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Tag Archives: Bakemonogatari

Anime of the Year 2013 (15 to 11)

In case you’ve just started reading my Anime of the Year 2013 series, be sure to start with (25-21) and (20-16) before proceeding onward from here.

Koyomi Araragi is still the hero15. Monogatari Series

Each time we’ve revisited this amazing philosophical comedy, it has unfortunately decreased in quality—relatively speaking.  A franchise that was my anime of the year for 2009 and took my number six spot last year still tells really smart stories portrayed by a top-notch cast of voice actors.

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Summer 2013 Wrap-up

I imagine that the summer anime season is the least watched since nobody wants to be inside when the weather is nice outside and therefore tends not to get the highest quality titles.  Despite the logic of that deduction, I did end up watching quite a few anime this summer that impressed and surprised me.  If you want to read my predictions for how summer 2013 would turn out, you should go here.

Misaka falls from space1. Railgun S (Unchanged – 9/10)

Misaka Mikoto and friends deliver another great action series full of comedy and camaraderie.  The icing on the cake is seeing Misaka really grow as a character over these past two seasons.  If there’s a third season, I’d watch it in a heartbeat.

Koyomi and Shinobu reflect2. Monogatari Series (formerly 7 – ongoing)

Maybe the disappointment of Nisemonogatari lessened my view of this franchise because I can’t believe I ranked it at only #7 at the start of the summer 2013 season.  The philosophical comedy series is back on track and as hilarious and insightful as ever.

Illya and Miyu fire their finisher3. Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya (unchanged – 8/10)

I expected a series of cliché jokes that call out the ridiculousness of some of the stuff that goes on in the magic girl genre.  I didn’t expect there to also be a fair amount of badassery as well.

Gatchaman Crowds - The Team4. Gatchaman Crowds (formerly 14 – 8/10)

Sometimes the performance of a single character is enough to make an entire series worth watching and Hajime is such an unlikely, spunky hero in an otherwise serious anime that she makes the whole experience shine incredibly bright.

Lucy won't let Hasebe get the better of her5. Servant x Service (unchanged – 7/10)

If you enjoyed Working! (Wagnaria in America) then you’ll probably enjoy the unconventional humor in this series that forsakes established settings and blows a breath of fresh air into the anime world.

 

Kuroki sees something she can't unsee6. WataMote (formerly 2 – 7/10)

Often more miss than hit, I think this series was easy to relate to for anyone who had a tough time in high school.  Although it makes light of Tomoko’s depressed personality, there’s also a lot to learn from her as she deals with being ignored.

 

Alice and Shinobu walk to school7. Kiniro Mosaic (formerly 8 – 7/10)

I haven’t enjoyed a moe anime this much since Acchi Kocchi.  A ridiculously fun group of girls and an interesting premise about the cross of western and eastern cultures.

 

Genshiken heads to an onsen8. Genshiken Nidaime (formerly 6 – 7/10)

You’ll not find another anime that is a better representation of what otaku culture is really like.  We’re not deviants to be feared, we just have more eccentric tastes and hobbies compared to most other people, but we still have feelings.

Seira, Luna, Akari and Ginka begin their world tour9. Daybreak Illusion (formerly 18 – 5/10)

As magic girl shows go this one was good, but the rather run-of-the-mill story tried too hard to overreach what it was truly capable of.  Its only really distinguishing quality was its original art style that went the moe direction in an otherwise unmoe anime.

Titan Eren rages on fire10. Attack on Titan (formerly 9 – 5/10)

I fail to see why this series is so popular.  Yes, it has some really cool moments and it’s strong on action.  But this should not have been a 25 episode series.  As it dragged on, the animation degraded terribly and the story was horribly padded.

11. Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen (formerly 17 – 5/10)

I quite enjoyed this revisit of an older title that takes a look at an alternate timeline.  The characters were given proper treatment and while it wandered a bit, the story kept me wondering how it would turn out.

12. Sunday Without God (formerly 13 – 4/10)

I saw some potential in this series, but after the events of the third episode, it suddenly felt completely played out and I lost all interest.

13. Blood Lad (formerly 4 – 4/10)

This anime was a lot of fun and could have easily stolen my #9 slot from Daybreak Illusion if it had made any effort to have some sort of ending.  If it gets a second season, this rating may be worthy of revision.

14. The World God Only Knows: Goddesses (formerly 164/10)

This series has officially run out of ideas.  I would have thought it still had plenty of material to continue making jokes about dating sims, but I don’t like this new direction it has taken.

15. Fantasista Doll (formerly 134/10)

Since the premise is about trading card games, I thought I would have given this series more of a chance to see where it was going, but it just couldn’t hold my attention.  It was just missing a special little spark to keep me watching.

16. Hyperdimension Neptunia (formerly 113/10)

Based on its premise, I wasn’t expecting much from this series and my expectations were right on the money.  That’s not to say that some of its jokes about the console wars weren’t funny or clever, but a plot that should have been catering to an older audience felt like it was written for eight year olds.

17. Stella C3-bu (formerly 103/10)

I have to admit that the reimagining of critical moments in history that involved guns through the eyes of an airsoft club at a girls’ private school was an interesting enough premise that I gave it a good shot, but it just wasn’t delivering—especially in the acting department that left every character feeling flat.

18. Love Lab (formerly 123/10)

A story about a bunch of girls pooling their collective ignorance about romance and fighting over student council duties was probably doomed to go nowhere fast before I even gave it a chance.

Anime of the Week (10/6 – 10/12)

Anime of the Week – Monogatari Series: Second Season
Nadeko tells it like it is

In order to break a stalemate where nobody wants to confront the problem at hand, it might take a sharp tongue that can put the situation into plain words so everyone can accept their mistakes and move on.

As a side note, Kana Hanazawa has played some really amazing characters, but the skilled writing of Nishio Ishin has allowed her to bring forth an impassioned Nadeko, which is the icing on the cake.                              

October 6 Monogatari Ep. 14 Although Kana Hanazawa is well known for playing quiet girls, she’s a good enough actress to play any role she’s given.
October 8 Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen Ep. 12 Is it just me or is there a disconnect in fiction between people experiencing the supernatural and incredulity?
Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen Ep. 13 Although the endings was sloppily left open for a second season, I like the message that life is not a single path.
Unbreakable Machine Doll Ep. 1 This series is showing an excellent balance of comedy, action and drama—all of my favorite genres—plus a sharp art style.
October 11 Kyoukai no Kanata Ep. 2 Based on the flashback at the start and Mirai’s comments at the end, both protagonists have some demons to deal with.
October 12 Coppelion Ep. 2 Laying down your life to save a loved one never sits well with me. I think it’s better to find a way both of you can live.
Kill la Kill Ep. 1 Decrying the Nazis in the history class of this fascist school is laying the irony on little thick don’t you think?
Strike the Blood Ep. 1 I don’t have anything to complain about this series, but it had nothing compelling about it. It was just ordinary.
Yuushibu Ep. 1 There’s been a lot of hero/demon lord anime of late. I’m not sure if this’ll be better or worse than Hataraku Maou-sama.
Kyousou Giga Ep. 1 This is one of those anime that has an interesting style, but there’s absolutely no indication of what it’s about.
Nagi no Asu Kara Ep. 1 This is the most refreshing premise for an anime that I’ve seen in a long time. And Kana Hanazawa takes the role of heroine.

*Keep up to date with my daily mini-reviews by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week (9/29 – 10/5)

Anime of the Week – Coppelion
Taeko, Aoi and Ibara begin their work

Kindness is often a luxury that can only be afforded to those who are comfortable and suffering can sometimes be cyclical, in that the beginning of suffering only perpetuates more suffering. Seeing these two contradictory paths juxtaposed in Coppelion‘s first episode has given me high hopes for future philosophical developments in this series.                              

September 29 Attack on Titan Ep. 25 After so much wasted time throughout this series, I didn’t have high hopes that it would be able to tie up loose ends.
Monogatari Ep. 13 I’ve always loved how this franchise mixes philosophy with a playful comedy that breaks the fourth wall and sucks you in.
October 1 Railgun S Ep. 24 THIS is how you end a series. An epic final battle with one last twist to mix things up and most importantly a conclusion.
Day Break Illusion Ep. 13 Ugh. This series could not find a way to avoid making its more introspective moments too sappy and ruin the mood.
October 3 Servant x Service Ep. 13 I enjoyed this series, but I think it should have avoided romance and focused more on jokes about its quirky setting.
Coppelion Ep. 1 An intriguing setting. What most fascinates me is how the artificially created girls are more human than the natural people.
Kyoukai no Kanata Ep. 1 It had to happen eventually. Kyoto animation, the creators of K-ON! have finally made an anime that’s dark and bloody.

*Keep up to date with my daily mini-reviews by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week (9/22 – 9/28)

Anime of the Week – Monogatari Series: Second Season
Nadeko makes a deal with the serpent

Actions are always so much more meaningful than words and because she immediately volunteers to correct her mistakes rather than simply appologizing reveals just how sorry she truly is.                              

September 22 Attack on Titan Ep. 24 There’s actually a great story to be told, but it’s taking FOREVER… We should have been at this point by episode 11.
September 23 Railgun S Ep. 23 Sometimes doing the right thing means you’ll need to dirty your hands. But that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone.
Monogatari Ep. 12 It’s one thing to ask for forgiveness, but actively asking how you can make reparations is on a whole different level.
Genshiken Nidaime Ep. 12 It took half the series to resolve Madarame’s issues, but I feel cheated to have Ohno’s worries finished in one episode.
September 25 Day Break Illusion Ep. 12 I’m not sure what to say… This series is so average and unremarkable aside from its slightly fresh art style.
WataMote Ep. 12 I think the lesson to learn from Tomoko is to not give up on social endeavors and keep trying to make new connections.
KinMosa Ep. 12 The dynamics of Japanese and American school life are so different because of how Japan maintains a consistent homeroom.
September 28 Gatchaman Crowds Ep. 12 A part of me believes that with the popularity of simple casual games, such a system just might work in Japan.

*Keep up to date with my daily mini-reviews by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week (8/25 – 8/31)

Anime of the Week – Monogatari Series: Second Season
Shinobu and Koyomi return to the present.

Monogatari is always at its best when Koyomi starts talking. I can rarely find fault in his reasoning, but messing around with the past is one of those situations where no good deed goes unpunished.                              

August 25 Attack on Titan Ep. 20 This episode is another fine example of this series taking way too much time to tell a simple segment of the story.
August 26 Monogatari 2 Ep. 8 Let this be a lesson to everyone who thinks of returning to the past to change an unfortunate event out of kindness.
Day Break Illusion Ep. 8 Unlike Madoka Magica, this latest dark drama feels forced because it was predictable and there was no shock value.
KinMosa Ep. 8 There isn’t a more appropriate culture festival event for a moe anime exploring the differences between Japan and the west.
Railgun S Ep. 19 Because the sisters arc got wrapped up rather early, I feel this new story is getting stretched for additional time.
Genshiken Nidaime Ep. 8 I can’t see how anyone who hasn’t experienced REAL otaku culture firsthand will be able to truly appreciate this anime.
August 28 Blood Lad Ep. 8 Sometimes I wonder if just like Staz, I too have been oblivious to the subtle, romantic advances of a woman close to me.
August 30 WataMote Ep. 8 Just because you think your life may be uninteresting, it doesn’t suddenly mean you should feel the need to impress others.
August 31 Servant x Service Ep. 9 Some of the best comedy that comes out of anime is in the form of misunderstandings caused by Japanese ambiguity.
Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen Ep. 9 I really like Kirakishou because she embodies the creative necessity of ideas preceding their existence in reality.

*Keep up to date with my daily mini-reviews by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week (7/7 – 7/13)

Anime of the Week – Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S
Touma confronts Misaka

We shoulder the bruden of the mistakes we’ve made in the past—as well as the burden of mistakes others have made. But there is no reason to take on those burdens all by yourself if it means breaking down to the point if self-destruction. Seek help from those you trust and who trust in you so that we may make each other better.                              

July 7 Monogatari 2 Ep. 1 With Araragi absent, there’s a lack of insightful dialogue that comes from the clash of male and female perspectives.
Attack on Titan Ep. 13.5 Bleh. This clip show really shows just how much time this series wastes with unnecessary, boring storytelling.
July 8 Prisma Illya Ep. 1 I might like this spin-off better than its parent series—it’s not so full of itself and Illya is my favorite character.
Genshiken N Ep. 1 It never ceases to amaze me just how many parallels there are between Genshiken and my own college anime club experience.
Kami-nai Ep. 1 While the setting is very intriguing, I must say I can’t find any logic in the actions of the main characters thus far.
July 9 Blood Lad Ep. 1 This is one of those anime with an off the wall premise of questionable quality, but it’s somehow caught me in it’s pace.
July 10 Free! Ep. 1 Be mindful of the adage, “Nothing good is ever free.” Not that this show is bad, per se. But I’ll leave it for the fujoshi.
Fantasista Doll Ep. 1 With all the Japanese TCGs I play, there’s just too many card game references in this series for me to pass it up.
July 12 Leviathan Ep. 13 And so the journey goes on. If this series gets a second season I’d watch it. But I highly doubt it will ever come.
July 13 Railgun S Ep. 14 Just because when you pray and god doesn’t answer, it doesn’t mean if you ask people for help nobody will come to your aid.
Servant x Service Ep. 2 I’ve figured out why I like this series so much. It was created by the same guy who came up with the idea for Working.
Stella C3-bu Ep. 1 This looks like the start of a really touching story about coming out of your shell with a Girls und Panzer twist.
Neptunia Ep. 1 I’m still in shock that this concept was made into a game; much more so that the game was popular enough to warrant an anime.
Stella C3-bu Ep. 2 I’m interested to see how Yura’s relationship with the other girls develops since she sort of joined this club by default.

*Keep up to date with my daily mini-reviews by following me on Twitter.

Bakemonogatari (review)

Final impression – a magnificent, philosophical escapade (10/10)

Summer 2009 to spring 2010 (15 episodes) (title literal translation – Monster Story, English synonym – Ghostory)

During spring break of his final year of high school, Koyomi Araragi had an encounter with a vampire. Fortunately, he was able to mostly restore his humanity through the aid of the supernatural specialist Meme Oshino, who was able to intervene before things got worse.  As part of a way of thanking the man who saved him from becoming a vampire himself, Koyomi has begun helping people he encounters rid themselves of their unnatural afflictions.  And it’s a good thing he retains some of his vampiric traits, because most curses are not willing to go down quietly.

Bakemonogatari is an amazing masterpiece of wordplay.  I’ll come right out and say that if you don’t like dialogue-heavy anime you’re not going to enjoy this series because its strongest attribute is the way it twists language and and plays with our perceptions of humanity.  But if you revel in the intellectual—the sociological—then you’re going to have a hard time finding anything better than this.  And the awesomeness doesn’t stop with its writing.  It has a great cast of voice actors including Kana Hanazawa and Yui Horie who are masters of their craft and depict their characters’ personalities perfectly down to every nuance.  Then, if you thought my praise was over, the music is absolutely spectacular with a fresh opening theme for each of the female protagonists, sung beautifully by their skilled voice actresses.  Dealing with such topics as love, hopelessness, responsibility, desire and lust, Bakemonogatari is passionate and insightful.  If you let yourself get caught up in its pace, your blood will start to boil with the brilliant energy radiated by this incredible anime.

Nisemonogatari Ep. 1

Initial impression – if you haven’t seen Bakemonogatari, go watch it so you can fully enjoy its sequel

Winter 2012 (11 episodes) (title literal translation – Imitation Story) (more info)

Perhaps I simply received bad information or maybe I read it incorrectly, but I had the distinct impression that Nisemonogatari was going to be primarily about Araragi’s little sisters.  But so far we’ve only seen Tsukihi berating her older brother for his cluelessness when it comes to women’s hearts and Karen is thus far completely absent.  It all starts with Araragi’s free spirit getting reigned in by Senjougahara’s pure black, oppressively sadistic affection.  Then the lion’s share of this first episode is Araragi and Hachikuji playing with semantics in the Japanese language to great comic effect that feels like something straight out of this anime’s predecessor, Bakemonogatari.   The distinct lack of a mission for Araragi to pursue in Nisemonogatari leaves an empty feeling of directionlessness.  Maybe this is going to be the new facet that sets Nisemonogatari apart from its roots and will allow it to just indulge in its hilariously reckless tempo.  Bottom line, if you liked the original series, then Nisemonogatari is definitely going to please because the spirit that made Bakemonogatari Anime of the Year for 2009 is still alive and well.