Dream (Level 21)

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For this season, I found a little more I could enjoy compared to the winter anticipating these four titles: Shangri La, Cross Game, Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom, and Eden of the East. After seeing 6 to 7 episodes of each title, here are my thoughts of these four titles thus far.

So far, so good with Shangri-la. The premise to the series is proving to be an interesting one with the focus on carbon credits amid a future where the wealthy push their burdens onto others. Besides action and surprises in plot, the series has its fun moments with humor to keep things somewhat light-hearted amongst the talks about economic status and visible hardships for those financially struggling. The comedic highlight for me so far: the old men otaku traders that Kuniko and Momoko meet in a black market city. The series does have its cliches with run-of-the-mill power-hungry baddies and okama characters like Momoko. But this is only a minor blemish in what has otherwise been a fun and engaging series for me so far.

Cross Game
Here's a title that is giving me some vibes of nostalgia with 1980s style character designs which I haven't seen since seeing Kimagure Orange Road three years ago in college. Believe or not, this is only the second sports-themed anime title that I have actively watched in my seven years of anime fandom. This anime has perhaps the simplest and light-hearted storyline I'm seeing this season with a strong focus on baseball and Koh's bonds with the Tsukishima sisters. As a result, Cross Game has a slice-of-life approach that it is offering and so far, I've been hooked on seeing Koh's developments as he actively pursues becoming a part of school baseball.

Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom
This is probably the weakest title that I am seeing for this season at the moment. Phantom's premise of two teens being brainwashed into assassins for a crime syndicate is an engaging premise, but it lacks originality since I've seen brainwashed assassins already in Gunslinger Girl. And beyond the character depth I'm seeing with Zwei and Ein, the members of Inferno are quite shallow in comparison. Still, developments in plot have started to pick up with the latest episode I seen. So despite the lack of originality and majority of character depth, I still have interest in seeing how things progress with Zwei and Ein.

Eden of the East
The best of my Spring 2009 watches so far, Eden of the East has enough surprises in plot, humor, drama, and some romance on the side to keep me hooked. Akira's character is a fun one and is reminding me enough of the antics of Shinobu Morita from Honey and Clover. The Selecao plot is a fresh and interesting one, leaving me curious as to see more of their members and the man pulling the strings behind the entire game. I'm surprised that this series is only running for 5 more episodes which makes me wonder if a second season might come along since I doubt all the Selecao can be introduced in the remaining episodes.

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