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Anime Roundup: Spring 09

Is it that time already? Well, since I’m away from all my major systems for a while I actually have the time to sit down and do one of these roundups, otherwise I would be hitting valkyria chronicles like crack in preparation for the DLC which is released very soon!!
But I should spend a little time reflecting on what was an interesting season with no great shows but quite a few entertaining ones. And I’ll be posting what I’ll be watching this season too!

Best show: Rideback

Now, first of all, I should come out and say it, Rideback was not a particularly great show, esp in terms of story. Plus, the mecha were, as a friend so eloquently put, are just  suped up Segways!!!!
The story had similar problems to Bounen no Xam’d. It was a story which was heavily dependent on understanding not only the characters but the world they live in and the political landscape. This part was stripped out at first and gradually introduced but in the end, they weren’t able to explain enough in the 13 ep limit which left the show feeling rather hollow. It’s not as bad as Xam’d but things like how much power the GGP actually had over the local government, how they were so easily able to hide and suppress uprisings with ridiculouly excessive force and get away with it and what the main goals of the BMA were (do you honestly think such a well equipped force would be doing it solely for 1 guys thrist for revenge?)

Other things were also just thrown on the sidelines, like Kenji, Rins brother. I’ve read the 1st volume of the manga and I found that the manga tried to feed you too much info at once. With the anime, they feed you too little.
Nevertheless, I still enjoyed the show considerably. Only Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo was as entertaining (if not more so) but it’s only half way complete and there’s plenty of time for it to fumble…

Runners up: Sora Kake Girl, Chrome shelled Regios

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Biggest suprise: Minami-Ke Okaeri

I didn’t hate it!! OK, it’s still a long way off compared to the first season but it’s way better than Okawari so I’ll accept it.

Runners up: Asu No Yoichi

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Biggest Disappointment: Toradora/Xam’d Lost memories

Oh how the mighty have fallen, After an amazing first season, someone snuck into the toradora studio and completely removed all the elements of FUN in the show. And we were left with “drama” so thick, it was like trying to eat half melted ice cream with a straw!
Fair enough, some of the elements were hinted even in the first half, but I still feel that everything was handled too heavily and the characters came worse off. Taiga was considerably less entertaining while she was moping instead of going on a rampage, Ami was almost written out completely, only to make an appearence as the villain to get things going again and Minorin was just painful. Everything she did was painful (and not in the emotional way). It was still watchable, but it just wasn’t entertaining after a while.

X’amd simply didn’t inprove at all. The problems I wrote about before are still present and the ending, while OK considering what it had to work with, felt like the writers were trying too hard to force a happy ending for everyone. The show would have been much stronger if they dropped a few of the plots or simply gave more time to explain the world and the significance of things instead of feeding the viewer scraps and letting them fend for themselves.

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Worst ending: The Tower of Druaga: the Sword of Uruk

The second season of Druaga never really hit the heights of the first but it was still reasonably enjoyable, until the final ep… The final ep had so many groan worthy, and they-just-not-just-do that moments it was unbelievable.
And Fatina got shafted! HARD!!! Damn them all. She, of all people, deserved a happy ending. She got jilted twice in 1 show!!!! Only Sochie Heim from Turn A gundam was that unlucky (but I hated her as a character so it’s ok)

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Worst Show I Endured: Kurogane no Linebarrel/KuroKami

yay, another award. Firstly, I should clear the title up, These 2 shows are the worst shows which I watched from beginning to end. The worst show last season by FAR was Munto. I didn’t even get to the second episode cos I thought it was that bad. And just to give you an idea on my threashold, I watched the WHOLE of Dragonaut!!! so yeah, munto was that damn bad. I have only dropped a handful of shows and it made that infamous list.

Secondly, I stuck the 2 together because they both had the same problem. When adapting a manga to an anime, the staff can go down 2 routes. 1) they can stick closely to the material and perhaps move events around to make them more coherent (and make a good climax for the end of the show. Asu no Yoichi took this approach) or 2) take just some base elements from the show and write something from scratch. The problem with option 2 is that, unless you really know what makes the title tick, you can easily make a royal mess of things. Both titles used option 2.

Lets start with Linebarrel. The start of the show did loosley follow the manga but lacked the progression seen in the source material and was done at high speed. Originally. Koichi started as a wimp and then gained the powers of a factor and then became an asshole. In the anime, he was made into a wimpy asshole and was stuck like that throughout. The result was an almost completely unlikeable character and one you don’t care about. I haven’t hated a character so much since Shinn Asuka from Gundam Seed Destiny!!! In fact, it was so bad that when the turning point came (you know the one if you’ve seen it) You really don’t care. Here’s the point where the main character gets his resolve, improves as a person and starts helping people and the viewer doesn’t care!!! How the hell can they screw that up? Don’t get me started on later events which cheapen the event further, or the Hirano Aya insert character who did *nothing* or… *sigh* I’ll just give up here.
As for Kurokami, same story. The most disturbing thing is the regression of the main characters age to a high school student. In the manga, Keita had just finished University and was about to get a job as a developer so Akanes infatuation and advances were kinda cute. Now it makes her look like a shotacon!!! Add more random character insertions, changes to several characters and devices (a contract was originally made by exchanging a limb between the 2 contractees, but I guess that would have been too gory for TV) and you end up with a show which is almost completely different in feel to it’s source material. I’m not a huge fan of the manga, but the anime is worse to me.

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The Rest

  • Asu No Yoichi was unoriginal, uninspired and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
  • Just what are all those Engrish bits in Chrome Shelled Regios about anyway?
  • Akikan is a glorious mess which almost, but not quite, hit the “so bad, it’s good” barrier
  • SHAFT and Maria Holic just didn’t work well
  • Shikabane Hime as a whole, was totally forgettable
  • Birdy the Mighty Decode S2 was lacking in the quality of the 1st season but definitely had more QUALITY
  • Leopard is awesome but what the hell is going on in Sora wo kakeru shoujo?
  • Vipers creed got really stupid later on.
  • The great mystery that is “why do I continue to watch Maria sama ga Miteru” remains unsoved. Perhaps Season 5 will provide answers…
  • Clannad Afterstory Gets more Kyou but we still need more Tomoyo!!
  • Gundam 00 didn’t end up totally crap but it wasn’t exacly good either.

And here’s my watch list for this season. Once again, I’ve split them into “must watch,” “interested” and”why the hell am I watching this?”

Must watch

Valkyria Cronicles

OK, I’m just going to come out and say it, this show will suck. And it hurts for me to say it. I want it to be good, given that I love the game it’s based on so much but after watching the first couple of eps, several alarm bells are ringing in my head.
Shame cos they are getting a lot right, they got the original voice actors to reprise their roles, the unique shading from the game IS in there, but not as evident and they even play music from the game as part of the soundtrack (that last addition is awesome). but they seem to be stretching things out a little and the focus of the story has been shifted from welkin to Alicia. Yes, Alicia plays an important role in the story but it worked in the game because you were watching her, not following her. Sakura wars TV also shifted focus from Ohgami to Sakura, and the story suffered as a result. I hope things turn out well, but I’m not so sure from the current evidence…

Shin Mazinger Z

A mecha fan not watching a remake of the granddaddy of them all? yeah right!!

Basquash

From the same company that gave us Macross Frontier and with Kawamori at the helm (but that’s more of a minus point for me than a plus) so this show has a good foundation. It’s also a mecha show so it instantly gets priroity. I just have to get over the fact that the mecha play basketball and are basically small french cars with arms and legs…

Asura Cryin

Mecha Show. Nuff said.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

You know, I have the entire first season on DVD and the R2 limited edition version of the movie, but I have not yet watched the whole thing! Oh well, may as well pick this up since it goes it’s own way. I am enjoying the manga immensely tho…

Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom

It’s a beetrain show!!! With a pair of protagonists and guns!! Well, Being a person who really loved Noir, Madlax and enjoyed El Cazedor de la Bruja, I’ll be watching this one too!

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Interesting but Meh

K-ON

Contrary to the rest of the internet, a show by KyoAni doesn’t make it an instant hit for me. Having said that, the aimless school life anime is something I am somewhat fond of, the most recent example being Hyakko, and it seems charming enough so it’s in. Tho I am surprised that Yui is being ignored as much as she is. I would have thought that the dojiko factor would have worked in her favour but everybody sees just Mio. Not that it’s a bad thing…

Eden of the East

Very nearly a must watch for me but for now it’s sitting in this section because I have no idea what to expect from it.I didn’t watch honey and Clover (mainly cos Hagu scared the crap out of me) so I’m not familiar with the previous works but it looks interesting enough and I think it will go strong.

Saki

It’s a show about cute girls playing Mahjong. SOLD!!!
The fact that I know how to play kinda helps too.

Pandora Hearts

I watched the first episode on a whim and have absolutely no clue as to what the heck is happening. So I’m continuing with the show to find out. So long as there’s no excessive boy love moments, it should be fine.

Natsu No Arashi

A timetravelling girl who uses her power when she eats strawberries… Yup, it’s stupid. But since the original manga is penned by the guy who does school rumble, I’ll give it a chance (though School rumble Z sucks)

Shangri-La

No idea what to expect again, but I don’t hate anything I’ve heard about it so lets give it a chance.

Tayutama: kiss on my deity

A fanservice, boy meets girl show. A main staple for any anime viewer.

Tears to Tiara

From the creators of Utawarerumono (or something, basically the eroge) comes another eroge adaptation. People say that the first one was good, so I’ll check this one out to see what it’s all about.

Hayate the combat butler S2

Pic VERY much related to why I’m enduring a second season. 1st one wasn’t bad, it just dragged on…

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Why am I watching this?

Queens Blade

oh my god, this show is bad… It’s one of those shows which would give a viewer brain damage if they took it with any level of seriousness. It’s like a carcrash, which is why I’m sticking around for more…
Just how low will it go?

Hatsukoi Limited

It’s an adaptation of a manga from the creator of Ichigo 100%. That one line will be enough to make some people run to the hills!!! But I have a faint glimmer of hope that the non linear web of character interactions which makes up the plot will result in something even slightly better than the god awful adaptation of ichigo 100%. And even the Hatsukoi limited manga ending was better than the rubbish that populated the last few volumes of 100%.
In any case, it will either be a surprise hit or another carcrash waiting to happen. Who’s in a betting mood?

This list is pretty much set in stone. I don’t think I’ll be keeping an eye on anything else to sneak in so the list is pretty comprehensive. It’s pretty big already… Anyone agree/disagree with my list?
Think I should check out another show?

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