Winter 2009 Rundown

Instead of doing three at a time, I’m just going to blaze through all of these at once.

Akikan

Oh Akikan! What could have been! You had such a wonderfully dumb concept! If handled correctly, you could have been immensely entertaining! It was, however, not meant to be. If episode two is any indication, the staff doesn’t even care about this show. I haven’t seen something this ugly since that time I watched ten episodes of Soul Link, which is quite hilarious, since Suzuhira Hiro did the designs for that show as well. To make matters even worse, this show is by Brains Base. I thought better of you guys! I mean, Natsume Yuujinchou was boring as shit, but at least it looked good. This is just an abomination. Do not watch it.

Maria†Holic

The dastardly combination of Akiyuki Shinbo and Studio SHAFT (AKA: SHAFTXSHINBO) are at it again, this time with the amazingly sassy and abusive Maria†Holic. Though, quite frankly, I’m a little disappointed. The show carries itself on its witty writing more than anything else, and when that happens in a Shinbo show you know something is wrong. Him and his cohorts have boiled the signature SHAFTXSHINBO style down to a science, while at the same time bringing nothing new to the table. The show is playing it pretty straight, and is more on the Negima!? side than the Tsukuyomi ~Moon Phase~ side as far as directorial eccentricity goes. I like it, but I expect a lot more. The opening sequence does more or less make up for all of the show’s shortcomings, though. And the writing really is great–Maria is such a dickhead.

Minami-ke ~Okaeri~

Well, that feels a lot better. After stumbling around a bit with the slightly deformed baby that was Minami-ke Okawari, our good friends at asread have done their homework, and figured out just what makes Minami-ke good. Okaeri is a step back into the snappy direction and quirky writing that made the very first Minami-ke a joy to watch. Instead of trying to force their own stylings onto the production, asread is keeping to the spirit of the first series as much as possible, and are doing a fairly good job. The colour scheme is set back to the warm tones that brought the first series to life, and the character designs are a fair compromise between asread’s style and the style used in Doumo’s series. While not as horrible as bloggers make it out to be, the artwork in the series ranges from having moments of greatness, to simply being okay. It’s rough, but it’s still pretty good.

Rideback

This one fooled me. I came in expecting mecha warfare, but instead I got some seinen college story with strangely girly character designs. I don’t really know if this’ll hold my interest, but episode one didn’t totally suck. The story of a girl losing her talent for ballet then finding herself again on some random robot motorcycle is dumb, but it didn’t weigh things down too much.

Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo (Sora Kake Girl)

I was unable to tell if this first episode was a mess of cliché on purpose or not, but once you’re half-way into episode two it’s pretty clear that this is Sunrise parodying themselves. This is another one where I’m not sure if it’ll be able to hold my interest, but it has nice character designs on its side, and pretty solid Sunrise production values. It’s probably better than Code Geass, but lacks the entertainment value.

Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai (Munto TV)

Munto is kind of like Kyoto Animation’s Daicon IV opening animation, except much longer. It’s a pretty generic fantasy story, but you can tell the staff’s heart is in it. This first episode is just the original 2003 OVA with some slight touch-up work, so naturally it looks pretty dated. While not as shiny and bright as modern day Kyoto Animation titles, everything moves well, and some shots look like really good pictures you’d see on pixiv, just animated. The female character designs are all great, with a couple of especially cute lolis in the cast.

Not doing Shikabane Hime Kuro since I’m not done with Aka yet.

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23 Responses to Winter 2009 Rundown

  1. the monster says:

    can’t say much about the last half, but my opinion are completely opposite to your’s regarding akikan, maria+holic, and okaeri. …but i’m slowly starting to appreciate okaeri

  2. Link says:

    I don’t need yet another Tsukuyomi or SZS retread. Shinbo doing his work with fine source material, rather than reinventing the wheel, is awesome enough. Maria Holic may end up beating PPD and working its way up there as one of my Shinbo/SHAFT favorites, if it keeps this up.

  3. Erious says:

    I’m still amazed that you even managed to sit through two episodes of Akikan…
    First episode of Sora Kake Girl was awesome(because of Leopard, duh), second wasn’t as amusing, but it’s still dumb enough to entertain. I think I’ll put off watching Maria Holic until later, since I found myself watching a lot of Shinbo shows lately, and frankly I’m getting sick of it.
    But Munto was fucking terrible. I don’t think looking dated was a problem, since visuals are the only relatively strong point of that show. Complete let down so far… Not that I had too high hopes, but still.
    What about Kurokami? I didn’t really like it, but it has some… interesting parts.

  4. >>Link

    Funny you mention retread, since I think Maria+Holic offers nothing new as far as Shinbo and co. stuff goes. Its style borrows heavily from SZS, with some distilled PPD wackiness thrown in.

    Also, as far as PPD goes, I don’t really like it for its direction. PPD is a party, and what makes it good is how you can just tell how the staff are all just having fun. There’s not much interesting in it as far as direction goes.

    >>Erious

    Akikan’s first episode was fine. Episode two was just godawful.

    I don’t mind Munto. The plot is terribly generic, but it’s presented well. I typically don’t watch things for plot, anyways.

    I’m skipping Kurokami since it’s shounen fight shit.

  5. Erious says:

    Well, I’d argue with Munto’s plot being presented well, but to each his own I guess. For me it was generic, boring, with totally unnapealing characters and poor directing. Not to mention the entirely too fabulous outfits.
    Kurokami… Hmm, I can’t deny the shounen fight shit part(which I usually avoid like the plague), but it’s executed considerably well, and it since it doesn’t shy away from graphic violence it might just prove itself entertaining enough for me to forgive it faults(of which there are many) But yeah, I wouldn’t consider it a must-see.

  6. By “presented well” I mean “the girls are cute”

  7. GGLucas says:

    How about “White Album” ? I’ve seen the first two episodes of that and so far, I have no idea what to think of it. I’ve only seen one other anime that uses an 80s setting, iirc, so that could prove interesting, but the main point is that it just totally creeps me out, the weird direction combined with almost no music and a dialogue style that, to me, feels like the complete opposite of Kurenai’s, it just feels very ominous. I have no clue whether that’s a good thing, but it certainly piqued my interest.

  8. Skipping White Album because there’s no room for it in my only-watching-six-shows-a-season lineup.

  9. Hunter says:

    The only thing keeping me watchin Akikan is Lelouch’s voice -too lazy to look it up D: – same and more could be said for Sora Kake Girl

  10. Fukuyama Jun is the name you’re looking for.

  11. Hunter says:

    Thanks, oh and I just finished Akikan 3…I dunno, I get easy laughs out of it and that’s good enough to pass the time for me.

  12. Omisyth says:

    I do expect something crazy from the SHAFTXSHINBO combo, but just because the show’s not as out-of-the-box as SZS was in terms of madcap animation doesn’t mean the style isn’t great. In fact, I found SZS hard to follow visually a lot of the time, but that’s probably because I was trying to do two things at once (read subtitles and watch teh show.)

  13. Anon says:

    Of all the shows this season, you pick these 6?!! What about Hajime no Ippo? Kurokami? Kemono no Souja Erin! God, you’re a moron, not even checking out the shows that are most likely to be the best this season (other than Ride Back).

    >a girl losing her talent for ballet
    You truly are a moron. She didn’t lose her talent for ballet, not by a long shot. She merely quit after having missed a jump on stage. That’s what the entire anime will probably be about. Her learning to deal with the fact that she is not, and does not have to be, flawless. None of this talent-losing bullshit, did you even pay attention when watching the episode? She performs ballet when on that motor! I would call that the opposite of losing talent.

  14. Anon sure gets picky about particulars. How does that giant rod up your ass feel? Does it feel good? ゆっくりしていってね, bro.

    As I mentioned earlier, I’m skipping Kurokami because it’s shounen fight crap. I haven’t seen previous Hajime no Ippo shows, so I’m not watching this one. Kemono no Souja Erin looks like another pretentious Production IG thing, so I’m skipping it. I see nothing wrong with my picks, except for Akikan, which I dropped.

    >>Omisyth

    What I want out of SHAFTXSHINBO is something else on the level of Tsukuyomi ~Moon Phase~, actually.

  15. Cobrafire says:

    You watched 10 episodes of Soul Link? You’re a bigger sucker of punishment than I am.

    And Thanks for your Aikkan warning. I was about to download an episode or two….

  16. Miranda V says:

    lol, is that what you really think?

  17. roast-beefy says:

    You should watch Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou. Best show of 09! :V

  18. You know, I’m sure Natsume Yuujinchou is great. I just can’t get into it.

  19. Annubis says:

    Try Asu no Yoichi, it’s the usual harem anime of the season. The guys muffler (which is the first non-gay looking muffler I’ve seen on a guy) makes this enjoyable already for me… and anyway, you watched Rosario, this can’t be worst.

  20. VZMK2 says:

    The only SHAFT show i thought was well done was Hidamari Sketch.

    I’m liking Sora wo Kake Shoujo just because it knows it’s being silly.

  21. Strange, I find Hidamari Sketch (less so season two) to be their one of their weaker outings. Their weakest is probably Negima!?

    Their most powerful creations are Tsukuyomi ~Moon Phase~, Pani Poni Dash and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei.

  22. Aninhumer says:

    Kurokami is indeed shounen fight crap, but it’s in the vein of Shana and Index (Cute girl(s?) and neon colours). I don’t see what’s so different about this, compared to those, that you wouldn’t at least give it a chance? (Or are you just bitter about the ending of ep1? ;-) )

    I may still drop it, but I think it’s worth more than a blank dismissal.

  23. I didn’t even watch episode one.

    And I don’t like Shana, and just find Index to be okay.