An Oasis of Thoughts

February Summary: Fabulous Max (and more Spring news)

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Ano Natsu and Natsume posts will be on Friday, along with Inu x Boku.

February was a definite setback: So many shows just sputtered out completely, including those that i really had high hopes for. In fact 3 shows dropped more than 4 spots from their previous posts, one of which might have just had a pretty low month and can easily climb back up. But the bigger news is that i’ve dropped two shows completely, one of which you might have seen coming (and no, it’s not Guilty Crown) and Natsume finally relinquishes the #1 rank, but not to which series you’re expecting it to be. Yep, February is just all around insane!

Basically, this month was the “catching up on older series” month: finally finished Penguindrum (that ending..tear), finally finished both seasons of Ookiku Furikabutte, Kure-nai and Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon along with slowly finishing Katanagatari and Nichijou. Yeah, it’s been a busy month for me.

#16 (14) – Kill Me Baby (5/10)

So yeah, this is the first series to be dropped. Thursdays are busy and now that Black Rock Shooter has shown some promise, it’s time to cut off the loose ends: Persona is still decent, Guilty Crown is enjoyable for the wrong reasons and Inu x Boku is the best of them all so that leaves this snooze fest.

#15 (15) – Area no Kishi (5/10)

I had really high expectations but the anime staff here is just extremely incompetent. I like the characters, and Kakeru’s voice doesn’t annoy me as I feared but everything else – the animation, the music, the plot – is just below-average. The music in particular is god awful, it’s something i’d hear from a very old 80’s B-list horror film. Honestly, my patience with this series is pretty much over. Plus, this show loves to rush the important things (you know, the soccer games) and spends its time with horribly bad sense of humor.

#14 (13) – Guilty Crown (4/10)

Oh, Guilty Crown you’re the exact definition of a dumb blonde: you’re gorgeous, but you’re absolutely a damn moron. This show tries too hard to be Code Geass, and I laugh that the producers of this series claim that GC is not like CG. Um, hello the co-creator of Geass is supervising this series? Yeah, you can’t fool me. Forget suspension of disbelief, that won’t even work at this point in this series. Four more episodes of this crap until an original series and a show directed by Shinichi Watanabe comes to rid us of this and BRS. Yes, that’s Inori in the last picture…I honestly don’t care if that’s a spoiler: just stay away from this series, unless your sense of humor is blurred.

#13 (10) – Senki Zesshou Symphogear (5.5/10)

What I like about Symphogear: the music is fun to listen to and the characters are pretty down to earth (well, for the most part). What I don’t like: the ugly animation, the frantic pacing and characters named Miku. I think Symphogear is a much better trainwreck than the above series, mainly because it’s focusing on a single goal with many sub-plots, as opposed to many goals within many sub-plots. The music in this series is actually pretty good, I’ve been listening to the first character song album and it’s a real treat.

#12 – Black Rock Shooter (5.5/10)

Black Rock Shooter premieres, and we’re already halfway done with this series! Yeah, eight episodes is really ridiculous when 11 use to be the noitaminA standard. But anyways, I’ll praise BRS for at least trying to use symbolism in a meaningful way but it’s quite obvious it just doesn’t work by adding the boring school life element. Can’t it be just in the other world? I’ll have to hand it to the counselor lady: she knows how to mentally torment these girls into sheer psychos, as demonstrated by picture #3: Kyuubey Yomi is staring into your soul..

OP: I’ve grown to somewhat like it, I still don’t want to try vocaloid music.
ED: Who’s singing it? Sounds like the first OP/current ED from Guilty Crown. It’s much better than the OP.

#11 (9) – Persona 4 the Animation (6/10)

This was a very mixed month for Persona 4: the number of funny moments keeps going up, but now with 5 more episodes things are going to get very serious. I really liked Dojima and Nanako’s episode, and it really kinda reminded me of Rin and Daikichi from Usagi Drop. But then, right after such a heartwarming episode..we get a culture festival two-parter. Really, AIC? Well it was sorta funny, but it felt too rushed. The hot springs episode made up for the laughs, with a much more relaxed pacing. Now, can we please get back to the real darker stuff?

#10 (8) – Another (6.5/10)

I’ll give Another credit: that dream scene on episode 6 was done really well, it actually scared the crap out of me something that the deaths have not been able to. This show has gotten slightly better, but it’s still quite overrated and the two main characters are still very annoying. Lots of questions, so little time for answers. I can tell this is going to be rushed a bit to find out who the Another is (which I’ve already been spoiled as to who it is…), and the next episode looks freaky in a weird way. Your move, Another.

#9 (12) – Rinne no Lagrange (6.5/10)

A solid two episodes of action, followed by unabashed fanservice. *facepalm* Xebec, you can’t stop your perverted ways can you? Besides that episode which also gave some perspective to Muginami’s situation, Lagrange has been on the sharp upturn that pretty much every other series has not seen. Part of it has to do with the plot slowly moving towards a more serious topic – war. Having three different characters gives us three different perspectives – the average ordinary life (Madoka) and the lives of two factions constantly at war (Muginami and Lan).

#8 (3) – Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou (7/10)

This wasn’t a good month for Nichibros: the 6th and 7th episodes weren’t really that funny at all but the latest episode showed some definite promise. With only 4 more episodes left, how will this show recover?

#7 (11) – Mirai Nikki (7/10)

The one thing about Mirai Nikki is that this series knows how wacky and over the top everything is and instead of trying to spend episodes explaining certain elements, like a certain diary holder actually creating the game with Deus, this show just goes “Ah, screw it all!” and proceeds to use extreme forms of pacing to get where it needs to. Usually this fails badly, but a show like this one really uses this approach extremely well not just to create the entertainment factor but also to show how screwed up this game is. It’s really good storytelling on the folks at Asread, now if they can make this show look a little more nicer…

#6 (5) – Mobile Suit Gundam AGE (7/10)

I Still think this is the most under-rated series out there..It’s quite obvious that the second main arc of AGE has been so much better than the first. Instead of focusing on things like Zalam and Euba (which was a completely pointless arc, IMO), AGE-2 has been focusing on the Vagans but at the same time, the character development has been quite solid even though there was a huge timeskip from Asemu in high school to after graduating from the military academy. The voice acting is superb, the music has gotten better and the all-important animation has also seen an increase. Asemu is a much more likeable protagonist than Flit ever was, and I’m glad he didn’t inherit his father’s self-righteous/white knight complex.

#5 (7) – Mouretsu Pirates (7.5/10)

Pirates and Chihayafuru are so scarily similar: they have solid characters, really good animation and unlike most series currently airing, an actual PLOT! But, these two shows have one very big weakness: they’re extremely boring. It’s worse for Mouretsu, because this show LOVES to spend episodes on build-up, and while that’s certainly much better than rushing through everything and explaining nothing, it’s been a chore to sit and watch Marika do all of these things before she becomes a pirate captain. Now she’s finally a captain, but wait..there’s still more build-up episodes! But still, amidst many shows that love to rush their content (Area no Kishi, Guilty Crown, Persona 4 and many many others), Pirates is a breath of relief for me. Boring? Quite often, but when it isn’t boring, this show really is amazing.

#4 (4) – Inu x Boku SS (7.5/10)

This show would be #3 on my “most entertaining” list if I were to make one. This series has been consistently hilarious with the addition of Kagerou and Karuta’s presence has only made this show more popular with the otakus (moe + Kana Hanazawa = profit?). But even though this is a series totally meant for otaku, i find myself coming back each week and just enjoying every aspect of this series. This show is lacking on the serious development angle, but quite frankly as of now i could care less. The characters, the animation and the constant ending theme changes are what keeps me completely enthralled with this series.

#3 (2) – Chihayafuru (8/10)

Chihayafuru is quite frankly a boring series. Now, usually there’s series that are just bad on all aspects but the series remains quite fun to watch (like Symphogear). Chihayafuru is the exact opposite: this show does everything right like the BGM, the character development (finally, Arata!) and the attention to detail with the karuta matches. The problem is, all of that is nice but it still feels like a chore to watch this series. I know, it sounds weird: I love this series, but it quite frankly bores me when they aren’t playing karuta. /tsundere

#2 (1) – Natsume Yuujinchou Shi (8/10)

It wasn’t this series’ best month, but Natsume Yuujinchou still works its magic on every episode, still remains ever stronger, now more than 40 episodes aired since 2008! So the latest episodes haven’t been as strong as they should, but the fact of the matter is that this series is able to deliver emotionally solid episodes without fail and the animation has seen a huge upgrade versus past seasons. Where it is going and where it can go is anyone’s guess, but hopefully there’s at least another season devoted to Reiko: she’s the biggest mystery in this series as of now.

#1 (6) – Ano Natsu de Matteru (8/10)

Despite a slow start, Ano Natsu has become one of my all time favorite romance series. The mood is not only set well, but it really knows how to bring a bunch of high schoolers together and really capture how their struggles and feelings are shown. Nothing is over-exaggerated and even though there has been fanservice, it has been used quite well (!) to illustrate how teenage boys can find themselves in love with their friends. Knowing this director’s penchant for heartaching drama shown in Ano Hana and Toradora, it’s quite obvious that one of the girls will be left out of the love equation but who that can be is a coin flip. But not only that, this series knows how to give each character proper development with very creative animation choices (that don’t stand out like many Shaft series) and subtleties in word choices. This is required viewing for any anime fan, this is how romance should be portrayed: with likeable characters (that Eureka Seven never had), with subtlety (that Fullmetal Alchemist lacked) and with a real focus on the genre as opposed to alluding to it (such as Hanasaku Iroha and Baka to Test).

Spring News

If you haven’t seen this site’s newest blogger -blacksheep’s introductory post, basically she is interested in four shows to blog: Kimi to Boku. 2, Tsuritama, Zetman or Hyou-ka. She also said that when spring starts, she may blog one or two additional showss. I’d like you guys to vote at the poll below, note that it is what you guys LIKE for her to blog: this isn’t a binding poll, so if for say Zetman polls higher than Tsuritama, she could very well go with Kimi to Boku.

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