The Fierce War of 2008: Dark Shadows Of The Past! The Dangerous Year That Was… 2007!!

2007 sure feels like a long time ago, but not long enough for me to have forgotten about some of the great shows that came out of it. The battle of 2007 has already been covered on this blog, so why am I writing about it again? As per usual, some of the fighting spilled over into 2008, and this post is devoted to those brave shows that had the courage to take on 2008, even though they were incomplete.

F Rank

  • Dragonaut -The Resonance-, F-: I’m not going to say that I have no idea as to why I watched every single episode of this abomination. I’m not going say that because I know exactly whythis show is one of the most epic trainwrecks I have ever set eyes on. I don’t mean that in the sense that the story, or anything in the show proper is epic. No, the show just fails on an epic scale. I’m not even going to honour it with a break down as to what made it bad, I’m just going to say don’t watch it.

C Rank

  • Ghost Hound, C-: Oh, what could have been! The combination Mariko Oka character designs, promise of a great 20th anniversary project by Production IG, and a Masamune Shirow concept driving it all should have made this show top tier stuff! Sadly, it was not meant to be. The only good looking character in the show is the token loli, the animation is unusually average for Production IG, and the story goes absolutely nowhere. It does start off nicely with a lot of interesting lectures on neuroscience, along with some fascinating one-shots; but ultimately the show drags on too much after about seven episodes.
  • Moyashimon, C+: Putting Moyashimon in the C range probably calls my taste into question, but I suppose you guys already stopped taking me seriously when I admitted to finishing Dragonaut, so I have nothing to lose. The main thing that excited me about Moyashimon was the microbe designs, so one can probably understand my being disappointed in this show. It’s not bad per se, it’s just not the show I feel like watching after I see its amazing little opening sequence. The characters bore me, and in turn the drama the show throws around also bores me. It has good spots of humour, but they aren’t enough to really make me think any higher of the show. That said, I probably owe it a rewatch.
  • Shakugan no Shana II, C: What drove me to marathon through the first Shana series was its set of very nice looking character designs by that dirty woman Itou Noiji. In the end, I found the first series to be almost painfully mediocre, but despite that I gave season two a go. The second season of Shana is better, but only because the animators keep the characters’ designs closer to that of Noiji’s original illustrations. That’s it. Some of the story stuff is serviceable, and the character drama might be good if you turn you brain off. Altogether it’s just as mediocre, though. At least the girls are cute.

B Rank

  • CLANNAD: Clannad is Key’s self cover album. It’s the same songs they’ve always played, they just sound a little different. But unlike, say, TM Revolution’s cover album, which improves upon the original recordings, Clannad’s renditions of the songs heard in Air and Kanon either sound the same, or worse. The best arcs in Clannad are the ones that rip off of older Key works, and the ones that try to be original just come off as weak. What makes the show enjoyable are the healthy servings of spot-on humour, and amazing production values by Kyoto Animation. It’s not a bad show by any stretch of the imagination–it’s very good–it’s just that at times the writing really hurts it.

A Rank

  • Hayate no Gotoku, A+: Hayate no Gotoku is one of the best times I’ve ever had with a Japanese cartoon. Its mixture of reference heavy humour, moe heroines, and solid production values sold it for me after just one episode; and even after a year-long run it hardly ever faltered. From what I’ve read of the Hayate manga (that is to say, very little) it seems that it is a work by an otaku, for otaku. The anime steps it up by turning the humour up to eleven, and relentlessly attacking you with cute blushing faces, or pretty funny Gundam jokes. It’s a slightly more comprehensible Pani Poni Dash!, and as much as I love that show, Hayate goes down a bit easier. I’m eagerly awaiting its sure-to-be-awesome second season!
  • Kaiji, A-: It’s very difficult for me to call Kaiji a good show, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t addictive. Entire episodes can go by without a single thing progressing, and it’ll still be fucking intense. What really drives Kaiji is how the writing and the direction work together. The writing is laughably overdone, filled with some of the greatest metaphors you’ll ever come across, and the direction compliments it perfectly. Its overbearing background music matched to Kaiji’s nervous inner-monologues, or the narrator’s booming voice never gets old. There is also a bit of novelty in the character designs, but as the show progresses they end up being quite fitting. I’m not sure if I like Kaiji enough to rewatch it, but I did like it enough to buy this shirt.