What I watched this month: January 2010

Before I say anything else, I just want to say that I can’t see myself doing any more “The anime that I should have dropped forever” posts.  I hate series of posts like that.  I’m not dedicated enough to type more than one post on the same subject.  Likewise, although this post’s title seems to imply that I’m going to have a “What I watched this month: February 2010,” I doubt there will be.

Yep.

Oh, and this post is combining everything I’ve watched this month, not just airing shows and not just old shows.

God Tier

Planetes

I think this pretty much sums up what I have to say: http://twitter.com/Mikotoism/status/7697544998

Planetes is not a show to be marathoned – I couldn’t stand more than a few episodes at a time.  Yet it’s also not a show to be missed.  Best ending ever.

Soul Eater

I thought Gintama was one of a kind.  Soul Eater proved me wrong.

This is an action/comedy at its best.  While it may not be as comedic as Gintama, the action and comedy blends so well together that whatever crazy thing happens, it’s not surprising.  Add the surreal art and you’ve got one hell of a masterpiece.

I’ve heard bad things about the ending of this show, but heck, I can’t see anything bad about it yet.

Top Tier

Kara no Kyoukai 5

Taking the “what does it mean to be human?” theme to the extreme (rhyme unintended) is this movie.  Easily the best of the incredibly overrated Kara no Kyoukai movies, Paradox Spiral had me on the edge of my seat for a whole two hours.  The pacing was great, the plot was intense, the themes were down to earth yet still unique, and (for once) Kokuto looked cool.

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun

With bias: http://mikoto.wordpress.com/2009/12/27/the-greatest-anime-of-all-time-13/

Without bias: http://twitter.com/Mikotoism/status/8440628992

Sora no Woto

K-ON! + Valkyria Chronicles?

More like (K-ON! + Valkyria Chronicles)^100.

This show exceeded my expectations from Day One, and it just kept getting better.  A slice-of-life story in a post-apocalyptic world isn’t anything new (and indeed, there are series much better than this), but Sora no Woto has overcome the moe handicap it set for itself.  I hope to see even more serious themes masked with lighthearted moe/slice-of-life in the future.

High Tier

Black Lagoon

Took the words right out of my mouth.

Black Lagoon is a simple anime.  Hardcore action, minimal non-action, and quite a few very violent yet likable characters.  It does things directly, and it does things well.

My only complaint would be that arcs start up too slowly.  Some arcs are slice-of-life for almost half an episode before anything worthwhile happens.

Also, the twins were really creepy.  Holy shit.

Chobits

Chobits is even more simple than Black Lagoon, though in a different way.

There is absolutely nothing new about this show (probably because it set the standard to begin with).  The theme has been done over and over and over again (heck, it’s in Kara no Kyoukai 5, as mentioned above).  The characters seem so generic (Chii – maybe not, but Hideki definitely is), and the plot is pretty much moot, since the show’s nearly 100% slice-of-life for most of its 26 episodes.

So why is it so good?

Hanamaru Kindergarten

This show is a quarter of what Yotsuba would be like in anime form.  Considering Yotsuba is just about the greatest manga ever made, that’s supposed to be a compliment.

Anzu’s genki-ness, Koume’s ignorance, and Hiiragi’s “adult” personality combine to make one hell of a comedy.  Everything is just so damn cute, and the personalities of children really shine through here.

Too bad it feels superficial, though.  Every laugh I get feels like it was forced out of me (whereas I can laugh my ass off at a volume of Yotsuba for hours on end).

Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu

Speaking of forced comedy, here’s this season’s king of forced comedy.  Baka Test wasn’t the standard harem romantic comedy I thought it was, but instead a standard comedy.  Though, of course, it’s a really good standard comedy.

Some shows flow with humor.  Others have to squeeze and wring for the humor to come out.  However, that doesn’t mean the comedy is any less good.  Baka Test, belonging to the latter category, puts out one gag after another, sacrificing just about everything to make the audience laugh.  And boy, do I laugh.

That cow…

Mid Tier

Durarara!!

People, it’s not that good.  Sure, it’s innovative (arguably not, actually…), interesting, and [insert more adjectives here], but it pales in comparison to Baccano!.

Durarara!! uses Baccano’s tried-and-true model, yet fails to copy the most important part and Baccano’s main appeal: the characters.  The plot setup is as interesting as Baccano’s, since we are left to wonder how everything is connected.  However, by jumping around from character to character, DRRR!! gives us too long of a look at each character’s personality and story.  Baccano! heaved a huge cast of characters at us, letting us gradually connect with them over the course of 13 episodes.  DRRR!! is practically shoving information down our throats, forcing us to connect with one character/group of characters at a time.

DRRR!! also fails to take advantage of its jumping-around structure.  Whereas Baccano! started things off in the midst of the action, DRRR!! is still in exposition mode (there is no plot yet, hence the “setup“).  I find this to be a waste of its unique structure.  Done right, DRRR!! could overcome that one-character-at-a-time deal… but it’s not going so well.  There is no overarching plot that connects the characters, just bits and pieces.  This both brings out the lack of plot and makes everything feel disjointed.  I’m sure that in the future, DRRR!! is going to develop this aforementioned all-encompassing plot, but to have four (probably more) episodes of boring exposition is unforgivable.

Not sure how clear that was, but I think I got the major points down.  (Don’t get me wrong, though.  DRRR!! is a good show, just not the great one everybody thinks it is.)

Dance in the Vampire Bund

This is not a good show.  This is also not a bad show.

The main reason why this show sucks is that it’s terribly incohesive.  The four episodes we’ve seen so far have been like four different shows with four different casts of characters.  If I marathoned this show, I would probably join the crowd and bash it to no end.  But thank god I have a week between episodes – this way, I can appreciate each great episode for what it is.

Episode one, despite the complete pointlessness of the television show (who cares about what an actor, mangaka, etc. have to say?), was interesting.  Almost all series featuring vampires either have the creatures slinking around in the shadows of the normal world or have them in a separate world filled with other monsters.  Though you’d think it would be more common a theme, ‘revealing vampires (or monsters in general) to the general public’ is rarely seen in anime.  Or at least in the ones I’ve watched.

I’m going to continue watching this series, if not only for its novelty.

Seitokai no Ichizon

This was last season’s king of forced comedy, arguably the all-time king of forced comedy.  Some references were so out of place that I laughed more at the fact that they fit so horribly than at the actual references.  Even worse was the sudden seriousness of some episodes (Mafuyu loves you… and then what?  Is that it?  what the hell is this).

Credit must be given where credit is due, though.  Some parts of this series were laugh-out-loud funny, and despite the numerous drawbacks, it was a decent watch.

Ouran High School Host Club

You know, if Haruhi were actually good looking, I’d like this show a lot more.  The humor is okay, but I just can’t take looking at so many men.  And the only girl looks like neither a man or a woman.

FMA:B

All other Kara no Kyoukai

Low Tier

Katanagatari

When I opened the file, my less-than-stellar computer lagged.  I should’ve taken it as an omen.

This series was obligatory.  Everybody’s watching it, so I have to watch it too.  …or so I thought.  Now I have seen the errors of my ways, and will drop this bad show.

The only vaguely entertaining thing about Katanagatari (besides the weird art) was the male lead.  He’s very… unique.  Everything else was terrible.  The action was practically non-existent, replaced instead by a lot of not-very-witty dialogue (though truth be told, that did help bring out the male lead’s personality).

Honey and Clover

Boring.

Ookamikakushi

I can see this series getting good in the future, but for now the lack of disturbing scenes… well, it disturbs me.  I want to see more creepy Issei or overly cheerful classmates, not this slice-of-life bullcrap I’m getting.

I could do without the moe scythe girl, too.  Why is she moe-fied?  What idiot thought that up?

Revolutionary Girl Utena

Boring.

Bottom Tier

Bungaku Shoujo OVA

This is probably the single most forgettable episode of anime I’ve ever seen.  I saw it last week, and I didn’t realize I had watched it this month until two minutes ago, when I was looking through my MAL history.

There was nothing – absolutely nothing – good about this episode.  I’m still pumped for the movie, but this OVA was some weird parody of the mystery show I was expecting.

K-ON! OVA

copypasta image because this OVA doesn’t deserve anything better

Omamori Himari

This exceeded my expectations.  I thought it was going to be a shitty harem romance comedy (insert more generic things here).  It turned out to be a really shitty harem romance comedy (insert more generic things here), stuffing every stereotype in the world into twenty minutes of pure torture.

Shit Tier

Seikon no Qwaser

This is perhaps the best example of “characters in the wrong show.”   I like most of the characters here, and they might have worked in a different show.

However, the story and the censorship of this show is so terrible that none of that even matters.  I didn’t want to see ecchi crap, so I watched the censored version.  Too bad the censored version cut off 99% of the screen, to a point where I had no idea what was going on half the time.  I hate this show so much.

Chu-Bra

The very premise of Chu-Bra is horrendous.  How can anybody bear to watch this show?

Apocalypse Zero

I have gone through hell.  This is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen.

Apocalypse Zero was so bad that I wrote a review of it on MAL (see Yxel).

I spent three hours looking for subbed episodes and got 92.7% of the first episode torrented tier

Gundou Musashi

I really, really want to watch this show, but it’s tough to find it on the internet (I think 5 episodes have been subbed, but I can’t even find those)… and it only aired in 2006!

Oh, and I found something funny: http://dagobah.biz/flash/gundohharuhi.swf

tl;dr I watch a ton of shows and a ton of shit


43 Comments on “What I watched this month: January 2010”

  1. kluxorious says:

    I kinda put Soul Eater anime on hold because I read the manga. Should probably pick that up soon.

    KnK #5 inspired me to write a fanfic. Enough said.

    I want to comment on your other ranked anime before I realized we have different taste. So be it ^^

    • fangzhao says:

      I hate it when you read the manga and watch the anime. It ruins one, the other, or both! D:

      KnK 5 was confusingly good.

      Yeah, I get that a lot. I often side with people on specific anime, but I’ve yet to meet somebody with tastes similar to mine.

      • kluxorious says:

        yeah, now that you mention it, it kinda did ruin the other. most of the time, its the anime that was ruined.

        • fangzhao says:

          True.

          Bund is a pretty recent example – the manga people have been all over the fact that the anime is too detached from its manga roots!

          Though there are those rare cases where the manga is ruined… Ga-Rei -Zero- was so good that Ga-Rei, that average manga, seemed really bad…

  2. Panther says:

    Planetes is always god-tier. Always.

    I was fine with Soul Eater’s ending, though near the end it got a little over the top. If you really prefer the show, read the manga. Good stuff.

  3. kadian1364 says:

    H&C and Utena wha?? D: How much of them did you watch? I feel there are certain shows that have garnered enough critical acclaim in otakudom that opinions shouldn’t be crystalized until you’ve seen at least half of the show. 3-4 eps of Utena will never do it justice.

  4. mefloraine says:

    *looks up* I always wonder why people ask how much of a show you’ve watched when you make a judgement…I mean, if you’re willing to make the judgement, you must think that you’ve at least watched enough of it for yourself…

    Anyway, my comment on the post itself…
    Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu sacrifices its soul to the viewer for a couple of laughs. ;D

  5. Scamp says:

    D-d-d-d-different tastes, argh~~

    Black Lagoon, Chobits and Durarara all ranking lower than Planetes, Soul Eater and Kara no bloody Kyokai…

    On the other hand, at least we can agree on the shit tiers.

    • fangzhao says:

      Black Lagoon… definitely different tastes there. I’m not one for pure action.

      Though I think I ranked Chobits pretty high… It’s not unique at all (well, for 2010 standards, at least)!

      Kara no Kyoukai 5 was the only truly good one out of the bunch, IMO. Everything else sucked so much. Especially the not-very-good finale…

      • Scamp says:

        Was gonna write a comment how Black Lagoon 2 > 1 but you made that comment about those creepy twins.

        I watched up to the 5th Kara no Kyokai and I didn’t enjoy that one either, so I gave up. I watched them for the pretty colours and that’s about it.

        As for Chobits…yeah, I kinda lurve that show. It’s like…I’ve got a top 30 anime in the drafts so you’ll see how much I lurve that show then

        • fangzhao says:

          Haha, when I torrented the series, I noticed how all 24 episodes were simply under “Black Lagoon.” There’s no break between the series!

          Kara no Kyoukai is way too overrated, but I found the 5th movie pretty interesting. …though it was still a huge mindfuck (even after owen_s tried to explain it to me, I still didn’t really get it…)

          You’re the only aniblogger I know who loves Chobits so much. Everybody else has bad taste.

  6. glothelegend says:

    Thank God, someone else who thinks that Hone and Clover was a boring piece of shit. God I do not see what the big deal is with that show.

  7. Razleplasm says:

    SoulEater is an awesome show, but manages to end it in the lamest way. I guess I’m going to have to pick up the manga.

    As for Durarara, I’m still giving high hopes even though the introduction stage has gone on a bit too long.

    • fangzhao says:

      No, don’t say any more! I want to see that ending for myself! ;_;

      DRRR!! certainly has the potential to become great, but this past month has left a sour taste in my mouth….

  8. fangzhao says:

    This post was too damn long. So long, in fact, that I forgot to finish it.

    I’m not sure if anybody noticed, but at the bottom of Mid Tier, it says “FMA:B” and “All other Kara no Kyoukai” without any description/pictures.

    OOPS. 🙁

    • 2DT says:

      I noticed. I just figured you couldn’t be arsed. But now I know the truth, and I forgive you. 🙂

      Your opinion of Durarara!! was refreshingly different. I don’t agree, but it was a delight to read. Cheers.

  9. Taka says:

    (if i’m feeding the troll ignore the first block of text)
    I like DRR’s style. I think because they have 26 episodes they are really taking the time to flesh them out. Baccano! only had 13 episodes and told a great story but most of the characterization was left to subtext. Who was the most complex character in Baccano? DRR is setting itself up to have multiple complicated characters. I wouldn’t expect a 26 episode show to have the same pace as a 13 episode show. I look forward to what these guys can do with the time given them.

    As for everything else:
    1. Who exactly is Chu-bra’s audience. I’ve wondered this from day 1. In some respects it has all the trappings of an ecchi anime but in others they go way too much into the detail of underwear types and how they affect the people wearing them. It’s bizzare.
    2. Soul Eater ending is terrible. It went anime original since the manga is still ongoing and dear god it sucked. Also someone please strangle Maka kthnx. I never want to hear her speak again.
    3. Ookami kakushi puts me to sleep and I’m waitin around for them to say the male lead is a reverse trap or at least a hermaphrodite.
    4. Katanagatari…Tamura yukari rocked my socks as the female lead even though there was a lot of talking. The male was a dullard and standard idiot shonen male lead. Though the kicking in the stomach when he didn’t even realize it wasn’t her was a pretty good mitigating factor.

    • fangzhao says:

      They may have the time to flesh out each episode… but they’re not doing it! The characters become less and less mysterious and more and more boring with each passing episode as the first episode shock begins to wear off. My point is that although you don’t expect a 26 episode show to have the same pacing as a 13 episode one, it can easily be done – without wasting five episodes’ worth of time. Code Geass did it . TTGL did it. Death Note did it. DRRR!! hasn’t even come close, and for a mysterious action show like this, I find that unacceptable.

      I’d take Baccano’s half-shallow half-deep characters over Durarara’s sacrificing-plot-for-characterization any day.

      Chu-Bra is one lost anime. I can’t see girls liking the ecchi, and I can’t see guys liking the overly informative aspects.

      Ookamikakushi’s sudden dose of shounen-ai caught everybody off-guard and basically said “look at me, I can’t do horror so I’m giving you this!” Ugh.

      I think Katanagatari’s male lead is more than the average shounen lead. He can’t be fazed, acting out of trained impulse rather than lack of intelligence. (That kick was damn funny, IMO)

  10. xau says:

    Other than noticing the awesome shows in the list.

    YOU WATCHED A LOT OF ANIME THIS MONTH.

    Anyways thanks for the write up 😉

  11. Canne says:

    I complete agree that Planetes should never be marathoned. It took me 2 months to labor through the series but I love it nevertheless.

    btw, I get the feeling that Sora no Woto’s rank will go down when the series finishes.

    • fangzhao says:

      I’ve come to notice that some of the best series are the hardest to marathon. Take Mushishi, for example. I couldn’t watch more than two episodes of that a day.

      Or maybe it’s because both Planetes and Mushishi are episodic? Hmmn.

      I’d have to agree with you on Sora no Woto. I can see many ways it can go wrong, so I can’t say I’m hopeful about its future.

  12. Kitsune says:

    Oh wow, you watched so many anime this month!

  13. npal says:

    Have you heard that some people watch Qwaser for the plot and the fighting? :p

    Seriously, sometimes I think everyone needs to get an MRI scan to be able to certify the existence of their brain, otherwise I can easily claim there’s none there based on the above fact. I can understand watching this for all the borderline… no wait, for the porn, but even then, the thing takes itself seriously enough to appear ridiculous. I can’t really comprehend WHY would someone actually watch this thing as a normal anime and not as a weekly hentai substitute.

  14. ILikeTheseSites says:

    Ouran High School Host Club (too long name btw) was ok anime and Omamori Himariis good (or that what i think, but i do like every even little pervert anime show heh heh) curretly have watched about 28 days and 2 hours of anime, best four for me would be:

    1. Naruto (+Shippuden)
    2. Vampire Knight (+Vampire Knight guilty)
    3. Trigun
    4. Final Approach (i want second season!)

    i would put all animes i watched, but site i use is in Finnish, so yeah..

  15. didtav says:

    hey give fairy tail a try, its a good anime too ^^

  16. Seinime says:

    Soul Eater is really good. Guess I’ll start on Planetes and this season…


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