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Sunday, June 2nd, 2013 10:10 pm
 Series: K
 Episodes: 13
 Year: 2012
 Animation Production: GoHands

Synopsis: Set in a world where history has taken a slightly different course from the one we're familiar with, K follows the story of a young boy whose life is caught in a psychic war between seven kings.

Ashinaka High School is known for its unique setting: the entire campus is built on an island. Yashiro Isana, aka Shiro, is having lunch with a cat on one of the school rooftops. After his lunch break, Shiro goes on an errand for his classmate Kukuri to prepare for their upcoming school festival, only to be chased by some intimidating-looking men.  ( - MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: Well, this was a snazzy show full of absolutely nothing. The animation was pretty. The character designs are fairly generic - you can pick out each character and what other show you've seen that exact same character design with the same generic stereotype tropes in. The story seemed like it had some promise but very quickly fell apart - and the climatic storyline doesn't really have all that much to do with the original main character. 

It's just, this show is a mess. A very pretty mess, but a mess. Given two seasons and maybe some more time to figure out what the hell they were doing, it might have made more sense and been a tighter show. There are so many plot elements that are briefly glossed over and never really engaged, it had far too many characters with their own individual storylines and, wow. Just a clustfuck.

Would I buy it? Nope. Pretty, shallow and flashy.
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Monday, May 20th, 2013 08:18 am
Series: Jormungand: Perfect Order ( ヨルムンガンド PERFECT ORDER)
Episodes: 12
Year: 2012
Animation Production: White Fox

Official Synopsis: 
A ruthless arms dealer on a quixotic quest for world peace. A child soldier born into chaotic conflict. Their lives will intertwine as they journey together through the seedy underbelly of the world's arms market. ( - MAL ) 

Catie's Thoughts: An interesting series. Definitely a lot more real-world political than most anime. The least realistic thing about the entire series is Koko herself, and she takes a turn for the super-villainy late in the series with the reveal of what Jormungand actually is. The fascinating thing is, while her ultimate goal and plan is definitely something you would expect coming from a bad guy, it is never played out as such. In fact, her plan is put into motion at the very end of the series. 

Also, the treatment of the child soldier Jonah is interesting as well. He is treated exactly as that, a child, up to the point where they put a gun in his hands and point him at the enemy. At that point he becomes an equal, but as soon as the firefight is over they're back to treating him like a little kid. The characterization is something different, that's for sure.

Would I buy it? Possibly. It is definitely a breath of fresh air when you're watching back-to-back, high-school-uniform kids use psychic magic to blow each other up or complete fantasy anime. This series, a good chunk of it could be played out on regular network television, what with their proliferation of spy and crime shows.

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Thursday, May 16th, 2013 07:42 pm
Series: Hyouge Mono (へうげもの)
Episodes: 39
Year: 2011
Animation Production:  Bee Train, NHK, Sogo Vision

Official Summary:  The story is set during Japan's Sengoku Jidai (Era of the Warring States) and centers on Furuta Sasuke, a vassal of the great warlord Oda Nobunaga and a man obsessed with tea ceremony and material desires in his pursuit of a fortuitous life. Having learned from Oda and the legendary tea master Sen no Soueki, Furuta walks the way of the Hyouge Mono. ( - MAL )  

Catie's Thoughts: This series is, hm. Interesting. It's not a typical anime, shonen affair. It's a very political show, heavily entrenched in samurai feudalism and aesthetic sense. Wabisabi is the name of the game, the pursuit of the imperfect, the flawed and the transient.

I honestly don't know what to think of this show. It is slow-moving, occasionally ridiculous, but at the same time it feels far more realistic than not. In fact, it's fairly easy to see this as a J-drama instead of an anime. The series is framed by tea ceremony, by the political games of the daimyo, and of course the pursuit of wabisabi. What's really interesting to see is Japanese society at large here, the mark of how bushi and aesthete could be rolled into the same package, the interactions of the difference classes and the very strict social cues observed at all times.

I think, overall, I enjoyed it. It was certainly different, and in a good sense.

Would I buy it? I honestly doubt it would ever get licensed in the first place, it is such a niche show in a niche genre. But I don't think I would mind having it on my shelf, even if I don't know I would sit through it again. It is certainly an acquired taste.
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Sunday, May 12th, 2013 08:48 am

Series: Hiiro no Kakera Dai ni Shou (緋色の欠片 第二章)
Episodes: 13
Year: 2012
Animation Production: Studio DEEN, Sentai Filmworks 

Official Summary: Every girl dreams of being an enchanted princess, but how many stop to think about all the grim and horrible things that happen in fairy tales? That's a lesson Tamaki learns all too graphically when she's attacked by creatures she thought only existed in myths! Fortunately, she's rescued by an extraordinary young man: one who's not only part demon; but her future classmate as well, and one of the group of protectors that Tamaki will need if she's going to fulfill her destiny as a Tamayori princess. A destiny that no one's bothered to tell her she's inherited until just now! And if it wasn't bad enough to learn that every plan she'd had for the future has to change, to top it all off, Tamaki still has to start attending a new high school as well! ( - MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: UGH. There is absolutely nothing new or unique to this series, it brings nothing to the table that other shows haven't done better before. I don't even want to say it had the potential to do more, because it's as pretty bland as an anime series can be. I realize it's based on a dating sim-type game, but still.

I only watched this season simply to finish out the story, because the first season doesn't really have an end per se - it's one of those where they just cut the two seasons separate and released them a season apart. It's an annoying trend in Japan right now.

Would I buy it? lol no.

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Sunday, May 12th, 2013 08:32 am
Series: Shinsekai Yori (新世界より)
Episodes: 25
Year: 2012
Animation Production:  Aniplex, TV Asahi, A-1 Pictures, Pony Canyon, Sentai Filmworks

Official Summary: A millennium from now, in Japan, exists a utopia. The Protagonist, Saki Watanabe, lives in an idyllic village barred from the outside world. Her world is ruled by the people who possess the "gods' power" of psychokinesis. After finally obtaining her own powers, Saki enters the Zenjin Academy to train along with five other children: Satoru Asahina, Maria Akizuki, Mamoru Itou, Shun Aonuma, and Reiko Amano.

Not all is as it seems, however. In this Utopian village, strange rumors about a monstrous cat that abducts children circulate, and students are said to disappear from the academy. The world and its history are much darker than they appear and humanity is on the verge of collapse. ( - MAL ) 

Catie's Thoughts: A fascinating premise, and an interesting show. The anime is paced ... oddly, there are two time-skips and at least one bit of story arc that was so dull I might have dropped the show if I wasn't watching it with someone else. But when this series gets good, it gets GOOD. There's a lot of underlying mystery to their world, and you want to have all the questions answered. (And, for the most part, they are all answered.) It is almost a horror anime, but at the same time not. I certainly didn't hate it, but I can't quite say I liked it. 

Would I buy it? In truth, likely not - I can't see myself watching the show again. Don't let that say anything about the quality, because it is a fantastic show and I do recommend it. It unsettled me greatly, I don't think I want to watch it again.

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Sunday, April 28th, 2013 12:54 pm
 Series: Hakuouki Sekkaroku (薄桜鬼 雪華録)
 Episodes: 6
 Year: 2011
 Animation Production: Studio DEEN, Sentai Filmworks

 Official Summary: The protagonist, Yukimura Chizuru, is the daughter of a doctor who works in Edo. The father leaves Edo to work as a volunteer doctor and moves to Kyoto without his daughter. As time passes by, Chizuru starts worrying about losing contact with her father, so she decides to go to Kyoto in search of him. On the way, Chizuru is attacked by few criminals and witnesses a fight between an oni and the Shinsengumi. Taking her into custody and saving her, the Shinsengumi debate on what to do with Chizuru when they discover that she is the daughter of the doctor they are also looking for. So they decide to become Chizuru's protectors and help her look for her father (the doctor). Lots of events happen while she stays with the Shinsengumi, as they discover mysterious secrets and also fight against the Bakumatsu group. The story is overall romantic with a historical and political background. ( - MAL )

 Catie's Thoughts: Okay so, Hakuouki. This particular series is an OVA aside to the main storyline, mostly focusing on a single "mission" that Chizuru ends up getting involved in that has her infilitrating Shimabara as a geiko in order to eavesdrop on some loyalists. Most of the episodes examine the encounter from different angles, with certain events taking place in the foreground/background. It's pretty much just added fluff for the fans, of which there are plenty.

I am of two minds about Hakuouki. One is full of foam and fangirl flail, and the other just kinda sighs and mourns over the fact that there is a deeply woobified, prettyboy Hijikata. I have given up and just let the flail carry through, especially since Hijikata is voiced by Shinichiro Miki (Roy Mustang in FMA: Brotherhood), and Kondou is voiced by Ohkawa Toru (Roy Mustang in FMA '03). Things that fuck with my mind, 101: both Roys in the same scene. Often.

(Shinichiro Miki turning up doesn't ping my flail-dar because he is in everyfucking thing. Well, either him or Koyasu. No, it pings my flail-dar because he's playing motherfucking Hijikata Toshizou in epic long-haired prettyboy state with flowing kimono and hakama and purple eyes and then WHOOPS THERE'S THE OTHER ROY. My fangirl heart can't take it.)

Fortunately the OAV doesn't really divert in to the rakshasa storyline, which, while somewhat novel, adds a whole additional layer of oh my god what to the original series. It isn't dramatic and tragic enough to have a harem otome game set during the bakumatsu in the Shinsengumi, we've got to add actual oni to it as well! Spoiler alert: ROMANCE GAMES SET WITH THE SHINSENGUMI IN THE BAKUMATSU END BADLY. At least it wasn't sugar-coated, somewhat accurate despite the wtf-worthy supernatural bent, and kept true to several historical dates.

Would I buy it? I seriously cannot decide. On one hand, I liked it. On the other hand, I can go off on tangent-rants for days. Ultimately probably yes because I have a horrible soft spot for the Shinsengumi despite myself.
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Sunday, April 21st, 2013 03:31 pm
Series: Hakkenden: Touhou Hakken Ibun (八犬伝 -東方八犬異聞-)
Episodes: 13
Year: 2013
Animation Production: Bandai Visual, Studio DEEN, Sentai Filmworks

Official SummaryWhen their village was wiped out five years ago, only Shino Inuzuka, Sosuke Inukawa, and the girl Hamaji, who was raised as if she were their sister, survived. And both men inexplicably have the same peony-shaped birthmark. Genpachi Inukai and Kobungo Inuta were raised hundreds of miles away as foster brothers, but they too share the same birthmark. When they went north as part of the army three years ago, they went to confront demons and came back forever transformed. Now the Imperial Church has come for Shino and Sosuke and they must find eight mystical gems and their owners or face a fate worse than death at the hands of the Church. ( MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: One of the first anime series I picked up without having seen anything about it on television first was the original Hakkenden anime from 1990. That was an adaptation of the original samurai legend of the Eight Dogs of the East, and as such I have fond memories of the series despite its very obvious flaws.

That being said, I was very unsure of this adaptation from the beginning. The main character is still Shino, but now ... he's a thirteen year old? With purple hair and typical shounen attitude and I was put off almost immediately. I kept watching, however, because I wanted to know how much they had butchered the legend I was so fond of ... only to get sucked in completely, and by the third episode I had turned into a bundle of flail. The story that the series is going with hits several of my favorite tropes dead-on, so I am hooked. Plus the characters are very entertaining, and while the original legend is taking a bit of a backseat to more supernatural tropes, it started to pick up speed right near the close of this series. However this is going to be like Fate/Zero, where the full series is at least two seasons, they just spaced them a season apart. Now I have to wait until the summer to get more, and I will be pouting the entire time.

Would I buy it? Resounding yes. I disclaim that this series hits a lot of my narrative kinks personally, may not be for everyone, but ahhhhh. I love it. Would definitely watch again.
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Saturday, April 13th, 2013 05:00 pm
Series: Gintama' Enchousen (銀魂' 延長戦)
Episodes: 13
Year: 2012
Animation Production: Sunrise, TV Tokyo, Aniplex

Official Summary: Sakata Gintoki, Kagura, and Shinpachi Shimura continue to scrape a living as freelance jack-of-all-trades at Edo while amidst the several odd humans and aliens that inhabit the peculiar metropolis.  ( - MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: I somehow doubt that this is the last we'll see of Gintama, not even bothering to include the movie that's coming out in July. It's just that type of show. Gintama is really hit and miss with me sometimes, certain arcs I adore, other ones I'm just kind of like "...really?" The gags are always a mile a minute, although occasionally they drag a joke out far, far too long - but that's just another type of humor that may not be for everyone.

Suffice it to say, however, that I will certainly be watching the movie, and if any more Gintama makes an appearance I'll certainly be watching that as well.

Would I buy it? ..honestly probably not, there are far more shows I'd rather rewatch. But I would probably pick up the movie(s) on DVD, if anything, because I do really like the show, I just don't need to own the regular seasons. (I feel this way about Bleach and, to an extent, Inuyasha.)
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Saturday, April 13th, 2013 02:21 pm
 Series: Fairy Tail (フェアリーテイル)
Episodes: 175
Year: 2009
Animation Production: A-1 Pictures, Satelight

Official SummaryLucy is a 17-year-old girl, who wants to be a full-fledged mage. One day when visiting Harujion Town, she meets Natsu, a young man who gets sick easily by any type of transportation. But Natsu isn't just any ordinary kid, he's a member of one of the world's most infamous mage guilds: Fairy Tail. ( - ANN )

Catie's Thoughts: CAN'T. FEELINGS. (AKA: Catie just watched 175 and is lying face-down on the floor in a puddle of tears and feels. So fucking awesome. So fucking awesome.)

Is Fairy Tail perfect? No, not by a long shot. There is uncomfortable fanservice, questionable characters and depictions, and it tends to suffer from the epic battle shounen syndrome. But it does so much right, and despite being a long-running epic shounen fighting series, it never feels like it gets old. It has a wide cast of characters and often changes them out. It doesn't forget where it comes from. It has a lot of strong female characters, a diverse cast of them, many and varied who rarely take a back seat to the boys. I just, I can't even. I AM SO GLAD THIS IS JUT PROBABLY ON HIATUS AND THAT THERE WILL LIKELY BE MORE. But technically "this" series is over, so it is marked as completed. FOR NOW.

Would I buy it? Yes yes a thousand times yes, why don't I own all the R1 blu-ray releases yet TO AMAZON I GO. The only thing stopping me from doing an entire rewatch right this second is the other shows I am horribly behind on.
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Saturday, April 13th, 2013 10:43 am
Series: Aoi Sekai no Chuushin de (蒼い世界の中心で)
Episodes: 3
Year: 2012
Animation Production: 5th Avenue

Official Summary: In the battle for supremacy in Consume (Console) continent between parodical Segua (Sega) Kingdom and Ninteldo (Nintendo) Empire, the light-footed Gear (Sonic) appeared to defend his kingdom from the threat of Ninteldo's powerful emperor, Marcus (Mario). ( -ANN )

Catie's Thoughts: What a bizarre little OVA. It is so stupidly stereotypical shounen fantasy there isn't a single novel thing about it - unless you take the fact that every character is either an anthropomorphized video game or a gijinka of a character in a video game. Which that really does not excuse how laughably bad this anime is, but it is fairly unique. 

I guess some fun could be had trying to figure out who is what game when you are not outright told, but as I don't know all that much about classic video games, it just led to confusion on my part. 

Would I buy it? Absolutely not. I was bored with it, I watched the series hoping for some novelty but by the end of it I was just glad it was over. I suppose it holds some worth to people who are either fans of the manga, or fans of classic video games who like the parody aspect, but I am so over it.
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Friday, April 12th, 2013 09:59 am
 Series: Cuticle Tantei Inaba (キューティクル探偵因幡)
Episodes: 12
Year: 2013
Animation Production: ZEXCS

Official Summary: 
In a world where half-human, half-animal chimeras live and work alongside normal people, there are sure to be a few bad apples in the bunch. Unfortunately, half-human criminals means non-human clues that often leave the police stumped. That's where lone wolf detectives like Hiroshi Inaba come in. He's literally part wolf and has the amazing ability to extract critical information just by examining or tasting a sample of someone's hair! Of course, that ability has also resulted in Inaba having a little bit of a hair fetish, but that doesn't seem to be a problem for his two assistants. (Well, at least the cross-dressing one isn't complaining much.) And it's nothing compared to the strange tastes of Inaba's nemesis, the omnivorous (and half goat) crime boss Don Valentino, who has an appetite for green legal tender instead of tender young greens! Inaba's sworn to cut Valentino out of the criminal flock before the Don can wolf down more ill-gotten dough, but he's going to have to chew his way through a lot of evidence to get his goat. Can sheer dogged detective work put the baaaaad guys behind bars? ( -MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: I. Love.
 This. Show. The humor is so absurd. There's supposedly some measure of plot underneath it all, but it mainly serves as a springboard for the insane shenanigans. I think my main complaint is that there aren't nearly that many female characters, but everyone, male and female, is so awesome when they're around that I often forget that. 

Of course my favorite is the goat, because. Fucking MAFIA
 BOSS TINY LITTLE GOAT-THING. He is ADORABLE. I want a Don Valentino plushie like you wouldn't believe. (It only makes it 1000% more awesome that he is voiced by Ohkawa Toru.)

Would I buy it? GIVE IT TO ME NOW. And I would rewatch it and absolutely die laughing. I had to pause episodes because I was laughing so hard I was missing sight gags.
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Friday, April 12th, 2013 09:50 am
 Series: Bakumatsu Gijiden Roman (幕末義人伝 浪漫)
Episodes: 12
Year: 2013
Animation Studio: TMS Entertainment

Official Summary: The stage is the close of the Edo period, an age when, not unlike our own time, both natural and man-made disasters left chaos in their wake. Manjiro makes a living helping the people of the troubled capital city, but behind the scenes, he also works in secret to take back precious belongings stolen from the people by unjust political powers and conspiratorial menaces. The people call him "Get-backer Roman."

Catie's Thoughts: Oh, Monkey Punch. This series feels very much like a one-off Lupin AU with weirdly anachronistic tech and the villain being Matthew Perry. No, not that one. (Commodore Matthew Perry, who kept singing "My Old Kentucky Home" in horribly mangled, fully racist English.) This show was bizarre - not necessarily in a GOOD way - and it felt very much like an '90's anime with updated production values. I'm not even sure what happened in the last two episodes, and I WATCHED them. I think Perry turned in to some sort of Terminator mech thing. I dunno. I don't know what I was expecting. Also the busty geisha Fujiko-expy wears a Catwoman outfit. With the ears even. And no other explanation as to why. I think that sums up the show completely.

Would I buy it? Hell no. No interest in watching it again either, it was just a vague, wtf-worthy footnote in my history of anime-watching.
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Friday, April 12th, 2013 09:39 am
Series: Bakuman. 3 (バクマン。3)
Episodes: 24
Year: 2012
Animation Studio: J.C. Staff

Official Summary: Moritaka Mashiro and Akito Takagi have come a long way since they started making manga in middle school, but trials still await them as they head towards their goal of getting an anime adaptation for one of their manga. As they continue to grow as artists and as people, they will be faced with new friends, new rivals, and new hurdles to overcome.

Catie's Thoughts: FINALLY. I never thought I would adore this show but somewhere in the beginning of series 2 I got addicted and really wanted to know what happened next. Kind of amazing to me, given that this is the same two people who also did Death Note. There is also a lot of payoff, especially in the later half of this season as things that Mashiro and Takagi have been working for since fifty some-odd episodes before start to come true. It's a wonderful series, and I love how it draws back the curtain and gives you an idea of the trials and tribulations of being a mangaka. (Even if it is extremely idealized, it's still a better idea than what I would have been able to visualize before.) Also, it amazes me that it follows the characters over the course of ten years, and we see one of the two main characters get married - and his wife is a regular character as well! Simple things, really, but fairly uncommon for a show that feels almost shounen-ish in its mindset.

Would I buy it? Yes, I would. All three seasons. I would like to rewatch it eventually as well, because it has been so long since season 1 that I want to see where they came from.  
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Friday, April 12th, 2013 09:30 am
 Title: Fairy Tail: Houou no Miko (FAIRY TAIL 鳳凰の巫女)
Year: 2012
Animation Studio: A-1 Pictures

Official Summary: The film revolves around a mysterious girl named Éclair who appears before Fairy Tail, the world's most notorious wizard's guild. She lost all of her memories, except for the imperative that she must deliver two Phoenix Stones somewhere. The stones may spell the collapse of the magical world, and Natsu, Lucy, and the rest of the Fairy Tail guild are caught up in the intrigue. ( -MAL ) 

Catie's Thoughts: I love it. I love Fairy Tail. Coherency, what's that? Okay, so this movie is fairly predictable because it is a summer movie based on a very popular, long-running shounen series, but that doesn't mean it bothers to pull its punches. Lucy is probably one of my favorite heroines right now, and the friendship she tries to build with Eclair is adorable and heartbreaking, because this story had one inevitable conclusion.

Would I Buy It? Yes yes yes yes yes yes.
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Friday, April 12th, 2013 09:22 am
Title: Eureka Seven: Pocket ga Niji de Ippai (交響詩篇エウレカセブン ポケットが虹でいっぱい)
Year: 2009
Animation Studio: BONES

Official Summary: Renton, son of scientists, and Eureka, a girl who can't live under the sun, are raised together when very young and become very attached to each other. One day, Eureka is taken away. Powerless at the time, Renton vows to rescue her. He enters the military and is soon is assigned to the Independent Youths Unit 303 of the First Mobile Forces thanks to his exceptional performance alongside his Nirvash, a bio-mechanical armor/control system. Unknown to Renton, lies a plot to extinguish the alien invasion that is currently happening involving not only him, but Eureka too. 

Catie's Thoughts: Boy, good thing I'm fairly good with keeping different universes straight! This movie, the original television show, and Eureka Seven AO all exist on separate timelines - that all interact, at some point or another. They are all framed around a particular point in the original series being the "main" timeline, and while Eureka Seven AO is integrated with that firmly, this movie only touches on it sparingly.

It had been so long since I'd seen Eureka Seven that a lot of the "cameo" or shoehorned in characters ... I couldn't remember who they were! I just knew I was supposed to know them. It didn't affect my enjoyment of this movie, though. It was an interestingly little alternate universe.

Would I buy it? Likely so, as this falls under Catie's well-known love of Studio BONES productions. It's rewatch value is higher to me than the original series simply due to time constraints! It was a fun little movie, though.

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Friday, April 12th, 2013 09:12 am
Series: Accel World EX (アクセル・ワールド EX)
Episodes: 2
Year: 2012
Animation Studio: Sunrise

Official Summary: OVA bundled with the Accel World simulation and action games. The Blu-ray OVA discs came with the PS3 limited edition versions and the DVD with the PSP limited edition versions.

The project was split into two PSP and PS3 titles, and one episode was released with each game:
#EX01: Reverberation;Zankyou (bundled with Stage:01 Ginyoku no Kakusei)
#EX02: Vacation;Onsen (bundled with Stage:02 Kasoku no Chouten) (- MAL)

Catie's Thoughts: Just a simple little pair of OVAs that tie in to the greater universe of Accel World. They're nice in that they take place outside the main storyline so you get a bit of slice-of-life with the characters who may or may not have been in conflict in the main story. One of the two episodes, as indicated above, is that classic "Onsen" trope episode, which I've gone through the many stages of "bored now" all the way back around to "hahaha, onsen!" Whatever floats your boat.

Would I buy it? Likely these episodes would come paired with the main series if it gets an R1 release. I enjoyed Accel World as a next-gen .hack, I would probably buy the series if I found it on sale, or at the right price. Rewatch value for me is low, though.
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Friday, April 12th, 2013 08:47 am

 Series: Eureka Seven AO (エウレカセブンAO)
Year: 2012
Episodes: 24
Animation Studio: BONES

Official Summary: The story is set on Okinawa's isolated island of Iwado, which has seen a growing movement advocating a return to an autonomous government. Ao Fukai, a 12-year-old boy with a missing father, lives on the island with an old doctor named Toshio and is about to enter middle school. Ao's mother was taken away a decade ago by unknown individuals. Naru Arata, Ao's 12-year-old childhood friend and the story's heroine, lives with her father, older sister, and grandmother. She has a "Yuta" power awakened within her due to an incident when she was young. A mysterious entity called "Secret" suddenly appears and launches an attack on the Scub Coral lifeform on the island. Ao launches a certain military FP called "Nirvash" aboard a Japanese military transport in his fervent desire to protect the island. (- MAL)

Catie's Thoughts: It had been so long since I watched Eureka Seven I easily spent the first half of the season trying to figure out how this fit together with the original series. BONES really seems to love its multi-world concepts! Overall I enjoyed it, although then I spent the second half of the season whining about when was Renton going to show up, because DAMN
 IT HE'S IN THE OPENING. I tend to like (or often, really, really, really like) Studio BONES' work, whether it's original or adapted, and this I did enjoy. Eureka Seven was never one of my favorites though, and the series kinda sits in the middle of my BONES recs. Maybe it's because I don't have the same fondness I once did for mecha shows?

Also, the fuckin' sloth mascot annoyed the crap out of me. What the hell.

Would I buy it? I don't turn down purchasing BONES series because of the aforementioned bias towards their shows, but only if the price is right. This is not a "run out and buy RIGHT NOW," this is a "hey, I found this at the used DVD store for twenty bucks, sweet!" My rewatch value is low for this show, but I do get the feeling I missed some things on the first watch.
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Saturday, February 9th, 2013 12:47 pm
 Series: Elfen Lied (エルフェンリート)
Episodes: 13 + OVA
Animation Studio: ARMS

So, Elfen Lied. The edgy series that everyone was talking about when it first came out. I never got around to watching it when it was originally released, for various reasons - so I finally sat down to give it a try. There is a lot of hype for this show, a lot. 

Altogether it is a good show. Thematically it's interesting, and by halfway through I did want to see its resolution and see where it went. There are a lot of unanswered questions though, but they are not necessarily relevant to the story presented. There are a lot of common anime tropes lurking beneath the surface, all waiting to be subverted, but I found them slightly off-putting. The problem is anime as an art and as a storytelling medium has evolved quickly, and what was edgy and groundbreaking just shy of ten years ago would barely blip on the radar today.

Nudity and gratuitous violence is the poison of the day - and while some of it served the story, a lot of it just felt pointless. 

It is a fascinating anime, but truthfully I was bored to tears by the first three episodes; things did not really start to grab my attention until the fifth episode. I wouldn't steer people away from it as long as they knew what they were getting into, but it's not flying to the top of my recommendations list, either.
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Friday, February 8th, 2013 09:56 am
 Title: Code:Breaker (コードブレイカ―)
Episodes: 13
Year: 2012
Animation Studio: Kinema Citrus

So, Code:Breaker is about kids with super-powers who are enlisted by the government to be secret assassins. Which, is about as generic a shounen plot as you can get these days, it's nothing particularly stand-out or extraordinary. We've got the ex-Code:Breaker who has gone rogue and decides to go terrorist at the same time and start blowing everything up, we've got the cool-and-off-putting one, the femme (who their gender is left vague, and the subtitles refer to as both), the 'innocent' one who is all kitties and cartoons, the class president, and the bad boy. Each and every character is a stereotyped walking trope.

That being said, this isn't a bad show, so long as you're not looking for anything new or revolutionary. I did appreciate the fact that several characters that you would anticipate being on one side of the conflict were actually on the opposite side (despite what the opening animation would lead you to think). I enjoy mindless shounen, and this fit the bill. A nice, self-contained series with decent animation ... although the last two episodes could have definitely been rolled into one, and oh my god I was wanting to stab my eyes out by the end. 

There were several aggravating things - the villain's motivation was at first sound, and then started to fall apart upon flashback. The main female character obviously had a backstory that needed explanation and it was completely glossed over. I want to check out the manga now just to see if they go into more depth. I liked her, although her litany against killing got old right around the third episode - especially since Rei ignored her. I also really did not care for Rei, the obvious series protagonist. He was just flat-out unlikable. Played too cool, too mysterious, too unaffected. Whatever.

Like I said, not a bad series. Nothing stand-out about it, but not nearly the worst of what's out there. 

catystorm: (Default)
Thursday, January 24th, 2013 09:02 pm
 Title: BTOOOM! (ブトゥーム)
 Episodes: 12
 Year: 2012
 Studio: Madhouse

I think BTOOOM! summed up in in five words or less is "Hunger Games meets Kaiji." The premise is fairly simple - people who are sold out by their friends or family are sent to the island to take place in a grisly match to the death which is televised to certain viewers. The game is BTOOOM! - a highly popular FPS/MMO that uses "BIMs" - bombs of many different types - to kill.

It's an interesting show. I figured it would be a fairly substandard ride, but the first episode piqued my interest enough to keep at it. The main character is a NEET, who also happens to be one of the top ten BTOOOM players in the world. There are a wide variety of people on the island that they must fight against, as well as many other hidden dangers, including vicious komodo dragons that emerge at night.

By the time I got to the end of the show I was sad, I wanted there to be more of it. There are some fairly gross fanservice bits - the Himiko's boobs seem to be separately animated despite her bra, for instance - but I also found her character and backstory to be a lot more intriguing than at first glance. 

I enjoyed the series, I kinda hope it gets a second season because near the end more characters were introduced without much resolution. It almost seemed as if they were expecting a slate of 26 episodes and round about episode 10 the animators were told to wrap it up in two episodes. That's a fairly common issue these days, that there's a lot of slow buildup and the story rather abruptly draws to a close - but truthfully I'd rather a rush to the finish than to have a series dragged on and on and on with the threat of filler. (If I never have to live through Bleach again it will be too soon.)