51 CommentsMonthly Roundups / By Scamp /

October Roundup

The only news I can think of from this month is ANN’s lulzy attempt at simulcasting. After all the coverage behind Funimation’s botched attempts at simulcasting One Piece, ANN get into the simulcasting business with Ore no Imouto and instantly botch it up. Now I quite like ANN and I think most of the criticism they get is either outdated or people being butthurt because they wrote a negative review of one of their favourite anime. But even I’m just laughing at them in this instance. Stick to news and columns ANN. Don’t do anything that could lead you to have to report on your own site. Leave simulcasting to Crunchyroll. At least they will license anime outside of North America.

A Grade: One of the tops of the year. Get ready for some fanboying here

A- Jellyfish Princess

Episodes 1-2

Two episodes is a bit early to start declaring this the best anime of the year or anything. But it’s certainly heading there. The intelligence and wit behind the humour is fantastic, to the point that you don’t even catch everything first time around. I’m currently waiting for the hypocritical nature of the residents of the fujioshi house to be shown up for what it is. I do have this niggling worry that even Noitamina is producing self-referential material and how that can’t be good for the anime industry as a whole. As fantastic as this anime is, a little bit of perspective is needed.

B Grade: Hugely enter­tain­ing stuff. Not amaz­ing but def­in­itely worth watching

B- Panty and Stocking and Garterbelt

Episodes 1-5

I’m quite amazed by how this anime has managed to keep its’ jokes fresh. Well, for the most part anyway. It’s kinda like Hetalia in that regard. In segments like the cute sperm warriors, the depressed salaryman and the obese one (if just for the transformation sequence with fat Stocking), this show really shines. It’s when it focuses on being revolting for the sake of being revolting that it shows its true dumb side. Snot monsters? Really? Still, when this show gets it right, it really does entertain.

B- Bakuman

Episodes 1-5

Bakuman is very much a slow burner series. Not a huge amount happens in each episode, but the development is clear and well structured once you look at it from a wider perspective. Many people use this reason to explain why episodic blogging doesn’t work. That you can’t ‘review’ single episodes because you don’t have the overall picture.Yet it’s probably been my favourite out of the three I’m blogging this season to follow because I like breaking apart the different moods the series sets (seriously, some of the pre-iconceved notions people still have about episodic blogging make my eyes roll. Please, find me one blog that still just farts out an episode summary and that’s it. I sure as hell can’t find any). It’s going to take a bit longer before I’m willing to hike it’s grade up a few notches, but it’s slowly getting there.

B- Arakawa Under the Bridge X Bridge

Episodes 1-4

What’s holding me back giving this the higher grade it probably deserves is the hollow feeling this season has. Sure, it’s funny and everything. When it focuses on trying to prize apart Nino’s past, such as episode 3, it mirrors the quality the first season had. But I still don’t feel like this season is necessary. Arakawa rounded itself off beautifully and perfectly with one of the best constructed comedies I’ve ever seen. Now it’s heading worryingly into sitcom material where nothing really changes. That’s not Arakawa anymore.

C Grade: It’s good enough to keep watch­ing but it’s not that memorable

C Star Driver

Episodes 1-5

Now that I’ve finished Revolutionary Girl Utena, I can see what Star Driver is aiming for, but they sure aren’t succeeding. Star Driver is to Utena what Umineko is to Higurashi. Tried to mimic the feeling of the earlier series but largely failed and now the entertainment is more drawn from it being really silly. At least Star Driver has the upper hand on Umineko in that the sillyness feels intentional. GINGA BISHOUNEN always manages to send a grin to my face, as does KIRABOSHI~♥. But it’s still a long way off from actually showing that any of this plotting and imagery actually makes any sense.

C Invasion Squid Girl

Episodes 1-4

Here’s my problem with Squid Girl. It doesn’t do an awful lot wrong. In fact, it does pretty much nothing wrong, apart from have a painful opening song. It achieves exactly what it sets out to do. Have a cute girl try to invade humanity but fail miserably. A cute little comedy that never overreaches its’ limits. That’s also the problem though. It has such low goals that achieving them brings little satisfaction when you realise this was all they were aiming for. All things considered, I’d much prefer to watch Star Driver over this. For all Star Driver’s failings, it’s not for a lack of trying. I’d much prefer to watch something with high ambitions that fails to meet them then something with low ambitions that succeeds.

C- Ore no Imouto

Episodes 1-4

My basic thought process towards Ore no Imouto went something like this: pre-ep.1) Little Sister Can’t be this Cute? What a load of otaku pandering incestuous bullshit. Not watching that. Ep.1) OK, that was actually really good. Maybe they aren’t trying to make some otaku pandering nonsense. Ep.2) Wow, that first episode was not a fluke. This is really well written. Hurrah for subversive moe comedy! Ep.3) Not quite as good, some worrying signs, but I’m probably just being hyper cautious. Writing is still fairly solid. Ep.4) OK, I wasn’t being hyper-cautious. Pre-impressions were correct. This is otaku-pandering bullshit. At least the writing is better than most of it’s ilk.

C- Ironman

Episodes 1-5

Ironman could work. Let’s compare this to Cobra from earlier on in the year. Cobra was made on a shoestring budget and had the most nonsense plot lines around. But it succeeded in being a generally quite fun anime. Why? Because the creators liked what they were working on and loved putting their crazy ideas into it. I’m not sure quite what they’ve put into the drinking water at Madhouse studios, but the Ironman staff appear like the most lethargic bunch of producers around. This could work, damnit! Even if you have a shoestring budget and stupid plotlines, you can still make this work if you wanted to. Stop making Tony Stark throw out incredibly cliche lines and just run with your imagination.

D Grade: I’ve lost interest in this anime. If it’s a D then I’ve prob­ably dropped it

D+ Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru

Episodes 1-3

I want to like this. It has probably the best opening song of the year (I think I’d still place the first Durarara opening ahead of it, but it takes second spot away from the Angel Beats op). It has probably the highest quality animation I’ve ever seen from Shaft, if not their most imaginative piece. It has a maths teacher who acts like a maths teacher. But it’s just not funny nor is it interesting. The conversations are bland and go nowhere. There’s no hook. Watching them chat away in the maid cafe just isn’t interesting in any way, shape or form. Guess this will have to go onto the box titled ‘Yet Another Shaft Failure That Looked Good On The Cover‘. Oh well, time to look forward to that magical girl one they’re producing next.

D- Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Trail

Episode 2

What the hell? What happened after that kick ass awesome first episode? What the hell was this? Lots of Rock writing on the wall, swearing, smoking and nonsense monologues as to what this latest conspiracy was. Where is the fun that Black Lagoon managed to keep amongst all the seriousness and depression? More focused on being badass than coherent, I couldn’t follow everything that happened in this episode at all. I mean, surely all it boiled down to was Roberta wants to kick the American armies’ ass? What’s all this other stuff going on? Bleh, stupid episode.

E Grade: Unlike D grades where I drop out of dis­in­terest, E grades are dropped in Disgust.

E The World God Only Knows

Episodes 1-2

This is a terrible anime. That’s nothing new. Terrible anime are everywhere. What’s more baffling is the hype that gathered behind this. My original rage subsided to now be replaced by confusion. What does anyone seriously see in this? The girls he’s going to pick up are as generic as any galge. If anything, their level of boring does a disservice to galge heroines. Elci is the worst of the lot, being nothing more than a dumb moeblob. But Keima is the one who really kills it. He’s…just another harem lead. Wait, what? What makes this stand out from the piles and piles of terrible harem anyway? At least I can see the good writing on display in Ore no Imouto. This is plain poorly written. I dunno, I’m flabbergasted really.

F Grade: Any F stand­ard anime I would only watch 1 or 2 epis­odes of so god only know how an anime could last to the end of the month and still get an F but I’m sure it will hap­pen some day

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50 Comments

  1. alexvoda
    Posted November 1, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe this matches what I think of this season so perfectly.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 1, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      My commenter can’t be this agreeing

  2. Fai D Fluorite
    Posted November 1, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    You haven’t seen Psychic Detective Yakumo is it?
    Thats good too!

    • Scamp
      Posted November 1, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Saw the first episode but it left little impression on me. As a rule, I don’t put in anime I only watched one episode of in here, unless it’s an OVA

      • Posted November 2, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        Psychic Detective Yakumo is an awful series.

      • Posted November 2, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        Seconded Shinmaru’s comment. Stick with the manga or the live-action movie.

      • Posted November 3, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        The sad thing is that it could have been so good. It’s not bad though, just feels very rushed. Will keep watching though, and probably check out the manga too.

  3. Posted November 1, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    TWGOK’s captures aren’t supposed to be interesting.
    And the anime hasn’t even touched on the more serious plot of the manga yet. I’m kind of disappointed by the anime so far, but I also don’t think it’s terrible.
    It’s kind of bland, but it’s still entertaining. To me, anyway.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 1, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      But if the captures aren’t interesting, then what is? That’s the main focus of the show. That’s like saying in One Outs the baseball matches aren’t interesting

      • Posted November 1, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

        Well, maybe they’re meant to be a little interesting. But they’re not as interesting as the main plot, in any case. Or the non-capture characters. Those are more fun.
        Sigh, I want this anime to move things along.
        The latest episode was such an insignificant chapter of the manga.

        However, I think that if I didn’t like the manga, I wouldn’t think this anime was all that great. Not terrible, but not great. And that’s certainly a failure on its part.

  4. Posted November 1, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Star Driver is so vastly disappointing. 5 episodes is a lot of time to be silly and do nothing. Maybe I wouldn’t be so hard on the fluff content if it weren’t so stylistically ambitious. I tend to hope an anime’s thoughts and emotions can match its looks, but Star Driver isn’t even trying to develop a worthwhile plot. But hey, do I smell an Utena post sometime soon?

    Soredemo: SHAFT must have blown all its time and budget on the OP, ’cause the anime looks shoddy as hell, more so than even normal SHAFT anime. Can the studio really only handle one show at a time? As far as best OP this year, Jellyfish Princess is right there, and I also really like the track from Tatami Galaxy’s OP.

    Really, there’s an embarrassingly-wide gulf between Jellyfish Princess and everything else. It’s not even the case that Noitamina’s latest is that superlative, it’s that everything else is either trite or seriously flawed.

    • Posted November 1, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      I get the feeling Star Driver is biding its time with these lame enemy-of-the-week episodes and constant recycled transformation scenes. I mean, the enemies aren’t even trying at the moment, so I can only assume there is a bigger plot.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 1, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Thing is, Utena did the exact same thing as Star Driver did, but actually succeeded in making it interesting and relevant. I’m not saying Star Driver should match Utena. That’s a large ask. But it can at least get the basics right, which it sure as hell isn’t doing at the moment.

      I don’t have any ideas for what to write on Utena. It’s a difficult show to write about at the best of times anyway. If I don’t have an angle to write about an anime from, I generally stay away from it.

      Do you really think Soredemo looks shoddy? I thought it was the highest quality animation I’ve seen from Shaft. huh, I’ve always been wary of talking about animation quality. I remember people saying they thought Senko no Night Raid was well animated.

      And people were calling this season fantastic -_- Spring was waaaay better than this. Seriously, where would we be without Noitamina

  5. Edvardaz
    Posted November 1, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    I don’t agree with you respectng the 2 Shfaft shows of thsis season:

    1. Arakawa

    I don’t know why but I find this season to be funnier that the first one. I think there has been a subte change in the series, I don’t know what is it, but i has made it better.
    I haven’t worried a lot about the developmente of the main story simply because this last episodes were simply awesomely funny.

    2. Soredemo Machi Wa Mawatteiru

    I just cant believe you dont like it. The humor is hilarious, I can’t stop laughing while watching this series.
    Just one thing, for this series, you should focus on the great cast of characters that is has instead of focusing in a story that clearly isn’t the main atribute of the show

    • Scamp
      Posted November 1, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Maybe I inherantly struggle to find entertainment in purposeless anime. That’s kinda my problem with both Shaft shows this season. I don’t see the point nor the hook. Neither is touting a message or meaning. No rhyme nor reason.

      Huh, well fancy that. Answering my commenters led me to understand more about myself. I should do this more often!

      • Posted November 1, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        I don’t like Soredemo as well, but I don’t think Arakawa has lost any of his charm. But you are a picky viewer, and it needs a lot to pleasure you… so tell me, what do you think that this season of Arakawa lacks? It’s exploring Nino’s past while still shoving in some episodes who liked the episodic gags. Arakawa does the best it can. Acknowledge it!

      • Edvardaz
        Posted November 1, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        Thats your problem then…you are not suposed to look at the storyth but at the characters in this anime.

        Maybe it’s too soon to figure out what’s the message of this show or or at least that’s the feeling I get.

      • Scamp
        Posted November 2, 2010 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        The characters aren’t developing though. There’s no purpose to the comedy. No point it’s making. It’s just…there

  6. fathomlessblue
    Posted November 1, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Yeah I love Soredemo as well, it’s not quite as awesome as I was hoping but I still really look forwards to it each week. Compared to Arakawa though…

    Completely agree with the Squid Girl assessment, surprisingly funny, but completely throwaway. Theres really nothing to it beyond the jokes.

    Shiki, Yakumo, Zakro and Bakuman are all decent enough, but if I somehow couldn’t watch anymore episodes then it would hardly be the end of the world.

    As for Star Driver, I still haven’t made my mind up. The last two eps have been pretty decent, the highschool nurse particularly convinced me to stick with it longer. Never seen Utena in all it’s fabulous so can’t compare, but I’m not really clicking with the mecha campness in the show.

    So yeah Kuragehime and Arakawa are my outright winners. About what I was expecting really.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 2, 2010 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Utena is well worth the pop. It will certainly help you understand what Star Driver is aiming for better. Although maybe not, because it hurts Star Driver by comparison. Hmmm, tough one…

  7. Posted November 1, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    >Oh well, time to look for­ward to that magical girl one they’re pro­du­cing next.

    Magical Girl? WHERE. WHAT.

  8. Hogart
    Posted November 1, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Wow, you really don’t care for Soredemo. I find it just a good as Arakawa, but then I belong to the camp of “try not to over-analyze gag comedies”. Arakawa’s just as pointless to me, and I certainly didn’t find it any better when it was on it’s fourth episode. Unless you can’t stand Chiaki’s voice it really ought to be amusing if you enjoy Musume and Arakawa.

    Speaking of Ika Musume, why on earth would it need to be more ambitious? It’s about an anthropomorphized squid girl.. can you honestly see it being any better than it is? I find it amusing, and that’s well above the call of duty for what it is. But a B- or C is about right depending on one’s sense of humor, so whatever.

    One thing I’ll definitely disagree with you on, though: Iron man’s just plain godawful. I can’t believe you’d enjoy it enough to give it a C :S

    • Scamp
      Posted November 2, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      But that’s my point! Ika Musume can’t be any better. Comedy should have a point. It should serve some other purpose, some weight behind the jokes. I’m not even talking plot. It should serve to point out some sort of human nature that’s absurd or something of the sort. Cromartie High School and Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei have no plot, but they have a purpose behind their jokes.

      Soredemo does have a point behind most of what it’s doing, and that’s not it’s problem. It’s problem is the jokes simply aren’t funny. You have to achieve the basic level of entertainment before you can get down to a deeper level.

      I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a comedy snob or anything, but it should have weight of some sort. An end goal behind the comedy that makes it stick and actually worth something. Squid Girl simpy doesn’t have anything to it, and neither does parts of this season of Arakawa. Well, Arakawa does, but nothing that it didn’t already make last season.

  9. smallish
    Posted November 1, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m still holding out hope for OreImo, but for the most part I agree with what you’ve got here.

    Hell, even if OreImo becomes obvious siscon, I might still watch it for the pretty. I’m weak like that.

    I also plan to marry Kuragehime. You’re invited to the wedding, of course. You did introduce us.

    I have a really random question: does it seem to you like shonen anime have a trend of having the first season (or something similar) being pretty much just a load of exposition, and the second season being amazingly character-driven, plot-oriented awesome? Because this happened with Letter Bee and D.Gray-man (so far as I can tell from where I’m at in them), with only a little bit of plot development in the first season and then come second season it’s like the creators found their secret stash of win and went wild. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this in other anime too, although I can’t think of them right now.

    Or maybe it’s just those two. I dunno. I wish they’d stop, though. I like a little bit of build-up before the awesome, but not 25-50 episodes of it.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 2, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Yay~! Weddings!

      I disagree with that shounen analysis because you’re view is too narrow. Case point: Bleach. Plenty of character and world building driven content in the start. Then it became loads of fighting and exposition. I can’t really comment too much of shounen though, because all the ones that have come out in the past few years sucked, with the obvious exception of FMA:B. Besides, FMA kinda bucks the trend when it comes to shounen anime

      • smallish
        Posted November 2, 2010 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

        Okay, thanks for the input! I wasn’t sure if that was actually a trend, or if I just happen to be watching two series that follow the same pattern. I don’t watch much shonen, so yeah, my view is kinda narrow. :)

  10. Posted November 1, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think it’s too early to start calling Jellyfish Princess the best of the season. For me, only Arakawa Under the Bridge 2, Panty and Stocking, Sora no Otoshi­mono 2 have the chance to compete but they can only pass Jellyfish Princess if it lets them.

    No mention of Tantei Opera Milky Holmes? It’s been deceptively funny so far, in part because it’s willing to subvert what the viewers expect out of this show.

    I’m not sure about the long-term likability of TWGOK myself but episode 4 was one of the best and funniest episodes of the season so far. It was a standalone episode that didn’t feature the main character capturing any real-life girls, which might help prove your point, but you should really check it out before completely dropping the series.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 2, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Moe is the cancer that is killing the anime industry. Hence I’m ignoring Milky Holmes on principle. Course, that means I should also be ignoring Ore no Imouto but whatev’

      I don’t think I’m going to give TWGOK another shot. I think the very basic structure of the series is so fundamentally flawed that nothing can save the thing. And sure as hell a filler won’t do that either

  11. luffyluffy
    Posted November 1, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    I’d like everyone to know that MM! is surprise of the season yo.

    I mean, it ain’t bad, it ain’t good, but it’s just.. funny. It’s Better than it should be.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 2, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      You know what else is better than it should be? Strike Witches. Doesn’t mean I’m ever touching the thing

  12. Posted November 1, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Seems I was right not to watch that Maid show.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 2, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Watch the op and ed though. They’re cool

  13. Roghek
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    My list would probably be a lot different, not that it matters anyway.

    I would say that is a matter of tastes and well I’m too tired to bother yet I must admit that The world only god knows is not that bad, (I looked at the manga) yet it seems that is just my opinion, like it matters.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 2, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Mwahaha go my biased views go

  14. Posted November 2, 2010 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    Kinda spot on with all the ranking, especially that of Arakawa. I do enjoy TWGOK and Star Driver a lot more because of the entertainment quality. They made me laugh.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 2, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      but…but…but…TWGOK is terrible!

      • luffyluffy
        Posted November 2, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        S’not yo. It’s actually pretty fun and refreshing to watch~

      • Posted November 2, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        I have to back Scamp up on TWGOK sucking, at least so far. It’s coming off like it’s trying to be edgy and cool, and it just isn’t. Maybe it’ll be great once it gets into the meat of things, but as always with anime, will that take forever to get to? How long should the viewer have to wait for this show to get GOOD?

  15. Posted November 2, 2010 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    How can you call you Higurashi better if you’ve never seen it? It is…by a long shot. Actually, I watched the first season, not sure if I understood the hype, watched the second, and went wow.

    I’m just giving you a hard time.

    I’m actually not sold on Jellyfish Princess yet. Main character freaks out too much and too dramatically…

    • Scamp
      Posted November 2, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      I haven’t. I was trying to sound my knowledgeable than I really am. But damnit, someone found me out. I’ll just have to kill you

      mwahahaha

  16. Posted November 2, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    YOU ARE UMASOU

    Watch the first five episodes. 5 eps = 1 story arc. 1 ep = 3 minutes. I don’t care what you do after that.

    • Posted November 2, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      Are you sure you’re not on the payroll of TV Tokyo?

      • Posted November 3, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        I’m guessing The Most Interesting Extinct Species in the World gotta stick together.

  17. Posted November 2, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Soredemo has grown on me a lot the past couple of episodes because of the increased focus on Hotori and Moriaki, especially with how his obsessive personality clashes with Hotori’s free-flowing nature. I find it quite funny. But I don’t really give a shit about the other characters, so if Soredemo ever stops focusing on those two, then it’ll probably lose me. Moriaki is really the best character in this show by quite a distance.

  18. Posted November 2, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Why’d you cross out the sentence about Crunchyroll simulcasting outside of North America? They’ve been streaming stuff for the Middle East, Scandinavia, and Finland at the very least. None of which are the UK, but they aren’t part of NA either.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 3, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      Not sure why I crossed it out now. They do stream to the UK and I have a CR account (mainly for watching Gundam though)

      • Posted November 5, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        I guess they just aren’t streaming anything that I’ve been following in the UK, as I didn’t see it listed under the pages for the shows I’m watching.

  19. Posted November 3, 2010 at 3:16 am | Permalink

    The Jellyfish princess seems interesting. I find the drawing a bit old, yet the plot looks good.

    I can’t seem to see why the panty anime is good???

  20. Posted November 3, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    You probably won’t be surprised to hear that I agree with you re: Kuragehime and Arakawa II. I’d also place Shiki (from the previous season) and Zakuro not far beneath, followed by Yakumo and Star Driver (though I’m on the verge of dropping the latter, seems more style over substance for me). I’m afraid the rest on your list I was either indifferent to or loathed with a passion. Still, thankfully, a much better offering than the previous season, not that’s saying much, lol.

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