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Dated 12 January 2010: The Anime Experiment of Winter 2010

Ladies Versus Butlers! random screenshot
Entirely random Ladies Versus Butlers! screenshot.
That someone gets groped comes as no surprise.

I am looking for a currently airing series to watch exclusively on my Playstation Portable. This will have to be a low-expectation series I would not otherwise care about, because I don't want to "waste" a show for a dubious experiment. Hopefully this will work out better than this experiment.

Ladies Versus Butlers! random screenshot
Another random Ladies Versus Butlers! screenshot.
Holy crap, that is a lot of hair.

Every single anime series I've watched for the past six years or so has been on a television (aside from episodes on a computer while traveling or times I re-watched something without giving it my full attention). My theory is that everything is better when viewed on a home theater setup instead of on a computer monitor, and even more so when compared to the streaming video formats that have grown so popular recently. I believe these practices make some viewers less tolerant of shows they might otherwise enjoy were the viewing conditions more ideal.

Ookami Kakushi random screenshot
A random Ookami Kakushi screenshot.
I want to mow my lawn with a scythe.

So, I'm going to find a series for which I have low expectations and try by to watch it entirely on my PSP to see how it all pans out. Besides, I never use my PSP for anything. The only question now: Which series? I'm thinking Ladies Versus Butlers! because of The Ayako Doctrine. Another possibility is Ookami Kakushi, mostly because I love FictionJunction Yuuka. Hell, maybe even Chu-Bra!! if SDS is serious. I don't really care what it is, as long as it's not unwatchably bad or so good I'll wish I had watched it on a TV. However, regardless of the show, I refuse to do my own re-encoding even though it's pretty easy to do. It's a matter of principle.

Dated 18 January 2010: There sure are a lot of panty shots in this show about underwear

Nayu and Haruka
Nayu loves underwear. Haruka feels okay about underwear.

I've chosen Chu-Bra!! as my PSP Experiment show. This decision was loosely based on various impressions and qualified praise gathered from around the Internet regarding the shows in question. For example, Divine called Chu-Bra!! episode two "a semi-serious depiction of the insecurities and embarrassment girls feel when their bodies are developing," and the creator of Danbooru claims "durarara > vampire bund > gentei shoujo > chu-bra > baka to test > hidamari sketch > sora no woto > ookami kakushi > ladies versus butlers."

Yako
Yako, not so much.

Through two episodes, I have to admit Chu-Bra!! is not as mindlessly insipid as I was expecting. In fact, the second episode did manage to convey the awkwardness and self-conscious humiliation some girls must feel during those awkward years. To be honest, it's going to require this type of emo teeth gnashing to keep me from jumping ship mid-season to Ladies Versus Butlers! instead. If the show turns into mindless fan service, I can't see myself making it past episode four. Whether or not this has anything to do with the fact that I'm watching it on a Playstation Portable is yet unknown.

Dated 13 April 2010: Winter 2010 season wrapup

Kou
I liked the manga version of this scene better, though.

Cross Game and Kimi ni Todoke went down to the wire as to which show would claim the top spot, but Cross Game pulled ahead for the win at the very last episode because it had a great ending and Kimi ni Todoke didn't have an ending at all.

Kurumi
Ume > Sawako.

To be fair, the Kimi ni Todoke manga is still running, so there wasn't much else the anime could do without making Kazehaya a vengeful bounty hunter years in the future after a sudden timeskip. On the other hand, Cross Game took a good manga ending and adapted it so well it's better than its source.

Chiaki and Nodame
Damn, Chiaki, give the kid a break.

I already said why I like Nodame Cantabile: Finale so much.

Ed
Here is a screenshot of Ed instead of Winry
again since it is technically his show.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood remains as solid as or better than the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime. I'm still perplexed why so many viewers who were excited by the first anime are apparently completely uninterested in the current show. I guess maybe they outgrew it. Brotherhood continues during the Spring 2010 season.

Noloty
The Book of Bantorra needed more Noloty.

I liked The Book of Bantorra mostly because it was so different. Imaginative and perplexing at nearly every turn, The Book of Bantorra kept me interested because I never knew what to expect from any episode. That, and I liked how the most powerful and dangerous librarian's primary weapon consisted of hucking very small rocks. I was also amused she spent a good portion of her spare time embroidering little bunny rabbits. Hamyuts was pretty well-rounded for a sadist.

Celty
I promise not to make any head jokes.

Durarara!! is a good show that I would enjoy more if I cared about any of the characters. They aren't badly written characters by any means; I just don't find them interesting for some reason. I don't even care about Celty—probably because she gets flustered so easily. It's like finding out your hot date is infected with moe. Yeah, you can get a shot to clear it right up, but sometimes the burning sensation just isn't worth it. I guess I kinda like the girl who smiles in every single one of her scenes and the perpetually angry dude who throws vending machines at people. DRRR!! also continues Spring 2010.

Cure Berry
Cure Berry needed more funnels.

Fresh Pretty Cure really took a dive after the Cure Passion arc. The ending was completely lackluster. When you compare it to the ending of the original Futari wa Pretty Cure series or the ending of its Max Heart sequel, it's blatantly obvious the Precure franchise is playing it safe and taking no chances anymore. The ending of the original Futari wa Pretty Cure was a complete downer that probably didn't traumatize many children but doubtlessly left many of them sad. Too bad, kids; life is real. The ending of Max Heart was a multi-episode fist fight between Zakenna dudes that didn't fight fair and the outnumbered Cure Black and Cure White. (Shiny Luminous was on the bench with too many fouls at this point.) Then they basically had to fight Lilith from The End of Evangelion. It was awesome. The Fresh Pretty Cure finale, on the other hand, faced off four Cures against a bad guy Kirk and Spock would have outwitted without leaving the bridge. And they received battle costume upgrades in the form of angel wings for some reason. Except for Cure Gundam Berry. Just had to be different, didn't you, Miki?


Okay, there was some misinformation in Chu-Bra! as well.

I didn't expect much from Chu-Bra!! at all. This was my PSP experiment show. Results from the experiment were inconclusive in this case, but I believe it would have made a difference with a show where the video and audio mattered more regarding one's enjoyment of the series. Instead of the fan service bonanza and a lot of pandering, Chu-Bra!! instead turned out to be the low-brow anime equivalent of a +5 Informative Slashdot post. It wasn't especially ambitious, but Chu-Bra!! surprised me by not being crass. Honest. Many of the underwear scenes were drawn extremely simplistically to presumably minimize the amount of fan service in the show. In fact, I think there were fewer gratuitious T&A scenes than there were underwear lessons in the style of the Gunbuster science lessons. I kid you not.

Kate and Hana
Hirano Aya is perfect as Katja.

Seikon no Qwaser is basically porn that's not intended to titillate. It's anime one-upmanship. Episode one: Junior high kid sucks high school tits to boost his shounen fighting powers. By episode 11 the show moves on to twincest lesbian S&M rapists. I'm dead serious. And it's planned for 24 episodes. I, for one, am looking forward to another cour with a great Hirano Aya character and the only Kawasumi Ayako game in town.

Hinagiku
I guess Hinagiku was all right since she had a yakuza posse.

Hanamaru Kindergarten was the least Gainaxy Gainax show I've ever seen. I would have liked it better if it had Gainax kicks, or if the lead characters weren't so despicable. I swear, Tsuchida could have learned a lot about ambition and guts from Love Hina's Urashima Keitaro. Yamamoto was supposed to be a Belldandy-type perfect woman, but she's dumb as all Hell.

Vamp
Vamp and Kayoko should get married.

Astro Fighter Sunred is about as good as it ever was, I suppose, but 40+ episodes of essentially the same jokes over and over gets a little tedious. I'll keep watching it if ANBU keeps subbing it, but Sunred really should have been a 13-episode series. I'd still rather watch a Kayoko + Vamp cooking show about bachelor chow.

Dark Precure
Cure Kero-chan.

Heartcatch Precure appears to be the most popular Pretty Cure series thus far, at least as far as mainstream acceptance goes. I'm really unimpressed by it, however, probably because Cure Blossom is a dojikko and her worst-Cure-ever shtick is not endearing at all. Needs more Dark Precure and Cure I-Know-It's-You-Hisakawa-Aya Moonlight. A mid-season replacement for Fresh Pretty Cure, look for Heartcatch to run at least another 40 episodes.

Dark Precure
I bet Dark Precure's original designation was Cure Sunshine.
[Update: Oops, there's already a character called Cure Sunshine.]

Final Tally: Cross Game > Kimi ni Todoke > Nodame Cantabile: Finale > Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (50) > The Book of Bantorra > Durarara!! (12) > Fresh Pretty Cure > Chu-Bra!! [PSP] > Seikon no Qwaser (11) > Hanamaru Kindergarten > Sunred II (40) > Heartcatch Precure (8). Dropped Winter 2010: None.

Dated 30 May 2012: I acquired some more shelves in a game of chance, and some more viewer mail too (through wholly legitimate channels)

Shelves
I bet these discs will still be unorganized months from now.

In semi-related news, I'm partially responsible for at least one more To Heart purchase in addition to my own. Brendan writes:

...your recent comparison of Idolm@ster (which I haven't seen) with the original To Heart (which I also haven't seen – yet) was instrumental in my otherwise blind purchase of the To Heart box from Nozomi. Likewise, following the blog and flipping through the archives have led me to a number of shows of varying popularity which I might not otherwise have bothered to research or dig up – chiefly Figure 17 (was sold by the piano solo in episode 4 – I now own two copies, and the show is easily in my personal top five), but also Nanaka 6/17 (bought blind), Piano (bought blind)(may also have been influenced by the AMV "The Most Exciting Thing, Ever, In the Entire Universe"), Pita-Ten, Oku-sama wa Mahou Shoujo, Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight (would totally buy, having seen it), B Gata H Kei, Chu-Bra, and maybe a couple of others. For all of these, I am grateful to you (even Chu-Bra).

I really need to merge the old archives with the "new" WordPress stuff. This is getting ridiculous. It's been like six years.