Spring Fever: Sping 2009 Anime Guide

As we get better at this we seem to add more and more shows that we review each season. I don’t think I would ever want to review more shows than we did this season. This season had a pretty good selection for all the major anime food groups. Some selections were rather lackluster but overall it was an enjoyable selection. Look back on Wednesday because I will be looking at some shows that Narutaki decided to avoid this season. Often times with good reason.

Alright, it is worth noting that we had to do this enormous review not once but twice! It is amazing that it is done at all. Anywho! This is becoming a standard when the new season starts up. However, I think this is the first time that there are way more shows that I want to keep up with than is humanly possible. It is shaping up to be a good season. I think these first episode reviews are worth doing, first impressions are important and it’s fun to see how right (and wrong!) we are when the dust has cleared.

K-ON!

I once said that BECK had a shonen hero surrounded by seinen heroes. K-ON! is a show about a moe heroine surrounded by school comedy heroines. K-ON! has an enjoyable premise so I wanted to like it. Ritsu Tainaka is an energetic drummer who wants to use the school’s light music club to form a band. She quickly recruits Mio Akiyama for base and sheltered Tsumugi Kotobuki for keyboard. I would have enjoyed any of these three being the star. The problem is Yui Hirasawa is the main character and she is just useless. She has no skills, no passion for anything, and is a total klutzy waste of space. It could be saved if the story is about Yui’s growth as a person. I just have a feeling that while Yui will learn to play the guitar she won’t grow as a person because that would break her moe charm. That is a shame because I really liked the music and the animation from Kyoto animation. Maybe if after the show is over someone I trusts says that Yui actually develops beyond useless I might go back and watch this.

I was looking forward to K-ON! because I wanted something like Linda! Linda! Linda! but as an anime. Essentially to have the story be about how music brings people together, changes them, but not about them making it to stardom. That could be this show, possibly. It certainly seems to focus on the friendships between the girls. I really enjoyed Ritsu, Mio, and Tsumugi. They played off each other nicely and had a synergy to them. Yui on the other hand is blah and she is the lead. I wouldn’t have a problem with her clumsy nature if it was not the constant center of everything, every scene she is in! She can’t walk anywhere without tripping or doing some other failing action. It is just too extreme. And of course she will likely stay as she is but somehow become great at guitar. If the focus was more spread out to the other characters I would have more of an interest.

Tears to Tiara

At first we were not going to watch this show because it is based on an eroge tactical role-playing game developed by Leaf. But after Ask John offhandedly mentioned that is was the best hard fantasy since the Record of Lodoss War we put it on our list. It starts when an evil priest kidnaps the oracle of a small village to sacrifice her to awaken a powerful demon lord. When her brother discovers what happens he cuts through the priests soldiers in hopes of stopping the ceremony in time. The demon lord is not such a bad guy because we see him paling around with our hero in the opening sequence. Overall it reminded me of a good start to a RPG video or table top game. The action was good and the main character seems like a solid choice. I know people have been complaining that they see too many women in the ending. I saw a good amount of guys as well. As long as they keep the characters strong and avoid harem/eroge traps I am fine with a little gender imbalance.

Anything that is hard fantasy needs to be looked at and automatically gets an extra 10 points from me. It is just rare to see a straight up sword and sorcery anime, I can’t for the life of me figure out why that is. The story seems simple enough, demon lord being resurrected so the fun lies in the characters we go on the journey with. Both Arthur and Riannon seem like strong and capable protagonists. They both display intelligence and bravery within this episode. There is also a decent about of action. From the opening you can tell there is a (unsurprisingly) large casts of characters who will enter this epic. Tears presents us with a slow but steady start much like fantasy novels. It is hard to call it right now, but I am certainly continuing on.

Natsu no Arashi

I had gone into Natsu no Arashi with high hopes because the original manga was done by Jin Kobayashi. The end result was less than I had hoped. It takes place at a cafe where two of the waitresses, Arashi and Kaja, have the ability to jump through time. We are introduced the to premise as Yasaka, who has a crush on Arashi, plans to sabotage the strawberry shortcake of a rival. Kaja is also looking for a missing slice of strawberry shortcake. The set up is not entirely bad. Strange events that happen off screen in the first half turn out to be the result of time travel. The show did not click with me. I did not see Jin Kobayashi’s signature comedy style in this episode. I was also not very impressed with the character designs. I will probably check back later to see if things have improved if for nothing else to see where they go with the time travel aspects.

I plain couldn’t understand much of this episode. I was trying, I really was! It was manic from the moment it started and didn’t slow. It was certainly trying to be funny, but trying is the keyword here because it was just bizarre. I’m not even sure if there is a plot but I don’t really care to find out.

Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom

This anime is based on the visual novel Phantom of the Inferno by Nitroplus so some readers should feel free to skip to the next review. We start with a fairly stylish assassination at a mansion by Zwei and Ein (who is dressed as a maid). During the mission we are thrown into a flashback that revels that Zwei had his memory wiped by the organization he works for. He has been trained by Ein as an assassin since that day. Phantom tries really hard to be a mixture of gritty violence and profound concepts. The symbolism is so blatantly that is goes from potent to silly. The two main characters are generally emotionless so it’s hard to empathize with their plight. It is obvious that Zwei will eventually try to leave the evil organization that brainwashed him but I don’t care enough to find out why or how he decides to leave.

This show started off well enough. Much like an American action movie a stoic looking guy in a nice car pulls up and takes dudes out with calm efficiency. He proceeds to do the same to a house full of guards. However, it goes down hill after that as we jump into a flashback. After I saw this backstory I promptly stopped caring. Everything about this story says we are going through the motions, nothing feels engaging in the least. The way a metaphor is supposed to work is making the audience think a little. Not so here, they might as well hit you with a hammer. It also has some of the worst dialogue of the season. I was hoping to overlook the flaws in this show in favor of having James Bond the anime, but they are too glaring.

Higepiyo

At five minutes Higepiyo is sort of a humorous the You Tube clip. It is the story of a family who adopts a baby chick that is the size of a hen and has a beard. Oh and the chick acts like an old man. The first episode is basically the family freaking out to their strange new pet. It is an amusing little lark especially when the man who sells the chick keeps telling them no matter what it does it is surely a baby chick. Hardly a substantial anime but fun.

This show was able to accomplish what it wanted to in five minutes: make me laugh! The family reactions are just so hysterical, such as when they are buying the chick and thinking about who he reminds them of. I certainly wouldn’t watch it every week but I would grab up a collection to watch straight through.

Shin Mazinger Shogeki! Z-Hen

Do you like Go Nagai? Do you wish that shows would go right to the hot robot vs. monster action? Do you like yazuka punks and trench coat wearing detectives fighting soldiers of doom? If you said yes then you probably already saw this show and are waiting to see if I am cool like you. If you said no then you should avoid this show like the plague. There really is no story to the first episode. The episode is called Finale. Kouji Kabuto is fighting Dr. Hell who after being chopped in half merges with a giant monster. When we come back to Kouji he is fighting quid monsters and talking to Zeus. This is less a first episode and more an overture of what is to come. They cram in every major Mazinger character and some Go Nagai characters from other series he has done for good measure. I would be impressed by the person who can spot all the Go Nagai shout-outs. I assume they are going to start the actual introduction to the story in the next episode but if they can keep up the crazy from this first episode we have a winner on our hands.

The show starts calmly enough with Kouji saying he is a boy just like us (which is hysterical in and of itself) and from then on the show is nonstop crazy, over the top, action! I don’t think it is possible to fit more characters in one episode. There is no real way to understand what is going on, you just have to roll with it. Between the appearance of Zeus, a guy I thought looked like Shaft, and a noir detective I can’t choose the best guest spot! I’ll assume we go back to the beginning in the next episode and some amount of sense can be made out of the whole thing. I have never watched Mazinger before and this show begs the question “Why not?!”

Asura Cryin’

If a bunch of writers gathered to write what they thought was cool they might write: mecha robots, physic powers, men in suits with machine guns, ghosts, Templars, and shrine maidens. There is nothing wrong with the aspects individually but in Asura Cryin’ they all come together in a bland mess. After Tomoharu Natsume has a near death experience he can see the ghost of Misao Minakami. When Tomoharu and Misao move into a new house, he receives a mysterious briefcase from this world traveling brother. Of course various supernatural organizations want it. It could be a good show but nothing hooks me. I like mecha but it comes of as boring. The ghost girl is more a stale twist on a old trope. I am sure that Misao is not actually dead which means she and Tomoharu can hook up in the end. Oh and I would like to point out that the woman who gives him the briefcase turns out to be a senior at his school and the president of the chemistry club (which is more like the occult club). Narutaki and I both called shenanigans because she looks older than some of the teachers. Did she get held back for a decade?

This show doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be and in its attempt to be it all it does nothing well. Is it a supernatural mystery? Is it a harem romance? Is it a school comedy? Nothing hits the mark in the episode making it hard to connect or care about any of it. Misao is probably the only semi-interesting character in the bunch, too bad most of the cast can’t see her! Tomoharu is so bland that he doesn’t even have a inkling of curiosity at this mysterious suitcase his brother drops in his lap. My reaction to this show is: Yup, I watched that show.

Basquash

When I was told there was an anime about robots that play basketball, I felt it could only turn out two ways. You would have a train wreck or a show that was ironically enjoyable. It turns out that Basquash is neither and actually really good. It is a fun, energetic show with beautiful OAV quality animation. Dan DJ declares war on the sport of Big Foot Basketball after his sister was injured in a Big Foot Basketball accident. After getting a mecha of his own from a childhood friend Dan crashes as championship game. The charters are lively and engaging. Even Dan’s sarcastic transforming pet Spanky is fun. There is a very unique sense of design to the world. There is a good sense of humor as well, especially when Dan first learns to pilot his mecha. I have say I was caught off guard by how well this show was done and hope to see it continue to impress me.

I was ironically interested in this show after hearing that is was about basketball and robots. Then I was actually interested when I saw the preview video. Basquash has serious style from the character designs to the animation to the music.  I loved Dan DJ (and his alter ego Dunk Mask) with his bad attitude but desire to protect his sister. And when he takes out TVs all across the city it is just plain cool. Everyone else is just adds to the diversity of the show. The camera uses unique angles and is constantly moving, sometimes so much that I couldn’t read and watch at the same time. It makes every moment have energy. Basquash has an infectious quality about it that makes it a pleasure to watch.

Ristorante Paradiso

Don’t let people fool you. This show is clearly an old man’s fantasy. It is  about handsome older gentlemen that get lovely young girls to fall in love them while having a cool job in a exotic location. Now if women who like older men who wear glasses watch this show the creators will hardly cry themselves so sleep at night. Nicoletta comes to Rome to visit her mother’s new husband and inform him that her mother is divorced and has a daughter. Instead she winds up falling in love with the restaurant and one of the older men on staff. I had assumed the show would be more like the Bartender. People would come into the restaurant with problems and the wait staff would bring them a meal that would help them through. But instead we get a seinen romance. It’s a fine show. Very leisurely and comforting. I don’t have a problem with the female character design as much as the rest of the Internet does. Since it is streaming for free I am interested in sitting back and taking in this unique show but it is hardly a priority.

I was hoping for something more food related or about running a restaurant. So with that expectation I was bound to be disappointed. The wait staff at the restaurant are diverse and will probably be a fun bunch. Though the pace is rather at a saunter. The shows tone is rather on the light and humorous side even when thinking of Nicoletta’s sad childhood circumstances. This is a definite plus. Nicoletta spends most of this first episode saying “grazie” way too many times and randomly thinking how hot Claudio is. I can’t say whether I really care about her reason for being in Rome as much as I want to see how interacting at the restaurant will change her. Oh and if I wasn’t sure this was an old man fantasy from the beginning, I was convinced by the preview for the next episode.

Pandora Hearts

Pandora Hearts is like mixing rice and tofu together: each ingredient is okay but sort of bland and combining them does little to add any flavor. Pandora Hearts tries to take comedy and horror with much the same results. It does not switch gears as poorly as Kuroshitsuji but it does not succeed in it either. Oz Bezarius is exploring the grounds of the mansion where his coming of age ceremony is to take place. While playing with his sister Ada, and his servant Gilbert they find a hidden chamber of the grounds. Oz sees a vision of a ghostly girl who seems homicidally obsessed with him. There is a unmistakable influence of Alice in Wonderland throughout Pandora Hearts. But even that cannot spice up the show. The comedy is generally not funny and the horror brings up several mysteries but I can’t say I am interested in any of them.

This was one show I was looking forward to. It is a real shame that I can’t endorse it. It has a combination of things I like including Alice in Wonderland, Gothic style, and a cute blond boy lead. It starts with Oz, his servant, and his sister exploring this mysterious estate that is used very infrequently. This is a fine beginning as many children’s story start just so. However, the execution falls flat. The moments of comedy came off as dumb and many of the ominous points were more laughable than anything else. The animation is also sub par which really hinders these character and costume designs. Unfortunately, there was nothing to make anyone need to see the rest of this show.

Eden of the East

Eden of the East seems like the show I was destined to like. You can call it Honey in the Shell or Ghost in the Clover (which is my favorite) but it’s pedigree is unmistakable: animation by Production IG; created, directed and written by Kenji Kamiyama; and character designs by Chika Umino. Saki Morimi is saved by a naked man after trying to throw a coin in the White House lawn fountain. Her savior turns out be an agent of a mysterious organization that has wiped his memories. He decide to call himself Shinobu Morita . . . I mean Akira Takizawa. They resolve to go back to Japan together. This show is firing on all cylinders. The main characters have great chemistry. The animation is wonderful and  I love Chika Umino’s character designs. The opening and ending are good and innovative. The plot is instantly engaging but there seems to be deeper themes to be explored. It would take quite a lot to get me do dislike this show. I recommend it to everyone.

The way the opening scene is done hooked me immediately. It was a smart way to show where we start the story and gives us some knowledge of our heroine’s personality without unnecessary exposition. Saki is a funny and charming leading lady. Akira makes him self memorable thanks in part to a lot of public nudity in this first episode. When they come together there is magic on the screen. The first episode succeeds in creating a story with comedy and suspense plus a hint of romance to come. I can’t wait to see what antics continue on their pursuit to return to Japan and where ever else their story takes them. I just plain want to see them again. Easily the show to keep an eye on this season.

Hatsukoi Limited

For some strange reason, I had a good feeling about this show. Ayumi Arihara is talking with her friends about how she has always wished someone would confess their love for her. Right after her friends warn her to be careful what you wish for a gorilla of man gives her a love letter and starts following her. When she finally rejects him she is kidnapped by his enemies as a hostage. The ending of the episode has to be seen to be believed. This show has a great sense of comedic timing with situations that are realistic enough while staying silly. The characters are good comedic foils and while we mostly see Ayumi our glances at the rest of the cast reassure me that the show will remain entertaining. I think this is my favorite comedy of the season so I really hope they can keep up the level of energy and silly fun that they did in the first episode.

This was the most surprisingly good show of the season for me. I was a bit cautious going into this shonen romance but it turns out I had nothing too worry about unless laughing too hard is a bad thing. I mean the first episode is called Beauty A and the Beast Z. The struggles in this episode are nothing short of brilliantly hysterical. Even though our main cast is all female you can tell it is shonen romance from the angles the girls are shot at. Even so they kind of hit some of female thinking dead on. This reminded me of a modern Boys Be type show, something that is in between 90’s and current taste. I will happily check out more!

Valkyria Chronicles: Gallian Chronicle

I wanted to play Valkyria Chronicles but never wanted to pay the money to buy a PS3. The next best thing is watching the anime. When Alicia Melchiott is assisting all the civilians in her town evacuate she finds Welkin Gunther and detains him for being a spy. When he escapes, Alicia and Welkin run into an enemy patrol. I like the alternate version of early 20th century Europe. It is a fun setting that goes unexplored in anime. Alicia is sort of silly but I can understand where she is coming from with all the confusion going on. Welkin is an oddball but entertaining in his quirky charm. Great care was taken to reproduce the watercolor feel  of the CANVAS graphics engine from the games so I am sure that will make many fans happy. I think it was a good introduction to the series and I hope it stays a faithful adaptation of a great game.

I had heard much about Valkyria when the game came out so the anime was talked about with much caution and anticipation. Alicia comes off as a bit over zealous (after all she does arrest Welkin for sketching trout!) but she is at least calmer than some of her comrades. It is interesting to see the effect actual looming battle has on the city watch. People seemed to be treating it like a game of sorts. We don’t know a whole lot about the enemy yet though we can surmise they are gung-ho as they go after three random people with major artillery! The world setting is something I haven’t really seen, this sort of in between era feel, and I quite liked it. This season is quickly proving anime based on games CAN be good!

Guin Saga

While watching Guin Saga I remembered what Ioannis “Yani” Mentzas for Vertical said was the draw for him into the series on the Ninja Consultants. Guin Saga has more of a pulp fantasy feel and starts right in the middle of the action rather that in sleepy little town. It starts with the Kingdom of Parros being overrun by troops and the only surviving heirs of the kingdom being teleported to their relatives. Due to a mishap the twins are transported to the middle of the forest in enemy territory.  They are quickly capture by enemy solider but then saved by a man in a leopard mask. He proceeds to hits a man in full plate armor so hard he stinks completely into the ground. Guin has lost his memories so he agrees to help the twins get to safety while he searches for clues to who he is. Rinda is a strong female while not being an action girl. Remus on the other hand is sort of a whiny brat who has mainly been carried by Guin. Still this is an excellent fast-paced fantasy adventure and I look forward to watching more.

I had been wanting to pick up these novels for a while, so I was really looking forward to the anime. Guin Saga is much more in the Conan vein of fantasy rather than a traditional setting. The action starts almost immediately pulling you in. Guin is a total bad-ass, why wouldn’t you want to see a dude in a leopard mask smash guys into the ground? He hits a guy so hard that his armor sparks and sets a tree on fire! Certain things have a common feel like Guin’s amnesia, his remembering only one word, and the decision to randomly help these children. However, the future of the story and of this world seems like a complete unknown. Guin is both new and familiar at the same time and this is what makes you want to watch. Three cheers for fantasy anime this season!

Sengoku Basara

If you take list I mentioned during Asura Cryin’ it would also have: samurai, ninjas, historical battles, bad English, explosions, mainly punching, and girls in skimpy outfits. Unlike in Asura Cryin’ all these idea com together to create an awesomely cheesy show. I enjoyed this show like I enjoyed Macross 7. Set during the Warring States period in Japan there are various warlords with outrageous gimmicks who want to control Japan. Sanada Yukimura and Date Masamune are two warriors who meet twice on the battlefield but it is soon apparent that they will be linked by destiny. Every battle is over the top; anachronisms litter the show; and the dialog is delightfully cornball. I was also amused because (for some reason I cannot explain) I keep reading Samurai Deeper Kyo. Both series use many of the same historical characters but have completely different takes on them while still being light years away from what the actual people. I would be a fool to not mention that the opening has soldiers doing choreographed dancing in the background. If that does not sell you I don’t know what will.

This show starts with an eye-patching wearing, English yelling, Date Masamune leading his soldiers in battle many of which look like yakuza. Then we get a brilliant opening that is hilarious and manly and the song is by the fabulous Abingdon Boys School. All of these things show you exactly what you are getting yourself into when tuning into Sengoku Basara. And what you are getting into is AWESOME. This show is a manly frenzy of over the top action. Yukimura and Shingen punch each other as a sign of affection!  Date is nothing short of magnificent as he fights with six sword style, is voiced by Kazuya Nakai who is Zoro from One Piece, and loves to spout random English (favorite phrases include “Let’s party!” and “Here we go!”). It is so crazy that is does not pretend to be anything else even though I actually am interested in the plot too.

07-Ghost

Your enjoyment of this show comes down to your tolerance of BL. If you can’t stand any BL then skip to the next review. Everyone should give this show a shot because it’s a fun buddy show with intrigue and action. There is just some very implied love between the two male characters. Despite having amnesia and being a former slave, Teito Klein and has been selected to train the military. He and his close friend Mikage make it through the brutal testing by working together. After the test Teito overhears a conversation commander Ayanami is having and something he says makes him remember part of his past. Mikage helps Teito escape and soon he is on the run. The real joy in this series comes from the excellent and playful relationship between Teito and Mikage. They work well together and while there is distinctly a strong bond between them the audience decides how intimate it is. The action, comedy, and drama flow in and out of each other quite well. I look forward to seeing how it all turns out. By the way Narutaki will tell you a dozen reason why he likes this show. He will fail to mention a strong draw is that Mikage looks like Tamaki with a scar.

I knew a little about this series since I read the first chapter of the manga a while back. This is a supernatural action show with bishonen taking up all corners of the room. There is a decent action scenes as well as establishing the attitude of the military. The friendship between Teito and Mikage is where the most interest lies. Teito has a fuzzy past and makes him a real outcast. Mikage is a laid back guy that befriends him. Their futures are uncertain at the end of this episode. I could see them becoming enemies just as much as I could see them staying comrades. Though I would like to see them fight for a common goal if only because they really balance each other nicely. If you like your action with hints of BL then this show is worth checking out.

Shangri-La

After a major environmental disaster changes the world, all the countries of the world are forced to monitor their carbon emissions. The organization that controls carbon has a strangle hold and uses threats of military might backing their decisions. Popular prisoner Kuniko Hojo is released to much fanfare. She is soon whisked home where she is being trained as the next leader of the metal age. I really like Kuniko. She is sort of a female version of a shonen plucky hero. She is sort of dim but powerful, energetic, and someone who inspires loyalty in others. Also that combat boomerang is pretty sweet. The real test is how they mesh the simple forthright story of a city of misfits with the political games and maneuvering of the empire against those who would impede their plans. Since it is based on a series of novel it has the potential to escape the Gonzo curse of having a good opening premise that falls apart due to lack of planning. The problem is Gonzo has gone out of their way to make original endings which nixes that advantage. Still it’s a unique world with some interesting concepts.

I was most interested in Shangi-La because the character designs are by Range Murata who did Last Exile. Of course this made me also cautiously optimistic. Kuniko’s wild streak makes her an entertaining lead. Her concern and relationships with the people of her town make it clear her role in leading them will come up soon. The world setting is cool as it is set in at unspecified future date where Carbon use is so out of control that it is taxed and has its own law enforcement. All of these things sound good, but the first episode isn’t quite hard hitting enough. They sold me on the world but not the characters yet. I think it is worth checking out a couple more episodes to make a final call on it.

Hanasakeru Seishounen

This seems like it started out as a yuri manga and then the editor forced to it become a reverse harem to please the readership. Kajika is an unusual looking girl who transfers into a Japanese school after growing up in America. One girl in the class named Yui befriends her much to the jealousy of the other girls in the class. After a run in with a tough girl in the school almost gets Kajika and Yui raped by some punks, Kajika is whisked back to American. Her famously rich father has decided to marry her off to one of three men. It is a game because he won’t tell her who the three guys he has picked for her are and they do not know they are part of the game. It’s so odd because it seems that the second part of the episode is the real meat of the story but it comes out of nowhere. I liked Kajika because she is a oddball strong female character. She approaches every situation with her own logic. The rest of the series while not bad did not really click. I feel that the real test of the show is how well Kajika interacts with her three potential suitors. She is an odd character so if the three guys play off her well it could be a fun show but if they are lame the show will be lame, too.

This show need nothing that came before the last five minutes or so. Sure it was funny to hear Kajika go on and on about her leopard Mustafa but they could have thrown that in elsewhere. It is unclear if any of the rest will have bearing on the rest of the show at all. The game her father proses at the end is where the fun lies! Why not have some weird competition to find your future husband? I can’t say I really cared about anything else including the actual characters. But it could be a guilty pleasure. It needs to throw itself into complete ridiculousness to really be good.

Gokujou!! Mecha Mote Iinchou

This is just a bizarre show from a production stand point. It is mostly animated in 3-D animation but switches seemingly at random to traditional animation. The 3-D is lackluster and stiff but would not be anywhere as awkward if it did not jump back and forth between styles. In the first episode of Gokujou!! Mecha Mote Iinchou we get two stories in one. Mimi Kitagami is the popular student class president who goes out of her may to make sure she is always beloved. She resolves to try to get three slackers called MM3 to participate more in activities. As soon as some progress is made with her obvious romantic pairing Ushio Tojo we jump to the second part without transition or real resolution. Mimi then helps a ganguro girl named Rika who is challenged by the extremely popular Rose Princess Club. So Mimi must play Henry Higgins to Rika’s Eliza Doolittle. They are both standard stories from the shojo play book. I have seen plenty of shojo that can take both stories but put an original spin on them. The problem is Gokujou!! Mecha Mote Iinchou is not that show. No one in the show is really fun or engaging and that is what separates good shojo from boring shojo.

I saw a small picture of this show and decided it looked cute. Sort of fun and hyper looking. I offer my sincere apologies now. This show totally freaked me out. The CG is just plain bad but worse than that is it makes all the characters look like scary marionette dolls! As for the plot is was rather disjointed and bland. Maybe it is the lack of expression in the animation, but every character just seemed soulless. I was looking for a simple, cute, shojo romance and this show was not it.

Shinkyoku Sokai Polyphonica Crimson S

Shame on you Sengoku Basara and Valkyria Chronicles. You tricked me into thinking that anime based on video games could be good. Shinkyoku Sokai Polyphonica Crimson S is a prequel to the Shinkyoku Sokai Polyphonica games. As a child Phoron meets a spirit enchanted by his singing. She then promises to visit him again. Flash ahead to Phoron studying at a school that teaches students to summon spirits with music. When a mysterious shadowy spirit starts attacking people on campus. The spirit then sheds its cocoon and reveals itself to be a naked girl. She is a jealous tsundere loli. This show proves itself to be everything horrible about games based on visual novels. We have flat stock characters stuck in utterly predictable situations. Academically I want to like a music based magic system but in practice the system is laughably lame. Every aspect of the this show makes it painful to watch ultimately accumulating in a painfully extended ending.

This show didn’t have to fail. It starts off decent enough with a battle though for some reason the spirit keeps telling Phoron he is a man. And then it is just downhill from there. Nothing about this series is interesting. Everyone in this show can be called by their role in the show, which is sad, such as “friend of main guy” and “girl who will fall in love with main guy but not win him.” Then of course we have fetish archetype girl, er I mean Corticarte. This series gets the prize for worst designs, the musical instruments fail on both look and use. Macross 7 has better designs, come on people! Thank goodness this show was here to not let us be lulled into a sense of security when watching anime based on visual novels. Blah.

Cross Game

I am pretty sure that Mitsuru Adachi is no longer allowed to write anything but baseball manga in Shonen Sunday. Ko Kitamura works for his family sporting good store which puts him in constant contact with the Tsukishima family that owns the local batting cages. We follow Ko’s budding friendship with the family and his eventual romance with Wakaba. Then one summer a shocking indecent occurs which changes everyone’s lives. Cross Game captures a nostalgic feeling of the excitement of childhood and thrill of your first love. Ko is a charming and cunning slacker while Wakaba a the embodiment of the perfect Japanese girlfriend. The rest of the cast is equally likable and quirky. I am curious to see how the cast deals with the fallout of the events of the summer. If I had to make any complaint about Cross Game is it is very similar in it’s themes to Touch. If you are looking for him to do something completely different you are going to have to wait for his next work. Adachi hits another one out of the park with Cross Game.

What I always like about Adachi’s series is that he is able to convey character personalities in a short period of time. We easily become endeared to all the characters in just one episode of Cross Game. Ko is a fun and charming fellow, you can’t help but like his sly nature. The entire Tsukishima family makes themselves memorable like the middle sister who wants to be a pro ball player. All of the members of the baseball team that Ko joins all seem colorful. They seem like an enjoyable bunch that will make the series a lot of fun. Baseball is important but it is definitely the backdrop to the growing and changing lives of these characters. My only reluctance in continuing to watch Cross Game is the possible length as Touch is rather long.

Top 5 main character types I could do without
5. Jealous Tsundere Loli
4. Emotionless killer
3. “Strong” Female Bitch
2. Bland Harem Hero
1. Useless Klutzy Heroine

2 thoughts on “Spring Fever: Sping 2009 Anime Guide

  1. reversethieves says:

    And now my shockingly niche supplemental comment:
    Is you Internet handle phatbhuda? Then these are the shows for you:

    Guaranteed:
    Guin Saga: Pulp fantasy adventure. Like an AWESOME D&D campaign brought to life.
    Basquash: ROBOTS PLAYING BASKETBALL!! What more did you need me to tell you good sir? It’s also worked on by the man who did Oban Star Racers.
    Shin Mazinger Shogeki! Z-Hen: If you are not watching this you are no longer the person I know from college.

    You might like:
    Tears to Tiara: Like a good D&D campaign brought to life.
    Eden of the East: By the same man who brought us Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex.
    Sengoku Basara: Super cheesy but AWESOME in its super cheese.

    – Hisui

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