Ai no Kareshi's Animetake a look at Ai no Kareshi's Manga
|Adventures of Puss-in-Boots (TV)||
Watched in Afrikaans. Enjoyed it as a child.
|Angel Beats! (TV)||Excellent|
|Angel Sanctuary (OAV)||So-so||
I don't remember this very well...
|Angelic Layer (TV)||Good||
This is a mostly light-hearted tale about a girl and her doll fighting typical tournament-style battles, though it gets more serious later on (which, I guess, also qualifies as typical for such a series). The characters are quite original, though, and they have well thought-out backgrounds. I thought Sai the Ice Machine was awesome. My main gripe is the final battle, where the character motivations (up to here quite solid) just didn't make sense to me.
Ayakashi uses excessive violence to catch the viewer's attention, then follows up with dull action scenes and a predictable plot. There's a lot of exposition, most of it boring, and with a few exceptions (most notably Eim herself), the character art is uninspired. The characters' personalities are, for the most part, unexplored – I enjoyed them more in the drama CDs. I'll admit that there was a twist or two in the last few episodes that caught me by surprise, and probably saved the series from the scrap heap. An overall enjoyable but shallow title.
|Azumanga Daioh (TV)||So-so||
Not so great in my book. The wacky characters have their endearing moments, but overall I found that the series went over the top with its crazy jokes, and the lack of anything resembling an actual plot irked me to no end. I'm surprised I even finished this.
|Bakemonogatari (TV)||Very good|
|Bamboo Blade (TV)||Good||
A very nice and touching story about a Kendou teacher and his pupils. Each of the girls is lovable in her own way (my personal favourite being Kirino), and Ishida-sensei as the male lead succesfully avoids falling into any stereotype. Note that this series does not focus on the action – many battles are skipped – but rather the thoughts and feelings of the members of the club.
|Bug tte Honey (TV)||
Watched in Afrikaans. I know I absolutely adored it as a child.
|A Certain Magical Index (TV)||Excellent||
I love this show. Despite the fact that the titular character is largely absent in a great deal of the episodes, Index is not the main attraction here. What makes this anime unique is the exciting story arcs, all of them dealing with either magic or science, or the conflict between the two, while maintaining a near-perfect balance between action and dialogue. The characters are deep enough, the art is amazing and there's never a dull moment.
|A Certain Scientific Railgun (TV)|
|(Le) Chevalier D'Eon (TV)||Excellent||
A touching story that combines a complex, mystery-driven plot with realistic characters and the supernatural. I found this series heartbreakingly tragic, so much that I remained depressed for a few days after finishing it. There is much action, much violence, much betrayal and little hope.
|Chi's Sweet Home (TV)||Very good||
This is just too cute, especially to a cat lover like me. Chi's Sweet Home does a great job in depicting typical feline behaviour, and Satomi Koorogi's kitten voice is as heartbreaking as the simple plotlines themselves. A runtime of 3 minutes also ensures that you always have time to watch an episode.
|Chrono Crusade (TV)||Good||
I'm not sure what to make of Chrono Crusade. The cast is goofy, but the underlying plot is dark and serious. Some of the scenes are really freaky, which is a plus point, but I found the ending kind of weak, as if the writers had lost interest. Nevertheless, it was touching. Of course, there is some major misuse of Biblical quotations, but this is nothing new in anime, I suppose.
|Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (TV)||Masterpiece||
Code Geass remains a definite favourite with its wild plot twists, stunning dramatic moments and the amazingly bad-ass Lelouch. The mecha battles are lovely, though the action itself is nothing compared to the ingenious scheming of our morally-blurred protagonist. The pacing, the music, the symbolism, everything is top quality. My only possible complaint is the quirky noodle-armed character designs, but this in no way diminishes the delight of spectating this epic story.
|Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 (TV)||Excellent||
The second season of
People seem to love bashing this season, but I don't see what the fuss is about. I think part of the reason people complain is the fact that R2 focuses more on Lelouch and less on the minor characters. Perhaps if the series were longer, it could have devoted more time to developing the less important players. One thing that did bother me was the way the "world was reset" at the beginning of the season, but Code Geass quickly reclaimed its glory for me in the second episode.
|CODE-E (TV)||Very good||
Despite it not being a very well known series, CODE-E is a real gem once you give it a chance. The characters are fun, and the unusual premise allows for quite a few unique situations (and makes good use of these). Near the end of the show, the plot hints at something bigger, though the details are intentionally left unexplained, as this series is more focused on the personal relationships of the characters. As for the art, it's a little weird that some people don't have noses, but otherwise it's fine.
|Death Note (live-action movie)||Very good||
The live action adaption of Death Note is basically inferior to the anime (and probably the manga) in all aspects. Tatsuya Fujiwara is a terrible Light, and while Ken'ichi Matsuyama as L certainly looks the part, I think his voice sounds dumb. CG Ryuk looks cool, though, and the movie is worth checking out for the all-new Misora/Shiori plotline.
|Death Note (TV)||Masterpiece||
This anime is filled with exciting, brainteasing challenges. The rivalry between Light and L is a fiery one, delivered with a lightning-fast pace and lots of delicious drama. The art style is ugly in my opinion, but it rather suits the general theme. This might have been a favourite of mine, but I'm not really into occult stuff. It's worth mentioning that this series loses pace in the second half – in fact, I almost dropped it at one point. Also, the second opening and ending themes are terrible and I fear my poor ears will never recover.
|Death Note: The Last Name (live-action movie)||Very good||
The same criticism applies to this film as to the first one. Aside from that, Rem looks cool in CG and the ending has been redone (in a very imaginative way), successfully averting all that spoiled the latter half of the anime (and probably the manga).
|Di Gi Charat (TV)||So-so||
I can't remember much of this bizarre series. It was funny, yes, but there was no serious plot, and that must be what makes it so forgettable.
|Dogtanian and The Three Muskehounds (TV)||Watched in Afrikaans|
|Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure (TV)||Very good||
While it presents itself as serious for the first few moments, Dual quickly reveals itself to be a hilarious parody show that doesn't hold back on the humour. I found it side-splittingly funny, and actually prefer this interpretation to shows like Evangelion and RahXephon. The characters, even though based on stereotypes, are very lovable, and when the plot does turn serious, it binds you. My only regret is that I watched the dub first on this one – it's not great.
|Elemental Gelade (TV)||Good||
A fairly good all-around action/comedy anime. Ren is every bit as beautiful as she is intended to be (enough for Coud not to spoil the picture), and the writers make an effort to explore the different aspects of their fantasy world. It's when a show begins to miraculously revive main characters, though, that I begin to lose faith in its integrity...
|Elfen Lied (TV)||Excellent||
Elfen Lied is an involving plot that features an interesting contrast: candy cute characters and disturbing levels of violence. And it is this contrast that makes the story all the more cruel. I enjoyed the characters (and thought Nana was adorable). The ending is all messed up, though – this is one aspect in which I actually prefer the manga version.
|Elfen Lied (OAV)||Excellent||
This is really just an extension to the Elfen Lied series; a missing episode that provides some crucial background on Lucy (and offers some lovely Nana/Bandou comedy).
|Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (movie)||Very good||
I enjoyed this mostly out of nostalgia for the original FF7 game. The CG is good, the characters are pretty and the lightning-quick action sequences are a treat to watch (if a bit confusing at first). The actual plot is minimal, however, and seems like nothing but an excuse to bring the cast together once more. I won't hold that against Advent Children, though, as it was clearly never intended to be a psychological masterpiece.
|Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (US CG movie)||Awful||This is the kind of waste that kills franchises. Luckily Final Fantasy was strong enough to withstand, though I shall forever hold a grudge against this movie as its failure cost me one of my favourite series.|
|Final Fantasy: Unlimited (TV)||Masterpiece||
One of my first anime, and a controversial all-time favourite. FF:U has been criticized a lot, and some of the criticisms I can understand, such as its poor "retro" art, its reuse of stock CG sequences and its monster-of-the-day feel. These problems are only superficial, though, and disguised in these "kiddy" elements looms a dark and well-conceived plot. I found that the characters, who may seem like stereotypes at first, have a lot of depth, and are all very memorable. To this day, Shiroi Kumo remains my favourite Akira Ishida character, and Ai remains my first crush.
Alas, due to problems with their budget (thanks to a terrible US movie that shall remain unnamed), Square had to cancel the anime half-way. The rest of the story is only available in obscure Japanese books and CDs (most of which I own myself). This is a pity indeed, as I found that the most delicious parts of the story came in the so-called After chapters (C2, Soljashy, etc).
One criticism I can never understand is that Final Fantasy: Unlimited is somehow "not Final Fantasy" (comparing it to the original RPG series). This is a falsity spread by FF elitists. The anime shares the following with titles the game series: chocobos, an inventor named Sid (that changes into a frog), summon creatures, a rebel faction, twins, moogles, sword-fighters, magic crystals, a powerful being called Omega, a submarine, an airship, and much, much more. Thank you.
|Flame of Recca (TV)||Very good||
This was probably my first "tournament" anime, and thus I wasn't yet tired of the formula back then. Still, this is definitely one of the better such anime out there, with its amusing characters (Hikaru Midorikawa makes an awesome Mikagami) and interesting back-stories. Unfortunately, the ending is rushed, leaving many loose ends untied. I guess I ought to check out the manga some time.
|Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu (TV)||Good||
If I didn't enjoy this anime as much as I should, it's probably my own fault for not watching the original series first. I was amused by Chidori and Sousuke's relationship, and enjoyed the eccentric humour in every episode. There was a bit too much fan service, though, and I hear this problem is also present in the parent series.
|Genesis Climber Mospeada (TV)||Good||
Old, but classic. Despite the dated animation, Mospeada has cool mecha, lovable characters and one heck of a finale. I found Stigg even more to my liking than his Robotech counterpart. The show does tend to break into random bouts of absurdity, but not so much as to spoil the story.
|(The) Girl Who Leapt Through Space (TV)||Decent||
It started out pretty well, but I must admit that this series began to bore me after the first few episodes. The characters are cute and the visuals are up to Sunrise standards, and there is the treat of robot Lelouch, but these gimmicks tire quickly. The plot is all over the place and moreover can't seem to decide whether it wants to be serious or funny. Maybe mecha junkies will have more fun with it, but personally, if there's ever a second season, I'd rather not watch it.
This is junk. It was probably intended to be funny, but it's not. It's just junk.
|.hack//Legend of the Twilight (TV)||Very good||
I enjoyed the story and the characters, but I couldn't help but feel somewhat disappointed. I watched his right after finishing .hack//SIGN, and it seemed rather anti-climactic in comparison. I might have better appreciated its light-hearted atmosphere had I not been depressed with .hack//SIGN's abrupt ending (and the fact that I'd had to buy four boring games to see the rest of the story).
It's a wonderful idea to show what's happening in the real world while the rest of .hack focuses on the game world. This OVA is an interesting watch, though it couldn't possibly stand on its own. Tokuoka's almost unrealistic altruism bothered me at first, until I read .hack//ZERO (was there ever a second volume?) and learned the man's true motive. I have since gained more respect for Liminality.
This is one anime I will always remember. The beautiful and interesting characters, the immersive scenery, the wonderful sense of mystery and the dark omens foretelling a terrible disaster – everything works together so well. Not to mention the beautiful soundtrack. It's almost a pity that so much went into what is essentially a marketing campaign for a series of forgettable PS2 games. Be warned that you will most likely not be satisfied with the ending.
|Hand Maid May (TV)||Decent||
I didn't originally intend to watch this, but I'm rather glad I did. As long as you don't try to take it serious, Hand Maid May is an utterly enjoyable comedy. It has just enough plot to keep the viewer interested, and there are some comical moments that had me rolling on the floor. Some of the ecchi is a bit intrusive, though. I also consider this series notable for featuring one of Rie Kugimiya's first cuties.
An interesting experiment. The character designs were good, and the story had an OK premise, but overall I feel that it had more to tell than there was time for in twelve 5-minute episodes (a large portion of which is occupied by the opening sequence). Also, as this is a flash anime, the animation can be rather quirky.
|Happy Lesson (TV)||Decent||
This anime is mildly entertaining. It's a harem show, make no mistake, though it took a bit of a creative twist in making the girls surrogate "mothers" to the male lead (who, incidentally, is ugly as hell). As is common in this type of anime, there is little plot, and you'll need to ration your viewing of it if you're going to survive the madness. Oh, and I feel the need to mention that I thought Minazuki-chan was very sweet.
|Haruka Nogizaka's Secret (TV)||Very good||As far as harem series go, this one is a star. The art is good, the jokes are generally funny, the setting has an original flavour (a rich girl with a secret love for anime), and the main couple is so likable that you want them to be together. Yes, these things are to be expected of this kind of show, yet few actually make it this far. Throw in Haruka's adorable (and flirtatious!?) little sister Mika, and you've got twelve episodes of solid entertainment.|
|Hayate the Combat Butler (TV)||Good||
My opinion of this series changed quite radically since the beginning. Firstly, I think the characters are all lovable (especially Nagi, who's adorable), and there are some great laughs to be had watching them, even if you don't catch most of the references to other anime. Hayate the Combat Butler has one crucial flaw, though, and its lack of plot for a fifty episode series. I realize that the point of this anime was to be parody others and be funny, but it felt like the writers got bored after about half the show. So where I was enthusiastic about this when it first came out, I don't know if I'd be willing to stick around for the sequel.
|Heaven's Lost Property (TV)||Decent||The story is nothing epic, the main character is absolutely disgusting and the fanservice level is a bit too high for my comfort, and yet some of the jokes had me laughing harder than I have in a while. The last episode hints at what Sora no Otoshimono could have been had it gone the serious route, though I'm not sure if this would have been an improvement overall. Characters are suitably cute, though the majority are exhaustingly stereotype.|
|Izumo: Flash of a Brave Sword (TV)||Good||
I found Izumo interesting enough to prickle my curiosity about the visual novel it was based on, but otherwise it felt somewhat short and empty to me. The characters are beautiful... or so I thought. Now that I'm playing the game, their anime incarnations somehow don't seem as pretty anymore. At least now I know why Takeshi's character seemed so weak in the anime; the amount of story cut from the original is preposterous (though not surprising for a 12 episode series). Of course, the anime has the benefit of being without those obnoxious sex scenes. Here's hoping the game's conclusion isn't as lacklustre as that of the anime.
Jinki:Extend does have considerable entertainment value, but I didn't find it very memorable. It's interesting how they switch between two storylines that eventually join together, but I can't help but feel something is missing. Also, I was kind of underwowed by Fumiko Orikasa's performance as the protagonist.
|Kemeko Deluxe! (TV)||Very good||
This show might not be for everyone, but those who think they can stand it are in for a ride. The whole gimmick with the pretty girl hiding in a butt-ugly "mecha" is hilarious and utilized well. I also found Kugimiya's character, Misaki Hayakawa, a lot more amusing than I first thought I would (it's fun when seiyuu play characters so different from their usual roles). Some jokes were of bad taste, and I had to regularly skip a few seconds of the opening, but it was nothing unbearable. I was also pleasantly surprised with the actual plot. Be warned, though, that the ending is somewhat inconclusive – I'm rooting for a second season on this one.
|Last Exile (TV)||Decent||
For all its efforts, I didn't enjoy Last Exile as much. It's a refreshingly serious anime with a plot that keeps you wondering, but the art style is too dull and the colours too bland for me, and it felt like it was trying to achieve too much. Also, the pointless killing of characters turned me off.
|Last Order Final Fantasy VII (OAV)||Excellent||
I actually enjoyed this more than I did Advent Children. In fact, I love it! Aside from the fact that I've always preferred 2D to 3D, I found the experimental art style very pleasant and truthful to the character designs. Last Order is much richer in plot than its CG accompaniment, being based on the actual game – and actually making improvements to it. If Final Fantasy VII ever became an anime, this is how I would want it. The only possible down-side to this lovely OVA I can think of is that it contains spoilers for the game.
|Lost Universe (TV)||Very good||
If you start Lost Universe expecting Slayers in space, you're in for a surprise. While it does borrow Slayers's art style and sense of humour (a good thing, in my opinion), this anime has a direction completely of its own. I fell in love with the characters (especially Canal, my favourite Megumi Hayashibara character to date), and cried my heart out at the end of the story. Definitely recommended, to Slayers fans and non-fans alike.
|Lunar Legend Tsukihime (TV)||Decent||Good:
- The maids are cute
- Dubious conclusion
- Implied sex scene
|Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (TV)||Very good||
This is series is a pleasant surprise, in that it starts out as a typical magic girl anime (if a bit technologically advanced), then suddenly turns into something else completely. The plot is unexpectedly deep, and the action is significantly more intense than the usual girly stuff (there's also a bit more fan service). Something else that I found amusing was the use of an English speaking people to voice the weapons. Overall enjoyable, though it didn't always make sense to me why some characters had to fight each other.
Alisa Bannings (an unusually interesting supporting character) is a real sweetheart, by the way, and possibly utters Kugimiya's most convincing English phrase yet in the very first episode.
|Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's (TV)||Good||
In terms of action, Nanoha A's is way better than the first season, and I found the story this season to be more touching. There is a plot hole or two, though, and the art suffers terribly mid-series. And of course I wouldn't be honest to myself if I didn't complain about my favourite minor character's decline in screen time.
This is one of the few anime that actually watched broadcast in my country, and I loved it for the comedy value and creative plot twists. Medabots may be another Pokemon clone, but in my opinion it actually beats the original (this despite the horribly corny voice Rokushou got in the US dub). This anime knows when to put the humour on hold to turn serious (within the boundaries of a kids's show), and it sports what I consider one of the most original characters I've seen (Phantom Renegade). Good times.
|(The) Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (TV)||Very good||
This series may be hyped for Haruhi, but the one who makes it great is – without a doubt – Kyon. His narration (and remarks in general) is witty and as dry as the Sahara. The plot is executed well, and seems to have a little something for everyone. A concern of mine when I started watching this show was the order of the episodes, but thanks to Kyon's narration, this never becomes a problem. What does become a problem is the filler material. There's not much of it, but what filler there is is infernally boring; watching someone sit in silence for 60 seconds straight is not my idea of fun!
|Mobile Suit Gundam Seed (TV)||Masterpiece||
I'm not a big on mecha shows, but this is not your average mecha show. Every character, even the least significant of them, has great emotional depth. The series reaches great dramatic heights, especially around the climax at episode 30, and drained many a tear from my eyeballs. The music is great, the pacing is just right, and the art is beautiful. Watch this series.
|Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny (TV)||Not really good||
A tragic let-down after the original Gundam Seed – I advise anyone who has watched the first series to stay away from this one. While it's draped in the same colourful wrapping, Destiny is nothing but a wasted sequel to squeeze more money out of the franchise (and it's the wasted part that bothers me). Here we have an overload of bishie look-alikes, a plot that doesn't ever know where it's headed, pathetic villains and, worst of all, characters that defy all logic. Not even our heroes from the first season are spared the incompetence, as Athrun magically forgets everything he'd learned in the previous war, the once strong and stubborn Cagalli warps into a weeping wuss, and more. If I don't give Gundam Seed the praise it deserves, this series is to blame for spoiling my memory of it. Epic fail.
|Mobile Suit Gundam Wing (TV)||Decent||
After enjoying Gundam Seed, I thought I would have a look at a slightly older title in this massive new world of Gundam. Alas, I found Gundam Wing disappointing. The plot is fairly decent, but the main characters are all extremely bland and hardly undergo any development at all. Even the one character I could relate to, Zechs, was spoiled for me when he made a completely senseless decision later in the anime.
|Monster (TV)||Very good||
This is the anime most untrue to anime that I have watched to date, but not in a bad way. The plot is mystery-centred, very intriguing and essentially split into several smaller chapters (some of which span multiple episodes). The characters are strong and heart-warming, especially Tenma and my personal favourite Grimmer. There's plenty of creepiness in this series, but it was never quite as terrifying as I was hoping it would be. Be warned that the pacing here is very slow, though it picks up a little with every passing episode.
|My Bride is a Mermaid (TV)||Excellent||
This series is a riot of fun, merging the world of mermaids with the world of gangsters. While it does tend to go over the top (and outrageously so), Seto no Hanayome has just enough plot to keep someone like me watching. The series also gets notably better with the introduction of Lunar, Sun's self-proclaimed rival. As a bonus, this anime utilizes the singing potential of its stars and features a number of great songs. It's too bad the series conclusion isn't even half as epic as its half-way conclusion.
|Nanatsuiro Drops (TV)||Decent||
A simple and sweet, romantic story about a girl and a boy who fall in love under some very strange circumstances. There are magic girl elements to this show, but it focuses almost exclusively on the relationship between Sumomo and Masaharu – which sadly isn't interesting enough to carry the whole series for me. Well, at least they make cute chibis of the people.
|Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV)||Weak||
To be frank, I found Evangelion depressing and stupid. The story doesn't explain itself very well (which, contrary to popular opinion, is a bad thing), and there isn't a single likable character in the entire series. I can't think of a redeeming quality for any of them. Also, the ending doesn't resolve anything... I gather I'm supposed to watch the movie to see the "real" ending, but honestly, Eva has had its chance and it blew it.
|Nurse Witch Komugi (special)||Good||
I like this episode much more than I do the original OVA. Komugi is every bit as cute as she is in the manga, and there are no messy parodies getting in the way. Also, this special offers some cool music videos. If only the entire OVA had been like this.
|Nurse Witch Komugi (OAV)||Decent||
This was a disappointment. Komugi is such a cute character (and that's what drew me to this anime after watching The Soultaker) and it pains me to see what they've done with this OVA. There's more parody than anything else, and a I verified with Hayate the Combat Butler recently, I'm not into parody. Also, the animators somehow managed to make Komugi appear less cute than in The Soultaker and her promotional material. Guess I'll stick to secretly enjoying the manga.
|Peter Pan & Wendy (TV)||
This I watched in Afrikaans as a child. I don't remember much, but at the time I thought it was epic.
|Plastic Little (OAV)||Not really good||
A throwaway story with not-quite-so-interesting characters and an abundance of fan service. Granted, Plastic Little did at least make some attempt at a plot, but it's nothing special. Watch it only if you're really bored and don't mind overt nudity.
|Please Twins! (TV)||Good||
After dropping Onegai Teacher half-way, I was surprised to find that I actually liked Onegai Twins. The premise is very interesting, and the characters are sufficiently pretty. There is some intrusive ecchi here and there, and some of the less important characters are annoying (e.g. Kousei), but this anime has some very sweet moments.
|Pokemon: The First Movie||Very good||
I have long outgrown my Pokemon phase, but I still remember this movie fondly. Aside from the fact that Mewtwo is awesome, I found that the climax was actually very, very touching. In fact, if the series itself had had this level of quality, I might still have been a fan today.
|RahXephon (TV)||Decent||I don't have much to say about this anime. It's a gloomy mecha show that has a lot of things in common with Evangelion (something which I'll bet many people consider a good thing), only it stars a somehow more likable protagonist.|
|Renkin 3-kyū Magical? Pokān (TV)||Good||While really a fan service series, this anime (with its decidedly unromanizable title) is lighthearted and free of intrusive nudity. The four girls, obviously the main attraction of the show, are unique and every bit as cute as one would hope – my favourites are Uma and Pachira, by the way – yet they alone cannot put this anime among the classics. Oh, and the opening sequence is cool and deceptively serious.|
|Rental Magica (TV)||Good||Here we have a show that stars a colourful cast of characters (each with very distinct powers), a plot driven by supernatural mystery and action, and dozens of references to Japanese mythology. Why is it, then, that something feels amiss? It's almost as if Rental Magica limits itself by forcing itself into a certain mold, using a stereotypical love triangle and clichéd filler content. Perhaps it would have been better off showing more of Nekoyashiki and Mikan's back-story and focusing a little less on Honami and Adilicia's fighting over Itsuki.|
|Robotech (U.S. TV)||Good||I have fond memories of this "compilation", even though I strongly oppose the level of editing original meterial that it represents. It's one of the anime I grew up on, and thus will always have a special place in my heart. This is only true of the third season, however, and only upon recent viewing of the first two series did I realize how terrible they were. I would much rather go with Mospeada itself, then, though I must praise Ulpio Minucci, Arlon Ober and the others for their epic soundtrack which still features regularly on my personal playlist.|
|Romeo × Juliet (TV)||Very good||Firstly, this is not Shakespeare's play – it's better. Secondly, I love the opening. This series has a lot going for it; beautiful animation, good music and a heartwarming romance. I'll admit that the pacing annoyed me for a bit, and that some plot elements seemed strangely out of place, but generally the story is solid, and the romance that is its primary focus is sweet and tragic.|
|Rozen Maiden (TV)||Very good||Though Rozen Maiden seems to have trouble deciding whether it wants to go the comedy route or the tragic route, it still delivers good entertainment with its goofy, lovable characters and its oh so sinister but equally lovable villainness. It does lose some of its suspense during the "play house" parts, but to the show's credit, its main character isn't nearly as annoying as one might expect and fits into the story perfectly.|
|Rozen Maiden: Ouvertüre (special)||Excellent||In my opinion, the best Rozen Maiden has yet brought forward. There is little along the lines of lighthearted comedy this time as Shinku and Suigintou's past is revealed in a long, sombre flashback. The artwork is beautiful, the music is atmospheric and memorable, and the story is inspired. Truly, I haven't much to complain about here.|
|Rozen Maiden: Träumend (TV)||Very good||If taken as an attempt to make something more serious of Rozen Maiden, Träumend fails due to the same pacing problems that hindered its predecessor. However, the addition of the useless (not to mention irritating) character Kanaria is offset by the added drama and tragedy in later parts of the series. Apart from these differences, you can expect everything you enjoyed in the first season – lovable characters, sinister opponents and lodes of doll vs doll action.|
|Scrapped Princess (TV)||Excellent||An epic adventure with convincing characters, an intriguing "magic" system and danger around every corner, Scrapped Princess asks a moral question: is it right to take one life in order to spare many others? If your answer was "yes", big brother Shannon would like to have a word with you. There are many emotional highlights in this series. Also, I was rather impressed to see minor characters that I had written off as one-time appearances make a comeback later on.|
|Seto no Hanayome (OAV)||Excellent|
|Shakugan no Shana (TV)||Excellent||This anime provides the viewer with a conflict of two "worlds". The first is that of ordinary people, where most of the series has most of its lighthearted, romantic and "school day" moments. The second is a gloomy place where monsters feed on the existence of the living. Our hero, Yuuji, is brutally thrown into the latter in his (chance?) encounter with the girl warrior Shana. Shakugan no Shana will amuse you with innovative villains, strategic action and slapstick comedy.|
|Shakugan no Shana Second (TV)||Good||Aside from a couple of great action sequences, some exploration into the back-story of the Silver and a minor plot twist in Yuuji's personal life, this season offers little new. In fact, the first season conquers it in virtually every field – mostly execution. The love triangle is drawn out and the finale is pale.|
|Shakugan no Shana SP: Koi to Onsen no Kōgai Gakushū! (OAV)||Decent||This offers a short break from the glum world of Shana, bringing some good laughs but offering no serious plot.|
|Shattered Angels (TV)||Good||This anime is weird but enjoyable. For such a wacky blend of conflicting elements (bishie princes, maids, cat girls, mecha, lesbianism), it surprisingly manages to be 100% serious. I would never have thought that a story this random could trigger an emotional response from me other than outright confusion, and yet I found myself sobbing like a girl at the tragic ending. I could have done without the extraneous yuri scenes, though.|
|Sin: The Movie||Awful||Thankfully, I have very little recollection of this abomination. What I do remember, though, is nothing but a boring and gory mess with no substance whatsoever.|
|Sky Girls (OAV)||Decent||It's hard to judge a show on one episode, and that's essentially what this is. The girls are cute, which I suppose is the main attraction, but given the fact that I still haven't gotten around to watch the series itself, one has to wonder about the effectiveness of this preview outside of the lolicon community.|
|(The) Slayers (TV)||Masterpiece||
Ah, good old Slayers. While I found Lina and Gourry fun to observe, it was the introduction of Zelgadiss that made this series a highlight for me. Slayers is mostly comedy, and while some might argue that comedy is what it does best, there's a certain passion in the more serious parts of the story that binds you like few other shows do. Colours are bright and the music is spirited, but the story has its fair share of gloom, and though I nearly abandoned it during the first real batch of fillers, the darker side of the plot quickly re-emerged and strapped me back in for the magnificent finale.
|Slayers - The Motion Picture||Very good||
I never enjoyed the Slayers movies as much as the series. I would attribute this to the absence of Zelgadiss, but the fact of the matter is they are so much more focused on the "filler" side of Slayers than the serious side – thus they lack that "passion" that is such a crucial part of the series. Anyway, I liked this movie better than the others, if only because it at least ties into the plot of the series.
|(The) Slayers Evolution-R (TV)||Masterpiece||
This is what Slayers fans have been waiting for. Evolution-R picks up where Revolution left off, but with very superior pacing. Not only are the fillers spiced up by the addition of the hitherto movie-only character Naga to the cast (albeit in an unexpected form) but the humour level is upped. The assassin Zuma quickly reappears, though, reintroducing the dark side of Slayers and leading the series to its first climax, sampling the mythic "passion" that made the classic series so epic. It was at this point that I felt, for the first time, that Slayers was truly back. But this is only the beginning. With the revelation of Zelgadiss's past and the long awaited return of Rezo, Evolution-R does not only tap that "passion", but jams with it, reaching the level of legend that was previously only achieved in the very first series.
|Slayers Gorgeous (movie)||Decent||
Another Slayers movie, another extended filler episodes. It's funny, even if Naga does annoys me, but there's no substance.
|Slayers Great (movie)||Decent||
Another hour-long filler. No real connection to the main plot. Lina and Naga comedy. It is funny, but only good if you're bored.
|(The) Slayers Next (TV)||Excellent||
The original series set a very high standard for the Slayers franchise, but I wasn't at all disappointed with Next. As would quickly become a Slayers tradition, the series starts out with our heroes reuniting and embarking on some quest or other. Riddles abound with the introduction of the new regular cast member Xelloss, and after a few fillers of varying comical success, the main course is served when things finally get serious and that Slayers passion returns. This pattern of alternating comedy and sombreness persists and ultimately climaxes in a finale even more drastic than the last.
This installment of Slayers gets special praise for bringing back the character Zangulus, not because he's so awesome (though he is kinda cool given a chance), but because I never expected them to bring back a minor vaillain like him, especially not in the way they did. This is not an isolated incident, either. This degree of attention to character details is one of the treats of the Slayers saga.
|Slayers Premium (movie)||Good||
A bit of an odd one out for the Slayers movies, Premium isn't really better than the others, but it does at least feature the full cast, and along with the cast comes the hilarity that we know them for. One might view Premium as something of an art experiment – it's short and looks completely different from any other Slayers incarnation.
|Slayers Return (movie)||Decent||
Not much to say about this. Lina and Naga being funny in one long filler. No "passion" here.
|(The) Slayers Revolution (TV)||Very good||
First of all, you should know that what the creators have done here is to essentially split the usual two seasons of the average Slayers series into two separately titled series, this time Revolution and Evolution-R. Ideally, you should be watching them back-to-back as a single series, because one is not complete without the other.
That said, Revolution was a peculiar experience that evoked many complex emotions. On one side, it's great to see the Slayers gang again after such a long time, and it's wonderful to see them animated with today's technology. BGM is recycled from the older series and generally the Slayers feel is preserved well. On the other hand, while it brings all the humour one can expect from an entry into the Slayers saga, it merely teases with the dark side of Lina's universe. There is mention of Rezo, and the return of Zanaffar quickly excites long-time fans such as myself, but something about the climax feels forced... possibly because viewers know that this is merely a subplot, an appetizer to the real dish.
In retrospect, many of Revolution's problems vanish when viewed as the first 13 of a 26 episode series, but the fact that it was not broadcast as such does rather modify one's interpretation of it.
|(The) Slayers Try (TV)||Good||
My least favourite of the original three Slayers series, mostly because of poor pacing. Try, compared to the other series, has a pitiful mid-climax, which makes it even more agonizing to bear the fillers that follow. Another frustration of mine with this series is its focus on the bad dudes and new characters the resulting negligence of the main cast (the people we're actually here to see). Nevertheless, Xelloss and Filia's quarrels are most entertaining, and the finale is again powerful and inspired. Perhaps if it had stood alone, and not in the shadow of its predecessors, Try would have garnered more love from me.
|Soul Eater (TV)||Decent||
The main attractions here are the action and the humour. The battles are mostly well done, and there's just enough plot to justify them. The humour, I suppose, is OK. The characters, aside from Dark Star who is terribly annoying (granted, he's supposed to be) are generally likeable, though the men are all ugly as hell. The dark setting gives Soul Eater a bit of gloom that helps keep things fresh, but is only good for about half the series where things start to get drawn out and battles become repetitive. I should note that I was horrified by the bland ending.
|(The) SoulTaker (TV)||Good||
I'll be honest. I watched this anime purely for candy cute costume girl Komugi Nakahara, and in that respect, I was not disappointed. However, putting aside the dress-up doll and her frolics, The SoulTaker has an overall sombre plot, with dark scenery and camera angles that drive you up the wall. The show's main problem is that, while it has a mature feel, its main character has a rather embarrassing mutant design (he looks like a monster in a space suit), and the unfortunate habit of perpetually shouting the name of his favourite attack. This does spoil the mood somewhat, but nevertheless the show manages to maintain its dismal atmosphere. It's an overall strange experience, but not really in a bad way.
Incidentally, The SoulTaker is the first anime I watched in Japanese without subtitles.
|Spice and Wolf (TV)||Masterpiece||
This is a tale with rich character development, thought-provoking conversations, suspense, intriguing economical schemes, a dash of romance and, while Lawrence is no combatant, there's even a few action scenes thrown in for good measure. To top that off, the art is beautiful and the music is atmospheric. Spice and Wolf flows like a feature film broken into 13 chapters, with frequent cliff-hangers to keep the viewer on their toes.
|Spice and Wolf II (TV)||Masterpiece|
|Spirited Away (movie)||Decent||
Meh. For some inexplicable reason, I loved it for the first few days, shortly after which my opinion of it changed drastically. Looking at Spirited Away today, I don't see anything in the movie of particular merit – the character designs are ugly, the plot is creepy and somewhat erratic... One exception is, of course, the music. As a hobbyist composer, I must admire this movie's score. Perhaps this is what had me fixated on the movie for a while.
|Tales of Eternia (TV)||Very good||Good:
- Exciting story
- Farah's beautiful voice
- Art could have been better
- Story incomplete (video game tie-in)
|Tayutama - Kiss on My Deity (TV)||Decent|
|Tekken: The Motion Picture (OAV)||Awful||Bad:
- Boring plot
|This Ugly Yet Beautiful World (TV)||Decent||Good:
- Pretty art
- Excessive nudity
- Another guy that turns into a monster
|To Heart (TV)||Good||Good:
- That laidback, "everyday" feel
- Pretty characters
|ToHeart - Remember my memories (TV)||Decent||Good:
- More of Multi
- Hiroyuki's personality change
- Lemmy's confession struck me as odd
|Tokyo Mew Mew (TV)||Good||
If you plan to watch this series, you must bear in mind that it is a kids' show. This introduces all sorts of irritations, such as overuse of stock footage, a monster-of-the-day setup and irksome fillers. That said, Tokyo Mew Mew surprised me on various accounts. Most prominently, our heroine Ichigo is cute enough to steal the show, and this does help the viewer to sympathize with her. There are also an unexpectably large number of touching scenes, most of them related to Ichigo and her one true love. Thirdly, yet again contrary to my expectations, things do actually heat up towards the end. A nice kiddy anime.
|Toradora! (TV)||Very good|
|Utawarerumono (TV)||Masterpiece||Here Aquaplus hit all the right switches for me. We have a captivating fantasy universe with a cast of endearing characters entangled in a touching and gripping plot. The boys and girls' cutesy animal features disguise the story's violent nature only at first, and it is the dark times of blood and war that make the moments of fleeting peace so much more serene. Another plus point for this series is our masked protagonist Hakuoro himself, whose maturity and guile automatically puts him above dozens of other anime heroes. My only complaint about this show is that it ends much too quickly (and that my favourite characters Kamyu and Mutsumi get too little exposure).|
|Wolf's Rain (TV)||Decent||Good:
- Post-apocalyptic feel
- Interesting combination: wolves/sci-fi
- Too many recap episodes
|Wolf's Rain (OAV)||Decent||Good:
- Concludes the story
- Depressing deaths
- Everything starts over?
|Yamibo - Darkness, the Hat, and the Travelers of the Books (TV)||Good||Good:
- Lots of pretty character designs
- Lilith's a real cutie
- Those yuri themes
- Poorly explained plot