spazmaster666 (Level 9)

Once again Gintama proves that it's the best fucking anime comedy . . . period .. .
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Well, it's been nearly a month since the new spring season has started and of the new shows that I've watched, here's are some of my thoughts (I've tried to rank them somewhat as well though given that for some of these shows I've only watched one or two episodes, it's hard to gauge quality at this point): 

The Top Three

   

Angel Beats

Episodes watched: 4
Probability I'll Keep Watching: 90%  

      Why is Kamiya in every harem anime these days?
      Why is Kamiya in every harem anime these days?
 
 
In theory, Angel Beats should really be a no-brainer. The combination of Key (a well known media company responsible for the likes ofKanon and Clannad) and P.A. Works (a promising new production house responsible for the likes of True Tears and CANAAN)  seems like a perfect fit (okay many would argue KyoAni would have been a better choice but let's not get into that here). Of course, when the series actually started airing, many people starting having doubts about the series, with me included. The main female protagonist, Yuri, seems somewhat similar to that  other girl in that  other series made by that  other production company. And her merry band of high school guerrilla soldiers, the Shinda Sekai Sensen (or SSS for short) bares a striking resemblance to the SOS Bri-, ahem, I mean that other group from that other series. Then there's the all-girl band performance. 
 
Still, this is a Key story after all which means that emotions will definitely run high at some point and indeed the first few episodes have had several of these "tear-jerker" moments that Key is well known for. And it is in this arena where I feel Angel Beats has the most potential. The series definitely also has a potential to be more flash than substance (i.e. CANAAN) but if it can handle the "emotion moments" well, then it could turn out to be pretty good in the long run. Not to mention they actually got an American to voice TK, the English speaking rapper-guy (a huge plus in my book). Did I mention the all girl band already? 
 

Kaichou wa Maid-sama  

Episodes watched: 4
Probability I'll Keep Watching: 90%

 
Misaka x Takumi seems  . . . likely
Misaka x Takumi seems  . . . likely


A tsundere high school girl (who's also a class president) that works part time as a maid in a maid cafe? Did I mention she's tsundere? This sounds like a recipe for success by anyone's standards. (Really though all you had to say was "meido" and you'd have me hooked.) But seriously, Kaichou wa Maid-sama has a lot going for it: it's based off of a pretty good manga, it's a shoujo series which probably means it's likely to have a decent story, and it's produced by J.C. Staff which means . . . well not much but hey I like J.C. Staff (for the most part) so that's a plus in my book. And so far, after four episodes, this is indeed turning out to be an enjoyable series. MIsaki is about as tsundere as it gets (and not just tsundere but a guy-hater) but is also a very likeable character, and Takumi, well he's not only the "cool guy" type but also the "doesn't mind cosplaying as a sailor or staring at Misaki like a creepy stalker at her maid cafe all day" type.
 
Okay, so the Misaki and Takumi thing seems pretty telegraphed from the very beginning but c'mon, this is shoujo, that's to be expected. And the  Kare Kano and  Special A vibes I'm getting from this series doesn't hurt either. J.C. Staff's successful handling of the animation (or in some cases using plenty of still shots instead) remains to be seen as is the ultimate "meido" potential of the series but the fact that the show has so far followed the manga to the letter bodes well for the series. And besides, who doesn't enjoy that moment when we see a tsundere break down that hard outer shell to show the soft, vulnerable side within? Do I really need to say "meido" again?
 

K-ON!!

Episodes watched: 4
Probability I'll Keep Watching: 100%  

 Afterschool Tea Time is back!!
 Afterschool Tea Time is back!!
  

One of my favorite series of 2009 is back and it's looking to be just as good as it was last year (maybe even better? That remains to be seen). What do I really need to say about this? I mean K-ON!!is basically moe overload. KyoAni has mastered moe to a transcendental level and even a relatively Mio-less first few episodes are filled with great moe touches. Of course, KyoAni also continues to impress with the production values, which seem to improve with every series they produce. (Though since I've just come off of watching K-ON! in Blu-ray several times, the improvements aren't that significant) And while the ending sequence doesn't quite manage to topple the moe masterpiece of last year's " Don't Say LAZY", that Mio wink at the end will probably give any unsuspecting viewer a heart attack (the opening song however, is an unfortunate assault on the ears). And screw the people who said K-ON! sucked because there was no story to speak of. It's a slice of life comedy show, based on a four-panel comic strip no less. And you're complaining about the story? 
 
The only things that has me worried so far is that KyoAni seems to have skipped over some of the best parts in the manga (notably the Mio stalker and meido cafe storylines) and the fact we haven't seen much of Mio in her moe glory (Sawa-chan is somewhat wasted in the first few episodes as well). As long as this is alleviated in the coming episodes, I can't see K-ON!! turning sour in any way (especially now that Sawa-chan is in charge of home room). Call me biased sure, but as far as moe goes, this is top class, whatever that means.  

The Other Six 

 

Arakawa Under the Bridge

Episodes watched: 4
Probability I'll Keep Watching: 80%
 
Really, Kamiya is in this one too? 
Really, Kamiya is in this one too? 
  
Kou is a proud man, an independent man. A man who was taught from birth the rigid doctrine of self-sufficiency, that a true man must never be indebted to anyone else. But one day, under purely random circumstances, he falls off a bridge and is saved from drowning by a strange girl named Nino. Now indebted to her, he must do as she wishes to repay the debt, or otherwise suffers the risk of a life-threatening asthma attack (did I mention this was a strange show?). Various other events take place, including some weird guy dressed in a Kappa outfit, whom Nino called the "Chief", a big man dressed in a nun outfit named "Sister", and various other bizarrely dressed/strangely mannered individuals. Did I mention this is the new series from  SHAFT, based a seinen manga of the same name?
 
Now as expected, SHAFT is being SHAFT and the result is as quirky as it is baffling. I have no real sense of what is exactly is going on as I watched the first episode or where the story is headed but yet I found myself profoundly eager to find out. The three episodes I've watched since then has helped me understand what's going on in some degree but the show still remains relatively incomprehensible. As you would expect, this show is dialogue heavy, and that's by no means a bad thing as   Hiroshi Kamiya (of  Bakemonogatari fame) and  Maaya Sakamoto (one of my favorite seiyuu to date) don't disappoint. And the production values, while not exactly great, still stand out somewhat due to the eccentric palette, even though the animation itself leaves much to be desired. The problem at this point is it's hard to gauge exactly what this series ultimately is about and whether or not it can reach the status of SHAFT's previous work, Bakemonogatari . However, it's definitely been entertaining so far (even if there are parts of it that are undoubtedly frustrating), even if I really had no idea exactly what was going or where the show is headed.

B Gata H Kei

Episodes watched: 3
Probability I'll Keep Watching: 70% 

 Yamada is stupid, but also perverted
 Yamada is stupid, but also perverted
  
 
When you hear the words "a hormone-drive teenage high school student" you probably immediately think of the multitudes of 15 or 16-year-old males who have nothing on their minds other than "getting" with as many females as possible. Well, imagine if the gender roles were reversed. What if the hormone-driven teenage high school student was a female named Yamada instead? And what if her goal was to "get with" 100 males during her high school career. Well this is exactly the premise of B Gata H Kei, the new series by what is probably a relatively unknown production company  Hal Film Maker (I say this because their name is probably not well known but they have done notable work such as  3x3 Eyes Aria, and  Boys Be) based on a 4-panel manga series of the same name. 
 
As the premise suggests, adult humor, awkward situations, and plenty of fan service is likely to ensue. This is indeed the case so far. But what I didn't expect was just how funny it all turned out to be. Now to be sure, this is probably not what you would term a "quality" show on the premise of its story telling or character development, but I it still has managed to be pretty humorous, and I've even laughed out loud a couple times, which is not what I expected. The animation is also surprisingly good when considering the type of animation quality shows of this type usually receive. And to top it off the major characters are actually fairly likable, as silly and (in the case of Yamada) as perverted as they may be. That said, it's hard to recommend this series to everyone as its main source of humor so far is probably too juvenile or puerile for some folk (though there are definite hints of actual "feelings" developing rather than pure lust), and well some people will probably just find it utterly humorless to begin with. Your mileage may vary. 

GIANT KILLING

Episodes watched: 4
Probability I'll Keep Watching: 80%

 I guess I should call it "football" not soccer
 I guess I should call it "football" not soccer
   

I'm usually not a big fan of sports anime, nor do I have any particular love for the sport of soccer (ahem, I mean football) so I didn't really have any real expectations when I walked into the first episode (especially considering this is a  Studio DEEN production). Fortunately I found myself pleasantly surprised. There isn't really much to say about this series other than its a sports anime about the underdog going up against champions, with nice mixes of comedy and a large dose of, well, soccer. I'll admit that the soccer scenes in this series are exciting to watch even coming from someone who isn't a soccer fan. Tatsumi, the main character, is a jackass, but pretty interesting as well and I really can't complain about the seiyuu ( Tomokazu Seki who played Chiaki in  Nodame Cantabile and Sousuke in  Full Metal Panic!) either. And while the animation quality hasn't exactly been great, the show has been entertaining so far, but it's only real appeal is the soccer, and if you don't like soccer or don't like sports anime, well you probably won't like this series very much.
 
BTW, "giant killing", for those who don't know, is a termed use in sports to indicate an upset of some sort, usually a pretty big one (like say an amateur club beating a pro club). 
  

Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou

Episodes watched: 4
Probability I'll Keep Watching: 70% 

 Another ecchi  harem anime?
 Another ecchi  harem anime?
  

It becomes clear a couple of scenes in that Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou was going to be an ecchi series. Well to be sure, it's not a series solely about ecchi, but there's definitely a lot of ecchi involved (for those who don't know ecchi is a term that generally refers to images of a, well, dirty nature). Indeed the show, produced by  Artland, is about Akuto Sai, a transfer student at the Current Magical Academy (great name right?) who is predicted, by a predicting spirit no less, to be a demon lord (though he himself ironically aspires to be a high priest) and possesses some awesome, possibly demonic abilities. Of course along the way we meet plenty of well-endowed female students that who seem to have trouble keeping their clothes on (convenient isn't it?) and possibly have feelings for our strapping young protagonist. Stop me if you've never heard this before. 
 
Ecchi anime certainly has its place. It's usually harmless fun and this is definitely the case with Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou. However, what this series has going for it that other series of this type don't is a fantastic cast, including several of K-ON! fame. Similar to B Gata H Kei, this is a difficult series to recommend as it doesn't really provide anything more than some, ahem, nice scenery and a few good laughs, but there's room in each season for series such as this and I personally don't mind it at all (well as long as it doesn't get stale).

Senkou no Night Raid  

Episodes watched: 2
Probability I'll Keep Watching: 50% 

 Bad mandarin is bad mandarin
 Bad mandarin is bad mandarin
   

An espionage thriller set in 1931 Shanghai is certainly not the typical treading ground as far as anime is concerned but that's exactly what Senkou no Night Raid, the second in the Anime no Chikara series from  A-1 Pictures (the studio responsible for the likes of KannagiValkyria Chronicles, and the most recent So Ra No Wo To) is about. Now obviously a show about Japanese spies in China right before the outbreak of WWII is bound to stir up some controversy, regardless of how the show actually treats the historical locale its interpreting. But it seems from the first episode that the producers did a lot of research and put in a lot of work to make the show authentic so I have to applaud them for that. And some terrible mandarin from the main characters aside (anyone who speaks even a little mandarin can tell right way what I'm talking about), this series definitely has potential even if the first two episodes I've watched so far haven't been spectacular. Given some time constraints, I haven't caught up to this series yet but honestly, I'm having trouble getting enough incentive to do so despite the visual and comic-book level appeal this series may have.
 

Working!!

Episodes watched: 4
Probability I'll Keep Watching: 80%  

 An all star cast of . . . freaks?
 An all star cast of . . . freaks?
   

Another  A-1 joint, Working!! is yet another slice of life anime based on a 4-panel manga (of course of the same name). And again, what separates this series from the others like it is the star power of the cast which includes  Jun Fukuyama (of CODE GEASS fame) and the likes of  Daisuke Ono Hiroshi Kamiya, and  Kumiko Watanabe. The first four episodes have been relatively charming, and the premise of a family restaurant filled with strange, eccentric characters isn't something super original but it does lend itself to at least having some pretty hilarious situations, and indeed it has. There's the mini-con Souta Takanashi (who loves all things small, including his senpai and coworker Poplar Taneshima), the violently androphobic Mahiru Inami (who hits any men she is in contact with), the lazy Kyouko Shirafuji (who doesn't seem to do any work at all), the somewhat airheaded Yachiyo Todoraki (who carries around a katana and has an unhealthy affection toward Kyouko), and Hiroomi Souma, who seems easy going but actually blackmails his fellow employees. It seems that there are already plenty of slice-of-life comedies to watch this season but Working!! seems to be worth checking out, if because of the all-star cast alone. 
 

 The Remaining, uh, One

 

Heroman

Episodes watched: 3
Probability I'll Keep Watching: 30%

 Stan Lee + BONES = worst combo ever?
 Stan Lee + BONES = worst combo ever?
 

Heroman is a meeting of east and west. BONES, one of the best anime production houses today, and Stan Lee, of Marvel fame, are collaborating in a . . . boy who becomes a superhero and something about an alien invasion series. Okay, so it's not exactly very original. But this is BONES we're talking about here, if there's any studio that can make a series like this work, it would be BONES. The westernized art design is also pretty appealing, though I find it somewhat similar to a previous BONES series,  Eureka Seven. The first episode was okay, but didn't really jump out at me in any way, at least not story-wise. Unfortunately it hasn't really gotten better from then on and I've come to the conclusion that the whole east meets west thing was a bad idea. There's very little to like in this show from the drab colors, to the cliched characters. The animation, however, continues to be awesome as always and in this regard I have no doubt that BONES will excel but it remains to be seen if the story will pan out to be just another typical cliched shounen "boy becomes a superhero" storyline or something more interesting (hint, not very likely). This may be the first BONES anime that I'll have to drop. 
 
Of course, there are still returning favorites like Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood and Durarara!! to help mix things up a bit. There are also a dozen or so other series I haven't mentioned (mostly because I have no interest in watching them or because I haven't gotten to it yet), including the second season of Koihime Musou which I'll watch just because I watched the first season (though it's not really worthy of an entry), Sarai-ya Goyou (which I'll probably get to at some point), Mayoi Neko Overrun! (which I've seen two episodes of but this is not really recommendable for most people) and some other crappy series
 
So far, I'm having much higher hopes for this season than the previous Winter season which was more or less a winter wasteland. This is still early on so there's definitely potential for train wrecks to happen, but I'm remaining optimistic.
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