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