Inadequate development and an overemphasis on looking cool hamper a series which otherwise offers good plotting and animation and some sharp action sequences.
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|5 Centimeters Per Second (movie)||Masterpiece||While Shinkai's works has been about the same theme, it always has amazing impact. I think this one is the best because it's the most realistic. It is something very very simple, as the story is really just told in the synopsis, but it still created powerful emotions. There really is nothing to talk about other than to watch it.
Side notes,The different point of view in the second episode was also refreshing and touching. On top of the fact that all his work are outrageously beautiful (this is REAL eye candy) and his ability to tell a story with pictures, and minimal amount of words heightens the feeling even more.
|anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (TV)||Excellent|
|Attack on Titan (TV)||Excellent|
|Azumanga Daioh (TV)||Masterpiece|
|Black Lagoon (TV)||Very good||A show where there really is not much continuity with each event. Related to criminal underworld. Interesting, but may not appeal to general audience. Like Cowboy Bebop, use "bad-ass" as main attraction. That said, the series looks very nice, has pretty good action scenes (although few), and good characters for its purpose. Definitely worth watching if you are into the genre. PS, very good OP song.|
|Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage (TV)||Very good||Refer to Black Lagoon, except better.|
|Chrono Crusade (TV)||Excellent||The series itself was fairly mediocre and generic. It did things correctly, and the heroine was not bad, but not great either. Action is not really a focus, and near the end, the plot became a little non-existent as they rushed to an ending.
That said, there was one scene in the last episode that made me raise this series one level higher, and it was the final scene between the two protagonists. The one scene made me give the series a higher score than originally intended. This is one of the few series that ended very strong in my opinion, and thus had a great impact regardless of its other faults.
|Clannad After Story (TV)||Excellent|
|Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (TV)||Masterpiece||Refer to Season 2.|
|Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 (TV)||Excellent||While not as well executed as the first season, Geass R2 still managed to do most of the important things right, and do them right when it mattered the most. Unfortunately this series did not turn into one of the great ones, it is still highly enjoyable, and should be checked out by anyone who is interested in the genre. R2 spent most of the time focusing on the main protagonist Lelouch, rather than diverting time to minor characters. This would have been fine, if not for the fact that minor character development was completely removed. This was due to the expansion of an already impressive collection of characters. In the end, the series suffered greatly for it, with a load of character 1 or 2 scenes and zero development, all of whom were turned into cannon fodder due to time restraint. That much time (1/3 of the season) should not have been given to Rolo and Xingke/China arcs. They are complimentary characters, and should not have taken so much time. Besides, it would have been a lot better to spend those episodes on characters whom viewers have already developed affection for (not to mention there was still plenty to be done with those characters). Overall, I think this was the greatest strength of season 1, and also the greatest weakness of R2. For the two main protagonists themselves, there were some discrepancies with their behavior, which were probably just because they tried to move events along faster. There were no real problem with the story progression, but they were seriously pushing it with the plot twists. For a bit it was getting out of hand, and hard to really give a damn about anything because it felt superficial and they could just retcon anything they wanted.Also, 1-12 felt 2-3 gears slower than 13-25. For the most part, 13-19, 20 ish were extremely well done regardless, with enough information in each episode but not too much. But the lack of character interaction and development was detrimental. The biggest problem was when they hit the Geass Arc, the writers did not have enough time to fully develop that part of the story, so they had to rewrite it, and half-ass their way through those 3 episodes. That was definitely the low-point in the series, which is a shame because that part of the story was what could have separated Geass from other series. With all those negatives, geass still had the same charisma as that of season 1. The original characters were still present, Lelouch is still as "fabulous" as ever, and it is still over-the-top crazy at many points. For me, the last 3 episodes (the final arc) saved the second season from being a disappointment. For those episodes, they went back to the formula that worked so well for season 1. They let the characters drive a story that's not too complex, and throw in a little wow-factor here and there, and made sure that the minor characters get their share of screen time and overall effect on the story (PS: the final battle did not turn into Gundam, ie who had a bigger laser cannon. Thank god). Using execution rather than twists to generate drama and tension was exactly what was needed to restore some faith into the series. I was definitely a bit disappointed with R2, but a strong finish left a feeling for me. Also, the affection I built for some character through season 1 definitely carried some weight when I was viewing season 2, and that made R2 enjoyable even when it was not hitting all the high points.|
|Cowboy Bebop (TV)||Masterpiece|
|(The) Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (movie)||Excellent|
|ef: a tale of memories (TV)||Excellent||Like Sola from last season (with the same character design, coincidentally), this title became an amazing sleeper hit, maybe even more so than sola last season in terms of presentation and plot flow. There were several experimental methods attempted in this series, but everything worked out wonderfully, and the result is possibly the best romance story (at least one of the two presented) in a very long time. The script isn't unique, but the story was presented so well that it became a non-issue. The theme of the series was presented flawlessly, and the execution was amazing as well thanks to SHAFT not going overboard with deus ex machina crap and whatnots. The music, as a bonus, fits perfectly, and there are at least three themes that were perfect for their respective scene. This is a must see (and since it's only 12 episodes long, there really isn't much of a reason not to give it a shot unless you just plain hate this genre).|
|Elfen Lied (TV)||Excellent|| The series is driven with character empathy, and a unique touch of violence among it. The visuals and backgrounds were stunning, and the characters themselves, while not great, were above par. Story itself was intereting, but the background information regarding the Diclonious were not enough. However, it can be overlooked as it is merely a tool for setting up and advancing the story.
The only true weakness of this series was the ending, as they left it open-ended for some reason. There was absolutely no point in making it that way, as the resolution for each character was already complete. It created an anticlimatic feeling. Other than that, this series was a very good one of its genre. The music was also fairly good, and suits the mood very well.
|Ergo Proxy (TV)||Good||The premise wasn't anything new, the characters were weak in the fact that they created no empathy (while not all series require for viewers to care greatly about the characters, some level of empathy must be present for the characters to have any effect), the progression was also a bit too slow, and showed when they had to rush the final few episodes.
The only thing Ergo had going was the story now, and the production value. Too bad the story ended up being too mythodical for its own good, and end up not accounting to much, and the production value of the episodes dropped off pretty quickly after the first few episodes. The series was a disappointment, and probably not worth the time.
|Eureka Seven (TV)||Masterpiece||The story had a pretty good kick in it, but it wasn't made overly complex. There were definitely some weaknesses such as uneven pacing in the 30s as well as a bit of a rush in the final 3 episodes, and certain parts felt a bit drawn out. However, most of these minor issues didn't matter at all because the characters took the story to another level. This is a great example of characters driving the story, and it wasn't just the main protagonists; the supporting cast had 4 other very good characters to offer, and the rest were still given a fair treatment. It didn't do it as well as Code geass S1 did, but it did it much better in the long run. The arc progression was well layered, with no arc truly unnecessarily long, and complimented character development almost perfectly.
For the characters themselves, let's see...
Renton was a surprisingly good character. I actually thought he was just going to be another generic punk kid character, but I was pleasantly surprised and proven wrong. While he was definitely not aware of much of the things going on in the world in the beginning, his naivete was genuine, not ignorance. He showed signs of maturity in his personality (most notably during the Run away from home arc), but still acted at times childish (1. He failed to realize that Eureka wanted to make him happy so she tried make-up. 2. Many times he spoke a harmful word unintentionally, like when the topic of Renton's father came up). While his wish was clear from the beginning, he was unable to express it until he matured enough as a character. This made his development more dynamic and impressive.
For Eureka, while her character type in the beginning is generic, the approach in which her character was developed was very well executed. One of the best things I loved about her is that as her character developed, you could clearly see more liveliness with her expressions. I don't mean by more facial expressions, rather, I mean that there is a significant difference between her smile in episode 1 as compared to those of later episodes. I thought the small difference was great. As for her progression, I think it just completely rode on execution. I can't really name anything special about it, but I loved every bit of it. As she learn human emotions by experiencing them, as she try to be a good mother, as she try to connect with Renton, I thought everything about it was wonderful.
The rest of Gekko state were also intriguing characters. Holland and Talho were really intriguing characters. Couples like Matthiew/Hilda and Doggie/Gidget also provide a different dynamic and influence to Renton/Eureka. Stoner played many a big role in key parts of the story, and rest of the Gekkostate also had their chance to shine. Most surprisingly, the characters Charles and Ray, whom were only present for about 5-6 episodes, had such a large impact on not just Renton, but the series itself as well. They formally introduced one of the main themes, family, and did a spectacular job at it.
As for Dominic and Anemone, I wasn't as big a fan for those two as others. I thought their character development wasn't handled as well. It came down to that they really should have been given more scenes interacting with each other.
Finally, oh my god, not just an acceptable ending, but actually a pretty damn good last arc/ending to a series. There were some unnecessary elements in the final episodes, and the story became a bit messy with Dewy's plan and all, but it was quickly brushed aside by Renton/Eureka. While it definitely felt slightly (very slightly) rushed, the last two episodes were amazingly presented. The plot of the last 2 episodes can be described in one sentence, but it was far more than that. The viewers watched the entire series for that moment, and it delivered. I mean, they left it slightly open-ended, but it didn't matter in my opinion. As long Renton and Eureka ended up together I didn't really care where they were. First well-done happy ending I have seen in a long time.
|Fate/stay night (TV)||Very good||The premise (Servants based on famous ancient figures) was good, the designs were good, and the music was good. The characters were somewhat weak and uninteresting mostly. Only one really had an interesting background in my opinion, and that was Saber as I found the idea of the Female King of Knights to be quite interesting. The actions in the series were not great with the exception of the fight scene in episode 17. The ending wasn't particularly great either, but it was fairly good in its own way.
For a series of this genre, it can be considered a fairly good success. If they would have explored the more interesting backgrounds of the characters, or been more faithful to the original script, while the show may have required more episodes, it would definitely have been better.
|Fate/Zero (TV 2)||Excellent|
|Full Metal Panic! (TV)||Good||The series was very well received, but I did not think it was that great. Out of the 3 arcs presented I thought only one of them was very good, as others just felt very rushed and pointless to some extent. The music was varied, but the good ones were used for comedical purposes. The art, character designs were not bad. There was also a fair amount of action. This series was sucessful in many categories, but was not great in any of them, and the plot was fairly weak. That said, this series is still well above par.|
|Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid (TV)||Excellent||Much better than the original in my opinion. Kyoto animation again does not disappoint on the eye candy, and the story was not bad either. The show is not groundbreaking in any category, but it excels in every single one of them, so it should appear to just about anyone. The character of Chidori really grew on me in SR, and the character development took some pretty nice and interesting turns.
The series ended with this particular conflict, and has a good set up for the next series. The only beef I have with the show is that while it had good character development, they did not show it in the end, as everything goes back to “normal”. Hopefully there will be real progress next time.
|Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu (TV)||Excellent||Very very funny, refer to Second Raid for other points.|
|Full Moon o Sagashite (TV)||Masterpiece||This title must be given consideration by everyone despite it being somewhat long (52 episodes) and a basic shoujo title based on the story. But stay with me, because this is one of those titles that's more than what first meets the eye. This one will be spoiler free, because this is meant to promote the series.
The story of Mitsuki, a girl with a dream but only one year left to live, may not appeal to everyone at first, but the premise should still be of interest to everyone. It's a simple live life to the fullest theme, yet in my opinion, this was the only title where that point has been gotten across completely. While the series started slow, with it's corny jokes and all the fuzzy cuteness (I'm sure it's going to be hard to accept gods of death as a cat and a bunny), things did not take long to pick up. Soon, the viewer was reminded of the reality of the situation: that this is a 12 year old girl that has just been sentenced to death in the near future, a girl that up till now has not really been allowed to live a life of any meaning.
From this point on (around mid teens episodes), the story starts to pick up, and starts to develop the characters. The process of becoming a singer for Mitsuki was interesting even if at times corny, because every episodes not only builds her character, no matter how little, but also builds the viewer's relationship with the characters (the main 3 mainly), making you feel more connected to them. While there were definitely fillers inbetween, they are very few and still somewhat well done. However, the best part regarding this is that the episodes provides an equal amount of joy and sorrow, in part to make sure the depression tone does not take over completely. Put it another way, the happy go lucky streak was more than evened out during the latter part of the series. The happier moments provided early in the series is going to be essential to get both the characters and the viewers through the tragedy that follows. Thanks to the skillful weaving of the story, the viewers will become so attached to the characters, especially Mitsuki, that we start to feel whatever Mitsuki is feeling, heightening the emotional effects to a much higher level.
The reason the series is so amazing, in my opinion, is that the cast is one of the great ones to be assembled. Individually, they are fairly generic, but together, the character chemistry, especially the main 3, are fantastic. Each one of them are also well developed. The most important character is, of course, Mitsuki, who, not far into the series, will immediately capture the viewers heart. it's really not possible to put into words the effect Mitsuki has, but she is one of the most charming characters I've ever seen. I won't say too much here as this area just needs to be felt.
Everything explored in this series, while may seem shallow at first, becomes very deep. The entire scope will come together, giving a great sense of completion to the story. And just icing on the cake, the ending was a perfect fit for the story, and I'll not say more because I do not wish to give off any hint as to what happened. It is something that must to be seen, to be fully appreciated. Originally this series was said to be intended for girls of early teens, but I believe this series is too good to be only limited to such a small audience.
|Fullmetal Alchemist (TV)||Very good|
|Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (TV)||Excellent|
|(The) Garden of Sinners (movie series)||Very good|
|(The) Girl Who Leapt Through Time (movie)||Masterpiece||A very powerful movie. Most definitely worth the time to check out. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what could be mentioned. Everything is extremely well done, the story isn't spectacular, but the presentation, pacing, characters, and all technical aspects were top notch. The music was also distinct and fits very well with each scene. It doesn't really have any flare. It is simply an incredible movie.|
|Gurren Lagann (TV)||Excellent||Watch it. I found my next great epic in this shounen series.|
|Higurashi no Naku Koroni Kai (TV)||Excellent|
|His and Her Circumstances (TV)||Excellent||Refer to manga.|
|Honey and Clover (TV)||Masterpiece|
|Honey and Clover II (TV)||Masterpiece|
|Kanon (TV 2/2006)||Masterpiece||This is the first Miracle button ending that I actually could watch and accept.
Concluding each character specifically, but not wasting time to overly dramatize the situation was very well done. No matter which girl the viewer favored, this episode should have been enjoyable for anyone.
Playing the miracle card in this case was fine in my opinion because it did not reduce the significance of the character development through the series at all. It can easily be argued that this was not the best approach, but I really believe this is the first series that has done so and has done it well.
The most important part of the episode, which finally brings closure for Yuiichi, is one of the best resolution that I have seen in awhile. To finally come to terms with the past and look past the comfortable illusion he created for himself, he is finally able to keep the promise he made with Ayu. The sequence was very well done, and while the miracles for the other girls may be questionable, the one for Ayu was fitting, and could not have ended any other way.
I have only one complaint in that the real Makoto fell out of the picture completely. I suppose she was not really an essential part of the ending and that for the fox Makoto she has already achieved her happiness (happy ending of sort). It would have been nice though if they could have given her a bit more screen time because she was obviously fairly influential to Yuiichi when he was a child. This is, however, a minor point at most and would not really be an issue.
|Kimikiss pure rouge (TV)||Very good|
|Kurenai (TV)||Very good|
|Living for the Day After Tomorrow (TV)||Very good||A nice little series. Strongest point was the music. The story had some unique elements but was mostly generic. Nothing too fancy, but was done well. Worth checking out for fans of such genre.|
|Looking Up At The Half-Moon (TV)||Very good|
|Lucky Star (TV)||Masterpiece||Still laughing, not much to say. The current best series by far.|
|Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (TV)||Very good|
|Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's (TV)||Excellent|
|Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS (TV)||Very good||Some may argue the pace is a bit too slow, which isn't entirely untrue. I'm fine with the pace for now personally, but things must pick up soon, considering they are already past half-way. Some characters has not seen screen time enough, and are in dire need of development. And while I think they are trying to save most of the budget for later, they need to kick up the production value a little bit.|
|(The) Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (TV)||Excellent|
|Murder Princess (OAV)||Good||Eh... really really really generic, but I don't know why I am still somewhat intrigued by this series. This is also a satire of sorts, but there is absolutely no noticeable humor, so... I dont get it >.>|
|My-Otome Zwei (OAV)||Good|
|Nodame Cantabile (TV)||Excellent||This was a surprise. I completely missed this until a friend told me about it. This reminds me very much of Honey and Clover, which is great. It's another one of those superb slice-of-life anime that should not be missed. There were some factors that I personally disliked, but they were fairly minor. The main thing was that I thought the time given for the character development of important main characters were a little low due to the constant addition of new characters and the time that had to be given for music performances. But that is just me personally, as others thought the pacing was near perfect.
Technically, the anime looked amazing during performances, when they zoom into the detailed instrument plays. The level of detail on all the instrument was crazy. It wasn't your regular hands moving out of synch with music scenes. Everything was done to the smallest detail, including the vibrato and the force. And of course, the music itself is great too, for those that enjoy classicals.
This is another good intro series for people that want to try out slice-of-life. Everything was done really well, and the minor issues that I have with it could be unfounded. Definitely worth a shot regardless of genre preference (There is nothing wrong with Shoujo).
|Ouran High School Host Club (TV)||Excellent|
|(The) Place Promised in Our Early Days (movie)||Masterpiece|
|Puella Magi Madoka Magica (TV)||Excellent|
|Rideback (TV)||Very good|
|School Rumble (TV)||Excellent|
|School Rumble: Extra Class (OAV)||Excellent|
|Scrapped Princess (TV)||Very good|
|Sola (TV)||Excellent||This is a fairly short series, but it does alot in 13 episodes, and does it very well. The story was fairly generic, both in plot and setting, but there was one really good twist in there. The characters, on the other hand, were extremely good, as their relationship come together in the end that made sense, rather than just using a contrived way of explaining it. Individually, they all had depth, and it became really hard to put any of them in the wrong through the events because it did not occur through ill will, but just a wish for a little happiness. The use of character empathy was very good, well making up for the story. It's another one of those titles that will not captivate the viewer unless the viewer cares about the characters, any one of them.
The main sub-character was also extremely good, as rather than the overly done rival lover, Mana was the caring friend instead. She was of great importance to the story even as a sub character, which is why she commanded great emotions when her role ended.
However, the strongest point, in my opinion, was the music, which fit the mood perfectly. The OP and ED were very good, and the small theme music in the episodes were soothing too. It's a nice little series that should be given a chance by anyone.
|Someday's Dreamers (TV)||Good|
|Spice and Wolf (TV)||Very good||A very interesting series. Very unique in presentation and focus. Some may consider it to be on the slow side, but I think it's worth checking out for anyone just because it's short, and the characters are very interesting. A good short series to kill time with.|
|Tales of the Abyss (TV)||Good|
|True Tears (TV)||Excellent|
|Vandread (TV)||Very good|
|Vandread: The Second Stage (TV)||Excellent|
|(The) Vision of Escaflowne (TV)||Excellent|
|Voices of a Distant Star (OAV)||Excellent|
|When They Cry - Higurashi (TV)||Excellent||I think this is worth checking out regardless of any other elements. The production value is decent and the flow of action is not great since it's studio Deen, but the presentation, following how the game goes, is great. Some consider this a tad slow, and that can easily be argued due to the necessary dialogues, but this series is very disturbing and intriguing, guaranteed to satisfy anyone who likes the genre. Best part is that the meat of the series is yet to come, in the second season. It's a very good thriller.|
|Xam'd: Lost Memories (ONA)||Excellent|