Version 5.2-ish ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.
karmaburn.com karmaburn.com
  • HOME

Dated 22 March 2010: Some misgivings about the upcoming Spring 2010 season

Yamada
I'll watch B Gata H Kei if Yamada actually screws 100 guys.
Queen's BladeSeikon no QwaserB Gata H&K
[Spoilers: Never going to happen.]

After looking over this list, I'm afraid there aren't very many shows that interest me except for the sixth season Major. (Season six! Fucking awesome.) Of course, this probably means Shimizu Kaoru is going to win Girl of the Year two years running. And here I had thought Aoba from Cross Game had the title all but locked up.

Fine, fine, I'll also watch D.C. ~Da Capo~ Ext if the franchise returns to its Sakura-killing-deadbeats roots. But if there are no Sakura murders, no deal.

Dated 9 April 2010: B Gata H Kei's episode one is the Futakoi Alternative of sex comedies

Yamada
Tiny pictures are the way of love, Yamada.

I had extremely low expectations of B Gata H Kei and only watched the first episode as a goof. Pleasantly surprised, it looks like be watching more because this first episode is brilliant. I knew the basic premise of the show's 4-koma roots: sex-crazed virgin high school girl ends up pursuing monogamous relationship with Potato Guy. It's a stupid or wonderful premise depending on your point of view, but either way it's hilarious in execution.

Kosuda and Yamada
Kosuda is lucky Yamada didn't want a bigger dictionary.

Like Divine, I had initial reservations about Tamura Yukari voicing the lead girl, but she's perfect. It turns out B Gata H Kei is basically Ranpha ~The Early Years~, so Yukarin's high-school-Ranpha voice is sex-comedy perfection here.

Takashita
I was much less surprised by Horie Yui's character than Noto Mamiko's.

In light of my low expectations for Spring 2010, discovering B Gata H Kei is hilarious is a very welcome surprise. Of course, your mileage may vary; comedy is a tricky thing. In my view, the most important factor is timing, not material. Since the comedic timing in B Gata H Kei has been spot on, the show works for me.

Kosuda, Yamada, and Erogami
Whatever they're paying Yamada's Sex God it's not enough.

More accurately, its first episode works for me. However, I've watched too much anime to judge a show's merits entirely on its first episode. That path is quite precarious. Even a good show can lose its viewers if the follow-up episodes of a series depart substantially from expectations created by a strong first episode. Consider how many people felt betrayed after the incredible first episode of Futakoi Alternative.

Rentarou and Sara
Sara finds Rentarou.

Taken in its entirety, I view Futakoi Alternative as an excellent series (even more so if you've ever watched any of the dreadful original Futakoi), and I rank its amazing first episode among the best—if not the best—first episode of anything ever, but that first episode is also incredibly misleading. Many viewers soured after the frenetic first Futakoi Alternative episode gave way to contemplative (and somewhat downer) follow-up episodes.

Yamada
That is one really firm size chart/scorecard.

B Gata H Kei has a great first episode, but I hope the rest of the B Gata Heckler & Koch anime isn't a letdown. Like I said, comedy is a tricky thing. However, as long as Yamada keeping putting out Sawako-with-a-libido vibes each episode I won't even care if she doesn't manage to make 100 friends with benefits. I heard there's no guarantee she'll go to heaven even if she does kill 108 dudes. [Spoiler.]

Dated 16 April 2010: B Gata H Kei episode two has a Girl Next Door

Kazuki, Yamada, and Takeshita
Does this count as a spoiler?

I'm not really a fan of B Gata H Kei's Girl Next Door. It's probably because she's also a Clumsy Girl and I despise dojikkos as a whole. Besides, they don't even call her a Girl Next Door in the show; they call her a Childhood Friend. I don't understand why Japan doesn't get this.

Takeshita and Yamada
Holy crap. THIS CHAIR.

In other news, if B Gata H Kei keeps this up, Yamada is seriously going to challenge Aoba from Cross Game and Shimizu from Major season six as Girl of the Year, 2010. This is most unexpected. Takeshita is also going to place well as the clear voice of reason à la Nobu from Lovely Complex.

Dated 20 April 2010: The real star of B Gata H Kei

Yamada Chika
No, not her.

Don't get me wrong. Through three episodes of B Gata H Kei, Yamada is wonderful. I'm certainly rooting for her and Kosuda to figure out they like either other. Maybe it's the deretsun trope reversal, or maybe it's the way Yamada appreciates the things Kosuda does for her—appreciates them enthusiastically, to her little sister's despair. It must be traumatizing having the bedroom next door to Yamada's.

Nihon F3
Kosuda's SLR.

The real star of B Gata H Kei is Kosuda's camera. All his photography club jazz makes me want to buy a Nikon F3 even though I haven't touched any of my film cameras in years. Somehow it's endearing when B Cup sports product placement and base when K-On! does it. Even if B Gata H Kei is about challenging double standards, I still have my prejudices.

Yamada views Kosuda's photograph
Yamada views Kosuda's photograph.

I am glad to see B Gata H Kei take the time to develop a character's gimmick into a Honey and Clover-type moment where Yamada wonders what it's like to see the world through Kosuda's eyes, albeit briefly. Now if only she would simply realize how he sees her. I'm getting Hatsukoi Limited flashbacks.

Dated 26 April 2010: B Gata H Kei is beautiful but scary

Kosuda and Yamada
Get a room.

I was expecting a lot more cockblocking in B Gata H Kei. Although it is rather unlikely Yamada will realize her dream of screwing 100 guys before the end of the season, there has been much more progress with regard to her relationship with Kosuda than I anticipated. For an anime sex comedy, it's almost unprecedented to reach this stage by episode four. Thank you, Queen's Blade and Seikon no Qwaser for resetting the curve as far as levels of mainstream acceptance are concerned. Actually, I suppose Kanokon deserves a mention as well.

Kosuda and Yamada
Someone needs to tell Japan about car sex.

I'm glad to see the show remains consistently funny, but I wonder if it will manage to keep it up as the plot develops. 13 episodes really isn't long enough to get things going without trying to cram everything together all at once at the end. Considering how many characters in the OP remain unidentified, it makes me fearful Yamada's cases of Demon Seal condoms will go to waste before the show is over, alas.

Dated 16 May 2010: B Gata H Kei needs to stick to its sex comedy roots

Yamada
The best part of B Gata H Kei episode five is the harmonica BGM.

B Gata H Kei has faltered a bit by departing from the dirty jokes and physical comedy that powered its early episodes. The recent introduction of Yamada's ojousama rival is an unwelcome development. I have to assume Kanejou is a staple of the original 4koma, but this is one example of where an anime should should not follow the source material too closely. This is not to say her appearance drags the show down per se, but there is just not a compelling reason to introduce a second rival in such a short series. (Although technically the B Gata H Kei anime already does not follow the original comic too explicitly. For example, there is is a lot less masturbation in the anime.)

Kanejou
Suddenly shoujo. And how.

I say "second rival" because Mayu already exists as the common-type rival. Or more accurately, from a traditional perspective, Yamada exists as Mayu's rival. A lot of B Gata H Kei's charm comes from it's twofold reversal of roles. First, the story is told from the female love interest's point of view instead of that of the presumptive harem comedy protagonist. Second, the sex bomb Yamada is the primary love interest rather than the good-natured, painfully earnest childhood friend moe blob.

Kosuda and Mayu
There's probably something symbolic about this
picture, but damned if I know what it is.

Telling the story from Yamada's perspective would be an interesting change of pace even if she wasn't a sex-crazed ditz. I've seen this story from Male Protagonist's side far too many times. Reversing the point of view is refreshing enough on its own, but making Kosuda a decent guy completely sells it. Just by virtue of his not being a cretin like Junichi from Da Capo or a twit like the cookie cutter male leads in most harem comedies, Kosuda joins the ranks of Hand Maid May's Kazuya, the original To Heart anime's Hiroyuki (both stand-up decent fellows), and VanDread's Hibiki (a smart-ass punk) as a non-odious harem comedy male protagonist. I guess he kind of has to be if we are to appreciate Yamada's viewpoint in the slightest.

Kosuda
I'm actually quite impressed Kosuda uses the viewfinder
of his digital camera instead of its LCD screen.

I describe Mayu as Yamada's traditional rival because Mayu fills the Akari role of the childhood friend with the inside track. Expanding on what others have noted, I see Yamada filling a stereotypical role as the sex bomb that is too intimidating for the meek male protagonist to handle, driving him deeper into the too-perfect safe girl's comforting embrace.

Yamada
Yamada deres Kosuda to his knees.

That Yamada and Kosuda stand a genuine chance of eating from the tree of knowledge (based on what I infer from the comic's more aggressive nature) fills me with amazement such a thing can still exist in this genre. As B Gata H Kei does for sex what Hatsukoi Limited does for romance, it's no wonder this is nearly my favorite show this season, outpaced only by an increasingly strong Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood as it nears its epic conclusion. Now if only B Gata H Kei would only just get on with it. You've got a guy in scoring position, Yamada. Don't try to draw a walk.

Dated 5 June 2010: 'Tis a good season for love confessions

Fumino
Fumino loses her composure.

Love confessions aren't exactly rare in anime. Indeed, you can't hardly throw a stick in Animeland without hitting a love confession. However, three love confessions this season deserve special mention. First, there is the very nicely delivered love confession in Mayoi Neko Overrun! For one thing, it occurs in episode three—shockingly early for anime. For another, it is basically the best neo-tsundere love confession I've seen.

Yamada and Kosuda
Kosuda professes his love for Yamada.

Second, there is the love confession in B Gata H Kei which is significant because Potato-kun actually nutted it up and said what anime male protagonists as a rule struggle hopelessly with forever. If only Harima had this kind of courage (then Tenma could have rejected him, leaving him re-bound material for the vastly superior Eri). Not only that, he professed his love in front of other people and repeated it more than once to ensure there was no misunderstanding. It's almost heroic.

Yui
Angel Beats! turned into a baseball anime
so gradually hardly anyone noticed.

Third, there is the love confession in the most recent episode of Angel Beats! I think most people probably expected this for a while, but its execution was a bit better than I was expecting. I still can't claim to care about any of the Angel Beats! characters, but I do appreciate some good melodrama once in a while, even if it isn't snowing.

Dated 17 July 2010: Spring 2010 summary

Hawkeye and Mustang
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was the best show of Spring 2010.

I can't understand why Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood wasn't more popular. Many fans of the first anime refused to watch it at all, citing unconvincing reasons not to give it a chance. Personally, I suspect one reason they refused to watch it was because at least subconsciously they believed they had "outgrew" it and didn't want to sour nostalgic memories of the enthusiasm they had for Fullmetal Alchemist in their youth.

Misato attacks Keiichi as Aoi looks on
Misato standing in for the homunculus Lust. Misato is dirty.

True, the first 12 episodes did cover a lot of the same territory as the first anime, so it felt like a clip show to those who had watched the previous version, but starting from the episode where they freaking crucify Greed and sink him screaming and hollering into a pool of lava (oops, spoilers), everything is new. You'd think people would be willing to at least give it a chance. There's an entire year's worth of new material, for crying out loud.

Panthers Stadium
How odd. Panthers Stadium looks so much like Dodger Stadium.

Taking second place is the first half of the sixth and final season of Major. I started watching this baseball epic on a goof because I was so dissatisfied with One Outs and how it depicted actual gameplay in the show. I figured I'd try something aimed more toward actual baseball fans. I'm glad I did, because Major has been consistently good and offers the viewer a rare opportunity to follow characters from childhood to adulthood throughout a single mostly unbroken arc. I don't expect non-baseball fans to be as enamored with Major, though.

Kosuda and Yamada
What is it with anime girls and libraries?

B Gata H Kei would have scored a lot higher had it not squandered precious middle episodes fumbling clumsily with Yamada's rival. It's the anime equivalent of not being able to work a bra clasp. However, when all cylinders were firing, B Gata H Kei actually got things moving. It's really refreshing to see anime acknowledging again that sex exists. Compared to his typical Male Protagonist peers, Kosuda is a stud comparable to the likes of James Bond, Sam Malone, and dare I say it...The Fonz, even if he does suffer—as Eddie Murphy put it in Delirious—from occasional difficulties at "finding the pussy."

Kanae
I wasn't expecting to find Minori from Toradora!
in Mayoi Neko Overrun!, to tell you the truth.

Mayoi Neko Overrun! was not a good show, but it had good moments. I also liked its gimmick of changing directors every episode. Thanks to the best tsundere love confession I've ever seen (no, really) in episode three, two solidly brilliant episodes (four and seven), and consistently amusing portions sprinkled throughout (such as bits of the Jenga battle and basically everything Nozomi did as the sole rep for the "bloots" faction of the bloomers v. spandex shorts war), I'm willing to rank Mayoi Neko Overun! fourth—way higher than I expected when I first started watching it. I would definitely watch more if it got a second season.

Katja
Just so you know, it takes a lot to surprise Katja.

I've only seen 22 episodes of Seikon no Qwaser, so its position in the ranking could change once the remaining uncensored episodes are subbed. [Update: Watched all 24 episodes. No change in the rankings. Looking forward to season two.] Remember how Queen's Blade was so bad it was good? Seikon no Qwaser is so bad that it's AWESOME. This show is amazing. It's unpredictable and consistently manages to impossibly one-up itself as its viewers gape slack-jawed in disbelief. Fullmetal Alchemist could take some lessons from Seikon no Qwaser regarding how to astound viewers with sudden plot twists and intriguing developments. As a bonus, Katja is also one of Hirano Aya's best roles ever.

TK
Angel Beats! never explained why TK was
trapped in Japanese high school purgatory.

Angel Beats! Now there's a show that's so bad that it's good. I'm sorry, I could not take a moment of this crap seriously. Nevertheless, it was consistently entertaining and it always inspired—by far—the most discussion of any show airing spring 2010, at least in the cynical IRC enclave I know best. Angel Beats! definitely proved a show does not have to be good to be fun. Unfortunately, I suspect I've now offended many of its fans who disagree with my view of the show. Presumably they have a higher tolerance for Jun Maeda traumadrama than I do.

Cure Blossom
Cure Blossom, the worst Cure ever.

Heartcatch Precure is my least favorite Pretty Cure series thus far. I have two principal complaints about the show: First, Cure Blossom and Cure Marine are the weakest Cures of all time. I understand that's actually supposed to be a plot point, but it doesn't make them any more endearing. What it has done, on the other hand, is make me appreciate Cure Dream from Yes! Pretty Cure 5 a lot more. In her Nozomi guise, Cure Dream is a complete doofus and about as sorry as Tsubomi and Erika when it comes to day-to-day affairs. However, as a Cure, she's pretty solid, even if she does play for the Pretty Cure equivalent of a corporate softball team. Cure Blossom and Cure Marine, on the other hand, shouldn't even be playing in this league. Go back to the minors, losers. My second complaint about Heartcatch Precure is that the monster of the week is always bad feelings. Bad feelings? Really? Heartcatch Precure needs more Dark Precure—a lot more. I bet she doesn't have to take a God damn bus to go fight Pretty Cure when they're out of town.

Erika, Togusa, and Walker
Erika without her hat might as well be naked.

I wanted to like Durarara!! but I couldn't stand Masaomi, Anri, or Mikado. This show would have been a lot more interesting had it been about the crazy stalker girl, the motorcycle cop, and hatless Erika. It's no Baccano!, that's for sure.

Popura and Inami
Squirrel-girls? They all suck too.

I dropped WORKING!! after the first episode because I didn't like any of the characters. Well, the only ones I actively disliked were the "minicon" dude and Popura, mostly because I'm tired of anime's obsession with small girls. I heard the show gets good later on, but I've got more Detective Conan to watch. Speaking of which, I didn't include Detective Conan in this lineup because I'm still hundred of episodes behind, but there's a chance you might see it in the summer 2010 wrap up in a few months.