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Dated 4 July 2011: Strike Witches side arms

Charlotte Yeager
Shields. Shiiieeelllldddssss!

It kinda bugs me that when Charlotte Yeager's BAR jammed she (1) didn't make any attempt to clear the malfunction, and (2) didn't have a side arm. Okay, sure, a real-world .45ACP would be useless during an air battle, but Yeager still could have drawn a Colt 1911 in that situation. I'm pretty sure they're all using magic weapons anyway—at a minimum, ones with unlimited ammo and barrels that don't overheat.

Update: ani-nouto adds...

Most of the shooting was rather magical, but in the beginning of the original GONZO SW we saw Sakamoto's gun overheating (just so that she could switch to sword).

Dated 23 February 2011: Sometime I worry IS: Infinite Stratos isn't really trying

Ichika and Charles
Look on the bright side. Tea brewed that hot probably would have tasted terrible.

Just so you know, the closet transvestite in Infinite Stratos is basically the least convincing boy in the history of anime. And I'm not just saying that because Ichika's harem runs so deep that you can assume any character in a five-episode radius around him is female—even ones that are able to hide their breasts in Flatspace while in "disguise." Also, while I do like dere Yukana, I'm a little disappointed every girl in the school appears to be kinda unintelligent. Maybe it's because the school is filled with the anime science fiction equivalent of dumb jocks.

Dated 9 January 2011: Winter 2011 initial impressions for Rio -Rainbow Gate!-, IS Infinite Stratos, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, Freezing, and that one show with the cats (Yumekui Merry)

Ichika
I see many bentos in your future, Potato-kun.

Bottom line up front? The only shows worth following right now are Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season, introduced earlier and hopefully as good as the first season, and Infinite Stratos if you like that sort of thing. With regard to every other show, you're better off burning through the backlog of good shows you've been meaning to watch—or at least I am.

Rio
I think this has something to do with how Rio cheats at cards.

Rio -Rainbow Gate!- did not suck as bad as I was expecting, not that I had high hopes for an anime based on a pachinko machine's motif or whatever the Hell it's supposed to be. Based on episode one, I predict the rest of the season will be filled with a lot of boobs (no nudity), lots of really shiny skin, and several different outfits every episode. What I didn't expect were the CARD BATTLES which I suppose were okay because they weren't obvious efforts to market merchandise for some game aimed at grammar school students. I guess Rio -Rainbow Gate!- counts as a gambling anime the way Battle Spirits Brave does. I'll give it at least one more episode.

Cecilia
Yukana is pretty awesome in this, to tell you the truth.

Infinite Stratos has a Negima-sized harem around a non-worthless male protagonist, air battles stolen from Soukou no Strain (and a few Touhou games), and mecha from Sky Girls. The first episode was about what I expected and didn't have anything offensive or lousy to really complain about if you were already inclined to watch it in the first place.

Madoka
The widefaces are medium-wide.

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica had a lot of SHAFT X SHINBO being SHAFT X SHINBO. If you think Shinbo is a genius and SHAFT an amazingly creative studio, then you'll love this regardless of how you feel about magikal girls. This isn't really mahou shoujo anyway, just as Bakemonogatari was not a high school love comedy. The Kajiura Yuki music isn't quite as good as her recent work on Pandora Hearts just yet, but it's only been one episode. I did not include Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica in my two-deep "okay to watch now" list above because SHAFT being SHAFT, there will probably be extensive revisions and updates in the Blu-rays fixing stuff they didn't finish on time before the broadcasts. You might as well wait for those unless you are sure you'll watch it multiple times anyway need to watch it before buying the retail release.

Akemi
Madoka:Caterpillar::Akemi:Butterfly.

One thing that bugs me about the Puella Magi Madoka Magica alternate title to Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, though: Is that supposed to be Latin? If so, isn't the gender wrong? Is that supposed to be masculine nominative plural? Genitive singular? Is this SHAFT's idea of a "ROMANES EUNT DOMUS" joke? Anyway, send me a telegram if your Latin is better than mine or if you otherwise know what the Hell that's supposed to be.

Bridgette
[SPOILERS] Satellizer gets motorboated
so hard she CGIs all over the place.

Freezing feels like Queen's Blade only bloody, grim, and dark instead of stupid and funny. Bridgette L. Satellizer Poemer has not whipped out the DARK MAMIKO quite yet, but I have high hopes this 36-22-33 hamburger-loving 17-year-old (it's canon, okay) will break it out soon enough. Unfortunately, I've only seen it thus far in a steam-censored 4:3 version, so again you're probably better off waiting unless you're sure you'll want to be frozen twice.

Merry
At least Merry isn't making that stupid :3 mouth.

There wasn't anything wrong with Yumekui Merry. The premise is fine. The animation is fine. The characters and character designs are fine. It has all the markings of another J.C. Staff layup. I just didn't have any interest in the show at all. It had cats, but they talked too much and didn't do a lot of cute cat things. "John Doo" isn't especially threatening, and Merry kinda looks like a girl who is supposed to look like a boy that looks like a girl. In any case, dropped.

Ume
Ume seems like such a sweet girl, too.

So there you go. Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season if you enjoyed the first season (definitely do not watch the second season if you have not already seen the first season! What is wrong with you people?), Infinite Stratos unless you like to pretend you are too good to watch anime that looks like anime, and Madoka Magica if you already knew you'd like it on general principle regardless of what I said about it. Me, I'll be finishing up Heartcatch Precure!, churning through several hundred remaining Detective Conan episodes, and maybe watching more Bagpuss. It's on Youtube.

Dated 9 October 2010: Summer 2010 season wrapup

Summer 2010 wasn't an especially good season of anime:

Major season six > Asobi ni Iku yo! > Strike Witches 2 > Detective Conan (579-590) > Seitokai Yakuin Domo > Shiki (1-11) > Amagami SS (1-13) > Heartcatch Precure! (20-33) > Shukufuku no Campanella.

Dropped: Legend of the Legendary Heroes (1) | Worse than Cosprayers: Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi (5) > Mitsudomoe (1).

Major was easily my favorite show from summer 2010, although I felt the "yips" arc went on too long.

Aoi
This was my favorite part of the OP.

Asobi ni Iku yo! was a lot better than I was expecting. It stayed fun the whole way through, but I would have liked to see more of the evil-type Momiji. And they never explained what the deal was with her older younger sister.

Minna and Mio
Not this shit again.

To some degree, I enjoyed the second Strike Witches season more than the first one. Nevertheless, it really did feel like a re-hash of the first season.

Detective Conan is Detective Conan. I continue to enjoy it as I plow through the hundreds of unwatched episodes I have remaining. As you can see, I've long since realized there are no meaningful spoilers in Detective Conan, so I've started watching the currently airing episodes along with my backlog of older ones.

Aria, Tsuda, Shino, and Suzu
The rules segments with the drum and whistle were my favorite parts.

I really enjoyed Seitokai Yakuin Domo and its relentless stream of sex jokes and short jokes. It was probably funnier to native speakers, though; it's tough to adapt verbal comedy to different languages.

Shiki hit a long skid of tedious episodes, but the recent ones are quite good, especially if you enjoy hollering directions to idiot B-movie characters. E.g., "Don't go in there!"

Amagami SS is pure cheese. That said, I still look forward quite a bit to each new episode as Potato-kun attempts to trophy-love every girl in the school.

Cologne
Obi-Wan Kenobi supplants Tart as the least annoying Precure mascot.

I'm still not a huge fan of Heartcatch Precure! but it is growing on me.

Shukufuku no Campanella kinda sucked, but all the scenes with the Tortilla sisters or Agnes made it worth it. Also, "ARMAGEDDON JA YO!"

I tried watching Legend of the Legendary Heroes which I figured would be tongue-in-cheek, but it wasn't very interesting. Dropped after one episode.

Now, two shows I not only dropped but considered to be, ahem, WORSE THAN COSPRAYERS: Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi was inexcusably terrible. How J.C. Staff fucked this up, I have no idea. I dragged my way through five episodes. Finally, I realize I'm in the minority in not enjoying Mitsudomoe, but the only thing I saw in the one episode I managed to watch was ugly children doing horrid things.

Dated 4 August 2010: Strike Witches 2 is better than ever

Barkhorn
Barkhorn is awesome because she's always serious.

After re-watching the first season of Strike Witches while waiting for more episodes of Strike Witches 2, I've concluded that the sequel surpasses the original—at least through the latest four episodes. The real problem with the first season of Strike Witches is the show takes a tremendous dive during the final third of the show. The instant Wilcke pulls out that pistol the show effectively gets shot out of the sky and goes down in flames. The final three episodes of the last DVD were especially bad.

Yeager and Barkhorn
I love it when Barkhorn calls Yeager "Liberion."

Season two, on the other hand, returns to the elements that made the first season enjoyable. I am in favor of a retcon that wipes the "plot" episodes of the last season, merging the rest of what's left into a single continuous arc. True, in some respects the second season has been too much like the first season. For example, the recent episode about Karlsland's experimental striker unit evoked many of the same elements found in Charlotte Yeager's supersonic episode from the first season. But c'mon, Gertrude Barkhorn with JETS! The very idea brings a tear to my eye. So beautiful.

Yeager
The very recognizable Charlotte Yeager.

Besides, it's not all the same. There were numerous problems with the broom-training episode, but don't overlook the positive aspects it brought. First, it reminds us that the Strike Witches really are witches, as opposed to traditional magikal girls or true mecha musume. Second, it brought Perrine-H. Clostermann into the Lynette Bishop and Yoshika Miyafuji clique. Gallia's haughty witch was a bit of an outcast the first season, so it's nice to see her with friends this time around. It's easy to forget she's also one of the younger members of the wing.

Yoshika and Ursula
Hopefully Ursula isn't a complete slob like her sister.

Minor changes are the keys to success here. All too often sequels seem all too eager to screw up a good thing by making it bigger and better. Cameo appearance by Ursula Hartmann aside, I'm really glad Strike Witches 2 has not fallen to the temptation to overload the show with more and more witches. There's no question Strike Witches 2 could still crash and burn, but as long as it stays the course, I'm content to let this war go on as long as it has to.

Dated 16 July 2010: Strike Witches II and its new Mio

Sakamoto
SAKAMOTO THE WHITE.

I'm opposed to changing voice actors as a matter of principle, and I still lament the absence of Chiba Saeko (one of my favorites) from the Strike Witches sequel, but I have to admit Seto Saori is doing a good job through at least the first two episodes.

Dated 10 July 2009: Spring 2009 wrap-up

Kusada
Kusada finally breaks. Better hang on, kid.

With a few exceptions, most of the shows I watched last season bear one thing in common: very few anime fans from my corner of the Internet (the best and worst of whom can be found at #raspberryheaven) would give them a chance. Even Hatsukoi Limited, which I previously mentioned is the best show from the spring 2009 season, attracted relatively few followers. (Most were too busy watching K-On! and searching for Mio fan art.) Those that actually watched Hatsukoi Limited instead of merely asking, "What's so great about another school romance show?" found a combination of light comedy and whimsical tales of first love so deftly executed I have no reservations naming it the top show of the season ahead of the initial (and already controversial) episodes of the second season of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu.

Yuki
Yuki looks bored, even for Yuki.

Haruhi II still secures second, and will presumably do well during the summer 2009 season, even if (or in my view, especially if) there really are eight episodes of "Endless Eight." That would be awesome, particularly if it drives conventional-thinking fans into sending Kyoto Animation furious letters with death threats which they can include in a The End of Haruhi movie that makes little sense but includes a bitchin' fight scene. (I secretly hope there are 15,514 episodes of "Endless Eight," and that the entire ordeal is somehow Yuki's fault and not Haruhi's at all.) I bet all the people who can't stand "Endless Eight" are the same people who skip OPs and EDs.

Cal and Zwei
Natalie Portman from Leon joins the Phantom cast.

Nobody ever believes me, but Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom is actually really good—good enough to finish third for spring 2009 (and currently lead summer 2009). Bee Train influences are obvious, but this is not El Cazador de la Bruja or Madlax. For one thing, there's a male lead. Moreover, none of the female leads have displayed any signs of lesbianism. In fact, Ein apparently really likes getting oil massages from creepy old guys. Bio Concerto is worth its weight in gold, people. I'm telling you.

Aoba
Aoba, you're not even trying.

A lot of people won't watch sports anime in general or baseball anime in particular. Cross Game is at its best when it's not about baseball, to tell you the truth. I enjoy it a great deal more than Touch and what I've read of H2, but the actual baseball games in Cross Game are not as compelling as the slice-of-life stories about Kou and Aoba.

Goro
You're not exactly facing the Taisho Yakyuu Musume team now, Goro.

Major season five takes the fifth spot. I'm still watching it as there are still unsubbed episodes, but I won't be including it with the summer 2009 lineup. [Update: Advanced to fifth place after episode 120.] Assuming the fifth season is the final season of Major, I have to say this was an excellent series and I really appreciate the epic nature of the show, following Goro from childhood to adulthood. Were I to include all five seasons of Major as one work, it would easily take the top spot. Incidentally, Shimizu Kaoru still leads in the Girl of the Year rankings for 2009. This one is going to be a boat race.

Takako
Takako contemplates the future of Kannagi.

The Kannagi episode 14 OVA is every bit as good as the series. That it only places sixth should tell you just how good the competition is this time around. I hope Kannagi gets a second season.

Cure Peach
There's a storm brewing, Peach-han.

Fresh Pretty Cure ranks seventh, but has moved up quite a bit in the summer 2009 rankings due to the fully awesome Cure Passion arc, currently underway. This is another show nobody but Precure fans seem willing to watch, but the Setsuna/Love friendship really is compelling. Every episode recently has had the kind of OH SHIT moments typically attributed to shounen jive or cheesy Gundam switcheroos. Speaking of shounen jive, Fresh Pretty Cure is very light on the "standing around talking instead of fighting" bits, and when Love cuts loose, she starts out in a normal voice but gets exponentially louder and faster (it's awesome, trust me) until you think she's about to ace someone square in the face. There is too much beam spamming, though, but episode 23 is expected to include brutal fisticuffs, so we're back to the basics. Kickass.

Ana Coppola, Black Custom
Needs more Ana Coppola, Black Custom.

Eighth goes to the second OVA episode of Ichigo Mashimaro Encore. This series also really could use another season. It remains entertaining and funny, and definitely does not deserve the extra baggage that keeps many people from watching it.

Alice
If Alice isn't happy, no one's happy.

Pandora Hearts is good, but weird, so anyone that might watch it probably is watching it already, and no amount of cajoling will convince anyone else to give it a try, alas. I can understand why it doesn't have broader appeal.

Ed
Ed doesn't seem to obsess about his height as much this time.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood would have fared better if it hadn't felt like watching a really long clip show. It should also do better in the rankings this summer as it diverges more from the first anime. Curiously, I'll watch countless episodes of "Endless Eight" but the deja vu sensation of the early Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood episodes really turned me off. Or maybe it's because Brotherhood halved Winry's cup size. Could be.

Mikuru
Asahina's daily life.

The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan got a lot better as the season went on, but it's still not as good as Petit Eva or the various Marimite specials, for example.

Junichi and Kotori
No! Keep your damn dirty hands off Kotori's hat!

The second episode of Da Capo: If came out during spring 2009. Pity it wasn't as good as the first installment. Then again, no Kotori arc is ever going to seem satisfying as long as Junichi remains such a putz.

Tomoe
I'm still amazed Mamiko Noto voiced Tomoe as a straight-up serious character.

Queen's Blade is what it is. I think it would have been infinitely better if Tomoe (the miko character) had—for no discernible reason—gone the entire series without getting naked .

Shuri
Say "cheese."

Asura Cryin' faded a bit, or at least my interest did. I like all the colors, though. [Update: The end of Asura Cryin' got really shounen and kinda stopped being fun at all. Why can't it just be about humping your ghost girlfriend and every once in a while robot fights? I guess I won't be watching the second season, alas.]

Ryoko and Churuya
Say "cheese."

Nyoron Churuya-san started out funny, but got a little tiresome towards the end, whereas its Haruhi-chan counterpart managed to improve and keep me looking forward to Haruhi II.

Chi
"Chi's!"

Good Lord, there were a lot of shows spring season. And I'm not just saying that because I watched a hundred-some episodes of Chi's Sweet Home so I could start Chi's New Address. Even with three-minute episodes, that is a lot of Chi. I could be burned out on all the kittenness, but Chi's New Address doesn't seem as good as Chi's Sweet Home. Needs more bear cat, for one thing. I also keep waiting for Chi to finally age, but for the time being she remains Yotsuba in kitten form.

Tamaki
Needs more Tamaki.

The first episode of To Heart 2 ad plus wasn't very good. It's pretty forgettable, alas.

Mio
I would have kept watching K-On! had it replaced Mio with Yomi.

I didn't drop any shows aside from the following series I previously mentioned: Eden of the East (8) > Shin Mazinger Z (3) > Saki (2) > Valkyria Chronicles (3) > K-On! (4) > Higepiyo (3) > Shangri-La (1).

Yoichi
Needs more Perrine-H. Clostermann.

I should probably exclude OVAs from future such lists. I already leave off movies. Besides, it's not possible to "drop" a movie or a one-episode OVA. Well, I guess unless one abandons it midway. I probably should have done that with The Sky Crawlers. That movie should have had a Strike Witches crossover wherein the 501st Joint Fighter Wing wipes them all out in five minutes and the movie ends. Sheesh. The damn thing felt like it was 15,513 fortnights long. (Yes, I know. Yes, I know that too.)

Dated 11 December 2008: Strike Witches unit patch

501st Strike Witches unit patch
The 501st Joint Fighter Wing unit patch.

I like the Strike Witches unit patch, but it's not quite as good as the Sky Girls unit patch. The strike witches don't actually wear this patch on the shoulder; they don't even have uniforms.


05:19< Evirus> After two episodes, this is actually pretty good.
05:20< lights> what are you watching
05:22< Evirus> .hack//SIGN
05:25< Sledeau> .hack//sign seems all right after 2 episodes...then the rest of the episodes are the exact same
05:26< Sledeau> but you keep watching because it FEELS like something SHOULD happen