//Roots (TV) Have seen through episode 2.
Hetalia - Axis Powers (TV)
His and Her Circumstances (TV) Saw the first couple of DVDs and then just sort of forgot about it. Got a good deal on the boxset, so will hopefully be watching it sometime soon.
(The) Irresponsible Captain Tylor (TV) Saw random episodes on the International Channel, and would like to see the whole series sometime.
Karneval (TV)
Kodocha (TV) This is the third time I've started this anime, and by golly, I'm actually going to get beyond the 4th episode this time!

Have seen through episode 51. Funimation's release was awful.

To see what I thought of individual episodes (I'm not sure why you'd want to, but hey, maybe it'll be fun) check out my blog.

Started (for the 3rd time): 20 February 2008
Completed: N/A
Kokoro Connect (TV)
Kurau: Phantom Memory (TV)
Legend of the Galactic Heroes (OAV) Have seen through episode 2.

Started: 16 August 2007
Madlax (TV) Have seen through episode 4. I feel like I'm watching a cross between Noir and Lain. Weird.
Magic User's Club (TV) Have seen through episode 4 (I think.) Will need to restart the series.
Magical Angel Creamy Mami (TV)
Makai Ōji: Devils and Realist (TV)
Maria Watches Over Us (TV) Have seen through episode 2. The beginning was very confusing, and I can only assume what was shown was something that will be actually occuring after several episodes. I found the character designs to be fairly pleasing, particularly that of Sachiko, and of course am ecstatic to see that Shinohara Emi is voicing one of the main side characters (and now I've even figured out which one). Pretty sure I'm not going to like this one all that well, but I can hope. At the very least, I'm finding some interesting characters to like.

Already it's better than all 26 episodes of Strawberry Panic! combined...frightening.
Marmalade Boy (TV) Have seen through episode 10 (I think.) Will need to restart the series.
Martian Successor Nadesico (TV) Have seen through episode 1. Didn't like it, but I'm going to give it another chance.
Miracle Girls (TV) Have seen through episode 4, and I'm afraid I'll never get to see anymore. ;_; That was in the late 90s on a nth generation VHS tape.
Monster (TV)
Nadia - The Secret of Blue Water (TV) Have seen through episode 8 (I think) but totally forgot about it. Was liking it, so will probably restart it sometime in the future.
Neo Ranga (TV)
Nobody's Boy Remi (TV)
Nurse Angel Ririka SOS (TV) Have seen through episode 8.
Ojamajo Doremi (TV) Have seen through episode 4. This is really a surprising little show! I was expecting something awful like Pretty Cure and yet I ended up with something so much more enjoyable. Even Doremi herself is pretty likable, how nice!

For further commentary, see my blog.

Started: 24 October 2007
Completed: --
One Piece (TV)
Ranma ½ (TV) Have seen through episode 2 (I think.)
Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight (TV) Have seen through episode 4 (I think.)
Red Data Girl (TV)
Rozen Maiden – Zurückspulen (TV)
Rurouni Kenshin (TV) Have seen through episode 4 (I think.) Didn't like it the first time around, but I'm willing to give it another chance someday.
S.A (TV)
Saint Tail (TV) Have seen through episode 4. Err, might try picking this one up in the middle sometime, just to see if I happen to like it better then. The start is kind of lame.
Shaman King (TV) Have seen through episode 10. An unfortunate episode that focuses entirely too much on Ryu.
Slayers (TV) Have seen through episode 4, plus the episodes on VHS 6. I'm waiting for the new release to be complete, because the dubtitles from the earlier release were awful.
Slayers Next (TV) Saw random episodes on the International Channel that I found very amusing.
Slayers Try (TV) Saw random episodes at Purdue Anime Club that I found rather amusing.
(il) sole penetra le illusioni ~ Day Break Illusion (TV)
Space Brothers (TV)
Sugar Sugar Rune (TV)
Sunday Without God (TV)
Tamako Market (TV)
Tonari no Seki-kun (TV)
Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE (TV)
(The) Twelve Kingdoms (TV) Have seen through episode 20.
Twin Spica (TV)
Valvrave the Liberator (TV)
(The) Vision of Escaflowne (TV)
Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories (TV)

Seen all Rating
5 Centimeters Per Second (movie) So-so
801 T.T.S. Airbats (OAV) So-so
(The) Adventures of Mini-Goddess (TV) Good
Oh my. How does one describe the Adventures of Mini-Goddess? Mindless fluff? Cuteness and sugar galore? A joy to watch? Yes, I think all three of those work quite well. This is not an anime of plot. It's simply 8 minute episodes of Urd and Skuld, along with their rat friend Gan-chan, playing around after shrinking themselves. Belldandy is rarely seen, and it's actually better without her. Urd and Skuld are a riot to watch, and you can help but just sigh and shake your head for poor ol' Gan-chan trying to keep up with the goddesses. And it's just fun watching the costume changes for mini-Urd. Five-star general one minute, fortune teller the next, and then lounging in a bikini. Don't expect much, except to giggle.
Ah! My Goddess (TV) Decent
I absolutely hated this series when I first started watching it. I had already seen the OAV, the Mini-Goddess series, the movie, and read the first 10 volumes of the manga, so I came in expecting my sweet but feisty Belldandy, sexy and fun Urd, pain-in-the-neck Skuld, and slightly hapless but still a good guy Keiichi. Unfortunately, that's not what the first 1/2 of this series was. Instead, Belldandy was a vapid twit bordering on mentally deficient, Keiichi was just a spineless loser ala Keitaro, and Urd and Skuld were flat (even their amazing seiyuu seemed to be completely unwilling to commit to the characters).

Thankfully, things did start improving after the halfway point. The characters began to feel more like their manga and other iterations--Belldandy was still sweet and gentle, but she did have other emotions and was no longer an idiot. Hisakawa and Toma finally latched onto their long-time characters again (maybe they thought those first episodes were awful too?) and they finally gave Keiichi some of his dignity back. There still isn't a whole lot to the series aside from lots of random episodes put together, but as long as the characters are entertaining that doesn't matter that much.

Overall, I ended up rating it slightly above average. While the latter episodes made up some ground (and the 2 DVD-only episodes were easily an 8 or 9 out of 10 for me), the early half of the series really hurt the overall enjoyment factor. I originally wasn't going to watch the second season, but if it captures the spirit of the manga and other versions like the latter half of the first season, then it's well worth watching. After all, even if I didn't love this series, I do still love my Goddesses.
Ah! My Goddess: The Movie Good
I really need to rewatch this film. I'm not the biggest fan of anime movies as it is, but I do remember this one being beautiful at least in regard to animation. Sadly, I can't remember much of the story anymore...
Air (TV) Very good
Kunisaki Yukito has a mission: to find the winged woman in the sky and end her suffering. During his journey to accomplish this, he stops in a seaside village to gather information as well as earn money for his travels. There, he meets several young girls who appear to have at least some sort of tie to what he seeks.

This is possibly the saddest anime series I've ever seen. Sure, a lot of other series have sad aspects, but this one was just plain depressing through most of the show. Everyone had such heartbreaking stories. I recommend it for any fellow emotion-junkie. More than that, it told a very deep story that was rich in imagery and heart. Some people might be turned off by the overall tragic nature, but I found it to be refreshing with its unwillingness to soften the tragedy but rather build upon it.

Strengths: The voice acting is impeccable, with Hisakawa Aya's performance as Kamio Haruko one of the shining moments of the series. The animation and artwork was positively breath-taking, even if I hadn't liked the story I was going to continue watching just for the art. An intriguing, albeit confusing, plot that makes the viewer really have to think to understand what is going on. Well done character personalities, with each getting fully developed without really hampering the flow of the overall story. Misuzu's "Gao!" Absolutely gorgeous music.
Weaknesses: Sometimes a little too confusing. The Summer arc seemed out of place, even if necessary.
Air (movie) Decent
Kunisaki Yukito has a mission: to find the winged woman in the sky and end her suffering. During his journey to accomplish this, he stops in a seaside village to gather information as well as earn money for his travels. There he meets Kamio Misuzu who helps him find the answer to his search, as well as teaching him about love.

I know I am not the first fan of Air to be disappointed by the movie. While the straightforward nature helps in comprehending some aspects of the series, it was missing the charm of the series. The art actually seemed to be worse to me (perhaps I had a bad copy?) and even the voice acting seemed a bit worse, which is suprising given the high caliber seiyuu involved. Hisakawa Aya as Haruko did a nice job, but it seemed some of the emotion was a bit forced. Moreover, both Yukito and Misuzu lost a great deal of their charm. Turning the series into basically a simple love story really took away from the show. It was worth the time to watch as an Air fan, but still it's disappointing.

Strengths: Simplified plot helped to understand the series...a little bit. Stunning music.
Weaknesses: Voice acting slipped a few notches. The simplicity of the tale made it lose much of the charm at the series had. The added romance seemed out of place. Many of the characters are just too different from their series versions, which is jolting and unpleasant for the viewer.
Air In Summer (special) Good
Kanna is a mystical being with great power. Because of this, she has been imprisoned by a lord. After falling in love with one of her guardians, she and her friend/maid set out to escape so she can see her mother, just once.

While I didn't like the Summer arc in the TV series, I really did enjoy the special that expanded on it, making it make sense. If you like Air, there's really no reason not to view this as well. It's beautifully animated, and fleshes out an important arc that was a bit too glossed over in the initial series given how central it was to what Misuzu faced.

Strengths: Beautiful animation and music, as always. A very compelling story that far surpasses the arc in the television series that it is based on. The characters were quite easy to fall in love with.
Weaknesses: Still some confusion left at the end.
Aishiteruze Baby (TV) Not really good
Aishiteruze Baby was a series that had a lot of potential to be good. The concept of the abandoned daughter being cared for by another family while her mother got her act together after a tragedy is an interesting one. Even the thought of a random teenage male relative is neat. The problem is the way such things play out. There is absolutely no reason that Kippei should be the one to care for Yuzuyu more than the others, it's just done that way solely for plot's sake--they really don't give any other explanation.

Art, characters, music...all of it was lacking in this series. The opening and closing themes were painful to sit through for a person who isn't a fan of R&B. Yuzuyu's eyes looked like they were going to take over her face--she was one creepy looking little girl. And as for the characters...well, if they had personality, it was so over-the-top that it was frustrating to deal with, and general, they were just unbelievable caricatures.

Strengths:One or two of the story arcs (part of Miki's and all of Shouta's) are compelling and interesting. Lots of delicious food shown throughout the series.
Weaknesses: Unbelievable characters, terrible music, creepy character designs, and a weak overall story.

A fuller review as well as descriptions of some episodes can be found at my blog.
Aiura (TV) Good
Allison & Lillia (TV) So-so
Angel Sanctuary (OAV) Good
Setsuna is in love with his sister, Sara. It's unbearably hard for him, but things become even harder when he realizes that he's the reincarnation of an angel who defied God.

I was told this was a terrible OAV. But quite honestly, I rather enjoyed it. It had an interesting story to tell, with a lot of emotion, and of course an extremely taboo relationship. Watching the OAV definitely has me wanting to read the manga now.

Strengths: Artwork is very lovely. Story, though bizarre, is quite interesting. The love between Sara and Setsuna is surprisingly well done, all things considered.
Weaknesses: Unremarkable music (if I can't remember it at all, it can't have been that good). The viewer is actually given the impression that there will be another episode, but that is untrue. Too short and many have declared it terrible compared to the manga it's based on.
Animation Runner Kuromi (OAV) Decent
Is there anything more simply satisfying than an anime that doesn't try to be anything more than what it is, and excels at what it is? Animation Runner Kuromi is precisely that sort of anime. It simply wants to entertain, and that's all it does with it's fun humor, kooky characters, and manic pace. The pacing in particularly is perfect, as you can almost feel the rush of trying to meet a deadline.

It's certainly not a masterpiece of animation, but with it's simple premise and overall fun nature, it's hard not to recommend this is a quick and delightful show for just about any anime fan.
Animation Runner Kuromi 2 (OAV) Decent
While the original OAV was perfect in its simplicity, its sequel faltered slightly. The addition of an antagonistic character really took away from the magic of the series. Still, it delivers plenty of laughs, and Shihonmatsu just demands the viewer's love. Unfortunately its pacing isn't nearly as perfect, and it begins to drag a little in the middle. While not a bad follow up, it's a bit disappointing with its lack of perfect simplicity.
Aria the Animation (TV) Not really good
Azumanga Daioh (TV) Very good
How do you survive being a 10-year-old high schooler in Japan? By finding the right group of friends, of course! Follow the young and sweet Chiyo-chan, the stoic yet gentle Sakaki-san, brash Tomo-chan, studious Yomi, spacey Osaka, athletic Kagura-san, and a cast of quirky teachers as they try to survive three years of high school.

Hands down, Azumanga Daioh is the funniest anime I've seen thus far. The voice acting (Japanese) was terrific, the characters were fun, and the plot (or lack there of) was absolutely splendid. What a great show for people to wax nostalgic about their high school days.

Strengths: Great chemistry between the seiyuu. The ability to make Chiyo-chan cute without making her downright nauseating. Easy to see growth in Sakaki and Kagura that isn't too blatant. Kaorin's crush. Fanservice is there, but done in a non-blatant way that will not turn off viewers who dislike pantyshots. The score by Kuri Coder Pops Orchestra matches each moment perfectly. The portrayal of friendship is wonderful, and is not bogged down by issues like high school romance. It's rare for a joke to fall completely flat.
Weaknesses: As enjoyable as they might be, the characters are pretty one-dimensional. One too many sports festivals shown. Kimura is just a little too creepy. Tomo and Yukari can grate one's nerves over time.

Mylene's Top 20: #5
Azumanga Daioh - The Very Short Movie Not really good
Just a little 6 minute preview of the show that was attached to the movie of another anime, it's kind of cute although completely pointless. It was interesting seeing the characters when drawn in such highly detailed animation though.

Strengths: Beautiful animation.
Weaknesses: It's nothing more than a preview.
Battle Athletes (OAV) Good
If there's one thing Battle Athletes is, it's entertaining. It's also fun and quite satisfying. For just 6-episodes, Battle Athletes manages to tell a story that's enjoyable and complete without feeling at all rushed. It captures the spirit of competition while at the same time maintaining the focus on interpersonal relationships and introspection. It's not a deep series, but it is incredibly fun to watch.

To see further commentary, check out my blog.
Battle Athletes Victory (TV) Good
After falling completely in love with the OAV Battle Athletes, I was incredibly pumped to check out the television series. However, for me the television series just wasn't as enjoyable. The characters felt so incredibly off, and that caused most of the problems. Akari was a rather unlikeable pushover. Kris was pushy and just plain weird. Other hold over characters faced similar downgrades in personality, and some of the new characters introduced were just plain annoying.

It wasn't a total loss. There was some really great character development, and certain plot twists worked almost as well as in the OAV. Unfortunately, it took a satisfying ending and tacked on a completely idiotic one, ruining one of the high points of the series. I recommend watching the OAV first to experience the more fulfilling series and then moving onto the television series lest it turn you off from the franchise as a whole. It does redeem itself in quite a few points, but the compact story of the OAV just worked better overall. Besides, Kris and Akari are both much better characters in that one. Anna is probably the only repeat character that actually ends up with a more intriguing story in the television series than the OAV.

For additional commentary, including some episode summaries/discussion, check out my blog.
BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad (TV) Decent
Meet Tanaka Yukio (aka Koyuki). He's into the latest pop idol, and his pretty classmate. However, after meeting Minami Ryuusuke (aka Ray), his world changes as he delves deeper into the music scene, learning how to play a guitar, and attempting to form the ultimate band with Ryuusuke.

BECK had a great deal of potential that it lived up to in some ways, and failed in other ways. The slow-moving pace of the story was done very well, helping the viewer to realize just how much time has passed since the story began, and to give them a sense that it doesn't take a day make a great band. The majority of the characters had great, quirky personalities that were easy to love. However, there were two major faults that I found. First of all, I found Koyuki completely unlikeable. So much about him irritated me to no end. No matter how much effort he put into certain aspects of his life, the lack of effort he put into other necessary changes irritated me. However, I realize this view might be because I'm an adult female, and thus have no way to really connect with an adolescent boy like Koyuki. Also, I despised the 'intrigue' that was added late in the show. I really felt that harmed the series and didn't have much purpose in the end. However, I am looking forward to purchasing the DVDs when Funimation releases them (I'll wait for a box most likely), and also any soundtrack they might release. I think a rewatch might do me some good.

Strengths: Interesting character designs unlike much of what you see in anime right now. The opening theme song is one of the best out there. Saku and Taira were just treats as characters, even if they're pretty quiet and the viewer doesn't learn much about them. Maho's personality was a very realistic portrayal of a teenage girl, and really seemed to show the effects of living in America on her. Doesn't lead the viewer to believe stardom comes overnight.
Weaknesses: Chiba's raps just left me cold. Excessive engrish might turn off some viewers (I doubt my husband will ever watch this after hearing it while I watched). Later parts of the plot seem to be very contrived. The lead character might be difficult for some viewers to put up with.
Blast of Tempest (TV) Good
Boogiepop and Others (live-action movie) Decent
Boogiepop Phantom (TV) Not really good
Bottle Fairy (TV) Not really good
Boys Be... (TV) So-so
I honestly am not sure what I can even say about this series. It was just so incredibly dull! The characters were so ordinary that they almost ceased to exist. There was absolutely nothing that stood out about them. Ordinary characters in ordinary life can be made to be interesting (for example, Honey and Clover), but in this...it's just boring. Several of the characters were also obnoxious stereotypes, and the girls were generally portrayed to be fairly petty and mindless. So were the guys, come to think of it.

There were a few particularly good moments. An episode featuring the vocal talents of Hayashibara Megumi helped to lift the series out of its usual doldrums. Also, I'll admit to liking the simplicity of the ending. It gave leeway, but it also made itself quite clear. Unfortunately that can't make up for the blandness of the rest of the series.

For additional commentary, check out my blog.
Boys Over Flowers (TV) Good
Makino Tsukushi is a commoner at a school for the rich. Refusing to put up with the actions of the F4, the four richest and most power boys in the school, she declares war with them, and suffers the consequences. However, even with all the bullying, romantic interest begins to be sparked between Tsukushi and two members of the F4.

While it's not a particularly good anime, I still found it addictive, sort of like other women find themselves watching really bad soap operas but find themselves unable to turn them off. The animation was mediocre, the music was bad, and the voice acting of many characters (Japanese) was even worse. And yet still it managed to turn out to be an enjoyable show to watch, against all odds. If you're not a fan of romantic comedy AT ALL, avoid at all costs. If you only like romantic comedies just a little, you might as well give it a chance. It's a decent guilty pleasure.

Strengths: Fun to watch if you don't take it too seriously. Even if you don't like Tsukushi, it's hard not to admire the concept of her character--the girl who's unwilling to just let oppression happen.
Weaknesses:Animation and art was pretty unattractive. The music sound like they pulled it out of an old Disney movie. The voice acting was sub-par and often lended itself to very annoying voices. So far over the top that it can't be seen for the clouds.
Btooom! (TV) Weak
Bubblegum Crisis (OAV) Good
MegaTokyo is in crisis. Boomers, a sort of super-powered cyborgs, are wreaking havoc everywhere. It's up to the Saber Knights to stop the destruction and solve the mystery behind the Boomer's construction.

Bubblegum Crisis is an up and down sort of anime. With that, I mean it has a tendency to be quite inconsistent. Some episodes were rather bad, some were decent, one or two were quite good, and the last episode was just fabulous (but then again, I adore Hisakawa Aya). The show really sparkles when it moves away from the character of Priss, most certainly. Priss was trying to be everything: rocker, hard-nosed, heart of gold, gentle, sex goddess, and whatever else. That's problematic as it's hard to identify with. But when the show finally got over the Priss complex, things got good.

Strengths: Give it up for 80s power pop/rock! The soundtrack for this show is such a treat for any 80s junkie, and the live videos available on the DVDs are a must-see. While dated, the animation is still pretty cool. It has the fun, old school feel to it. Several fun characters, like Linna and Nene. Episode 8 with guest star Hisakawa Aya as Lisa Vanette is an absolute riot.
Weaknesses: Focuses too much on Priss, a character that tries to be too much at once. Really not much cohesion between each episode. Doesn't answer the question of how the Saber Knights were formed. The ending is inconclusive. Too much focus on big explosions, not enough on plot. Not enough backstory or character for anyone except Priss, although Linna does receive more than the others in a sense.
Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 (TV) Decent
While this series does build upon the overall concepts of the original OAV, and does make some improvements (Priss is a bit more tolerable), I really don't feel it captured the fun charm of the original.

Additional commentary on my blog.

Started: 6 June 2007
Completed: 27 December 2007
Bunny Drop (TV) Excellent
Candy Candy Movie Decent
Candice White is an orphan who lives at the orphanage Pony's home. When she is adopted to provide companionship to two siblings, things seem to be going well for her, until she realizes just how cruel-spirited her new siblings are, and that's she's not really a member of the family. Will everyone she meets on the outside world treat her so badly?

Short, episode-sized 'movie' that's a good introduction to the world of Candy Candy. It definitely got me wanting to see the actual series, which I'm now in the process of viewing.

Strengths: It's quite cute, and makes the viewer think of popular movies like Annie or Heidi with the spunky lead character. Manages to tell a satisfying story in a short period of time.
Weaknesses: Old school animation is one thing, but this screamed American 1970s/1980s cartoon style, particularly the animals. The drawing style made me think of The Get Along Gang at times. Not sure, but the movie might possibly spoil the television series itself. The character Annie gains too much shallowness and has inexplicably changed hair colors (although she is extra pretty).
Cardcaptor Sakura (TV) Very good
CLAMP certainly knows how to turn a genre on its head. With Magic Knight Rayearth they tossed mecha into the magical girl mix, and with Cardcaptor Sakura they removed the villain and yet still presented a compelling story about persevering against the odds. The art has many familiar CLAMP elements, but they younger characters are 'rounder' in ways they weren't in earlier CLAMP series. Their personalities are well fleshed out, and it features one of the sweetest young love relationships I've seen in a long time.

I think episode 57 (Shaoran-centered)is my favorite, but episode 60 (Meilin's visit) is just a step behind.

Overall, it's a very nice blend of comedy (Yamazaki is a large part of this), action, romance, and even some drama. There's a constant air of mystery as to what is causing the events to occur, as well as the identities of many characters, but information is slowly fed to the viewer allowing for a well-paced overall development. There are moments of filler, however, and this is particularly notice towards the end of the series.

Mylene's Top 20: #16
Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card Good
This is definitely one of those movies that feels like an extra, extended episode of the series. For the most part, there's nothing particularly outstanding about it. However, it has one of the cutest and most memorable endings I've seen. It's not even all that surprising, it's just the way it was done, carefully timed and worded, that has made it stick with me for a long, long time.
Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie Good
Cat Soup (OAV) Decent
The abstract is something I've always had difficulty grasping, and surrealism is even harder for me. That made Cat Soup a bit of a difficult show to watch. While I was always intrigued by it, and generally got the symbolism, there was just too much that didn't sit right with me. Much of it was the dire violence of it all. I can pretty much understand why it was there, but it was still so brutal, particularly in the simplistic way it was shown.

I can certainly understand why so many people have rated it as a masterpiece, and gush over its depth. However, it just didn't work for my type of personality.

For additional commentary, check out my blog.
Ceres, Celestial Legend (TV) Good
Sometimes, even on your birthday, you sort of wish you'd never been born. For Mikage Aya, it seems the rest of her family agrees. While celebrating her 16th birthday with her twin, Aki, and their family, she finds out they plan on killing her due to abilities she doesn't realize she even has. The story continues as she and the mysterious Tooya work to keep her alive, and find out the Mikage family's secrets.

Unfortunately, I've forgotten so much about this show. I've only seen it once, around the time it was first released to DVD, I think. I remember it being very dark and very different from anything else I'd seen at the time, but also being a bit too confusing sometimes. I recently bought the collector's editions of the series, so hopefully I will be able to rewatch and put up better commentary.

Strengths: Beautiful art and music.
Weaknesses: Gets sort of muddled after awhile. Romantic relationships often get a little irritating.
Chihayafuru (TV) Excellent
While the setting of this story is kurata tournaments and practice sessions, the show doesn't come off like a sports/gaming series. Instead, the story is about the growing relationships between the kurata team members, as well as their friend that moved away. It's funny how kurata is in just about every scene, but it never hurts the pacing and always feels like it's much less important than the character playing the game. With fantastic production values, art, and acting, this is easily one of the best series of the past few years.
Chihayafuru 2 (TV) Very good
Chobits (TV) Decent
Hideki has decided to leave the country to come to Tokyo and study to get into university. While out at night, he comes across a lifesize Persocon left out for garbage. Wanting one for himself, he takes it home and with some help from another resident, is able to get Chii working. However, Chii is a blank slate, and Hideki must teach about the most basic of things. Not only that, but there seems to be a lot of interest and intrigue regarding Chii. With the help of friends and new acquaintances, Hideki must unravel the mystery of the "Chobit".

I nearly quit watching this after the first four episodes. It was entirely too juvenile for my taste. However, I put up with it, and ended up rather enjoying the series. It's not as good as some people might say, not as bad as others say, but overall it at least keeps the viewer mildly entertained. The end is even quite touching. Be prepared for a fair bit of obnoxiousness from Hideki as he drools over dirty magazines and chastises himself for having naughty thought about Chii. Not to mention most episodes being chock-full of Chii fanservice.

Strengths: Manages to build a somewhat strong plot out of a pretty fluffy anime. Solid animation and artwork, as to be expected from a CLAMP-originating anime. Not half-bad for picking a few new Japanese vocabulary words by learning with Chii. Pretty decent score.

Weaknesses: Excessive fanservice. Excessive perverted behavior by the protagonist. While interesting, the plot sometimes seems to get a little too twisted up in itself. A little too much time with Chii and Hideki and not enough focus placed on side characters. While the opening theme is terribly catchy, it's not that good and tends to get stuck in one's head.
Chōyaku Hyakunin Isshu: Uta Koi (TV) Good
Clannad (TV) Good
Clannad isn't much of a girls crying in the snow sort of story ala Air or Kanon. It's much more of a lighthearted comedy. Certainly there are serious and sad moments (particularly early on) but the big appeal is Tomoya teasing and playing with his friends. He's got a wicked sense of humor, and a level of familiarity with everyone that I haven't seen much of. It's fun to drag others into his pranks or misery to comedic results.

That said, I do wish there had been more depth to it. The final episodes were very anticlimactic, and Tomoya himself never really receives a conclusion with his own personal issues.

All in all, it was a fun show, but I wish they could have wrapped up a bit more with the end. I realize there is a sequel, but too much wasn't accomplished with the first.
Clannad After Story (TV) Good
Although many marked this as a masterpiece, I must say I come away a little disappointed. Not much, but a little. There was a bit too much filler in this series compared to the first, particularly given the abrupt turn in the latter half. Sunohara's arc, in particular, felt out of place, overdone, and just unpleasant. Trimming the fat would have done some good. That said, if you like the first series, you'll very much like this one. And I must give it props for going beyond the "high school students fall in love, confess, the end" formula that so many pieces of pop culture follow.
Comedy (OAV) Decent (raw), Very good (sub)
This is one of those shows where you kind of need to sit and think about what you just saw for a few minutes to grasp why it's considered so brilliant. Did I think it was a masterpiece? No, but I did find it very intriguing, and I loved that I found myself carefully arranging in my mind what I saw and started processing it in order to attain a better understanding. Actually being able to understand the narrative completely truly helped add to the depth of the show, particularly the "story" the young girl was told regarding the introduction of script and the era following it and everything.
It was embarrassing that I didn't realize why it was called Comedy at first though... ^^;

Viewed Raw: 25 August 2007
Viewed Subbed: 26 August 2007
Cowboy Bebop (TV) Very good
Spike Spiegel and his partner Jet Black travel the solar system in the Bebop, picking up bounties where they can. Over time, they're joined by a youngster, Ed, a dog, Ein, and a flashy woman with a debt problem, Faye Valentine.

Really, this is just a fun show to watch. Episodic, so it can appeal to anime and non-anime fans alike, it turns being a space cowboy into a lot of fun. I particuarly enjoyed the few episodes we saw focusing on Jet Black and Faye Valentine's back stories.

Strengths: Great music. Characters are pretty full of personality, although Ed and Faye seem to be somewhat more one-dimensional compared to Jet and Spike. Certain comedic episodes are absolutely hilarious. Nice art and animation.
Weaknesses: Backstories, while presented for every character, sometimes felt a little out of place and led to rather out-of-character moments in this viewer's opinion. Overall plot needed just a bit more development to really pull in the viewer. Episodic nature, while great for the occasional viewing, makes it a little hard to sit and watch a lot of episodes in a row (at least for me).
Cowboy Bebop: The Movie Good
The Bebop crew is back together, and working hard capture a terrorist using chemical weapons.

One of the better anime movies I've seen, actually. It still felt like just an extended episode, but at least it was a GOOD extended episode. Besides, it's always nice to see the Bebop gang back together. And Faye has a very interesting role in it all.

Strengths: Music and animation, as always. A cohesive plot that's actually pretty exciting. Faye plays a larger role than usual, showing off a bit more of the character.
Weaknesses: Less comedic than the televisions series, as far as I can remember.
Crest of the Stars (TV) Decent
I saw this so long ago that I can't remember much about it. I know I liked it, but I also remember thinking it was a bit too slow, etc. It'll definitely be worth rewatching in the future, especially so I'll be prepared to restart Banner of the Stars. That's about all I can say about it at this time.
Deadman Wonderland (TV) Decent
While this has a fairly cool premise, the execution has a lot of problems. The voice acting is frequently grating, the characters aren't particularly well fleshed out, and it doesn't really have much of an ending. I'd be curious to see if the manga is better.
Dear Brother (TV) Good
Death Note (live-action movie) Decent
Really not just terrible for a live-action adaptation. It's not a great movie by any stretch, but I had fun watching it.
Death Note (TV) Good
This is a tough one to discuss. There's just so much to both love and hate about it that leads it to being a somewhat divisive title amongst fans. Something think that the production elements are superb. Others think the opposite. Some find the story compelling, some appalling. On and on it goes. The fandom itself can lead to loving or loathing the series, what with the obsessive L and/or Light fans.

As for me, I find the overall concept incredibly intriguing. I like that it brings up such heavy discussions about the idea of justice. I don't always agree with what is said, and fear for the future often enough because of the views of some of the younger fans, but I still appreciate the dialogue it opens up. On the other hand, it's completely and totally over-the-top and convoluted. The "I know you know that I know that you know that I'm the killer," bit got old after an episode, and it continues on and on throughout the series. For having a good story to tell, it wasn't actually told very well.

On a similar note, the series outstayed its welcome. It should have been 25 episodes, but instead it was stretched much longer and introduced too many unnnecessary (and often unlikeable) characters into the mix. The music was also often unwelcome, with its almost laughable lyrics and screamed singing. I suppose it was meant to appeal to a certain populace, I'm not a member.

Still, even with its flaws, there is something very intriguing about the series. It's developed a pretty amazing following, and not all of the praise is unfounded--much in the same way that the criticism is generally well-based too. I personally found it laughable quite frequently, but I enjoyed watching my husband try to figure out what was going to happen and who would win. Perhaps if I hadn't already read the manga (which is much worse storytelling-wise), I might have enjoyed the anime even more. It's not the masterpiece that many people claim, but it's also not terrible either. It falls somewhere in between the extremes, but certain lends itself well to either sides of the balance depending on one's point of view.

First impression of the series can be found at my blog
Dennō Coil (TV) Very good
I really feel that Dennou Coil was easily the best anime of 2007, and long for it to be licensed. While I was never particularly fond of the two leads (Yasako and Isako), everything else about the series more than made up for a bit of a shortfall in their characters for me. The rest of the cast was positively fascinating--fun, realistic, and endearing. Kyoko was a terror of a little sister, but she was so perfectly 4 years old that it worked. The other kids also acted their age. They didn't always get along, but their bickering never felt forced or simply there for the sake of intrigue either. Older characters added interesting touches.

Much of the series is lighthearted in nature, truly just the adventures of kids during the summer. Their world was bright with imagination and completely heartwarming and fun. The latter darker storyline wasn't my favorite, but it added additional depth to an already fantastic series.


Additional commentary here.

Mylene's Top 20: #15
Densha Otoko (live-action movie) Very good
Sometimes it was a bit painful to watch, seeing someone so terribly awkward, but overall this was quite a fun film. Oh sure, it was sappy and cloying, but why not? Sometimes it's nice to see the dork get the girl, particularly when it isn't perfectly easy and there's a reason for mutual appreciation (contrary to the methods of many anime.)

What made the movie really pop was the way they incorporated the 2ch people into the story, and the little snippits of their lives that it showed. That really made the movie for me overall. While it was mostly Densha Otoko and Hermes story, it was also the story of all of the lives touched by this venture into the world of dating.

Certainly not the best movie I've ever seen, but plenty of fun to watch.

A more in-depth review can be found here.
Destiny of the Shrine Maiden (TV) Good
It's amazing how a series can go from being absolutely awful to something really interesting. The first couple of episodes of this series didn't interest me. The next batch bored me to tears and had me wishing that I believed in dropping series. Then came the sudden change in the series. It went from being about mecha and stupid villains to something much darker. Did it truly get better? It's hard to say. However, it did turn into something I personally could enjoy. I like twists, I like darkness, and while it used a few fairly predictable parts, the ending was what I hoped without being what I expected. It's really hard to get through the first part, but by the end, it was well worth it for me.

Additional commentary for the first 9 episodes can be found at my blog.
Di Gi Charat (TV) Awful
I went into this series thinking it was going to be Galaxy Angel-esque. Oh how wrong I was. It's said to be a comedy, but it's not. There's nothing funny about it all. And then I learned it was a series of advertisements. Why on Earth would someone license commercials and release them to DVD in North America?

Needless to say, I didn't really find any redeeming qualities in this mess, except for maybe the music video episode. But even that couldn't keep this from falling all the way to the very bottom of my list of anime, and currently holds the title of "Worst Anime I've Ever Seen"

A bit more commentary can be found at my blog.
Diamond Daydreams (TV) Good
Atsuko, Karin, Kyoko, Suomi, Shoko, and Akari are all facing a challenge in their lives. Each young woman must get through this challenge in order to find the happiness and freedom they seek.

The premise for this series is pretty basic. Each young woman is given 2 episodes (one in the case of Suomi, although an additional unaired episode was given to her in the DVD release) in order to resolve the issue she is facing. Some stories revolve around love, others family, friendship, or simply realizing one's own limitations. And while some stories were better than others, and some of the characters were better portrayed, the series itself is a success overall. It's fun, touching, and even has a couple of twists that might leave the viewer surprised with the results. Moreover, ADV Films' release has some great extras, with DVD 3 including a great little blooper reel as well as an explanation for one of the background characters (he's in almost every single episode).

Strengths: Good opening and closing themes (even if the opening doesn't really fit the mood of the series). Most of the characters and stories are very enjoyable.
Weaknesses: Kyoko is hard to sympathize with. Some stories are only salvaged by great characters and/or voice acting. The music, while pretty decent, gets noticeably repetitive as the show goes on.

An additional review can be found at my blog.
(The) Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (movie) Good
Doki Doki School Hours (TV) Not really good
Alas, this is a series with a fair amount of comedic potential that lets it all go down the drain after the first 12 episode. One of the biggest problems is the extremely large cast of characters. There are just a few too many extremes, and it doesn't work well trying to cram all of them into each episode. The other big problem for me was the jumping of the shark which occurred with the second 'season' (Gold). It goes from adventures in school to random made-up adventures that really didn't fit into the series. The last two episodes return to the charm of the first half of the series, but those middle episodes really killed this series for me. It's not the worst comedy I've seen, but it's also far from the best. Check it out if you're interested, but I'd recommend renting first before shelling out a lot of cash for this one.

Additional commentary at my blog.
(The) Eccentric Family (TV) Good
Eden of the East (TV) Very good
Eden of the East: The King of Eden (movie) Very good
Elfen Lied (TV) Good
Depending on who you talk to, Elfen Lied is either a masterpiece or a fan-pandering piece of garbage. A few fall in between in their views of it, and I'm one of those.

One of the biggest issues is the gratuitous violence and frequent nudity. Some suggest that both are used to tell the story and aren't at all fanservice. I disagree. I do feel that the violence and nudity that opens the series provides a sense of the inhumanity of the lives oft he characters. However, over time the nudity becomes fanservice with Nyu liking to grab breasts, take baths, and the show just loves its panty shots. Sorry, panty shots of random girls (there's one episode that has a ton) can't really be seen as anything but fanservice. As for the violence, there are moments when it is used expressively, but there are more where it just seems to be there for fans of violence.

I suppose that's one of the biggest issues with the series: it tries to satisfy too many different ypes of fans. The opening theme and overall story is meant to draw in the more intellectual viewers. The violence (particularly that which is unnecessary) is a bone to the violence fans. There's ton of moe, there's harem anime antics, there's even really unnecessary romantic comedy tropes. When you try to satisfy everyone, it's much harder to satisfy anyone, and that is the biggest fault of all for Elfen Lied.

For further commentary, check out my blog.
Emma: A Victorian Romance (TV) Very good
Emma is truly a niche title, one that only works for people who are willing to wait patiently and watch a slow-paced, old-fashioned romance develop. The first season by itself presents a fully satisfying show with an open ending but yet just enough guidance that you can imagine how things will change over time.

I think I loved Emma most of all because it was so different than everything else. It was slow, steady, and didn't rely on quirky gimmicks or fanservice. Rather, it reached out to the type of viewer who loves a certain ambiance and completely wraps them in it. It's certainly not for everyone, but if you're a fan of historical romance or even just have a penchant for the pacing of classic literature, you might consider checking it out.

For a few discussions and screencaps for the first six episodes, see my blog.
Ergo Proxy (TV) Good
This is one of the more confusing anime I've seen. That's not necessarily a good thing nor a bad thing, it's just a simple point of view.

So what makes it so confusing? A lot of it is the misinformation and refusal to provide any sort of information to the viewer throughout the series. It can be incredibly frustrating, much like Lain in that respect, but there is something about the ambiance that keeps such crypticness from being too much. Some episodes are actually very straightforward and can even be fun, others were just too much, and the rest fall somewhere in between. Still, it keeps you guessing and thinking throughout.

I think one has to have certain tastes to really love this series. I fall somewhere near that line, but not quite, so while I find myself intrigued by it, it's certainly not something I've fallen in love with.

Further commentary: Reflecting Lights

Eureka Seven (TV) Very good
Oh wow, this series managed to frustrate me to no end for about twenty episodes. And then, I fell completely in love. Which in some ways frustrates me even more, but in the end I can't help but think that Eureka Seven is easily one of the best shounen-type series I've seen.

It really has a very complex and compelling plot--once it gets around to telling it--as well as very well-developed characters in Renton and Eureka. They're not always likable, but they do certainly grow across the span of the series. Other characters receive development as well, which is great, but with the huge cast, many just don't get the attention they deserve. That is one of the series biggest downfalls. During the 20 episodes where they dragged their feet and did the same thing over and over again (bullying Renton), nothing was done to give the rest of the members of the Gekkostate solid personalities at all. Given how much potential many of them had (Gidget, in particular, kept getting to the cusp of being a fully developed character and then falling short), this was a major disappointment.

Still, can't hold too much against a series that starts out rather slowly and kind of badly (well, more mediocre than bad) and builds into such a fantastic series. If you're watching, just know that everything turns around once Ray and Charles Beams are introduced. They are the turning point, and helped lead the series to making it into my top 25 favorite anime (thus far).

Additional commentary over at Reflecting Lights.
Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone (movie) Good
The first of the new Eva films really didn't feel like a movie, but rather a really long episode. Not just due to the rehash nature, but also the pacing and breaks were very much like 4 episodes were cut together. That is not to say it was bad, but there wasn't really a good climax or emotional moment that a film needs. At the very least, it made me want to see the next movie.
Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance (movie) Very good
The second in the reboot movies definitely improves the pacing and adds a lot more excitement. Not to mention the intensity in the last several scenes. Can't wait for more!
Excel Saga (TV) Good
The world is being overtaken by idiots. Using the ever faithful (but often failure-prone) Excel and newly met (and ever keeling over) Hyatt, Lord Ilpalazzo is going to take over Earth. Somehow.

Taken in small doses, this is a fun anime. Except for any episodes that focus on Pedro. Or the other 'Earth' people. Okay, basically it's fun as long as Excel, Hyatt, Menchi, or Ilpalazzo are the main focus. The other characters were irritating to me, except for maybe the Ropponmatsu gals. Still, it's worth watching if you're not too new to anime. But I still suggest taken a nice break between episodes, lest the absurdity of it all get to be too much.

Strengths: The seiyuu do an absolutely stellar job in this show. Mitsuishi Kotono as Excel and Koyasu Takehito as Ilpalazzo do exceptionally well with their roles. Parodies are often gut-busting hilarious. Random turns of events, including a few "serious" episodes really add to the overall feel of the show. Fun opening theme (and early on, the ending theme is at least funny because of it's originality.)
Weaknesses: The jokes aren't always funny. Many of the side characters have dislikeable personalities. As the title indicates, Episode 26 just goes too far. Ending theme, particularly the extended version, is just a little too weird for my taste. The frequent focus on side characters during the middle episodes really hurt its overall appeal. Over-the-top nature makes it difficult to be able to deal with more than one or two episodes in a sitting.
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya (TV) So-so
Fate/stay night (TV) Good
While I found myself often angry at individual episodes, this series has an incredibly strong ending arc that really surprised and pleased me. Excellent fights throughout, but non-fight scenes tended to teeter between good and very bad with little falling in between in my opinion. Integrity was not sacrificed in the ending, which pretty thoroughly redeemed most bad aspects of the series for me.

For further commentary, see my blog.

Fate/Zero (TV) Good
Fate/Zero (TV 2) Good
Fighting Spirit (TV) Good
Figure 17 (TV) Good
While initially watching this series, I found myself a little disappointed with it. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't I got. It had received such outstanding reviews from some people's whose opinions I rather admire. One even said it would be their favorite anime if it weren't for Revolutionary Girl Utena. I think that led me to believe it would be an incredibly deep series, which in the end, it isn't. It's a sci-fi magical girl series, and never seems to try to be anything more than what it wants to be: a story of a young girl who is lifted from her crushing shyness and depression by the kindness and encouragement of another.

Character development was a very strong element of the series, even if sometimes there was a bit too much stepping forward and backward for my taste. Unfortunately, the sci-fi plot felt completely out of place and took away from the picture-perfect non-action scenes.

It's by no means a masterpiece, but it is extremely good. Those who enjoy character-based dramas will be well-rewarded when watching this--as long as you don't spend your time wondering when something major is going to happen, because it's not.

Additional commentary at Reflecting Lights.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (US CG movie) Weak
Yes, I have seen this. At one point, I ended up with two copies of the DVD. I remember giving one away, I have no idea what happened to the second. Might have loaned it out and never got it back. Actually, I think my roommate stole it, but I digress. Not a good movie, not a bad movie. But hey, it had Roz from Frasier doing one of the voices. Should I comment more fully? Not really, it's not truly relevant to this list, I just hate to see something that I've seen go unmarked, even if I don't necessarily think it fits on my list.
Flowers of Evil (TV) Very good
Free! - Iwatobi Swim Club (TV) Good
From the New World (TV) Very good
Fruits Basket (TV) Good
Honda Tohru is on her own. After her mother's death, she chooses to live in a tent rather than be a burden to those around her. However, after being discovered by the Sohma family, she's asked to live with them and help out with the house. Of course, being in such close quarters can often lead to secrets being revealed--in this case, many members of the family are cursed, and turn into animals of the zodiac when embraced by someone of the opposite sex.

A suprisingly enjoyable anime. The lead character, Tohru, grated my nerves a bit, but the rest of the cast is stellar, with some really fun characters in the mix. The whole "people who turn into zodiac animals" thing isn't really my thing, but still, this show makes it work by looking at it symbolically. It's a really interesting looking at interpersonal relationships, labelling, and societal isolation.

Strengths: Soft, beautiful artwork. Fairly well-developed characters. A nice blend of comedy and drama. Keeps large cast of characters from becoming too overwhelming. Soft score really fits the mood, and the opening and closing themes are just wonderful to listen too.
Weaknesses: Lead character is a bit of a Mary Sue (too perfect). Much of the latter portion of the plot is rushed. Ending is very unfulfilling and doesn't make much sense.
Fullmetal Alchemist (TV) Very good
I really wanted to like this series, and quite frequently I did. However, it suffered from its length. Too many points in the story were dragged on and on until I began to lose interest. Moreover, I didn't find either of the Elric brothers particularly likable. The side characters helped to save the series in many ways, but particularly towards the end they're lost a bit in the story of the Elrics.

Still, it's a strong series for what it is, with plenty of interesting twists and turns. It just quite to my fancy, but I definitely recommend to almost any anime fan.

I've written more about the series at my blog.
Fullmetal Alchemist: The Movie - Conqueror of Shamballa Weak
I'll keep this short and sweet. I hated this movie, and cannot fathom why they couldn't have just left well enough alone by not trying to continue the ending of the series. It's been so long since I watched it that I can't quite remember all of the reasons I hated it, but most of it had to do with characters and plot. There just wasn't anything redeemable in this movie for me, and it actually sucked some of the magic out of the series just due to relation.

A bit more about my thoughts on the movie can be found in my review of it and the series.
Fushigi Yugi (TV) Good
One day while at the National Library, two best friends, Miaka and Yui, stumble across a magical book that pulls them into another world. The girls must find a way to not only escape, but also survive the hardships that face them both. Hardships that may end up destroying their friendship.

One of my first series, I really rather enjoyed this show. Sure, I hated Miaka. And I got really tired of the Miaka-Tamahome relationship, but the story itself as well as all the other characters made it well worth watching at the time. Whether it still holds that same magic now has yet to be seen, but it's a pretty nice introduction to anime. I snagged a few new fans with my subtitled VHS tapes of the show.

Strengths: Beautiful artwork. Fairly solid soundtrack that was quite fitting for the feel of the book's world. A great cast of side characters. Satisfying ending.
Weaknesses: Romantic relationships are over-done and turn off many viewers. The character Yui goes too far in her thoughts and actions, making it difficult to properly sympathize with what she's gone through. A little too long. The Twelve Kingdoms manages to have a similar plot, but does it a lot better.
Fushigi Yugi (OAV) Decent
My favorite of the Fushigi Yuugi OAVs. And not because of the story. Oh no. It's due to the hilarious hot springs trip omake between each episode. Those were great! Worth purchasing simply to see those. If/when I rewatch it, I'll update the comment to add better detail.
Fushigi Yugi (OAV 2) So-so
Like most of the Fushigi Yuugi OAVs, this one was also pretty forgettable. Not necessarily bad or anything, I just can't remember it. If/when I rewatch it, I'll update the comment to add better detail.
Fushigi Yugi Eikoden (OAV) Weak
Things are going great for Taka and Miaka. They're expecting their first child, after all. However, everything changes when a young woman named Mayo decides to take that happiness for herself. Once again, the book of the Four Gods is opened for an adventure.

If it weren't for the beautiful pencil boards I got when I bought the special edition, this would have been a major disappointment. It still wasn't all that good, and I haven't been able to get myself to watch it for a second time yet, so I have no memory of the plot, except bad things happen to Miaka, which made me very happy. This is a good example of an anime where they really should have left well enough alone.

Strengths: Get to see more of the Fushigi Yuugi characters.
Weaknesses: Contrived plot. Odd use of CG really hurts the visual appeal. Too much of a good thing by this point.
Futari wa Pretty Cure (TV) Awful
Misumi Nagisa is a star of her class. One of the best lacrosse players on the team, and admired by her fellow classmates, she shines brightly. Another shining star of the class, Yukishiro Honoka is intelligent and bookish, but still highly respected by her classmates by her kindness and intelligence. The two girls know very little about each other, until they receive magical cell phones that transform them in Cure Black and Cure White, the Pretty Cure warriors who must save Earth and the Garden of Light from destruction with the new powers they've gained. They're initially joined by two creature sidekicks, Mepple and Mipple of the Garden of Light.

The description says it all. Magical girls. "Cute" creatures. Saving Earth, protecting another dimension. Just about everything you've already seen a hundred times, except done worse than most others. This show will likely satisfy only its target audience--young (Japanese) girls. It's possible it may do well in America (there won't be much for 4Kids to really cut, I don't think), as it does have the light, fluffy feel of a cartoon rather than the depth of even the most lighthearted anime. But the success will likely stick with just young girls. There just isn't enough intrigue there to draw in many other viewers, in my opinion. I'd really say just pass on this anime. It's not worth it, even for my fellow magical girls fans.

Strengths: Extremely catch end them that, while not a good song, is really a lot of fun to listen to. Fairly solid animation quality. Honoka's grandmother is really an underused treasure in the series.
Weaknesses: Uninspired character designs for the villains. Could have wrapped up nicely in 20 episodes (and managed a bit more respect), but instead ruined a good ending by going for nearly 30 more episodes. Ending theme song aside, most of the music was pretty forgetable. Voice acting in most cases was a bit strained or flat, depending on the situation. The most irritating animal sidekicks that I've ever seen. Too much focus on Nagisa, not enough on Honoka. "Arienai!" -- watch just the first episode and you'll understand that particular comment.
Galaxy Angel (TV) Very good
Galaxy Angel is one of those series that is not for everyone. If you need a plot, do not watch it. If you need serious drama, do not watch it. If you like randomness, silliness, and lots of joking around, then you should try this series. There's really not much to it but random gags and silliness, but it's incredibly fun. The characters aren't particularly deep, but they're still plenty of fun and serve their purpose in the series. The seiyuu do a very good job in portraying their personalities and giving them fun and unique voices. It's not at the same level of comedy gold as Azumanga Daioh in my opinion, but it still rarely fails to bring a smile to my face on a bad day.
Galaxy Angel Z (TV) Very good
Galaxy Angel Z varies very little from the original series. Actually, aside from a costume or two getting tweaked to hide cleavage, nothing really changes at all. It's still focused on completely random humor, sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing. The characters continue to be fairly shallow, but depth isn't what is needed in this series anyway. If you enjoyed the first season, you'll continue to enjoy the second season, that is certain--unless you want them to do something different, at which point you'll be disappointed.
Gatchaman Crowds (TV) Very good
Ghost Hunt (TV) Decent
Ghost Hunt is a really fun show, there is no denying it. It's short, slightly spooky stories are really fun to watch, especially the later ones that truly get creepy (Blood-stained Labyrinth is the best in that regard.) Unfortunately, it suffers from poor writing. Information is always introduced by random monologues by characters--this is a mechanism that can be used occasionally, not constantly. Two characters are plot devices, while the rest are even more paper thin. That's not to say some of the characters aren't enjoyable (the monk and Yasuhara are great), but they have no depth whatsoever. It just lacks the cohesive writing necessary to take it from a guilty pleasure to a good anime. A shame too, because there were some pretty good ideas there. Still, don't let that scare you away. If you want a lightly creepy anime series, this is perfect. Just don't expect high quality writing, and you'll likely enjoy it just fine.

Full review at Reflecting Lights.
Ghost in the Shell (movie) Very good
GitS is one of those anime that you feel almost obligated to watch at some point during your anime fandom. It's right up there with Neon Genesis Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop, and Akira (I still need to watch that one) in that regard. It's certainly worth taking the time to watch it. It's fast-paced and yet doesn't move so quickly that you can't at least try to piece things together. Certain elements are never quite clear, but it's still intriguing and engaging throughout. It sucked me in, and while I'm generally not that big on more technologically and action based dramas, I was still completely sold on it.
Giant Killing (TV) Good
Ginban Kaleidoscope (TV) Decent
Sukurano Tasuza is a talented skater with a lot on her mind. Not only did her poor placement at a competition lead to Japan only being allowed one ladies figure skater for the upcoming Torino Olympics, but she has to find some way beat out the country's sweetheart skater if she wants to be the represenative. And she'll have to do it while having the ghost of a young Canadian boy, Pete Pumps, inhabiting her body.

What a bizarre storyline. Girl's body inhabited by a ghost? Huh? If you can find a way to see past the ludicrousness of the premise, you might find yourself somewhat surprised. The opening episode when Pete and Tasuza become one is actually well thought out, with his aerial maneuvers matching well with her skating. The middle episodes begin to get a little tedious, however. But even that doesn't truly ruin the show, as it has a rather moving ending. Solid start, solid finish, but a little too loose in the middle. You're not missing anything if you don't watch it, but if you've got the time, it's only 12 episodes, and the last one is pretty rewarding.

Strengths: Fairly nice animation, if memory serves me. Puts thought into the problems a girl might have while being inhabited by a boy (which leads to some gross humor at points, but still a nice touch of 'realism'). Does a pretty good job with the figure skating itself and the lonely lifestyle Olympic training tends to cause. Great job blending reality and fantasy while skating.
Weaknesses: With the exception of a few songs, the music wasn't particularly memorable. Many of the episodes just didn't add enough to the overall story. Characters were just a bit too shallow to be too well-received.
(The) Girl Who Leapt Through Time (movie) Very good
What would you do if you found that you could make short jumps back in time and change little things life like making sure your little sister doesn't eat your pudding, or that your best friend doesn't confess his love to you making the relationship suddenly awkward. Wouldn't you, as a teenager, give it a shot? That's the general idea of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, but it does so very much more. The time jumps are fun and engaging to watch, but it's the deeper plot that slowly makes its way to the forefront that really turns this movie from standard fare to something worth completely recommending.

Additional commentary available at my blog.

Mylene's Top 20: #19
Girl's High (TV) Bad
Plot summary? You've seen the title. That is the plot summary. Girls in high school.

I cringe everytime I hear the words "Azumanga Daioh" and "Girl's High" mentioned in the same breath, unless the words "totally different" are in there as well. They do follow the same concept: girls in high school, no plot, comedy. But the excecution and end results are completely different. Where Azumanga Daioh soars with its weird but cute jokes, Girl's High flops with it's gross-out/fanservice 'comedy'. While much of the fanservice does slow down after the first couple of episodes, the bad taste it leaves lingers. While Azumanga Daioh was silly, most of the jokes didn't fall into the juvenile category. The same just can't be said for Girl's High which goes beyond silly and immature in every other episode. Moreover, even the attempts at humor did not hold out over long periods of time. Abrupt moments of 'plot' or even mock-seriousness seemed out of place, and did nothing to improve the mood of the show. Just all in all, I don't think I could recommend this to anyone. There are a few too many mentions of periods, bikini lines, and nose hair tweezers to keep guys from being grossed out, and too many incidences of fanservice to appeal to the gals. At least, that's my take on it all. Your mileage may vary.

Strengths: Rather enjoyed the off-key quality of the ending theme, and thought the animation for it was cute. The show's animation was strong throughout. Ogawa's just too cute for words. Only 12 episodes.
Weaknesses: Fairly unattractive/boring character designs. Too much of a focus on gross-out/shock-value humor. Fanservice was too abundant and not used in an appealing manner.
Grave of the Fireflies (movie) Very good
Two children must find a way to survive in World War II Japan.

Grave of the Fireflies is not a movie to 'enjoy', it's once to 'experience'. You will find nothing enjoyable about watching a show such as this. It gives a brutal portrait of not only the horrors of war, but also the horrors of pride and the reluctance to seek help when it's needed. Make sure you don't watch this before you have a pressing matter attend to. At least in the case of this viewer, it's kind of hard to find the will to do anything after finishing such a depressing movie.

Strengths: Poignantly tells the story. Simple yet compelling animation.
Weaknesses: Some may be turned off by Seita's obstinence.
Gunslinger Girl (TV) Excellent
The Social Welfare Agency is there for young girls in need. Whether they're dying from injury, disease, or there's something else wrong, they provide new cybernetic bodies for the girls and give them a job to do. Paired up with 'big brother' handlers, each girl becomes a young assassin.

I really didn't know what I was getting into when I started watching this series. I wondered if it would have a Noir feel to or, or something else. In the end, it really was something completely new. With as much talk as their is about these girls being cybor assassins, the focus of the show is not action, but rather the lives of the girls and how they interact with one and another and their handlers. It really leaves the viewer with mixed feelings about the Social Welfare Agency--whether to hate it, or appreciate it.

Strengths: Beautiful character designs for the girls. Muted colors did wonders for the artwork, and the animation was nice. Music by The Delgados matched the series perfectly. Just the right number of episodes.
Weaknesses: Character designs for the men are rather weak, with a lot of the male characters being difficult to tell apart. The focus on Henrietta was just a bit too strong. Having the first and second episodes be nearly identical (except from slightly different points of view) felt unnecessary--there just wasn't enough of a difference between the two episodes to justify it in my opinion.

Mylene's Top 20: #13
.hack//GIFT (OAV) Good
The mysteries of The World have been solved. After such a long and arduous journey, who wouldn't like to take a nice break at a hot spring? Accepting the invitation of the infamous hacker, Helba, characters from .hack//SIGN and the games join together for some no-roleplaying-allowed fun in The World. Of course, something is afoot when one of the friends is found dead and fingers are pointed at a possible culprit.

In all honesty, there isn't much point to this, but it was truly hilarious to watch. In contrast to .hack//Unison, it was completely irreverent as it brought game and anime .hack characters together. With roleplaying being disallowed there are many bizzarely hilarious out of character moments, particularly from Subaru. The drawing style is similar to South Park, as is the comedy in some regards. The ending sequence is a fanboy's dream.

Strengths: Comedic changes to the opening and ending sequences without changing the beautiful music involved. The comedy is on spot with its irreverence. Subaru and Silver Knight's interactions are over the top and golden in this fan's view. Even Piros gets a brief cameo.
Weakness: Aside from hilarity, it adds nothing to the .hack universe. But in this case, it's rather hard to classify that as a weakness.

In Japan, this little 27 minute OAV was only available to those who purchased all four of the games. In the US, it was simply added as an extra on the final disk of .hack//Liminality.

.hack//Intermezzo (OAV) Decent
One day, Mimiru asks Bear to accompany her to a dungeon where a special event is occurring. However, rather than going after the prize, she seeks out a specific room to see if an important memory of her early days in The World is still there. At this point, the viewer is treated to an episode focusing on Mimiru and some very special friends she made when she was still new to the game.

I really don't see why this was released as a random OAV. I think it could have been inserted into the regular series quite easily. Even without contributing to the overall storyline, it's actually a very nice look into actual 'gameplay' that .hack//SIGN tends to avoid. Being a fan of Mimiru, I was fairly pleased with this extra treat. It was also nice to see her interacting with someone other than Bear and Tsukasa. While not the most compelling of episodes, it's worth watching just to delve a bit deeper into The World.

Strengths: An interesting look into the gameplay of The World. Gives a bit more insight into Mimiru's days as a player.
Weaknesses: It really contributes nothing to the plot, and is not exactly an exciting episode. One would imagine that anyone the either dislikes Mimiru or doesn't care to learn more about the gameplay of The World (or both) would be highly disappointed by this OAV.
.hack//Legend Of The Twilight (TV) Bad
A young girl name Rena happens to win a contest in The World that grants her the ability to don the limited edition character, 'Black Rose', and her twin brother, Shugo, to become 'Kite'. With their parents divorce, this is a way for the twins, who each live with a different parent, to interact with each other like they did before. However, something is clearly afoul when Shugo is attacked by a high-level monster in a beginners' area, with only the mythical Vagrant A.I., Aura, able to save him, and grant him the tool he needs to stop whatever is causing The World to come unglued once more. Joining up with a new cast of characters, as well as a handful of hold overs from the games and .hack//SIGN, the group sets out to continue the story of the legendary .hackers.

I have to admit that I simply did not like this show. I gave it a fair chance, I always do, but I cannot understand how people can mark this a "masterpiece" of anime. Some mention they liked it because they got to see their game characters in action. But I'd like to point out that they only got to see Balmung and Sanjuro, which was nice, but still. It seems as if some people considered Rena and Shugo to actually be Black Rose and Kite, which clearly they were not.

That's not to say there isn't anything salvageable in this. Ouka, Mireille, and Hotaru were cute and didn't have the irritation factor that Shugo and Rena did (just how many times do they need to call out each other's names every episode?). The final plot was at least fairly interesting, but really they should have done more with it overall, rather than racking up the fillers early on in such a short series. Almost all of the plot feels like it is crammed into the last 4 episodes. While this works for some shows, I didn't feel it was appropriate for this one.

Strengths: Even without much from Kajiura Yuki (just the ending song, "Emerald Green"), the series still had a very nicely composed score by Ueno Yoko (of Oranges & Lemons fame) and Yoshino Yuji. Several of the characters managed to achieve cuteness without crossing the line into either idiocy or irritation, and kept my interest.
Weaknesses: Even with only 12 episodes, it seems the animation quality decreased for this show in certain areas, namely a lot of the lesser monsters were poorly drawn and animated, looking severely out of place in The World. Early episodes spend too much time trying to introduce the characters Shugo and Rena, while letting the actual plot be forced into a very short time frame. The relationship between Shugo and Rena was as creepy as it was irritating. Old game favorites Sanjuro and Balmung, who return as themselves not someone else playing those character designs, lose some of the personality and in some cases are inappropriately designated comic foils.
.hack//Liminality (OAV) Good
Minase Mai's introduction to The World by her friend, Tomonari Kasumi, went from an attempt at some fun to an absolute nightmare in an instant, with both losing consciousness. However, while Mai wakes up shortly after, Kasumi remains in a coma, with doctors at a loss for how to wake him up. After being contacted by Tokuoka Junichiro, a former employee of CC Corporation, Mai and others begin trying to solve the mysterious comas that several players have suffered, as well as uncover any negligence on the part of CC Corporation by researching the outside world.

Some people might complain about the brevity and confusing nature of this OAV, but I found it a rather nice addition to the .hack universe. It was very interesting to see how what was happening inside The World affected the outside world, although I feel there could have been a bit more done at the end of othe OAV to tie both sides together. I very much enjoyed Mai and Tokuoka as they tried to uncover what was really happening in The World through research in the real world, and the music and animation was beautiful, as to be expected from a Bee Train anime with Kajiura Yuki taking care of the score.

Strengths: The flow from episode to episode seemed to be a bit jerky, but still managed to tie together quite nicely. Each of the main characters has a different and yet enjoyable personality. The soundtrack for this series is absolutely gorgeous. The friendship between Tokuoka and Mai was suprisingly well done.
Weaknesses: Sometimes confusing to keep track of the correlation between what is happening in the game and what is happening in the real world, and how the timing of the events fit together. The episodes were a little too episodic early on as characters were introduced. Still left the viewer wanting quite a bit more--in my case, I still want to know if Asaba was who I thought she was.
.hack//SIGN (TV) Very good
Tsukasa is new to The World. However, even a newbie knows something can't be quite right when he's unable to log out, and more than that, isn't at a terminal to just turn off the power of his PC. Meeting numerous characters throughout, the mystery between Tsukasa's situation, the sleep girl Aura, and the the will of the omnipotent Morganna must be solved if The World is ever to return to normal.

One of my favorite anime, .hack//SIGN doesn't really seem all that great. It's slow, it's kind of weird, and yet, something about it makes me love it. Perhaps it's the magnificent music, the interesting character designs, or the appeal of the MMORPG universe. Or maybe it's because of what matters most to me--characters. With few exceptions (namely Sora and Silver Knight), I adored the characters and their backstories, and to this day still find myself looking for crumbs of information about what happened to them after SIGN.

Strengths: Interesting character designs. A plot that while confusing, does evoke a lot of contemplation and can draw in the viewer. Great at portraying the growing friendships between the various characters. The few glimpses into the real world that the viewer sees are startling and really add to one's ability to understand the characters in the game. The music is beautiful, and I've known many people who not only have seen the show but haven't watched any anime at all that adore the soundtrack. One of my favorite ending scenes (even if some will find it cheesy and contrived--which it probably is).
Weaknesses: The plot moves very slowly, and is likely to lose many viewers before it gets good. Some side characters are so irritating that they're hard to deal with--Sora, for example. The resolution of the plot seems a little hollow after all the work involved to get to the point. Those not familiar with MMORPGs might be a little in the dark throughout the show, even if gameplay isn't a primary focus of the story.
.hack//Unison (OAV) Good
Characters from the game and .hack//SIGN get together at a pub for a quick drink, then head off to Net Slum to dance the night away.

This little OAV is pretty much fanservice (no, not of the panyshot variety). It gives fans of the show and games the opportunity to see their favorite characters together, without the irreverence of .hack//GIFT. However, even if it is just fanservice, I personally found it very enjoyable. It gave me just enough hints about what happened to the SIGN characters to finally be able to rest at night (I was actually losing sleep over the show). Sure, it's literally just all of them getting together for a beer and a party, but simplicity usualy doesn't hurt anything.

Strengths: Getting to see characters like Black Rose and Mimiru react to each other. Tsukasa and Mia together. Interactions between various paired characters (will say nothing more to avoid spoiling anything).
Weaknesses: Really idiotic dancing. Overall, it's pointless--but I'm not sure if that's a true weakness in this case or not.
Haibane Renmei (TV) Excellent
Waking from a dream inside of a cocoon, young Rakka realizes that something is very different in her life--even if she can't remember what her life was like. Over time, she, along with the viewer, will learn what it means to be a Haibane, as well as the secrets of Old House.

Soft art, a gentle score, and a very deep story to be told, Haibane Renmei is one of the most beautiful anime out there. Much is left unsaid with regard to the Haibane's existence, but the viewer shouldn't feel unsatisfied with such a result. Yes, you must decide for yourself what it all means, but at the same time, there isn't that 'but what if I'm not right?' feeling you might get from say, "The Lady or the Tiger".

Strengths: Soft, beautiful artwork. Does not try to convey too much in too short of time. A nice range of emotions for the viewer to feel.
Weaknesses: It did slow down just a little too much in the middle, in my opinion. The score is almost a little too soft (at least for my taste). What appears to be a sudden switch in main characters. Difficult to determine the sex of certain characters.
Hajime no Ippo - Champion Road (special) So-so
For the most part, this just feels like a really long episode of the series. I recommend watching at 1.5 speed. It's not bad, but it just doesn't really add to the series at all.
Hanasaku Iroha - Blossoms for Tomorrow (TV) Good
Hell Girl (TV) Decent
Enma Ai. Beautiful, creepy, intriguing. For the price of one's soul, she will carry out revenges that she feels are worthy. This leads a freelance journalist to try to discover her origin, particularly after his daughter is affected by the Hell Girl's actions.

Jigoku Shoujo has a lot going right for it, but also a lot going wrong. The art is absolutely beautiful, particular the character design of the Jigoku Shoujo. However, sometimes the weekly revenge seekers look a bit too alike for my taste. The actual plot is very interesting as well, but it doesn't actually begin until episode 20. That's right, you have 20 episodes of various revenge seekers contacting the Hell Girl. And sometimes for very blase reasons. This large amount of filler (or as some people like to call it, "spot the seiyuu" episodes) detracts from what could be a very excellent series. However, when weighing the worse filler episodes (oh no, her dog died!) with the best plot episodes, the show ends up being good, but not great. Still worth checking out, and don't worry if you skip some episodes. Until you hit episode 20, you won't be missing too terribly much.

Strengths: Stunning art and character designs--at least for the lead characters. An interesting concept, and the actual plot was quite good.
Weaknesses: Out of 26 episodes, only around 8 (if that many) contain the actual plot of the story. It's almost entirely revenge of the week filler. Revenge-seekers of the week do not receive the attention in the art department that others do, and thus look the same.
Here Is Greenwood (OAV) Good
I'll admit it, I love older series, and I am especially fond of series from the early 1990s. So when I dove into Here is Greenwood, it was pretty much love at first sight. Between the humor, the characters, and the familiar but often unexpected plot turns, I couldn't help but fall in love.

That being said, I imagine a lot of newer fans will not really appreciate the show. The jokes have all been done--although it likely was where it was done first--and it's not flashy with its art or animation. It's not going to get the following that Azumanga Daioh has. But it's fun, and I for one loved it.

Additional commentary can be found at my blog, Reflecting Lights.

Mylene's Top 20: #17
Honey and Clover (TV) Good
Plot? No thank you. Just toss some college kids into an art school, stir in some random comedy, don't forget the pinch of angst, and you've got Honey and Clover

I came into this show not really knowing what to expect, and I will admit, for the first five episodes I was not particularly enjoying it. The episodes really didn't seem to go anywhere, and I hadn't developed a relationship with the characters yet. However, giving it time to show me what it was led me to enjoy this simple yet deep anime about personal growth and the important interpersonal relationships that shape who we become.

The muted artwork of this anime is lovely, although I admit I wasn't as fond of some of the more comedic artstyles used, nor the character design of Hagu-chan. The music was soothing, with nice, mellow pop melodies emphasizing important moments. The characters all had very distinct personalities and every single one of them was endearing in some way. And those had to be the most unique opening sequences I've seen in a long time, although I wasn't particularly fond of the first one. Creeped me out.

Strengths: Music. Flow of episodes. Nice use of comedy to keep melodramatic moments from being unbearable.
Weaknesses: Tends to drag in certain parts. Nothing at all is resolved at the end (thank goodness for Honey and Clover II!
Honey and Clover II (TV) Good
Plot: More of the same from the first series, wrapping up a few loose ends in the process. Just toss in quite a lot more angst. And some unicorns, you can't forget the unicorns.

First things first, Hagu-chan no longer looks like a creepy, smooth-skinned, troll-like being. She looks like an honest to goodness human, which is a huge boon to the series. With the improvement in her character design, I liked the art much more (not to mention less of the comedy-art), although the mouths of the characters were still a major issue for me, as they just looked like unattractive gaping holes.

As for the story, eh, it was a little hit or miss. It was nice to really wrap things up, but at the same time, some of it was a little too melodramatic. The comedy of the first series was almost completely left behind, which isn't too bad of a thing, but it really would have been nice to chop up some of the angst. Moreover, I found myself liking all of the characters less in this short series than the other. I can't really put my finger on why though. Settling, giving up, forcing oneself on another, none of it really felt like true love to me, which was kind of sad. Sure, the actual couples that ended up together did well once they got into that partnership, but the method for doing so left a really nasty taste in my mouth. As much as I want to deny it, I'm a bit of a romantic with some very set ideals about how it works. Just like most other anime I've seen, H&C II just didn't live up to those ideals. But, overall it was a nice series to tie everything up, and if you liked the first series, you should certainly watch the final season. Most certainly.

Strengths: Much improved character designs. Continues concepts of growing up. Doesn't leave the audience hanging, but also the ending has the bittersweet feel of the rest of the series, which was perfect. A few fantastic moments with regard to Ayu. Opening and closing themes, though they took awhile to get used to, continued in the tradition of being very good.
Weaknesses: Still some character design issues. Loses comedic side. Opening animation just not nearly as interesting or good. Insert songs didn't feel as fitting.
Hourou Musuko (TV) Very good
Humanity Has Declined (TV) Good
(The) IDOLM@STER (TV) Decent
Infinite Ryvius (TV) Not really good
Going onto a space station for training, a group of teenagers find themselves floating through space with nowhere to turn except to themselves.

I went into this anime with excitement, and was utterly disappointed. Telling the story of 'Lord of the Flies' in space was an interesting premise, but the actual product was less than stellar. Taking teen angst to extremes that I'd never seen, the characters were almost all incapable of keeping a cool head for more than three minutes. Even the most respectable girl ends up being just another stereotype (good girl likes bad boy). Expecting growth from the characters was too much. With the exception of Criff and 'Charlie', none of the other characters seemed to learn anything--and the lead's sudden change of nature felt like a case of deus ex machina.

Strengths: Interesting premise. Charlie and Criff were a treat.
Weaknesses: Obnoxious music. Opening sequence's camera work caused motion sickness for both my husband and I. Flat but angsty characters. Much is left unexplained (or poor explained). Everything wrapped up in a pretty little bow to end it.
Iriya no Sora, UFO no Natsu (OAV) Good
A beautiful piece of animation that I never fully understood. I'm not a big sci-fi fan, but I found this quite enjoyable to watch, even with the confusion that surrounded all of it. The characters were likeable, and the story was at least interesting. If it were a bit longer, it would have been a bit better I'm sure, but it's still a nice little OAV to watch if you've got nothing else going on.

Strengths: Beautiful animation and art. Rather quirky story.
Weaknesses: Doesn't feel particularly original. The plot is rushed and confusing, leaving the viewer wondering what just happened.
Itazura na Kiss (TV) Bad
Oh, Itazura na Kiss how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways. 1. Romance was nothing but unhealthy obsession. 2. Relationship was emotionally abusive, and a few times physically abusive as well. 3. All characters were obnoxious. 4. Many of the characters' voices were ear bleedingly terrible. 5. Really cheap animation and background art (although I did like the overall artstyle). 6. Do you really want me to keep going?

There were two positives to this series, and only two: 1. The music was fun and very appropriately threw back to the 90s shoujo series. 2. The fact that the series continued past getting the guy/girl.

A much more in depth review and a discussion of positive point #2 can be found at my blog. Given that this is my second most hated series ever (Di Gi Charat gets the top spot for being utterly pointless), clearly I do not recommend this series to anyone. At all. Ever.
K (TV) Not really good
Kakurenbo - Hide & Seek (movie) Decent
I'll admit, I'm not a big fan of things that are a little too abstract or surreal. My mind just doesn't really work that way. So I'll admit to being a bit disappointed with this film. It certainly had a strong creepiness factor going for it, but there was a certain level of abstraction to it and lack of answers that bothered me. A little strange, given how much I enjoy open endings. Still, it was a good film, just not to my taste, and I did like how things came full circle. It's definitely worth checking out at least once--it might end up being your cup of tea.
Kaleido Star (TV) Good
A delightful series that really makes you feel like a kid again. While none of the characters captured my heart, there was still a great cast of characters all of which had wonderful performances by their seiyuu.

Started: January 2007 (sometime before the 5th.)
Completed: 4 February 2008
Kaleido Star: New Wings Extra Stage (OAV) So-so
Not a bad little tacked on episode, but the sudden focus on the breasts and buttocks of the female characters felt very out of place given that this is a kids show. Perhaps the OAV was made to satiate the consumer desires of otaku rather than kids? Regardless, you could see the improvements in the animation, and it wasn't a bad little story, although not tall that great either. It kind of fits in with most other tacked on OAV episodes, nice to have, but not really worth watching over and over again.

Watched: 4 February 2008
Kamikaze Girls (live-action movie) Good
Want something completely kooky? Yeah, this is what you want. Elegant Lolita and Yankee biker girl form a friendship over embroidery and knock off Versace good. Animation pops in occasionally. Panchinko is involved. Yes, it's all over the place, yes, the acting can be bad, yes, there are musical numbers. Yes, it is one of the most fun and bizarre movies I've ever seen.
Kamisama Kiss (TV) Decent
Kanon (TV 2/2006) Good
I'll admit to enjoying the occasional melodrama series, and Kanon falls well into that series. It's got a dash of comedy, a dash of drama, and a heaping spoonful of girls crying in the snow. What is also has, however, is a really good lead character in Yuichi. He's kind, he's aware, he's not a complete pushover, but he also knows when to bend. Perhaps he's a little too perfect, but anything's better than the supposedly 'lovable' losers that make up the male cast of so many series involving any semblance of romance.

There's quite a bit to enjoy about this series, including a girl to fit almost anyone's tastes. And if you like happy endings, you'll be pretty thoroughly set--just about every girl gets one. That made me gag, but I'm not a big fan of happy endings.

The biggest negative (outside of the absolutely forgettable score), was the fact that it was more like watching a game than a series. When a girl's story is played out, she is conveniently disposed in such a way that she is no longer seen in the main story. That rather annoyed me throughout, and was detrimental to my overall enjoyment.

That said, this is a perfect guilty pleasure anime for when you want something sappy to watch on a cold winter day. Not great, but still plenty of fun in the end.

Additional commentary at blog.
Kick-Heart (movie) Good
Kids on the Slope (TV) Good
Kiki's Delivery Service (movie) Decent
The last dub I ever watched all the way through, this was easily my favorite Miyazaki film until I viewed the amazingly enjoyable Castle of Cagliostro. Of course, that isn't saying much--I haven't particularly liked most of the Miyazaki films I've seen thus far. But still, this was quite cute and fairly enjoyable. Plus, I enjoyed the European setting. I'm hoping to get the DVD sometime so I can finally see the original Japanese version.
Kill Bill Chapter 3: The Origin of O-Ren (movie segment) Decent
Decent enough. A bit violent for my taste, but still, not too bad.
Kimagure Orange Road (TV) Decent
One of the earlier romantic comedies, Kimagure Orange Road admittedly never really pulled me in. Unfortunately, Kyosuke isn't a particularly enjoyable character. He lusts after one girl, but dates another--and never turns her down because he thinks she's cute too. Over and over again, the series continues through the same motions with Kyosuke never making up his mind. It's really annoying, and the series ends just like that as well. There are some pretty good episodes, but I'll admit, this just what not a series for me.

Additional commentary for some of the early episodes can be found at Reflecting Lights.
Kimagure Orange Road (OAV) Decent
Alas, the OAV was very much just an extension of the series, except with more fanservice. It's a random set of episodes that would have occurred during the timeline of the original series, and didn't really add anything to the story--nor, technically, did it detract. It was just regular episodes with slightly higher production quality.
Kimagure Orange Road: Summer's Beginning (movie) Good
Set several years after the original movie, the second film very much is reminiscent of a long episode of the series. It involves time travel and the like once more, and bring back in Hikaru. The art was a bit off-putting because it was so modernized and did not really resemble the characters of old, but it wasn't bad overall. It just couldn't hold a candle to the first movie.
Kimagure Orange Road: The Movie Very good
In my opinion, this is really the only portion of Kimagure Orange Road that really needs to be viewed. It does fairly well as a stand alone movie, and was so much better than any of the other series or movies created for the franchise. The drama is believable, Kyosuke's decisions are actually made, and the heartbreak is so incredibly real. Hikaru shines brightly in this one, turning her from a character that I began to rather despise in the television show to my favorite character in the movie. It's a solid romantic drama that is well worth watching.
Kino's Journey (TV) Excellent
Exquisite. Simply, exquisite. This is such a beautiful series. Each episode calls forth a different feeling within the viewer, and watching Kino's (usually) stoic reaction helps to bring added depth. There are of course 'weak' episodes, but quite frankly, the weakest episode of this series is better than the strongest of many others. Highly recommended.

Commentary at my blog.

Mylene's Top 20: #6
Koi Kaze (TV) Good
Saeki Koushirou and Kohinata Nanoka are siblings who haven't seen each other in years. They didn't even recognize each other when they meet by chance. However, now that Nanoka will be attending a high school that is closer to her father's home (where Koushirou lives) than her mother's, she will be living with both. All three must face the challenges of becoming the family that they weren't before, as well as other problems that come up from years of separation and the lack of familial regard.

Koi Kaze is a slow-paced show that focuses entirely on the emotions of the characters, most specifically Koushirou's. This makes for a very unique show, however it does add some flaws. I personally would have preferred seeing at least a bit more of Nanoka's thoughts. Without having both, I felt that there was a bit of flatness to the emotion, although it's hard to describe why.

The story itself is both heartbreaking and creepy. Certain taboos are firmly set in almost every society, and even with an open mind it's difficult to see past the ones portrayed in this series. However, it was well executed, and if it weren't for thinking too much about the show before I watched it, I think I would have gotten more out of it. Worth a watch if you like slice-of-life dramas and are interested in the human psyche and relationships. But if you do not like slow-paced shows, this is probably not for you.

Strengths: It felt real, it wasn't like some pervert's fantasy--the situations felt real and the consequences were not minimalized. Nice art. Chidori adds much needed perspective to situation--without her, the show would have not had the right feel.
Weaknesses: I personally felt the voice acting (Japanese) was a little forced sounding, particularly with regard to Nanoka. However, much of that is likely due to inexperience on the part of Nakamura Yuuki. While the background music was well chosen, I personally did not like the opening or closing theme songs. Odagiri is a little too creepy, and the comedy associated with him and Zensou detracts from the show in my opinion.
Kurenai (TV) Good
This is one of those series that's just really hard not to enjoy. The art is smooth and catchy, the characters are fairly quirky and fun, and there's a great deal of action mentioned it with certain slice-of-life elements. There's drama, there's comedy, and there's also a somewhat unexpected ending. Overall, it's a high quality series that doesn't stand out as the best at anything in particularly, but solid enough to recommend to just about anyone.

Some additional commentary can be found at my blog.
Last Quarter (live-action movie) Good
Based on a manga by one of my favorites, Yazawa Ai, Last Quarter is a strange little movie featuring lots of darkness (physically--half the time I felt like I couldn't make out what was on the screen) and a sense of melancholy. It also has Hyde of L'arc~en~ciel fame playing the male lead. The movie made me want to read the manga, but the movie itself wasn't all that spectacular. Not bad, but not quite cohesive enough to really work in the end.
Leave it to Kero! Theatrical Version (movie) Good
Hyperactive fun with Kero and Suppie chasing a runaway takoyaki through the streets of Tokyo. Utterly pointless, and yet completely hilarious and fun. Well worth getting the special edition of the second Cardcaptor Sakura movie in order to see this.
Library War (TV) Decent
I am a librarian. Yes, a real one. Not a library clerk or page or what have you, a full-blown MLS-toting librarian. So when I heard the premise for this series, I was completely thrilled. Anyone who thinks it sounds completely unrealistic hasn't spent much time listening to the folks at the top of the American Library Association. There's a reason people have made t-shirts proclaiming their membership to the Guild of Radical Militant Librarians. We're crazy about books and intellectual freedom. So, as I said, I was excited to watch this series and see how it tackled such topics.

Boy was I disappointed to find out that it was just a typical romantic comedy that uses the library as a location and occasional plot device, but that's it. The focus is Iku going off the deep end and acting like a complete gorilla through the entire series. Needless to say, it wasn't what I wanted, it wasn't even what I would typically like, and in the end it was just another mediocre series with a pretty typical premise and conclusion. If you like action romantic comedies, good for you, give it a shot. If you're looking for something with a semblance of intellectual stimulation, I definitely wouldn't recommend it.

Additional commentary, including a fuller review of the series as a whole, can be found over at Reflecting Lights.
Litchi DE Hikari Club (TV) So-so
Little Witch Academia (movie) Very good
Love Hina (TV) Decent
If it weren't for the 'plot', this would have been nearly a masterpiece of comedy. However, I nearly didn't get through the first 4 episodes. Whatever posessed me to pick up the second DVD I'm indebted to, because once the focus was drawn away from the 'romance' of Naru and Keitaro, it was a lot of fun. Kitsune, Shinobu, and Koalla really made this series for me.

Strengths: Fantastic cast of side characters. Off-the-wall comedy that was on-spot most of the time. One of the most fun opening themes around. Strong performances by the seiyuu.
Weaknesses: Main plot was absolutely irritating, as were the main characters. Non-filler episodes were a chore to watch. Overuse of 'ecchi' jokes.
Love Hina Again (OAV) So-so
Er, I don't really remember much about this. Will rewatch and then comment.
Love Hina Spring Special - I Wish Your Dream So-so
Er, I don't really remember much about this. Will rewatch and then comment.
Love Hina X'mas Special - Silent Eve So-so
Er, I don't really remember much about this. Will rewatch and then comment.
Love Live! School idol project (TV) So-so
Love Live! School idol project (TV 2/2014) Decent
Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (movie) Very good
I've made it no secret that I'm not fond of Miyazaki films. The one's I've seen (and that's quite a few) have either done nothing for me, or were flat out repellent to me. I don't know if it's the pacing, being bludgeoned over the head with whatever the message of the film happens to be (9 times out of 10 it's the environment), or what, but I just don't like them. However, I did finally find my Miyazaki film, and it's Lupin III. It's about as un-Miyazaki as it can be, and for me that ended up being perfection. It has a fantastic blend of comedy, characters, action, and James Bond-esque gadgets. All of this comes together into one of the most fun anime films I've seen. It's so good to finally find a film by this revered director that I actually like!

Fuller review over at my blog.
Magic Knight Rayearth (TV) Very good
Three girls, a magical world, and a cute, fluffy mascot. Every mahou shoujo anime's dream line-up, yes? MKR is rather unlike the other members of its genre though. While clearly the girls are magical, and only in the land of Cephiro, they do not have long transformation sequences eating up precious time every episode--rather they have one big transformation in the first episode, and then a few power-up transformations sprinkled a handful of times throughout the season. Of course, there are other ways that the show deviates from the standard mahou shoujo, but that's for the viewer to see for his or herself. If you like CLAMP, mahou shoujo, fantasy, swords, or any combination of the aforementioned elements, at least check it out. It's definitely a treat in my opinion.

Strengths: Absolutely fantastic opening theme and matching animation (my all-time favorite to this day, nearly 10 years after first watching it). Very good character designs. Interesting plot. Good chemistry between the seiyuu/characters. Fantastic plot twist at the end. Good use of emotion.
Weaknesses: Quite a bit of useless filler. Hikaru is a bit too perfect, and irritatingly so.

Mylene's Top 20: #14
Magic Knight Rayearth 2 (TV 2) Very good
Umi, Fuu, and Hikaru are once again brought back to Cephiro in order to save it from certain destruction. Armed with knowledge they wished they never had, they have to protect the planet not just from breaking down naturally, but also from invaders--only some of which they actually realize exist.

The first time I saw the second part of MKR, I hated it. Absolutely despised it. But after watching it again to obtain information for a RP, I found myself thinking it was a much better season than the first. I still prefer the first one, but this one had a more solid plot. There were fewer episodes that felt like blatant filler, and it really fleshed out concepts briefly introduced in the first series that needed more time (things I can't discuss without spoiling the first series).

Strengths: Continued seiyuu and art excellence. A few interesting new characters introduced. More solid plot.
Weaknesses:Umi and Fuu are all but forgotten as the show turns the focus almost completely on Hikaru, who in my opinion is even more unlikeable than in the first series. Brought back characters that really shouldn't have been brought back, and added unnecessary confusion. Ending is conclusive, but the last few minutes could have been just a bit longer (with some of the action leading into being cut out...those last few episodes were just a bit much).

Mylene's Top 20: #14
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (TV) So-so
Nanoha is one of those series that if you love magical girl series made to pander to older male fans, you're probably going to love it. It's cute, it has exploding panties, and it covers all of the tropes of the magic girl genre pretty thoroughly. If you prefer series that are actually made for girls (ala Sailor Moon or Cardcaptor Sakura) you might be in for a bumpy ride. I know I was. The innocence and sweetness that is exuded by the likes of Sakura and Usagi feels forced and fan pandering when displayed by a girl whose panties explode and whose parents have no problem with their 9-year-old daughter leaving without explanation. Nanoha starts out a strong fighter and ends a strong fighter. She starts out with a certain emotional maturity and ends with that same emotional maturity. It just doesn't really go anywhere at all. I mean, it's not that it's bad, it's just utterly mediocre in almost every way. There's nothing new or fresh, just some added fan pandering that can be a little disturbing.

More thoughts at my blog.
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's (TV) Good
Truly a vast improvement over the first season, Nanoha A's has an improved and coherent plot that actually has some backbone and intrigue to it. Although while the plot improved, the lack of chemistry between the seiyuu remains. The seiyuu don't do a bad job in their roles, per se, but for an ensemble cast, there isn't that feeling of closeness and camaraderie in group scenes like in shows like Sailor Moon or Maison Ikkoku.
Maison Ikkoku (TV) Good
There is so much to love about this classic romantic comedy. Kyoko is easily one of the best leading females in the genre. The motley crew of the Maison Ikkoku building are quirky and frequently hilarious. There is a satisfyingly sweet ending. So why only a rating of 7 when originally I was going to rate it a 9? It unfortunately outstays its welcome, repeating once fresh and interesting jokes and situations too many times. The one-off episodes are generally hilarious and worth keeping, but the repetitive Yagami arcs could have been hacked to just 1, at half length. Same for Kozue. A brief reintroduction right before the end was good, but not after seeing the same situations occur again and again. If only that hadn't happened, this would have been the perfect rom-com. Instead, it's delightful, but a bit of a chore to get to the simple and sweet ending. I'd still recommend it, assuming you can get your hands on it.
Make-Up! Sailor Senshi (movie) Not really good
I think I've only seen this raw, and I don't remember much about it, except that it was a sort of re-cap, right? So, um, not all that great, but as a Sailor Moon fan I felt compelled to sit through it. If/when I watch it again, I'll add better commentary.
Mangirl! (TV) Not really good
(The) Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (TV) Good
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is one of the most hyped anime in the 2000s. Even when it first came out, it was already all the buzz and sparked a massive discussion thread in the ANN forums. Each episode was dissected, ideas bantered around, etc. Whether it deserves all this hype is a matter of opinion. My opinion is that is has great music, good animation, a curious plot, and some fascinating characters. Mix that in with the episode shuffling during the original broadcast, and I found myself thoroughly enjoying (and often recommending) this highly hyped show.

Mylene's Top 20: #9
(The) Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (TV 2009 renewal) Good
The most relevant portion of the 2009 renewal were the handful of new episodes. Technically, there were more than a handful, but given that 8 of them were nearly identical, you end up with just a handful.

Many of the episodes really added to the series, particularly "Bamboo Rhapsody." However, while I did not vehemently hate the "Endless Eight," I do question the decision overall, and feel that it hurt the series in some ways. When it was new and fresh, it was great, but that repetition made it very difficult to slog through week after week. That said, I'll still be purchasing the Bandai release as soon as it comes out.
Memories (movie) Good
I have very few memories (pardon the pun) of this movie. It was the first thing shown at the first meeting of the Purdue Anime Club when I joined, and while I remember thinking it was beautiful, particularly the opera-like story, I can't remember nearly enough about it. I'd like to see it again someday, now that I'm older and can appreciate it better. Besides, I'm sure my husband will like it. I will add additional commentary at that time.
Midori Days (TV) Decent
You know, for much of this series I just wished they would go there. If you're going to have the set up for such a perverted joke, why not just do it? Especially if you're going to do lot of other creepy, fan-pandering things (i.e. creepily dress up the little girl, etc.) But they didn't, and by the end of the series, there's a fairly substantial turn around in quality. The jokes become a bit funnier (and even the pervy ones take a different and more appealing approach), and suddenly there's a bit of heart thrown in.

It's by no means a great series, but if you enjoy pervy comedies, you certainly could do much worse. More commentary over at my blog.
Millennium Actress (movie) Masterpiece
Looking for a movie without much buzz or hype, but, in this woman's opinion, puts the best of Miyazaki's films to shame (and perhaps Grave of the Fireflies as well)? Look no further than Millenium Actress. Beautiful art, compelling characters, an intriguing story, and vast amounts of creativity fill this wonderful film. The intertwining of 'reality' and 'movie life', the present and the past, people who belong and those who don't in a given scene...All of this makes Millenium Actress a unique and fulfilling film for those who enjoy anime, and those who do not. As I watched this, I did not see anime. I saw a movie, without noticing the manner of displaying the story. The attention to detail, fluidity, camera angles, and magnificent voice acting made this feel much more like a live action film than an animated feature.

I was worried, because while there is little buzz for this movie, it's all very high praise. But for once, I wasn't even the slightest bit disappointed. I recommend this to anyone, anime fan or not. And yes, it does deserve the extremely high number of masterpiece rankings it has. It's simply that good.

Mylene's Top 20: #7
Minami-ke (TV) Decent
A silly comedy that just didn't work for me. The characters were more like caricatures, the seiyuu sometimes felt like they were phoning it in, and the art--whenever they did the weird serious eye thing, I kind of wanted to turn it off. That said, it had plenty of amusing moments, and was plenty funny, it just wasn't quite what I was looking for.

Further commentary at my blog.
Moribito - Guardian of the Spirit (TV) Excellent
My Little Monster (TV) Good
My Neighbors the Yamadas (movie) Good
With soft watercolor art and understated and yet riotous humor, My Neighbors the Yamadas is a nearly flawless comedy. The characters are fun, the gags and punchlines are almost always perfect, and the overall family feel of it's great. The biggest I had with it was the feeling that it should have been an OAV or television show or an OAV, given just how many unconnected scenes there were. But still, I'll take a little disconnectedness over raunchy or crazy humor any day.
Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok (TV) Good
The cheesiness of it all! Episode 19 was definitely my favorite, it was funny and yet really sweet. I also really liked the early episode with Mayura as a child. You know, I think this series is going on the buy list. Definitely going to have to go for singles though, as the thought of not having the hilarious seiyuu interviews pains me.

For more commentary, you know the drill. Head over to my blog.

Started: 18 May 2007
Completed: 22 October 2007
NANA (TV) Excellent
Romance and drama are not two of my favorite things. However, when crafted so expertly into grand stories with fleshed out characters, they can form a favorite series. Between the excellent writing, the beautiful art, the lovable characters, and the excellent music, there really isn't much if anything to dislike about NANA. Oh sure, I strongly dislike several of the characters--but they're excellently portrayed. So even while I do not like their personalities, they are well-developed characters with quirks that might be hard to understand, but are very believable as you consider it. Really, Yazawa Ai is easily one of the best manga-ka of the 90s and 00s.

For further commentary, visit my blog.

Mylene's Top 20: #3
Natsuyuki Rendezvous (TV) So-so
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (movie) Good
I loved the manga for this movie, absolutely loved it. And then I watched the anime...Miyazaki and I continue not to see eye to eye. All of the epic nature, all of neutrality of Nausicaa is lost as the story is distilled basically into the story of a girl saving her village, rather than a girl saving the world and helping all sides of the fight. Really disappointing, and I highly recommend reading the manga rather than bothering with the movie at all, but your mileage may vary.
Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV) Decent
I know, I know. Blasphemy! But the truth of the matter is, while I thought the show was alright, the last 2 episodes ruined it for me. To the point that while I own Death & Rebirth and the End of Evangelion, I've never watched them. I plan on doing a rewatch in the near future. Perhaps now that I'm a little older and wiser in my anime fandom I might be better prepared to enjoy this series. But I still have no problem saying I didn't really like it for now.
Noir (TV) Very good
Noir is one of my favorite series. I enjoyed the stories, I loved the characters, and the ending was fantastic. My biggest beef? All of the times they showed that damn pocket watch without actually adding any footage. That little melody gets stuck in one's head! Also, this show has a fantastic soundtrack that I would highly recommend people check out even if they haven't seen the show.
Now and Then, Here and There (TV) Excellent
It all starts out so simply, so gently. Rambunctious boy decides to help a quiet girl. It could be the start of any romantic comedy, or generic action show. And then, the brutality begins. This is not a series to be enjoyed, but rather one to dive into and come up gasping for air. The brutality, the humanity, the inhumanity, the insanity, and yet deep down the ray of hope, it all comes together to form a damn near perfect, but also heartwrenching series.

More commentary at my blog.

Mylene's Top 20: #4
Oh My Goddess! (OAV) Good
Oh! My Goddess was one of my first anime. I remember saving my small allowance for months to be able to afford the $30 VHS tapes that only included 1 subtitle episode per tape. Yes, I spent $150 for five episodes of anime back in the day. Then I bought the first DVD release. Once the license expiration was announced, I also picked up the Collector's edition DVD release to get the better picture quality.

Years removed from watching the series, I still have fond memories of Keiichi and Belldandy's romance blossoming, Urd's interference, and Skuld's robotics. I recall the acting as being energetic and touching as needed, the art being lovely for the age of the series, and while the music wasn't memorable, it wasn't terrible either. It's one of those shows that every anime fan should see at some point. I certainly recommend it over the television series where Belldandy is stripped of 9/10 of her personality and even Hisakawa Aya can't seem to muster much enthusiasm for her performance.
Oreimo (TV) So-so
While Oreimo had its fans, I wasn't one of them. The characters were shallow caricatures of various stereotypes. The art was generic in its uniqueness. The fan pandering was overwhelming, but didn't quite come off as parody, so it didn't play well for laughs. It ultimately was a mediocre series, afraid to go too far one way or the other.
Ouran High School Host Club (TV) Very good
Comedy, parody, bishounen, female game otaku, beautiful outfits...There's a lot in Ouran High School Host Club, but at the same time it doesn't feel like it hits you with too much at once. While mostly comedic in nature, there's the occasional bit of drama or action to break things up a bit, making it quite unlike the Azumanga Daioh model of show. Also, there is some interesting use of sybolism, and in the general parody/satire of the shoujo genre, there also seem to be some flat-out props to certain show, particularly Revolutionary Girl Utena. You'll just have to watch to see in what manner that comes out, of course.

Strengths: Very likeable characters. Clean artstyle that's a lot of fun. Nice opening and closing themes. Good comedy.
Weaknesses: Sometimes the comedy just doesn't work or gets run into the ground. Not enough characterization of a couple of the Host Club members. Perhaps could have better used time that was devoted to random adventures and rather use it for character development.

Mylene's Top 20: #11
Paprika (movie) Excellent
The opening sequence is one of my favorite sequences in all of anime--the music, the setting, and the character blend into this fun, trippy moment. The rest of the movie doesn't quite stand up to its opening excellence, but it is certainly a fantastic film, filled with moments of beauty, absurdity, and abstractness. The score is especially memorable, with pieces like "Parade" and "Meditation Field" breathing further life into an already fantastic movie.

Mylene's Top 20: #18
Paradise Kiss (TV) Decent
I just didn't get this show. Caroline and George were such incredibly unlikeable characters to me. George was just sort of sleezy and heartless, while Caroline seemed like a robot with scrambled input. On the other hand, the other members of ParaKiss were a delight, and the artwork of the show was an absolute treat. I may not have liked the story (decent plot, bad execution), but I did enjoy the music and art.

That said, I do recommend the manga series. The artwork is still gorgeous as expected, but the story flows much better and even the unlikeable character of George and Caroline become much more real and understandable.
Patlabor The Mobile Police (OAV 1/1988) Good
The opening theme is a romantic ode to the leading mecha--it's hard not to laugh at this short little series. The characters are quirky but lovable, the action over-the-top but completely fun. All in all, it's simply a fun action comedy with standalone episodes that can pretty much be watched in any order or popped in whenever a Patlabor craving hits.
Peach Girl (TV) Decent
The first 10 episodes of this show were absolute torture. And then something happened--I began to enjoy it! By the end, I was so drawn into the plot that I no longer cared that Momo was week, Sae was a hag, and that Touji was a complete bore. All that mattered was finding out Kairi's story, and to see who got the girl. Unfortunately, this show has some absolutely terrible art. Male and female characters alike look like monkeys with bad lip implants. But the story, once it gets away from Sae making Momo miserable, is really quite fun. Typical romantic comedy, but still a nice guilty pleasure.
Penguindrum (TV) Excellent
Perfect Blue (movie) Very good
As much as I love Kon Satoshi, I will admit to not loving this film as much as his others. It lacks the gloss and refinement of storytelling of his other stories, but also, it's just so harsh and at times so much of a mindtrip that I couldn't quite wrap myself around it. It's still a very good film, just very different from Kon's other works (with possible exception of Paranoia Agent which I have not yet viewed.
Persona 4: The Animation (TV) Not really good
Piano (TV) So-so
Playing the piano is something that Nomura Miu has always done. However, when she is asked to be involved in a recital right around the time that she gets her first crush, she has to re-examine her life to determine what she is doing, and why.

There was a lot of potenial in this anime. The character designs were lovely, particularly in the case of the leading side character, Yuuki, who had the most gorgeous hair I've seen in a long time. Not really sure why, but I've been obsessing over that girl's hair since I first laid eyes on her. The artwork was clean, and the animation was pretty good (although the portrayal of playing the piano was not even remotely realistic.) Several established seiyuu were in the leading roles, and the story of a girl at the cusp of adolescence searching for herself was enough to get me to want to watch the show. Unfortunately, that's where everything fell apart.

Simply put, Miu is not an interesting character. The viewer watches her go quietly through her day, making very minute facial expressions when something pleases or displeases her. Very, very little time in the show doesn't have Miu directly involved in the 'action', and this is problematic. Why? The show lacks an internal narrative. I never knew what Miu was actually thinking throughout all ten episodes. I could tell she was melancholy, she had a crush, and didn't seem to know what to do about playing the piano, but her actual feelings were not explored fully enough. This led to a very flat character, which ultimately brought down the show in my opinion.

Strengths: Nice classical score. Miu's family and friends manage to breathe a small amount of life into the story--when they're actually given screentime. Good art (although Miu looks a bit too much like Skuld from Ah! My Goddess).
Weaknesses: As nice as the music is, it does get pretty repetitive, and will probably be a major turn off for people who do not like classical music at all. Important character development of Miu is rather poorly done, and her piano teacher remains too much of a mystery for this viewer's taste. Doesn't portray emotions as well as could have.
Polar Bear's Café (TV) Very good
(Le) Portrait de Petite Cossette (OAV) Good
Obsession. It can lead to good, it can lead to evil. In Petite Cossette, one sees both possibilities. Focusing on a young man who has become entranced by the illusions of a young French girl (early teens, I believe), the story has a fairly simple plot told in a not-so-simple manner. Intense imagery, symbolic stills, buckets of blood (to the point of absurdity), and close-ups of eyes and lips are put together to form this 3-episode OAV. The feeling this viewer got was that of watching Lain, but with a slightly more coherent and less cryptic script. Overall, I'd say it's worth watching if you're curious about it, but at the same time, I don't feel it's a must-see.

Strengths:Music, music, and did I mention music? Kajiura Yuki did a splendid job with the score on this one. The voice acting was fairly good as well. I was particularly fond of the coquettish feel of Inoue Marina's performance. Really cool looking backdrops.
Weaknesses: For an OAV, it didn't have particularly great animation. Sure, the art was nice (although I wasn't fond of the character designs themselves), but the animation was more TV series-level, rather than OAV 'let's put a lot of money into the animation' level. A little too cryptic from time to time. Some confusion at the end as to what happened in the third episode (or at least I was confused by it.)
Pretear (TV) Good
A surprisingly good mahou shoujo anime. I was very leery coming into this show after the disappointment/atrocity that was Pretty Cure. However, Pretear is a well put together show with a strong story overall, and a couple of exceptionally well done characters. Unlike most mahou shoujo shows, it's not exceptionally long. Actually, I think it could have stood one or two more episodes to delve a bit deeper into the Tree of Fenrir and its relationship to the Princess of Disaster. However, even without that, it covered the bases pretty well. While most of the characters were fairly cliche, they worked well together. And Mawata was one of the most human characters I've seen in an anime in quite awhile. Having been in almost the same situation, I could truly connect to her problems. Very nicely done. There were a few too many Knights of Leafe, but at the same time, with the exception of Kei and Hajime they were fairly enjoyable characters. Thankfully, while at first it seemed like there was going to be a Miaka-Tamahome style obnoxious romance, Pretear didn't fall into the trap and put relationships on the back burner for most of the show, and the one that is highlighted isn't the one that the viewers might expect. Not a masterpiece of anime, but still a very enjoyable, short, magical girls show.
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (live-action TV) Very good
Sure, the special effects are awful. The Sailor Senshi uniforms and wigs are hideous. The acting is a mixed bag of good, acceptable, and awful. And the music is almost laughably catchy and bad. But there is no denying magic of Sailor Moon is still alive in this live action remake. The girls still carry the show with their interesting blend of personalities and emphasis on the power of love. In some ways, even with all its faults, PGSM surpasses the anime, particularly with its improved version of Usagi and Mamoru's relationship. For hardcore Sailor Moon fans only, I would think, but I personally love it and still tear up when I listen to "Kirari Sailor Dream" and "Friend."
(The) Prince of Tennis (TV) Decent
It's hard to rank this show. There are 178 episodes. 50 of them are pure gold, the other 128 I probably could have lived without. But even with the episodes of mindless, unbelievable tennis (I'm a player...the things they did were very annoying to watch), the characters pull through this slow show. Ryoma, the lead, is obnoxious and best to ignore, as is Tezuka, the team captain. All the other team members are just fantastic. Momo-chan-senpai is voiced by the same seiyuu as Vash, and has a very refreshing, bold personality. Kikumaru is cute and playful. Inui's concoctions are fun, although they do get old after awhile. Kaidoh's role of the hardass with a heart of sticky, melted chocolate is adorable. Kawamura is hilarious with his gentle nature--until you put a tennis racket into his hand. Oishi has cute 'motherly' qualities to him (and the episode where he has to distract the coach is priceless if not disturbing). And finally, there is my favorite: Fuji-senpai. He looks like a male version of Love Hina's Kitsune, and his laid back nature is so misleading. It's hard to describe, but I adored him. Don't piss him off, it's bad for your health. Over all, a series that was entirely too long (it makes Sailor Moon feel short--at least SM would finish a fight in one episode, rather than stretching it over 3), but there are enough gems to make it worth the watch.
(The) Prince of Tennis: A Day on Survival Mountain (OAV) Bad
Do not watch this. Please. It's trash, utter and complete trash. It's just not worth the pain of watching it. All it is is going somewhere else to practice and of course challenging much bigger, older men to play matches. Not worth your time AT ALL.
(The) Prince of Tennis: The National Tournament (OAV) Weak
Episode 8 was easily the best episode of this OAV. Nice focus on Hyotei and Atobe's eccentricity. I like the idea of defeat leading to a stronger conviction to win.

More commentary at my blog.

Completed: 27 August 2007
(The) Prince of Tennis: Two Samurais, The First Game (movie) Not really good
I was really looking forward to this movie. A little too forward to it. While it wasn't as bad as A Day on Survival Mountain, it was still pretty boring. The antics of the Seigaku boys was fun, when you actually got to see it. But most of it was overdone tennis. And I mean, OVER DONE tennis. When the players are naked and fighting with water and fire, things are overdone. Did you know Ryoma is a eunuch? Explains his bad attitude...
Princess Jellyfish (TV) Very good
Princess Mononoke (movie) Not really good
...I am not a Miyazaki fangirl. This film merely cemented that fact. I really don't see how people like it. I really don't. Maybe there's something wrong with me, but I found it unfulfilling. Maybe I'll rewatch it sometime soon, just to see if I missed something the first time. Plus, I should probably refamiliarize myself with what it was that I didn't like, since people like to question that. Some people seem to forget that you CAN simply dislike something, much like you can LOVE something for no reason either.
Princess Nine (TV) Very good
Want a sports anime that isn't just about the sport and isn't just about characters powering up to new, unrealistic "powers?" Princess Nine is likely your series. Sure, there's plenty of baseball getting played, and a few of the moments are physics-defying, but mostly it's about the joy of the game. Even in the art, with the muted colors and older styled character designs, it harkens to the nostalgia of youth and summer, the thrill of victory and the lament of defeat, and in the end, the joy of just getting to play the game at all.

Mylene's Top 20: #12
Princess Tutu (TV) Very good
It took me a long time to embrace my inner girl. A tomboy for the largest portion of my life, even as a woman I found it hard to have any desire to watching something called Princess Tutu. However, after repeated recommendations by an anime-watching classmate, I finally rented the series. After the first DVD, I was about read to stop--all I saw was vapidness, weird and clunky art, and nothing more. By the end, I was in love.

Princess Tutu is a series that knows how to play your heartstrings, easily convincing you to change your mind about a character, from hating them to loving them, from wanting one person to succeed to hoping that the other does. It throws in some many twists and turns towards the end that your head spins and at the end, you're left thrilled and filled with bittersweet satisfaction.

If you enjoy an engaging story and an interesting twist on the magical girl cliche, this is the series to watch. It's so much more than a girly ballet series with a distracting title.

Mylene's Top 20: #8
Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva (movie) So-so
Psycho-Pass (TV) Very good
Puella Magi Madoka Magica (TV) Excellent
R.O.D -The TV- Very good
When I first saw the description of R.O.D -The TV-, I just had to laugh. A story about Paper Masters? PAPER MASTERS?! But it was so highly reviewed at Anime Academy that I decided to look past the absurdity of the premise, and I must say, it well surpassed my expectations. The first four episodes are a little slow, but if you continue to push through, you end up with a very enjoyable show. Though there are some that say the plot is 'outlandish', these were the same people who didn't think the plot of the OAV was unbelievable, so I'd just ignore them. Also, I found that watching the first 4 episodes of the television series, then watching the OAV, and THEN continuing with the television series was really the way to go, especially if you can read a bit of Japanese. The notes in Yomiko's room in the OAV have much more meaning that way.
Rayearth (OAV) Not really good
Taking a sharp right turn off of the series and then falling off a cliff. Good description of this particular 'alternate retelling' OAV. The animation is pretty, sure. But if you've seen the series, you're going to wonder what in the hell happened to all of your favorite characters. The plot is confusing, the personality changes in the non-Earth characters are just bizarre, but at the same time, I did find it at least moderately enjoyable, if only because I enjoyed getting to see the Magic Knights in action once more. My biggest beef with the OAV? The fact that so many people say "I've seen MKR, it's weird/sucks," when they've only seen this OAV. It's turned many potential fans away. If you want to see this, please, watch the series itself first.
Read or Die (OAV) Good
For some reason, Anime Academy professors seem to think the OAV is much better than the television series. I must disagree. While the OAV is very entertaining, it really lacks the character depth that I need to completely enjoy a series. That being said, this has to be one of the oddest premises for a plot, and that in itself makes it worth watching. Paper Masters protecting the world from destruction by great figures of the past who are hell-bent on destroying the world. It doesn't get much odder than that!
Revolutionary Girl Utena (TV) Masterpiece
My favorite anime. Ever. No competition at all. At least not yet. Fangirling aside, this show has everything. Complexes, love, hate, bishounen, bishoujo, gender-bending, and enough symbolism to make your head want to explode. Except, unlike Evangelion and Lain, the symbolism doesn't seem to be there for the sake of being cryptic, but rather to give deeper meaning to an already intruiging plot. If you start this show, watch it all the way through. Stopping after a handful of episodes might be tempting, but if you give it time to develop (most of the best anime need time to rev up, particularly in the shoujo genre), you're likely to find yourself very pleased with your decision.

Mylene's Top 20: #2
Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie Good
Ah yes. The Rayearth OAV equivalent in the Utena universe. The WTF?! movie. Beautiful animation, beautiful music, but...somehow the plot takes a left turn into 'Wrongsville.' I'll admit, I've only seen this movie once. I had been warned, by I ignored the cautions and ploughed in. Only to be left staring at the screen for an hour afterwards asking my husband "Why did they turn into cars? Why? わからない!" But, it really is a beautiful movie. Enjoy it for the eye candy. And if you can figure it out, let me know what the hell it's talking about. And of course, don't watch it before the series. Please.
(The) Ring (live-action movie) Weak
Ugh. I wouldn't mind seeing the original Japanese version. The American was rather boring.
Robotics;Notes (TV) Decent
(The) Rose of Versailles (TV) Very good
I went into this show with very high expectations. I watched and watched, and began to feel disappointed. But it still redeemed itself by the end. Looking at the makings of the French Revolution from the point of view of the aristocracy, the story told by Rose of Versailles is both interesting and in several instances fairly accurate historically. I know I've read the manga has been used to teach about the revolution in Japan, and the French liked it well enough to make a movie based on the manga. Old school all the way, but if you're a fan of strong female roles, give it a shot. Good show.

Mylene's Top 20: #20
Rozen Maiden (TV) Very good
Love Hina meets Azumanga Daioh meets Power Puff Girls meets Revolutionary Girl Utena. All of that said, who would have thought a story about dolls living with a young brother and sister could be so much fun? While the majority of the season is light, filler-like fluff, it's hard to stop watching. Episodes like Stairs literally scream "Power Puff Girls and Muppet Babies!" with the cuteness and use of imagination. And yet, at the end, there is nothing but seriousness as Shinku must do what she desires not to do. Laugh all you want during the middle 8 episodes, because those last 2, you're not going to have the chance. And if you're like me, you'll be grabbing for the tissue box.
Rozen Maiden: Träumend (TV) Good
Not nearly as good as the first season, this one actually focuses a bit more on the Alice Game. The introduction of new dolls, particularly Canaria, really seems to hurt the show a bit. Moreover, the comedy wasn't as on spot as it was in the first season. However, learning more about the dolls themselves was very interesting. The ending quite open, suggesting the possibility of a sequel, but I won't hold my breath. All I know is that I hope this series makes it over. And if not, CD Japan, here I come.
Rumbling Hearts (TV) Good
A gripping seinen romantic-drama featuring a strong storyline although somewhat weak characters. For a full revew, go to my blog. For various discussions of individual episodes, go here.

Start date: 12 April 2007
End date: 29 April 2007
Saber Marionette J (TV) Good
Before there was Chobits, there was Saber Marionette J, and I must say, I think the predecessor got it a bit more right. Action, adventure, comedy, and a trio of loveable Marionettes with Maiden Circuits. What could possibly go wrong? Sure, this show is hardly the best of the best of anime, but it is a fun romp. Besides, you can get all of it, plus J Again plus J to X for only $70 at Right Stuf. Can't beat that for hours of cheap entertainment!
Saber Marionette J Again (OAV) Decent
I can't remember the OAV as clearly as the series, as I've only seen it once. But it pretty much just falls in line with the original series, with a bit of side-swapping by former enemies, as well as some added characters. If you like J, it's definitely worth a looksie.
Sailor Moon (TV) Good
My first anime. Memories, sweet memories fill my mind even today as I think back about the show that really changed my life. Okay, I was always prone to obsessive fandom (Star Wars fan here), but Sailor Moon taught me to branch out and embrace an entire medium of entertainment rather than just a single show. Because of Sailor Moon, I saw Magic Knight Rayearth. Because of MKR, I saw Oh! My Goddess, which led to Fushigi Yugi, and later Evangelion. The anime snowball effect began squarely with the Dic dub of the first season. Thinking about the season itself without the warm fuzzies of nostaligia (and speaking from an uncut, subtitled point of view), the first season has an interesting plot, and does a nice job introducing the characters. However, the first half of the show is too bogged down with filler, while the second half is where the best of the story truly lies.

Mylene's Top 20: #1
Sailor Moon R (TV) Very good
R definitely is not the best of the seasons, nor is it the worst. The entire first half is filler, often poorly plotted filler. However, even in those weak episodes, the girls still shine. Their friendships and foibles drive the series, and this season is not an exception.

Mylene's Top 20: #1
Sailor Moon R Movie: Promise of the Rose Good
The very first fansub I ever saw was this movie (EP VHS with the S and SuperS movies plus the SuperS special and Ami-chan's First Love special all crammed on one tape). It was my introduction to the glory that is Mitsuishi Kotono, Hisakawa Aya, Tomizawa Michie, Shinohara Emi, and Fukami Rika.

The movie itself is interesting. It's my second favorite of the 3 movies available. It plays like a long episode of the show, complete with little youma and a final 'boss' at the end where the Silver Crystal must be used to save the world. A bit trite, but still fun. Plus, the violence is a little invigorating, and Moon Revenge is a great song for the final attempt to save the Earth. The throwback to Ail and Ann of the R season is quite apparent.

Mylene's Top 20: #1
Sailor Moon S (TV) Very good
It's really a toss-up for me which season I liked better--S or Stars. Really a great season for anyone to start watching Sailor Moon, it's best feature is the introduction of the out Senshi, Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, Sailor Pluto (okay, technically she was in R a little) and Sailor Saturn. This is the season that could truly be considered "life-altering" for me. I grew up in a homophobic family. I didn't feel strongly against homosexuality personally, but I definitely followed my family's lead in thinking it was 'wrong'. Michiru and Haruka changed that view, particularly during the infamous 'hand play' scene, and the scene at the church that followed. Thank you, Takeuchi Naoko, for making a couple that could open the clouded eyes of someone just following what she was told was right and wrong, and teaching her to make her own decisions. Love is love, no matter who it involves. Other than that, there is a bit too much bland filler in the season, but the overall plot is dark and intriguing.

Mylene's Top 20: #1
Sailor Moon S Movie: Hearts in Ice Good
My favorite movie, mostly because it pulls Luna into the spotlight, and because I had a major crush on Kakeru when I first saw it. It once again just feels like an extended episode, but it's really sweet getting to see a softer and more human side of Luna's nature. And of course, there's the infamous transformation. That was great.

Mylene's Top 20: #1
Sailor Moon Sailor Stars (TV) Very good
You know, I said that it was hard to decide if S or Stars was my favorite season, but when I think about how Stars ended, I've got to say it's the winner. The shortest of all the seasons, it's in this one that Usagi is the most bearable. She's started taking responsibility for herself, going a little too far at times. The new senshi, the Sailor Starlights, are a bit weak, but an interesting addition at least with regard to Seiya. The tensions between them and the Outers are very interesting to watch. With it being shorter, there is a lot less filler, which is a pleasant change of pace. And I must say, I never cried so hard in a Sailor Moon anime than I did during the scene between Neptune and Uranus during their "plot" towards the end. It was really a nice way to end a series that meant so much to me and many other anime fans. I wish an uncut subtitled version would make it overseas, but since that appears not to be happening , I will be slowly acquiring the R2 DVDs in the near future.

Mylene's Top 20: #1
Sailor Moon SuperS (TV) Good
The sugar season! Literally. Chibiusa takes the spotlight, Usagi regresses to levels of immaturity not even seen in the first season, and a circus tries to take over the world. One might think 'absolute atrocity' when they read that description, and they probably wouldn't be wrong with that initial assessment. However, if you watch the season with no expectations, go with the flow, and laugh off the fluff, you might end up enjoying it a bit. My favorite episode? The Makoto-focused one with the dance party. So dedicated, so alone...

Mylene's Top 20: #1
Sailor Moon SuperS (special) Decent
This was fun. That's all I can say. Between Haruka flirting with cute young maids and the Sailor Senshi using a special garlic attack to defeat vampire enemies, this is the most absurd and yet hilarious grouping of Sailor Moon episodes/scenes one can find. Take it with a grain of salt, baby, and just sit back and laugh.

Mylene's Top 20: #1
Sailor Moon SuperS Movie: Black Dream Hole So-so
The worst of the three movies, there aren't many redeeming qualities, particularly when one considers the tendency of one of the songs to get stuck in the viewer's head for days at a time for years and years and years and...okay, you get the point. However bad the movie might be (it's based on dreams and candy for crying out loud), it's worth watching the first few minutes just so you can see images of the Inner Senshi as children, as well as listen to Makoto and Ami talk about baking with their mothers. Very touching.

Mylene's Top 20: #1
Sailor Moon SuperS Plus - Ami's First Love (special) Good
A must-see for any Ami fan. Makoto is my favorite character, but I loved this episode as well. A short little episode that focuses on the more comedic aspects of the ever-serious Ami-chan. Fear of love letters, a fierce determination to vanquish a rival test-taker...it's absurd but great fun.

Mylene's Top 20: #1
Say "I love you." (TV) Decent
Scrapped Princess (TV) Very good
I'm so glad I was warned about the sudden right turn into sci-fi that comes with watching Scrapped Princess. Armed with that knowledge and the ever handy grain of salt, I plunged into the world of the Scrapped Princess. When I resurfaced at the end of the show, I was pleased with what I had found. An interesting plot with parallels to concepts of sacrifice and free will. I can't even always explain what I liked about it that much. It was just good. However, there were many flaws in the show. First off being the introduction of so many secondary characters that never get enough development. They're this way, then suddenly in the last episodes, they're a different way, without a particularly good explanation of why they changed. The ending itself seemed a bit rushed to me. I like the idea, but the way it was done seemed to be a bit of sell out. Everything was wrapped up a bit too neatly in a little bow for my taste. I like there to be a least a little messiness and intruigue left at the end. But overall, very enjoyable show that'd I'd recommend to any fan of fantasy and sci-fi.
Serial Experiments Lain (TV) Good
Well, I'm not really sure what I can say about this show. I liked Arisu. Okay, I adored that girl. But, um, everything before the last two episodes wasn't very enjoyable for me. Being cryptic for the sake of crypticness is not something I enjoy. On the other hand, I at least sort of 'got it' by the end, or at the very least had my own idea of what I had seen. Can't really recommend it to anyone in particular, but I'd say watch it if you want. It's just one of those shows that everyone has seen, and no one wants to be left out. ^_-
Servant × Service (TV) So-so
Shakugan no Shana (TV) Not really good
This was a very frustrating show for me to watch. It started out horrible. Then it went to bad. Then not so bad. Then average, and then, finally, almost decent (although the cop-out ending put it back down to average right at the end.) I almost preferred it when it was horrible, because I could have fun seeing how much worse it could get. When things started getting almost watchable, it almost became unwatchable. Anyway, I wouldn't recommend this show to anyone really, but if you must, episode 18 (best episode, in my opinion) finally starts an upward swing in the quality of the story and script. Also, the swimsuit episode (which was episode 9, I think) is riotous in its own right.

For further details including episode summary (and rants), as well as a fuller review of the series, see my blog.

Started: 9 November 2007
Completed: 27 February 2008
Shakugan no Shana-tan (special) Weak
Some were kind of funny or cute, but mostly just random and pointless.

Watched: 27 February 2008
Shakugan no Shanatan Returns (special) Weak
Margery wearing Wirhelmina's maid outfit and the Tiara was amusing, but that's all that saved this from going from weak to flat-out bad. Way too much jiggling of breasts and staring at crotches.

Watched: 27 February 2008
She and Her Cat (OAV) Good
A five minute short by the maker of Voices of a Distant Star, it was added as an extra on the ADV North American release. It's only five minutes long, but it was still quite an enjoyable little watch. It had the right feel of the thoughts of a cat. And while nothing much was there it was worth watching. Interesting artwork too.
Shuffle! (TV) Weak
I know I'm not in the target audience for this show. I'm not a high school boy. However, I'm not in the target audience of quite a few shows that I enjoy. This was definitely not the case for Shuffle! It was blatant this was pulled from a H-game. At least with Air, a beautiful story was created, but for Shuffle! it was just a bunch of girls fawning over an everyman. Sure, he was nice and treated them well, but he was such a pushover that it was irritating. The 'deep plot' regarding the eternal life project was ludicrous and uninteresting. And a perfectly good character, Asa-senpai, was completely ruined by an absolutely stupid decision/lack of judgment. Although I do have to admit that Kaede was cool when she lost it for a few episodes. Overall, just not a particularly enjoyable show. I can't even imagine guys like it all that well. The fanservice was probably good, but honestly the characters weren't even all that pretty. Or maybe I just can't understand because I'm a woman? (A woman who prefers anime women to anime men though...)
Silver Spoon (TV) Good
Sket Dance (TV) Decent
Spice and Wolf (TV) Decent
Spirited Away (movie) Decent
Don't lynch me, please. But Miyazaki is overrated. That's right, I said it. After several people told me that they didn't like Princess Mononoke, and that Spirited Away was so much better, I went into the movie with the expectation of being entertained. Well, it did for the first 15 minutes. After that point...the movie just never did it for me. I never found any particular attachment to any of the characters, and some of the artstyle was simply unappealing to me. Chihiro's tears were always so unrealisticly big that I couldn't even feel sorry for her when she was upset. It's a pretty show, and I'm sure it's good for other people, but personally, I just thought it was 'okay.'
Step Up Love Story (OAV) Not really good
Makoto and Yura are virgins in their mid-twenties. After being paired up by a match maker, they face their married life with a few problems--notably their lack of sexual experience. Will they get things figured out under the sheets? And what about learning about each other after a whirlwind courtship? Watch the Onodas as they learn how to truly become a married couple.

This was a disappointment. I had read some of the manga, and while it was obviously perverted, it was also rather cute and comical. I enjoyed them trying to figure out sex. However, this OAV doesn't seem to follow any of that storyline at all, cutting out almost all of the humor as well as the silly scenes of Makoto and Yura trying to figure how things work. Plus, even more than the manga, it catered solely to men with the whole "I just wanna be your wife and stay home and cook you dinner," mindset. Which is a perfectly fine mindset for a woman to have, if that's what she wants (I have a great amount of respect for homemakers, as long as it's their choice). But given the context, clearly the purpose is the play into male dominance fantasies. Don't worry, I'm not judging this anime for that aspect. Trying to hold any sort of H anime to a feminist standard is an effort in futility, I'm sure. In the end, I just think it should have followed the manga a bit more closely. It was a lot more fun, and actually a bit more graphic too (I did prefer the toned down sex scenes of the anime, I'll give it that much.) So much comedy was lost by cutting out Makoto's family. But still, not a bad choice for someone who's curious about hentai, but doesn't want see tentacles, rape, bondage, etc.

Strengths: Not very graphic at all (which is a strength if you're not really a hentai fan). Has a few sweet moments between Makoto and Yura that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
Weaknesses: Loses a lot of the comedic value of the manga. Not very graphic (which may disappoint hentai fans). Plot was fairly non-existent. While Kawamaki Tomoko (known for voicing Tenjou Utena of Revolutionary Girl Utena) is an excellent seiyuu, she really needs to work on her sex sounds, they weren't particularly convincing. Music was bland, and the art wasn't anything all that captivating.
Strawberry Marshmallow (TV) Good
Strawberry Marshmallow feels like a cross between Azumanga Daioh and Yotsuba!%. It's very cute and often laugh out loud hilarious. A few episodes were just a bit too sleepy, but overall, very enjoyable.
Strawberry Panic! (TV) Bad
I heard "yuri" so I tuned in. Silly girl that I am, I assumed that it would be the type that's created for women. Instead, I found a a series that was contrived, sexist, and clearly pandering to the type of male otaku who'd be watching it's initial showing (1:45 am). Over the years after watching (and hating) it I've heard comments that it was supposed to be taken as a parody. Perhaps that is true, but for me, there were no redeeming qualities as girls were turned into vapid windbags who spent their days talking about wanting to clean, wear aprons, and occasionally force themselves on one another.
Sugar: A Little Snow Fairy (TV) Decent
If there were ever an anime that deserved to be feature on the Saturday morning cartoon lineup on a regular broadcast station, Sugar would be that series. From the character designs, stories with morals set up, and the general soft and fluffy feel of the series, it felt like something I would have watched with The Smurfs and Gummi Bears growing up.

This series feels 100% like a children's show. There are no moments of fanservice, no violence, nothing objectionable at all--it's just wholesome, harmless fun. Which means it can also be incredibly boring. Even Sailor Moon is edgier than this series. But still, if you have a little sister, cousin, or niece you're trying to keep entertained for a few hours, popping in Sugar wouldn't be your worst choice of entertainment.
Summer Wars (movie) Very good
While it's not nearly as emotionally engaging as The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars is a really fun movie. I really appreciated the almost cartoon-like nature of it. Some elements I haven't seen since 90s anime (blush spreading slowly up through the body), other elements were reminiscent of American animation, and then there were more modern aspects as well. I'd recommend to pretty much any anime fan, although I'm not sure it would really engage anyone outside of the fandom that much.
Super GALS (TV) So-so
For a show with a great deal of potential, especially when checking out it's fun art and character designs, it unfortunately ends up devoid of anything particularly entertaining. Ran is a terrible lead, and while it'd be nice to like Aya, Miyu, and the rest of the side characters, they always get pushed aside just as their stories get interesting to show a platform kick from Ran (or a chance for her to be an insensitive clod). Also, heed this warning: there is no plot. Ever.

For a full review, visit Reflecting Lights.
Sword Art Online (TV) Decent
Tari Tari (TV) Good
Teekyū (TV) Not really good
Teekyū (TV 2) Weak
Tekkonkinkreet (movie) Very good
Visually, Tekkokinkreet is both stunning and unsightly, and it works very well being both things at once. The art is rough and emotional, but the animation is smooth. The characters are a combination of archetypes, feelings, and styles. The story is both a jumbled mess and an intriguing journey into the heart of humanity.

It's all of these contradictory elements that make me both not sure how much I liked the movie, but also sure it was amazing. Well worth seeing for anyone who likes anime that pushes limits and enjoys a certain amount of abstraction and arthouse stylings.
They Were 11 (movie) Decent
Tiger & Bunny (TV) Decent
Time of Eve (ONA) Very good
Tokyo Godfathers (movie) Very good
The first time I watched this movie, I thought it was magical. The second time I watched it, however, some of the glitter was washed off. It just didn't seem to shine through as well once I knew how it would go. The characterizations were more grating, the pacing too slow, and while the miraculous coincidences were still appreciated, it almost felt like there were too few of them to justify the existence of any of them.

It's still a very good film, there is no doubt about it, but it just doesn't hold up after multiple viewings, in my opinion.
Toradora! (TV) Very good
Don't let the series summary fool you (like I nearly did). Tordora! is a surprisingly good series with a colorful cast of characters, good chemistry, and a lot of laughs. It also has a lot of heart, and I found myself tearing up more than once. I'm usually not a big fan of the genre, but this one's definitely worth checking out.
Transformers (live-action movie) So-so
I never thought I'd say this, but this movie really need more explosions and a lot less exposition. Really, cut out all of the parts with the humans and keep the parts with the giant robots waling on each other and you've got the film most people wanted.
Trigun (TV) Very good
Comedy, drama, action, adventure, deception...overall just a lot of fun. The first half is fun, the last half is dark. And at this point, I've been typing comments for a few hours, so I'll just leave it at that. It's a series that just about everyone should really check out. Even if you don't love it, you'll probably enjoy it.
tsuritama (TV) Good
Tweeny Witches (TV) Decent
This is one of those series I entered into with very high expectations. A twist on the magical girl genre? I'm always up for that. Unfortunately, it never lived up to my expectations. If you think Tsukino Usagi is obnoxious and unlikeable, just wait until you meet Arisu, an even dafter and more ignorant lead character! At least Usagi listens to people. Arisu prefers to scream her opinions loudly and loudly, drowning out every other opinion and suggestion if it isn't her own. She also likes to run headlong into danger and get bailed out. Honestly, she's one of my least favorite anime characters ever. That's a pretty major mark against the series, and once that it had a hard time overcoming after the bizarre pacing and often incomprehensible plot. There was plenty to like, particularly the uniqueness of the story and the art (it really is a unique spin on the magical girl genre, no doubt), but it just wasn't enough to make me truly like the series in the end. Not with such a bad lead character and mishmashed plot. Definitely a rent-before-buying type series to minimize disappointment and empty pocketbooks.

For a bit more in-depth commentary and some single episode discussions, you can see my blog.
Tweeny Witches: The Adventures (OAV) Decent
This 6-episode OAV is essentially an add-on to the original series. Some of the episodes appear to have happened before the end of the series, some after, and they aren't in any sort of chronological order within the OAV either. While I rated it the same as the TV series, honestly, I liked it more. Because it was clear that its purpose was just to show some additional adventures, it didn't have the same disjointed feeling of the original series. There were no ties between episodes, so it was a smooth flow from one vignette to another. Some of the stories were cute and funny, some were poignant, and one gave backstory for Eva and Sheila.

All in all, the Tweeny Witches OAV was delightful and worth watching for fans of the series and those who only somewhat enjoyed.
Voices of a Distant Star (OAV) Very good
I just finished watching this, and already know I'll need to watch it again soon. Trying to absorb everything on the screen (plus the ultra-fast subtitles) was just a bit too much. However, simply put I found it full of emotional depth and a wonderful piece to sit and contemplate. It has a great deal of hype, but I felt it lived up to a decent amount of it (unlike Miyazaki films...) If you want something that's not just the ordinary, give this short OAV a try. I have a similar "whoa" feeling after watching it that I had after watching Memories.

Mylene's Top 20: #10
WATAMOTE (TV) Decent
Welcome to the NHK (TV) Good
Well-paced and compelling, Welcome to the NHK was surprisingly good. There was a good blend of various elements, and even fanservice was typically used in such a way that while it would titillate those seeking titillation, it was a well-used moment of absurdity for other viewers. Overall, this really felt much more plot/story-driven than character driven for me, which is probably while I didn't desperately love it. However, it is certainly quite good, and the characters themselves certainly have many moments of reality, even in the most over-the-top moments. If you like a look at the darker side of humanity, but don't want to watch something that's a pure drama or tragedy, Welcome to the NHK is a good choice.
When They Cry - Higurashi (TV) So-so
Guilty pleasure alert! There's no other way to describe this one. It's full of all types of fanservice, from the jiggling variety to moe tropes to vicious violence and yandere antics. A little something for everyone, it's completely ridiculous. The best part, however, is the fact that it seems to know how ridiculous it is and builds on that, making it an utter joy to watch. With a collection of seemingly unconnected a nonlinear versions of the story from different points of view, it isn't just fanservice, but it all melds together quite nicely. It's a shame it didn't do particularly well in North America, I'd love to pick up the rest of the series.
A Wind Named Amnesia (movie) Decent
I went into this movie with fairly low expectations, and it surpassed them but only a little. I didn't find it boring as other have, but I found the execution was poor, particularly when compared to the rather brilliant idea the plot was based upon. It is fascinating to consider what would happen if all memories of civilization were erased, rending humans more animalistic once again. However, while it explored this idea, it remained somewhat shallow, and added in pieces of violence that felt out of place to me. Still, a better than average movie, and worth the watch if you have the chance.

For a bit more of my views on this movie, you can check out my blog.
xxxHOLiC (TV) Good
Certainly not one of CLAMP's best, but also much better than the anime version of its sibling publication Tsubasa Reservoir Chornicle, XXXHOLiC is best described as a collection of short stories and parables. While the manga eventually gets a linear plotline mixed in, the anime avoids anything of the sort, choosing to be a client-of-the-day style of slice of life, with familiar stories like the monkey's paw mixed in.

While the art style works well in the manga, the cheap production of the anime often makes it look quite atrocious, unfortunately. Still, the characters are likable enough, and while the vocals performances weren't always the best, they were generally acceptable to quite good. I'd like to see the later seasons someday, and but more than that, I look forward to each manga release, because this is definitely one of those series where the anime just doesn't live up to the source material.
Yama no Susume (TV) So-so
Yuyushiki (TV) Not really good

Will not finish Rating Comment
Ai Yori Aoshi (TV) So-so
Amnesia (TV) Weak
Angelic Layer (TV) Not really good
Arata The Legend (TV) Not really good
Fantasista Doll (TV) So-so
Flame of Recca (TV) I probably haven't given this show a fair shake, but the handful of episodes I've seen (episode 1, and a couple of random ones back when I was in Purdue's anime club) seemed to be extremely contrived. If anyone can defend this anime, PM me. I'm willing to give it another chance, if I can be convinced it's worth it.
Kin-iro Mosaic (TV) So-so
(The) Knight in the Area (TV) Weak
Leviathan: The Last Defense (TV) Not really good
Magical Idol Pastel Yumi (TV) So-so Watched through the 14 episodes available at Anime Sols. Will pick back up again if anymore is ever released with English subtitles.
Majestic Prince (TV)
Mao-chan (TV) Maybe I just don't 'get it', but what exactly is supposed to be amusing about this show? I've seen and enjoyed lots of random comedy series, like Azumanga Daioh and Excel Saga. But this...this just didn't find any way of capturing my attention. If you can defend this anime, PM. I'm willing to give it another chance if it's really worth it.
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU (TV) So-so
Oreimo 2 (TV) Not really good
Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs (TV) While I don't remember this as well as Voltron, I do remember getting up way too early to watch it when I was 4 or 5 years old. Honestly, I can't think of any reason to try to find it to watch. I can't even imagine myself watching it on TV if it were to air. I remember loving it as a kid, but as I have only vague memories of the show itself, I'm not going to worry too much about seeing if I still like it now.
Speed Racer (TV) Decent While I loved this show back when I was in high school (mentioning it to an online friend led me to Sailor Moon, my first anime love), I really can't see myself actually seeing all of it. It's more of a 'catch it if I see it on TV' kind of anime, not one that I can get myself to obsess over, aside from singing the English theme song to annoy my husband.
Stella Women's Academy, High School Division Class C3 (TV) So-so
Thundercats (U.S. TV) Decent Oh, the 80s. What a wonderful decade, even if the clothing trends were terrible. I loved this show growing up. But when I caught a couple of episodes a few years ago, I realized that while it will always be a fond memory, it's not really worth obsessing over to see all the episodes. Besides, it's not even anime anyway. :p If I see it showing on TV, I'll watch it, but if not, I'll still cherish my fond memories.
Transformers (U.S. TV) I really loved 'boy' cartoons when I was a kid, and the original Transformers series was no exception. However, I didn't love it as much as others, and I know I wouldn't appreciate it anymore, since I'm too old to play with the toys. Therefore, I will not be finishing this series. I won't even be tuning in to random episodes on TV (especially since they're showing new series now.)
Voltron (TV) So-so My 6am weekday mornings show. I used to get up at an obscene hour to make sure I didn't miss this or Star Sheriffs. But as with other anime that were 'just cartoons' to me when I was a kid, I don't feel compelled to buy up all the series etc. But I will keep an eye out for it on TV. It's worth watching occasionally, but seeing the whole thing is likely unreasonable.