Monthly Archives: May 2013

The World Only God Knows

Type: The Pick-Up Artist for Nerds

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Synopsis: Keima Katsuragi is the god of conquering girls, specifically 2-D girls from dating sims. A cute demon named Elsie mistakes him for an actual player and forces him to hunt down evil spirits living inside his female classmates. If he doesn’t, he and Elsie will be beheaded. Since Keima has little to no experience or interest in real life women, he must use his computer gaming skills to seduce each girl. So its like that one horrible book, but like, the anime version.

Pros: I found the premise of the show rather refreshing. It was nice to see a show where a male character had to actively chase after a number of girls, instead of the other way around. This is sort of like a harem show, except all the girls never meet each other, and only interact with the lead one at a time. And they actually kiss, which almost never happens in these show. Every girl is different, representing a different anime archetype (tsundere, rich girl, normal girl, teacher, etc). The humor was also much funnier than I expected, interjecting fun gags and cutaways to help balance some of the more dramatic moments.

Cons: This show is divided into arcs. One girl’s story equals one arc. And a lot of the arcs are built the same way. Keima learns which girl has a spirit, he does some preliminary research and interactions, we learn the girls tragic backstory, and Keima kisses the girl and makes it all better. I get why every girl needs to have some sort of emotional hangup, but I’ve never been a huge fan of melodrama. But I guess that’s the price to pay for an otherwise enjoyable anime.

Watch it?: Press Start Now (4/5)

MVP: Elsie

New Picture (5)

She’s just too cute

Best Episode: S2, Ep. 8 “Flag.8.0 Her First Errand” / “Flag.8.5 Tea for Three.” (Hate the Game, Not the Player)

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Tears to Tiara

Type: Medieval-Fantasy-whatevers

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Synopsis: The morning star Lucifer rebels against heaven, as the morning star Lucifer is prone to do. He is forced to go to sleep for one thousand years, and is awoken by King Arthur and his sister. They decide to go on a merry adventure to defeat  the evil Roman empire using the power of fairies and friendship. This, of course, also means toppling Heaven itself. But it’s all done through allusions, because aren’t we so clever?

Pros: The show itself is a solid show. I could easily imagine myself watching this in my younger days after school or weekend afternoon. It has a cool Demon King, a relatable deuteragonist, a sexy archer, a cool female knight, well done battles, etc. The characters are honorable, the villains are sympathetic, the stakes and conflicts are understandable. The show does everything a medieval fantasy show is supposed to do. It builds a concrete story revolving around swords and magic.

Cons: The thing about this show is that it’s a solid show. But that’s it. It’s a well-done medieval-fantasy show. If you’re a fan of that kind of stuff, you’ll feel right at home. If you’re not, this is not going to change your mind. It’s honestly rather cookie cutter, and more than a little corny. Tears to Tiaras almost felt like an RPG come to life. It has a warrior, an archer, a knight, a white mage, a black mage, a spear person, a hammer person, hell, it even had a bard. A personal problem I had with it was it’s lack of a singular protagonist. Technically, Arawn is the main character, but he didn’t really feel like it. He was a little bit too mysterious and distant for that. Arthur would have made a more logical lead.

Watch it?: Again, if you like medieval-fantasy, this will not disappoint (3/5)

MVP: Octavia

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Blonde chicks kick ass

Best Episode: Ep.14 “White Spirit” (I mentioned that this was an RPG, right?)

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Steins;Gate

Type: Time Travel

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Synopsis: The mad scientist Kyoma Hooin, or Rintaro Okabe, creates a lab with his friends and accidentally creates a time machine. It turns out, however, that this time machine will be stolen by an evil organization and cause a distopian future. It also leads to the death of an important, if dim witted, lab member. In order to stop all of this, the mad scientist has to prevent the time machine from being built. However, this will also result in a death of a different, but equally important, lab member.

Pros: I have to be perfectly honest, I’m a big sucker for time travel stories. And this one didn’t disappoint. What starts off as a seemingly humorous but mundane tale about creating a time machine quickly grows into a large and engrossing story about a man trying to change the past. Everything you thought was unimportant early on pays off in the latter half of the series in a very satisfying way. There are also a few twists and turns that catch you by surprise, adding quite the layer of suspense. The characters are fun to watch, and I especially liked Okabe’s design, as he has a sort of Reed Richard’s quality to him.

Cons: This being a time travel story, some of the specifics may come off as confusing. Luckily, the main story plot is repeated often enough for you to catch the gist of it. It also starts off slow, which makes sense given the later episodes. The second half the show is very story heavy, meaning that the levity enjoyed in the first half is largely diminished. It’s almost like two entirely different shows in terms of tone. Once could probably argue also that the second half is tad repetitive, but given the nature of time travel and the story at large, it’s actually necessary. There’s also the maid character and feminine boy character that aren’t that interesting or important to the overall narrative.

Watch it!?: Only if Time Travel doesn’t hurt your head (5/5)

MVP: Kurisu Makise

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When you think about it, this was all kinda her fault.

Best Episode: Ep.22 “Being Meltdown” (when it rains, it pours)

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Spice and Wolf (Season 1 & 2)

Type: Medieval Economics 101

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Synopsis: A merchant named Kraft Lawrence accidentally becomes the tour guide of a wolf spirit named Holo. He promises to take her to her home in the north. In exchange, he gets to travel with a cute girl whose superhuman senses gives him an edge in trading. Even so, Lawrence’s ineptitude as a merchant gets them into trouble on numerous occasions. Seriously, he’s not very good at what he does. Its like he was running a bank or something.

Pros: I really like what the show did with the relationship between Lawrence and Holo. From their silly banter, to their more intimate moments, you really get the sense that these two are close. All too often in anime, a relationship feels too forced and rushed. But in the case of Lawrence and Holo, their relationship is allowed to grow, making their eventual romance feel organic and natural. I especially liked Holo. The show does a good job emphasizing her age through her dialogue and actions, subtly reminding you that she is several hundred years old. She has a confidence that only comes through experience, as well as a sadness from living so long. Quite a compelling character.

Cons: This show can be divided into three parts. The fist part is the relationship between Lawrence and Holo, which I found to be the most entertaining. The second part is the basic plot structure. Every season has two story arcs, each revolving around some sort of business deal that eventually goes bad. The only thing that changes are the characters and details. This part is actually pretty exciting, and the show does a good job building drama and suspense. The last part is detailed financial explanations. The show revolves around a merchant. Thus, it delves deeply, often dedicating entire scenes, into explaining various aspects of trading, from market fluxes, networking, the risk of investing in futures, etc. This was very boring, but it did remind me of Moby Dick, which itself has weirdly detailed explanations of the whailing industry.

Watch it?: If you have the patience, you’ll enjoy it (4/5)

MVP: Holo

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Wise Wolf of Yoitsu

Best Episode: S2, Ep.1-6 The Amati Arc (all of it)

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Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple

Type: Kung-Fu Fighting

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Synopsis: Shirahama Kenichi is a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooser. But he wants to be better. He wants to be the champion of the oppressed, the lone vigil in the night. Oh, who am I kidding! All he wants to do is get into some girl’s weird purple spandex pants. And with the help of 5 martial arts masters, he might just do that.

Pros: The greatest thing about Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple is it’s simple foundation. Kenichi is a young man with no fighting talent whatsoever, but through sheer hard work, he manages to become a great warrior. The best thing is, Kenichi doesn’t go out trying to be the best. His only real motivation is trying to become strong enough to protect the Dojo’s daughter, his only real friend. But the whole situation get out of hand, and he’s sorta forced into continually improving himself.  The whole idea of having to slowly work his way up the ranks of the town’s local gang leaders, who all somehow know Martial Arts, is great. It also has a fun cast of characters, and each of Kenichi’s Masters are very entertaining personalities.

Cons: My main gripe with Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple is it’s animation style. Don’t get me wrong, their are no glaring animation problems, nor is the animation itself of poor quality. But it just doesn’t match the tone of the source material. The animation style doesn’t do a proper job of making the fighting exciting. The fight scenes look way too generic, which is the one thing in an action show that should not look average. The rest of the show is honestly pretty hit or miss. It has pretty great character moments between the cast, but the conflict in the show isn’t exactly Sheakespere, its a great idea, but a mild execution.

Watch it?: Yeah. It’s a pretty fun Martial Arts anime. (4/5)

MVP: Shirahama Kenchi

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From Zero to Hero

Best Episode: Ep.49 “The Mightiest Transformation! The Ryōzanpaku Rhythm!” (Imitation is the heart of Martial Arts)

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