Monthly Archives: September 2012

Kimi ni Todoke – From Me to You

Type: Quiet gal and Nice guy take two seasons to become high school sweethearts

Synopsis: Shy girl named Sawako looks like a ghost or something, causing all her classmates to cower at her feet. Instead of using this ability to gain power over the school, she decides to become more outgoing. She becomes friends with this super popular dude named Shota. This gives her access to the stylish Ayane and sporty Chizuru. Whether or not this is all a genius plot for world domination is yet to be seen.

Pros: Super cute. Too cute. Sawako is too cute. Her appearance and timid nature makes her a social periah among her peers. But this masks a kind and helpful demeanor. You fall in love with her. You wanna give her a hug when she’s sad, and are so happy when other people see what a great person she is. You understand why she wouldn’t make friends easily, but also how she would inspire really strong loyalty from the friends she does have. Ayane and Chizuru are good friends for her. Ayane is the opposite of Sawako, confident and glamorous. Chizuru is spunky and emotional. You like them because they like Sawako. You just can’t help but smile when something nice happens to her.

Cons: Super melodramatic. Too melodramatic. The whole show is too melodramatic. But surprisingly, this doesn’t ruin the anime. The melodrama involved only makes Sawako a more sympathetic character. I mean, the amount of emotional hardship this girl has to go through! Yeesh! Very high school. The main source of this is Shota, the boy that likes Sawako. He’s super popular, so every other girl is jealous and angry at Sawako. Shota isn’t that interesting to watch, but at least he likes the girl that seems to like him. Another source of conflict it the cast’s tendency to jump to conclusions based on incomplete information and rumors. Realistic yes, but bothersome also. Their’s also Kurumi and Kento. They were annoying buttingskis who stuck their nose into other people’s business and caused trouble. I could have lived without them.

Watch it?: Yeah, but if your looking for something “tough,” then move along. (4/5)

MVP: Sawako Kuronuma

The most likable heroine in anime history

Best Episode: S2, Ep.11 “After the Festival” (one of my harder decisions)

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Mayoi Neko Overrun!

Type: A Bakery takes in a stray that’s also a hot girl

Synopsis: A woman started a bakery-cafe called “Stray Cats,” employing two orphans (Takumi and Fumino). Then she sorta “adopts” this hot poor girl (Nozomi) who kinda looks like a cat (but is totally not a cat). This weird pseudo-incestous “family” than “adopts” a rich stray named Chise (emotionally orphaned, not for reals orphaned).

Pros: Good fan service laughs plus funny pervert-counterattacks. Fumino’s incredibly short fuse, karate chop, and catchphrase “Die  twice!”  are awesome. I also love when the main cast does some sort of activity together. They really play off each other better than most real comedy groups. I guess the combo of angry, spoiled, quiet, nice, airhead, and anime freak is the secret recipe for success.

Cons: This show is weirdly unbalanced. Some episodes are so silly and unique (their’s a Janga episode!), but other episodes are you’re typical anime fare (trying to cheer up a little kid). Then their’s Nozomi, whose supposed to be the new girl character, but isn’t really the focus of the show. Most other shows are usually turned upside down when the new girl come in, hence shinanigans. So she never really feels like a viable female protagonist. But in a weird twist, the core cast actually helps carry the new girl, so nice save.

Watch it?: I wanna say no, but I gatta say yes (3/5)

MVP: Fumino Serizawa

Karate Chop!

Best Episode: Ep. 8 “Stray Cats, Drawn Out” (Jenga!)

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Heaven’s Lost Property (Season 1 and 2)

Type: Angel-robot things fall to earth and shack up at a dude’s house

Synopsis: One day a pervy guy named Tomoki openly declares that he wants nothing more from life than peace and quiet…then a busty angel/robot falls on top of him. After a quicky “careful what you wish for” experience, Tomoki is forced to provide this trouble magnet room and board. The angel/robot boob girl soon attracts other angels/robots, forever ruining Tomoki’s afternoon plans of peeping from the bushes while the girl next door undresses.

Pros: I really like the cast. Tomoki is a harem protagonist, but his unapologetic (almost prideful) pervyness makes him one of the funniest male leads I’ve ever come across. The robot/angel girl’s, Ikaros’s, naivete and love of watermelons were very endearing and funny. Then their’s Sohara, Tomoki’s neighbor who keeps him line with super powerful karate chops. Last but not least are Eishiro and Mikako, both very smart and level headed (but not without their own quirks).The show’s also very funny, like almost to surprising levels (fan service jokes, crazy new girl at school jokes, naivete jokes, evil mastermind jokes, etc). But it can also elicit emotion when it brings up the plight of the angel/robots (angeloids). So, all in all, and enjoyable anime revolving around naive robotic girls and humans (now was that so hard?).

Cons: The anime kinda lacks resolution. The premise describes Ikaros as an “angeloid,” a robot created by angels. The angeloids are continually abused by the “Master of Synapse” (basically the head angel). The show does a really good job at making you hate the “Master” (I felt my fist clenching more than once), but he never gets his comuppens (Now, to be fair, the manga that the anime is based on is still going). But outside of that, I got nothing against it. It balances humor, action, and melodrama avidly. Kudos.

Watch it?: Hell Yeah! (4/5)

MVP: Ikaros

Who can hate someone who loves watermelon so much?

Best Episode: S2, Ep. 10 “Peek Into the Fantasy Field” (A real man never apologizes for his pervert nature!)

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To Love Ru

Type: Alien girl tries to force human into marriage as form of teenage rebellion

to_love_ru

Synopsis: Guy named Rito is taking a bath where he bumps into a alien girl, Lala (which happens more often than you think). Lala decides to rope him into an intergalactic feud with the Tyrant King of the Galaxy, even though it would mean the destruction of the Earth. She then falls in love with him for reals (duh), and proceeds to stalk him. So basically, she’s the protagonist and antagonist of the show.

Pros: To Love Ru has many of the strengths common in harem anime’s. Each of the girls are attractive and quirky. It doesn’t stray away from fan service. And the plots usually find resolution in the most exaggerated manner possible. Its also funny in a gag-oriented sort of way (which is honestly the best kind).

Cons: To Love Ru is average. Nothing really pops out at you. The alien girl in the bathtub has been done. The conflict steaming from a unconventional marriage has been done. The male protagonist not really liking the female protagonist has been done. You know what, that’s another thing. Rito and Lala, not the best couple. The problem is that Rito is established in liking a girl named Haruna at the start of the anime. His feelings don’t go away. She’s his main love interest until the very end of the season. This twist on the harem plot never works. You feel bad for the first girl, annoyed at the new girl, and uncomfortable with the dude.

Watch it?: Nah, you’re not missing anything that you haven’t seen before (2/5)

MVP: Golden Darkness

Awesome Name

Best Episode: Ep. 25 “The Earth’s Final Night” (honestly, very exciting)

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Mayo Chiki

Type: Butler girl who would do anything to keep her secret (anything)

Synopsis: One day this guy goes to the restroom and accidentally walks in on this girl, who he thought was a dude, being a very naked girl. He freaks, she freaks, somebody tries to kill somebody else, blah, blah, blah. Guy wakes up in the nurses room next to the girl’s even hotter employer. They make a deal to keep the butler-girl’s secret in exchange for attempting to cure the dudes fear of women (though, death threats and extortion don’t help).

Pros: This show is very funny. It really shouldn’t be so funny, but it is. The character that really sells it is the butler-girl Subaru. Her quick turns from badass to obsessive to girly in mere moments are to die for. The whole plot of solving the protagonist’s, Kinjiro’s, girl problems often led her to being displayed in naughty images that are so over the top that you’re just left with your mouth open in astonishment and joy. Then their’s Kinjiro, the out of luck protagonist (not original, but still good), and Kanade, the evil mastermind behind most of the show’s antics. These three, especially Subaru, are what make the show work, and work well.

Cons: A bit melodramatic at points (it is based on a light novel after all). I’m also not crazy about Masamune (rabbit girl) and Nagare (Subaru’s dad). Masamune is a bit too annoying for my taste, and Nagare is kinda unlikable. And like most animes with a strong core cast, the episode plots fall short on originality (date, beach, and school festival, motivations explored, etc.)

Watch it?: Oh dear me, yes. (4/5)

MVP: Subaru Konoe

She just needs a chance to let her hair down

Best Episode: Ep2 “I Fell in Love!” (baaaah)

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Bakemonogatari

Type: Ghost stories done anime style

Synopsis: Half-vampire goes to high school and sticks his nose into the business of a few cute girls. Each of the girls have some sort of mental demon that becomes a real demon for some reason. The half-vampire doesn’t really solve their issues, but takes the credit for it. Funny enough, half of the girls’s problems are because of the half-vamp, since he’s so damned shiny and mysterious (he is in high school after all).

Pros: An anime about ghost stories is pretty cool on paper, and the show doesn’t disappoint. Like all real ghost stories, the real monster is human nature. Each of the girl’s “demons” is the manifestation of their individual psychological issues. The show’s cool animation style and sporadic cinematics give each episode an aura of a film (especially because each episode has its own individual openings). Slow starts and intense climaxes. This one’s really worth a watch.

Cons: The protagonist Koyomi. Well, not the character, but just his back story. Problem is, you don’t know a whole lot. It all gets covered in the pilots opening, and is never really looked into again (though, given its sequel and movie, it may have in fact already been). I also have a problem over Hitagi, the female protagonist (sort of). Her back story is a bit too elaborate (it involves cults). But these things are really just nit picking an otherwise intriguing anime.

Watch it?: Yes, or it’ll haunt you later in life (5/5)

MVP: Suruga Kanbaru

To be honest, I just think shes cute

Best Episode: Ep. 9-10 “Nadeko Snake” (the whole arc)

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Sekirei (Season 1 and 2)

Type: Big boob girls fighting tournament

Synopsis: This city just randomly sets up a fighting tournament between really hot girls (and a few dudes). One of the guys accidentally enters the tourney because the girls can only get to full power by hooking up with a person and kissing them (because of course they do). So, girl falls from the sky, guy gets stuck in the middle of a battle, guy and girl run off, they kiss, girl grows magic wings, and they manage to escape to safety. Typical first date, right?

Pros: Unique plot. Sekirei is basically a harem anime, but the twist of a fighting tournament really caught me by surprise.  The mechanics of the tournament force the participants to create different units of fighters for survival. Sekirei has an intensity to it, reminding you that the cast aren’t trying to win, but just survive. Minato is also very fun, specifically him having to deal with his new found harem. It helps balance some of the more serious moments of the show. Its really enjoyable watching protagonist Minato’s harem grow. In retrospect, Sekirei has a more realistic look at harem life (minus the violence) than most. All the characters are forced to live with one another, just like real polygamist arrangements. Show’s also funny. You got fan service (like a lot), you got dialog, you got a Three’s Company situation, and your classic harem main stays of the airhead, tsundere, little sister, glasses, mature, and even a transgender. What more could you ask for?

Cons: The pacing is kinda a problem. The tournament in the show keeps going though “stages,” forcing the participants to fight each other. Seeing that this tournament is technically a master plan for something, the rush factor makes logical sense. But, as a viewer, it goes by a little too fast. Yet at the same time, its also a bit slow at times. The tournament or project, or whatever is happening has a very informal structure, so it revs up and down a seemingly random times. The action is serviceable, but it won’t blow you away. The show does do a surprisingly good job at balancing harem, action, and comedy. Not so much with melodrama. That creeps up every now and then, and it never quite lands well.

Watch it?: Yes (4/5)

MVP: Tsukiumi

Honor bound to marriage, apparently.

Best Episode: OVA “Kusano’s First Shopping Trip” (too cute)

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Nurse Witch Komugi

Type: Actress is actually a magical girl

Synopsis: O.K. Kogumi is a wanna-be Japanese idol who is actually a magical girl whose been intrusted to guard the world from alien viruses by a perverted bunny rabbit. Her main idol rival is a big boobed purple haired girl who looks mysteriously like her big boobed magical girl enemy (I got a few theories). I think some other stuff happens too (also still just a theory).

Pros: Good fan service jokes plus its has its moments in dialog. Episodes are also short, so its a good choice is you need a quicky anime fix. The show’s a parody of another show called “The Soul Taker,” so theres that. And if your a magical girl fan, well, here’s the anime for you

Cons: The show’s very, eh. By “eh” I mean, kinda boring. The protagonist Komugi isn’t that fun to watch. I mean, points for giving her having a hard time. It helps to balance her childish demeanor. To be perfectly honest, the whole “magical girl” thing has never done a lot for me. The show’s supposed to be a parody anime, which is exactly why Kogumi’s actions never go exactly her way. But…I just couldn’t get into it. Its not bad, but you kinda need to be able to get beyond the magical girl thing to enjoy it. (Then again, after listening to a few seconds of the english dub, I may need to change my mind)

Watch it?: I’d say no, but its sooo short that its really up to you (2/5)

MVP: Yui Kirihara

Lady should really change her day job

Best Episode:  Ep.1 Biggest Battle at Akihabara (gives you a good gauge for the rest of the show)

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Kanokon

Type: Fox girl loves little boys

Synopsis: This fox girl named Chizuru keeps sexually harassing this high school boy named Kouta. Then this wolf girl named Tayura enters the mix. Fox girl spends most of her time trying to get Kouta to jump her bones. Theres also some nonsense involving fox girl’s brother, but rest assured, most of the story involves Fox girl doing her best to sex Kouta up.

Pros: Pervy jokes made funnier by Kouta’s resistance. He tries so hard to be a conservative, but fails, because, well, come on! Its hard for any dude to resists a big boobed girl who is literally trying to get into your pants over and over again. Lots of fan service laughs. Then there’s the wolf girl. Tamoya has a dry humor that plays well against Chizuru’s (fox girl) more flirty nature. Each episode usually revolves around Chizuru trying to increase Kouta’s love for her in some way. It all works out in the end, which is kind off nice.

Cons: Kouta. Well, not his character, just his appearance. Guy looks six years old. I guess that’s supposed to fulfill his whole “loser guy” requirement for anime standards, but it just makes his interactions with Chizuru kinda creepy to watch. There’s also the subplot with Chizuru’s brother. He’s mainly there to cause conflict, but his threats are never that serious. He only shows up to make us remember that the the plot of the show has is whether or not demons and humans can have a relationship (real original). The main strength comes from Chizuru, Tayoma, and Kouta (thought, to be honest, Tayoma is more of a supporting character). Other than that, each episode is strong, but a little cliche at some points. Good, not great.

Watch it?:….if you want. But try not to perv out too much. (3/5)

MVP: Chizuru Minamoto

She know what she want. A person can respect that.

Best Episode: Ep.12 “Can We Finally Do It?” (and they lived happily ever after)

Video Summary: Here

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Inukami!

Type: Wanna-be harem guy forced to live with a not-harem

Synopsis: A loser guy is the suckiest exorcist in his exorcist family. Once he reached adolescence, he tried to get a retainer, or demon servant. He really hoped to get a sexy demon slave girl, but was tricked by a sexy demon slave girl into becoming a not so sexy slave boy. Now he’s forced to coordinate his entire wardrobe around the magic collar around his neck.

Pros: The premise. A story about a pervy guy (Keita) whose dreams of having a harem are thwarted by the girl that likes him (Yoko) is very unique. Its also great that pervy guy’s cousin has a harem himself. Its like an anime from the perspective of a harem protagonist’s pervy friend. The show has some funny moments too (mainly concerning all things pervy). There’s also the middle arc concerning a shinigami fight. The male and female leads really get their hero moment.

Cons: Oh, so many things. Lets start with the leads Keita and Yoko. Keita is a pervy jackass who is also incredibly weak (plus I hate his collar). Yoko is a spoiled jerk. They really don’t become likable until the middle of the anime. Their fight with the Shinigami show’d just how short the show fell from its promise. Keita was all determined and clever. Yoko was all self-sacrificing and tough. They worked well together. Then it all goes away. The cousin and his harem that play opposite Keita and Yoko also felt tacted on. Way too many characters to keep track off or even care about. Plus, the fact that you know they are another dude’s harem really makes any interactions with Keita moot. I wish that the harem had been place more in the background. Almost as if a harem anime was happening while Keita and Yoko did their thing, occasionally commenting on it. More of a parody anime instead of trying to combine a harem and love comedy. An inversion of the regular formula where the non-haremcharacters are usually pushed into the shadows. Or maybe just omit the harem aspect and focus on Keita proving himself as a exorcist. His fight against the Shinigami proved that he was clever. A hero that can’t get any respect. Spider-man, but with demons. That I would have enjoyed. But as it is, it has too many elements and fails to execute any well. The ending is also extremely convoluted. It involves possible clones, viruses, time travel, immortals, destroyed city fighting, a spirit detective, and a pervert army. I mean dude, did someone just decide to add as many cliche’s as they could before the show was over!?

Watch it?: No. Don’t waste your time. (1/5)

MVP: Keita Kawahira

There’s a noble man behind that dog collar. I just know there is.

Best Episode: Ep. 13 “I Am Your Song!” (Actually doing heroic exorcist stuff with his own twist)

Video Summary: Here

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