36 CommentsMonthly Roundups / By Scamp /

September Roundup

No news again? Boy, sure has been quiet in anime fandom lately. So onto the ratings

A Grade

Nothing

B Grade

B Steins;Gate

Episodes 23-24

There are those that say these last 2 episodes were nothing more than fanservice. That the series should have ended on episode 22 without the phone call to stop WWIII. As it is now, it feels like there have been no sacrifices by Okabe to achieve the final stage where everything ends up perfectly. Heck, I’m pretty sure I also said something to that effect in my episodic blogging of the series. But the ending we got was still pretty great, leaving Okabe in this all-knowing wise state, where the Mad Scientist side for once is completely true. I liked that side of the ending enough to still hike the final 2 episodes up to a B. Not perfect, not the ending the series probably should have had, but a satisfying conclusion nevertheless.

B Mawaru PenguinDrum

Episodes 8-12

I’ll give PenguinDrum this: It’s never boring. It may jump from scenes I love, such as the part with Kamba being greeted by all the gifts his rejected from his stalker, to the parts I’m less fond of, such as the radical re-interpretation of Mary Had A Little Lamb, but it’s never a chore to watch. The sheer weirdness and energy it has means there’s never a dull moment. I still haven’t a clue what the point of the whole show it, but it has indeed been a fun ride so far.

B Blue Exorcist

Episodes 19-24

You know, deep down, I think I enjoy shounen. It’s just the shounen I’ve been getting over the past few years haven’t scratched that particular itch very well. The final episodes of this series have pulled some of the most stereotypical shounen climactic scenes and I loved every minute of them. I particularly loved how they did Satan’s character. Basically, he’s a yokai from Natsume in that he’s just misunderstood. But what I really liked was that they kept him an asshole. He demands for life when he sees the creatures that have it. He jumps from body to body with no thought for the person he’s burning to death. But most of all what I want to praise Blue Exorcist for is having the balls to actually build towards a satisfying all-conclusive conclusion to the series. If you’re going to deviate from the source material with no chance of a sequel, don’t end on a non-ending. Unless we see an ass-pull in the final episode or two, in which case I take all my praise back.

B- Kamisama Dolls

Episodes 10-13

Yet another anime to add to Brains Base’s ever growing list of anime that need sequels. Let’s just toss this in here behind Baccano, Durarara, Jellyfish Princess, Spice and Wolf etc. I really liked the story Kamisama Dolls was telling. This desire each of the characters had to escape from the village, both mentally and physically, drove the show and every conflict the characters had. Sure, I wish it had been a bit more mature about its sleazy side, but I had a hell of a time watching this. I guess we’re going to have to wait for a sequel to see how Aki tries to take on the village in order to escape, but we’re never going to get this bloody sequel, are we? Instead we really needed a fourth season of Natsume -_-

B- Bunny Drop

Episodes 9-11

I feel mean giving Bunny Drop such a low score this week, but…well, episode 10 was a pile of rubbish and episode 11 drove its message to the point of silliness. We get it. Parenting is great. People have no free time but don’t mind because they’re parents now. For Christ sake, stop pounding it into our heads. Don’t take this B- score as an indicator towards my feelings towards the series as a whole. The only series this year I preferred to Bunny Drop were Madoka and Steins;Gate. But it was a rather lame ending compared to what came before it.

C Grade

C+ Tiger and Bunny

Episodes 23-25

Man, they had to go introduce comically evil villains, didn’t they? And do absolutely nothing with the one interesting villain they did have, Lunatic. Also they had to go and undo the retirement move by Tiger that would have been a proper end to his character arc because they wanted the status quo restored. I mean, I’m glad they didn’t kill him. Tiger dying would have been absolute bullshit and those who wanted that to happen are idiots who can’t read the tone of the show at all. But I didn’t want a total reversal. Oh well, I enjoyed the show overall, and I guess I’d watch more, if only because Rock Bison might finally get his own bloody episode.

C+ Natsume Yuujinchou San

Episodes 10-13

The story is over. Natsume has a loving family and friends whom he can trust. He has surpassed his grandmother in that he has a collection of yokai friends he can call upon without forcing them to become his friend. That’s the whole point of the story right there. It’s about Natsume’s Book of Friends, but now he has real friends without that see him as equals instead of slave master. These last few episodes have made it abundantly clear that the story is over, if only because they tried to pretend like this point hadn’t already been established ages ago by basing the story around the fact Natsume has these friends now. So please, tell me this: Why the hell are we getting yet another season!?!

C+ Hanasaku Iroha

Episodes 23-26

Strangely, HanaIro had probably the best ending of the season. They had the balls to shut down the inn for real and have the characters move on with their lives, but it was a calculated move. Ohana’s mum has learned how to be a touch more responsible. Nako became more self-assured and now helps out with kids. The grandmother learned to not be so stiff and trust others a bit more. Ohana learned…well, I’m not sure what Ohana learned exactly, but she moved back in with her mum and I liked that too. Shame the rest of these final episodes had to be a load of bitching and whining over the closure of the Inn which I didn’t give two shits about.

C+ Kaiji Season 2

Episodes 21-25

So the bog arc should have been 5-6 episodes shorted, bogging down (geddit) horribly in the middle and I thought I had lost all interest in the show. But come the end of the arc and I had managed to get right back into it again. The metaphors got ridiculous, the tears were flowing, the balls were overflowing and everything was so over the top that just a little part of me rediscovered that side of the show I liked. It even ended on that poignant point I really like about the series in that, through everything, Kaiji never loses his human side. He never throws those below him to the dirt like the people he’s fighting against. He’s a hero for the downtrodden. Zawa zawa zawa

D Grade

D- Towa no Quon

Movie 1

So much for my hyping this up in the season preview. All hope was lost when a female character waved her bum in the male lead’s face, the male lead ignored her, and then the female bum waver yelled ‘pervert’ at a random passerby. It’s so dull with not a single original idea or reason to keep watching. Sure, there’s those beautifully animated fight scenes, but for a movie you kinda expected something worthwhile in the animation department. Heck, outside of those fight scenes, the animation and artwork were pretty dull. The background art could be taken out of any TV anime. The character designs are the same shiny faces you see anywhere. It’s just bland and unoriginal. Bleh

D- No.6

Episodes 8-11

Oh dear oh dear oh dear. There was this one scene in episode 10 where Shion shot one of the bad guys and Nezumi started freaking out that I really liked. It reminded me that there was a character duo I really cared about at the start. Nezumi freaking out because the very ideal he hung onto in the shape of Shion was being destroyed right before his eyes. But the rest for these final few episodes were embarrassingly bad. Never at Fractale levels, but when they turned my favourite character into a giant glowing moth for no adequately explored reason, you know something has gone horribly wrong.

E Grade

Zawa zawa zawa

F Grade

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36 Comments

  1. Posted October 1, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    To answer your question on why we’re getting another season of Natsume Yuujinchou, it’s simple: It sells.

    Like it or not, Natsume fans are not afraid to open their wallets and at the end of the day, the company’s happy, the customer’s happy, so it makes perfect business sense to produce more of the same.

    But surely, Durarara!! S2 over Kamisama Dolls?

  2. Posted October 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    I don’t watch Blue Exorcist, but I follow the bloggers, and I think it’s funny that psgles says the ending so far is bad and you say it’s okay. Because normally it’s the other way around. (You know, with psgels being utterly positive and you being slightly negative.)

    • mcm38
      Posted October 1, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      He’s not negative. It’s just that psgels and Scamp’s opinions are almost always the opposite. Opposite tastes and reasoning?

      • Posted October 1, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        You formulated it better than me.

  3. Posted October 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    A B- for Kamisama Dolls is the most generous grade I have ever seen you give. How you could still manage to care about any of those characters is beyond me.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 1, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      I was going to give it a B until the final episode pulled a ‘wait for the sequel!’ ending. I find it hard to see how someone could not care about the characters, but whatev’

    • Posted October 2, 2011 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      My thoughts exactly.

  4. luffyluffy
    Posted October 1, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Surprisingly, I agree with the C+ for Tiger and Bunny. To be honest, I agree with everything. Good to see you still watching Blue Exorcist.

  5. Nebulous
    Posted October 1, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    “You know, deep down, I think I enjoy shounen”

    “Sure, there’s those beau­ti­fully anim­ated fight scenes, but for a movie you kinda expec­ted some­thing worth­while in the anim­a­tion depart­ment.”

    Not a direct contradiction, but I personally would switch the scores of those two shows for similar reasons. Personally, I think Ao no Exorcist is lacking the emotional and fighting energy that shounen needs to be anything other than facepalm-worthy, whereas Quon had the fight scenes and the different abilities of the cast, Exorcist is lacking in the number of viable characters one can like and lacking in instilling any sort of fear or worry about the characters because they are all so uninterestingly bland and typical. Madoka did the talk to the person to make them turn back (Witch Sayaka) but understood that there no harm in subverting the expected.

    Kamisama dolls was fun, I would’ve preffered it A LOT better if there wasn’t that brocon aspect and the girl didn’t have such enormously oversized breasts compared to her waistline. Aki is a seriously good character and its a shame he wasn’t featured more. Too many characters in the show should’ve kept the Aki-Kuga dynamic in focus.

    Bunny drop was Bunny drop.

    Penguindrum is still amazing imo. Last episode was absolutely brilliantly executed, and the ones before that were strong, (although I don’t like stalker girl).

    Dantalian’s weakness is it’s episodicness which is what will hold it down forever. Each episode feels so meaningless because each individual story is so short and it doesn’t feel like their is an overall story being told (Darker Than Black ) that can hold the story together.

    Ika Musume S2 had strong poing and very weak points, Love when Ika acts like an alien squid invader, hate when she acts like a typical shoujo schoolgirl character.

    Tiger and Bunny was just meh, non-ending with no real reason to be like that.

    Sacred Seven had no reason to exist so it killed itself.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 1, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Quon had no emotional energy. That was precisely the problem. There was nothing there to latch onto in order to give a crap about it. Blue Exorcist may have pulled a few twists out of it’s ass, but it never lacked the ability to make you care about the two brothers.

      Kamisama Dolls, the brocon and the oversized breasts in of themselves weren’t what annoyed me, but in how badly they were managed. As I said in the post, it was how immature the show was about its sleazy side that really dragged it down for me.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted October 1, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    The technical answer to why we’re getting more Natsume is because the manga isn’t over and it has still more chapters. The real answer? Brains Base are teases who love to stall the creation of that second season of Durarara the same way KyoAni did with the second season of Haruhi. And look how that turned out.

    • luffyluffy
      Posted October 1, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps they’re just milking Natsume to raise up money for Durarara!! 2

      • Scamp
        Posted October 1, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        The real reason is so they could hike up the money to pay for Hotarubi no Mori E aka Natsume The Movie

  7. Marow
    Posted October 1, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Natsume Natsume Natsume

    I hope the art gets better in S4. Not that it was bad in S3, but it wasn’t as detailed. In return, though, it was smoother animated.

    Oh well

    Natsume Natsume Natsume

    • mcm38
      Posted October 1, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      This is one of the Natsume fans who helped make Natsume merchandise sell well and caused another Natsume season.

      CATCH HIM/HER!!

      • Marow
        Posted October 1, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

        You don’t like Natsume? Begone evil spirit!

      • luffyluffy
        Posted October 1, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

        But Natsume was boring?

      • Marow
        Posted October 1, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

        Begone begone, repent repent.

        But I love slow shows. Heck, Aria is a masterpiece in my opinion.

      • luffyluffy
        Posted October 2, 2011 at 1:03 am | Permalink

        It just felt like a failed Mushi-Shi to me. I should rewatch though, maybe after Gundam.

      • Marow
        Posted October 2, 2011 at 1:42 am | Permalink

        I’m actually going to watch Mushishi soon. Or, well, after Baccano or Infinite Ryvius, that is. I hear that people compare the two. It will be interesting too see what I think, since I watched Natsume first.

      • mcm38
        Posted October 2, 2011 at 8:40 am | Permalink

        I’m not saying Natsume was bad. But there are other series Like DRR and Baccano that would have been better of given another season.

      • Scamp
        Posted October 2, 2011 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        Mushishi >>>>>> Natsume

        Heck, don’t get me wrong. I like Natsume and all. But 4 seasons of the bloody thing is too much

  8. mcm38
    Posted October 1, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Scamp you do realize Production IG the Bunny Drop producers have been rather lazy with the ending and didnt make an original ending unlike Blue Excorcist.
    That was just a volume ending of the manga not of the whole series.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 1, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Bunny Drop’s main plot was kinda over anyway. Rin had settled in with Daikichi and her maternal mother had moved on with her life. There wasn’t really anything more that needed doing

      • Harry Tuttle
        Posted October 2, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        You’d be surprised.

  9. JoyDivision
    Posted October 1, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    While I agree Natsume’s friendship story is over, I would really like to see more of Reiko’s story since we still don’t that much about her after her high school years. Also, I really really wish they would show me about the Matoba clan in the fourth season.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 2, 2011 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Same here. If we’re going to have a fourth season, make it about the Matoba clan. That’s the main part of the story that needs development

      • Posted October 2, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        The Matobas are an obvious focus for an arc, but it’s likely they’ll only become important again for the closing chapters of the manga… Which might be some time away.

  10. TheVoid
    Posted October 1, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Lunatic is not a villain. He’s a antihero.

    Saifu turned into into a Bee/Wasp Goddess thing. Not that that isn’t any less stupid than a giant moth.

    Natsume is getting another season because the manga isn’t finished.

    • Posted October 2, 2011 at 3:53 am | Permalink

      That just sort of defers the question, though. Why isn’t Baccano or Durarara getting another season when their respective mangas/novels aren’t finished either?

      It’s a source of continued bafflement to me that we get bizarre (and terrible) things like Dororon Enma-kun that don’t seem to do particularly well on any front, meanwhile there are reasonably popular series like DRRR left with weak inconclusive endings for years at a time.

      • TheVoid
        Posted October 2, 2011 at 6:24 am | Permalink

        Form what I’ve heard Baccano didn’t sell that well.

        Natsume on the other hand is one of their better selling series.

      • Scamp
        Posted October 2, 2011 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        Baccano has been an international success and was popular enough in Japan to get a BD re-release. OK, I’m clutching onto straws here, but still. I want more Baccano!!!!

      • Posted October 2, 2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        Remember, just because something is well-liked (by bloggers or non-Japanese) doesn’t mean it actually sold well in the local Japanese market. Baccano might have clicked with many Western watchers, for example, but it was barely a middling-seller among the Japanese. Another example would be Moribito.

        Compare something like that to, oh, the sales of Bakemonogatari, which prior to K-On and Madoka Magica was a monster in units sold.

      • Posted October 2, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        I’m sure Natsume is going to sell better than either of the series I mentioned – that much was never in doubt. I’m more curious about the outliers like Enma-kun which seem like a bad idea from start to finish, yet see production anyway. Are there different sub-studios at work at the same time that they rotate out perhaps? Do they lose money on big projects with original premises and make it back with cheap generic ones they can mostly phone in?

        Maybe I’m just crazy and Enma-kun actually did sell well in Japan despite being pretty much reviled on the internet and overseas… but did it really make more than something like Spice and Wolf? If so, that’s pretty depressing.

  11. hikaru
    Posted October 2, 2011 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I have no idea what on earth is happening in Mawaru Penguindrum, but I keep watching to see if they will explain anything only to be beaten over the head with more new symbolism that I also do not understand. It’s definitely not boring, but my lack of comprehension is making me lose interest.

  12. Mr. Anon
    Posted October 2, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    More Natsume fuck yeah.

    Sure, the story isn’t going anywhere anymore. But it’s still the only show that puts a genuine smile on my face after every episode.

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