Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

Dated 5 September 2023: Akikan! really is WORSE THAN COSPRAYERS

Maybe Budoko gets more pleasant as the show progresses.

I started watched Akikan! (Empty Can!) as it aired during the Winter 2009 anime season, but I quit because I thought it was WORSE THAN COSPRAYERS. However, the irritating voice of a character introduced in the third episode did influence my decision to drop it then. As it turns out, this character's seiyuu was Yuuki Aoi, who has since gone on to have a successful career. She's rather popular, and I enjoy her work too, so I started second-guessing my 2009 self's opinions. Could it have really been that bad?

Najimi and Budoko
I admit Budoko's character design is amusing when she doesn't talk.

As it turns out, yes, it really was that bad. Budoko is a bratty, child-sized grape soda who speaks in a deliberately annoying voice. I think Yuuki Aoi was only 16 years old herself when she recorded the role, but I don't think being less experienced necessarily impaired her voice acting ability. If anything, she was probably too good at bringing a loathsome soda can to, err, life.

Melon and Kakeru
This scene is about erections.

I did actually try to watch further this time around, but I still only made it to episode four. Noto Mamiko voices a new can (a sports drink), but it's just not worth it. I don't know if the type of humor and tropes that saturate Akikan! are especially dated now. It's not as if I enjoyed humor of this variety in 2009 either. However, it also doesn't seem like the comedy styles found here are common in anime anymore. Possibly this is because I simply don't watch as many shows like this now, or maybe they're less common in general now that anime lineups are all isekai all the time. In any case, I suspect nobody besides boys discovering anime for the first time ever found the jokes in Akikan! funny either.

Dated 21 April 2009: End of season review, Winter 2009

Gainax Kick detected.

The biggest surprise of the Winter 2009 season was the rise of Shikabane Hime: Kuro and the fall of Toradora! in the final rankings during the last weeks of the season. As expected, it was a rather weak season overall, but it had its moments.

Makina has a bad day.

I had fully expected to drop Shikabane Hime after four episodes during the Autumn 2008 season, but I was hooked by the characters (except for Ouri) and the mystery. It helped I was spared the loathsome shounen jive conventions I despise so much.

Goro and Kaoru
I hereby nominate Shimizu for Best Girl of the Year.

The second-best series from Winter 2009 was the first half of the fifth season of Major. Besides being a solid sports anime, it's also starting to delve into relationship drama, although with its own flair, and thankfully without the typical animeisms that plague relationship stories. Maybe it's because the characters in question are no longer in high school, so they aren't expected to act like twits. Whatever the reason, it's refreshing.

Nobue calls these days "weekdays."

Taking the third spot is the first Ichigo Mashimaro Encore OVA. I should probably not include OVAs in these rankings for numerous reasons, but I'm making these rules up as I go along. As for the first Ichigo Mashimaro Encore OVA itself, it was another solid block of entertainment and charm that make the series so enjoyable. Pity the title unfairly carries with it all that baggage it can't seem to escape. You know what I'm talking about.

Suguru and Sachiko
This is the weirdest bathroom. Is it at the end of a hallway?

In fourth is the latest offering of Maria-sama ga Miteru. I didn't care for these episodes as much as the previous seasons, but that's probably because of their Touko-centric nature. On the other hand, these episodes also elevated Touko three positions in the Marimite rankings. Congratulations, Touko. I no longer like you least.

Ami and Minori
Ami is stunned to discover she's the Toradora! Best Girl after all.
And how odd. Minori is usually much more genki.

Everyone else's favorite, Toradora!, only managed to take the fifth spot, despite leading most of the season. As astute readers surely realize, this sudden drop is largely due to the dramatic turn towards the end of the season. Most people who really like Toradora! seem to really like the relationship drama aspects of the final episodes, but I felt they were ham-handed at best. Maybe it's because these are high school relationships in question, but I couldn't help thinking the principals were utter twits. As others have pointed out, this isn't really drama; it's melodrama. And it tastes like high school.

How odd. Shion is usually much more genki.

I'm not a huge fan of Tetsuwan Birdy Decode, but it is pretty good at what it does. Were these rankings based solely on my interest, it would probably place lower in the standings, although at no fault of its own. Then again, if these rankings were driven by my appreciation of Chiba Saeko, it would place higher. So let's just call it a wash, eh.

How odd. Kotori is usually much more genki.

Da Capo If is another OVA ranked entirely on the strength of a single episode. Like with the Ichigo Mashimaro OVA, that's probably not fair, and I should probably exclude it entirely, but I waited a long time for a Kotori route, so I'm going to include it, God damn it. Also, Da Capo If reminds us Horie Yui can really act when she wants to.

Kyon, you know this can't possibly end well.

The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan shorts are genuinely amusing. They pulled away from their Nyoron Churuya-san counterparts with that episode where Asahina Mikuru just starts crying from confusion and never looked back.

Torigaya? and Washizu
Washizu Vision?

Oh God. Asu no Yoichi!. Hey, some of the middle-laterish episodes are all right, and that running gag with Washizu's crony had a great payoff that came completely out of left field. The best part is everyone else dropped this show after episode two, so they have no idea what I'm talking about.

Love is all right for a rookie Cure
How odd. Love is usually much more genki.

Fresh Pretty Cure is fresh. Love is love. Tart is the least annoying Precure mascot thus far. Kaoru-chan probably wants to get into the girls' pants. Easy is the best Precure villain except for that that one movie where Cure White is tempted by the dark side and beats Hell out of Cure Black. Aside from Buki being a sort of useless religious fanatic, this show is all right.

Quit while you're ahead, Tsuruya.

Nyoron Churuya-san needs more variety in its jokes, nyoron.

I've decided Marisa is my favorite Touhou character. Entirely arbitrarily.

Rounding out the final spot among shows I watched during the Winter 2009 season is the unofficial Touhou doujin anime. Despite all the hype, it was merely adequate, which I guess is pretty good all things considered. I wanted to like it more, but I can't claim it's even as good as the classic Yakumo/Chen bit with the KCY and all.

How odd. Hokuto is usually much more...wait, no she's not.

I also dropped a bunch of shows, but there aren't any additions or changes from the earlier list

Dated 18 February 2009: Mid-Season Rejects, Winter 2009

Tokuchi doesn't get sent to the showers, so he never bathes.

Last season, I started keeping track of the shows I watched and the shows I dropped. Current rankings of shows I've abandoned so far this season follow, with the last episode I watched in parentheses:

One Outs (14) > Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo (2) > Ride Back (4) > Kurokami The Animation (3) > Maria+Holic (2) > White Album (1) | Worse than Cosprayers: Akikan! (3) > Hetalia Axis Powers (3)

I dropped One Outs after episode 14 because it stopped being about steely-eyed gambling and started being about people overreacting to unremarkable events and commonplace baseball strategies. To pick up the slack, I started watching Major instead which turned out to be an excellent show about baseball and sometimes a good show about gambling, too. One Outs is still pretty entertaining, but you may have the same reaction I did depending on how much you know about baseball.

Nina and Itsuki
I kinda like Nina because of her hair. And because
she smokes in a high-oxygen environment.

I dropped Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo after episode two, but I'm willing to start it back up if it turns out to have a My-HiME mid-point switch or if something otherwise extravagant happens. I'm still waiting.

At least Ride Back has been better than Genesis Climber Mospeada so far.
Then again, Genesis Climber Mospeada isn't all that good, alas.

I wanted to like Ride Back. I like ballet. I like motorcycles. And I thought I'd like ballerinas racing around on motorcycles, but Ride Back is just too stupid for a show that takes itself this seriously. It would be fine if it were more over the top or Gundamesque in its science/mecha balance, but because it tries to be mature or otherwise respectable, I can't stomach it anymore. I let it go when the narrator casually mentioned a band of terrorists took over the entire world, but the cop-out conclusion to the race in episode two soured the racing aspects for me and the positively ridiculous episode four aspects (e.g., the rescue attempt, the escape attempt, the being mistaken for terrorists, the shockingly poor marksmanship of the anti-terrorist terrorists—basically the entire episode, really) turned me away completely. I'm okay with people jumping through plate glass without getting cut. It's television. But I'm not okay with pandering when it is dishonest.

[Update, 2024-04-28: Genesis Climber Mospeada is not very good, but it's better than Ride Back.]

Pretty much every character is an idiot
How about, I dunno, TRYING TO HELP instead of just standing there, genius?

I thought the doppelganger stuff in Kurokami: The Animation was pretty interesting, and some of the fights looked good. I was also intrigued by the show's apparent willingness to kill off characters unexpectedly. However, all the characters appear to be idiots and/or useless. You could trade the lead guy for a sack of expired luncheon meat and come out ahead in the deal.

Matsurika guitar
A transvestite air guitars his maid.

Maria+Holic just isn't very good. Maybe that doesn't matter if you have a thing for transvestites and lesbians, but I found it dull.

Wake me when Aya Hirano and Banana Mizuki have their Power of Song catfight.

White Album has a very boring first episode (this coming from a guy who has re-watched the first episode of To Heart too many times to remember, mind you), and none of the characters seemed to have any charisma. I was ready to punch Male Protagonist in the face when bamboozled by his confusion between live television and pre-taped broadcasts for the second time in 20 minutes. Choke yourself, guy.

I bought a melon soda because of Melon.
I played it safe and got a bottle, though.

Akikan! is terrible, but I probably would have continued watching it as a goof were it not for that odious Grape character. See, this kind of pandering is okay because it's honest. But Grape's voice just sounds so bad.

This is Germany. That's the joke.

Hetalia Axis Powers is offensive, but not for the reasons those Koreans sending death threats give. It is offensive because it fails so hard at being funny. When a five-minute show feels four-minutes too long, you've got problems. And how.