sickVisionz (Level 24)

I'm realizing that I have NO CLUE about what's airing in Winter 2014 and no idea what to watch.
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 Woo hoo, Kanokon
 Woo hoo, Kanokon
I woke up this morning to check out Bleach before going to work and had a pleasant surprise waiting for; Kanokon is now on CR.  My initial reaction was, "ah, f*** yes!".  I'm not quite sure why I was so excited though.  I've already seen the series to completion and enjoyed it, but it's the not the type of show that I'd watch more than once.  It's a nice ad for those who haven't seen it though and it may give me something to write about in the future.  Anyways, you an get more info about the show at the wiki link.
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Earlier this year I blogged about shows that I was watching from the current anime season.  Now that I've finished most of them, here's my final thoughts on them.
 
Angel Beats 
   A nice mix of elements.
  A nice mix of elements.
This was a show that I always enjoyed, but for some reason I'd put off watching for like 3 weeks at a time.  I'm like that sometimes and I'm not sure why.  Anyways, I had a blast with it.  It looked pretty and the combination of action, humor, technobabble and sob story was nice.
  

Bleach 
 Old faithful
 Old faithful
Bleach is still like comfort food for me.  I can't say that I really enjoyed more than 1 or 2 episodes this season but I still tune in like clockwork every week.
 
 
House of Five Leaves 
I wish it would go on for years
I wish it would go on for years
I really enjoyed this one.  It's a slow burn type of show that reminds me of Erin with it's pacing.  Like Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, I could watch 50+ episodes of the gang getting into random adventures and I think it'd be a blast.  However, I'm pretty sure that one season is all we'll ever get. 
  

The Tatami Galaxy 
Probably the most serious yet utterly ridiculous and goofy show I've seen. 
Probably the most serious yet utterly ridiculous and goofy show I've seen. 
I let this one build up in my Hulu queue.  It's a show that I always enjoyed watching but for some reason I never really wanted to watch it.  I think I'm the mood to watch a couple of them today though.
  

Rainbow 
Dropped 
Dropped 
When this came on Hulu I pretty much fell off of it.  I keep telling myself I'll catch up on the episodes, but I haven't.  Realistically I probably never will.  It's a shame though.  I was legitimately enjoying every episode that I saw.
  

Kaichou wa Maid-Sama 
 The nicest Ice Queen ever
 The nicest Ice Queen ever
Still on going and I'm still really enjoying it.  I don't usually root for the guy in shows like this, but she's such an Ice Queen toward Usui that I always hope the series is gonna end with him banging her out.   
 
 
Senkou no Night Raid 
Out of sight, out of mind. 
Out of sight, out of mind. 
Like Rainbow and Tatami, I really loved every episode I saw but I never actually wanted to watch it.  When the release schedule slowed up I pretty much forgot about it and I doubt i'll ever go back to it.
  
 

B Gata H Kei 
 Either the tamest raunchy show ever or the raunchiest tame show ever.
 Either the tamest raunchy show ever or the raunchiest tame show ever.
This some how managed to be way tamer than I expected but a lot raunchier than I expected.  I went in expecting Kanokon levels of ecchi but it's not really like that at all.  I had a blast with it though.  Really funny.
  

Kiss x Sis 
 WTF is up with urine fetishes?
 WTF is up with urine fetishes?
I liked this up to a point and I finished it, but I really didn't understand all of the urine fantasies towards the end.  That was pretty stomach turning for me. 
 

 
Naruto Shippuuden 
Still kicking ass 
Still kicking ass 
Still watching and enjoying Naruto.

 
 
One Piece 
 Not for me.
 Not for me.
At 122 episodes I feel like I've given this show a fair shot.  It's not for me.  It doesn't really deliver on anything I want from a never ending shounen-action series.
 
 
 
FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 
Good 
Good 
I'm two episodes away from finishing this and still enjoying it, although it's similar to Angel Beats where I like the episodes but I'll go up to a month without watching it. 

 
Dragon Ball Kai 
Yes, this show rocks. 
Yes, this show rocks. 
I look forward to this every week.  I think Bleach could learn a lot from this on how to do story-less never ending anime. 
 
 

 
Katanagatari 
Good mix of comedy, action and drama. 
Good mix of comedy, action and drama. 
I love this one whenever it comes out.  I think maybe two or 3 episodes came out since the last blog I wrote.  I wish it was twice a month, but it's really good so I'm ok with it.  
  

Working 
 #1 for the season
 #1 for the season
Hands down, this is my favorite show that debuted this season.  I pray that they do more seasons. 
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Man, they better not burn me on this... 
Man, they better not burn me on this... 
I woke up at around noon today with the sun beaming in through my windows, the sound of birds chirping and a knowledge that it's way too hot outside to enjoy any of it.  I hopped on my laptop a little bit later and made my usual rounds.  I decided to check out Hulu and I saw the same thing I also see: a super huge list of recommendations for me.  I usually ignore stuff like this unless it's from Netflix (every media company should use their recommendation engine or whatever it's called) but today I decided to be different. 
 
Every week I write an article about good shows you can watch online and as of right now, I'm a little bit less than 50% through the initial list of series that I came up with.  I need more anime watch, and hopefully enjoy, so that I can continue doing this for than another month.  I'm usually extremely picky and eccentric about what I will watch because I find anime descriptions to be extremely misleading, but like I said today I'm going to be different. 
 
Today I'm going to wade through this list of recommendations and watch two back-to-back episodes from five shows.  I'm picking the 5 solely from gut reaction to seeing a picture and what I've heard about it from others. 
 
Ikkitousen 
 Man, I hope looks can be deceiving...
 Man, I hope looks can be deceiving...
I've heard that this show is nothing but over the top fan service and violence.  That stigma has always turned me off but they say I'll like it because I liked Shikabane Hime, which also threw as many panty shots and decapitations at you as possible.  The girl with green hair is kind of cute so I think i'll give it a shot.  It's gotten three seasons it so it can't be that bad, right? 
 
Shuffle 
My first impression is yuri porn.
My first impression is yuri porn.
"Recommended to you because you liked Nana."  They've just set themselves up for something they can't possibly live up to imo.  Judging a book solely by its cover makes me think that this is yuri porn.  I clicked the link and saw a guy in a hospital, which gave me hope that maybe this show will be heart-wrenching, which could be really good or really bad if done poorly. 
  
Ghost Hunt 
All I know is that it's probably about hunting ghosts. 
All I know is that it's probably about hunting ghosts. 
I've heard people talk about this show being good, although I can't recall when or where I've heard this.  The only thing I know about the show is that it probably involves hunting ghosts (go figure) and whenever I start to type Ghost Hound into the Anime Vice search engine, this pops up.  They say I'll like it because I like Jyu-Oh-Sei... maybe that means it's got a nice mix of action and somber romance.
  
Black Blood Brothers
 Cool hat, check.  Cool sword, check.
 Cool hat, check.  Cool sword, check.
All I know is that this show is about vampires or demons.  The guy in the picture has on a cool pair of gloves and his hat reminds me of a character from Guilty Gear fighting game so it gets the thumbs up.  He's also holding a sword, so maybe there'll be some good fights in it as well.  They say I'll like it because of Shikabane-Hime.  Hopefully that means violence, gore and sad moments. 
 
Honey and Clover 
The little girl seems odd, but I think I'll like this 
The little girl seems odd, but I think I'll like this 
Now this I have heard something about and I believe at one point in time I was really interested in watching it, but for some reason I never did.  Oh, I think it was in a thread about Spice and Wolf and someone was saying that these shows were both good romances and it was funny how they had a X and Y style name with food in the title. 
 

Final Verdict 

I've been chronicling my adventures in the comments section but here's a wrap-up.  Realistically, I believe I've found 2 shows that I'll definitely finish: Black Blood Brothers and Honey & Clover.  I plan on finishing Ghost Hunt, but I feel like it could end up as a show that I drop 60% through.  I think Ikki Tousen will be a guilty pleasure show that I'll get around to.  Shuffle... I don't know.  My gut tells me that it will eventually develop into something that I like, but at 20+ episodes who knows if that'll happen 2 or 10 episodes from now.  Either way, I've got something to watch on a rainy day or when I'm sick.
 
Overall, I'm glad I forced myself to check out some series that I missed.  Only one of them was bad, but it was so bad it's good.  The rest of them ranged from solid to really good and I feel satisfied that I at least gave them all a shot.
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Studio Ghibli, the animation studio behind titles such as  My Neighbor Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies, has teamed up with Level-5, the development studio behind games like Professor Layton and Dragon Quest IX, for a game titled Ni no Kuni.  Not much is known about the title other than that it is an RPG created for the DS and PS3 which deals with a young boy as he struggles with the death of his mother.   
 
Level-5 released some screenshots and trailer for the PS3 version and I must say, they look amazing.  The tone and art direction reminds me of Tales of Vesperia and Eternal Sonata except with more fluidity the character models and increased detail in the environments.  The combat looks to be a real-time system very similar to Tales of Vesperia, but more cinematic due to the use of short cutscene sequences.  The game is set to released sometime in 2011. 
 

Screenshots

 









Trailer

  
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School Days (Crunchyroll Link) 

The Basics

 Ahh, Makoto.  If only you stayed this innocent.
 Ahh, Makoto.  If only you stayed this innocent.
School Days starts off as a tale of three people: Makoto, Sekai and Katsura.  Makoto sees Katsura on a train and immediately falls in love with her.  Sekai has a crush on Makoto but when she finds out that he's in love with someone else, she works hard to help their relationship succeed... which always ends up leaving you satisfied, right?
 

Described in Anime 

Pick a harem, any harem.  Now imagine that the male lead isn't afraid of girls.  Imagine, what would if the male lead wasn't satisfied with just being up to bat and always wanted to get to the next base?  That is School Days.
 

Why I Like It 

 School Days benefits greatly by not taking the entire series to get here.
 School Days benefits greatly by not taking the entire series to get here.
School Days takes a lot of cliches of the genre and flips them.  One of the most important ones is that characters don't spend the bulk of the show not being in a relationship.  It is incredibly difficult to progress the story of a relationship when there is no actual relationship.  When 11 episodes of a 13 episode show are two people being too shy to even hold hands, all you can really offer is gags.  School Days doesn't suffer from that at all.  
 
 This is why your parents tell you not to have sex until you're ready.
 This is why your parents tell you not to have sex until you're ready.
A major thing that really helps the show out is sex, which may seem perverted, but School Days uses it very well.  School Days isn't hentai and neither is it just, "woo hoo boobs on screen."  Sex in School Days is used to add complexity and seriousness to the relationships that the characters are in.  In most other harem shows, the relationships are very light to the point where people aren't really in relationships at all.  It's very hard for me to get attached to a couple that technically doesn't exist.  When you haven't kissed or even held hands or even said that you like each other, you're not a couple.  However, when School Days throws sex into the equation the relationships seem very real for me and I care about what happens to the people involved In other shows, even when a character isn't making some emotional plea on screen, which is what it usually takes for me to feel sad about a situation in other harems.  
 
 *sigh* I hate this guy yet I feel sorry for him at the same time.
 *sigh* I hate this guy yet I feel sorry for him at the same time.
If you're not ready to take it to that level, sex can really wreck a relationship.  Especially when it's between teenagers.  The couple that I was originally rooting for went completely off the rails once sex was in the equation.  Makoto went from being a guy I could identify with and rooted for to a guy I loathed.  To a guy I hated.  He really made me upset that I was rooting for him at some point.  He's completely irresponsible and only cares about himself... but at the end of the day, and it pains me to say this, I almost can't blame him.  He was a real-life high school kid thrown into a harem situation and he acted as irresponsible as real-life high school kid probably would in such a wild scenario.  I don't think there's ever been an anime character that I legitimately hated as much as Makoto.  But that character arc wasn't just for him.  My allegiances and liking of most of the characters in the series was constantly transitioning back and forth between cheerfulness, disgust, pity and everything in between.  The only other show that triggered that level of emotional response out of me with that many changes along the ride was Nana, which I consider to be one of the best romantics tales I've seen or read, regardless of medium. 
 
School Days isn't so much of a harem as it is a precautionary tale about teen sex.  It's not for everyone.  Despite the first few episodes, it is not a happy show.  Once sex is introduced all of the lighthearted or silly things that you've come to expect in a harem are gone (perhaps a subtle message about teen sex), never to return again.  There is no picture-perfect Disney romance for your favorite pairing at the end.  But if you enjoy romance or harems to any degree or if you just like to see bad stuff happen to good people, or if you've gotten tired of super happy romantic anime, the series is well worth viewing.
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