It’s time for a quick summary of where things stand for various anime shows that I am watching! I do this once per month or every other month just to keep track of everything that is going on.
– First is a look at continuing shows that I am currently watching (2nd or later episodes). This primarily includes shows from the Winter 2011 (for now), but can also include shows from earlier seasons as well.
– Second is a look at shows I have completed since the last time I did a summary post like this back in July. This can include continuing series or feature-length movies, and these shows receive a Final Letter Grade that sums up the entire experience.
– Third is a very quick look forward at what comes next, primarily focusing on shows from Spring 2011.
1. SHOWS I AM CURRENTLY WATCHING:
Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica (Winter 2011 Season) through Episode 4
Much to my surprise, Madoka Magica has risen to the top of my viewing list after four episodes in to the Winter 2011 season. Still reeling from the shocking events of the third episode, I really don’t know where this show is going, except I know that I’m really interested to see what happens next. As Secret Sacred Wars Roach says, “Conflict Builds Character!” (Grade: 9 out of 10)
My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute (Fall 2010 Season) through Episode 13
Returning back for a four-episode alternate ending, one of the more ironic aspects is that the show becomes much more interesting when the main focus for it even existing (Kirino) is removed. With her absence, Kyousuke is able to shine and Kuroneko comes to the forefront as we end up in a mini version of Genshiken. (Grade: 7 out of 10)
Gosick (Winter 2011 Season) through Episode 4
Time to settle in for the next big murder-mystery, with a new questionable character and with an ever-evolving relationship between Victorique and Kazuya. This is certainly a fair sight better than the previous mystery series I watched (Psychic Detective Yakumo), and Victorique is as cute as a bug’s ear. (Grade: 7 out of 10)
Fractale (Winter 2011 Season) through Episode 4
The fourth episode felt more like a transitional episode, setting things up for the future. Which may be a good idea following the sobering events of the previous episode. With the return of Phryne, she’s not exactly the angelic person from before, and Clain is left being carried along for the ride rather than leading the series. (Grade: 7 out of 10)
Broken Blade (Spring 2010 Season) through Episode 4
Yeah, yeah, giant robots and all, yet I’m still watching Broken Blade. This episode was more about the fighting and battles, rather than the heavy character building that marked the earlier episodes. Only two more episodes left, and Broken Blade is building to a big climax…hopefully. (Grade: 7 out of 10)
Level E (Winter 2011 Season) through Episode 4
Major letdown! Level E started out really strong, but this fourth episode is more like a crappy, throw-away filler that is best avoided. It had none of the charm or humor I was expecting, and I really hope that Baka and Tsutsui and Miho return and fast, otherwise what’s the point in watching? (Grade: 7 out of 10)
Hourou Musuko (Winter 2011 Season) through Episode 4
Junior high school angst as kids try to fumble from being carefree kids into adulthood. But with the major theme of transgenderism thrown into the mix…well, that’s something that I certainly did not cover when I went through my school years. Have times really changed that much from when I was a kid? I’ll readily admit the very subject is not something I’m interested in, but the characters are interesting, the story is engaging and artwork easy on the eyes, so I’m still watching for now. (Grade: 6 out of 10)
Yumekui Merry (Winter 2011 Season) through Episode 4
Fourth episode breaks no new ground, and essentially rehashes what has gone on before, like a washing machine going through the third spin cycle. I’m wondering when they’re going to start telling the actual *story* and quit with the set-up, given that we’re already a third of the way through to the end. (Grade: 6 out of 10)
X’amd: Lost Memories (Fall 2008 Season) through Episode 6
Huh, what? Where did this one come from? I’ve gone back a couple of years and pulled this one of the pile; I’ve actually watched X’amd before, but wasn’t really paying much attention and I don’t recall many of the details. In short, it’s a poor man’s version of Eureka 7, a mildly entertaining sci-fi fantasy. (Grade: 6 out of 10)
Is This a Zombie? (Winter 2011 Season) through Episode 4
Out of all the Winter 2011 shows that made it to the fourth round, this is the only one being dropped (and chances are the last one as well). Based on the first episode, I was hoping it was going to be more of a farcical comedy making fun of its own anime cliches, but instead it seems to be taking its own storyline way too seriously. SERIES DROPPED (Grade: 4 out of 10)
2. SHOWS I HAVE RECENTLY COMPLETED:
Welcome to the Space Show Movie (Winter 2010 Season)
I’ve been waiting for Space Show for over a year now, and as expected it is a wild, fantastic ride and feast for the eyes. But make no mistake, it’s aimed at the kiddies (in the same way that Star Wars: Phantom Menace was aimed at the kiddies), so don’t expect too much depth in the story. The movie’s major failing: It’s very, very long. FINAL GRADE: A-
Mazinkaiser SKL (Winter 2011 Season)
I could feel my skin breaking out in a rash of pimples from all the testosterone pumped out by this show. Mazinkaiser is perhaps the ‘manliest’ of anime shows I’ve seen in the past year, not a wimpy character in the bunch. Sure, it’s Go Nagai robots slugging it out against each other, but a fun little diversion as long as you don’t think about it too much. FINAL SERIES GRADE: B
Colorful: The Movie (Summer 2010 Season)
Slow, meandering, introspective, thought-provoking, soul-searching. Colorful explores some pretty heavy topics like ostracization and teenage suicide as the main character is given a second chance at life as he must discover and confront the reason for his destructive actions. An *okay* movie, but it felt like it went on forever. FINAL GRADE: B
K-On (Summer 2009 Season)
I wasn’t planning on re-watching this, but I recently bought a Blu-Ray player and was able to hook up an old removable hard drive, and this was on it. Most people have a serious love or serious hatred for K-On, so I’m one of those rare people that falls in the middle. The first 13-episode season of K-On is actually alright — sure, it’s stupid and silly and inconsequential and mostly harmless, but there are some delightful moments here and there. I was less forgiving, however, with the second season, which was really nothing more but the same thing warmed over, dragging out the franchise without adding anything new. FINAL SERIES GRADE: B
My Hime (Fall 2004 Season)
Re-watching this series on DVD, I have to admit that it doesn’t hold up as well as I would have hoped the second time around. Perhaps my memory is a bit faulty, but I don’t remember it being quite as stupid or full of such obvious anime cliches when I was it originally five years ago. It *does* get better and more interesting in the second half when the action really starts, however, and the old adage “It’s all fun and games until someone puts an eye out” was never more fitting. FINAL SERIES GRADE: B-
Eden of the East (Spring 2009 Season)
I had watched the first three episodes a couple years back, and this has always been a show that I intended to complete, and finally did. Alas, I ended up more disappointed that I hoped, Eden of the East never really took off from its promising, confusing beginning. The “mystery” was solved mostly by long scenes of exposition where it was all dropped into Akira’s lap, the plot grew more outlandish with each episode, and after the 11-episode television series wrapped up it’s still woefully incomplete. There’s two feature-length movies after this, however, so I’m hoping for some closure. FINAL SERIES GRADE: B-
Pokemon: Zoroark Master of Illusions Movie (Summer 2010 Season)
What can I say? It’s a Pokemon movie, nothing more and nothing less. FINAL GRADE: C+
Gintama: Shinyaku Benizakura-hen Movie (Spring 2010 Season)
Oh, how disappointing. Gintama is one of the most popular shows out there today, so I guess I had my expectations set pretty high. Big mistake, I know — after all Naruto is also one of the most popular shows out there today, and we all know it’s absolute crap (popularity is hardly a measure of quality, of course). What’s more, the movie was nothing more than some episodes lifted whole-cloth from a couple years back and stitched together. Based on this sampling, I think it’s pretty safe to say I’m not going to be looking for more Gintama in my future. FINAL GRADE: C-
Yu-Gi-Oh: Bonds Before Time Movie (Winter 2010 Season)
Three generations of Yu-Gi-Oh gather together for one craptacular massive card battle to save the universe! I knew Yu-Gi-Oh was pretty awful, but it seems they decided to compound the awfulness by taking the worst from three seasons and cramming them into a crazy, confusing mish-mash that makes no sense to anyone who is not intimately steeped in the Yu-Gi-Oh universe. Avoid, avoid, avoid. FINAL GRADE: D
3. COMING UP NEXT:
Many months ago I gave up on any semblance of trying to be “on time” with reviews. There are plenty of other blogs out there where you can find up-to-date reviews of the most recent episodes, and I’m not one of them. Instead, I’m going to continue at my own pace, even if that means I’m running between four and seven months behind “schedule” on average.
There are six weekly anime shows from the Winter 2011 season (listed above) that I’ve watched through the fourth episodes, and will continue reviewing slowly-but-surely, episode-by-episode. There are a handful of other shows I’m also watching episodically as well (also listed above), plus a few other shows that I’ll continue as new episodes become available (such as Gundam Unicorn, Yozakura Quartet).
More importantly, I’m almost finished up with “Round One” of the Spring 2011 season, which was just enormous. I have been able to find 56 different first episodes, specials or movies that have been subtitled (so far), of which I am almost through watching and reviewing them all. So far, 19 get a thumbs-up, 29 get a thumbs-down, with 8 shows left to go. I should be finished up with those in the next week or so, at which point I’ll write up a big summary of them, and then it’s time to move on to Round Two where I check out the second episodes.
At that point, I will also post my “Preview” of the Summer 2011 season (hey, only about six weeks late!), and I will also start reviewing the first episodes of those shows as well. Huzzah!
Plus, I am also uncovering assorted movies, specials and shows from earlier seasons (e.g. from 2010) that have been subtitled in the past few months, and I’m slowly watching and reviewing those as time permits. This includes stuff such as Gunpla Builders, The Borrowers, Votoms, Norageki, Golden Kids, Spelunker is a Teacher, and plenty of other stuff as well. Oh, and the much-anticipated Redline movie, too.
Also, since moving everything over from Livejournal to WordPress, I’m porting all of my older reviews over the past year to WordPress as well. The format is copy-and-paste of the original, and the format doesn’t quite fit as well as I would have liked, so I hope to squeeze a bit of time into the future to play around with the format of the reviews a bit. About time for me to move beyond HTML 3.0 and start using CSS and style sheets anyway.
And just for kicks, here’s a summary of grades I have given to various anime shows over the past year — this list is extremely heavily weighted towards shows from 2010 only, because that’s mostly what I have watched in the past year. Note that I have only given final letter grades to shows that I watch in their entirety, which means that very few shows get a “D” or “F” grade, since I’m not likely to keep watching those.
- A: Durarara, Shiki
- A-: The Tatami Galaxy, The Disappearance of Harumi Suzumiya (movie), Shinryaku: Ika Musume, Tokyo: Magnitude 8.0, Welcome to the Space Show (movie)
- B+: Arakawa Under the Bridge (first series), Kurenai, Letter Bee (first series), The Occult Academy, Highschool of the Dead, Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, Time of Eve (movie)
- B: Angel Beats, Bungaku Shoujo (movie), Kaichou wa Maid-sama, Lupin III: The Last Job (movie), Kuragehime, Katanagatari, Mazinkaiser SKL, Colorful (movie), K-On (first season)
- B-: Bakemonogatari, Detective Conan: The Lost Ship (movie), Magical Lyrical Nanoha First Movie (movie), My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute, Eden of the East, My Hime
- C+: Working, Trigun: Badlands Rumble (movie), Arakawa Under the Bridge (second season), Darker than Black: Gaiden, Sora no Woto, Pokemon: Zoroark Master of Illusions (movie)
- C: Senkou no Night Raid, K-On (second season), Ookami-san, Loups=Garous (movie), Legend of Legendary Heroes, King of Thorn (movie), Psychic Detective Yakumo, Doraemon: Nobita and the Great Mermaid (movie)
- C-: Saki, Fate Stay/Night: Unlimited Blade Works, Precure All-Stars DX2 (movie), Gintama Shinyaku Benizakura-hen (movie)
- D: Gundam 00: A Wakening in the Trailblazer (movie), Yu-Gi-Oh: Bonds Beyond Time (movie)