No, not the teacher who is a succubus. She's just another Christmas cake virgin, same as practically all female teachers in anime. (P.S. Spoilers.) I'm referring to the male teacher, who is perhaps the rarest of anime creatures: The adult male lead in a harem comedy. Or, more specifically, he is an adult male anime character who behaves like a goddamn grown-up despite being the lead in a harem comedy.(more…)
The best anime this season is a steampunk show about cowardly idiots and assholes on a train getting killed by zombies. This is not to say that Koutetsujou no Kabaneri (Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress) doesn't have problems, 'cause it's got a mess o' problems, but they're the sort of thing I'm happy to overlook as long as all the right people keep getting fucked up. (See also the second half of Shiki, another noitaminA show, in fact.)(more…)
Autumn 2010 had a number of surprises. I never would have predicted my top three shows from this season. In fact, three months ago I would have been surprised to learn I would watch two of the top three at all.
Shinryaku! Ika Musume [1-12] > Shiki (12-22) > Detective Opera Milky Holmes [1-12] > Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt [1-13] > Amagami SS [14-25] > Detective Conan (591-600) > Heartcatch Precure! (34-45) > Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai (11) > To Aru Majutsu no Index II (6-7) > Yosuga no Sora [1-12] > Psychic Detective Yakumo [1-13]
Shinryaku! Ika Musume takes the top spot by the strength of its comedy and its No Bad Episodes achievement. I didn't have much interest in the show initially based on its description, but toward the middle of the season I decided to give it a shot because of the near universal praise I encountered for it. I'm glad I did, because Ika Musume is a solid show. I only wish there were more episodes.
Shiki took me by surprise by embracing B-movie staples and running with it. I can't actually claim that Shiki is "good," but when it hits its marks it is wildly entertaining. If you like yelling at idiots for their stupidity and watching villagers storm castles with torches and pitchforks in hand, then Shiki is for you. Plus it's bloody! Even for a vampire show! I almost want to give it the top ranking for autumn 2010, but there were a few lackluster episodes in the mix holding it back. Its first OP and second ED are unquestionably this season's bests, though.
I wasn't really expecting to enjoy Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, and only started watching it so I could claim to be watching three detective shows this season. However, after an unimpressive start (everyone seems to loathe the first episode), it proved to be a fun series that continued to push the envelope; some of the things Detective Opera Milky Holmes did were really...inappropriate, but it was never dirty. An unexpectedly funny series, I've heard Milky Holmes described favorably as "the next Galaxy Angel." Now, it ain't that good, but I could definitely go for more episodes of these idiots.
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt is as good as you've heard, but it never really resonated with me. There were some really amazing moments and a lot of good episodes, but I can't help but feel Gainax could have done more with the show. Even the Gainax Ending was not as outrageous as it could have been. It's no The Melody of Oblivion ending, for example. I'm probably the only person in the world who feels Panty & Stocking wasn't daring enough, though.
I liked Amagami SS because of its gimmick, but ultimately Potato-kun just didn't have enough charisma to carry the show. It's a nice enough romantic comedy, but nobody who missed it should feel as if they've missed anything important.
Detective Conan is Detective Conan. Nothing important changes, and the show remains as good as ever. For that reason, I suppose curious readers may be able to rely on its position in these season summaries as a baseline or control group of sorts for pan-season comparisons.
Heartcatch Precure! is all right, but I don't like it as much as its predecessors. I suppose viewed as a whole, it is better than Fresh Pretty Cure, but the best Fresh moments are a lot better than the best Heartcatch ones. I know Heartcatch Precure! is very well regarded among many anime fans who don't typically watch Pretty Cure. I wonder if they rank the show so highly because this is the only Precure they know, or if they rank it so highly because Heartcatch has certain unique elements that other Pretty Cure season do not have. If the latter, perhaps it is these differences that I don't care for—differences that cause me to view Heartcatch unfavorably in comparison to past seasons. Or maybe I'm just tired of watching weak magikal girls fight bad feelings every week.
I technically did not drop any shows this season, but I only watched one episode of Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai. I watched episode 11 to see what all that KUNKA KUNKA jazz was about. Man, that Kirino is a total bitch. There is no way I'd be able to watch a full season of anything with her in it. (Bear in mind that I'm an unapologetic Asuka fan, too.) I never had any interest in the show because its most fervent fans are all siscons; that's gotta mean something whether or not the show's actual content justifies that label.
I only watched episodes six and seven of To Aru Majutsu no Index II because I heard they were Kuroko episodes without any Touma speeches. I'm oddly fascinated by Kuroko's old woman voice, but I still have zero interest in the show.
I accidentally watched all of Yosuga no Sora. I watched two of the episodes towards the middle of the season because I heard a harem-anime protagonist actually managed to have sex. If you know anything about anime, you'll understand this is a shockingly rare occurrence, especially so early in a season. I was hoping the show would be another School Days, but it turned out to be an R-rated version of the Amagami SS gimmick. Once I learned that, I backtracked through the earlier episodes to find out how everything started. By then I had watched half of the show and figured I'd keep watching since Haruka was apparently going to run the table. Man, Sora was an intolerable bitch, though. She and Kirino should hang out—at like the bottom of a lake. Anyway, if you want to know what happens but don't feel like waiting for the uncensored Blu-rips, just watch one of the omake EDs; they spoil basically everything that happens in the show.
I finished Psychic Detective Yakumo on general principle, but found it pretty boring. It wasn't very Bee Trainy for a Bee Train show. I also wished Haruka had more than one outfit.
I have a feeling I'm not going to be watching as much anime this year, at least not as many of these 13-episode throwaway shows. That said, I do hope Freezing will have DARK MAMIKO. Speaking of Noto Mamiko, Kimi ni Todoke 2 is a lock, and everything about Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica sounds pretty good with the exception of the SHAFT X SHINBO part (which probably sounds pretty good to most people). Naturally I'll continue watching Detective Conan and Pretty Cure and anything Gainax churns out, even if it might cause me to buy and then itasha the fuck out of a Subaru.
Shiki episode 14 was fucking awesome. That is all.
I was mildly impressed with the first episode of Shiki, and really liked it after watching it a second time, but after that initial episode I've kind of been waiting for the show to get more interesting. Mostly I've been waiting for Haruka Tomatosauce's character to reappear in earnest.
Let's get a four things straight, okay:
- It's vampires. It's completely obvious, and if you haven't figured it out by now you clearly are not trying very hard.
- If vampires weren't bad enough, this village has the bad luck of having the worst doctor. Where in Hell did you go to medical school, guy?
- The people in this show have either the best hair or the worst hair I've ever seen. I'm undecided.
- That dude with the cat ears that leaned on the horn in the middle of the night in order to wake up a complete stranger so he could ask for directions? He's lucky he didn't try that shit in America. He would have gotten a first-barrel-rock-salt, second-barrel-buckshot response.
Really, I can sympathize with Megumi and her intense frustration at being trapped in a small-town Hellhole she can't wait to escape. None of this ever would have happened to her if that dude she liked had taken lessons from Bing Crosby. Poor kid.
I was not exactly enamored with Hellsing after I watched it the first time. However, due to its widespread popularity I decided it warranted a second viewing. (This isn't really much of a feat as it's only 13 episodes long.) However, even after seeing it twice I'm still not particularly impressed. There are certainly things I like about it, but probably an equal number of things I don't. I'll try to articulate these points without revealing too many spoilers.
One preliminary note: The proper English spellings and pronunciations for the Hellsing characters' names have been hotly debated. I am unconcerned with what the "official" names and spelling are supposed to be and I don't care what the fansubbers say. I shall refer to the main protagonists with the following names: Alucard, because (1) it's Dracula spelled backward and (2) Arucard just doesn't make any sense, although to be quite honest, it actually sounds as if everyone is saying Arkard. And Celes Victoria instead of Ceras or "Miss Enormous Anime Rack," and Integra Wingates Hellsing (pronounced IN-teh-grah—not like the car) instead of Integral, just because that's what they sound like to me. (These two could really go either way.)
From a stylistic persective, Hellsing is an interesting take on traditional vampire lore. Most of the usual mythology is acknowledged, but there are many notable variations (e.g. sunlight aversion). Unfortunately, the most significant departure and main focus of this first (and likely last) season, the creation and proliferation of artifically induced "freak" vampires, is not especially compelling.
Much of Hellsing's appeal is actually found in its little details. I find the crudely animated previews for the coming episodes thoroughly amusing. I also like the way Celes pronounces "Mah-stah." And I like that although the show is generally dark and desaturated nearly all of Celes' scenes are richly highlighted with her blue/red eyes and bright uniform.
From this pronounced use of color, one could understandably assume that Celes Victoria is the main focus of the show. Indeed, Hellsing does nearly begin this way. The early episodes dealt more with Celes learning what it meant to be a vampire. I would have enjoyed Hellsing much more had they pursued this theme to a greater extent. I was intrigued by the fact that Celes only changed physically when she became a vampire. Since she retained her personality and character traits after her transformation, she had to deal with the weight of immortality's loneliness and her own aversion to her growing thirst for blood. Regretably, the show instead centered around the unremarkable freak vampire storyline and base attempts to generate eminently predictable Alucard fanboy worship. The focus on Alucard is one larger shortcomings of Hellsing. Nearly all of the other characters are more interesting—the protagonists are, anyway.
The biggest problem with Hellsing is its fantastically uninteresting villains (with the notable exception of Alexander, who arguably is not really a villain). They're boring and insipid and forgettable. Furthermore, their fight scenes are tedious exercises in one-upmanship—increasingly absurd without being at least visually captivating.
Another problem is the surprisingly uneven animation. Sometimes Hellsing looks great. Sometimes it just looks terrible. It's as if each episode was generated in a collaboration between professionals and rank amateurs.
Overall, I think Hellsing would have been much better had it focused on Celes Victoria's self-discovery and growth as she learned what it means to be a vampire and dealt with her fate. This was the path the show started with before it decided to dedicate all its time trying to convince its viewers that Alucard was cool. Uh, no, and his fashion sense is deplorable.
After listening to several years of hype and raves, I finally watched Serial Experiments Lain.
I am sorely disappointed. Biggest let-down since... well, since 9 1/2 Ninjas. By the time the final episode dragged its way across my screen, all I wanted to do was hack off Lain's ridiculous pigtail/sideburn with a giant pair of hedge clippers and throw it into the ocean.
I'm really not sure how to describe it. The whole series is pretty much like the last two episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion played at one-sixth speed, without any music, with fewer likeable characters, and without any giant robots, combined with Ghost in the Shell without the firefights and simulated nudity.
I would have liked it considerably better had I seen this in 1994 when the fusion between The Wired and "the real world" would have been an interesting concept. Now, everyone knows that The Wired would really be nothing but a brainless vessel for bad amateur porn, soulless advertising, and the chatter of countless illiterates.
Sorry to all the Lain fanboys, but this series would have been much more interesting if it had been about her best friend. Serial Experiments Arisu—I'd watch that.
By the way, Vampire Hunter D is also garbage.