|91 Days (TV)||Very good|
|Mafia movies aren't usually my cup of tea, but there's something inherently raw and awesome about 91 days that captivated me. The story and characters are incredibly focused and compelling, to the point where every shot (that you largely know is coming, if you are familiar with Mafia movies at all) hits hard and deep. This is storytelling at its finest, with an edge that you won't normally find in an anime. For a new studio, 91 days is an outstanding opening effort. Looking forward to more from Shuga!|
|Accel World (TV)||Good|
|I don't know that I can think of a show that was so single-handedly ruined by a single character. Before I watched Accel World, probably my least favorite character was the main character from Nyarko, but oh man... he doesn't hold a torch to Haruyuki. I'm not lying, this show would easily be excellent, a must see, if not for their inexplicable decision to make the main character a two foot tall bowling ball. |
Look, I have nothing against a chubby protagonist, that's perfectly fine. But, he literally comes up to the other character's waists. Every time I see him on the screen it completely takes me out of the show. He's just too unbelievable. As a result, no matter what struggles he goes through, it gets really nothing more than a yawn from me. WHICH SUCKS! I love the universe they've created here. The other characters are super awesome. The online game they all play, brain burst, is great! JUST UGH! WHY?! I'm sorry, I'll just be in the other room crying over what could have been.
|Active Raid (TV)||Decent|
|I described Active Raid to a friend as the Mendoza Line of anime, and I think it's a great comparison. For those not into baseball, the Mendoza Line is the theoretical level of performance that is the absolute minimum of acceptable. Players who hit below the line (generally a batting average of .200 is used) are considered unplayable in major league baseball. I can't think of a better line than Active Raid when it comes to anime. There's nothing really that interesting about the show, but it's well enough done that it's at least a positive experience to watch. It is immediately forgettable, but I don't regret that I watched it. If an anime is at all worse than this, it's probably one that is worth skipping.|
|Aiura (TV)||Very good|
|Aiura is a very cute series of shorts that are pretty much the definition of a high school girls slice of life show. Most of the episodes are pretty understated and more calming with some small bits of humor rather than over the top comedy that other shorts tend to go for, and I think it serves Aiura well. This is further helped by the gorgeous watercolor motif that the show has going with beautiful backgrounds and great character design. It's a fun slice of life show for sure, with some really standout moments. Recommended as a quick diversion for any fans of the genre.
Also, the amazing crab themed opening song is fantastic.
|Akame ga KILL! (TV)||Very good|
|Really enjoyed Akame ga Kill. It was fresh not being able to expect anything. There are so many tropes subverted and so many death flags that fail to actually mean anything that eventually you just have to sit back and take it all in. The action was really solid, and the story, while kind of basic, worked well enough. I did really get attached to some of the characters, which made some bits all the more painful. Well done show, would recommend. It can be brutal though.|
|Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor (TV)||Good|
|Akashic Records is another magical high school show, so it already comes out the gates with lowered expectations. Though, through the first 3 or 4 episodes I was very impressed with the show. It managed to avoid the usual tropes and actually provide an experience that felt fresh. Unfortunately, there's only so much you can do without completely subverting the genre to make yourself stand out. A flawless execution, deep characters, and a well crafted story are all pretty much required to make a magic school show worth watching, because there's so much crap. Akashic Records tries and kinda fails by the end, but at least I did enjoy it. It is a better entry than most at least, and worth watching if you can stomach the genre at all. The characters are pretty decently done, but the world building and story leave a lot to be desired. Good is probably as high as I would consider ranking a show like this, so that at least says something.|
|Now this is what a mecha show should be. Really really great plot and action scenes to be found here. Gen Urobochi is at it again, and showcases why he is becoming one of the biggest names in anime these days. The story revolves around an invasion from technologically superior martians descended from humans who originally settled on mars generations ago. They found very advanced weaponry on the planet and turned on their former homeworld due to their lack of resources on mars. The war was stopped seventeen years before the current show, where we find the humans on earth in an uneasy peace with the martians who are still in orbit, and unbeknownst to everyone, even the martian leadership, a select few lords in the martian army have been plotting to frame Earth for the death of a martian princess as an excuse for finishing the war.|
The show is fast paced and plays off both action and politics very well. The main character is, well, for lack of a better word, awesome. He is a Terran who has recovered the princess and is working with her to try to stop the war. He uses his cunning and smarts to take down the superior weapons of his opponents. It sounds cliched, but man, the show really is something when it all comes together.
|Aldnoah.Zero (TV 2)||Excellent|
|The one thing that Aldnoah.Zero 2 does differently than season 1 is throw us directly into the political maneuvers behind the war. This gives us some pluses and minuses that balance out well enough. First of all, the intrigue and movements behind the scenes is really fascinating, as it takes a while to start to make sense. But, it does take away from the characters a bit, which makes me sad. It's safe to say that this season devotes way more screen time to the martian forces than the first, which pulls us away a bit from our protagonists. A dangerous gamble, but it pays off. Outside of that one difference, the show is really just chugging ahead. Still one of the best mecha shows I've seen.|
|Alice & Zoroku (TV)||Very good|
|Alice and Zoroku is a pretty unique show. It has young girls with magical powers at its core, but it goes wildly away from any of the traditional routes these types of shows take. It doesn't go dark, it doesn't go action-heavy, and it doesn't really go overly-comedic. Instead the show kind of meanders as a coming of age story that's heavily slice of life focused in the midsection and is really more about Sana learning who and what she is. It's a show about family life as she bonds with Zoroku, a grandfatherly figure who inadvertently rescues her from her previous life as a lab rat and learns what it means to be human and part of a family. It's extremely touching and just a really happy show to watch. It's not an absolute must see, but there's nothing else quite like it, at least that I've seen.|
|Amagi Brilliant Park (TV)||Very good|
|Amagi Brilliant Park is another KyoAni production, and it really shines compared to a lot of other studios out there. However, putting it next to things like Hibike Euphonium or Kobayashi doesn't really do good things for this show. Now, don't get me wrong, AmaBri is a very cute, fun, and gorgeous show to watch, but it's lacking something that makes some of those other KyoAni shows truly special. So in that sense, I'm a bit vaguely disappointed, even though I really did enjoy watching it. It's just inconsequential fun that was a bit too over the top throughout to really let me solidly emphasize with the characters. Enjoyable, but not really required viewing.|
|(The) Ancient Magus' Bride (TV)||Excellent|
|The Ancient Magus Bride is a wonderful little show that is best described as a studio Ghibli-esque take on magic and mages in rural England. Chise is a teenage girl who has lost everything, the love of her family, and her love for herself, and in a move of pure desperation ends up trying to sell herself to the highest bidder. See, Chise is a special person called a Sleigh Beggy that is attuned to the world of spirits and fairies, so she has value even if she doesn't value herself. It's just her luck that she ends up purchased by a mage with a kind disposition who sees her as useful, but also who wants her to become part of his family. He gives her a sense of purpose, and while he teaches her about magic and her powers, she teaches him what it means to be human.|
Yes, at its core this show is a Shoujo show. It's about romance, as our main characters come to love one another. But it's also about the wonders of life and learning to love oneself as well. It's that childlike wonder where the Ghibli influence really shines through. It's a show that can be rough, but always seems to make up for it with a good message and a lot of really feel good moments. When the show wants to be dark and brutal, it isn't afraid to go there, but otherwise it is content to slowly build its world around its characters and let them grow organically. It's a wonderful show with a lot of heart that I highly recommend.
|(The) Ancient Magus' Bride: Those Awaiting a Star (OAV)||Very good|
|This is a 3 episode OVA that can either be watched before or after the main show. I watched it after, and I think that's probably the best move. It reveals a lot about the world, and I think the main show does a good job establishing those things without this OVA. Worth watching for sure though, as the story it tells is compelling and meaningful for realizing where Chise came from when she was growing up.|
|And you thought there is never a girl online? (TV)||Very good|
|Objectively, this show is probably not worth this rating, but it hits home in ways that basically no other shows have. I mean, I've lived this show, and I thought it was damn cool. I won't set about espousing what it does and doesn't do well, just if you've played any amount of online games and met friends through them, then this is one definitely worth watching.|
|Angel Beats! (TV)||Masterpiece|
|I can't remember the last time I've cried because of something I was watching or reading. I think I did at the conclusion of The Amber Spyglass when I was a kid, but I don't remember it that well. However, after finishing Angel Beats, I can safely say that the answer to that question got a whole lot easier. This is a Key show (Clannad, Kanon, Air) of course, which means you should already know what to expect going into it, but that doesn't stop the feels from hitting hard and often.|
The basic premise is that our protagonist wakes up to find himself dead and his soul trapped in a sort of purgatory that looks suspiciously like a high school. It's kind of a basic "confront the things that you couldn't during your life to lay your soul to rest before passing on" type of plot, but there's a whole lot more going on here.
The setting and characters are colorful and alive and really drive the show, contrary to what purgatory might imply. As one might expect, the trauma that these kids have suffered through is heartbreaking, but the joy of seeing their moments of redemption makes it all worth it. Thankfully though, the show isn't all doom and gloom. It plays hard and fast with the comedy (the ova episode at the end is perhaps one of the funniest episodes I've ever seen in an anime). In the end, the amount of passion and love poured into this puny 12 episode show is almost unmatched. I have nothing but the highest praise for the show. Anyone who hasn't seen it is really doing themselves a disservice.
|So, this show is a really odd one that goes entirely off the rails around episode 7-8. It's actually really fascinating, but unfortunately, a few good moments towards the end aren't enough to save what's otherwise a largely forgettable club anime show. It's one thing to pay off a huge twist after a couple episodes, it's another to do it around episode 10 or 11, and the twist isn't huge enough that it's worth sitting through the first 10 if you aren't enjoying them. In fact, you don't even really need the extended lead up to enjoy it, it's totally possible to jump in at the end if you're curious.|
|This feels like it is the most bare-bones slice of life show I've seen yet that somehow still manages to be ok. Sure, it's about cute girls doing nothing at all, and there is an interesting twist at its core with all the characters plagued by epidemic levels of bad luck. You would think such a setup would lend itself well to a comedy, but that wasn't really the case with Anne Happy. The problem is that these characters are so shallow you probably wouldn't even get wet. Each of the main characters have a quirk (gets lost constantly, gets swarmed by animals constantly, gets hurt constanstly) which becomes their entire character. It was funny in episode 1 (and maybe that's generous to gets hurt constantly girl), but it is just awful by episode 10. So, sadly most of this falls flat. It's not a pain to watch, but there are many many better attempts at this sort of show out there.|
|Arakawa Under the Bridge (TV)||Decent|
|This is a show that I really wanted to like. It had been sitting on my want to see list for years and I was pumped to actually finally watch it, but... well I sort of know why I had been putting it off subconsciously. See, Arakawa is, well, weird. It's about a group of homeless people who live under a bridge and get into shenanigans, which is cool and all. But at times you can't shake the feeling that it's just being weird for the sake of being weird. The characters can't help but be defined by their weirdness which really takes away a lot of the depth that they could have offered. There's no story really to be found, which can be fine, but the vignettes themselves are again, simply defined by weirdness. This show just feels like a proof of concept for Monogatari. Feel free to skip this one, Shaft can do much better than this.|
|Arakawa under the Bridge × Bridge (TV)||Decent|
|See season 1|
|Aria the Scarlet Ammo (TV)||Good|
|I watched Aria a long time ago, but I remember it being perfectly fun. I'm writing this after having seen AA and I liken this series as Index to AA's Railgun. The story is told from a male student's point of view, an extreme departure for AA which evidently exists in a world without Y chromosomes. It's all very silly though as the protagonist "powers up" as he gets turned on and our very, very tsundere Aria is not at all amused by the prospect of teaming up with such a loser. Team up they do though, and it's a good romp all around.|
|Aria the Scarlet Ammo AA (TV)||Very good|
|Aria reminds me a lot of Index. Double A is definitely the Railgun of Aria, as our main character shifts from the guy in season 1 to Akari, a girl a year under Aria who really wants to enter into a contract to learn from Aria. There's lots of cutesy stuff going on, like Railgun, but there's a dark undertone that leads to a big climactic battle. I hope this isn't the last I see of Aria, the show is really starting to come into its own here.|
|Assassination Classroom (TV)||Good|
|I will say that the end of Assassination Classroom is vastly superior to the beginning. It starts out as a simple school comedy with lighthearted "assassination" thrown in. The story follows the lowest scoring class in a very academically touted high school. A mysterious tentacled being is holding the world hostage and his demand is to allow him to teach these kids for a year. As such, while this is allowed, the kids are being taught to kill at the same time, so that they can take their teacher out. As I said though, it's very lighthearted, with the teacher (koro-sensei) actually being a genuinely good guy and a solid teacher to boot. He teaches the kids various life lessons and helps them to get back on track with their lives and their studies. |
So that's basically it until episode 16 when things start to get real. Koro-sensei gives them a fighting chance at killing him, and in the process is taken out of commission briefly. The students are then taken advantage of by a shady individual and have to use all of the assassination skills they've learned to infiltrate a heavily guarded environment and take out the man pulling the strings. It's one thing to watch the kids grow, it's another to see their skills in action. The series excelled when it reached that point, but took far too long to get there. I really hope season 2 continues right where the end of season 1 left off. Lets up the stakes a bit!
|Assassination Classroom (TV 2)||Good|
|So season 2 is definitely superior to season 1. But it is still overall a Good just because, for whatever reason, the show just never really "grabbed" me. I always had a good time watching it, but I never was really excited about it before or after the fact. I doubt I'll remember it much, which is kind of a shame. It was a well done show and it ended in a great way, but I dunno. Just wasn't for me I suppose. I think the huge cast of characters made it hard to connect with any of them individually.|
|Astarotte's Toy (TV)||Weak|
|I'm not into loli, so yeah, there's that. Not sure why I finished this show to be honest.|
|(The) Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water (TV)||Decent|
|I went into this show knowing full well it was a trashy light novel ripoff of Irregular (which itself was a ripoff of many other shows). Meaning that I knew it was just another magical highschool harem-esque show. I picked it up because it looked good and I thought it might be nice to have a little bit of mindless action to go with the season. And well, I got what I paid for. It did look great, but the story was a mess and largely non-existent until the end. I kinda am annoyed that the whole thing was a tournament, I've always felt that's just lazy storytelling and doesn't really lead to meaningful fights or consequences (Oh no! We lost! Oh well...) Won't be continuing beyond season 2, I've gotten everything I need out of this.|
|(The) Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water (TV 2)||So-so|
|See season 1|
|Astra Lost in Space (TV)||Very good|
|Astra Lost in Space is very similar to Bodacious Space Pirates in a number of ways. For one, it's a hard sci-fi show that revels in deep space exploration and the wonders and dangers of space travel. It's also got planet wide conspiracies, murder plots, traitors, and all kinds of rough things going on. However, much like BSP, those aren't really the point of the show. Astra is unflinchingly optimistic in its presentation of our characters and their journey. It's content to show this odd collection of high school students grow, learn to love each other and themselves, and become actually really great at not only surviving alone in deep space, but learning how to be a part of a team, something bigger. The show is all about its characters, and their sometimes harsh journeys to get to this point. It's so easy to root for them, and the show makes sure you know that it's rooting for them just as hard. Sure it's a bit cheesy by the end, but it just had me smiling throughout the run time. The characters all rock. Kanata, Aries, and the rest of you, keep on rocking it. Awesome job. Strong, strong 8 here. If optimistic sci-fi space adventures are what you're looking for, this is right up there at the top.|
|Attack on Titan (TV)||Masterpiece|
|Attack on Titan is a breath of fresh air in a year plus of mostly mediocre anime. I felt like it's been a while since I've had this much fun watching a show that is clearly very very good. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, as this show is a roller coaster from start to finish. The climactic fights in the last five episodes had me rooting as hard as I ever have been for the protagonist. |
The Titans themselves are presented in quite the unique way. They're these lumbering oafs that are the same time laughable and hilarious while also being absolutely terrifying. They aren't conscious, they just instinctively kill humans for the sake of doing so. Every time someone is killed, brutally and often, it just is like a punch to the gut. Our group of heroes fight hard, and struggle with the reality that there will be death, and their lives are constantly in danger, yet deep down they feel they have to do the right thing.
I could spend some time talking about the show's plot, but I don't want to spoil much. Simply, Titans took over the earth about a hundred years ago, and since then, the remaining humans have lived their lives out behind three massive walls. The show starts with the fall of the first wall, and humanity starting to take the first steps towards countering the Titan invasion. Along the way we learn some startling things about Titans and their nature, but so much is left unanswered and simply teased. I cannot wait for the next season. This show is brilliant. The characters are brilliant. The entire thing is awesome.
|Attack on Titan (TV 2/2017)||Masterpiece|
|The high quality is still there from season 1. Really loving this show a lot. Super hype fantasy adventure that looks beautiful and has a really interesting, compelling story at its core. We're just scratching the surface too, for each question answered, two more pop up every time. Can't wait for season 3.|
|B Gata H Kei - Yamada’s First Time (TV)||Good|
|This is a shockingly good high school comedy disguised as a fanservice riddled ecchi-fest. So the premise is ridiculous. Yamada wants to hook up with 100 different guys, so yeah, tons of nudity and over the top fanservice right? Wrong. Turns out Yamada, while being good looking and popular, is HORRIBLE with dudes. So she picks the loser of her class to practice with and get her confidence up. I don't need to continue for you to get where it ends up going. But seriously, it's really really funny, and absolutely worth watching.|
|Baka and Test - Summon the Beasts (TV)||Good|
|Baka and Test is a comedy about a group of students from F class. Their school is divided into classes based on academic ability, and our heroes are the lowest of the low. The classrooms are also furnished according to their rank, so F students are stuck with cardboard boxes for desks. But fear not! Through the Summon wars, the students can summon chibi avatars of themselves to fight with strength based on their test scores, and as a class wins, it can improve its standing and equipment. |
Ok so, the premise is a bit silly, but the show actually makes the intrigue and strategy quite interesting. The heart of it though is in its characters and their interactions with each other. The one way this show delivers is in its comedy elements. It's really pretty funny, and the cast works quite well. Its not really much more than fluff, but it is entertaining.
My biggest complaint would be Himeji, our main female protagonist. She isn't given much of a personality, which is a bit sad considering the growth of the rest of the characters around her. It makes me root against her, and her shtick wears out for me quickly. Ah well, there's plenty of fun to be had.
|Baka and Test - Summon the Beasts 2 (TV)||Very good|
|Season 2 of Baka and Test really sees this show hit its stride. The series is broken up into short vignettes, and these expanded stories work better in my opinion than the first season's episodic nature. The three episodes devoted solely to the F class boys trying to peek on the girls in the bath (yes, I'm not making that up) are riotously funny. And then, directly after that we get hit by Manami's past full force, and it gets emotional and heavy. The roller coaster was unexpected for sure, but it's a testament to the depth and chops of the series, that it can pull something like this off. |
Great addition to the series. Better than season 1 for sure. Oh, and, Himeji still sucks, Manami kicks ass. Season 3 now please!
|Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts OVA||Good|
|This is a short two episode OVA story that bridges the time between seasons 1 and 2 of Baka and Test. It features the school festival, and our heroes are faced with a problem. Himeji's father wants to take her out of the school since she is in such an underachieving class with bad equipment. So, Akihisa decides to make enough money at the festival to purchase new equipment for Himeji. The first episode shows their struggles to run a Chinese themed restaraunt during the festival, and the second episode pits Akihisa and Yuji in a summon beasts tournament to fight for the right to upgrade their equipment. Hilarity ensues. It's a fun couple of episodes, but nothing amazing. Do want Manami in that dress though.|
|Bakemonogatari (TV)||Very good|
|This is, at its core, a supernatural harem series. The series starts with vague references about how our hero used to be a vampire, but has since recovered. The details are never really fleshed out. Instead it plows straight ahead into his struggles to save those closest to him that are afflicted by supernatural apperations (wouldn't you know it, they happen to be girls!) |
So, the story isn't really anything new. In fact, its rather cookie cutter. The charm of the series doesn't lie in this, so much as it does with the presentation. It is quite clear that the show was adapted from a light novel, as it features long periods of dialogue and not much else happening visually. The director obviously took this upon himself to ensure that the show succeeded not in spite of this, but because of it. The shot angles, washed out colors, fast cuts, interspersed bits of text, blank screens, visual metaphors and jokes on the viewer are all done extensively, and work incredibly well. It's a very striking show, one that I will not forget.
Also, the main character ends up in a relationship with one of the girls, a seemingly impossible task for harem shows, so that alone gives it a better rating in my book. You'll know if this is a show for you after the first episode.
|It's not bad... it's just not that great. I wanted badass mech girls doing battle, and you kind of get that. (Cough... Kouka is best girl, omg Cough...). But the story just folds in on itself and becomes nonsensical ranting about futures and AI and all this other stuff that never came together. I guess there are 4 episodes still to go, so in a sense, there's a chance that Beatless can stick the landing. But let's be honest, if the character designs don't do it for you, there's no other reason to watch this show.|
|Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation (TV)||Good|
|It's an in depth and kind of interesting take on a mystery series, about solving cases through the bones left behind, but right when it seems it's getting good, the show just up and ends. Maybe it improves if they up the stakes in a future season, but for now it's a solid series, but not much more.|
|This is a pretty silly show overall, with the ridiculous premise that all out brawls take place whenever bentos get marked half-price by the supermarket as various fighters vie for the best bento deals. It's ridiculous and absurd and makes for a pretty amusing show. Unfortunately, it's also kind of Bento's downfall. See, there's two ways to play this, one is to lean into the absurdity hard, and the other, which is what Bento ends up doing, is to try to play the concept pretty much as straight as possible. It ends up feeling a lot like a karate club type show, where it's more about fighting stronger opponents than anything else. I guess this makes for a good time to start, but the show quickly wears out its welcome as it sort of runs out of anything more to say or do by episodes 5 or 6. At least the fanservice is quality and plentiful. I had to try three separate times over a few years to finish this one off, so I can't really give it any better than decent.|
|Beyond the Boundary (TV)||Very good|
|Beyond the boundary is a a show with equal parts romance, fantasy, action, comedy, and drama. It centers around two high school students who both have unique powers and have been living alone because of them. They feel a kinship and end up forging a strong bond because of this (love interest!). They live in a world that is inhabited by both humans and youmu, and a select few humans have the ability to become spirit world warriors who hunt the youmu for their livelihoods. |
For starters, the show is very beautifully animated and the characters feel vibrant and alive. Akihito, our main protagonist, is a half-youmu who is immortal. He tries to fit in at school but has few friends due to his "condition". He meets Mirai by chance, an unusual spirit world warrior from the clan of cursed blood (also an absolutely adorable girl, who, much to the delight of Akihito, is a "be-speckled beauty"). She fights youmu by using her own blood as a weapon, and the rest of the spirit world warriors don't trust her because of this. The two of them are joined by an eclectic cast of characters ranging from other spirit world warriors to good youmu that support them.
As the show goes on, their city is threatened by several incredibly dangerous youmu that the group has to deal with, accepting their own shortcomings and forgotten pasts along the way. In between, the viewer is treated to a good amount of very funny comedy (often at our two main character's expenses). I think that I wasn't quite as impressed by this show as many, and I still thoroughly enjoyed it, so take that for what you will. The supernatural action romance genre is alive and well. I highly recommend this show.
|Black Bullet (TV)||Excellent|
|First of all, it is criminal that this show is only 13 episodes. The setup is a lot like attack on titan just a bit more high tech. The stakes are incredibly high and each loss that hits the characters is painful and most of all, real. There is some very compelling storytelling going on in black bullet, gorgeous animation, and the characters are fantastic. I can't overstate enough how much I loved the show. Why are you reading this. Go watch it now. I DEMAND SEASON TWO!|
|Black Rock Shooter (OAV)||Good|
|This is a 50 minute OAV episode of Black Rock Shooter that eventually inspired the anime series. It's kind of actually really surprising. I'd say almost 90% of the episode focuses entirely on Mato and Yomi becoming close friends, even though they're kind of fundamentally opposite people. They both entered high school together, they both are inseparable and basically spend all of their first year together. But then of course, drama unfolds, and things aren't so rosy as they seem. Mato struggles to understand what has happened and tries to right the wrongs between Yomi and her to regain their friendship. |
Honestly, I could stop there. I'm not joking when I say this is 90% of the show. However, the cover art, the first two minutes, and the random 30 seconds of action spliced throughout serve as a tantalizing reminder that this show is supposed to be about ACTION. Now, don't get me wrong. I LIKED Black Rock Shooter, but I can really see why people wouldn't. The bait and switch is bad here. The action is gorgeous, don't get me wrong, but it's more of a fun reward than the main focus. Still worth a watch. Will update more on if this is required viewing or not for the series. If it isn't really, and the series focuses more heavily on action, people who came for that are probably better off just skipping this. I really liked the high school atmosphere though, so it is worth seeing in my book.
*Update* The OAV is not required viewing for the series. I would not recommend watching the series first then the OAV, that's for sure. The series is superior and the OAV would just be disappointing afterwards. The series is kind of a reimagining of the OAV anyway, so it's not like it's a prequel or anything like that. However, I really enjoyed having watched the OAV first and seeing how radically different the shows are and where they compliment themselves. It's only 50 minutes, I would recommend doing it, but if you want a more sleek experience, this is skippable.
|Black Rock Shooter (TV)||Very good|
|So Black Rock Shooter is intense. Like hardcore intense. The things that these girls go through are horrific and should be experienced by no one. The closest comp I can think of to this show would be Madoka, though Black Rock Shooter came out a few years before PMMM. Simply put, it's a high school drama (with crazy, messed up drama to boot) that also is enhanced (metaphorically and literally) by mirrors of the girls fighting to the death in an alternate world. It's a kind of unique concept, how their alter egos are fighting to stop the pain and suffering of the characters in the real world. The art direction in this case is gorgeous. Really hard to watch at times, but as a whole it is just a fantastically done show.|
|Blast of Tempest (TV)||Excellent|
|Blast of Tempest is really, really good. As far as modern day magic shows go, this is one of the best I've seen. The characters and interweaving plots are super compelling, and I really enjoyed the twists that story pulled. The only complaint is that at times the show feels like it's trying a bit too hard to be smart, but well, it is smart for the most part, so it's alright. Highly recommended.|
|I've only seen up to the current dubbed episode, and I don't really have much desire to catch up to the sub. Bleach is good, don't get me wrong, but the show can drag. It feels like they've been battling against Aisen forever! I can see why they finally canceled the anime, it's collapsing in on itself as it stumbles towards its inevitable conclusion. At this rate, I can't see how the show can continue after this arc, either the villains are dealt with, and there is no more conflict, or they escape which would be a slap in the face to everyone who's been waiting for this. |
That said, the show leading up to this was fantastic at times. The first 60 episodes were brilliant. The arc with the manifested zanpaktou was great as well. The rest was ok at best and awful filler at worst, and it hit the lows a lot more often than the highs, which is the reason I gave it the rating I did. There are some shonen shows I can go back and watch again and again like one piece and fairy tail, but Bleach is definitely getting filed away not to be seen again.
I guess to conclude, I had fun, but man was I sitting here counting the episodes till I was done. Someone should just compile all the actually good moments of this show and sell it in a 100 episode box set. See you on toonami.
|Blend S (TV)||Good|
|Blend S is a quirky but fun workplace comedy show. The characters are pretty much what carry things and almost the entirety of the runtime is simply placing different combinations of characters in different situations and watching to see how they react. It's good, but it feels a little bit soulless at times, especially towards the end when they introduce the final main character whose entire purpose is simply to mix things up for the other characters. It's fun, but it isn't as good as Working! even with the wink wink nudge nudge otaku humor and upping of the fanservice.|
|Blood Blockade Battlefront (TV)||Excellent|
|It's rare that a show is just as thoroughly amazing as BBB. It is visually stunning, funny, clever, and just plain fun. It was obvious that BBB knew exactly what it wanted to do and executed on it magnificently. I really can't say enough good things. |
It's hard to summarize a show like BBB that's intentionally over the top and not altogether forthcoming with its plot. At its core, it's kind of like men in black, where New York City has been overrun by all manner of alien races that live along side the humans who are still there. Due to this, there are many dangerous aliens loose, and Libra is the secret society of superhumans who attempts to maintain order amidst the chaos. Behind the scenes though, a shadowy organization is plotting to finish what they started when the city first was exposed to alternate realities. Our main character is an everyman, but is he really? Haha, this sounds ridiculous, and it is. Totally worth the watch though.
|Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond (TV)||Excellent|
|BBB&B picks up right where season 1 leaves off, new director or not, and gets awesome and insane very quickly. It's very fast paced, over the top ridiculous, and a crap ton of fun. This season is mainly a series of episodic vignettes about each of the side characters from season 1. And while that could seem a bit disappointing on the surface, especially after the epic conflict we saw in season one, these episodes as a whole are super funny, sometimes deep, and always interesting. I really enjoyed the slightly more relaxed take on this show compared to season 1, but I am also looking forward to some more deeper story in the future. Bones knocks it out again.|
|Blue Exorcist (TV)||Very good|
|I've seen all of Blue Exorcist twice now and loved it both times. It's a shonen show straight up. A young boy is born with magical powers and he has decided to become an exorcist to fight demons. Turns out he's really good at it, but his power is also a bit... controversial. So he goes to high school to become an exorcist and ends up fighting a lot of demons. The action is absolutely on point, and the story is actually pretty interesting. I won't spoil it much, but the depth of the characters is strong, and we have a lot of people not actually being who they appear at first (including our main character). The school bits are fun and well done, and the action just ratchets up in intensity throughout. If you're looking for a bite sized Bleach or One Piece, this show has it in spades.|
|Blue Exorcist (movie)||Good|
|The movie is a typical anime movie. It has a new original character and a plot that revolves around the new character. In the end, nothing has changed, because the movie is just a side story, nothing more. So the plot and characters take a hit as the movie shoehorns in all the regulars. So, it's not very substantial, but it's a fun enough romp. The art is gorgeous with really expressive backgrounds and other effects, and I love that we get to see more of this weird city. If you're big, big into blue exorcist, you'd probably get a kick out of this flick, anyone else can safely skip it.|
|Boarding School Juliet (TV)||Very good|
|Boarding School Juliet is, well, a bit ridiculous from the get go. The premise is that there are two countries who border each other and hate each other, like a lot. So what do they do? Of course they have the most prestigous high school right on the border where students from both countries attend, and they have their own dorms, and they can't be friends with the other country, one side always wears white and one side always wears black, and they brawl in the streets, and yada yada. It's over the top and contrived, but the show leans into it at least. The premise of course is much the same as the original Romeo and Juliet where two leaders of their respective factions fall in love. The series is mostly the hijinks that ensue as the two of them try to cover up their relationship. It's cute and fun and fluffy and well done for what it is, but it's nothing altogether serious, so it kind of limits the upside for a show like this. Recommended for sure, but know this is more anime comfort food than masterpiece.|
|Bodacious Space Pirates (TV)||Excellent|
|Bodacious Space Pirates sounds ridiculous. I admit. But when you think about it, after having seen the show, it makes a certain amount of sense. This show is a grounded science fiction affair. It is about a group of high school girls, who, through shenanigans, end up as crew on an infamous space pirate ship. You may roll your eyes, but don't worry, this show is well prepared to counter. It never once forgets that these are HIGH SCHOOLERS, and they largely have no idea what they're doing. A few of them, including Marika, the main character and captain of the ship, are actually super competent, reliable, and "real" human beings. Seriously, this might be the most real and interesting portrayal of students that I've ever seen in anime. I love that. Oh the story is good and all, but really it's the world building and love poured into the show that set it above the rest. Bodacious Space Pirates needs to be required viewing for any self-respecting science fiction fan.|
|Brave Witches (TV)||Good|
|Now this is what the second season of Strike Witches should have been from the start. We're back to good old season 1 action, pacing, and storytelling. The show is not content to sit by and phone it in again. Instead the action has been increased, and we have entire episodes devoted to strategy, fighting, and camaraderie. It helps that Brave Witches is a spinoff with an entirely new cast, in the sense that rehashing what made the first season so good is still fresh with these new characters. So at least that's good. I'm still disappointed that they didn't continue some of the most interesting story lines from the first season, mainly what the neuroi actually are and what they want, but it's still a lot of fun in spite of that. Good to see the series bounce back to form.|
|Brynhildr in the Darkness (TV)||Good|
|The first half of the show was pretty solid, but the pacing felt off as it approached the climax. I felt like all along that it was having trouble walking the line between horror and gore and more innocent magical girl themes. At times it seemed like blood and death was just thrown in to remind us that the show is supposed to be dark and scary. I dunno, I felt like had they leaned one way or the other more, it would have helped. As it is though, worth a watch at least. Even if the ending was altogether unsatisfying.|
|Burst Angel (TV)||Good|
|Burst Angel isn't very unique by anime standards. The show features a team of four badass girls who operate as a mercenary unit for a shadowy syndicate and perform dangerous missions. It is set in a futuristic tokyo and features all the sci-fi goodies: mechs, ridiculous guns, robots, super hacking, etc... There's an element of fanservice, as to be expected, but nothing over the top. The action is beautifully animated too. The story is really the part that could use some work. Until the last six episodes which deal with a corporation taking over Tokyo and going after the angels, it's mostly one or two shot episodes where meg gets captured and jo has to go in guns blazing. It's definitely enjoyable but wouldn't be confused with any sort of masterpiece.|
|Burst Angel: Infinity (OAV)||Decent|
|This could have been inserted anywhere into Burst Angel, it's just another one off following the same formula.|
|C – Control – The Money and Soul of Possibility (TV)||Good|
|C Control rides the line between interesting and unique and just straight up nonsensical. The premise is that there is a secret world beyond the stock market where people wager money on battles between their familiars who have been granted to them. It's like money buys power, literally, and then they fight with it. It's a cool concept, and yet the rules of the world and fluid and glossed over at all times. The fights are cool, but you have to take the rules and abilities that they use at face value. It's a fun action show, but don't come here looking for financial wizardry or anything. It is what it is.|
|Captain Earth (TV)||So-so|
|Captain Earth is probably the worst show by Bones that I've seen. They have a spotless track record before this show, and while it doesn't live up to their previous works, it is passable on its own. The problem with the show is really the pacing a lack of an interesting story. It takes this show forever to go anywhere, and when it does, it is in the most predictable fashion. There are no twists and turns, no real decisions to be made by the protagonists. Just enemies trying to destroy earth over and over and them stopping it. There are a few touching scenes, but overall there's nothing all that unique or interesting here.|
|Cat Planet Cuties (TV)||Weak|
|This was a show I wanted to like so badly. It took me at least a few months to get through it. I'd load up the next episode and stare at it for a moment before deciding to watch something else. I suppose it's a testament to my completionist personality that I even finished the show. |
Cat Planet Cuties seems to have all the elements. It's a harem show, which is my guilty pleasure genre, so I already went into it with low expectations, but it didn't even manage to live up to them. The main character, Kio, is everything that's wrong with the genre. He's the quintessential blank slate, with absolutely no personality, which somehow means he has to be the single most retarded person on the face of the earth. I mean dear god there was a scene where one of the girls straight up says to him that her best friend is in love with him and is willing to die for him, and his only reaction is scratching his head and wondering what that was all about.
But whatever, it comes with the territory. I'd be willing to overlook it if the girls were all that interesting, but they aren't. The main character, Eris, a "catian" alien who lands in Kio's house is a big breasted, cat eared girl whose naivety level is ridiculous. Now, I love catgirls. There's a reason that I love Dog Days and it has nothing to do with the plot. But... Eris didn't really do anything for me. A few of her fellow aliens were more interesting, but they get a grand total of 2 minutes of screen time. I finally figured out what it was that bothered me though. These "Catgirls" have two sets of ears! When they were listening to an ipod, they put the earbuds into human ears that had been hidden behind their hair. It's such a minor thing, but it just bugged the hell out of me.
The plot was actually a bit interesting, but it wasn't enough to save the show from its cast of completely uninteresting characters. And if you're making a harem show without a strong female lead (or male if it's a reverse), then why are you making a harem to begin with?
|A Certain Magical Index (TV)||Excellent|
|Index is a hell of a ride. It's obvious from the start that this is a light novel adaptation, and that there's a TON of stuff going on in this world. Technical terms get thrown out right and left, so that can be a bit discouraging at first. However, if you get past that, and into the show proper, Index is a one of a kind ride. This is an super-powered action show that's really like nothing else. My complaint usually with these types of shows is that I want more depth, more behind the scenes intrigue, and Index has that in spades. It actually checks all my boxes. There are hilarious comedy scenes, really cute romantic moments, badass action scenes, and a really compelling underlying story going. The setting is unique and personal to this show, and the characters are memorable and compelling. I really enjoyed Index, and highly recommend it.|
|A Certain Magical Index II (TV)||Excellent|
|Index 2 is more of the same from the first season. We're slowly ramping up the stakes with our magic vs. science world, and while we still get some amazing Misaka x Touma moments (which are my favorite), we also get to know more of the church and their various factions. It's obvious the show is building to a hell of a climax, and it's going to be amazing. It's a lot of fun getting there though, and this show still has all of the charm from the first season. I love academy city and these characters.|
|A Certain Magical Index III (TV)||Not really good|
|Ok, it's been about five or six years since Index season 2. The followup has been long awaited and hyped like crazy, and... I'm not sure I've ever been quite so disappointed with a show as I have been with Index season 3. Whoever decided that they needed to squeeze in like 8 books to 26 episodes should be fired and blacklisted from the industry, what a travesty. It's clear that underneath it all, there's a really solid story with tons of moving parts and crazy twists and turns. We get exactly NONE of that in season 3, as instead the plot moves at light speed, never bothering to even explain the conflicts or even it's characters. Seriously, there's tons of characters that just show up and their first lines are about how shocked they are to see another character that has never been introduced before. WE SHOULD KNOW WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE. The animation isn't even that great. Index has always been convoluted, but at it's core it was consistent and smart. I think I should just stick to the light novels from here on. This is a complete and utter trainwreck through and through. Good riddance.|
|A Certain Magical Index: The Miracle of Endymion (movie)||Decent|
|This is a pretty generic anime film. The plot revolves around a singer girl who gets drawn into a plot to take down acadamy city's new space elevator and the elite who rode it for the opening ceremony when was supposed to sing at. Touma and index and all of the familiar faces get involved and it's a decent enough flick. The issue is it's clearly each character takes turns in the spotlight then the film is over. It's anime only, so has no relevance to the plot of the show, and is completely unnecessary to watch. I'd give this one a pass.|
|A Certain Scientific Accelerator (TV)||Decent|
|I feel like I'm getting a bit harsher with my evaluations as I've seen more shows. Perhaps that's normal, perhaps not. I think that this would have been a 7.5 or so for me a few years ago, but as it is now, 6 is really all it's worth. I think the story just wasn't really all that good in the end. Accelerator is kind of a compelling protagonist in a certain sense. It's fun to root for the edgy anti-hero after all. But he's such a one note character that there's no subtlety or nuance to his actions or growth.
In fact, the show is partly ruined because we know it's a spinoff and there won't be any growth. This was the mistake that Accelerator really made. We know these types of shows can work, after all Railgun was a fantastic example from this very same franchise. But Accelerator really does a poor job introducing us to a new cast that we should care about. The necromancer girl is cute and all, but she really has no stakes in the show. She's just a girl for accelerator to save. Last Order is barely involved at all, which is criminal. Bottom line, if we can't rely on real growth from Accelerator, the show has to give us someone else to care about, and this spinoff fails to do.
So, where does that leave us? With a kind of boring story of a deluded mad scientist and Accelerator beating everything and everyone up. The end. There's simply no reason for this show to really exist except to serve as some set pieces for Accelerator to look badass, and even that kind of fails because his powers aren't even interesting to look at. He just waves his hand and things die. Sigh... I think I may just be over this franchise entirely.
|A Certain Scientific Railgun (TV)||Excellent|
|Railgun is a spinoff of Index that is from Misaka's point of view. She's the most interesting character from Index, so I think this is a show that makes complete sense. It actually reminds me a lot of Zettai Karen Children, as we get our group of girls who work with Academy City's police force to maintain peace within the city. Half of our core group of four are actually employed by Judgement, and Misaka gets wrapped up with them as well. Kuroko is still very annoying, but it's not quite as grating as she was in Index. The action and stakes are well done in Railgun, and I feel like it's a bit more straightforward and approachable than Index. The big disappointment is the lack of Touma in this entry, as I always enjoy his interactions with Misaka. Alas, I'll have to get my fix elsewhere.|
|A Certain Scientific Railgun S (TV)||Good|
|The second season of railgun pulls no punches. It dives right in with a retelling of the sisters arc from the first season of Index, only this time from Misaka's point of view. The story is definitely more compelling than Touma's version, but it can't help the fact that the last four episodes of the arc are almost identical to their index counterparts. It's beautifully animated at least. |
At this point with Raildex, you know what you're getting. I am firmly in the Index camp when it comes to my favorite of the two, and the utter lack of anything to do with Touma in this series (beyond the aforementioned sisters arc conclusion) really disappointed me. I think Misaka is at her best when she is interacting with him. The second arc was cute, but it didn't grip me like either of the arcs in the first season. So overall, this season had a few awesome lead up episodes to content I'd already seen and an uninteresting second arc. Thank god I love Misaka so much, because this season was quite a bit of a step down otherwise compared to the rest of this franchise in my opinion. However, if you somehow haven't seen Index's rendition of the sisters arc... well, go watch this, now, it is an amazing story.
|Chaika - The Coffin Princess (TV)||Very good|
|I wasn't really sure that I would like this show going into it. And after the first episode, I was worried that I had already figured out the mystery behind the plot and that Chaika's speech pattern was going to end up annoying the crap out of me. But... It didn't matter at all. Just wrapped up season 1, and safe to say that Chaika is absolutely adorable, so there's that. The plot ended up as more of a side note to the characters and their individual struggles, which I was totally on board with. Some really good fantasy adventure to be found in this show.|
|Chaika - The Coffin Princess Avenging Battle (TV)||Good|
|Second season picks up right where the first left off (in fact, it isn't even really worth thinking about this as season 1 and season 2, it's just the show). The ending was a bit disappointing sadly. It felt rushed and like the climax was lacking tension. Still enjoyable, but kind of a letdown.|
|Charlotte (TV 2015)||Excellent|
|Charlotte is written by Jun Maeda and produced by Key, Visual Arts, and PA Works, which should really tell you all you need to know about this show. In case Clannad, Angel Beats, Air, Kanon, et al don't make it obvous enough, Charlotte is a teen drama with a number of very sad, shocking emotional twists thrown in. It was probably the standout show of the Summer 2015 season, and had great production value, some awesome characters, and a passable at best story. It's about a group of high school kids with powers (how original) that strive to find other kids with powers to save them from being experimented on by the government. At its core, it is a show about growing up and discovering oneself, but still the story is there in the background, though it only comes to the forefront in the last few episodes which makes the climax feel a little unnecessary and forced, but that's pretty much the only complaint I have. It was the show I most looked forward to every week while it aired, so that alone says enough.|
|Chronicles of the Going Home Club (TV)||Very good|
|This is probably more of a good than a very good, but I feel a desire to prop up the ratings for the show a bit. On the surface, there isn't much here, it's a typical slice-of-life comedy about girls in a club doing nothing in particular. But the thing it does have going for it is a great sense of humor. It is apparent from the beginning that the last thing this show does is take itself seriously, at all. The girls constantly complain about the animation studio that's working on them. They conspire to change the ending theme song to make their show more popular. They even spend the entire last episode trying desperately to do something worthy of a last episode (before realizing at the end that they got it wrong and it was actually the second to last). It's wickedly funny, and for a show like this, that's basically all you could ever want. Highly recommended for anyone even remotely interested in this genre.|
|Sadly, Citrus just feels lazy. The drama (and the characters), just don't feel real at all. If you are really looking for some yuri, well this could scratch that itch, but there's no reason otherwise to watch it.|
|Classroom of the Elite (TV)||Good|
|I always enjoy shows that make an attempt to be smart about how they go about things. Classroom of the Elite is all about gamesmanship in the ultimate merit-based environment. Almost everything you can do in this high school that's filled with the best and brightest will affect your point totals at the end of the month. Anything can be bought and sold with points, from daily necessities, to gpa increases, to other more clever or underhanded tactics. And that's where the show thrives, the interplay between the classes as they compete with each other over these points. The characters and overarching story are a bit underdeveloped, but the cat and mouse games that take place are solid enough for good entertainment. Not sure if I'd watch more than this first season, but it was enjoyable enough. Even if Baka and Test does a more fun version of the class rivalries, and No Game, No Life is far superior in the intrigue of its games.|
|Finally got around to watching Claymore about 8 years after it aired (Hey, I had a lot of catching up to do ok?). There are a couple things that strike me immediately upon finishing the show. For one, I had a lot of trouble identifying characters. The art style combined with very similar character designs left me confused from time to time. In addition, the first half was decidedly weaker than the second, at times it seemed to slow to a crawl. However, with those main complaints out of the way, this was a surprisingly solid shonen-type performance. There's a lot of blood and guts (literally) throughout as well as some unexpected and not at all fanservice-y nudity, which is primarily what makes this different from most of the other shonen shows I've watched. You'd never see one of the fallen members of the soul society in bleach cut down an innocent human and devour their entrails in brutal detail. But that's what claymore is, a shocking window into a culture where life isn't guaranteed. One character even says as much when she's surprised one of our main characters has lost his friend and is trying to find her somewhere out in the world, it's just naturally assumed all who are lost have perished. It's haunting, and a little bit disturbing, but once the reality sinks in, it makes for great tv|
As for the story and the characters, well they do some good things and others not so much. I really hate emotionless characters just as a rule and Claymore has them in spades. It just grates on my nerves and leaves no room for real development. We're supposed to watch as they slowly grow more open, but gah! that's boring! Also I hate whiny main characters who can't do anything (ala Shinji Ikari), and Claymore's got that too. I love connecting with characters in shows, but Claymore made that difficult. So characters were definitely a minus, but the story was awesome. It starts out fairly simple, there's an organization dedicated to killing Youma, and their warriors are called Claymores. However, there's so much more, as it turns out the Claymores are part youma themselves, constantly walking the line between human and monsters. It's refreshing to see what is inevitably a story about humanity and what it means to exist not just for yourself but for others. Also, the fights are gorgeous. Anyone looking for a more mature Bleach or Naruto, would really enjoy this one I think.
|Comic Girls (TV)||Good|
|Comic Girls is another CGDCT show. There's not that much to say beyond that really. This falls squarely in the middle of the pack, there's not that much that elevates the show, but everything it does do is acceptable and to be expected from a competent entry in the genre. The first half is definitely stronger as we get introduced to the eccentric and fun cast of characters, but it can't maintain that momentum when it gets to the second half and can no longer hide its insufferable main character any longer. The show would probably go up a rating or two if Kaos wasn't so annoying to watch, but that's the reality of the situation. Still a sugary, fun show, but one with plenty of faults and places it could improve. Too bad, I was really, really into it for the first few episodes.|
|Concrete Revolutio (TV)||Good|
|Kind of a really odd show. It very clearly wanted to be Gurren Lagann or Kill la Kill, but it doesn't really come close. In some respects it's a sad mass of confusing plot points and jumbled characters and timelines, but in other respects there's a glimmer of a quality story hidden somewhere deep beneath. It was a fun ride for what it was worth, but it feels hollow. The promised second season will probably either elevate this show to what it deserves, or will bury it. Time will tell.|
|Concrete Revolutio: The Last Song (TV 2)||Decent|
|So... I'm still not convinced Concrete Revolutio was necessarily bad, but I'm definitely convinced it wasn't objectively good. There's a ton going on in this show, but beyond making it an interesting study from episode to episode, I was never actually totally invested in the story or the characters. In fact, I'm not sure I could articulate well the timeline, who all of the characters actually were, what they were fighting for, and the ultimate resolution to their struggle beyond maybe Kikko and Jiro. And that's a major problem for me. Just like the first season, there's obviously something compelling buried beneath the surface here, but the issue is that I just don't care enough, I'm not invested enough. The story is just too confusing. It's a shame. The characters probably could have been great, but as they are they just feel like devices for Concrete Revolutio to act out it's vision upon. They are far from real and so is their struggle.|
|Cowboy Bebop (TV)||Excellent|
|I finally saw Cowboy Bebop in 2019! I've been saving this show for a while, as I knew it was going to be an amazing experience and I'm really happy that it lived up to its reputation. The show is clearly an older show, with vignettes taking the place of a long running story, as tended to be more common in the 90's, but it works surprisingly well for Bebop. This approach is a lot like the characters themselves, and lends itself to a more whimsical, lighthearted feel. Of course, Bebop has it's dramatic moments, and a big part of the show is how well written the whole thing is. There's lots of little beats that work so well together and small touches that just bring this whole universe to life. Really enjoyed my time with these characters (though Ed was a biiiit much for me), and looking forward to rewatching this show many more times. The music is outstanding as well. I'm really digging how I can just jump in and enjoy any episode. This is episodic sci-fi at its finest. |
Oh yeah, and the dub is really well done done. Highly recommended.
|C cubed is a classic feeling show at its core. Haruaki, our protagonist, has a special ability to resist curses, and he stumbles across a futuristic torture device who has been given the shape of a teenage girl with personality to match. He can resist her though, so she attaches herself to him, and together they embark upon a journey where they must beat other torture device girls and learn more about themselves along the way as he helps her understand what it means to be human and to love others and oneself for who they are. It seems to borrow a lot of story beats from shows like Shakugan no Shana or Chobits, but the torture device angle is certainly unique and gives the action scenes a little extra oomph. It's not the best show ever, but there's enough here to make it a good watch nonetheless.|
|D-Frag! (TV)||Very good|
|I admit, I liked this show a whole lot more than I expected for a harem about a random highschool guy in a club with all girls. Primarily because the male protagonist was awesome. He was witty, cool, collected, and just didn't give a crap about anything. He was an ex-delinquent who gets roped into the game creation club (provisional) and is forced to endure the whims and hijinxs of the ridiculous girls who are his clubmates. |
It's quite clear this show knows exactly what it's doing. Everything is massively over the top, and it makes for a really funny show. As far as slice of life school shows go, D-Fragments does everything right. Highly recommended.
|Dagashi Kashi (TV)||Not really good|
|Man, I struggled through this show pretty badly over a few months. It felt more like punishment than reward at times. Maybe just not being familiar enough with Dagashi and the brands they discussed is enough to ruin the show, but I think the characters and the writing could have been a lot better. Not worth watching.|
|A Dark Rabbit Has Seven Lives (TV)||Good|
|The plot of this show is extremely convoluted, but I suppose I'll do my best to sum it up. Kurogane Taito, a highschool boy, has been having recurring dreams about a vampire who fell in love with him when he was young. As it turns out, she really exists! She was sealed away by a mysterious and powerful foe and Taito had his memory erased. So now Taito is in highschool, hanging out with his cute childhood-friend, Haruka, who obviously also likes him. But then Taito, with the help of the egotistical student council president and his hyperactive humanoid pikachu sidekick, remembers the vampire (Himea) and rescues her. But then he dies, but then he's alive, and, well... you get the idea. |
This is pretty much a romance story with some muddled plot about magic, gods, alternate realities and the like thrown in for good measure. Don't worry, it never ends up being important at all, and don't expect anything to be resolved, because it won't be.
All that said, it's a fun show for what it is. There are some laugh out loud moments, and the various character's personalities sometimes clash in amusing ways. Perhaps the thing struck me the most was the art direction. There's some beautiful coloration in some of the scenes, and the universe itself that they've created was quite unique. They may have gone a bit overboard at times (All the girls have multicolored hair with Himea's being the worst), but I think the good outweighs that.
Overall, I wouldn't say this is a show anyone has to go run out and watch, rather if you feel like watching a romance with a flair for magic then this might be up your alley. You'll know whether or not this show is for you after the first episode. Just one note, the first few scenes in the first episode make this seem like it's going to be really loli, but fear not, this is only a flashback.
|Darker than Black (TV)||Excellent|
|Darker than Black: Gemini of the Meteor (TV)||Good|
|DARLING in the FRANXX (TV)||Very good|
|I'm of two minds with Darling in the Franxx. For one, the highs are really, really high. This series does an absolutely fantastic job with building up its characters and the world they live in. Then of course it abandons all that to do god knows what with the finale, but if we pretend that didn't happen... Well, we can't really sadly. Altogether the show is notable for sure, even if it went out with a whimper. The animation of everything from the mechs to the smallest character details is superb and the show is just striking in its presentation. It ends up being a mess, but it's a fun mess in spite of it all. I enjoyed it.|
|Date A Live (TV)||Decent|
|I get the feeling that this is sort of a love it or hate it show, so to feel in the middle is kinda odd (or maybe a testament to the fact that I'm starting to outgrow the harem genre). Date A Live to its credit, does a great job at poking fun at the genre. Almost everything was done in a sort of wink wink nudge nudge type of way. The pinnacle was definitely the hot springs episode that ended with, well I don't want to give it away, but let me say it was entirely unexpected and hilarious. I feel like the show has another level, but too often it devolves back into uninteresting tropes. Some great laughs and at least kinda interesting characters are enough to sign me up for season 2.|
|Date A Live II (TV)||Good|
|Date A Live's second season is a lot like the first, only slightly better. They improved on what worked and added three girls that I ended up liking a lot more than I thought I would. If you liked season one, you know what to expect.|
|Date A Live III (TV)||Good|
|Date A Live season 3 feels a bit like The World God Only Knows season 3. Reason being that they can only introduce new girls who need to be wooed by our protagonist before it becomes too much. We do get a new girl in the first half, but the arc revolves around her having impersonated one of the existing harem members and our protagonist, Shido, having to figure out who the imposter is. It's a fun take because it puts each of the girls back in the spotlight. The second half though, with Origami's backstory and redemption is the stronger of the two halves, and shows what Date A Live can do when it wants to be serious. I've always thought there was a strong show underneath it all, but often times Date A Live gets too stuck in its own genre. The cast is almost to large for its own good, and I hate to see arcs devolve into getting each girl their own fleeting moments of screen time. Looking forward to more, but this is still the same flawed show as always. |
Oh, and Kaguya is best girl.
|Deadman Wonderland (TV)||Good|
|Death Note (TV)||Excellent|
|What to say about Death Note that hasn't been said a thousand times already? I guess to put it simply, the intricacies of this plot are mind-blowing. This is a thriller at its finest as two genius level detective types square off against each other. The other crazy part of the show is that the "protagonist", Light, is actually the mass murderer that the rest of the cast (including Light!) are trying to catch. I suppose it's a bit like Dexter in that we end up rooting for the bad guy. Though his killings are presented in a way that makes them seem justified, I sometimes took a step back and was amazed at how I had been pulled in. |
Unfortunately, as many reviewers have noted, the second half of the series is a bit of a letdown compared to the first. I can't go into much detail without fully spoiling the show, but things change significantly, and not for the better. The worst part is, that the plot could have easily continued without this shift, had the creator decided not to do this.
In the end, it is easy enough to overlook the flaws. This show will make you think. It will confuse you, pretend to answer your questions, and then throw them back at you. If that doesn't make you interested, well, not sure what else I can say. I would almost go so far as to call this required viewing.
Side note: this is a fantastic show to introduce to a friend who hasn't watched an anime before. The plot is gripping, and clearly for a mature audience. I have converted more than one friend with Death Note.
|Death Parade (TV)||Very good|
|Death Parade was a solid, poignant piece of work. It's beautifully animated and strikes that great balance between intensity and emotion. At it's core, it is thinking about what it means to be alive, and to be judged for living that life. The story follows non-human arbiters as they go about judging the souls of the dead through a series of games meant to bring out their true selves. It might seem odd to suggest that a show titled death parade can be touching and heartfelt, but it really is. Don't get me wrong, there are a few moments of very in-your-face gore, but it's not really horror, it's simply the vehicle for this particular story. I really really enjoyed this show.|
|Demon King Daimao (TV)||Very good|
|Demon Kind Daimao surprised me with how competent of a show it was. Sure at its heart it's a silly harem, but there's really a lot more going on here than that. Our protagonist, Sai Akuto, has his future read and it is determined he will become the next Demon King, quite the shock for what has seemed like a very level headed, genuinely nice boy. |
Of course, he comes to accept and play the part of his role, but never loses sight of his humanity. He is rebelling against a system for a reason, and that reason is wrapped up in helping the plethora of girls who form quite the love/hate relationship around him. It's really a pretty cute show at its core with solid comedy and just silly fun to be had. Good way to kill an afternoon.
|Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (TV)||Excellent|
|This is a weird show for me to rate, because for the longest time I would have pegged this as a 7 or 8 at best. The animation by Ufotable is gorgeous, as is to be expected from them, but the show kinda muddled along in the beginning. The first few episodes are clear setup, and we're just kinda waiting for the hook. Then, once training is over and our hero sets out into the world, it very quickly transitions to an enemy of the week serial with one bad guy at the end of the road. Basically, a bare bones shonen show with nothing interesting character wise or story wise to set it apart. Thankfully, the second half happened, and we were dropped into a lot more of the world building and characterization of the demon slayer's headquarters and heirarchy, as well as our demon leader and the type of organization that he runs. When I get a show like this, these are the nuggets I look for. Is it going to be just our couple of heroes against the world? Or is it going to be a complex web of different people with different motivations that can give us a deeper experience? Not that the first type of show is necessarily bad, it's just not very original. Demon Slayer gave us a glimpse and hope that things are going to pay off in a big way, so I'm content to give it somewhat the benefit of the doubt and enjoy the ride in the meantime. It helps when the show is just so god damn beautiful too. Really fun time, even if Zenitsu is the most annoying character ever.|
|In the end, Denki Gai isn't going to be on anyone's best of lists. It will probably be largely forgotten in a few years. And really, that's a shame. It was a very cute show with bunches of laughs and some really touching moments. Sure, it straddled that line of simple stupidity a few too many times, but there's enough redeeming moments here to make this a recommended watch.|
|(The) Devil is a Part-Timer! (TV)||Very good|
|This is a show that has essentially one twist. It is about two warring factions, the demons led by the Devil, and the humans led in part by the church and the Hero. The devil finds himself backed into a corner and retreats through a dimensional gate to... Earth! Specifically modern day tokyo. Once there he and his faithful friend Ashiya have to go about figuring out how to survive in Japan. They have to get IDs, find a place to live, and get jobs! The Devil is forced to work as a part timer at McDonalds! Hilarious!!|
But seriously, it's actually a fantastic show. The Devil is hilarious, he attacks everything he does with such enthusiasm. The Hero also follows them to Earth to keep tabs on the demons and comes to realize that they may not be as evil as she had been led to believe. The characters work really well together and the comedy elements are superb. This show is pretty light hearted and just overall a blast to watch. I'm a firm believer that most anyone would be able to enjoy it.
|Devil Survivor 2 The Animation (TV)||Decent|
|Devil Survivor started off with a bang, and then started to fizzle out as the story began to retread familiar ground. The characters were interesting, though I would have loved to get to know them better. There was little to no character development throughout the show. The story was ok, a typical end of the world, supernatural demons sent to kill us type of thing, sadly, there's only so much ripping off of Evangelion that I can take before I start to roll my eyes. The demons had awesome artwork and the animation was solid. Good action and visuals, but not much substance.|
|Dimension W (TV)||Very good|
|Dimension W started off amazingly. I saw this as the perfect throwback to the type of shows we used to see on Toonami back in the day. It had a cool swagger and just felt right. However, the first episode turned out to be the high water mark. Don't get me wrong, it's still a great show, just more flashy and fun rather than deep in any way. Mira is amazing, but I can't shake the feeling there's just something missing from her. She's just sort of there for the sake of being there. It's a bit uncomfortable actually. There was potential here, but sadly it doesn't end up rising above the pack.|
|(The) Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (movie)||Good|
|(The) Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan (TV)||So-so|
|I went into this knowing full well that this wasn't actually Haruhi, but I couldn't ever really get over my vague disappointment of that fact. This is like the Soul Eater NOT! of haruhi, and well, haruhi can't really survive this. Soul Eater has the incredibly unique and compelling world to fall back onto, but Haruhi has no such thing. Haruhi without... well... Haruhi is simply a show about high schoolers and really not much else. Our favorite characters are still here, but they're really shadows of themselves. The premise is interesting, and I'll at least give them props that Nagato is way better in this spinoff, but let's be honest, it's hard to be worse than she was in the main show. So yeah, there's really nothing here worth getting excited about. At least there's no endless eight though...|
|Dog Days (TV)||Very good|
|Dog Days' (TV)||Good|
|Dororo (TV 2019)||Good|
|Dororo is a period piece of feudal Japan right before the famous warring stats period. It features two main characters, Hyakkimaru, who's body has been given to demons in return for prosperity for his parents' lands, and Dororo, a small child who sort of follows along with Hakkimaru during this journey he embarks on to regain his body. At first Hyakkimaru is a mess of prosthetic limbs and lost senses, but as he defeats more demons and helps people along the way, he slowly regains the pieces of himself that were lost. Eventually he must confront the family who threw him away for their own selfish benefit, and Dororo will be there all along the way. |
It's a compelling show for sure, but for a number of reasons I can't really rate it higher than an 7. For one, Dororo is almost entirely an enemy of the week setup, with characters introduced and tossed aside each episode as yet another one off demon is killed. I have never liked this style of show, I feel like I can't get to know most of the characters and it feels cheap knowing that in the end nothing I'm watching will really matter unless it's one of 5 recurring characters. Also, the setting just doesn't do it for me. I'm not huge on historical Japanese pieces, so, again it isn't really my thing. Mappa does great work on this show, I recognize that, yet this becomes another show by them that I feel like I should like more than I do. Maybe it's just the drab color scheme and lack of good dialogue and character development compared to some other studios, I'm not sure. Objectively, this seems like a great show, just wasn't entirely my cup of tea.
|Dragon Crisis! (TV)||Decent|
|Dragonar Academy (TV)||So-so|
|Meh. Very forgettable fantasyish harem with some dragon action.|
|I would prefer to give this show an incomplete as a score, as the first season seems to be largely for setting up future arcs, but that's not the way this works. Drifters is a pretty great example of a stylish action show. Lots of fights, blood, strategy, and blood. I guess this show is by the same guy who did Berserk, so I can see the resemblence there. Anyway, it all depends on where the show goes from here. If it dives deeper into some interesting themes, brings out some solid twists and unique enemies, then it can be great. My fear is that I've already seen everything it has to offer. I hope that's not the case.|
|Durarara kind of came out of nowhere for me. I asked a friend for a some recommendations, and he threw it out there with a few others and didn't really have much to say about it. I finally got around to it, and man did he undersell the show. I struggle even now to say exactly what it is about. I was trying to describe it to another friend, and the best I got was it is kind of a character study with supernatural elements (kindof). It's almost like a quirky slice of life, except in the seedy(ish) underbelly of tokyo. |
With that said, the show delivers above and beyond what would be expected. It's a bit like Monogatari-lite, in that it jumps around like crazy and takes a while (4-5 episodes in this case) before the story starts to come together and make sense. It's pretty unique in that regard, as it replays the same days multiple times across different episodes from each character's perspective, and each time we learn a bit more about what's actually happening. It was a blast to watch, and I'm psyched to jump into the second season!
|Durarara!!×2 Ketsu (TV)||Very good|
|More of the same! The ending was actually a bit of a step up, and I thoroughly enjoyed how it wrapped up the majority of the loose ends. Fantastic show.|
|Durarara!!×2 Shō (TV)||Very good|
|More of the same, still really good.|
|Durarara!!×2 Ten (TV)||Very good|
|More of the same, still really good.|
|Eden of the East (TV)||Very good|
|Endro is what it is, which is a kinda cute, pointless take on the typical RPG hero vs. demon lord type of story. The twist here is that our hero is really klutzy and kinda dumb in an endearing way, and so she accidentally uses a forbidden spell while in the final showdown with the demon lord and throws her party and the demon lord back some years in the past. As it turns out, only the demon lord remembers anything, but truthfully she really never wanted to be a demon lord, so she decides to become a teacher a local adventurer school instead. And... wouldn't you know it, but the hero and her party walk in and are now her students! Crazy! Anyway, I won't spend too much time here. This is a pretty silly slice of life that doesn't offer anything new to the genre. It trends towards the boring end of the spectrum as none of the characters are complex, they all have one note personalities with their one quirk being the only thing they'll ever talk about (the hungry one eats a lot! the magic user is obsessed with magic!). So, there's not much here beyond a few lame jokes and kinda cute girls kind of adventuring, but mostly just messing around. Fine for time wasting, but not anything more.|
|Engaged to the Unidentified (TV)||Decent|
|Engaged to the Unidentified isn't really my standard type of show. I went into it thinking that it was going to be a slice of life/harem type of a show, but it really turned out to be the opposite. It was pretty much a straight up romance between the main girl, Kobeni, and her fiance, decided by their parents. There are plenty of interesting characters in the show, but the only real sense of drama is the relationship between the two of them, as Kobeni learns about this arranged married, is angry, and then slowly comes to accept and love Hakuya for who he is. It's a really cute show, but not anything really more than that.|
|Erased is, in a word, fantastic. Its representations of its characters is so real and lifelike that at times it physically hurts to watch the show, especially as the dread starts creeping in around 5 minutes left in the episode, just because you know it can't be all sunshine and roses. That's right, Erased is a mystery thriller at its core. There's a lot going on here that I don't really want to spoil but the basic theme is preventing murders from taking place by befriending classmates who are alienated and alone for various reasons (thus making them good targets). It's a very touching show throughout, and is very, very good to it's characters (well, except for the murder bit). If there's one thing Erased absolutely nails, it's that. The only reason I didn't rate this Masterpiece is because it took me 3-4 episodes to buy in, but once you're in, well, don't expect to stop before the end.|
|Ergo Proxy (TV)||Excellent|
|Eromanga Sensei (TV)||Very good|
|So, Eromanga sensei is by the same author as Oreimo and it features a guy and his little sister living together without their parents, while they pretty much have the hots for each other and the show finds all kinds of excuses to prod at their budding romance. In a sense we've seen this show before. At least this time around, they aren't actually related. That said, there is a bit more here than just the eye-roll parts. |
Eromanga is really about the two siblings forming a light-novel team, with the older brother as the writer and the younger sister as the artist who has made his novels famous with her extremely ecchi drawings. It's a silly and contrived scenario (no middle schoolers are coming anywhere close to being popular, professional authors), but as a background for comedy and hijinks, well it works about as well as anything else. And that's really where Eromanga stands out. This show at its core is about fun comedy with everything else (even the romance) as secondary. And in that respect, it delivers. This is Oreimo without the brooding and intense undertones. It's really just a good time. I realize it's trashy, but sometimes a trashy, irreverent comedy is just what I need. I at least had fun.
|(The) Everyday Tales of a Cat God (TV)||Very good|
|As far as slice of life and comedy goes, The Everyday Tales of a Cat God is a bit above average and certainly worth watching for fans of either genre. It's a comfort show for sure, it's light and fun, though a few of the episodes do go a little bit deeper with some tragic backstories, but even those end up framed in a good way. At the end of the day this show just made me happy, and that's sometimes all I'm looking for. Oh, and there's a whole lineup of catgirls to enjoy in this one, so I was never going to dislike it.|
|Fairy Tail (TV)||Masterpiece|
|I. Love. This. Show. Fairy Tail is the one show I eagerly wait for every week. Everything about the show works for me, and as such it is the show I would recommend over any other. |
Fairy Tail begins by following Lucy, an aspiring wizard looking for her big shot to break in with a guild. Of course, the guild she wants to be in the most is Fairy Tail, one of the most popular guilds in the land, well known for their powerful members but also the huge swaths of destruction that they leave behind during their jobs. She quickly gets her shot and settles in to the guild where we meet the other main characters: Gray, an ice mage with a habit of stripping naked and acting cool, Erza: the dangerous, intimidating, S class requipping wizard, and Natsu: the fire "dragon slayer" wizard, and as the viewer soon discovers, the real main character of the show. Of course we can't forget Natsu's winged cat, Happy, the hilarious mascot of our group.
Together they become Fairy Tail's strongest team, and they set out to do challenging jobs and other missions. In case you haven't figured it out by now, Fairy Tail is a shonen show through and through. Unlike Bleach or One Piece or Naruto though, Fairy Tail excels in this format for slightly different reasons. First off, it doesn't take itself seriously. Even in the most dire of situations, the show will cut away for gags to lighten the mood. That's not to say that we never get character development and our heros and their guild are never in any real trouble, as there absolutely are serious parts. It's just that the overall tone of the show is different. Secondly, Fairy Tail has mastered its pacing. Gone are the 50-75 episode arcs that bog down otherwise gripping shows. Fairy Tail starts with 5-10 episode arcs and eventually gets up around 20, but never more than that. There are few multi-episode fights, with focus instead on the actual conflict and how to solve it. Lastly, the supporting cast lifts this show above the others. Fairy Tail is an actual guild, with many members. Each member is memorable in their own way, and all of them get at least a few chances to shine. Perhaps its telling that some of my favorite characters begin as very minor background characters!
The one knock many people have for this type of show is that they often get bogged down in filler. Bleach and Naruto are notorious for this. Fairy Tail also has its share of filler, though there hasn't been a full filler arc until around episode 130. The one off fillers and short side-shots are actually extremely amusing and well done. The first major filler arc is a bit of a step down from the couple epic arcs that precede it, but the fact that I didn't realize it was filler until I had finished it and read a review of the arc afterwards may tell you all you need to know.
One of the absolute highlights for this show is surprisingly its soundtrack. This has some of the best OST music of any show I've ever seen. The intros are catchy, and the themes for the characters are fantastic. The whole thing has a bit of a celtic flair spiced up with both rock and techno influences. I highly recommend checking out the OSTs after the fact.
Before I ramble too much (I really can't say enough about this show), there are a few negatives I should mention. The plot itself can become a bit muddled and isn't quite as inspired or intricate as say One Piece. Each arc seems to be self-contained in that it doesn't have much of an impact on the overall story. On that note, and this is my biggest criticism, there doesn't really seem to be much of an overarching story at all. There's references to the ultimate evil wizard Zeref peppered about, and one arc puts him in the forefront, but then things go on as though none of this ever happened. I want to care about the outcome of arcs. I want to see things come together. I want a huge arc that deals with the ramifications of what has happened previously. One Piece did this all beautifully with the War of the Best arc and beyond, hopefully Fairy Tail has something up its sleeve.
Overall, the strength of the characters carries this show very far. It never fails to entertain and has a few pretty awesome fight scenes thrown in for good measure. Even if you tend to shy away from Shonen material, I highly recommend that you give Fairy Tail a shot. You won't be disappointed.
|Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya (TV)||Decent|
|Let's be real. I only watched this because Rin transforms into a catgirl.|
|Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 2wei Herz! (TV)||Good|
|This almost doesn't feel like a proper third season. It picks up exactly where season 2 left off and still deals with the same conflict and the same characters. It is fairly lighthearted for the first half but then goes right back to getting all serious and stuff. Not much to report, still a fun and interesting show.|
|Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 2wei! (TV)||Good|
|pretty much better in every way than the first season. There's a bigger, more interesting conflict at hand, and the characters have matured enough to the point where they are actually multifaceted and interesting. Don't get me wrong, its still to fluffy and sugary and full of adorableness, but it goes surprisingly dark places at times. This show is certainly trending in the right direction. Can't wait for the next season.|
|Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 3rei!! (TV)||Good|
|Still chugging along. This season was probably the darkest yet, but the story was good enough to back it up. I'm interested to see where they go from here.|
|Fate/stay night (TV)||Good|
|I'm writing this comment probably two or three years after having originally watched Fate/stay night. I did see Unlimited Blade Works a bit ago, and loved it, so that's something. Regardless, I was pretty surprised that I only rated this Good. Perhaps my memory of the show has aged better than I expected, but in all likelihood, it is probably because of the massive amount of love that this show continues to receive that has me putting on the rose colored glasses. |
The story was a bit confusing, and I remember the fights being fairly short. I was also a bit disappointed in how much the show devolved towards the end, more concerned with Shiro and Saber's romance than anything else. It doesn't help that I'm on the Rin bus, but still, I felt let down by the way the show ended. Great universe though. I'm looking forward to Fate/zero.
|Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (movie)||Excellent|
|It's very hard to tell a story the same length as a 24 episode series in two hours, and it showed in the movie. It didn't stop me from liking it more than the original series though. Unlimited Blade Works is an alternate storyline version of Fate/stay night. It starts where the tv series started, but begins branching shortly after Archer makes his first appearance. The movie moves very very fast, but if you pay attention, it isn't too hard to keep up. And oh, are the rewards worth it. The animation is absolutely gorgeous, and the action is awesome to watch. The alternate storyline is also more compelling in my mind than the original. (More Rin and Archer? Yes please!) The climax of the movie was also incredible, and without spoiling too much, I had no idea they were going to pull what they did. Awesome movie.|
|Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV)||Excellent|
|I'm more and more convinced with each show I see that Gen Urobochi can do no wrong. Once again, ufotable turns in an extraordinary effort. F/SN picks up right where Fate Zero left off and keeps going, animating the unlimited blade works arc that in my opinion is superior to the original F/SN arc. I am such a huge fan of Rin that really this show was never going to be bad, but it does help that it is absolutely gorgeous. I would recommend watching Fate Zero first, as this one calls back to that series a lot, but it isn't absolutely required. Just a pleasure to watch.|
|Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV 2)||Good|
|I really hate to say that this show fell apart, but it basically did. It suffers from the same problem as the original F/SN series, which is it runs out of material around episode 17. The show just slows to a crawl and it becomes almost painful to watch the characters just say the same things over and over and over again. Still beautiful, but it's a distinct step down.|
|Fate/Zero was everything that FSN should have been. Zero is the adult version of the show, if that's possible. Gen Urobochi once again demonstrates why he is amazing with sharp, crisp storytelling, amazing battle sequences, and just gorgeous visuals. Now, Zero isn't perfect, it takes a bit to get going, but like any slow moving train, once it does, there's no stopping it. My really one complaint is that a few of the characters are underdeveloped, but that's the price you pay for a series of this length with this much going on. |
I'd say this is the essential Fate/ show, and one of the better shows I've ever seen. You just have to sit back and appreciate the awesome work here.
|(The) File of Young Kindaichi Returns (TV)||Good|
|Sometimes I'm just in the mood for a good mystery. The kind where I don't figure it out until they reveal the tricks (or what little I do figure out is a huge victory!) Kindaichi fits that bill to a tee. Very elaborate cases and a fair amount of personal danger faces our fearless protagonists, but in the end, Kindaichi will always figure out all of the mysteries. And that's just the way I like it.|
|(The) File of Young Kindaichi Returns (TV 2)||Good|
|This is basically the exact same thing as season 1, still good.|
|(The) File of Young Kindaichi Returns: The File of Inspector Akechi (special)||Good|
|Just a double episode of Kindaichi featuring Inspector Akechi. More of the same.|
|Flip Flappers (TV)||Very good|
|Flip Flappers is an incredibly ambitious show throughout, so I can't help but give it really high marks for that! The premise seems to almost be simply an excuse for the animators to have fun drawing whatever whimsical and fantastical settings and creatures they can think of, and they really knock it out. The story is centered around two girls, Papika and Cocona, who together can enter the world of "Pure Illusion" which changes completely every time they visit. It can be sweeping snow scapes, or haunted mansions, or a techno-city from the future, or mad max (seriously!) or anything at all really. The first eight episodes of the show settle into a very familiar sort of visit the new world, find the poorly explained power crystal, and get out. |
Yeah the show struggles a bit on the story front, but the last three or four episodes redeem the show to a certain extent, as we see characters change sides, true motives revealed, and some really heartwarming scenes as these girls, especially Cocona, grow and mature and sort of figure out who they really are. As good as it was, Flip Flappers never really got over that hump into the "Wow" category of shows, but I would still recommend it wholeheartedly, especially to anyone who would appreciate the artistic style and risks taken throughout.
|Flying Witch (TV)||Masterpiece|
|This is, without a doubt, the greatest slice of life show I've ever seen. Sometimes, everything just works, and Flying Witch did that masterfully. This is a show that I know I can (and will) just throw on for the sake of having it on, and I will end up watching it many times over in the future. The atmosphere is second to none, it brings you into it's warm, comfy world and let's you just hang out. It's awesome. If ever there was a show to get your spirits up after, well, anything, this is that show. I am pretty certain there will be no second season, but man did this show do everything in it's power to make a statement. Highly, highly, beyond all heights, recommended.|
|Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma (TV)||Excellent|
|Shokugeki no Soma is a bit of a shock. I went into it expecting the lowest bar possible. I knew it was basically people eating food in exceedingly fanservice-y ways (like seriously guys, this guy makes food that is legitimately orgasmic). However damn if I didn't get swept up in the show and actually start to really, really enjoy myself. I've always been kind of a fan of food contest type shows (I loved Hell's Kitchen), so this show scratches that itch, and I actually kinda like the absurd setting and interesting characters. I realize Soma is overpowered (this is basically a shonen anime afterall), but I don't think that really is too much of a downside. It's nice not to have to worry too much haha. This is a show that any food lover or shonen fan could get into in equal parts. It's just plain fun.|
|Food Wars! The Second Plate (TV)||Excellent|
|Still ridiculous fanservice, still crazy cooking, still an awesome show.|
|Food Wars! The Third Plate (TV)||Excellent|
|The stakes are starting to really ratchet up at this point. Soma is really being challenged and it's a bummer to see a lot of the characters with their backs against the wall. This is still maybe the best shonen show I've seen, and I'm loving every second of it. I need more now!|
|Fractale (TV)||Not really good|
|From the New World (TV)||Very good|
|It's hard to explain everything that this show is. It's clearly more mature and intense than the vast majority of anime out there. This show is content to take you along at its own pace, slowly revealing the horrors that lie below the surface of the world. It's this lingering sense of unease that really ends up weighing on you. I really don't want to get into the plot. It seems convoluted, but trust me, it is meticulously planned and executed perfectly. The atmosphere and environment are spot on. This isn't necessarily a fun show, but it will blow your mind.|
|Fruits Basket (TV 2/2019)||Excellent|
|Fruits Basket was a show I had heard a lot about, but aired well before I started watching anime, so I never really had a chance to get to it. I'm sure glad this remake happened, because wow, it was a great watch. As an up front disclaimer, I'm not usually particularly into Shoujo stuff, but Fruits Basket has that little bit extra to capture my interest. Sure it's packed with typical shoujo tropes, and is a bit over the top at times, but it's so much more. I'm almost not even that invested in Tohru's potential relationships. Instead, the story of the zodiac animals and the Soma family is fascinating, and provides the meat of a really compelling story. That, combined with some actually serious comedic chops, makes Fruits Basket a worthy watch for almost anyone. It's just extremely well done all around. Can't wait for the continuation of season 2.|
|Full Metal Panic! (TV)||Good|
|So full disclosure, I watched this show in 2018. That means that I am pretty far removed from the era in which this show originally aired. I think that ended up hurting my rating of this show a lot. Simply put it's a well done, but basic action romance type show with some cool mech battles and some silly school stuff thrown in. Sadly, I've seen shows that pull this off much better, but that's to be expected, shows build upon what came before. I wish FMP had the guts to either go full on military with it's cast like Arpeggio of the Blue Steel or Aldnoah.Zero or to go the other way, more school hijinks, and less military fights and the like. I simply can't get behind Chitori's character in the show as it is. Her moments of romantic tension, while people are literally dying and she's getting hunted by trigger happy maniacs are completely ridiculous. Anyway, outside of that, the show is good, it just didn't capture me all that much. Happy I watched it, and it was fun, but I'll be stopping here I think.|
|Gabriel DropOut (TV)||Very good|
|Gabriel Dropout is a perfectly done slice of life/comedy show about an angel, Gab, who is probably the worst angel ever. She comes down to the human world to learn about humanity but instead gets addicted to MMOs and basically throws away her angelic half to skip school, eat junk food, and play video games. Her friends consist of a demon who is far to nice for her own good, an angel who is openly sadistic and opportunistic, and another demon who dreams of being evil but is thwarted by her pea sized brain that basically has her stealing pencils as her grand scheme. |
So yeah, all the main characters suck in some way, and it's a blast to watch them fumble along and try to figure out their lives. The comedy is pretty strong, but it's really the characters that sell the show. To do a slice of life right, you have to absolutely nail the characters and their interactions with each other, and Gabriel Dropout does that in a fantastic way. Here's to hoping for another season with these goofs.
|Gamers! (TV)||Very good|
|Gamers was a real surprise. They bait and switch hard, and I mean hard when it comes to what this show is actually about. The first episode is all about the cutest girl in school recruiting our nerdy everyman to her video game club. And so, of course, he'll accept and there will be all kinds of wacky club shenanigans and other stuff. Except... he declines, because while he loves to game, he games in a different way from the club, and just like that, our generic light hearted school comedy goes out the window. |
Of course, what we end up with is STILL a light hearted school comedy, but it's certainly not generic. Instead gaming takes a back seat, more like a setting than an active participant. We're aware that games are what have brought these characters together, but the show isn't really about that anymore. Instead it's about the crazy, absurd, ridiculous, insane miscommunication and love triangles that pop up out of nowhere. Yeah, the amount of logical fallacies and misunderstandings that happen are truly mind-bending, and at times not entirely believable. I mean I don't think there's any group of friends who are this bad at simply talking to each other, but again, that's not the point. The point is that the insanity is glorious. I'd highly recommend this show for anyone who finds that point appealing.
|Gangsta is a different show from the type of fare that I usually watch, which is a great thing. It hooked me almost immediately with its portrayal of the seedy underbelly of a nondescript metropolis. There's drugs, hookers, gangs, violence, and sex to be found all within the first few episodes. I found the initial hook super compelling and wanted to go deeper. Unfortunately the story kind of peters out around the mid point and starts throwing tons of characters at us that I couldn't really follow along with. It's still a great atmosphere though and something I was excited to watch. I suppose the main takeaway I've got here is that I should really watch Black Lagoon or GitS.|
|Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet (TV)||Good|
|The first thing that stood out to me upon watching this series was that Gen Urobuchi was the man behind this whole thing. As such, I was expecting something dark and terrible to happen (ala Madoka/Fate Zero), but it never actually happened. The show is actually full of life and energy, a big departure from his previous works.
That's not to say that it's a bad thing. Future earth is one big ocean, and people get around in giant boat communities. Our main character is a soldier from a different world altogether who gets pulled through time and space in an accident during a battle, whereupon he finds himself alone on earth. It's a classic fish out of water scenario, as this kid, born and raised as a soldier with little in the way of human emotions, finds himself in a world that has no need for his expertise or values. He of course meets some very cute girls, and goes on a journey to discover what exactly it means to be human.
The show starts brilliantly, but fizzles unfortunately as it gets to the latter half. The final few episodes feel like they don't live up to the great setup we were given. But still, its worth watching for the colorful world alone, and the realistic portrayal of adapting to a new way of life.
|GATE (TV)||Very good|
|It's not often where we see shows where a modern day military finds its way into an alternate universe and clashes with the people there who are stuck in the middle ages fighting with swords and magic. The only other show that comes to mind that even comes close is Outbreak Company, though Gate is better. The inherant problem is obviously that the modern day military is so overpowered they basically break any attempt at balance that most shows try to achieve. Gate circumvents that by focusing not on the fighting and the conflict, but on how a real military might respond to this situation. Japan doesn't really desire to conquer this world, they just want to make peace and explore the new lands, while the people there are terrified of them and their power. It's a lot of politics and maneuvering by different factions on both sides to slowly start to come to some sort of agreement. Of course, it's not all fun and games, people do get hurt, but in the end, it is kind of a lighter hearted look at this whole situation through the lens of a very caring man and the friends he makes in this new world.|
|Girlish Number (TV)||Very good|
|Girlish Number is kind of like the Shirobako of voice acting, except kind of, not really. It is in that vein, but the tone and characters are decidedly not Shirobako. The more I think of it, the more that's probably a really bad comparison. Shirobako has at least earnest characters doing their best, Girlish Number, well, you're better off forgetting heartfelt earnest-ness exists at all. |
So, it's probably worth pointing out that Girlish Number is written by the same author who did SNAFU. The characters are all flawed, like we might expect, but while there is a bit of a pessimistic bent to it, the show doesn't revel in it quite like SNAFU does. It's actually a bit of fresh air when you think about it. Regardless, at its core, this is a story about our main character, Chitose, who is headstrong, self-centered, and lacks all talent and motivation, yet somehow she manages to break into the voice acting industry and land a gig. As a result, we get to witness the highs and lows right along with her as the real world tries its best to introduce a dose of reality. It's a really capable character study, with some unique character types you don't normally see. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and definitely recommend it to anyone interested in a slightly snarky, naively optimistic, and thoroughly annoying, yet endearing worldview.
|Girls' Last Tour (TV)||Excellent|
|Girl's Last Tour is a strange show to watch, especially coming off the heels of Made in Abyss. The shows seem at first like they're going to go in similar directions, but Girl's Last Tour stubbornly stays in the slice of life category as much as it can. It takes a while to accept that the show isn't going to blindside you, but once you do, it's probably one of the most relaxing shows I've seen. It's all about atmosphere and dialogue, which ends up being a lot of fun, and rather refreshing. The pitfall with shows like this one is that if your characters are not strong enough to carry things, everything falls apart. Thankfully, Girl's Last Tour has outstanding character direction and it's really just a treat to watch. Great, great show.|
|Girly Air Force (TV)||Decent|
|This is about as average of a show as you can get. Girly Air Force will inevitably be compared to Strike Witches, after all it is a show about girls who are manifestations of airplanes who need to fight geometric alien shapes with unknown motivations that are taking over the world. It's actually like a mashup of Arpeggio of the Blue Steel, as our airplane girls are like the avatars from that show, while they are in airplanes instead of ships where we get Strike Witches from. Of course, Strike Witches had an expansive cast of vibrant, dynamic characters who meshed really well and led to some great comedy and heartfelt, intense scenes. Arpeggio also has an expansive cast along with gorgeous, faithful recreations of warships, compelling, sympathetic villians, and a deep political intrigue running underneath it all. Girly Air Force has none of these things. We have 4 airplane girls in total in this show, with our fourth only arriving for the climactic scenes. Our main character is just an everyman with an obsession for airplanes who gets wrapped up into this mess, so now instead of watching the amusing antics of our plane girls, we are treated to a pseudo romance between him and his chosen airplane girl. The rest of the cast are flat as boards, and serve only to move along our two main characters. I was begging for something, anything, to jump out and demand attention, but the only character who really shows heart is our main characters sister-figure who is energetic and spunky, but is just a side attraction to the airplane girls. This concept has potential, and as other shows have proven, can work really well when done right. This just reeks of a cash grab that hits the right genre staples and is content to call it a day. Some fun action and a few funny scenes, but nothing much beyond that. Shockingly, the weapons of war anthropomorphized as teenage girls fighting against geometric shapes is a crowded genre, and there are many better entries than this.|
|GJ Club (TV)||Decent|
|Another show that I watched to have something silly and harmless to watch before going to sleep. Doesn't really fit into standard rating criteria. Was cute and will watch the sequel. Won't ever be on the list of things that have to be watched though.|
|Goblin Slayer (TV)||Excellent|
|Goblin Slayer was an unexpected gem in a season packed with big names. The show is kind of a response to the other fantasy/isekai shows that have been so popular lately. It takes Re:Zero and brings it to it's logical inclusion. Now we don't have just a dark fantasy in the traditional isekai sense, but we have a gory, brutal, hard world presented to us where killing even the lowliest of monsters (goblins in this case), is fraught with peril and danger. It makes me wonder how anyone thinks it's a good idea to be an adventurer. And that's really the core of the show. It presents a world where protagonists aren't invincible. Where even the strongest fighter could take an errant arrow to the neck and die. It's both hard to watch, and incredibly satisfying in the cases where things actually do go right. Usually with these types of shows, I say it's not necessarily a fun watch, but it's immensely compelling, but with Goblin Slayer, I did actually manage to have some fun with it. It's not a show that wallows in misery, it just presents it's world as is, no frills. So sure, when we're hanging out in the city and not about to be slaughtered by monsters, the show is actually pretty cute and fun. All in all, certainly worth the watch for anyone who likes this genre, but be sure you know what you're getting yourself into.|
|God Eater (TV)||Excellent|
|There's tons of things that make me psyched to watch God Eater. For one, the art style is super unique and really lends the show a lot of power. The action is absolutely gorgeous (helped by the great art direction), and the musical score works really well. The story isn't the most original (think Attack on Titan), but it is at least presented in an unusual way and doesn't retread too often. God Eater is it's own world and story for sure, even if it's overarching plot archetypes are fairly standard for the genre. Pretty much the only complaint I have is with the characters. A couple are ok, but most of them are badly under-developed and one of them is treated so poorly by the show that it actually made parts of the ending hard to watch for me (of course that might just be me and my extreme dislike of stories mistreating their female leads for no reason and casting their initial strengths aside so that they can support the male main character in the end, like a good girl would do, yech). |
But yeah, I think this show is overall fantastic. I would love for it to get another season, though I wouldn't be surprised if it didnt. Ufotable is so busy anyway and they do so much great work that I'm not sure I want them to take a break from their normal schedule to do this show again if they aren't really invested in it. Regardless, lots of great things to be found here, I really liked it.
|Golden Kamuy (TV)||Good|
|Golden Kamuy was fun, and I'd consider it a good show, but it isn't overly gripping or anything like that. The Ainu angle is neat, and the setting of post WWII Japan in Hokkaido is also pretty unique, but that's about all that sets this show apart from the rest. The story isn't the greatest, it's a typical underworld crime race to the treasure type of show. None of the characters beyond our bumbling hero and his super-ainu sidekick are really that compelling. The show itself could be good, but for now it's been largely predictable. Hopefully some good twists come in the next season. It has been fun learning about the Ainu though.|
|Golden Kamuy (TV 2)||Decent|
|The most interesting thing that Golden Kamuy has going for it is the setting and history that the show explores. Much like season 1, this season continues the search for the hidden gold and introduces even more characters who are after the prize. The problem I've run into is that there are just too many characters for me to keep straight. They all are wearing the same military uniforms, and they have the same sort of features and design, and that makes it very, very hard for me to remember who is who, which is of vital importance in a show like golden kamuy where every character could be a traitor. I guess this reinforces why shows often use such strking hair colors or outfits for their characters. It really helps more than I realized. Anyway, back to Golden Kamuy, the show suffers from the fact that it knows this whole situation is completely absurd, and doesn't really treat it's characters with the appropriate gravity that the situation calls for. It's nice to have lighthearted shenanigans, but it makes it hard for the show to really get me too deeply invested. It's a nice little show, but nothing special at the end of the day.|
|Golden Time (TV)||Good|
|Golden Time isn't really my type of show to begin with, but I still enjoyed it thoroughly. It is a romance through and through and is just steeped in drama. I knew what I was getting into, but still felt that a lot of felt a bit forced. I hate sitting there thinking that characters aren't acting realistically, but if you can suspend a bit of disbelief, there's actually a pretty touching story here. |
The show follows our protagonist, Tada Banrie, as he has enrolled in a new college. He meets a few different people and forms a tight clique. One of the girls, Kaga Kogo, is a beautiful girl who has come to this college to chase after her childhood friend who she is madly in love with. As the series progresses though, Barie and Koko start to hit it off, and much to koko's childhood friend's relief, they get together. The series then deals with how difficult it is for these people, who both have significant issues, manage the ups and downs of their relationship and their friendships with those other people around them.
There is also the subplot that Banrie has lost his memories since graduating high school. He had confessed to his own childhood friend, Linda, and was waiting for her on a bridge after graduation for her answer. She was late though, and Banrie was in an accident that caused him to fall off the bridge and lose his memories. This means that not only does he have to deal with confronting his past (Linda is among his new group of friends, and also has a thing for him), but his memories eventually start returning, at the cost of the memories he's made since then.
All in all, I'd wholeheartedly recommend this to someone looking for a romance drama type of show. It's not my usual cup of tea, but I looked forward to it every week and enjoyed it.
|Gosick (TV)||Very good|
|Granblue Fantasy the Animation (TV)||Good|
|Granblue is about as typical a fantasy adventure as you're going to get. It feels very Final Fantasy inspired, which makes sense as it is a japanese rpg. Just it's a cell phone game instead of on actual consoles. Regardless, it's fun for what it is, which is a nifty little fantasy adventure with airships and magic and an evil empire and a ragtag, ever expanding cast of protagonists. My chief complaints are that I didn't particularly buy Gran as a great main character (and this isn't helped by Djeeta being awesome in the OVA), and that Lyria is just kind of boring as the co-lead. In addition, the show feels very much like you're watching the game being played. The show is summed up as Go to new city, find quest givers, do quest, fight boss, go to new city and repeat. Just not that much special going on. That and, they keep teasing all kinds of animal-eared girls in the background, and I know there are a few official characters in the game, but they just couldn't make them a part of the show. I'm still very depressed about that.|
|Grimgar, Ashes and Illusions (TV)||Very good|
|This show is a bit of a more realistic take on the isekai genre, as it has it's group of main characters largely struggling to do much of anything well for most of the show. It's not like Konosuba though where it is framed as a comedy at the expense of its characters. Instead, Grimgar is the kind of reality that feels extremely real and personal, while still being a fantasy world.
What I'm trying to say is that there's a lot of character development and feels and the like without much in the way of action or plot. I'm all in on that kind of structure usually, and Grimgar knocks it out of the park. It's content to move very slowly and let the characters slowly come into their own both as an individual and as a part of this sort of ragtag but lovable team. It's about how they face adversity and stay optimistic and focused on the future in a harsh world that owes them nothing and takes without reservation at every opportunity. The characters are incredible and come to feel something like a family by the end.
Aside from the character development, the other way that Grimgar excels is in it's artwork. The character designs and backgrounds are beautiful and are unlike almost any other anime that I've seen. It really reinforces the slower, more meticulous story with the soft, almost watercolor-esque world. This is a beautiful, deliberate, thinking type of show, and worth a watch for anyone who is interested in a more down to earth, and a bit darker than normal, fantasy adventure.
|Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl (TV)||Good|
|Gugure! Kokkuri-san (TV)||Good|
|Cute, if largely forgettable. There's a lot to like here, and it does a good job with the characters it's been given. I know that this is a show I will never go back to, and never really recommend to anyone, but it was a fine, relaxing comedy, with just enough laughs to get the job done.|
|Gurren Lagann (TV)||Very good|
|.hack//Legend of the Twilight (TV)||Bad|
|I have a certain affinity towards shows that are heavily involved with technology, and specifically MMOs as I am an avid WoW player myself. That said, Legend of the Twilight is certainly the weakest .hack series I have seen, and the only reason I even gave it the light of day was due to the fact that Sign was so good. |
First off, the character designs really annoyed me from the start. The main characters, Rena and Shugo, are both drawn in an almost chibi version of the characters from the manga, as such its very hard to take them seriously. The rest of the cast is easily forgettable. The plot is muddled, and can't decide what to focus on. It's got the typical unable to log out/coma victim thing that Sign did, but the tension is entirely lacking. Episode one shows us that invincible monsters have appeared, but Shugo is gifted a bracelet that can kill them with one cast. As such, his victory is never in question.
The climax and resolution make little to no sense as well. The ultimate antagonist is thrown in during the last 5 minutes of the last episode and promptly discarded in a sad attempt to make the actions of these "evil" players seem justified.
Honestly, my favorite moment in this entire show was when Silver Knight showed up. His character development from Sign completely outshines everyone in Legend of the Twilight, which is sad considering he was my least favorite character in .hack prior to meeting everyone in this show. Altogether, there is simply nothing redeeming at all. Just rewatch Sign, it's a better use of your time.
|This is a collection of four OAV episodes that show what was happening in the real world when the events of the .hack video games take place. The only reason I watched this at first was because I mistakenly thought that it was a companion to Sign, not the video games. I was pleasantly surprised however, by the depth that Liminality displayed. Each of the three main girls has an episode focus on them and then it all comes together in the end with them infiltrating CC Corp's server bank that is a nailbiter to the end. I assume people who have played the games would really enjoy this, however as I had not, a few things were over my head. The third episode in particular was very hard to follow as it pitted the characters on a scavenger hunt related to Japanese history (or that's my best guess, it was really quite confusing). That said, if you like .hack a lot, these episodes are worth your time.|
|.hack//SIGN (TV)||Very good|
|Hacka Doll the Animation (TV)||Good|
|Yet another entry into the mindless entertainment before bed bucket. That said, Hackadoll is shockingly good as far as that sort of fare goes. It's a short (8 minutes or so per), but it is clever, and biting in just the right amounts. Solid, fun times.|
|Haganai (TV)||Very good|
|Haganai NEXT (TV)||Good|
|Maybe Hamatora gets a bump in the ratings because it aired during a very lackluster anime season, but it's certainly no worse than Good. It's a perfectly enjoyable show about characters with abilities, called minimums, that have to go around solving crimes. The name of the show comes from the Hamatora detective agency that specializes in solving cases around minimum users. |
The plot is pretty solid, and the antagonist is actually quite compelling, which is a breath of fresh air next to the faceless dumb villains that I've grown accustomed to. The cast of characters are all interesting in their own ways, and the little bit of action is solid. I'm really considering downgrading this to good as I type, because it's becoming more and more apparent to me that there really isn't anything special here. Still a fun show that I would recommend if the premise seems up your alley.
Edit: Downgraded to Good
|Hanamonogatari (TV)||Very good|
|Hanamonogatari holds the line well and attempts to really dive deep into life after Koyomi Araragi. Unfortunately, the few scenes where he appears at the end really only served to remind me how much better things are when he's around. That said, Kanbaru's story is interesting and unique, but it ends up lacking a certain punch that some of the previous arcs had. It's still certainly monogatari, with all the good that is to be found. It is still a superior production that's fun simply to look at. But perhaps I'm beginning to understand why the series appears to be winding down. Here's to hoping it goes out with a bang. Onto Tsukimonogatari!|
|Hanayamata (TV)||Very good|
|There are some shows that are notable for their amazing stories, groundbreaking twists and turns, and incredible action and visuals. However, there are other shows that simply get by on charm and energy alone. I would guess you could figure out where Hanayamata falls. There's nothing groundbreaking here, but everything is expertly woven together. I haven't the slightest interest in yosakoi dance, but I found myself drawn into these characters' worlds. Everything about the show feels so earnest and excited. That's not to say that the show is pure fluff, because the characters certainly have their moments of doubt and hardship, but it was never in question that they would come together in the end. Great, great show.|
|Haruchika – Haruta & Chika (TV)||Very good|
|So let's get something out of the way immediately. Yes, this show is coming out right after Sound Euphonium. Yes, it is about basically the same thing. Yes, the director looks and acts exactly the same in both shows. Yes, it's hard to shake the feeling that Haruchika is a direct response to Sound Euphonium. But, before you write it off, it's worth noting that there's actually a solid show to be found here in spite of that. First off, the show is, at it's core, a mystery show. Each episode focuses on some minor mystery that will be solved that week, and it's usually set up in such a way that the mystery opens the door to some actually very touching character development moments. It's unfortunate this gets overshadowed by the mere presence of Sound Euphonium that's basically superior in every way, because Haruchika is a great little show on its own.|
|Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto (TV)||Excellent|
|Sakamoto is one of the most interesting and unique shows I've ever seen. At it's core it's a high school comedy, but I've never seen anything done like this. Sakamoto is known far and wide as the coolest high schooler to ever walk the earth. Everything he does is ultra stylish and he continually turns awkward or bad situations into hilarity through his wit, charm, and freakish athletic skills. If you want to see a comedy about bullies and delinquents slowly turning into idolizers of Sakamoto and model citizens of their school through his winning personality, then you've got yourself a show. Seriously, it's wickedly funny and highly ridiculous. Go watch now!|
|Heaven's Lost Property (TV)||Good|
|Heaven's Lost Property Forte (TV)||Good|
|Hello!! KINMOZA (TV)||Decent|
|More of the same as Kiniro Mosaic season 1|
|(The ")Hentai" Prince and the Stony Cat. (TV)||Decent|
|This show is a slightly interesting take on the romantic comedy genre. Our main character, Yokodera, is a self-described pervert who seems to only care about women and how to see them in varying states of undress. However, he runs into a problem where he feels like his inhibitions are holding him back, and makes a wish to the cat god statue to rid him of his inhibitions. At the same time, Tsukiko (don't ask me to spell her full name) is also there and wishes that she could better hide her emotions. The cat god is real, as it turns out, and grants both wishes. |
This starts the chain of wishes followed by their unintended consequences, and the characters getting to know each other. It's kind of like a modern day fairy tale. That said, it gets a bit convoluted, but the show is quirky and fun.
|High School Fleet (TV)||Very good|
|High School Fleet is an interesting show because it straddles the line of two different genres that really have no business intersecting. It starts off as a moe-blob kind of show. There are cute girls and they are just starting high school, except, their high school is made up of battleships and destroyers! Hilarious! It sort of comes off initially like this will be a story about cute girls doing cute things on ships, which is all well and good, until the 180 degree whiplash we get in the last seconds of the first episode. |
So the instructors ship fires on the girls and declares that their ship has mutinied. The girls are shocked and all of a sudden High School Fleet goes off on a sort of action/fugitive type of scenario for a while. The show becomes all about figuring out what's going on, why are ships going out of control, and can they clear their names type of plot. It was entirely unexpected, but shockingly, it actually kinda works. It at least makes for a far more interesting show. I really liked this, unexpectedly, and I wouldn't mind a second season. After all, even after all they've been through they still have most of their high school years ahead of them.
|High School Fleet (OAV)||Good|
|This ova is a two episode special that takes place after season 1 and explains how the class ends up with a new ship. The Harekaze has been damaged enough that it now sits alone in the harbor, slowly sinking. The girls worry that their class will be split up now that they have no ship, and spend most of the runtime gathering their various members and trying to convince the school not to disband their class. Of course, there was never any danger of that. As a reward for their hard work, the school outfits them with a new ship, using many of the parts from the Harekaze. So, there's a bit of narrative development in these OVAs, but it's really not necessary to watch them, all you learn is that they get a new ship. There's some cute moments, but they feel more like a whirlwind, trying to give each girl in the class their time to shine. Totally skippable, but fun if you enjoyed the world and characters in the show.|
|High School of the Dead (TV)||Good|
|Hina Logic - from Luck & Logic (TV)||Decent|
|This is yet another slice of life show that I watched before going to sleep. Hina Logic doesn't do all that much to set itself apart from similar girls doing cute things in high school shows, even with the magical girl type of background setting. There are a few flashy action sequences, but for the most part we are concerned with what the girls will give each other on their birthdays or putting on a play for the school festival. If you enjoy slice of life shows, this is a passable entry, but it's really nothing more beyond that.|
|Hinako Note (TV)||Decent|
|Hinako Note is pretty basic as far as slice of life shows go. It could have had some interesting moments with the whole theme of Hinako herself getting over her shyness to become an actress in the local theater troupe, but that might have some level of drama therefore it's all kinda overlooked for cheap laughs. Sometimes that's what you want, but this show isn't really good enough in any respect to stand out. Some cute moments, but it's entirely skippable.|
|Hinamatsuri is at its core, a comedy. A lot of the jokes hit for me, but too many of them only elicited the slightest of chuckles at best. It's a fun show, and the gimmick of a veteran yakuza suddenly having to take care of a young girl who is a real brat is actually a pretty solid premise. However, the gimmick kinda wears thin by the end, and the other characters aren't enough to really save things. It's fun but forgettable. Oh, and they kinda treat their young girls just a little bit... too skeevy at times, especially the one trapped on the island, kinda left a bad taste in my mouth.|
|Hitori Bocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu (TV)||Excellent|
|Hitoribocchi is one of the greatest school comedy shows I've ever seen. The love and care that went into this show is evident from the start (well, from episode 2 at least). It's seriously funny and has an outstanding cast of characters. Hitori herself is the cutest thing ever, and I was rooting for her all along as she slowly starts growing out of her social awkwardness and shyness, making great friends all along the way. There's something special here, and I highly recommend this show to anyone looking for absurdity and laughs. It's a wonderful show that will have anyone smiling in no time flat.|
|Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere (TV)||Very good|
|Welp, I hardly know what I just watched. I enjoyed every minute of Horizon, but please, don't ask me about the story. I'm just gonna start listing thoughts: Space travel, impossible, back to earth, apocalypse, recreate medieval history, alternate dimension japan, flying airship cities, magic, witches, mechas, fanservice, robots, action, explosions, politics, debate, inverse parallelism (seriously wtf was that), the list just goes on and on and on. But seriously, watch the show, it's a huge amount of fun.|
|Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere II (TV)||Very good|
|Still love this show. Still don't know what it is about.|
|How to keep a mummy (TV)||Good|
|How to keep a mummy is another kind of basic slice of life series. The gimmick this time around is that supernatural beings like the titular mummy, and demons and dragons and so on are all actually real, and they're also little chibi things that are absolutely adorable. They're more like smart pets that can't talk, but can emote and gesture to get their points across. A group of high school kids ends up each adopting one such chibi monster pet and the series is mainly about them hanging out and the amusing things they get up to. It's mostly nonsense, but it's fun nonsense. Definitely recommended for those who are fans of slice of life, but it's not really anything too special. It's just fun, cute, and feel good type of fare, and sometimes that's exactly what I need.|
|Wow, this show is an amazing experience. I'm a big fan of mystery books and shows, so the themes of the show captured my attention immediately. Once I was hooked, it was the amazing character development and artistry surrounding the rest of the show that had me on the edge of my seat throughout. Of course, I knew this was going to be great. I've been a fan of KyoAni for a long time, and I had been kind of saving Hyouka for a rainy day, so to speak, and I wasn't disappointed in the least. I think this show is juuuuust shy of a 10/10, mainly due to a few points of slow pacing kind of bogging things down, as well as a few mysteries that felt, well, kinda tacked on. However, those are my only complaints. I think the animation and attention to detail was outstanding, and all four of our main characters were brilliantly captured by the show. I felt like I knew each of them personally, and was excited to watch them grow. The ending was a bit abrupt, and I think could have used another scene at the end for a nice resolution, but otherwise, I can't think of a more comforting school show than this one. I'd love for a sequel movie or short season to eventually come out, as I think there's a ton more that Hyouka has to offer. However, until then, this is a triumph that is more than capable of standing on its own. Exactly my kind of show.
I feel like I may have focused too much on negatives (which are really just nits) as I try to convince myself that giving Hyouka a 9/10 is the right move. Am I really so selective and full of myself to think that this show somehow isn't worthy of a 10? I don't know, the ending was a bit souring... Maybe I'll revisit this in a few days. But I don't want this to be a negative focused review. This show is beautiful, heartfelt, and a truer representation of high school life and growth than I have seen from practically any other show. These characters are going to hold a special place in my heart for a long, long time. Watching this was a special experience, and I highly encourage anyone out there to give it a shot.
|Hyperdimension Neptunia (TV)||Decent|
|It's entertaining for what it is, and that's video game consoles anthropomorphized as cute girls. It just can't escape that feeling that it's fan fiction though.|
|I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying (TV)||Good|
|I can't really rate this show, and its 3 minute run time, as anything higher than good, but really it was adorable and certainly worth the few minutes it takes to watch each episode.|
|I Can't Understand What My Husband is Saying: 2nd Thread (TV 2)||Good|
|More of the same from season 1. Maybe a bit more touching over the clever comedy, but all in all, still the same show, still very cute, still recommended.|
|I couldn't become a hero, so I reluctantly decided to get a job. (TV)||Good|
|I can't really in good faith rate this as any more than good. It is essentially purely fanservice. The girls though are fantastic, some of the best that I've found in a harem series. The show can also be pretty funny when it wants to, and the magic/fantasy background that the show takes place in is cool. But this show knows what it is, and knows that it will never be anything more than that. And that's ok, if that's what you're looking for.|
|If Her Flag Breaks (TV)||Weak|
|I hate to say that this show might have turned me off of generic harems altogether, but I think it did. The story of this show is an absolute disaster, nothing makes sense whatsoever and the girls man... the girls (oh yeah, and one trap. Woooooo...). This show had like 50 forgettable chicks, one ok one who got no screen time, and one great one who turns out to be his sister? Romance and relationship development were non-existent because every episode was a struggle just to get each girl in the scene. Just not good at all. I'm done. No more than 3 or 4 girls in my shows from now on.|
|Inari Kon Kon (TV)||Very good|
|Inari Kon Kon is a hearfelt show about growing up, frienship, and romance with a little added supernatural flair for good measure. Inari is our titular protagonist, who is unsure of herself and convinced the popular boy she has feelings for will never notice her because she has really no self esteem. This stems from the fact that she is named Inari, which is an odd name shared by a local shrine to a fox god, but otherwise is just off enough that she never really felt comfortable enough in her own skin. That changes when Uka, the goddess of the Inari shrine, takes pity on the girl who used to hide within the shrine as her safe space, and grants her a slice of her divine powers to help her to face her life with pride, and maybe win the heart of the boy she has such a big crush on.
Yeah, Inari Kon Kon is a shoujo show. It's pretty obvious from the overly flowery motifs and the general themes of the show (young, shy girl has run in with a goddess who helps her to remake herself and wins friends and romances). But this show is done rather well, with a solid dose of comedy and slice of life goodness thrown in. It is content to let the romance actually take a backseat for most of this show. Inari Kon Kon is NOT a tearjerker, drama filled, love triangle mess of a high school romance. It's instead about Inari, her friends, her brother, and Uka herself all growing up in a certain sense, learning about who they are and what is important to them. I think that it's this distinction which helps Inari Kon Kon stand out in a crowded genre and makes it feel fresh. Definitely recommended.
|Interviews with Monster Girls (TV)||So-so|
|I was excited to pick this show up when it cycled to the front of my slice of life queue, but it ended up being a pretty big let down. The girls are cute, but their pseudo-romantic romance with their teacher is most definitely not. Frankly, it completely ruined the show for me. I just felt gross watching it. I muscled through and finished, everything about it was probably above average SoL material, but I still don't feel good about it.|
|Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san (TV)||Decent|
|Nothing really special here. Only 3 minute episodes, but there are cute minutes to be found. Nothing more and nothing less.|
|IRODUKU: The World in Colors (TV)||Excellent|
|Irodoku is absolutely gorgeous, first and foremost, and that's something that is going to elevate this show throughout the entire season, not just in big moments. I guess it's a bit appropriate given that the show is about a photography and art club that the settings and backgrounds could be confused for actual photos. Regardless, this is a top 5 show in terms of visuals, and it makes everything a pure pleasure to enjoy. The story is a bit less interesting, with our main character, Hitomi, sent back to 60 years in the past by her grandmother as a way of helping her find herself. Hitomi is lost in many ways, and when she arrives to the days where her grandmother was in high school like her, Hitomi falls in with her grandmother's group of friends and begins to realize who she is. There's drama and love triangles, and nothing about it is really that new or interesting, but the visuals combined with Hitomi's journey are powerful, and the catharsis as the show moves her along is incredible. The weakness of a kind of cliched story keeps this from being a 10, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth watching. This is one of the finest high school dramas Î've seen.|
|(The) irregular at magic high school (TV)||Very good|
|I should just deal with the elephant in the room up front. Yes Shiba Tatsuya is so overpowered he has all but broken any semblance of balance in the world of this show, but the show isn't really built like a typical shonen, where it's a constant fight to the top. Instead it is more about this world of magic and technology that they are constructing, and the myriad of interesting and unique characters that populate it. If you want character building and overcoming hardship, several of the other main characters do go through things like this, but Shiba, he's something else man. I'd urge you to give it a try. Lots of action, lots of laughs, and you can feel free to just kick back and not worry about things. It's a little bit refreshing honestly.|
|Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? (TV)||Very good|
|I'm not sure I can think of a show with a more misleading title than this one. In reality it isn't about trying to pick up girls, in fact our main character is pretty hopeless around them. It's more apt to describe this show as a real life jrpg. The world is a sort of what if rpg elements suddenly appeared in real life. Our main character decides he wants to be a hero, so he joins up with a lonely goddess (hestia, you might have heard of her), and starts to hone his skills while Hestia keeps a close eye on his stats and experience. His earnest and honest nature wins several close allies to his side as he ventures deeper into the dungeon than ever before. It's really just a fun fantasy show at its core.|
|Is the order a rabbit? (TV)||Very good|
|Cutest. Show. Ever. Seriously, don't even think about binging this, you'll overdose on the ridiculous levels of adorableness. I mean, I don't even have anything else left to say. If you want an adorable feel good happy show, can't get much better.|
|Is the order a rabbit?? (TV 2)||Very good|
|Exactly the same as season 1. Adorableness.|
|Izetta: The Last Witch (TV)||Decent|
|I really wanted to like this show. I loved Maria the Virgin Witch, and this is yet another show set during a war in Europe featuring a lone witch who can turn the tides, but, it really failed to live up to those expectations. Maria had charm, snappy writing, believable and lovable characters, and a conflict that drew me in. Izetta had none of those things. The story was basic and straightforward. None of the twists were shocking or really all that interesting. The characters were shallow and one dimensional. Hell, Izetta is basically defined by how she interacts with Fine, and Fine herself is the shallowest of leading characters. We get it, she cares about both her country and Izetta, but a good show can't let that be the end. |
I think that Izetta was fundamentally flawed from the beginning. It tries to tell too big of a story. Maria excelled because it was from the perspective of peasants. Fine is the leader of a war-torn country. There's no way we have time to get to know her as a person, not when everyone she loves is in danger of dying. How can you tell a personal story in the midst of that kind of setting? The answer is that you can't really. It'd have been one thing if Fine was more of a figurehead, someone who wasn't directly involved with the military, and Izetta was guarding her and they helped turn the tide against all odds. But the structure that they placed these characters in is just too rigid. It's impersonal and those few touching moments we get are actually jarring. I just... I don't know, all this show did was make me miss Maria.
|Joker Game (TV)||Good|
|So Joker Game is a rather unusual anime. I'm honestly not entirely sure what it was actually about. It seems, at a high level at least, to just portray spies in various situations week to week that are only vaguely connected by being part of the same spy agency. It's kind of like an enemy of the week thing. It would have been nice to have some sort of overarching story, but such a thing really never materialized. I actually had to look up if the series was over because the last episode was in no way any different from the previous 11. It's certainly good at what it does, it crafts interesting situations and shows some great WWII spy action, but there's just not much deep substance to be found, which is what lets it down in the end.|
|Juni Taisen: Zodiac War (TV)||Very good|
|I had a lot of fun watching Juni Taisen. This show put together a pretty compelling battle royale and created some pretty great characters to pit against each other. The fact that this is a 12 episode show means that some of the 12 fighters are more developed than the others. The action at the least is well animated and fluid, and the story is interesting enough. They spent a lot of time on each of the character's backstories, and your mileage may vary depending on how invested in these people you become. I thoroughly enjoyed the show, but I can see the argument that there's too much long backstory and not enough of the actual conflict. It didn't matter as much to me, so I recommend the show.|
|Just Because! (TV)||Excellent|
|Just Because is basically everything I've ever wanted from a school romantic drama type of show. There is no over the top animation or character design here, the show makes it abundantly clear that this is going to be as realistic as possible as we follow a group of third semester high school seniors as they should be coasting their way into college. A surprising transfer of one new student at this time sets some wheels in motion to make this sort of in between time in these kids lives into something more meaningful than they were really expecting. |
Everything about Just Because is brilliant and speaks to me on a fundamental level in terms of what I want from these kinds of shows. Having recently finished Sound Euphonium 2, I'm all about the realistic voice acting and natural animation that comes along with it, and I think Just Because does a really great job of doing this. The subtle character movements and shot framing do just as much to portray a character's feelings as what they are actually saying, in fact it might be more so. I'm really a sucker for these kinds of things, so Just Because definitely scratched this itch for me. It's gorgeous, these characters are awesome, and I thoroughly and highly recommend this show to anyone. Can't wait to see what's next from Pine Jam.
|Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (TV)||Very good|
|Kabaneri would be higher if the middle episodes didn't drag down an otherwise outstanding first couple episodes and brilliant ending. Taken as a whole though, the show still stands well on it's own, even if that space it occupies is dwarfed by Attack on Titan. And make no mistake, this show is consciously trying to outdo attack on titan. It is by the same studio, same director, so you know what to expect. Attack on Titan with zombies basically. Still, knowing all that, the show does have it's own unique story to tell and by the end it has veered off significantly from being an AoT clone. Definitely worth watching to help scratch that itch for more titan.|
|Kaguya-sama: Love is War (TV)||Excellent|
|This is one of the funniest shows that I've seen. The premise is simple and stupid, and features even stupider characters who try their best to be just awful. It's hilarious and very well written for what it is. I love these little slice of life/comedy/romance shows, and Kaguya is one of the best examples of this genre. A must watch for anyone.|
|Excellent? EXCELLENT?! Yes indeed, Kantai Collection gets an excellent. I had to stop and think about this for a moment, as it isn't really a show that's "supposed" to get high ratings, but dammit, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's just, I dunno, I had a blast watching it. It's kind of like if Strike Witches grew up and ditched fanservice altogether. It's adorable, yet underneath it all there's actually a compelling show here. Ok, so the enemies are faceless, and the gimmick with the admiral gets old fast, but that's not the point (besides the end of the show hints at something VERY strongly that makes everything get a whole lot more interesting). I loved it, and that's what matters.|
|Karakai Jōzu no Takagi-san (TV)||Very good|
|The show title translates to Teasing Master Takagi-san, and that pretty much explains what the entire show is about. Takagi is a girl who sits next to our average-ish protagonist Nishikata, and very clearly has a big crush on him. She shows her love by relentlessly teasing him, over and over and over again. Seriously, that's the entire show, and these are full 23 minute episodes to boot. The danger of course is that by episode 3 this gimmick could be horribly old and boring, but this show actually impressed me all the more with how heartfelt it presented it's characters and their silly situations. Takagi is relentlessly cute, and Nishikata is the perfect character for her to bounce off as he strives to best her, but is endlessly embarrased by the whole charade. It's just so, so sweet and comforting, which pushes this show above most other slice of life-y type shows. The humor also lands more often than not and it can be pretty funny. I'm super psyched for the rumored second season.|
|Keijo!!!!!!!! (TV)||Very good|
|It's hard to imagine a more blatant fanservice-fest than the premise of Keijo. Girls fight on floating objects in a pool while wearing swimpsuits to be the last one standing. Oh yeah, and they can only use their boobs or butts to strike or defend with. Seriously, that's actually the show. It's completely ridiculous, laughable, and just, well, can't possibly be worth taking seriously. Right? |
Well... Actually Keijo shockingly ends up delivering. This is a really great sports anime at its core. Sure the premise is ridiculous, but the matches are intense, the camaraderie is great, the rivals are fierce, and the attacks are completely insane. The main character's signature move is called the Vacuum Butt Cannon where she twirls and flips towards her opponent before striking so hard with her butt that it sends a blast of wind and shockwaves towards everyone in its path, sending them flying. Again, not realistic, but within the world that this show crafts, it is consistent, and it makes you believe. And that's the core. Keijo is believable. And if you buy in to the intense sports action story, well, it doesn't really matter what the vehicle is that presents it. In fact, the ridiculous sport of Keijo only serves to make it... better, if that's possible. Seriously, the show is a riot. Hats off to them. Unbelievable.
|Kemono Friends (TV)||Very good|
|I fully admit that the animation style is really just... not great. But with that as the big knock, this show is full of heart, energy, and sugary sweet goodness. There's just something so relaxing and great about watching a show of very animal-like kemonomimi and our hero trying to figure out who she is, making new friends week after week. Heck, the animals are literally called friends! It's adorable! And, there's the bonus that the world here is actually a very interesting one that we're discovering alongside the main cast. It's potentially post-apocalyptic and offers up some pretty interesting questions. Really enjoyed the show.|
|Kemurikusa (TV)||Very good|
|Kemurikusa is a show by the creators of the original Kemono Friends anime, so it's not a surprise to see that this show has the same sort of artistic and animation style as that show. What's a bit more interesting is that Kemurikusa also has the same sort of themes and story beats as Kemono Friends, while being a wholly different type of production. Whereas Kemono Friends was lighthearted and fun, with only an undercurrent of a post-apocalyptic world carrying through the show, Kemurikusa hits you right in the face with it, and from episode one our heroes are squaring off against robots and other beings that threaten them in this dark, empty world. |
It's impressive then how Kemurikusa manages to have so much heart. It reminds me of Girl's Last Tour, though there's actual conflict in this one. Our band of misfits (well, misfit sisters, and our weird protagonist, Wakaba) actually manages to carry on a pretty wholesome story about growth and finding oneself. Admittedly, Wakaba is extremely annoying throughout the first half, and that docks this show a bit, but he mellows out and is really my only complaint.
The best part of the show is the world building. There's no exposition, no "as we all know"s, instead we're dropped into this weird world, with unknown rules and powers and we just go, learning things very slowly as the characters find things out. Nothing is explained, our hands are never held. It feels real, and right, and I love the slowly dawning realizations of how things came to be. Sure, the animation is super janky, and the characters are silly, but the show has immense amounts of heart and care poured into it, much like Kemono Friends. Highly recommended for that alone. Can't wait to see what this team works on next.
|Kill la Kill (TV)||Masterpiece|
|I know when a show is great when I sit back in my chair after the last episode and just keep repeating in my head "that show was so good". Seriously, Kill la Kill was awesome! Ridiculous plot twists, awesome animation and character design, insane fights, it's all there. Gurren Lagan meets clothes essentially. This show is just an absolute blast to watch. I can't say enough good things about it. Highly recommended.|
|Killing Bites (TV)||Good|
|This show is trashy as hell. It's bloody and violent, and well, pretty fun all things considered. I wish the plot was a bit more interesting than what eventually boils down to a battle royale, but I mean, plot isn't really the point here, it's just an excuse for us to watch badass overpowered human-animal hybrids fight each other. And fanservice. I mean, you know what you're getting with this one. Fun, but in a fast food kind of way.|
|Kinmoza! Kiniro + Mosaic (TV)||Decent|
|If you've seen one show about cute girls doing cute things, then you've seen them all. That said, Kiniro Mosaic introduces a wrinkle about a couple of blonde british girls who have moved to Japan, so the show focuses very much on foreign culture and England (and english) in particular. It's kind of fun, but in the end, the show is what it is. Which is, fun, inoffensive, cute, and not really that memorable.|
|Kiznaiver (TV)||Very good|
|Kiznaiver is a Trigger show, but it's a bit less visually and thematically "messy" than KLK or TTGL. In fact, the plot itself is more of a melodramatic high school love type show than the over the topness we've come to expect from Trigger. That's not to say that Kiznaiver is bad, quite the opposite in fact. It's just unexpected. |
The whole plot centers around a group of misfit kids who get connected via pain. What that means is when one of them feels pain, it actually gets divided evenly amongst the group. This leads to a journey where they are forced to be together and they slowly start to accept each other as friends (though some of them have way more hang ups than others when it comes to the very idea of friendship). It's kind of a very heartfelt coming of age story, with some love triangles (squares? hexagrams?) thrown in for good measure. It's going to make you feel for these characters, their struggles and triumphs alike, but all told it's really a wonderful character study. I appreciate how Trigger is starting to take their ambition and channel it in different ways.
|Kono Oto Tomare!: Sounds of Life (TV 1)||Very good|
|At its core, this is a Sports show. It's like Sound Euphonium or Love Live or any other music show that is just a sports show in different clothing. I don't have to really care about the Koto as an instrument to get into a show like this, because it's more about getting the band together, struggling as underdogs to learn and sweat and practice so that our lovable band can shock the world. Kono Oto Tomare does a good enough job with all of these story beats, and we get a few compelling characters to boot. I was really rooting for them to do well, and though the climactic scene of their first performance was a biiit contrived with the drama, it still ended on a high note. As far as club shows go, this is an admirable one with plenty of heart and drama that you would expect. The animation isn't particularly great, the performances sound great, but the art just can't quite keep up, but that's really my biggest complaint. Excited to see how this show steps it up in the second half.|
|Konohana Kitan (TV)||Excellent|
|Can there be a show more made for me than Konohana Kitan? We have adorable foxgirls running a hot spring for gods, with sugary sweet slice of life goodness, and, oh yeah, it's yuri too. But, genre mastery aside, Konohana Kitan somehow ends up with really, really great writing to top it off. For an episodic show like this, we shouldn't be able to reach the amount of depth that Konohana Kitan pulls off. There are at least 2 episodes that are all time level for me, and the rest of the series is fantastic around them as well. It really makes me appreciate the level of artistry and care given to this show. I absolutely loved it.|
|KONOSUBA - God's blessing on this wonderful world! 2 (TV)||Very good|
|The second season is just as brilliant as the first in its (intentional) in your face badness. The characters suck, the story sucks, and I just can't help myself from loving them regardless and desperately wanting more. This is a very, very clever show at its heart. If not for a lackluster second half, this was probably an Excellent.|
|KonoSuba – God’s blessing on this wonderful world!! (TV)||Very good|
|It doesn't take much for a show with KonoSuba's plot to really surprise me these days, that's how low the bar has been set by the swath of video game related anime. Sadly, you'd think that a simply competent show would come around more than once in a blue moon, but that's not usually the case. KonoSuba, however, is that show. |
Basically everything in KonoSuba seems like an attempt to subvert the popular tropes throughout the genre. The main character sucks, and I mean sucks bad. The rest of his party isn't much better too. They spend far, far more time in the beginning town for newbies than they have any right to (read: they never leave). So yeah, it's a comedy, but it's a clever one at that. The fan service is rampant with this one, though it does play it up cleverly in places. I'd say if you are at all interested in RPGs, KonoSuba will be right up your alley.
|Koro Sensei Quest! (ONA)||So-so|
|This is really just a silly spinoff of Assassination Classroom. I felt that the jokes wore thin pretty quickly, but again, it's just a short spinoff. The episodes probably could have been cut down to 5-6 minutes and not lost much of anything. There were some hilarious moments, and some very stupid moments. Only recommended for people who really liked Assassination Classroom and want to watch a few more shenanigans.|
|Land of the Lustrous (TV)||Excellent|
|Yes, this is a 3D CG show, and no, that doesn't matter in any way. Just had to get that out of the way. Now, Land of the Lustrous is an amazing production. I've been deep in the seasonal anime rotation, putting up with a lot of mediocre shows and writing, and Land of the Lustrous was such a breath of fresh air. After every episode I was thinking to myself, "Oh, that's what good writing and direction looks like". I love that this show respects its audience enough not to info dump things about the world on us. It trusts that the viewer is smart enough to handle some mystery and confusion. I also really like the characters, who are personified gemstones. The CG of each of the various gems is just gorgeous all around. The hair in particular is incredible, making shining gems look wavy and light. The characterization throughout the series is very strong, with Phos (our protagonist gemgirl) going through a number of shocking character defining moments. I really, really like this cast and world a ton. This isn't some grand story of nations at war or heroes overcoming every obstacle. Instead it is a very human story about a small band of people doing everything necessary just to survive. It just feels... good. Highly, highly recommended. It left the door open for a lot of pieces, so I'm definitely hoping for more.|
|(The) Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These (TV)||Very good|
|It's hard to judge Die Neue These in a vacuum. After all, this is the first twelve episodes of what should end up being a very long and very good series, if the original OVA is anything to go by. That said, this intro to the series does a really great job in terms of setting up its characters, worlds, and conflicts to come. It's sharp to look at and the story seems to be deep and engaging, at least what I've seen so far of it. I'm really looking forward to more, this looks like the beginning of something really great.|
|(The) Legend of the Legendary Heroes (TV)||Excellent|
|As far as high fantasy series go, Legend of the Legendary Heroes is (name withstanding) an outstanding effort. There's pretty much everything I could want here. Just enough comedy and light hearted character interaction to really endear the cast to the viewer coupled with deep political maneuvers, flashy magical battles, and an intricate deeply woven story to go with them. The one real downside to the show is that it doesn't really end. It is a light novel adaptation and just sort of decides to cut off with pretty much nothing resolved. In fact, certain characters just get hardcore hung out to dry with massive cliff-hangers for their story arcs (Gestarch?). Still though, there's tons to love here, and I can't fault the show too much, it's not this season's fault that there is no season 2. Gotta pick up them light novels. Ferris and Ryner, you guys rock. Awesome show.|
|Leviathan: The Last Defense (TV)||Weak|
|Something just felt weird about this show. It's got some cute girls I guess, and the world they're in is kind of an interesting fantasy setting. But, they never really do much of anything with the show. The animations are very subpar and the story gets largely ignored and none of the plot points are resolved. Clearly there are some interesting things happening, but god forbid we sacrifice any of the time spent fixing a hot spring or traipsing across another endless boring desert. Nothing to see here, move on.|
|Log Horizon (TV)||Excellent|
|I'm kind of a sucker for these "people get trapped in an MMO" type of shows. I loved .hack and Sword Art Online, but Log Horizon has surpassed the others in my mind. It's finally done the one thing that I've always wanted from these shows, and that is to explore the world that is created for these characters. I absolutely hated how Sword Art Online breezes through months and months of gameplay in twelve episodes. It was supposed to be this long intricate quest to beat the game, and they just jump from the twenty first level to the fourty eighth like its nothing. Log Horizon though... It's all about the world, and I love it. |
The show is about a few characters who used to be among the best in the world, and the others who they come to mentor and become friends with. Together they set out to discover the new world. Sure there are character classes and abilities, but the show really focuses on things like dungeon party composition and fight strategy, as well as the NPCs who have nations of their own and are scared and intrigued by their new neighbors. The adventurers have to come together and form their own government so that they can start to make moves on a more macro level to deal with larger threats like a massive goblin invasion.
These are things that are typically left up to old school guilds doing quests, but with the "apocalypse" that found the players trapped in the game, the quests are gone, and they must make their own way. It's fascinating really. An awesome watch.
|Log Horizon (TV 2)||Excellent|
|Season 2 brings more of the same as season 1, except with a keener eye towards exploring the in depth political movements and motivations (not always overtly). There's some interesting stuff going on here, but at times it gets set aside for the simpler comedic moments, which is also well and good. We finally get some raid action which is always great too. All in all, this show is still awesome, and I desperately need more after the silly amount open ends still left.|
|Lord El-Melloi II's Case Files: Rail Zeppelin Grace note (TV)||Very good|
|This is a spinoff of the Fate/ universe that features Waver Velvet from Fate Zero. The story takes place maybe 10 or 15 years after the grail war and is an altogether different type of story than previous entries in the franchise. Rail Zeppelin is more a mystery solving show than anything else, though there are a few flashy action scenes here or there. I think the genre shift helps this show out immensely, as it veils the inner workings of the secretive clocktower in various cases that are affecting mages in England. There are 4 or so arcs in the show, but the titular arc, Rail Zeppelin, is the entire second half of the show and is far and away the best chunk of episodes.
My biggest complaint is that Fate shows have never been good at explaining things about their universe, especially when it comes to the magic system and mage society. El Melloi also fails largely at this, hand waving away things with lots of technical terms and impressive sounding word soup. I get some of it, but the rest just seems to be complicated things that sound complicated for the sake of being complex. It's eye rolling at times. The mysteries are at least consistent enough though that I can follow along with Waver as he solves them, so that's a good sign.
The thing that makes this show fun is the solid cast of characters and the unique situations they find themselves in. I'm a sucker for a good mystery, and when they have characters I enjoy in them, all the better. Gray is maybe the cutest fate girl to date, and the rest of Waver's students are all charming in their own ways. Some of the other mages are pretty cool too, giving us a wide variety of fun people to root for. The show takes its time, allowing us to get a feel for who everyone is and how they interact, grounding everything amongst a sea of poorly explained magic. It's at least fun to watch, if you sort of nod along as they throw random things at you. I enjoyed it and am looking forward to season two with these goofs.
|Lord Marksman and Vanadis (TV)||Excellent|
|Objectively speaking, this isn't really a show worthy of an excellent rating. It has it's fanservice pandering and it's cliches, and the story isn't all that incredible or anything. But... sometimes a show just resonates with me, and Lord Marksman and Vanadis was one of those shows. It sort of reminded me why I started loving anime in the first place. It's a high fantasy story of medieval type world with magic and dragons and knights and everything else you could ever want, but it's smart about what it is and what it does. It highlights the battles, explaining the movement of the armies and battalions within them. It almost felt like I was watching Fire Emblem. Actually, that's exactly what it was. Sure there's a little bit too much fanservice, but man, I had a blast watching it.|
|(The) Lost Village (TV)||Good|
|Came for the horror and surprisingly stuck around when I realized it was never going to deliver on that promise. Honestly, I'm not sure if The Lost Village ended up better for it, but it was certainly more memorable. It was like the show really loved building things up and then crushing those expectations. In the end, this was a semi-forgettable show that had some clever moments, and a lot of eye rolling ones thrown in for good measure. Would have been interesting to see the show branch off and go down a much more serious route, but who knows, that could have ended up being way worse.|
|Love Lab (TV)||Good|
|Love Lab is another typical CGDCT slice of life show. The twist here is that the group of girls collectively have no experience with relationships (or even with talking to boys), so they start doing "Love Labs" where they turn to the main character, Riko, for advice. Of course, they've just inferred on their own that Riko is experienced, but she really isn't, and this plays out in many gags over the course of the show. |
So sure, it's silly and cute and cliched and everything you'd expect from a show like this, but I did feel that the second half of the season actually elevated things a bit and poured a bit more character and heart into things. It's a great little show, recommended for anyone who likes these types of things.
|Love Live! School idol project (TV)||Good|
|There's really nothing about Love Live that makes it a Must See show. The story is largely predictable, and the characters aren't all that unique, but hey, I'm not watching it for plot or anything (ok that makes this sound super fanservice-y, it's not!!) What Love Live is, is infectiously, over the top happy. It's about a group of girls who get together and against all odds pursue their dreams. Sure they stumble along the way here or there, but I couldn't help but smile throughout the show. |
Apparently there's an OVA I need to watch
|Love Live! School idol project (TV 2/2014)||Very good|
|More of the same as season 1. Maki slowly asserts herself as the standout character. All is right with the world. Adorable show is still adorable.|
|Love Live! Sunshine!! (TV)||Good|
|Sunshine is dealt a hand that's stacked against it from the start. Love Live was, and is, hugely popular, and the burden of replacing all of the fan favorite characters from the first series, is, well, massive. Whether or not Aquors manages to live up to Mu's is up for debate, but it certainly didn't surpass the original show. Don't get me wrong, Sunshine has a ton of heart, and while the overarching plot is largely the same, the path we've taken to get there is, indeed, actually new. |
And hey, that's something after all. Especially in a show as formulaic as Love Live is at its core. It's strengths really lie in the execution of its characters. Some miss (*cough*Yohane*cough*), but more often, they hit and hit well. Kanan and the other third years are outstanding, and depending on their arcs in the next season that I assume is coming, could surpass any of the emotional depth we had in the first series.
And that leads me to the issue at hand. Love Live right now is incomplete. It's almost impossible to give Sunshine a proper and full rating because we all know this is really just the beginning. And since I rated the first half of Mu's Love Live a Good, well, I can't go higher than that here. The show has been winking and nudging ever since the opening scenes of the first episode about how great Mu's are and how they know it's a bit much but here we go again! However, I honestly hope that the quick shot in the last episode of Chika's newly bare door is a sign of things to come. These girls need to escape from the weight of the first season, they can't keep idolizing Mu's. If they can break out and solidify themselves, well, Aquors could really be something special. And if not, well, at least the show will slap a stupid silly smile on your face, whether you like it or not.
|Love Live! Sunshine!! (TV 2)||Good|
|Reporting in from the end of season 2. Sadly, Aqours didn't really take that next step that I wanted them to, and maybe that was naive of me to hope for. I knew what this story was going to be about from the start, it's family friendly, and fun, and the good guys win, even when they don't (you know what I mean), and even when they don't, the things that they don't win at don't even end up mattering all that much. What I'm meaning to say is, if you're looking for compelling conflict, emotional drama, or anything else beyond a fun, fairy-tale-like take on idols, well, this isn't that show. That's not to say that it's bad, it isn't, but I really really hope if they do end up doing a third group that they take a good hard look at things and figure out a way to keep it fresh. This is fun, but there's only so many times I'll be down to watch the same sorts of characters go through the same sorts of scenes.|
|Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! (TV)||Very good|
|Right out the gate, it's obvious that Love, Chunibyo, and Other Delusions is going to at least look gorgeous. This is a Kyoani show after all. The premise is actually very silly, where we follow a boy entering high school who is attempting to leave behind his Chunibyo (literally: middle school disease) past. He had pretended he was a dark hero, had dressed up in capes and wielded swords, and generally made a fool of himself. Of course, he's beset upon by a girl still in the throes of her delusions, and though he refused to be pulled back in, they form a kind of understanding together. So begins the high school romantic comedy. And as far as these types of shows go, this one is a very solid entry, with good humor and really touching moments aplenty. A good watch if this kind of thing is what you're itching for. And of course, you can tell Kyoani had a TON of fun animating their pretend magical "battles".|
|Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! -Heart Throb- (TV)||Very good|
|The second season of the show is a slightly deeper, more human look at the nature of what it means to be oneself, what it means to grow and mature, and what it means to really love someone. Sure, the silly comedy is still there as well as a new character who I couldn't decide I loved or hated more. But this is a more true to life adaptation and as a result the characters feel more real. I really enjoyed it, but I think the story has played itself out by now, so it gets bonus points for wrapping up really well. Great high school comedy show.|
|Luck & Logic (TV)||Decent|
|Luck and Logic is basically the most cliched possible version of this genre possible. Now, that doesn't automatically make the show bad. It's all about expectations I guess. There's nothing revolutionary or shocking to be found, but it is comfortably warm. Characters act as you'd expect them, the show is animated well enough to be pleasant, and stuff just feels right. It's like the comfort food of anime.|
|Lucky Star (TV)||Good|
|A Lull in the Sea (TV)||Masterpiece|
|Not entirely sure how to sum this show up. It is intensely emotional. It is mean, cruel, heartless, and unfair. Yet, it is also beautiful. Very rarely am I as moved by anything as I was by Nagi no Asukara. It's just a really, really fantastic show. I love all those kids. *hugs*. Thank you for letting me be a part of your life and your experiences, and to live the highs and lows right along side you.|
|Made in Abyss (TV)||Excellent|
|Made in Abyss is incredible. The world, the story telling, the characters, it all works together flawlessly, driving this unstoppable triumph that is this show. And it is a triumph, in almost all ways. The story of Reg and Riko's journey to the bottom of the abyss is just, well, I haven't really seen an anime do it this well before. The story knows how to take its time, how to let the world speak for itself, and let the audience feel like we are there with the characters, celebrating their achievements and sharing in the misery of their failures. There's really nothing quite like it.|
That said... I have one issue with the show, and it's enough to drag it down from a solid 10. That is, the characters are young (maybe around 10/11), and the show doesn't shirk away from sexualizing them. It's not overly overt, but the general sense and feeling around it left me uncomfortable, and I wish it wasn't there. I get that the show deals with mature themes, but this is something better left alone, it's not necessary for the story or for the characters, it just feels tacked on, as though the creators weren't convinced the show could stand on its own. It's a real shame, but again, it's not overt, and so I don't penalize the show that much. It would take something seriously egregious for me not to recommend Made in Abyss wholeheartedly, and I definitely do.
|Magical Meow Meow Taruto (TV)||So-so|
|Taruto is the essence of cute. It's a lighthearted show about cats and their relationships with each other as they run around and do silly stuff. They see each other as little people and can talk and such, but the humans they belong to only see them as normal cats. It is a bit odd at first to see 1 foot tall cat girls running around, but the show settles in nicely. It's bland, light fun, honestly more like a children's cartoon than a real anime. I would have really dug this show if I was 8 or 10, but as is, I ended up getting pretty bored and half payed attention during the second half. No real reason to recommend, even for a die hard catgirl fan like myself. This is as innocent as it gets.|
|Magical Warfare (TV)||Good|
|Magical Warfare has some interesting things going for it. I mean, the magic circles are cool, and they have this ancient conflict between two secretive powerful mage sects, and... Oh, who am I kidding... The girls in this show are by far the best thing that the show has going for it. I don't even care what the show is, I would watch anything with Mui in it, she's that adorable. The art direction is really good with the show, it's got lots of flashy visuals and the character models are all strong. |
However, having said how I don't care about the story, it's really not a strength of the show. It's fairly convoluted and the writers seem to be content to simply not tell us anything about the characters relationships with each other beyond the immediate conflict. There's a lot hinted at behind the scenes, and I feel like there could be some crazy things going on if this gets another season. Which I hope to god it does, because don't get me started on that bullsh*t anti ending.
|Magimoji Rurumo (TV)||So-so|
|I wasn't really taken with the main characters in this show, which kind of defeats the purpose of the cute, nothing happens, slice of life type of animes. Pretty much forgettable.|
|Majestic Prince (TV)||Very good|
|I started this on a whim. The new anime season was just getting going, and Majestic Prince was one of the first shows to air. I didn't expect much from it, and the first few episodes left me wanting. I ended up dropping it actually. For whatever reason I picked it back up a few months later and man, it got better fast. I ended up catching up in a day or two and waited eagerly for the last few episodes to air. |
It's a good mix of mecha/sci fi with some fun slice of life type stuff thrown in. The show starts to pick up once we get to know the enemies and the reality of the situation that our heroes are in is made clear. The main characters themselves comprise a five man team called Team Rabbits (or the Fail Five as they are affectionately called). They are supposed to be highly talented mech pilots, but they can't work together well. Of course as the series goes on they mature and form an unbreakable bond, and become virtually unstoppable.
The universe of MJP is really colorful and the characters are a lot of fun. I very much enjoyed watching them fight together, grow together, experience loss together, and ultimately claim victory in spite of, or because of, the incredibly high stakes. The animation was very high quality, and I look forward to seeing it in HD. Very quality mecha series here.
|Maoyu is a bit different from most standard anime fare. It's made by the same people as Spice and Wolf, and the similarities between the series are very obvious. This is a fantasy story set in a medieval world where humans and demons are at war with each other. Our main characters, only known as Hero (our male protagonist) and Demon King (a buxom young lady), get together and decide that they can help save the world from war and chaos and envision demons and humans living in peace. There is a ton of economic manipulations, social and religious commentary, and solving problems through words and underhanded movements to avoid war. However, there are a few battles, and the action, while sparse, is done well. |
In the end, I feel that the anime suffers from being too ambitious. There's no way a 12 episode series can deal with so many countries and conflicts properly. We skip around a lot, and hardly get a feel for the characters at all. The fantasy world is brilliant though, and I'd whole heartedly welcome a sequel that delves into this deeper, as the story seems to be just beginning.
|Märchen Mädchen (TV)||Good|
|Marchen Madchen was heading for a solid 7/10 ranking. It's got a huge caste of very cute girls along with some light fanservice, some fun comedy, and an interesting concept for a magic system. The idea that the girls can borrow powers from classic stories like Cinderella, Princess Kaguya, The Little Match Girl, or other classic tales is actually a pretty cool system. It could have been implemented a bit better, but there wasn't really anything wrong with it. The action was a bit dry, and the animation wasn't the best, but the show felt like it had heart and was going to be a fun offering. |
And then episode 9 hit. I understand this show was plagued by production issues, but it makes me a bit sad that it kind of ruins an otherwise solid show. Hopefully those last two episodes make it out, because as episode 10 demonstrated, the studio is able to get themselves back on track, and it would be a bummer to leave things hanging. As is, I can't really recommend the show, but if the bad animation gets fixed for the dvd, well, I enjoyed the rest at least.
Note: I've now seen episodes 11 and 12 after they finally came out. The show ends nicely and looked just fine. Really enjoyed this little story. Upping the score back to 7.
|Maria the Virgin Witch (TV)||Excellent|
|Maria is probably the best representation of Medeival European culture that I've seen in anime. I had basically no expectations going into it, but it really blew me away. Maria herself is adorable to a fault, though she would be loathe to have you describe her as such. The crux of the series is that Maria hates the constant wars going on between France and England (this takes place during the hundred years war), and rightfully assumes that the war has become as much a part of the industry and way for the people in power to maximize their profits and influence. She tries her best to stop them, but runs into opposition from all parties (the soldiers, the lords, and god himself). She has to balance the current reality with her dreams, all while keeping those she cares about out of harms way. It can be hard to watch at times, this series is not shy about being rough, but it is quality anime.|
|Megalobox is incredible. The show is gritty, raw, and feels like it's straight out of the 90's, which is exactly what it's going for. I even heard that they animated everything in crisp HD, downgraded it to SD, and upscaled it back to HD to get the more grainy look you'd expect from an older show. If nothing else, that's awesome. But there is so much more. This is a 50th anniversary celebration of the classic boxing anime Ashita no Joe, and while I haven't seen the original, I'd be shocked if Megalobox wasn't considered an extremely worthy successor. The show is gorgeous, well acted and paced, and just makes me feel hyped for boxing, which is something I never thought I'd say. The scrappy underdog rising up from the underworld to take on the favorite when no one believes in him is as classic a story as they come, but damn if this show doesn't knock it out. Highly recommended.|
|Mekakucity Actors (TV)||Good|
|Well, Mekakucity Actors is an experience. I will say that. Anyone familiar with other works by Shaft knows what to expect at this point. Lots of odd camera angles, strange backgrounds, and a story that doesn't quite make as much sense as it should. In this show's case, the story is based on music by a band called KagePro, and tells a lot of its pivotal plot points through the songs that play. This is a refreshing take, but it could have been done better. A lot of people said that after listening to more work by the band and watching their music videos, that the show would make more sense, but honestly, it should be capable of standing on its own. It's still a great show, but there's just this lingering sense that it's not quite all there. It feels too rushed for its own good. Beautiful visuals though, so take that for what it's worth.|
|(The) Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (TV)||Excellent|
|Haruhi is one of the all time classics of my generation of anime. Pretty much anyone who knows anything about anime has at least heard of Haruhi. That said, looking back on it, this show is still quite unique and interesting. It seems like it's going to be a typical school affair, but the reality is far from that. |
Haruhi herself is quite obviously the reason this show achieved the popularity that it did. Kyon, our narrator, makes for a good foundation and voice of reason to offset Haruhi's massive, quirky, sometimes abrasive, always entertaining personality. The other three main characters play their roles well, and easily pull the viewer into their world.
Things get quite dire throughout the series though, as the ramifications of what Haruhi actually is come to the surface. This is a show that deals with magic, gods, time travel, aliens, psychics, world ending, sci-fi, slice of life, and a number of other seemingly out of place genres and themes. Haruhi is essentially the ultimate nerd within all of us, and manages to do all the things we wish we could do ourselves. She easily carries the show.
|Mikagura School Suite (TV)||Decent|
|It's a bit sad that the one interesting thing in the show eventually becomes its biggest weakness, but such is reality. Simply put, Mikagura is a flawed production basically from the start, but that doesn't mean it can't still be entertaining. It boils down to the main character, Eruna. She is basically way too energetic about everything, way way too happy all the time, and way way way too into trying to hook up with everything that happens to have two x chromosomes. It's funny and does serve to move the story along, but really it doesn't end up being entirely necessary, and in fact just causes the show to draaaaag. It's a given that there will never be drama, but that doesn't keep them from trying. Eruna's over the top caricature of a personality prevents the show from being able to succeed in a traditional format. The only way to make it work is to take everything else to absurd extremes where her personality starts to blend in with everything else (see Gurren Lagann or Space Dandy). As it is though, this is just your typical high school kids with supernatural powers fighting but not really because it's just play. Baka and Test does this a million times better without the main character making you want to gouge your eyes out, so if the plot really appeals to you, just watch that.|
|Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid (TV)||Excellent|
|Kobayashi is among a handful of the best examples of the slice of life genre. The premise is absurd, that an honest to god, fire breathing dragon suddenly shows up at Kobayashi's front door and proclaims herself to be a maid. Of course, hilarious hijinks follow, and it is excellent, and cute, and sugary and all that. But what elevates this show above the rest is its heart. These are real characters that believe in each other and have over the course of their time spent together, formed a deep and lasting bond. The journey of self-discovery isn't always neat and tidy, but it makes me feel just so warm inside. I really, really liked this show a lot. Tohru is amazing. I love that Kobayashi is a single working woman, and a programmer at that. Sure, Tohru is a bit brash with her feelings, but this show never devolves into a fanservice fest, which I give it all the credit in the world for. My gripe is that of the other dragons, we only get to really see a lot of Kanna, and I wish we could have traded some of her time for a few of the other characters who we really only see occasionally for brief flashes. But that's my biggest complaint. I love the world they've built here. I'll take one dragon maid too please!|
|Another Slice of Life show to add to my growing collection. The twist here is that the two main characters are in a relationship and the girl is uncomfortably stalker-like about the whole thing. Of course, it's all played for laughs and it is cute and fun. Sadly this gimmick alone isn't enough to carry the show. It gets stale. It is what it is, I'd never go out of my way to recommend it.|
|Monogatari Series Second Season (TV)||Excellent|
|At this point I'm fully on board with monogatari. This series is outstanding. It's gotten to the point where the plot is weaving around itself, doing exactly what it wants without regard for structure or continuity. The show has clearly hit its stride and Shaft has settled into a rhythm, masterfully creating the show. I still can't shake the feeling in the back of my head that it is trying too hard, but that's no longer important, Monogatari has risen above that point. |
I won't really go into the plot much, at its core it's not that interesting and the bare bones plot isn't really the point anyway. In reality, this is a very self-aware show that is kind of winking and nudging its way along, while still trying in earnest to demonstrate its promotion from simple television show to work of art. It's fascinating to watch, both as a study and for enjoyment. I love this story, and will be sad to see it end. Great show!
|Monster Musume: Everyday Life with Monster Girls (TV)||Good|
|I suppose it's necessary to preface this with the disclaimer that I am not really all that into monster girls. With that out of the way, Monster Musume does actually manage to be a really entertaining harem series with a couple of fresh feeling twists thrown in. The monster girls are actually really refreshing as the series spends the vast majority of its time on the little idiosyncrasies that each of the different species has. The snake girl unconsciously strangles our male lead in her sleep, the harpy is a bird brain, the centaur is a noble knight that struggles desperately with her feelings for the main character (especially when he decides to ride her), and so on. The main character is almost killed incidentally countless times by the ones trying to woo him that it becomes an ongoing joke (and actually central to the plot of some of the later episodes!). So, yeah, anything that makes a harem feel fresh gets a thumbs up in my book. Oh yeah, and Papi is best Harpy.|
|Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun (TV)||Good|
|This show is cute, and not much more. It's kind of like a romantic comedy, except it's obvious throughout that the romance is never going to go anywhere, it's just a tool for jokes. There's a bit of interesting insight into the manga creating process, and a lot of really interesting characters that come together.|
|I can't in good conscience rate a show that I dropped for almost two years as anything better than good. I did really enjoy Moon Phase, but it does lack momentum. Shaft did an excellent job though.|
|Motto To Love Ru (TV)||Decent|
|Ms. vampire who lives in my neighborhood (TV)||Good|
|There's really only so much I can say about kinda genericly cute slice of life shows. I appreciate them a lot, they're among my favorite genres, but well, they kinda are what they are at this point. Vampire is a good one, but it isn't great, and I'll probably forget about it in a couple of years. It's cute and sugary and meaningless and is the perfect sort of show if that's what you're looking for. The Vampire angle is cute, but it does nothing to really set this show apart besides being another entry in an already familiar genre that feels at least semi-fresh.|
|Muromi-san is an interesting show. I haven't seen any other show that clocks in at around 12 minutes per episode. The format reminds me of some of the stuff on Adult Swim like Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Robot Chicken. That comparison is also appropriate because Muromi-san runs along the same vein as those two shows. Not that this is something that would work on Adult Swim, but if Japan had some sort of equivalent, then I would see this being on there. It's over the top with gags and features many adult themes (there's an entire episode devoted to making fun of huge boobs (Not that that's all that unusual for anime I suppose, but this was handled in quite the ludicrous way)). If you're looking for a fun comedy, this could be up your alley.|
|Music Girls (TV)||Decent|
|There really isn't that much to say about Music Girls. Essentially this show is Love Live except worse and on a much lower budget. It has good character designs, and some nice heart to it's scenes, but it can't escape the shadow of Love Live and the shows that have done this concept better. That said, it's totally inoffensive, so if you like the genre, this is a fine show. But it's nothing more than that.|
|My Hero Academia (TV)||Excellent|
|Wow. This was definitely the standout series of the Summer season this year. I'm honestly not really that into superheroes, but damn if My Hero Academia doesn't hook me almost immediately. This kinda fills that One Punch Man void, but I could see this becoming the stronger show eventually. OPM had basically one gimmick that it masterfuly used, while MHA is a more traditional show that rides good writing, characters, and execution to the top. I loved the characters and the story. It was super compelling. I just can't say enough good things about it, I'm really excited for season 2.|
|My Hero Academia (TV 2)||Excellent|
|The second season of MHA pretty much picks up right where the first left off, and it's still awesome. This is the premier shonen show out at the moment and I'm still loving it. Can't wait for season 3.|
|My mental choices are completely interfering with my school romantic comedy (TV)||Good|
|It's a harem show. I was a fan of the execution though. The girls were interesting and our main character protagonist is afflicted with a rather unique condition that causes the show to really go over the top. Pretty much constant ridiculousness. It's definitely funny, but not all that much substance to be found.|
|My Roommate is a Cat (TV)||Very good|
|This is a really heartwarming show about a shut in and the stray cat who decides to adopt him. Our shut in main character is an author, but he has shunned the real world in the wake of his parents' deaths and only talks reluctantly to his editor. This changes as he decides to keep the little cat who wanders into his life, prompting him to start opening up to the people around him. It's a very cute and human show. I really appreciate that each episode shows all of the scenes a second time from Haru's point of view (the cat), full of her own internal monologue about what she thinks is happening (usually food related). It's a heartwarming and wonderful show. Highly recommended.|
|My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU (TV)||Decent|
|The show was a bit quirky. It's a romantic comedy (imagine that!) that takes place in high school. Our main character, Hachiman, is a loner and outcast who revels in his loneliness. He is forced into joining the service club, a club who's goal is to help people who request it. He meets one of the two main girls there, who is also an outcast like him. They don't get along all that well, but end up working well together in helping their clients. |
The problem with the show is that the characters are almost entirely unrelatable. They are pushed to the extreme, a point at which people who are socially awkward in real life wouldn't even be able to relate much to their experiences. Hachiman does have some interesting thoughts, but they alone are not enough to save the show. In the end it's almost entirely forgettable.
|My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! (TV)||Very good|
|Looking back at my review from season 1, I can't say that I fully agree with the conclusions I had there anymore. Maybe season 2 does a better job, but I fully engaged with the characters this time and really loved following their interactions throughout the season. The tension is high as always, but slowly and surely hachiman and his friends are stumbling towards real connections and relationships. It's hard to watch, but so heartwarming at the same time.|
|My Wife is the Student Council President (TV)||Decent|
|It is what it is|
|Myriad Colors Phantom World (TV)||Good|
|There wasn't really anything particularly wrong with phantom world, but there wasn't that much that was really that great either. The show looks beautiful at least, but the story (or really the lack-there-of) is the real problem. There was never really an overarching plot, just episode to episode as phantoms appear and the team has to deal with them. There's a couple of actually interesting premises including an abandoned mansion that starts to feel lonely, the episode about Ruru turning into a real human girl, and the dream world with the bears. But beyond that it feels like a ton of fluff without much else going on, which is vaguely disappointing. At least Reina is amazing.|
|Negima!? is an older show, one of Shaft's earlier efforts, but it shares a lot of visual similarities with its more recent efforts like Monogatari. This is apparently one of two versions of the same show, with this version being more comedic and less story focused than the first. I'm not sure if that's a great thing, as honestly, this drags a bit. But it is full of lighthearted fun and I did enjoy watching it. Not amazing really, but there's definitely worse out there. And you have to respect any show that attempts to utilize over 30 main characters.|
|Nekomonogatari (Black) (TV)||Very good|
|This is a 4 episode prequel to Bakemonogatari that was made after Nisemonogatari aired. It was solid, explaining how Hanekawa came to be possessed by the Curse Cat, and how Araragi dealt with the situation. More monogatari is always good, and this certainly lived up. Onto Monogatari Season 2!|
|Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV)||Very good|
|Just the fact that I reviewed Evangelion as something other than masterpiece will be enough to set many of the hardcore fans off. As I started to get into anime, a few of my friends told me that this show was a must see. I took their word for it and... boy were they right. |
This show is nuts. Symbolism is everywhere, peppered throughout. The plot is well thought out and gripping to the end. Evangelion is essentially the pinnacle of Mecha anime. When this show concluded, I think a lot of people came to realize that this genre had just seen the very best that would probably ever be put out.
I'm not going to sit here and summarize the plot or review the seemingly drug-fueled spiral into insanity that was the end. Instead, I'm going to recommend this show for a different reason. Simply put, this show is widely regarded as the best anime to come out in the last 20-30 years by many. People will argue this to no end, and in the end it is subjective anyway, but even the people who may not have liked it must admit that it deserves its place in history.
I guess I have to put at least some personal thoughts about the show into this, so here are a few random comments. Shinji is the main character and pretty much a huge wimp throughout the show. I get that it is about his journey to believing in himself, but they play out his weakness a bit too much for my tastes, as it gets old fast. In fact, the only main character I really grew attached to was Asuka, since she was the only one with really any personality (don't get me started on Rei, I just don't understand the fascination). So over all, I felt the characters were the one weakness in the show for me.
I've thought about it, and I've come to realize (or at least to believe) that the reason I don't view this as the holy grail and end all be all of anime is probably because of the age that I saw it. I was 22 when I first saw the show, and while I was very impressed, the convoluted existential, theoretical, religious mind-f**k that was the ending wasn't enough to become a defining point in my life at that point. Whereas if I was 14 or 15 it might have been extremely influential and thought provoking for me as I'm trying to figure out who I am as a growing person.
So then, this is the reason that Evangelion is a must watch recommendation. Not only is it a touchstone, a basis from which all fans of anime share a connection, but it is executed perfectly and will stick with you in some way or another. Even if you don't find it to be the most truly revolutionary show ever (which I didn't, though it still impressed me), it is worth the time it would take to watch it. This is a show that went beyond what people thought was possible in an anime, and wouldn't it be worth watching simply for that reason alone?
|New Game! (TV)||Very good|
|New Game is one of the better slice of life series I've seen. The best comparison I have for this show is it's like Shirobako without much of the drama. I really like the change in perspective to older full time employees from the typical CGDCT shows that are out there. It's fun to play with the more mature character types, and workplace comedy is always a bit more real to me. Of course, it helps that New Game is absolutely gorgeous. The character designs are bright, distinctive, and adorable. It is just a pleasure to watch, and feels fresh and fun throughout. Hopefully there's more in the tank, because I want to see these characters grow and experience more beyond the one game they created.|
|New Game!! (TV 2)||Good|
|This is pretty much a continuation of the first season. There's not really anything that sets it apart, beyond maybe an uptick in drama, which isn't really what I tend to look for in my slice of life shows. So, for my purposes, I rate this season a bit lower, but it's honestly just as fine as the first season objectively.|
|Nisekoi - False Love (TV)||Very good|
|Nisekoi was actually a very nice surprise. It's right up there with Haganai when it comes to harem shows, this is about as good as it gets. It does suffer from the typical weakness of all of these types of shows though, any girl past the second is pretty much relegated to never having a chance. And to be honest, I didn't really connect with them, but, and this is a big but, the three central characters are incredibly strong. The two primary girls are both awesome, and I flip flopped between them constantly, which is really the best endorsement I can give this show. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, the male lead is actually, gasp, tolerable! What a concept! I really enjoyed Nisekoi, and highly recommend it.|
|Nisekoi: (TV 2)||Good|
|More of the same as season 1. The show is content to just do little vignettes of each character, which makes it a bit weaker as there aren't really any big story arcs. Still enjoyable though.|
|Nisemonogatari (TV)||Very good|
|Season 2 of Bakemonogatari. Picks up from where it left off and takes off running. It's a bit more laid back, with the two arcs surrounding Koyomi's little sisters. It's cute, and gets each of the old girls some screen time, but still maintains the visually striking presentation of the previous iteration. It's a bit more uncomfortable at some points *cough*brushingteeth*cough*, with Koyomi's relationship with his sisters, though in the end, it is all good and happy times. It's maybe a bit lesser than bakemonogatari, but not enough to drop it a rating category. Still a good time. Onto Nekomonogatari!|
|No Game, No Life (TV)||Masterpiece|
|No Game, No Life blew me away. I had no idea what to expect, but it certainly wasn't what the show ended up being. How can I best explain it? It's like Problem Children on steroids or Death Note meets chess and fan service. The bare-bones plot is that two neet siblings are transported from their world where they were so good at video games that they grew to hate how boring the world was, into a fantasy world where every dispute is decided by games. Of course, humanity is the worst off of the sixteen races, but the two of them are up to the challenge, and set about righting the course of the last human nation. |
But that's besides the point. What makes this show a masterpiece are the games. They are brilliantly done. From simple poker or blackjack to human sized chess (ala harry potter) to virtual reality, all of them are breathtaking. Of course, we know that Sora and Shiro will win every game, but that still doesn't take away from the feelings of cathartic awesomeness that arise every time Sora explains his master stroke. The strategies employed are tense and very clever. The best part is, this show is just getting started! This combination of smarts, comedy, strategy, and fun is basically unrivaled. It would be tragic if this show doesn't get a season two.
|Non Non Biyori (TV)||Very good|
|Basically a perfect slice of life show. This is anime at its absolute calmest. This show goes out of its way to guarantee nothing of substance is happening or will ever happen, and I love it for that. There's nothing more relaxing than watching the mild shenanigans of these girls.|
|Non Non Biyori Repeat (TV)||Good|
|You know what you're getting into when a full half episode is dedicated to playing a pointless game with rulers, or watching Renge learn to ride a bike. This is a "repeat" of you will of the series. It simply shows 12 more episodes that take place in and around the original 12 episodes. There's no story to be found, of course, so they kind of just naturally fall in place. Perfectly peaceful.|
|Noragami (TV)||Very good|
|I didn't have much in the way of expectations for Noragami, and it really blew me away. The premise is that gods are real and they survive by accumulating 5 yen coins from their "followers". Our main character is Yato, a very small time god whose regalia (living weapon (think soul eater)) has just left him. He has a chance encounter with Hiyori, a normal girl who is hit by a car when she tries to save Yato (not knowing that he would have been just fine). Normal people and beings in the Far Shore (gods, spirits, regalias, etc...) don't interact much, but Hiyori finds herself caught up in Yato's struggles to become a big shot. |
So the plot isn't the most original, but Yato, Hiyori, and Yato's new regalia, Yukine, make a great team. It's really fun to watch them interact. The other gods and regalias are also quite interesting, especially Yato's "girlfriend", a god of poverty. Don't get me wrong, it's not all flowers and sunshine. Yukine struggles mightily with being dead (regalias are the spirits of exceptional humans who have passed away). Yato himself has many enemies and the climax of the series is intense. I thoroughly enjoyed it though, and would highly recommend it.
|Noragami Aragoto (TV)||Excellent|
|Second season is everything that was good about the first season and more. We get really in depth on Yato's and Yukine's struggles. Things do not always go well, but we get to live the pain right along side them, and it makes it all the sweeter when things go well. Just a really nice show all around.|
|Nyan Koi! (TV)||Good|
|This show teases catgirls in the opening and then fails to deliver. Not impressed. Still funny, and I do want more... But still, there are just some things you don't mess with Nyan Koi.|
|Nyanko Days (TV)||So-so|
|2 minute episode about a girl and her little cat-people. The op/ed song is adorable and that's about all I'll ever remember.|
|Nyaruko: Crawling with Love! (TV)||Not really good|
|This show suffered from one of the most fundamental pitfalls of harem animes. By the time the third love interest arrived, there was already too much going on to care much, so all it did was grate on my nerves. The show itself is kind of interesting. Its not every day you see the Cthulu mythos represented by high school anime girls after all, but that alone was only enough for the first few episodes. The charm wears off quickly unfortunately, and exposes the shallowness of the characters. The last few episodes are cringe inducing, and I found myself asking over and over again "why should I care". I finished it only because it was so short. |
Also, Mahiro is probably my least favorite main character of all time. He's a huge, and I mean huge, dick throughout the series to everyone who shows him any amount of affection. He doesn't have to get lovey dovey with Nyarko or anything, but is it too much to ask for him to act like a human being with empathy and real emotions. I want to punch him in the face. I really hoped the monster at the end ran him through just so I could be done with his stupid name and his stupid show. Good riddance.
|This is a really hard show to rate. Occultic;Nine has a ton of issues right off the bat. It moves at hurricane force speeds at all time, for one. And this isn't some first episode hook. The entire show feels like it has been sped up 1.5x for seemingly no reason. I think it really hurts the characters and their interactions, like even they can't be bothered to digest the words they are speaking, it's just on to the next thing. I also detest several of the character designs, but that's just my own personal preference. The story itself is a winding mess, and we miss a lot of the important exposition and world building amidst the storm of dialogue too. The ending was comprised of the characters making a set of realizations where I was simply forced to nod along and agree with by default because I had no basis on which to agree or disagree. |
With that out of the way, there actually is a compelling and interesting story here at the core. It takes until episode 6 to really reveal exactly what is going on in the first place, but when it does, it completely changes the show. Like hardcore changes the show. Like Punch Line is the only other show I've seen that does as hard as a 180 as this show (Punch Line is great btw). So for that alone, the ride is probably worth it. And I feel like there aren't enough horror-esque shows out there anyway, so this one comes recommended. Just brush up on your speed reading.
|Omamori Himari (TV)||So-so|
|Omamori Himari is a pretty bog standard harem with demons and powers and stuff set in the real world. The comedy is ok, but really there isn't much that stands out in this show to help it separate from other entries in the genre. There's some light ecchi, and a pretty boring story thrown in. All in all, not really worth the time, even if there is occasionally a catgirl in the show.|
|One Piece (TV)||Masterpiece|
|If you haven't heard about this show, well, I can't do it justice. Simply put, it's not surprising that this is far and away the most popular anime of all time. The level of quality put into the show is unmatched. While Fairy Tail might be my favorite show to watch each week, I recognize One Piece as the best show I get to watch each week. And it's showing no signs of slowing down.|
|One Punch Man (TV)||Excellent|
|One Week Friends (TV)||Decent|
|This was never a show I was super excited about watching, but it certainly had its moments. It features a girl whose memories of her friends disappear at the end of each week. She has foregone making friends because of this, but Yuki develops a crush on her and decides that he is going to make friends with her no matter what. The anime is essentially a story about Kaori learning to have friends once again. It's very cute but also heartbreaking at times. In the end, don't expect anything more than friends out of this one.|
|Oreimo 2 (TV)||Very good|
|Oreshura is a bit of an interesting take on the harem genre. It starts out with our male protagonist who is anti-love getting put in an awkward situation by the new, beautiful transfer student. She gets ahold of his notebook which contains many embarrassing notes about his "past life" as "burning fighting fighter". She uses this as blackmail to get him to go out with her so that all of the other boys at the school will stop confessing to her multiple times per day. There are a few other girls too. His childhood friend is quite cute and full of personality. There's a quiet girl who claims she knew him in his past life. And, a girl he knew in kindergarden who has kept a form written in crayon stating that they were getting married ever since, while he completely forgot about it. |
What's most interesting about this show, is how it handles the characters. Our lead is actually a real person, with feelings and motivations of his own. He actually makes a *gasp* choice on which girl he wants by the end of the show! The girls are also very forward with their feelings, and the male lead absolutely knows what's going on around him. Watching their growth as characters and friends is really fun. Sadly, the show kind of devolves by the end and loses steam, but it's still an original feeling show in a genre that's absolutely stuffed to the brim with crap.
|Outbreak Company (TV)||Good|
|There's nothing overly special to be found in Outbreak Company, but it does a lot of little things right for a slice of life with some fantasy flair to it. Shinichi, our protagonist, is an Otaku who has become a shutin. The Japanese government calls upon him to travel to a newly discovered fantasy world and bring Japanese otaku culture to this new land as a way of strengthening the two countries' bonds withe each other. There are tons of references and shoutouts to other anime and manga in general, and plenty of hilarious moments are to be found as this medieval society tries to reconcile with the modern day concepts Shinichi is trying to teach them. Lots of cute scenes and girls to be found. Certainly an enjoyable watch.|
|Owari no Seraph (special)||Decent|
|Just a totally skippable one off episode of Seraph of the End. This details a human turned vampire and his struggles to come to grips with the situation. Our heroes battle him after he kidnapped a girl who he believes is his sister (who has actually been killed). No cute moments, or fanservice, or other reasons to watch this ova. Skip it. The season 2 specials are hilarious though and worth watching.|
|Owarimonogatari (TV)||Very good|
|The continuation of Monogatari. Still very good, though i felt like the beginning of both of the big arcs were pretty slow. Still great, don't get me wrong. Onto.... Kizu I guess? Maybe Koyomi? Probably Kizu|
|Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt (TV)||Good|
|Parasyte -the maxim- (TV)||Very good|
|Parasyte turned out to be shockingly good. It's not really the type of show I would normally watch, but the first episode got such rave reviews that I had to check it out. It's not really true horror I suppose, it's goal wasn't to scare the viewer. Instead it was all about the ambiance, the everpresent gory reality of a world filled with monsters. It tackled some interesting questions about humanity and what it means to essentially be alive. I did really enjoy it, and would recommend it. The only downside is that some of the themes are seemingly stuck in a loop. I feel like they have trouble wrapping things up (for instance his girlfriend has a moment of "is he really human?" seemingly every single episode), but that's a minor thing really. Very quality production that's quite the thrill ride.|
|(The) Perfect Insider (TV)||Very good|
|Perfect Insider is a complex, philosophical wrapping around a fairly standard mystery plot about a murder in a locked room. God it looks good though, and it does make you think. At times it almost seems like they are just trying to sound smart for smart's sake, but if you can overlook that, this is really an enjoyable show.|
|(The) Pet Girl of Sakurasou (TV)||Excellent|
|One of the better slice of life animes I've ever seen. The story starts out with what seems to be a typical budding romance in high school, but oh man is it so much more than that. The cast all live in an old run down dorm called Sakura Hall which has a reputation for being full of undesirable people. Our main character, Sorata, was forced to move in as he had taken in a cat, and pets aren't allowed in the main dorms. His wish is to move out as soon as possible. But then he meets Mashiro, a mysterious blonde beauty who has come to their school (an art school) to draw manga. She is immensely talented, in fact she was hyped from a young age as having the talent to be the greatest contemporary artist.|
As the series gets into full swing, we get to know all of the residents of the hall, and they are rather compelling characters. Besides Sorata and Mashiro, there are two third years, Jin and Misaki, who are childhood friends. Jin is a womanizer and Misaki is a once in a generation talent like Mashiro who is a prolific animater, Jin writes her scripts for her. Sorata's friend from class, Aoyama, obviously has feelings for him and will eventually follow him to Sakura Hall for her own reasons. She is an aspiring voice actress who is working multiple jobs to support her own way through school. The other resident is Ryuunosuke, a reclusive programmer who communicates to the outside world through an AI program he made called Maid-chan. Their teacher, Chihiro-sensei, could seemingly care less about the lives of her residents, though as we get to know her, it becomes quite obvious that she wants to see them succeed and offers a few timely words of wisdom throughout.
There are two hearts of this show. One indeed is romance. Sorata, Mashiro, and Aoyama have a bit of a triangle going, and Jin and Misaki have their own thing going. Ryuunosuke eventually even gets a girl who drags him out of his shell a bit. It is incredibly rewarding to watch the growth of their relationships, but at the same time, it is very hard to see their missteps. Jin refuses to treat Misaki right, he's so scared of hurting her ridiculous optimistic and childlike personality that he refuses to acknowledge her advances, even though he loves her as much as she does him. Mashiro is a complicated case. She has no experience with social interaction, and Sorata gets put on "Mashiro duty" (aka he has to dress her, help her get ready, cook her food, take her to class, etc...) because she is incapable of functioning on her own.
However, this show also addresses how difficult life can be. All of them have goals. Sorata decides he wants to break into the video game industry and make his own game. Aoyama desperately wants to be a voice actor. Jin wants to write scripts worthy of Misaki's talent. But the three of them continually wilt next to the genius and overflowing talent of Misaki and Mashiro. Watching these characters put in weeks and months of hard work every day, even to the point of making themselves physically ill, only to be rejected, hits harder than most anything I've ever seen in an anime. They do have some successes as well, but each stage of their journey through life is complicated and wrought with twists and turns. You can't help but want to hug them close and tell them it will be ok. They are still in high school after all.
In the end, I can't say enough about this show. I absolutely loved it. The characters were so real to me, and their struggles and experiences were things I could get behind and root for. The series ended on a high note, and I would love to see a season two. There's tons of space left in the lives of these characters for more!
|(The) Pilot's Love Song (TV)||Very good|
|The Pilot's Love Song was one of the few animes of Winter 2014 that I eagerly waited for each week. It sounds like a sappy romance, and it kind of is, but there's a whole lot more going on here. The story surrounds our main character, Kalel, and his sister Ari, as the two of them come of age and join the flight school. They are then sent on a grand mission to the edge of the earth to try to find the legendary End of the Sky. They leave on a massive floating island and train to be fighter pilots on the way. |
The series has two distinct parts. One focuses on the mission to get to the end of the sky, as well as the battles that surround them from unexpected resistance from the nation closest to their goal. The fights are very well done, with a good sense of strategy and tense action. I feel like I could follow along perfectly even though I am not the most well versed in air tactics. The second part is that of Kalel, Ari, and the rest of the flight school as they come to terms with not only their mission and putting their lives on the line for their country (there is death), but it is very rewarding to watch their relationships blossom. Kalel, our titular pilot, falls in love with one of the girls in the class, but there is a wrinkle as is to be expected, and neither of these people are who they appear to be. The drama is just as excellent as the action.
This is a refreshing show, because there's nothing at all wrong with it. It does a fantastic job getting the viewer into the action and keeping them hooked. Do want more!
|A Place Further Than the Universe (TV)||Excellent|
|I waffled a bit between Very Good and Excellent, but finally went with the latter. It helps that the show ended on an amazing note, and that on top of the consistently solid episodes leading up to the end is enough to set A Place Further than the Universe apart from a lot of the other shows that fill this genre. Well, that sort of skate around this genre. I haven't really seen another show that's exactly like this one, in terms of it's goals and narrative. It has it's slice of life moments, it has it's dramatic moments, and it has it's more adventure-y moments, and it all adds up to a great coming of age adventure of these four girls finding their place in the world by, strangely enough, going as far away from their homes as they possible can. |
I say that the last episodes were excellent, but really the show does a great job throughout of speaking to the humanity and emotions of its characters, and this really comes through with Shirase, our main character who is the driving force behind making the trip to Antarctica actually happen. Her mother was part of an expedition a few years prior and she was lost during a snowstorm and never made it back home. It's easy to see how this simple yet poignant backstory can lead to a compelling driving force for the show. We deal with how hard it is to get to Antarctica for the average high school girl, and when they actually get there, well, what then? It's heartwarming and charming and it hits hard, but in the right way. This show has tons of feels, but they aren't depressing, it's just, well, it's special. Few shows can make me cry, so that alone says volumes about this one. I really, really enjoyed it. I love character driven shows like this one, and would recommend it to anyone who does as well.
|Place to Place (TV)||Good|
|Yet another slice of life show that is notable for the fact that nothing happens ever. Of course, I've grown to love these types of shows, they are pretty relaxing for me right before I go to sleep. The main girl is adorable, in fact the entire show is pretty much adorable. This show is just pure sugar. I would never recommend this to someone else really, just watch it if you're looking for some stupid fun.|
|Plastic Memories (TV)||Good|
|Plastic Memories was actually a huge surprise show from a very strong season. I knew almost nothing about it, but the first episode got such rave reviews that I had no choice but to check it out. Not surprisingly, the first episode probably was a the high water mark (though the last tries hard to match it). The crux of the show is that there are human-like androids called giftias that are indistinguishable from the real thing, except for their lifespan, 10 years. Our main character gets a job at the company responsible for retrieving these giftias at the end of their lifespans from their human owners, which makes for heartwrenching scenes. He has to work in a pair with a giftia as his partner, and wouldn't you know it, she's a very attractive young girl. You see where this is going...|
Yeah, Plastic Memories is a drama and a romance. It is going to make you cry, or at least get very close to it. It handles the intense emotions very well, but that's only half the series. The other half is kind of a lighthearted attempt at comedy that doesn't match the rest of the show, causing much of it to fall flat. If this show was only about the drama, it's score would be much higher, but the bad comedy brings it down.
|Polar Bear's Café (TV)||Very good|
|Princess Principal (TV)||Excellent|
|I really, really enjoyed Princess Principal. It does spy games extremely well, and the themes and atmosphere of the show play super well with the industrial, steampunk type of world that they set it in too. I also will always appreciate shows with badass female characters, and Princess Principal pretty much has that in spades. It's a clever, fun romp that feels super fresh, especially the really excellent first few episodes. There's something special here, and I highly recommend the show to pretty much anyone.|
|Problem children are coming from another world, aren't they? (TV)||Very good|
|I won't beat around the bush, there are tons of things in this show that shouldn't work. The main character, Izayoi, is disgustingly strong and overpowered. He's never once put in any danger at all, and through most of the (very) short series he basically punches things into oblivion. Compound that with the fact that half of the plot is a nonsensical convoluted mess, and the other half is seemingly never explained, makes this show ripe for a very disappointing viewing experience. But.... this is a rare case where the total product manages to transcend the sum of its parts. |
The characters end up being quite endearing. Most of the episodes have multiple jokes that are laugh out loud funny. If anything, Izayoi's overpowered-ness makes him a more compelling character, if that's even possible. Black rabbit is perhaps the most memorable and most enjoyable character of the bunch, and those scenes with Izayoi and Shirayoshi teaming up to poke fun at Kurosagi are some of the funnier scenes I've seen in all of anime. The other main characters are great too, Asuka and You, though You never fully lives up to the other two, which is a shame as I picked her as my favorite after the first episode.
I think that the reason that this show is able to transcend its faults is because it just really doesn't care. It knows what it is, and damn if it isn't going to make you have a good time along with it. I can't really explain it, this show is just straight up fun to watch. The action is well done, and the animation actually is better than I would have expected. Also, both the opening and ending are top notch.
|(The) Promised Neverland (TV)||Excellent|
|The Promised Neverland is a piece of work. Wow. This is one of the most clever psychological horror shows that I've seen yet. I feel like this type of show hasn't been all that successful lately. I keep thinking back to shows like The Lost Village that just utterly failed in this space. So, it's super refreshing to see The Promised Neverland arrive and kick ass. This show is as tense as it gets. It's got like Stephen King vibes to it, as it follows a group of young preteen kids and their slowly dawning realization that their orphanage and lives are not what they seem, and the are actually in mortal danger. So much of the show is about clever people trying to outmaneuver each other, which lends itself great to incredibly tense moments. This isn't an easy or fun watch, but it's captivating. I cannot wait for season 2.|
|Psychic Squad (TV)||Good|
|This is a really fun show. The main characters are three girls with ESP powers that form BABEL's strongest team. Together they fight crime and rogue espers. They are a bit on the young side (10 years old), and the show does play with that a bit, as the girls are all quite taken by their older supervisor, Minamoto. Nonetheless, it never crosses the line. In fact, I felt the first 26 episodes were pretty appropriate for kids. It's kind of like the powerpuff girls. |
However, from episode 26 on (season 2), the show gets really really interesting. Hyobu Kyosuke starts to put his mark on the show. He's an extremely compelling villain that I felt myself almost rooting for at times. The expanded cast works well together. Its around this point that all pretext of innocence gets dropped. There's an uptick in fan service as well as mature themes. The show also plays with the ages of the girls a lot, finding excuses to show them in their adult forms.
That aside, the plot really picks up in the second half, as Minamoto struggles with the fact that he is responsible for avoiding a terrible future. It's quite a ride at the end.
|Puella Magi Madoka Magica (TV)||Excellent|
|Punch Line (TV)||Very good|
|Punch Line is a bit of an odd one, and that my be an understatement. The first few episodes cast this as a pretty typical fanservice-y harem offering with some weird but not too far out supernatural elements. Honestly, if I didn't know this was by the same writer as the 999 and Virtue's Last Reward games I would never have given it much of a chance. But, I kept on keeping on and around episode 4 or 5 it became clear to me that there's a LOT more going on here. Essentially this is a time travel story with our hero figuring out what he needs to do to save the world. The plot and intrigue surrounding it is the best part, and push the superfluous fanservice really out of mind altogether. That's not to say that the show stops, if anything it ratchets it up, but it's clear that fanservice is not the point, it's almost a critique or parody of such things by the end. Regardless, this show is nothing like it first appears. There's a lot of quality to be found if you make it past the misdirection of the show's beginning.|
|(The) Quintessential Quintuplets (TV)||Very good|
|Quintuplets was an amazing experience. I feel like a dying man in the desert who was just handed a bottle of water to finally quench my thirst. It's been THAT long since I've seen a compelling, competently done harem. Quintuplets stands out simply by not being terrible, which is saying something about this overdone genre. What it also means is that harems aren't played out, it's just the bad ones that are played out. We got so many mediocre copycats that everyone just sort of lost interest. It's a show like Quintuplets that has reminded me why everyone was so into harems in the first place. This is a fun show, and a fun, unique genre when it's treated well. I hope Quintuplets sparks something that gives us some more good entries to look forward to. |
That's the genre as a whole though. Quintuplets on its own is a great example of how a simple premise can be made into a compelling story. We're teased up front with our protagonist, Futaro, on his wedding day. We see the bride, with her purple/red hair, and it doesn't really make sense why they're revealing her to us until the show begins in earnest. See the five members of the harem are quintuplets (yes, I know the title says this), and they have the same face, so while they do have some artistic differences in the shades of their hair and other things, there's no way of knowing who it actually was. The promise of a winner at the end is compelling though, and knowing that there will be a payoff goes a long way to keeping the show humming along even when the girls refuse to accept Futaro as their new tutor. It's a very heartfelt show that not only has it's romantic hijinks, but also is surprisingly understanding of what it's like to be a twin sister, caring more about your family than yourself. These girls may end up competing with each other, and they may not always understand why their sisters do certain things, but they are family, and that's the most important thing. It's a really nice sentiment and serves to feel fresh in a crowded, tired genre. That's the key here, even though Quintuplets hits a lot of the same story beats as other harem entries, this show manages to keep them fresh, which should be enough of a sales pitch for anyone who has seen more than their fair share of these types of shows. Really fantastic show.
|Rage of Bahamut: Genesis (TV)||Good|
|Every time I was about to watch the next episode of this show, I remember thinking "man... it's just so cheesy and dumb" and I never really got all that excited about it, but man does this show have a way of pulling me in. I can't quite explain it, but Rage of Bahamut ended up being surprisingly good. And that's before I factor in what might be the greatest animal eared character of all time (Seriously, if she got more than two minutes of screen time, I don't even know, I'm just saying, Masterpiece can't be all that far off). *Ahem*, but yes, good solid fantasy adventure type show. It's a fun romp.|
|Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul (TV)||Good|
|So, I'll admit this show's ending was poor. In the end, the story and character arcs ended up not making a whole lot of sense, but I still appreciate the fun story telling and adventure feel that carries over from the first season. I think there was probably a bit too much politics in this one (or at least the politics that were attempted ended up not being super well done), but the action ended up being fun and I thought the characters were pretty great. In the end it at least met expectations from the first season, so if you enjoyed that, no reason not to watch through the followup.|
|Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai (TV)||Masterpiece|
|It's been a long time since I've seen a show as good as Bunny Girl. The titular girl actually is not a bunny, it's pretty much just an eyecatch to drive interest in the show and has nothing to do with anything, which is both good (it's a good way of gaining attention, let's be honest), and bad, as it really misrepresents what this show is about. |
I (and I'm sure most others who review it) like to describe this show as a hybrid of two different shows: My High School Romance Snafu (Oregairu) and Monogatari, which should tell anyone who has enjoyed those shows all they need to hear before they run off to watch this one. And it's true. This show does it's thing in every bit as strong of a way as those two excellent shows. For me, the combined snarkyness of our jaded protagonist and the highly amusing interactions he has with the other characters he runs into, is done even better than oregairu, and while it's almost impossible to say this show does Monogatari better than Monogatari (the comparison is more in terms of the story versus presentation, which are impossible to separate when it comes to Monogatari), it at least leads to compelling story beats and provides a solid framework for our characters to explore what it's like to grow up and figure out who they are and what they want from life. While writing this, another show comparison comes to mind, which is more abstract, but feels like philosophically Rascal has a lot in common with, which is The World God Only Knows. Another good show to find yourself in the company of. Anyway, I loved the characters in Rascal, which if my other reviews haven't made obvious yet, that means I pretty much loved the show. I think this show does everything right, it's beautiful, the dialog is done really well, and the story is compelling all the way through. I'm super excited for the upcoming film.
|Not a ton to say about Re:Creators. This show was pretty much poorly written from the very first episode. The gimmick of main characters in stories coming to life is fun, but this show somehow managed to drag everything through the mud. It had multiple episodes that consisted of characters sitting around and talking, about... well... nothing really that important. Certainly nothing that couldn't have been said in a couple of scenes. It really drug as they set about destroying any sense of pacing, urgency, and sense that the show had. Seriously, everything made about as much sense as Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere. |
What Re:Creators did have was a kickass soundtrack and badass action scenes as superpowered main characters squared off against one another. THAT'S THE SHOW I WANT TO SEE! Not this boring ass, talk about the same BS birdcage and life philosophy crap they spewed. Seriously, not worth the time, at all.
|Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- (TV)||Excellent|
|I heard all about the hype of Re:ZERO before I got a chance to sit down and watch it, and I have to say that it mostly lives up to the praise. I felt like the last fantasy series to get this much attention was SAO, and Re:ZERO manages to pull off a better effort than that show. The key of course is how tight the narrative is. Re:ZERO clearly has a plan from the very beginning and executes with precision. Subaru is a bit much at times, but he settles in as an easy main character to root for. In fact, besides the great first few episodes, the second half is the real gem of the series. It's where we see Rem, Subaru, and the story in general really take focus. It's kind of a depressing mind f- of a show at times, but the emotions all come across as really genuine and it's easy to get wrapped up into the characters and the story. |
It occurs to me that the above paragraph, while true, is boring AF. Emotionally, I freaking loved this show. Subaru is goddam hilarious, Rem and Ram (but then mostly Rem) are super adorable, and I was pulling for Emilia the whole way. The show does such a good job of building up its characters, which almost guarantees that I will love it. I also like the gimmick of time travel, when it's done, well, and Re:ZERO does it better than most. I mean, if you are a fan of fantasy, you can't not like this show. It gets heavy at times, but offsets that with some good comedic moments, and some actually really good action and resolution towards the end. Lots still left unanswered though, I'd love another season!
|Re:␣Hamatora (TV)||Very good|
|Much much better than the first season. I remember making a remark at some point watching the second half of Hamatora that I was surprised it was still the same studio and director producing the show. The difference is really that stark. And this is a great thing all around. The art and style to the show are very unique and certainly become a strong focal point around a type of show that you might not expect to go that route. The story and conflicts are also much more deep and interesting. Altogether, definitely worth seeing. I would say that if you were on the fence about watching the first season, it is certainly worth it for Re:|
|Record of Grancrest War (TV)||Good|
|This feels more like a recap show of a much better show. Seriously, if someone told me that there was a 100 episode version of Grancrest out there, everything would make way more sense. There's so much nonsensical time and place jumps that it's all but impossible to figure out what's going on. You just have to nod and agree with the characters. It's a fun fantasy romp, but that's in spite of it's narrative failures.|
|Recovery of an MMO Junkie (TV)||Very good|
|This is a very awkward and cute show rolled up into one. The premise is that a 30 year old woman quits her job and decides to hole up in her apartment and spend all of her time playing MMOs. In it she decides to play a male character and subsequently joins a guild and befriends one of the female characters within it, who of course is played by a man. Turns out they live near each other and through a series of coincidences they start to get to know each other outside of the game without knowing the connection between the real person and their characters. They are both very shy and awkward about things, and it's really a treat to watch their interactions. I have spent a fair amount of time in MMOs myself, and I really enjoyed that this show centered around online communities and friendships, and they do a good job portraying them. This is a very solid romantic comedy with a focus on video games thrown in. Definitely recommended.|
|I saw this movie way after I should have. It came out, and I remember seeing a lot of hype for it all around the internet, but for whatever reason it kind of passed me by. I'm regretting that now though. My friend described it best, it's basically anime's answer to Fast and the Furious. |
Of course, the visuals are absolutely where Redline shines. The entire movie is animated gorgeously, and really serves the action well. If there was any real amount of cg in there, I didn't see it, which is impressive for a full length feature such as this. The plot was... well I guess there was a plot, haha, but it wasn't really all that important, which is fine for a film like this. Just give me more of those insane races. Seriously. The movie is a blast to watch. Sad I missed out on it for so long.
|Restaurant to Another World (TV)||Good|
|In the end, Restaurant to Another World is really just a slice of life show with a light fantasy take on top of it. The story revolves around a restaurant in Tokyo that every Saturday has doors open to it all across a fictional fantasy world, and then creatures like demons, lizardmen, mages, dragons, fairies, elves, and the like show up to eat delicious food. That's really all there is to it. It's cute, and fun, not a lot of plot to be had, very light on comedy, but it's a feel good show about food and some fun that is had along with it. Good slice of life material.|
|Riddle Story of Devil (TV)||Good|
|I thought this would have more yuri than it did, so I was a bit disappointed in that regard. The real problem though is that the story is so stilted. Each episode is basically stand alone and deals with one of the 12 assassins (12 episodes! get it yet?!) attempting to kill the main target. There's not much in the way of story, but the action is alright and some of the characters are tolerable. The one thing it does have going for it is atmosphere.|
|(The) Rising of The Shield Hero (TV)||So-so|
|Shield hero kinda seems like a standard isekai show, and at the end of the day, it doesn't do that much to dispel that notion. There's still our intrepid hero who gets overpowered unfairly and is never really truly challenged, he still has his harem of adoring women who he has either rescued from slavery, raised himself, or is secretly a princess, and the show still has to bend over backwards to make us feel like our overpowered hero is somehow the underdog. It's the absurd lengths of that last point that kinda ruins this show for me. Naofumi gets dealt the worst hand ever by the end of episode one, it's contrived so that he can't be any lower when he starts his slow rise to the top. |
I get it, but I really dislike the tone that ends up shaping the show. It feels like the incarnation of nice guy syndrome or something. Everyone is out to get Naofumi at all times, and everything he does gets misinterpreted and thrown back in his face ten times worse, and no one will believe in him no matter how hard he works or how many times he proves his worth. And when he does receive recognition, he doesn't hesitate to throw it back at his enemies, forcing a woman who wronged him to change her legal name to "bitch", and reveling in calling her that for instance. I get the sense that the author of this book does not really like or respect women much at all, after all it's telling that there are no equals to Naofumi among his little harem. These women, for various reasons, didn't necessarily join up with Naofumi of their own free will, but once they traveled with him for some time, they come to realize that beneath his gruff exterior, he's actually a good person. I dunno... the whole feeling behind this show is a bit uncomfortable. It's hard to root for Naofumi when I'm thinking to myself, yo dude, you sit there on your high horse and judge everyone else but tbh, you also need to get your head out of your ass and grow up. All of that adds up to make the show just kinda feel a little bit gross.
It doesn't help that the animation in the show is pretty much subpar throughout. There are a couple good action sequences, but most of the "fights" end up being people yelling at each other, and laser beams flying across the screen. The story also is weak, but at least the addition of some unknown villains at the end of the run breathes some life into the show with the promise of maybe something larger going on. I thought some of the characters were alright, though I hate how much of the cast ends up being young girls. If we can ever get some solid character development outside of how everyone loves Naofumi so much, I'd get behind that a bit more.
Yeesh, this does not read well as a review. Some good points, watching Naofumi's tormentors finally get their comeuppance is deeply satisfying, though I also am a bit disgusted by how much gloating the show does. A few of the one off episodes, including Raphtalia's tragic backstory are surprisingly deep and feelsy. The world and magic systems seem to be well thought out, and it's fun to see these things come to life and watch the characters slowly learning their way around things. The enemy at large, whether the waves or the other villains who show up, are still very mysterious and could lead to some good moments. Basically, I think there are much better isekai shows than this one. Re:Zero is a better dark show. Slime does better at building it's world. Gate does better at harem antics with questionable morality (and I don't even like Gate). Konosuba, well, is pretty unlike this show, but is better in almost every way with fanservice, comedy, and heart. I don't see why anyone would watch this show over those others, and I wouldn't really recommend it. That said, I'll probably (rather reluctantly) watch the next season, hoping that the more interesting final few episodes indicates a stronger story to come, and just to see if the hype ever gets justified.
|Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers (TV)||Excellent|
|I really really enjoyed Rokka a lot more than I expected. I don't really want to give too much away here but it's a fantasy story that happens to be all wrapped up in intrigue. The characters are solid for the most part, and the action can be ok, but the plot is really where the series shines. There's a ton of little things all going on here that lead up to the grand finale where everything comes to light. It's a smart show that will make you run circles around yourself. Very well done.|
|Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend (TV)||Good|
|Solid Slice of Life/Harem show. Honestly there's not much to distinguish it from the rest of the genre, just all around good quality with some funny moments thrown in. It's at least self aware enough to laugh at itself, but that's never the overriding factor. I enjoyed it even if it sort of very abruptly ended.|
|Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend Flat (TV)||Very good|
|Overall, I was very impressed with Saekano's followup season. The second season takes more of what made the first season good (meta, self aware humor, deep characters, solid comedy) and added an actually compelling story and dramatic plot on top of that. It's not often that a harem anime will end with a surprisingly heartfelt tearjerker of a climax. Each of the last three episodes hit hard, and sort of reaffirmed to me that these characters have grown, and that this show has grown from the first season till now. They have released their games and each of the characters need to figure out how best to grow from this moment moving forward, and that answer is not always the best in terms of maintaining their relationships and the status quo. But it's handled in a mature way, and honestly in the best way that it could be, as it feels that the characters are real and that they are acting in a way that the should be, and makes sense. I'd like to see more, as I've grown quite attached to Blessing Software over the past two seasons, but this ending does tie a nice bow on things. Maybe I should check out the light novels.|
|Sakura Quest (TV)||Very good|
|Really, really well done slice of life show, with a bit more plot and character development than the average entry into the genre. Sakura Quest is about as great as a working girl show can be (probably just behind Shirbako as the standard bearer for this type of show). Yoshino is maybe one of the most adorable slice of life leads I've seen. She's energetic, driven, capable, and just a really good person. She has her struggles trying to revive the small rural town's tourism industry that saw her foisted into the role through a series of funny mishaps, and the crew of girls she surrounds herself with are fleshed out and whole characters as well, each with their own strengths, and hardships to overcome. The story is just such a feel good, happy, comfy take on rural life and the light comedy and drama that comes along with it. I really grew to love these characters and the town of Manoyama as a whole. PA Works knocked this one out of the park for sure. I'll sign up for any working age slice of life they throw out there next.|
|Sakura Trick (TV)||Very good|
|Sakura Trick might be the most adorable show ever. There is absolutely nothing here except sweet sugar, and it is glorious. The show is basically about a group of girls and their relationships with each other. Cute girls kissing each other? Sign me up.|
|School-Live! (TV)||Very good|
|Wow. School Live is an absolute gem of a show. This is one of the most unique and interesting experiences that I've had watching anime in a while. I will only say one thing about the plot. It's not just a simple school slice of life story, there's a ton more going on here. I'd recommend anyone watch the first episode in its entirety without knowing anything more and then decide what you think. It's an emotional rollercoaster and well worth the time investment. The reason this isn't Excellent or Masterpiece though is mainly due to how it slows down the middle, the beginning and end are masterpiece levels, and the middle still isn't really even that bad. Loved this show.|
|Seitokai Yakuindomo* (TV)||Good|
|I actually watched this show without knowing that this was a sequel. It just doesn't really matter. Think of it like Lucky Star if Lucky Star was rated R. I could see this being on Adult Swim. It's very slice of life, but every joke ends up being sexual in nature. There's no story to be had, but the odd pairing of cute girls and dick jokes is worth every minute.|
|Senki Zesshō Symphogear (TV)||Excellent|
|I think that Symphogear is probably the single most hype show I've ever seen. They are CONSTANTLY topping themselves and the show understands very well how to keep powering up and even though we know it's coming, it's freaking awesome every single time. There are badass action scenes. It's bright, colorful, and well animated. The music is fantastic (as should be expected). And, just, it feels really refreshing. Like it took me back to the kind of stuff I watched when I first got into anime, it was both nostalgic and new at the same time. This is what I remember old school anime being, not what it actually was like. |
Of course, that's not to say that there are issues. The plot is fairly weak, and with the ever expanding cast of characters, it becomes hard to really dig deep into any single character's arcs. In addition, the tropes are strong with this one. There's nothing new or shocking to be found. But dammit, this show is plain fun in spite of that fact. I loved it, and marathoned all 3 seasons before I really knew it. To be honest, it's probably not worth a 9/10, but I wanted to throw the show a bone. I'll remember it very fondly, and I'm excited for the upcoming season 4!
|Senki Zesshō Symphogear G (TV)||Very good|
|See season 1. Season 2 did have probably the best episode endings of the three seasons. Someone cut together the Symphogear G Ending Moments on youtube, and it's like my favorite video. I said that this show knows how to do hype, and that's never more true than the endings. That Hibiki noise punch though... *goosebumps*|
|Senki Zesshō Symphogear GX (TV)||Very good|
|See season 1.|
|Senyū. (TV)||Very good|
|Senyu is 3 to 4 minutes of pure ridiculousness. There's some sort of plot but whatever, the jokes hit hard and hit fast, and the whole series is hardly more time than 3 or 4 episodes of a standard show. Highly recommended.|
|Seraph of the End: Battle in Nagoya (TV)||Excellent|
|See season 1. Still a great show. Very annoyed at the prospect of waiting years to see it continue, if it ever does.|
|Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign (TV)||Excellent|
|I really thoroughly enjoyed Seraph. It's a very strong action show with supernatural elements thrown in. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where the small amount of remaining humans are fighting with vampires that have risen to power. It's really just bad, bad things all around. Of course the show follows our group of rag tag youngsters as they go about navigating the the conflict. |
Really, the story isn't anything super unique, but it is presented in a very compelling way. Plot points are teased endlessly and motives remain shrouded in mist throughout. I love a story that is confident enough to drive things through showing instead of telling and Seraph does that very well. The action and animation are also very slick and high quality. It ended up being one of my favorite shows of the year.
|Shakugan no Shana (TV)||Good|
|Shakugan no Shana is a solid piece of work. The titular Shana is a flame haze whose duty it is to keep watch over the world and hunt down evil denizens of the crimson world who find their way to the human's world. The denizens want nothing more than to devour human souls, so it is up to the flame hazes to stop them. During one such mission, Shana encounters a curious boy, Yuji, who gives her a reason to stay in one city for a while. Together they learn about each other and each other's circumstances. Yuji learns of the crimson world, powers of existence, and the denizens while Shana learns what it means to live a normal life with wants and desires of her own. Truthfully Shana is adorable, and that was the reason I started watching the show, but there is surprising depth here as well. Worth a shot, especially if only to get to the brilliant third season.|
|Shakugan no Shana III (Final) (TV)||Excellent|
|The third and final season of Shakugan no Shana feels like it was created by a different company than the first two. Everything is turned up to eleven. The stakes are astronomical as the two main characters are pitched against themselves. It wastes no time establishing itself and never stops until the very end. There are feels, crazy action, intricate strategy, confusion and chaos, and everything else I hoped it would be from the start. My only complaint is that the show sleepwalked so badly through season two when it could have spent time setting up these characters that just seem to be thrown at us one after another with no time for formal introductions. It's hardly enough to disrupt the excellence that the third season portrays, but it does serve to remind me that within these last twenty four episodes, there was the potential for something more, something that could have been closer to the conversation of greatest anime of all time. Still, it is what it is, and that is a damn fine show. Really highly recommended.|
|Shakugan no Shana S (OAV)||Good|
|S is a collection of 4 OVA episodes. Chronologically, the first two take place between seasons one and two (thereabouts), while the last two episodes are a prequel about Shana first coming to Misaki city. I watched the four between season two and three, and that works fine. The first two are typical OVA epsidoes (body switching, yay!), but the last two are a real treat. Shana is after an unknown denizen and her only trail is a young girl who saw him before she was killed. Shana uses her powers to take the place of this girl and lives her life to try to figure out what happened to her. It's heart wrenching to see this girl's parents love for her and know that that she is already gone... Really really well done.|
|Shakugan no Shana Second (TV)||So-so|
|It pains me to say this, but I have to be honest, the second season of Shakugan no Shana was a huge letdown. It pretty much forgoes much of the conflict and action in favor of developing the character's relationships. That on its own can work, but Shana has such a deep world with so many characters and intricacies, that it really does the series a disservice to have four episodes devoted to Shana and the other girls fight over Yuji at school. The entire season really drug for me, and even the climax which finally piles on some fights, is lackluster. The end result is worth it though, because the final season redeems the show in every way.|
|SHIMONETA: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist (TV)||Very good|
|I really enjoyed this show a lot more than I thought I would. On the surface, it is a show about trying to make as many sexual innuendos as possible, and really that permeates throughout the entire production, and it's funny and all that, but... there has to be something more for a show to ride than just that. Thankfully, Shimoneta does manage to give us some solid characters and a semi-interesting, if not overly silly, plot about fighting against oppressive censorship of all things dirty. It ends up being a show that absolutely does not take itself seriously, and is a blast to watch. Nothing ground breaking, but just a solid all around production.|
|Shirobako is one of those shows that makes you wonder why the creators insist on being so mean to their characters. Unfortunately, I suppose that is the reality of the animation industry, so it makes sense that it would be reflected in a show about the day to day workings of an animation studio. The story follow five girls who graduate school with the dream of all creating an anime together, who wind up starting their careers in the industry. The story covers two anime seasons, with the first show being an original project and the second an adaptation. It does a good enough job of explaining how the process works, but that isn't really the point. The point is to follow the highs and lows of the production cycle, to see the director and producers give everything they have to see the project through. There is a ton of heart in this show. They knocked it out.|
|Show By Rock!! (TV)||Good|
|So, I really enjoyed this show, but I realize it isn't for reasons that make it objectively good. I have a well documented weakness for girls with animal ears, and this show does that in spades. The plot was meh, the music was meh, but the girls... so. adorable.|
|Show By Rock!!# (TV 2/2016)||Good|
|This is just a continuation of the first season. Cyan gets teleported back to Midi City and Sound Planet and now another dark figure is threatening to stamp out all music. This time old rivals are new friends and together they all use the power of music and friendship to defeat the evil music-hating threat! If it sounds pretty cliched and stupid, it's because it is. But it is at least exceedingly happy and energetic, so it's fun to watch nevertheless.|
|A Sister's All You Need (TV)||Good|
|So, the title, description, and first 2 minutes of episode one really make this show out to be the trashiest of the trash. But, shockingly, it's a bit of bait and switch and what ends up coming out is a pretty enjoyable story of an aspiring (well actually kinda already successful) light novel author and the hijinks he and his friends get up to, mostly while chilling in his apartment. The sister thing is basically that our main character author bro is obsessed with little sister characters and features them prominently in his books, but he doesn't have one in real life.|
So really, this show is more about authors griping to each other about the industry mashed up with really in depth episodes that feature board games. Seriously, they play 3 throughout the season I think and each one takes up basically the full episode and ends up being a lot of fun, much more so than this show has any right to be. Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the fanservice, of which there is a ton. One of his friends is a girl who can only write while she's naked and is basically obsessed with sex and our main character, so you know what you're getting there. I think it was at least well done instead of cringey and trashy, so while yeah, it's ecchi, it's not bad. In the end, it was a pleasant surprise and I had fun watching.
|(The) Slayers (TV)||Decent|
|Slayers is one of the classic anime shows from the 90s. It's a fantasy romp with over the top characters and world conquering baddies. The series is very careful not to go too dark, always cutting away for gags. It makes it feel a bit dumbed down, which, is probably because it is. This is more of a traditional cartoon series, with many enemy of the week scenarios, though it does tend to have an overarching story behind it. It is fun, but it's not much more. I can see how it rose to prominence when it did, but there are better shows that use this formula today.|
|(The) Slayers Evolution-R (TV)||Decent|
|This is the second half of Slayers Revolution.|
|(The) Slayers Next (TV)||Decent|
|Next is almost exactly the same as season one of Slayers|
|(The) Slayers Revolution (TV)||Decent|
|Slayers Revolution is the reboot of the series over ten years after Try ended. We get all our favorite characters back and together they embark on a new quest to find Gowry his sword of light (and there's some stuff about a country being destroyed, evil villians, and the world almost ending, but that's besides the point). Basically we've got the show back in all its glory. It trips over itself to show you that no, nothing has changed, this is exactly the same as before. So yeah, it's good old slayers, but again, nothing especially surprising or interesting to be found here, just some cartoon fantasy goodness.|
|(The) Slayers Try (TV)||Decent|
|To its credit, Try actually does mix the series up a fair amount. Enemy of the week plots are almost entirely gone at this point, as we follow an expanded narrative this time with consistent villains and even higher stakes than ever before. Those characters who we do get introduced to stay consistent throughout the season, which is another improvement. Even though this is "better" than previous seasons, it didn't feel much better to me. I think Slayers kind of overstayed its welcome by now, and it makes sense that the series all but ended after Try. Fun show, but nothing I would say anyone has to go out of their way to watch.|
|Slow Start (TV)||Good|
|Slow Start is another entry in the cute, meaningless slice of life before bedtime category. The "conflict" in this one is that our main character caught the flu before her high school entrance exam and was forced to skip a year. Apparently this is highly traumatic in Japan and she is a nervous wreck going to start high school a year late. The rest of the conflict of the show is about whether or not she can work up the courage to tell her friends about this fact. Needless to say, there isn't much drama to be found here. The show is cute, in that typical slice of life-y way, but there isn't really much else going for it. It's fun in the moment and will quickly be forgotten afterwards.|
|Soul Eater (TV)||Excellent|
|Soul Eater Not! (TV)||Decent|
|Don't get confused, this is not soul eater, and it isn't particularly trying to be. It follows the story of several new students at the DWMA as they learn to become weapons and meisters. It's about girls being girls and doing girl things. There is a bit of action and some cool cameos, but mostly this is a school anime. And it's fine for what it is, but putting it in this setting, I couldn't help but be disappointed with what it isn't.|
|Sound! Euphonium (TV)||Excellent|
|Sound! Euphonium is basically as perfect as a school anime centered around a club can be. It follows the concert band of our main characters' high school as they transition from a laid back club with not much in the way of expectations to a band that can compete for the national title. The new freshmen and director come in and have to deal with the conflicting cultures at play, as many of the members seem to be aiming for nationals in name only. The show is about self discovery, as the main girl, kumiko, struggles with her identity and what it is that she wants from the concert band. |
Kumiko is really the most fascinating part of this show. She is a really unusual main character, as she is someone who is lacking for motivation and drive, but hides it expertly. She doesn't make connections with other people easily, but as the show goes, we get to witness her grow. It's not always easy, and that goes doubly for everyone else involved, but the drama is intensely interesting and very well done. This show handles these conflicts expertly. Kumiko and Kousaka's relationship is probably one of the most interesting and compelling pairings I've ever seen in anime.
Sound! Euphonium is high school drama at its finest. It is highly worth watching, even for those who are not musically inclined. KyoAni has put together an amazing piece of work here. I cannot wait for more.
|Sound! Euphonium 2 (TV)||Masterpiece|
|After reading my review of the first season of Sound Euphonium, I can't help but wonder what the hell I was thinking. Seriously, that review seems so vague, wishy-washy, impersonal, and just not at all deserving of this show. Regardless, let's talk about Sound! Euphonium. |
Simply put, it's one of the best shows I've ever seen, and I don't say that lightly. From the very first episode of season two I found myself commenting over and over again about the stupidest little things. Here's what I said to a friend after the first episode aired:
"There's just so many little things that the show does amazingly. The way they frame shots, quick flashes of emotion, conversations that actually feel real, disjointed and imperfect. I dunno, I appreciate it a lot more now for some reason. Also kumiko is so freaking weird for a main protagonist, she's almost like hachiman. I used to think Reina was the odd one, but, I kinda get the feeling now that Reina is realizing that kumiko might be kinda more f***** up than her, just a thought. Anyway, go watch it, it's excellent."
And I stand behind that 100% while also acknowledging how weird that is. I've never stopped a show in the middle of a seemingly non-important conversation between characters to catch my breath. I replayed quick cuts and clips of dialog over and over as I watched the show. I couldn't handle it. KyoAni's attention to detail and the little "somethings" they add over and over and over again through the show is outstanding. I could go on and on forever. For instance, the way that they do quick cuts to the characters almost-imperceptibly fidgeting with their hands, or a quick turn of the head animated just so so that we pick it up subconsciously that they are annoyed, angry, confused, scared, or any other emotion.
Sound! Euphonium feels so real! It's so perfectly composed, the dialogue so naturally written and recorded, that your breath gets stolen by the small moments as much as the big ones, which hit just as hard. I realize that my description of Kumiko from season 1 and from episode 1 above were both wrong. She's not lacking drive or motivation, and she's not really "f'd up" in that way either. She's a real human being, much more-so than any other character I've seen in anime. She's confused by the world, intimidated to voice her opnions, scared for her friends, and yet, she does try her hardest, it just doesn't always appear that way. Reina is the same, though arguably she's a more simple character in that her intentions and ambitions have always been stated.
I haven't even gotten to the story and characters from the second season, and I don't even think I need to go into it much at this point. Reviews exist for that. Instead, I just want to say that the character growth throughout is very well done, and getting a deeper look at characters like Yuuko, Asuka, Taki, and others are more than enough to drive the show forward to its inevitable conclusion.
I found myself almost as scared as the cast during the final episodes as they geared up for their final performance. I didn't want it to end, it was just too good. There was actually some nice parallelism going on in terms of my fears and the characters' fears, as they too were scared not only of the huge stage, but of what came after. I sat through the last episode looking for any way that I could grab onto hints of more. Some teaser of an unexplained plot point. Yet, by the end of the last episode I had to chide myself for falling victim to my own insecurities. Kumiko's last few scenes with Asuka, and the departure of the third years acted as a kind of cathartic release of my own stresses. The end of season two is a fine stopping point, and sure, Kumiko, Reina, and co. are just starting their second year, but this is no longer the band and group that we started with. I'd be surprised if we see more from the show for a long time, and that's ok, it ended on such a high note and in such a satisfying way, that I'd feel almost disrespectful for asking for more.
In the end, it was an absolute pleasure to watch Sound! Euphonium week in and week out. I can't wait for more to come from this team at KyoAni. I'm fully convinced that no matter what they decide to do next, they can do no wrong. This is definitely a show that I will rewatch as time goes on, and I'm already counting down the days till next time. Thanks for everything Kitauji!
|Space Dandy (TV)||Excellent|
|Space Dandy is different from a lot of the other animes out there. Shinichiro Watanabe really did a fantastic job with the show. It oozes attitude and cool, all in the name of hunting rare aliens, stumbling upon crazy extra-dimensional weirdness, just going with the flow, and of course, beautiful babes, baby. Hahaha. Space Dandy is organized into a series of one off episodes that go surprisingly deep places questioning things such as life, mortality, love, what it means to be happy, and many other seemingly out of place things. It can be both simultaneously heartfelt and touching while also being crude, insane, and hilarious. Really a great time. Highly recommended.|
|Space Patrol Luluco (TV)||Good|
|This is trigger condensed and ramped up to 11 really. If you loved Kill La Kill and Gurren Lagann, this is like the 9 minute version of those shows. I thought Luluco was fun, but mostly as nothing more than an interesting diversion. The story is kinda thrown by the wayside to focus on how WACKY these characters are! Which is fine, but it's not a masterpiece or anything. More Trigger is always welcome though.|
|Spice and Wolf (TV)||Masterpiece|
|Maybe looking back on it, this show may not be worthy of such high praise as masterpiece. However, this was the first anime series I watched and it fully hooked me, so that alone should speak volumes. |
Spice and Wolf is all about its characters. Lawrence and Holo are very deep characters that bounce of off each other very well. I hesitate to call this show a romance, as it isn't really about that. There are definitely some moments, but that's true of most any show. If I had to give this a genre it would be Economic Thriller, which probably needs some explaination.
Lawrence is a traveling merchant who meets Holo, a wolf deity that makes wheat grow, and agrees to bring her with him, as the village she has been watching over has forgotten about her. The story centers around Lawrence and his business. It is heavy on the inner workings of currency, trade, taxes, debts, and other seemingly boring topics. However, it presents all the points in a way that makes it easy to follow and interesting to a viewer who might not know much of anything about economic theory.
Holo is easily the star of the show and serves as the counter point to Lawrence and his business dealings (she even shows that she's a pretty shrewd dealer herself, though whether this is because she knows more than she lets on or because she is merely a quick learner is up in the air). She gives the show what many other thriller/mystery type shows are lacking, charm.
Though there is very little action, the wheels upon wheels of intrigue and mystery are what make this show gripping, and ultimately a must see.
|Spice and Wolf II (TV)||Excellent|
|The second season of Spice and Wolf could simply rest on its laurels and let the winning combination of its two main characters carry the show, however the plot and intricate business workings again take center stage. |
It kicks right off with an arc that tests the main characters in ways that they never were in the previous season. Even though their lives are not in danger, the threat of an end to their journey is almost more suspenseful. The one downside to this arc is that even after multiple viewings, I still could not adequately explain what trick Lawrence employs to win in the end. The auction and fluctuating price of seemingly worthless goods sailed a bit over my head. As such, when I was unable to follow what was happening on screen, the characters efforts seemed wasted on me.
Thankfully, the second arc steps up and redeems the show. Without revealing too much, Holo is the center this time around and we finally get a deep look at her as a person with weaknesses and desires of her own. This arc is more approachable, at least in my view, and gets back to what works best, and that is the relationship between Lawrence and Holo.
In the end, fans of the first season should definitely check out season two. However, for those of you who still aren't hooked, this probably won't change your mind.
|Squid Girl (TV)||Good|
|Squid Girl Season 2 (TV)||Good|
|Steins;Gate (TV)||Very good|
|Steins;Gate 0 (TV)||Very good|
|Right up front, I have to say that I think the writing in Steins;Gate 0 is weaker than the original. I'm still pretty confused about the exact way the pieces of the time traveling plot fits together, which isn't good for a show that's supposed to be the pinnacle of approachable sci-fi timetravel that actually makes sense. Anyway, there's a bit too much of sad beaten down characters in this to truly be a happy character study as well, but that's the nature of the story that White Fox tried to tell with this show. |
So then, why an 8? Well... There's something special here, that spark that made the original series so impressive. For all of its flaws, this show threw some great twists, and had me really excited to watch it week in and week out. The animation is great and I enjoyed the few new characters that were added. I like the concept of what Steins;Gate 0 tried to do, so I have to give it props for that. Even if it wasn't perfect, it's still a good addition to the original and certainly worth watching. I had a great time.
|Strike the Blood (TV)||Very good|
|Strike the Blood has it all, vampires, fan service, romance, magic.... Ok ok, stop rolling your eyes. It's actually a pretty solid show. The vampire thing isn't really done up all the much, it only really manifests itself when our main character, Kojou, has to power up by drinking the blood of one of his harem of girls. It's a bit disappointing that the show ends up playing out sort of like the enemy of the week. I'm always looking for shows that can tackle longer, more in depth story lines. But for what Strike the Blood was, I would recommend it. It's got an interesting artistic feel to it, and hey, the girls are all pretty cute, so there's that.|
|Strike Witches (TV)||Good|
|I only watched this show to begin with because of the spectacle, something to watch while drunk or to laugh at with friends. But then a curious thing happened... it was actually... good? Yeah, kinda entirely unexpected, but Strike Witches somehow manages to actually tell a decent story and is compelling throughout the season. Sure, at its core it's stupid fanservice, but there's a lot to like here.|
|Strike Witches 2 (TV)||So-so|
|The second season of strike witches is sadly kind of a let down. The action, that was actually a strength of the surprisingly good first season, has taken a huge step back. Some episodes don't have any neuroi encounters, and those that do are over in a matter of seconds, just thrown in at the end. The last two episodes up the ante a bit, but still, the encounters are just never interesting. They also abandon some of the more interesting story lines from season 1, content to turn the show into more a slice of life/comedy show. It was fun, but this season feels more like a victory lap than a true follow up.|
|Strike Witches: 501st JOINT FIGHTER WING Take Off! (TV)||So-so|
|Beyond reminding me who the various characters in strike witches are, this little 12 minute spinoff series is not necessary to watch at all. It's simply the girls in various slice of life circumstances repeating the same jokes over and over again. We get it, Hartman is a slob, barkhorn is strict, eila loves sonya, and on and on. They mix up the settings, but it's just the one note responses we would expect from cardboard cutouts as the show goes on. Totally skippable unless you're a huge strike witches fan.|
|Survival Game Club! (TV)||Decent|
|Sabagebu did what it set out to do, which is nothing really at all. It's in that vein of cute girls doing cute things, but this time they have guns, crazy! Nothing really all that memorable, but a good way to kill time and relax.|
|Sweetness & Lightning (TV)||Very good|
|This is just a really sweet (no pun intended) show about a single father and his preschool aged daughter as they struggle to return to a normal life after his wife passed away. The way they start the healing process is through food and cooking, as Inazuka-sensei realizes at one point that he's been feeding Tsumugi nothing but fast food. He resolves to learn to cook and ends up going to one of his students houses and together they learn to cook, from simple rice bowls to actually fairly complex dishes. |
Simply put, this is a show about heart, soul, growing, and learning to love, all told through excellent montages of cooking. It's sad and happy at the same time. It can make you cry but by the end of the episode it's all smiles. Just a really nice show.
|Sword Art Online (TV)||Excellent|
|Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online (TV)||Very good|
|This is a spinoff that requires nothing from you in terms of Sword Art Online. You don't have to know the main series, you don't have to even like the main series. This is wholly different. With that out of the way, the question you have to ask yourself is are you a fan of this whole Battle Royale trend in videogames at the moment? If you like Fortnite or PUBG, well... you're going to love this anime. It's basically a FPS Battle Royale in anime form. With cute girls. What's not to like. It's a ton of fun.|
|Sword Art Online II (TV)||Good|
|It sort of felt like the second season was content to rest on its laurels and simply have fun with the world and characters it had constructed. And while that's good and all, the season at times felt strained. I've believed for a while that this show is kind of fundamentally flawed. It really doesn't know what it is trying to do, bouncing around between worlds and characters as though it's struggling to find an identity. Spoiler Alert: it never does. |
Not that that makes the show not worth watching. As I said initially, it's more fun for fun's sake really. Sure Sinon in the first half actually has some heart pounding, real danger moments, but the rest of it is, well, fluff (as cute as Yuuki is). I don't know where they go from here, if it's even possible, but for the show to regain the magic of the first half of season one, it has to stop spinning its wheels. Unfortunately, I just have no idea how they would manage that.
However, I've seen crazier redemption stories. Shakugan no Shana is proof enough in my mind, that a show can collect itself and go out with as great a bang as any. Sword Art Online has that potential, and I would hate to see it wasted in small vignettes that end up being largely meaningless. I'll continue watching, that's for sure, but I can't keep out the voices telling me that this show really isn't as good as it should be.
|Sword Art Online: Alicization (TV)||Excellent|
|I talked about Shakugan no Shana in my review of season 2, and I am happy to report now that I've finished the third season (Alicization's first half), that this show actually kinda really pulled it off. I'm a bit shocked by this, but it's definitely a very welcome development. We got the sense of danger and unknown back, as Kirito is flung into a new world, but this time things are different. It's not meaningless, this is real stuff and it's kind of scary. I won't go into the plot really, but I will say that I am very happy with Eugeo's development in this season. SAO has needed more badass guys to root for, and he fills that role extremely well. Of course, the action and animation are very well done, per usual. All in all, I really have no complaints beyond the fact that this is very clearly not over. Excited for the second half of Alicization, this is a really amazing return to form for SAO and gives me hope that we may see Progressive sooner rather than later.|
|Sword Oratoria: Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side (TV)||Good|
|Sword Oratoria is the most basic form that a fantasy anime can take. It doesn't really do anything super well, but it isn't outright bad either. It's fun to see things from Ais' perspective, though I've never thought that she was a super intriguing character. And it's nice to have a bit more an action focus than the main series. However, how do I describe this. The show lacks soul. It feels like it's going through the motions of what a fantasy story should be without actually committing to its characters and story. I think that the lack of depth to the world really hurts this series overall. It just feels like a bland retelling of some JRPG.|
|Tanaka-kun is Always Listless (TV)||Very good|
|Tanaka-kun is a great little slice of life show. It has a refreshingly new perspective in a genre that is defined by repetition. Tanaka himself is basically a no energy, no ambition teenager just going through life with minimal effort, and watching his various upbeat friends bounce off of that is actually really fun overall. The show has clever writing and is quite funny when it wants to be. Definitely recommended.|
|2 minutes of utter, pure chaos. There's nothing substantial here, but it is really really funny. Adult Swim would love this show. I'm impressed with how simultaneously smart and very, very stupid Teekyu manages to be at the same time. It's a hypnotic show, but somehow manages to make a very strong impression. All 9 seasons take a combined 4 hours or so to watch, and are best enjoyed spaced out. Too much of this glorious mess can be bad for your mental wellbeing. I wrote this after finishing season 9 and won't be commenting on the seasons individually.|
|Teekyū (TV 2)||Good|
|Teekyū (TV 3)||Good|
|Teekyū (TV 4)||Good|
|Teekyū (TV 5)||Good|
|Teekyū (TV 6)||Good|
|Teekyū (TV 7)||Good|
|Teekyū (TV 8)||Good|
|Teekyū (TV 9)||Good|
|Terror in Resonance (TV)||Good|
|Terror in Resonance has a large number of very prominent names attached to it, and looking at it through that lens, I am vaguely disappointed by it. I don't like the feeling that I am "supposed" to like a show, yet that what was my thought throughout Terror in Resonance. I would think to myself that the show was very well done while simultaneously checking the amount of time left on the episode. I just wasn't entertained or captivated enough. The show starts well, with very creepy atmospherics and hints of things to come, kind of an eden of the east type of vibe, but much more realistic and violent. But then it doesn't actually go there. It never ends up broaching any deeper questions or meanings, and the potential for blood, gore, conflict, and everything else kind of dries up and becomes more of a detective/"criminal" cat and mouse game, which is fine I guess, but it limits the show. Oh well, it was interesting.|
|(The) Testament of Sister New Devil (TV)||Decent|
|I wish I could somehow give this an incomplete score. I feel like the show would be completely different if the fanservice wasn't just completly destroyed by the overly invasive censors QQ. All it does is remind me how much I'm missing as I watch, which is never what you want from an ecchi show like this. However, it was solid for what it was. Fairly standard supernatural plot going on with a young demon king (queen?) on the run who takes refuge in the son of the great hero's house. Together they fight demons and get down. Well executed though. I look forward to the second season.|
|(The) Testament of Sister New Devil BURST (TV)||Good|
|Stronger than the first season, plot-wise, but it doesn't really do anything to elevate this series beyond the ecchi, fanservice-fest that it is.|
|That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime (TV)||Very good|
|Slime is an odd duck in terms of the crowded isekai genre that has been dominating anime recently. Slime's take on this is more of a wish-fulfillment style fantasy, where our protagonist dies lonely and unfulfilled in the real world, and is reborn as a slime in this fantasy world where things just sort of go his way. The key with a story like this though is that you can't take things too seriously, it's no fun when we always know who is going to win. Instead, it's more about the journey and growth of the characters around our titular slime that give this show purpose. Rimuru is insanely powerful, but he's only as important as the people he surrounds himself with. He gives monsters and castouts homes in his fledgling city, then nation, and cares deeply for making their world better. |
The technical merits are very strong, and the comedy and character interactions stay light hearted and fun throughout the show. It's a good wind down type of show, because while the story is good, the stakes aren't too high, and more often than not it just ends up being silly. Excited to see where things go, but not too concerned with exactly what will happen, just pumped to spend more time in this world with these fun faces.
|This Art Club Has a Problem! (TV)||Very good|
|This is yet another slice of life show that's equal parts funny and adorable. The "twist" on this one, if you will, is that our main character has fallen in love with her clubmate, a boy who only uses the Art club to draw waifus for himself. Usami is an everygirl, with that plain yet surprisingly appealing design (think of the girl from Saekano). The other characters (read:Colette) are a bit more on the ridiculous side. Overall, it's a very cute slice of life with some romance, absurdity, and winking and nudging about anime and otakuness thrown in for good measure. I thoroughly enjoyed it!|
|Three Leaves, Three Colors (TV)||Good|
|This show was a totally competent slice of life, which pretty much says all it needs to. It's about 3 girls who are kind of quirky (the used to be rich girl, the hungry girl, the unintentionally abrasive girl, and so on), and the hijinks and such that they get up to. Fun show, but nothing to really separate it from the pack.|
|To Love Ru: Darkness (TV)||Very good|
|To Love Ru really turns the corner with darkness. The series moves beyond harem hijinks into actually having a decent story and seriously taking a look at its characters. It's a curious move for a show that up to this point has largely been harmless fanservice, and it could easily have backfired, but darkness manages to blow the rest of the series out of the water. It helps that Momo has traded places with Lala to become the driving force behind the series. She's a much more interesting character and really allows the show to get creative with certain things (very rarely, scratch that, never have I seen a harem series actually have one of the main girls push for a very literal harem end, and actually look like it might realistically happen). There's a ton to like here, but of course, it's still massively adult in nature with tons of fanservice shots and nudity, so if that's not your cup of tea, even the most intriguing entry into this genre will probably not change your mind.|
|To Love Ru: Darkness (TV 2)||Very good|
|Darkness 2 is just a continuation of darkness 1. I wrote the review of part 1 after finishing this one, so see that.|
|To Love-Ru (TV)||Decent|
|Tokyo ESP (TV)||Decent|
|Somehow this ended up being entirely mediocre. It was like a superhero show where the superheros aren't really all that super, and they all have kind of crappy not really helpful abilities. I dunno, just never really got me that excited.|
|Tokyo Ravens (TV)||Very good|
|The easiest way to describe Tokyo Ravens is as anime's version of Harry Potter. I'm sure there is a closer approximation somewhere, but this show gives off the same sort of vibes. It's about a small group of friends, 2 boys and a girl who attend a high school for mages. But it's not really the same as most standard high school magic shows. This is less concerned with school really and more so about the magic society at large and the machinations within it. It's got solid action but at times things get a bit chaotic as it throws out term after term with really no basis for anything. I thoroughly enjoyed it, minus a little thing they pull at the end, which just wasn't really my cup of tea. Would recommend.|
|Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time (TV)||Decent|
|It is what it is, which is to say simply 7 minute episodes of nothing really much going on. The premise is unique in that the entirety of the show is simply about Seki-kun doing various things at his desk while he's bored in class. Some of them are quite hilarious, but again, there's not much in the way of substance to be had.|
|Wow, Toradora is an experience, that much is for sure. I feel like this show kind of sets the standard for high school romance dramas. The highest praise I can offer it is that it is real. This is a show firmly grounded in reality, and all of its characters are deeply flawed in their own ways. Of course, this fact is a tool that lends power to the show that it otherwise wouldn't have. At its core, this is a show that deals with love triangles and the like in a typical high school, but really it transcends the standard fare within the genre. I can't really adequately explain how I felt after watching it, I just pretty much had all the feels (and not all in a good way, let me be clear). The only reason this doesn't get a masterpiece is because I feel like Nagi no Asukara did it better, but really there's no reason Toradora doesn't deserve that high praise.|
|Trigun (TV)||Very good|
|Slowly but surely I am making my way through the old staples. Trigun was hyped up a lot by my friends, and I have to say that I wasn't disappointed at all. I have spent years hearing how badass Vash is, so the beginning of this show totally threw me for a loop. I respect Vash and his happy-go-lucky lifestyle, but certain things about him (you know what I'm talking about) get stale for the kind of show this is trying to be. Beyond that though, it is highly entertaining, and only gets better as the show starts figuring itself out. The first five or six episodes are one offs, but once we get a feel of the overarching story, it becomes way more interesting.|
|(The) Troubled Life of Miss Kotoura (TV)||Decent|
|Not all that much to say about Kotoura-san. It's an interesting take on a high school rom-com with some surprisingly deep and dramatic bits thrown in. The first and second episodes hit very very hard, where we learn about Kotoura's past and the horrible things that happened to her. Kotoura was born a psychic, but she has trouble distinguishing between what people say and what they are thinking, leading her to say things that her friends/parents/other people were holding secret, leading to her living a life alone from an early age. |
Then she gets to high school and meets Manabe, a self-described pervert who spends much of his waking hours daydreaming. He thinks Kotoura is cute, and his daydreaming catches her offguard. They become friends and romantic interests. They end up joining the "ESP club" led by a sempai who's mother was psychic and was discraced. Their goal is to prove the existence of psychic powers, but much of the series is about Kotoura learning to lead a normal life. It's a shame that the power and emotion of the first two episodes seems to disappear, and we are left with a fairly standard slice of life show. It's fun to watch Manabe's daydreams of Kotoura in perverted situations though.
|Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE (TV)||So-so|
|I wanted to like this show, it came highly recommended after all, but it just never lived up to expectations. I expected some sort of epic fantasy journey, but what I got was basically .hack//Sign lite. It really is just a show that evokes Sign at every point but never has the guts to go places that Sign did. It doesn't ever deliver on the promise, and as such I don't know that it was worth it|
It doesn't help that it took me over a year to watch. The dub was ok, but the sound mixing on the SAVE edition that I bought was way out of wack. Dialogue was way too quiet and the sound effects drowned it out. It was disappointing. I could have easily overlooked it for an amazing story, but it devolved into a rather formulaic nature. In the end, I'm not sad to be done with it. Doubt I ever watch the second season.
|Tsukigakirei is just an all around pleasure of a show. It's full of life, earnest in its presentation and desires, pure and happy with its portrayal of love, and just... real. That's the best thing I can think of to describe this show. It is clearly, and undeniably, real. This is probably the most pure romance show I've seen, but it captures everything so well in a way that no other show has. Watching Kotaro work up the courage to actually text Akane something, anything, then immediately throwing his phone down and shadow boxing with the string hanging from his ceiling fan is one of the greatest sequences of animation I've ever seen. I mean, I've done that. The show perfectly captures what it means to be growing up, and falling in love, and really having no idea what you're supposed to do, what you're expected to do, as you're just embarrassed about everything, but goddammit you still have to try to figure it out. I can't say enough good things about the show. Incredibly well done, hats of to the team and to these two kids.|
|Tsuki is another one of those 4 episode ova type arcs from the Monogatari series. It focuses on Yotsugi (the doll like, green haired girl), though she isn't really even the main driving force behind the plot here. It's really about Araragi growing up and starting to come to terms with the fact that he can't keep doing what he's been doing. There's consequences to his actions now. Really the plot, when you lay it down, isn't much to write home about, but as always with Monogatari, the plot itself is the least of all my concerns here. Tsuki is gorgeous, as I've come to expect, and is directed and crafted in such a manner that, well, it rises above most other shows just as a baseline. If you stop to think about why certain shots are included, why the characters are actually discussing seemingly meaningless things, you start to get to the core of the cleverness of the show. It's about reading between the lines, and I appreciate that more than ever. I can't tell if Tsuki is better than the rest (probably not than Second Season), or if I'm just becoming a better viewer when it comes to this stuff, but man, I'm having fun with this series. Onto Owarimonogatari!|
|Tsuredure Children (TV)||Very good|
|Tsuredure Children is maybe the most adorable and fun take on high school romance that I've seen. It's just a bunch of kids, with no idea how dating works, fumbling their way through a series of up and down relationships. It's hilarious, heartwarming, sometimes cringy, always thoughtful. I really appreciate the care that this show has put into its characters. Each episode is broken up into 3-4 minute vignettes, and the episodes them selves top out around 11 minutes, so it is easily digestible. It's fun jumping around between the different couples, and watching them all come together in the end. I wouldn't mind more, but I'd understand that this show probably isn't likely to get anymore. Still, this will be a little hidden treasure for a long time.|
|Unlimited Psychic Squad (TV)||Very good|
|The Unlimited is a spinoff series of Zettai Karen Children (Psychic Squad) and the similarities pretty much end with the character names. Where Zettai Karen Children was very much about ten year old girls growing up and learning about the world, while playing secret agent, The Unlimited is much darker and more mature. Hyobu Kyosuke carries the show easily. I love the fact that they took a compelling antagonist from a previous show and spun his group off into their own show. He was easy to root for, and it was exciting to see the universe turned on its head, to get a different view point. |
Don't get me wrong, in no way do you need to have seen Zettai to appreciate this show. I didn't go back and watch it until after I had finished the Unlimited. So, lets talk about this show on its own. Andy is an interesting protagonist, in that his powers of nullification are rather unique, and we never are really given insight into the extent of what he can do with his eye. The expanded cast of PANDRA work well, though at times I felt Yugiri (the little girl in the group) was given too much attention. The action is rock solid, and the animation is top notch. They took the esper attacks to the next level in this series compared to Zettai. I recommend this show to anyone looking for action with a dose of super powered awesome. And, there's so much left in the tank for this universe. Here's to another series!
|Urawa no Usagi-chan (TV)||Not really good|
|A completely forgettable slice of life series of 3 minute episodes. Nothing else worth mentioning.|
|Utawarerumono: The False Faces (TV)||Excellent|
|So, this is a show. I'll be honest, the hook for me immediately was Kuon. Dear god, that girl is quite possibly the greatest thing that anime has ever produced. She carries this show so hard, and I'm not even mad. If for some reason that isn't enough of a reason to watch this show (it really, really should be), then at least the show hits on all notes for me throughout. The first half is a lot slower than the second half, but that works well for me. It's kind of like a slice of life a bit as the characters are introduced over the first ten or eleven episodes, and these are actually pretty funny for good measure. But then about halfway through, the story finally delivers on the fantasy action goodness that it's been teasing. There's a couple of wars to be fought complete with swords and magic and strategy and awesomeness. Seriously, it's great, and blew away basically every expectation I had for it. Also Kuon. That is all.|
|Valvrave the Liberator (TV)||Decent|
|It took me almost a year to come back to this show after I dropped it during its simulcast. I thought the plot was rife with cliches and uninteresting characters. I had been burned by guilty crown and this show felt almost exactly the same. The first season was, well, ok I suppose. The first half was honestly hard to sit through, but it picked up a bit. The second season was far superior to the first, and actually managed to create meaningful arcs and characters. The mech action got a lot better and the story in general graduated from beyond the "enemy of the week" plot devices thrown at us in the first season. |
This show is brutal and gory. Characters die, often unceremoniously. Perhaps not as bad as Attack on Titan, but to watch some of these characters spiral uncontrollably to their deaths was hard. It's a good sci fi story, but I can't help but lament the "faceless" ultimate evil that became the antagonist, it could have been more. I guess that's a good one line synopsis. It could have been more. But, there aren't too many anime's out there that can make you just sit back and say "Damn...", and for those moments alone, it was worth it.
|Valvrave the Liberator (TV 2)||Good|
|See season 1|
|Wagnaria!! or Working!! as I prefer it to be called, is a slice of life show about a group of (really quirky) misfits who work part time together at a family restaurant. It actually works very well. The comedy and characters are so solid that it honestly feels more like a classic Sit Com type of show. There's some clever writing and some really heartwarming and fun moments. As far as popcorn fare goes, this one is solid for sure.|
|Wagnaria!!2 (TV)||Very good|
|I don't know what point Working decided to be an actual show with actual character development and (weak-ish) but still present plot. It's kind of shocking. Of course, the show handles it brilliantly and transitions from meaningless slice of life to actual workplace dramady quite well. The comedy still reigns supreme, but I'm beginning to feel like we're going to see some actual couples develop by the end of this thing, which is awesome. Good to see a show this confident in itself. Highly recommended for any fans of the genre.|
|Wagnaria!!3 (TV)||Very good|
|Props to Working! Season 3 ties things up perfectly. It really does a fine balance of keeping true to what the show is about while also ending things in a really satisfying conclusion. It's not everyday that a slice of life show ends up being this good and this sort of meaningful honestly. Not sure that this even really qualifies for slice of life, as it's a bit more than that. It's like Lite Lite Toradora. Love it.|
|Wake Up, Girl Zoo! (ONA)||Good|
|This is just a silly collection of shorts of the wake up girls girls dressed up as animals and in a zoo. Sadly, it has more charisma and heart than the main series, which I think is the best summation of the wake up girls franchise I can give. Some seriously cute moments here, but in the end, it's all nothing special.|
|Wake Up, Girls! (TV)||Decent|
|Be sure to watch the movie first, as it explains how Wake Up Girls formed. That said, this is a pretty bog standard idol show, the animation isn't great, the stories aren't great, the characters aren't deep... I mean, Wake Up Girls doesn't really do all that much well to be honest. It's fine enough if you're into idols and stuff, but otherwise this is an easy skip. I won't be watching the rest of the series after this.|
|Wake Up, Girls!: The Movie||Decent|
|This is a prequel "movie" to the Wake Up, Girls! show. Wake Up Girls is an idol series focused on a group of no name girls and an ex-celebrity idol who comes together to, well, do idol stuff. The movie moves very quickly and while it does do a bit of introduction, there's none of the charm of Love Live or the good stories present in other, better, idol shows. The characters hardly get backstories. It's a decent enough start to the series, but I hope the series proper steps it up.|
|We Never Learn: BOKUBEN (TV)||Good|
|Bokuben is a pretty by the numbers high school harem comedy. It features a tutor who is tasked with helping 3 smart but flawed girls pass the subjects of their choosing. The twist is that these girls are geniuses in particular subjects, but they really want to pursue their weaknesses (the science girl wants to major in literature, the writing prodigy wants to be an astronaut, and the star athlete really wants to learn english), so our protagonist-kun works diligently with these hopeless students, and harem hijinks ensue. It does this show no favors that it aired the season after Quintessential Quintuplets, as that show also had the high school tutor dynamic going, but it was better in almost every respect. Bokuben ticks all the cliche boxes of a high school harem, diligently going through the motions. I have to respect how much this show goes out of its way to banish any original thoughts. It doesn't make it a good show, but it does serve as a good standard for what a typical harem looks like.|
|When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace (TV)||Very good|
|Something about this show just made me smile every week. Sure at its core, it's just a stupid harem, but still, the concept was fairly fresh and the characters were interesting enough to carry it along. It was really the execution that gripped me though. Everything was spectacularly done by the animation studio, which is kind of a breath of fresh air based on some of the other slice-of-life-y shows I've seen recently. Some good laughs to be had here and some really endearing characters. Obviously, the first twelve episodes here only tease the larger conflict that may, or may not, come at some point in the future. But for now, it was solid and I looked forward to the new episodes every week, which in the end was all that mattered.|
|White Album (TV)||Decent|
|I didn't really dislike White Album, but I find it hard to actually say what about it was particularly good. It doesn't help that the plot is a jumbled mess (and they throw in a large amount of BS the last few episodes that make even less sense), but for all that, the characters do feel real and alive, even if they annoy me to death. This is an adaptation of a romance game, and it shows, cramming a huge amount of potential romantic interests into the show. Half of them truthfully aren't super interesting, which lead to me actually kinda tuning out at times. The main couple of characters are decently done, but that MC... Seriously. He's just the worst. I know they were trying to tell a compelling story about growing up and discovering love, but it comes across flat and I just get pissed off as he keeps sleeping with literally everything that moves. All in all, it's confusing, but you really can't look away. Whether that's because it's actually secretly interesting or just like watching a train wreck in slow motion, I'll leave up to others.|
|Witch Craft Works (TV)||Not really good|
|Witch Craft Works was mediocre at best. The story revolves around a high school boy who finds himself under attack out of nowhere by a gang of evil witches. He is saved by the school's idol who also turns out to be a witch, and not only is she perfect in every way, but she also is in love with our everyday normal guy hero! Crazy!!|
Ok so, the tropes are strong with this one. That's not the biggest problem though. The first half of the series is just flat out boring, I have no better way to put it. I snoozed through it and actually got pretty close to dropping it. The main characters are completely uninteresting, and there wasn't a fight worth watching until the series climax. I can't quite explain it, but something just felt off with the pacing or the story direction. Regardless, the ending was actually pretty cool. The witches were kinda cute and all, but I'm really not sad to see the show end.
|World Conquest Zvezda Plot (TV)||So-so|
|There's not much for me to really say about Zvezda. The show was ok I guess. It didn't really grab me much. It features a little girl and her unlikely group of misfits who are set on taking over the world. It plays out like a children's fantasy would, which is entertaining, but the tone and feel of the show never really meshed with me. I wouldn't recommend it, and I probably won't watch another season if they make it. It was just one big pile of meh.|
|(The) World God Only Knows (TV)||Very good|
|The World God Only Knows is actually a very clever show. At its core, this is a harem through and through, but the way it is presented is surprisingly original and compelling. It stars an antisocial dating-sim addict as the main character. Agents from Hell are charged with capturing loose souls that have lodged inside of many girls around the world, living off of their fears and doubts. The only way to free the girls is to make them fall in love. So, Elsie, our resident agent from Hell stumbles across Keima (our gamer, 2D > 3D main character) and his video game handle where he is known far and wide as the king of conquesting women. She binds him to her before realizing her mistake, and Keima is left with two options: Go along with Elsie and try to win the girls' hearts anyway, or die.
Of course, Keima has to choose the former and very reluctantly sets out to conquer the girls much like he would in the various dating sims that he loves. It's hilarious to watch him approach these situations, talking about flags and how he can "See the ending!". He actually turns out to be pretty good, even though he couldn't care less. The first season spans the first four girls who he gets to fall in love with him. The key being, of course, once the loose soul leaves them, they forget all about his conquest.
Some of the girls are more interesting than others, but TWGOK is unique in that it focuses singularly on each of the girls, as opposed to them competing with each other. And of course, Elsie steals the show regardless. Highly recommended though.
|(The) World God Only Knows Season Two (TV)||Good|
|Another season, another four girls to conquer. None of them can top Kanon, and there's nothing all that new in this season beyond a more Tsun Hell agent arriving to help out. The stakes are a bit higher, but everything from the first season is still present.|
|(The) World God Only Knows: Goddesses Arc (TV)||Good|
|The first episode of season three spends a few minutes catching the viewer up on the girls that were conquered between seasons two and three. You would think that this would be a waste of the source material, but it has become evident that the show can't carry on with the same redundant formula as the first two seasons. It's been done to death.
So, we instead get thrown face first into the Goddess arc, which is a huge win. Instead of loose souls, the focus is on seven goddesses who find themselves trapped on earth, each inside one of the girls who Keima has previously conquered. As Keima, Elsie, and Haqua learn what's going on, Keima has to go back and determine which of his old conquests are hosts, with the key being that those girls start to regain their memories of his previous conquest, making life difficult for Keima.
The action and consequences are ratcheted up another notch here, but the show doesn't get away from what it does best. That said, the season still doesn't live up to the first. It's better than the second for sure, but the freshness of the concept is gone, and I'm not sure that the show can recover from that without drastically changing the rules of its world. It's been a great run!
|WorldEnd (TV)||Very good|
|This show has an absurdly long title. That out of the way, Sukasuka is a surprisingly heartfelt and touching show about a group of young girls growing up under the watchful eye of our main character, the last human alive, and a demon of some sort who also happens to be their motherly figure (and dresses like a maid for some reason). It's kind of an odd setup, and you'd be forgiven for having reservations just on the basis of how "light novel" this whole thing feels. Thankfully, Sukasuka manages to transcend most of its light novel trappings, and actually ends up telling a pretty wonderful story, with a few good scenes of action thrown in.|
|Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku (TV)||Good|
|This is a pretty decent workplace comedy type of show. Well, except not that much workplace comedy actually happens. Sure they're office workers, but the key is that our cast are very much closeted otaku at heart and are lucky they've found each other. I appreciate that our main characters are in relationships with each other pretty much from the beginning, so we can skip all the stupid will they or won't they stuff. It's much more exploring what it means to be in a relationship with someone who shares your interests so much. It's lighthearted and funny and well done for what it is. It won't be super memorable, but it's a perfectly fine comedy that pokes fun at otaku and games and such.|
|Wanaria suffers from the same issues that a lot of spinoff shows have. Essentially it boils down to a lot of why questions. Why does this show exist in the first place? Why are the characters just 1 dimensional quirks? Why does this feel like fan fiction? A lot of these thoughts swirl around as I watched the show, and while I still enjoyed it for better or for worse, this just feels like an inferior thirteen episode version of the actual wagnaria, and just makes me miss the main series more. The characters are nowhere near as developed or interesting as the main series. It's fun for what it is, but it will never be better than that.|
|Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches (TV)||Good|
|I was very excited for this show because it was the first time I had read the manga before the anime was announced. As far as the show goes on its own, it's a really interesting premise. The idea is Yamada is a delinquint at his high school, with most of the other students scared of him, though he doesn't really appreciate this image and kind of wishes the attention would go away. His life changes when he accidentally kisses the smartest girl in school, Shiraishi, when they fall down the stairs. They immediately realize they've switched bodies and hilarity ensues!|
Except not really. There's more going on here as Yamada and Shiraishi attempt to come to terms with what happened and then dig deeper into their powers. They discover there are witches at their school who can cast "spells" on people by kissing them. Shiraishi can body switch and the others can do things like telepethy, charm, or even see the future. Yamada makes it his mission to find all the witches and help them with their situations, as they realize the reason for these powers existing is due to the bad shape each of these witches find their lives in.
It's a very clever romance/comedy, but unfortunately, there's a TON of material here for just 12 episodes. The show moves very very fast. I think it would have been better served as a 2 cour series, but alas it was not to be. The manga is probably superior to this adapatation, but that doesn't make it not a good time.
|Yatterman Night (TV)||Very good|
|Yatterman Night was a pretty unique show. The closes thing to it is probably The Unlimited Hyobu Kyosuke, but there are a few key differences. Sure at its core, this is a spinoff of an old kids cartoon series that focuses on the villians, but the similarities pretty much end there. Doronjo is a young girl (really this also serves as her coming of age story), whose ancestor was the legendary villian of the original series. The protagonists supposedly won, but the world is a mess, kinda post-apocalyptic. Doronjo sets out to save the world, taking on the persona of her villian ancestor in the process. It's a really interesting dynamic, and highly worth checking out.|
|your name. (movie)|
|Yuki Yuna Is a Hero (TV)||Excellent|
|Yuki Yuna blew me away. I can't think of a show that so heavily outstripped my expectations off the top of my head. Crunchyroll had this described as a Slice of Life, and let me say, NO WAY. The closest thing to this is definitely Madoka, and I think that comparison works in more ways than one. Yuki Yuna is another magical girl show that goes very dark places. There are fights and tears galore, all against the backdrop of a group of girls simply trying to live their lives as best they can. It is honestly hard to watch they slowly get beat down physically and emotionally by the weight and burden of this task of saving the world that has been emotionlessly, almost cruelly, shoved onto them. There's no way they deserve what takes place here. It's impossible not to feel terrible for them. But through it all, there's that shining beacon of hope, faint as it may be from time to time. Really this is just a beautiful show all around. I love these girls :'(|
|Yuki Yuna is A Hero Season 2 (TV)||Very good|
|This is a 6 episode prequel to the first season of Yuki Yuna that answers a lot of questions and provides more context for the things that happen in the original series. The shock value of the season is a bit lessened knowing what is going to happen, but it's still very well done. It's alternatively fun and cute and gut wrenchingly sad. Definitely watch this after season 1, though it is a prequel. The impact of Season 1 is better without the context I think.|
|Yuki Yuna is a Hero: The Hero Chapter (TV)||Good|
|And this is the second half of season 2, a 6 episode sequel to season 1. At this point, I think I get what Yuki Yuna is trying to accomplish. I don't want to say I'm necessarily over it, but I'd probably not watch another season if there was one. The ending was thoroughly epic, and I liked the way they wrapped things up, but it's kinda been a been there done that season for me. I really love this franchise, but I'm ready for this to be it.|
|Yuri!!! on Ice (TV)||Excellent|
|Wow, just wow... Yuri on Ice is just incredible. I wavered between masterpiece and excellent, I wish I could pick something in between, but had to settle with excellent. It's not because I find much fault with the show, I could sing it's praises for hours. Instead, it's more of a gut feeling that the extra gear that makes me lose myself over a show just wasn't quite engaged. Ok, this is starting to sound negative, back to Yuri on Ice!|
I couldn't have cared less about professional figure skating before the show, but I have to say that it just didn't matter one bit. Yuri on Ice does what all great sports anime have to, and that's get you dragged in and committed to the competition. The show does such a great job building up the competitors and skating routines that I was literally on the edge of my seat at all times. My stomach was in my throat when jumps were missed or miraculously landed. I can't remember the last time I was that nervous watching much of anything. Of course it helped that the animation was stunning. The routines were done so fluidly and naturally, that after a while you forget the incredible display of artistry. Seriously, this is an outstanding production. I cannot wait for more!
|Yuruyuri - Happy Go Lily (TV)||Decent|
|The quintessential show about school girls doing nothing except having cute conversations about cute things all the time. I needed a show to watch in bed before falling asleep, and this one did the job. There's really nothing else to say about the show except that it adds the wrinkle of some yuri themes (go figure!) but obviously, it can't risk sacrificing the absurd amount of cuteness for any sort of actual drama.|
|Yuruyuri - Happy Go Lily (TV2)||Decent|
|Same story as season 1|
|Yuruyuri San Hai! (TV 3)||Good|
|The more slice of life shows I watch, the more I appreciate what Yuruyuri does. This show has things down to a science. It is basically the cream of the crop of most of these shows. You still know what to expect, the execution is just... better than the others really. Really ends things on a high note.|
|Yuyushiki (TV)||Very good|
|I really enjoyed Yuyushiki. There's nothing groundbreaking here, it's a show about a group of girls doing nothing in particular, but it manages to at least be fresh about the way it does it (something that is harder than you might think). In that respect, this show is worthy of high praise, as if you like this kind of genre, this is up there with the best. Solid slice of life/comedy to be found here.|
|Z/X Ignition (TV)||Decent|
|The story revolves around our terrible main character, Tennoji, and his Z/X, and Angel named Fierte, who inexplicably becomes attached to him. He feeds her power through a card device (yes this is a show to promote a TCG). They come across other pairs of Z/X card holders and together they must confront some stuff. And there's other worlds, and evil people that they have to battle. Yawn...|
The soundtrack was probably the best part, but I swear that the director of this series just told their music people "hey that Fairy Tail show has some good music, do stuff like that". Seriously, some of the soundtracks sound almost identical in places.
Aside from that, I just finished the show, and I'm pretty mixed on it. Some of the characters were interesting, but others (Looking at you Tennoji) were pretty much the worst. Probably the bit I liked the most was the world building. It may not be the most original concept, but the scale of everything really resonated with me. It was just begging for a massively awesome conflict.
And that's what really annoyed me. I understand there's no way to do what I want in twelve episodes. But still, there are all these different worlds, at least let us see them a bit. Give us some idea what's going on in the larger sense of things. The last episode teased this, but of course, who knows if there's going to be any more. And I'm not foolish enough to believe that if there is more that it will be radically different from the type of story we already saw.
In the end, it was sadly mostly forgettable. The world had potential, and that perhaps is the most disappointing aspect.
|Zoids: Fuzors (TV)||Very good|
|Zombie Land Saga (TV)||Good|
|Zombie Land Saga is cute but at the end of the day it doesn't really turn out to be that special. The central conceit of the show is interesting. What if a bunch of girls from various time periods and life experiences were brought back to life as zombies and told to form an all girl's idol group? That sounds cool as hell, and is a big reason why this show started so strong. However, at some point, halfway through or so, the show kinda felt like it veered away from the zombie hijinks to embrace more standard idol fare. That's not entirely true, but that's how it felt, and the show seemed to drag. Of course, Zombie Land Saga was always more ridiculous than anything else, but I feel like it could have been better. It's a fun distraction from the other mediocre idol fare out there, but it doesn't end up being that much more than a distraction.|