With both the years 2007 and 2008 behind us, it’s time to look ahead to the glorious year of 2009! Well, not really, but there are a number of shows that have come out of 2008 incomplete, so here’s a rundown of the ones I’m watching.
- To Aru Majutsu no Index, C+: I first praised To Aru Majutsu no Index as, “Like Shakugan no Shana, except better!” Sadly, this doesn’t last very long. The thing that really kills Index is a mixture of its writing and pacing. I think the show’s base components are great, it’s just that everything is needlessly drawn out to fill up time. Thankfully, a cast of cute girls saves it, and top-notch animation work keeps things from getting too unwatchable. At least the boring parts are pretty looking!
- Casshern Sins, B: I’m not really sure what Madhouse was thinking turning a colourful 1970s superhero romp into a dark and bleak tale of death, but it’s kind of working. Kind of. The series up till now has been a bunch of one-shots, and while they’re all good, the formula grows old after a while. I can only stand Casshern wondering about the meaning of his existence to a certain point until I just want to smack him. And then probably get killed.
- Clannad ~After Story~, B+: Clannad’s sequel, ~After Story~ gets off on the right foot, stumbles a bit, then moves into a fast and healthy dash. This healthy dash is very slowly paced, but is a lot better than when the show is stumbling around, messing with gangs and silly little kittens. Though, taking the show’s inconsistency into question, I’m wondering if it can keep delivering the quality seen the last few episodes. Oh well, at least it’ll all look pretty.
- Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae, B+: I’ve finally given in. Yes, I like Jigoku Shoujo. I’m not going to say, “I like it, but I know it’s horrible trash.” You know why? Because I would have given up on horrible trash after three years! Say what you want about Jigoku Shoujo, but I really like it. It’s like a good buddy who’s always there for you, and ready to send you to hell for some asinine reason.
- Kurogane no Linebarrels, B: Linebarrels is amazingly tasty cheese. It doesn’t aspire to be anything more than a show about robots and boobs, and it doesn’t really need to do anything else! However, I have not forgotten that Gonzo’s name is on this giant robot, and if things get too messy, I’m hitting the eject button and not looking back.
- Michiko and Hatchin, A-: There are some shows that go out of their way to divorce themselves from what is mostly commonly associated with Japanese animation, and ultimately come out as totally pretentious. Like, say, anything by Studio Bones. Michiko and Hatchin is not one of these shows. While not the fast paced action show that I thought it was going to be, Michiko and Hatchin delivers drama, a touch of comedy, and really stylish direction. Great attention to detail in both the character animation the backgrounds sweetens the deal.
- Shikabane Hime: Aka, A-: Shikabane Hime is not the winner that Gurren Lagann is, but it is a pretty good popcorn action show. What elevates it above your Blood+ type of shows is Gainax’s eye for good direction, and very expertly animated action sequences. The writing is pretty vanilla, but I like how it mixes comic book action with pretty serious discussions on life and death.
- Tentai Senshi Sunred, A-: As a concept, Tentai Senshi Sunred is hilarious, and in execution, it’s still pretty hilarious! There are times when the humour gets entirely too dry, but when that happens the writers usually know to mix it up.
- Toradora!, A: Toradora! is something of a rarity–it’s an otaku-targeted romance show that actually does a good job of the romance part! Instead of relying on fanservice to keep one’s attention, it puts forward a very compelling tale of a bunch of teenagers just trying to get along. Sure, these teenagers are smarter than they have any right to be, but it’s great TV!
- Tytania, A-: Even though it gets off to something of a slow start, Tytania is the best space adventure out there right now! It’s also the only space adventure out there right now, but let’s just put that aside for now. What really drives Tytania is its strong writing, and that’s also what allows me to overlook its pretty shoddy animation. Well, almost. I’m still giving it an A-.
- Zettai Karen Children, A+: About a year ago when this show hit, I wasn’t really into it. In fact, I was pretty sure I was going to eventually drop it after seeing the first episode. Strange how it became one of my most favourite shows of the year! It takes a few episodes, but once it gets going Zettai Karen Children is nothing put pure entertainment. Every episode well written, and the direction is consistently over the top, keeping everything relatively exciting. The show also has a great sense of humour, along with liberal helpings of loli, and non-loli fanservice. It’s the best show ever!
Next Time: DIRECTOR’S COMMENTARY