Ed's too cool for you

Completed Series: Gin no Saji

 Title: Gin no Saji ( 銀の匙 )
Year: 2013
Episodes: 11
Production: Aniplex

Official Summary: Yugo Hachiken dreams of life separated from his family, so he takes the initiative by enrolling in an agriculture school. He thinks, with his talent in studying, no problems will arise no matter what kind of school he attends. He is proven wrong very quickly. Raised as a city boy, he is forced to uncover the inconvenient truth about agricultural life. Enjoy the story of Hachiken, as he tries to keep up with his new friends, farmers' heirs, who are already accustomed to the harsh world of farming. With no clear goals or understanding of farming life, how will Hachiken survive this new, cruel reality? The story of a sweat, tear, and mud-stained youth begins! ( - MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: I wasn't sure what I was expecting out of this show, as I hadn't read but the first chapter or so of the manga. Gin no Saji is Arakawa Hiromu's second series after Fullmetal Alchemist, and it is definitely an entirely different beast. It's a slice-of-life show, but interestingly educational at the same time. Hachiken spends a lot of his time learning and adjusting, and spends nearly the entire season grappling with the fact that they have to slaughter the animals to eat them. It's a moral quandary with no correct answer that I feel the show handles in an interesting manner.

The animation is very bright and fluid, and I was quite surprised to see the Noitamina tag on this series - but I guess this is definitely not your average slice of life anime! I am glad to see that the series is getting a second season, and I can't wait to see where it goes next.
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Ed's too cool for you

Completed Series: Free!

Title: Free!
Year: 2013
Episodes: 12
Production: Kyoto Animation

Official Summary: The story revolves around Haruka Nanase, a boy who has always loved to be immersed in water, and to swim in it. Before graduating from elementary school, he participated in a swimming tournament along with his fellow swimming club members, Makoto Tachibana, Nagisa Hazuki, and Rin Matsuoka. After achieving victory, each of the boys went their separate ways.
 
Time passed, and in the middle of their uneventful high school lives Rin appears and challenges Haruka to a match, showing Haruka his overwhelming power. Not wanting it to end like this, Haruka, gathers together Makoto and Nagisa once again and brings a new member named Rei Ryugazaki to create the Iwatobi High School Swimming Club in order to defeat Rin. - ( MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: This is one of those shows where I have trouble putting thoughts into coherent sentences because ... well, because. This show is adorable and cute and it makes you want to flail about the characters. I don't think I can objectively review it because I want to put my face on the ground and roll around in a flurry of emotion. 




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Ed's too cool for you

Completed Series: Blood Lad

 

 

Series: Blood Lad (ブラッドラッド)
Year: 2013
Episodes: 10
Production: Brains Base, Viz Media

Official Summary: Staz is the vampire boss of a section of the demon world, but he has little interest in human blood. He's more infatuated with Japanese culture. When he learns that Yanagi Fuyumi, a Japanese teenage girl, accidentally wanders into the demon city, he jumps to the occasion. However, while Staz deals with an intruder on his turf, the oblivious Fuyumi is killed by a monster and becomes a wandering ghost. The disappointed Staz vows to her that he will find a way to bring Fuyumi back to life. ( - MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: It's stylistic but very messy, and overall the show is middling. Clearly meant to tie in to the manga and boost the manga sales, it doesn't stand alone very well. Only ten episodes, you get maybe an arc or possibly two if you rush past the character introductions, and by the ninth and tenth episodes there's so much going on that if it were meant to be an average shounen show you could tell it would go on into the hundreds of episodes. Alas, not meant to be.

Some of the introduced arcs were interesting, but most of it stank of overused. Vampires, werewolves, demon world - check! The fact that the main character is an otaku - but a powerful character? Eh, somewhat interesting. The plotline that eeked in over the finish line - Staz's older brother challenging the Demon King? That actually got my attention but of course that plotline was introduced in the second-to-last episode and has absolutely no resolution because the show just flat-out stops. The plotline about Fuyumi's missing mother - and how she's connected to Bel's mother - that was actually fairly novel as well, I liked that. Again, things introduced just before the finish line. I'm not sure if I would have like the series more if it was given time to grow or not - fairly typical shounen by way of fanservice, which while wasn't strictly unsettling, the air-inflated boobs character design is so boringly overused. This show had some elements that handled right I would have absolutely loved - but it was so meh that I can't bring myself to really recommend it. Any time I hit up a show like this I get curious about the manga and maybe if it's handled better, so I've added the manga to my 'to-read' list. We'll see.

Would I buy it? Nope. Likely not even if found used, just terrifically unimpressed overall.
 

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Ed's too cool for you

Completed Series: Karneval

Series: Karneval (カーニヴァル)
Year: 2013
Episodes: 13
Production: Bandai Visual, Manglobe

Summary: Nai searches for someone important to him, with only an abandoned bracelet as a clue. Gareki steals and pick-pockets to get by from day to day. The two meet in a strange mansion where they are set-up, and soon become wanted criminals by military security operatives. When Nai and Gareki find themselves desperate in a hopeless predicament, they encounter none other than the country's most powerful defense organization—"Circus"!! ( -MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: Okay, let's get this out of the way. The main character looks and acts like Rian. If you know who Rian is, great. If you don't, whatever. I maybe screamed about this for the first half of the show and then fell in love with Yogi for the second half. Regardless, this is an enjoyable show, if a bit middling and confused about what it's doing. Yet another one of those series that should be more than one season and feels like it was planned for longer, but let all these plotlines fall apart in the face of a limited space to tell a story.

I love Circus's character designs - also fascinating to me is their eyes. No one's eyes are a single color. And they're not like, shades of the SAME color, they're, like, yellow with a purple tint and it's so weird and fascinating and unique. I love it. 


Would I buy it? Oh yes. If only for Gareki because reasons, okay. And his questionable, likely-influenced-by-Ed clothing choices.


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Ed's too cool for you

(no subject)

Series: Kakumeiki Valvrave (革命機ヴァルヴレイヴ)
Year: 2013
Episodes: 12
Production: Sunrise, Aniplex

Summary: True Calendar (T.C.) 71 - A new age where 70% of the human population lives in space thanks to the development of "Dyson Sphere", a city in space.

The world is divided into two main powers: The Dorssia Military Pact Federation, a power which grew out of a military alliance, and the Atlantic Rim United States (ARUS), which grew in power as it expanded its trade agreements. The minor nation of JIOR has declared neutrality between these two forces and maintains its peace through economic prosperity.

Within the JIOR's Sphere, Haruto Tokishima lived an ordinary life as a high school student in the division known as "Module 77"—until the Dorssian military begins their sudden invasion!

But the whole world will be shaken when Haruto meets the mysterious humanoid weapon, Valvrave! ( -MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: Another series that I was unsure of at the start, that it turned out I loved. While there are certain .. aspects ... of it that I wish hadn't occured, overall the series took a tired premise and put a bunch of newer spins on it that mashed together and made things more interesting to me. Most of the characters I'm ambivalent to - Haruto has possibility to go either way, but L-Elf fascinates me. The whole lot of the cast becomes more and more fascinating as the season progressed, and I have to say that the last pilot's identity ended up surprising even me, and I loved that twist.

I'm glad this one is getting a second season, and that there is more to it. Shoko too, she is amazing, I feel remiss in not mentioning her awesome. She is a new generation's Relena and I am glad to see that there is not the hate that Relena got. (I think it helps somewhat that her character is more personable, but their roles are quite similar.) I'm not as big into mech shows as I once was, I burned out on them fairly quick as they start to blend together quickly, so it's nice to have one that stands out. It's a Sunrise production though, so that explains a lot. There's also this faint tinge of CLAMP to the character designs - they're clearly not, but you can feel the echoes of Geass here.

Would I buy it? Definitely. I enjoyed the season way more than I thought I would, and may even rewatch it. This entry was original posted at Dreamwidth and has comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there or here.
Ed's too cool for you

(no subject)

Series: Hataraku Maou-sama! (はたらく魔王さま!)
Year: 2013
Episodes: 13
Production: Lantis, Pony Canyon, White Fox

Summary: Devil King Sadao is only one step away from conquering the world when he is beaten by Hero Emilia and forced to drift to the other world: modern-day Tokyo. As "conquering the world" are the only skills the Devil King possesses—and are obviously unnecessary in his new situation—he must work as a freeter to pay for his living expenses! ( - MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: Oh my god I thought this show was fantastic. I loved it. My biggest qualms are its wasted potential - there are so many bits of the storyline that could be explored, both on a serious side (Sadao killed a shit-ton of people on Ente Island, he was kinda insane? We just ignoring that? Okay then.) and otherwise. But this was only a single season show, wasn't like they had the time to do two-season story arc. I don't care how many times I have to complain about the new turn of single-season shows, because I will. Every damn time. Ahem.

Oh man, the characters were fantastic. All of them. I love how Alsiel and Sadao just acclimated and became domestic. I loved Lucifer the hikkikomori, Emilia and her best friend, Sadao working at McDonald's - forgive me, MgRonald's - all of it. 

I might have had a tiny shitfit at the blue-haired cupid Sariel. Tiny little one. Eensy. I may have not scraped Sariel!Ed off the ceiling yet. 

Would I buy it? Heartbeat. Yes. Get into my bookshelf.

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Ed's too cool for you

Completed Series: Devil Survivor 2

Series: Devil Survivor 2 (デビルサバイバー2 THE ANIMATION)
Year: 2013
Episodes: 13
Production: Mainichi BroadcastingPony CanyonSentai FilmworksBridgeDevil Survivor 2 Animation CommitteeIndex

SummaryMysterious invaders called the Septentriones arrive in Japan and begin attacking the country on a Sunday. To fight back, the heroes in Devil Survivor 2 signed a pact with the devil to become the Thirteen Devil Messengers. The Septentriones show up at least once a day and you have a time limit of seven days to defeat them. ( - MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: An adaptation of another of the Shin Megami Tensei series; Devil Survivor 2 follows in Persona 4: The Animation's footsteps to be exactly like the walkthrough of the game. The benefit to me, however, is that I haven't played the Devil Survivor series (and now, I don't have to!), so the story was entirely original to me. 

It did feel like playing a game, though, with the added bonus of having absolutely no control over the circumstances or the battles. The animation was slick, and the storyline wasn't bad - but it felt like it was lacking something. I enjoyed it overall, the characters were mostly likable, the battles were huge and the quickly deteriorating setting was interesting. The music was not as memorable as P4, but the ending theme was used fantastically. I tend to like it when they can bleed the theme over the last bit of the episode, it adds such heavy atmosphere, especially with the ending song for this series.

Would I buy it? Possibly, if I found it on sale or used. Does not have a particularly high rewatch value for me, but I did enjoy it.

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Ed's too cool for you

Completed Series: Arata Kangatari

Series: Arata Kangatari ( アラタ カンガタリ ~革神語~ )
Year: 2013
Episodes: 12
Production: Satelight, Lantis, JM Animation

SummaryEvery 30 years, a new princess is chosen from the Hime family to serve the Hayagami. The time has come again, but over these past years, records state not a single female has been born, save for one, the 15-year-old Arata. The only problem is, Arata is actually a male! Forced to disguise himself and take the place of the princess candidate until a formal one can be found, he attends the festival only to witness the current princess, Kokuri-hime, murdered, and his own life is forfeit as well, by the hands of the princess' personal guard, the 12 Shinshou. As he runs for his life, Kannagi of the 12 convinces everyone that Arata is the one who has murdered the princess instead, and now everyone in the Imperial Court is after his head! ( - MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: Fairly mediocre show, it had a lot of promise to it but being cut short at 12 episodes meant that instead of being a more fun action romp, it kinda just ... died. Nothing is resolved - oh, the main shounen hero got a power-up! - but ... yeah. It just kinda stops and I really fucking hate that that's a thing now. Maybe if this show gets a second season my opinion will improve, but I'm really fucking sick of the way that is being handled - one 12-episode season, and poof. Done. It doesn't lend itself to the storytelling, the shows tend to be paced badly and wander all over the place, characters get forgotten or poorly developed, and plot holes. Plot hooooooles.

It is interesting how the bullying is handled in the show, though. I am also sad that we didn't get to see that much of the "other" Arata running around in Hinohara's life, because I'm sure that is greatly entertaining. Ah, well.

Would I buy it? Likely not, not as it stands now. If it got a second season and that rocked, then maybe.

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Ed's too cool for you

Completed Series: Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge

Series: Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge (断裁分離のクライムエッジ)
Year: 2013
Episodes: 13
Production: Media Factory, Sentai Filmworks, Studio Gokumi

Summary: Haimura Kiri is a seemingly ordinary boy with one slight problem: he is obsessed with cutting other people's hair. One day he meets Mushiyanokouji Iwai, the "Hair Queen" who cannot cut her hair because of an inherited curse. Kiri finds out that his scissor, "Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge" is the only thing that can cut them. But little did he know that their meeting sparked the start of an old murder game to kill the "Hair Queen" using the cursed killing tools, the "Killing Goods." Can Kiri protect Iwai from the Killing Goods Owners? Let the game begin! ( - MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: Hm. I really don't know what to think of this show, it was ... strange. Not particularly outstanding, pretty mediocre as far as things go. The story line felt as if it was a mish-mash of several different series, due to the moe aspect and the fighting series aspect, plus the whole murderer aspect. There's a lot of little bits that are intriguing in that vein - especially the Killing Goods, the original murderers and the effect that the cursed weapons have o the Authors, and fortunately the series focuses a lot on that. There are so many characters that are slightly shoehorned in, that you see a few times and don't turn up again. There are also things that seem like they might be important that are just dropped by the wayside, forgotten bits of story and plotlines.

The series feels entirely too disjointed. I hear that there may be a second season and if that's the case I'll watch it simply to see if more episodes helps tie it together more soundly. The characters are both at the same time interesting and flat, like the character creation model stopped halfway through. 

Would I buy it? Likely not. It's not generally the type of show to appeal to me for a second watch-through, even if I wasn't so perplexed by it. I would give this series a pass unless you're already invested in the series, or enjoy really strange storylines. (Or, like Kiri, have an almost perverse fetish for hair-cutting.)
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Ed's too cool for you

Completed Series: Kannagi

Series: Kannagi (かんなぎ)
Episodes: 13 +
 1 OVA
Year: 2008
Animation Production: Aniplex

Synopsis: Our unlucky protagonist, Jin, uses the trunk of a sacred tree to carve a statue for a school project. When he takes it outside, to his surprise it begins absorbing the surrounding earth and transforms into, hold your breath on this one, a girl! So like all similar setups this guardian deity is pretty pissed that her tree was cut down and lives with Jin while she takes out her anger on squashing bugs....er, cleaning the "Impurities". ( - MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: A mostly benign, cute series. Not as SUPER moe as some out there, but definitely in the genre. There really isn't anything particularly stand-out about the show that would make me want to sing its praises or groan in agony. The animation is pretty, the character designs consistent - and I do have to admit I laughed my ass off at the wand being stuck to the center of the kotatsu table. 

I do admit that the show feels aimless. It starts out like it has a grand mission to accomplish, and just kinda wanders around and never really gets to the point. The climax of the series feels like, well, not quite what the show had been building toward, but I would wager that on this being just a one-off season to satiate manga fanatics with no intention of following through to greater story lines.

Would I buy it? Nope, not really interested.
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