Ashita no Anime

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Tag Archives: spring 2012

Accel World (review)

Welcome to the Accelerated WorldFinal impression – smart action, sharp story (9/10)

Spring 2012 to summer 2012 (24 episodes)

Haruyuki Arita was your atypical rotund kid.  The target of bullies and dealing with self-esteem issues, he at least has a few good childhood friends to make his life bearable.  But one day, the gorgeous and unapproachable student council president, Snow Black (yes, that’s really the name she uses) offers Haruyuki a chance to break free of the chains the world has placed on him.  After installing the program Brain Burst, given to him by Snow Black, he becomes a burst-linker—someone who can accelerate his mind beyond normal perception to react to situations in ways that would normally be impossible.  But each use of the program costs a point and recharging will require him to enter the battlefield that is the Accelerated World.

Silver Crow confronts his hold rival, Ash RollerAccel World has everything a shounen action anime needs to be good, plus a whole lot more that makes it great.  One of the things I love about this anime is that it gets you thinking in some very creative ways right from its very premise.  The thought of slowing down time—or more literally, accelerating your perception of time—is not only exceptionally original, but proves to be a flexible enough concept to allow it to keep expanding its usefulness through granting access to new abilities and rewarding out-of-the-box thinking.  This subtlety of the powers granted by the Brain Burst program is where this concept’s true strength lies.  To truly master the system requires a burst linker to come to terms with the scars of his or her past, which is manifested in his or her duel avatar.

Snow Black congratulates HaruyukiAs much as I talk about how important aesthetics are to me when it comes to anime, Accel World’s choice to cast a short, plump, weak-willed, generally unattractive young man as the protagonist was both daring and genius.  His flaws are huge and conspicuous, leaving Haruyuki plenty of room for growth and opportunity to overcome challenges as the story progresses.  But this rather simple starting point pales in comparison to the metaphoric dichotomy that is Haruyuki Arita, the slow and tubby junior high school student and his sleek, shiny and fast duel avatar, Silver Crow.

Silver Crow outmaneuvers Scarlet Rain's attackRarely do we see the manifestation of someone’s desires visualized so clearly, and since all the characters are a part of this system of emotional scars that take on an incarnate form, this entire anime becomes one big canvas for depicting each character’s backstory through it’s visual design—even if it’s only speculative in some cases.  In this way, I could appreciate this series far beyond its beautiful art style.

Silver Crow faces Cyan PileSince Brain Burst is at its heart a fighting game, it would be a shame if Accel World didn’t have some excellent action scenes.  And once again, it delivers in this area as well.  From more simple, straightforward fights that give the message that in battle using your head is just as important as using your fists, to bigger, grand melees that have a pace to them that tests players’ abilities to read the battlefield and adapt to the pace of the fight, there’s no shortage of excellent skirmishe punctuated at the right times between the daily lives of the characters.

One thing about the fights that disappointed me slightly was that towards the end of the series things start to lose the cleverness that filled the earlier fights in favor of something more akin to a dry battle-of-wills where the winner just wanted it more.  But it never gets obnoxious because the focus always remains on the characters and they never feel defined by their powers—rather just the opposite, because the players are the ones who give their powers form.

Black Lotus issues a challengeOne of the things about this series that I think shouldn’t be overlooked is how deep its premise really goes.  Being able to accelerate your time and interact with people to grow and mature at a rate several orders of magnitude faster than is normally possible makes you wonder about these children’s futures.  The obvious advantage of their abilities is to analyze situations in detail and essentially, “cheat time” but they can also develop themselves mentally.  Are some burst linkers already many years ahead of their peers with respect to their maturity?  Will they accelerate through their childhoods and become adults far sooner than they otherwise could were they not given the Brain Burst program?  This even challenges our definitions of what it means to be an adult.  Can we really define that developmental stage in a person’s life correctly in a world of young people who experience time at a different rate compared to the rest of us?

Lime Bell doesn't realize how much her mere existence will shake up the Accelerated WorldThe story has a few flat spots that I felt messed with the pace a bit—most egregious being Snow Black’s trip to Okinawa—but if that’s my only complaint, I’m not going to hold it against this otherwise brilliant series.  Most pleasing is the ending that leaves things open to the possibility of continuing, but has none of the failings of a cliffhanger.  It’s complete and brings everything to fulfillment. Instead of leaving you wanting more, it’s simply the impression of “well that’s the end of that chapter.  Life goes on and maybe someday I’ll get to see more.” But more doesn’t feel necessary.  This makes Accel World one of my top shounen action anime in recent years.

Hyouka (review)

Impression – mystery with a lot of heart (9/10)

Spring 2012 to summer 2012 (22 episodes + 1 OVA)

Lazy Oreki (he calls himself energy-saving) has just started high school and at his elder sister’s behest he reluctantly becomes what he assumes will be a relaxed, solitary member of the Classics Club.  But no sooner does he contemplate an easy high school life than he finds a pretty, long-haired girl named Chitanda has entered the club room ahead of him and says she also wants to join.

These two are opposites in nearly every way imaginable.  One is a contemplative, genius boy from an average household with no motivation whatsoever and the other is a spacey, energetic girl from a rich family with an intense curiosity about everything.  But just like two magnets, put their opposite poles together and you’ve made something greater than the sum of their parts.

The pair is joined by Oreki’s friend Satoshi and the girl trying to win Satoshi’s heart Mayaka.  They begin a journey to unravel the mysteries of the memberless Classics Club they’ve inherited, lend their specialized assistance to people along the way and learn a few things about themselves as they grow into young men and women.

Mystery is something that anime seems to have a hard time doing correctly.  Generally speaking, most mystery or puzzle anime focus far too much on the genius of the hero to make some boringly grandiose epiphany in the climax of each episode—usually to the tone of, “It was all so obvious,” when it was actually so thick you could use it to fill potholes.  We the viewers don’t get to feel smart ourselves because there are never any clues for us to attempt to draw our own conclusions before the solution to the puzzle gets revealed.

This makes Hyouka by far the best mystery anime I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching.  Hints get dropped left and right and Oreki has the right personality not to be condescending to his friends or the audience when he points out the clues we’ve missed as the mystery gets solved.  I don’t think there was ever a conundrum I figured out completely on my own, but I could usually get pretty close and that was always really cool and satisfying.

The topics of the mysteries are also intellectually engrossing.  Dealing with such frivolous ideas as deriving the proper ending to an unfinished script to the more serious issue of bringing resolution to an unrequited love, Hyouka’s content spans a wide spectrum.  And then combined with Chitanda’s infectious energy, it’s hard not to feel invested in the outcome.

The heroes also mesh well together with the four of them coming in nice pairs.  Oreki is brilliant, but lacks the drive to self-motivate.  Chitanda is a bundle of curious intent, but leans towards hasty and scatterbrained.  Friendly Satoshi is analytical and smart, but often has trouble getting things together—in more ways than one.  Then, Mayaka’s cold and contrary personality helps put the brakes on when things start getting out of hand (she also has access to resources being an assistant librarian).

So it basically goes like this—Chitanda needs her curiosity itch scratched, so she turns to Oreki who needs some pep talk to get him moving.  Satoshi is all too eager to lend a hand and when the three start to snowball, Mayaka injects some rational thought by pointing out something they overlooked.  That’s not to say that each episode is formulaic—far from it.  Every mystery is a unique problem to tackle and the cast’s rich characters help keep every new development fresh and interesting.

But Hyouka wouldn’t be so great if it was nothing but mysteries. There’s a wonderful story of young people developing their friendships built around this framework of enigmas.  And while I hesitate to call Hyouka a romance, the intended pairings of boy and girl are made quite clear right from the start.  In some ways I like this approach to dealing with romance a lot more than your typical romance series deals with the topic.

Quite often, love isn’t something that happens at first sight.  It’s a gradual process of discovery that starts with simply spending time together as good friends and colleagues—eventually culminating in a realization that the bonds between you have blossomed into love.  This more natural growth of friendship really seals the deal for the rest of the series’ grander designs.  On the surface it’s a tale of very exciting lives of curiosity and intrigue, but the people are just ordinary Joes and Janes who happen to be in the right place.  That’s something which is hard to capture and Hyouka does it like it’s second nature.

As much praise as I’ve lavished on Hyouka, there are a few episodes that felt a bit flat.  That’s something of a letdown in a series that’s only 22 episodes long (plus a mild fanservice OVA).  But unlike other mystery anime like Baccano, Gosick, UN-GO or Kamisama no Memochou, the puzzles are actually solvable before the end of the episode.  If you’re interested in that sort of “challenge while you watch,” it’s a style that really sucks you in and holds your attention.

I’ll say it again, this is the only mystery anime I can recall that’s ever gotten it right, which gives it a very novel distinction.  And while the series doesn’t have a shred of moe in sight, leading heroine Chitanda has an adorably enrapturing personality that I simply couldn’t get enough of.  The pace can be slow at times, but I think Hyouka has a little of everything a serious drama needs to please anyone who enjoys the extraordinary ordinary.

Medaka Box (review)

Impression – sometimes smart, sometimes weird but always fun (7/10)

Spring 2012 (12 episodes)

At Hakoniwa Academy, student sovereignty is of utmost importance in the curriculum.  As such, nearly everything for the students is also by the students.  And the new, super-popular student council president, Medaka Kurokami takes this idea to the extreme.  In her obsession to help people she opts to accept and address any request from a member of the student body by allowing them to write down their problems and put them into a suggestion box that informally becomes known as the “Medaka Box.”  With the energy of a caffeinated squirrel, the concentration of a hunting wolf and the compassion of a mother dog she commences to become everyone’s heroine—even the enemies who would reject her kindness.  But even as she turns hostiles into friendlies, Medaka is going to find out there are some minds she just can’t change.

Medaka Box adds itself to the list of quirky student council anime among titles like Seitokai no Ichizon and Seitokai Yakuindomo or even Kaichou wa Maid-sama.  The biggest difference that separates Medaka Box from the crowd is its focus.  Where other student council anime tend to deal with just its members and their misadventures together, Medaka Box constantly flits around to other characters and clubs that require assistance.  It’s a very smooth way to keep things fresh, random, but still all thematically tied to prevent the story from sinking into chaos.

One things I think a lot of people will have trouble overlooking is this anime’s fanservice.  Medaka’s semi-exhibitionist attitude about her body seems like a pitiful excuse to get her to show some skin, but Medaka Box handles this potential pitfall in a surprisingly deft manner.  First, this trait of Medaka feeds into her uninhibited, outgoing personality that is devoid of almost any shame as well as her desire to be the center of attention.  And second, while it took me a little while to realize it, Medaka is the only truly fanservice-y character in the whole series.  So in a weird way, I’m going to have to call this a rare case of ecchi resulting in positive character development.

Towards the end, Medaka Box purports to tread into philosophical territory, but it ultimately feels a little silly and off-tone when compared to the rest of the series’ much freer attitude.  That’s not to say that the messages, “trust your friends,” or “stay true to yourself,” aren’t important themes or morals of the story, but it’s not entirely sincere given the circumstances surrounding how these values are conveyed to the viewer.  But even with this slightly misplaced stylistic shortcoming, I can’t help but be excited for the second season that will be starting in just a few weeks.

Jormungand (ongoing)

Impression – high-impact action with just the right amount of comic relief

Spring and autumn 2012 (more info / part 2)

When I watched the first episode of Jormungand, I had the impression that this anime was going to be like a darker version of Full Metal Panic without mecha and I was spot on.  Combining a varied and likeable cast of mercenaries with a charismatic female lead that you would willingly die for, one boy soldier who is coming out of the shell of his rocky past along with some intense, well-orchestrated action sequences, you have a recipe for something really cool.  Whether it’s making you laugh with some cleverly-written dark humor, leaving you hanging on Koko’s every saucy comment or holding your breath waiting to see if the gang is going to be able to come out of their current predicament, this series is pretty darned awesome.

Unfortunately, I’m balancing this enthusiasm with the fact that Jormungand is currently in that nebulous zone of still waiting to finish—but what I’ve seen so far has impressed me.  Other recent anime in this category include the disappointing Fate/Zero which wrapped up last season and Rinne no Lagrange, which has resumed this summer to my delight.

So far this current fad in story pacing that’s been making us wait three months to see the conclusion to series that we already know from the outset that they are going to run longer than one season has been giving me a bit of a headache.  I suppose it’s better than waiting years for a sequel, but I still can’t help but feel it exudes a lack of ambition, confidence and preparation.  At the risk of sounding greedy, impatient and spoiled—even if a season-long break gives the creators more time to make sure they get things right, it hardly seems to matter when glittering diamonds like Madoka Magica are getting rushed to the airwaves just under the wire.  Here’s hoping the creators of Jormungand genuinely took the time to make it perfect and the second half turns out even better than the first.

Acchi Kocchi (review)

Impression – a dance of love and comedy in a moe candy shell (9/10)

Spring 2012 (12 episodes) (title literal translation – Here and There)

Tsumiki has a huge crush on her naturally gentle, gentlemanly to a fault, nice guy classmate, Io.  However, her shy, tsundere personality prevents her from confessing her gushing love for this paragon of a man; whose only shortcoming is being a little slow on the uptake around his diminutive, female cling on.  But Tsumiki takes this all in good grace because despite wanting more from their relationship, it’s enough to keep her satisfied for now.  She even has a cheering section consisting of mad scientist Mayoi, the plucky and innocent Hime and Io’s good buddy, Sakaki.  But while their assistance is usually appreciated, Tsumiki wants to win Io’s heart on her own.

One of the best measures of any comedy is its ability to put a funny spin on real things its audience can relate to.  Another method is to occasionally be ridiculous in stark contrast to a generally serious premise.  Acchi Kocchi manages to do both, creating some incredibly high highs balanced by a very solid framework of friendship and unrequited love.  The series has a great many awww moments that never feel too sugary or forced and empty.  Aside from a couple of punchlines that feel a little flat, the rest of the anime is very genuine.  Each character has a purposeful role to play and feels necessary without ever being overbearing.

What impresses me greatly is the integration of male characters into this series that have real personalities instead of dry, formulaic clichés that serve no other purpose than to feed the ladies’ ambitions.  Io in particular is one of the most naturally suave and likeable characters I’ve ever seen.  Even his flaws add to the remarkable depth of his cool personality and it’s very clear why he’s a natural fit as the kind of person a large group of friends tend to gravitate around.

I was very worried at first that this series would be another one of those boring love triangles that make you want to rip your hair out for the characters’ inability to be honest with themselves.  And while there’s more than a few moments when a bit more honesty could have moved Io and Tsumiki’s relationship to the next level, it never stops being fun or lacking in creativity.  Acchi Kocchi isn’t just enjoyable to watch, it knows how to simply enjoy the moment and cherish the little things—a precious gem of writing that should not be taken for granted—and then poke fun at said little things.

What sets Acchi Kocchi apart from most other moe anime is its incredibly balanced formula that mixes comedy and romance into a seamless package of goodness.  A must-watch for moe fans such as myself; I think it could also appeal to the tastes of anyone who is interested in a funny drama with really good writing, absolutely no ecchi and complimentary friendships.

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia (review)

Impression – playful and surprisingly touching (8/10)

Spring 2012 (12 episodes) (title literal translation – Dusk Maiden x Amnesia)

Teiichi Niiya heard the stories of the cursed ghost that haunts the old school building, but he never expected her to be so beautiful…or playful.  After discovering her remains hidden beneath an old classroom, he and Yuuko decide to found the Paranormal Research Club. On the surface it’s nothing more than your standard occult-themed student organization, but its true motive is to find a way to help Yuuko recover her lost memories.  Joined by the perky Okonogi and the only other person who can see Yuuko—her great niece Kirie—the four of them set to work solving the supernatural mysteries of their maze-like school.

As Dusk Maiden starts, it’s just oozing with creativity—whether it’s new ways to think about how an incorporeal spirit interacts with the world or how to adequately tell the story of said ghost without being pathetically blunt about what’s going on.  The flow of events at the beginning is a little questionable at times with long flashbacks seemingly taking place out of proper order.  But it never stops being entertaining with something fresh in every episode. It makes you think and smile all the while saying, “that was really smart. I’d never thought about it that way before.”

Probably the best thing about Tasogare Otome is its ending.  It’s very emotionally moving but still manages to keep the generally lighthearted style that made the rest of the series so much fun.  This delicate balance between heart wrenching and comedic elation could have been such a messy let down if it hadn’t been constructed in such a smartly arranged crescendo.  Rarely do I find myself nodding at the end of a series while saying, “I couldn’t have imagined it finishing any other way.” With that kind of reaction, I’m going to call Dusk Maiden of Amnesia a resounding success.

Anime of the Week (6/24 – 6/30)

Anime of the Week – Accel World
This series is really making a reputation for itself as a top-notch shounen / action anime. A generous dose of science fiction, a dash of the supernatural, some hints of romance, a sprinking of philosophy and just enough comedy have created a winning formula.
June 24 Fate/Zero Ep. 25 What an utter, inane, pointless, rubbish ending. Easily one of the most disappointing anime I’ve ever watched.
Acchi Kocchi Ep. 11 The jokes were really hitting their marks this time. I love it that the topics are usually things I can relate to.
June 26 Hyouka Ep. 11 Just when I thought this mystery was sewn up, it goes and gets torn open again. I feel I’m loosing some of the pieces, too.
June 27 Eureka AO Ep. 10 I like these kinds of twists where the older leadership gets turned on its head in favor of younger, more creative minds.
Tasogare Otome Ep. 12 I was worried this serious ending would feel weird compared to the rest of the series. But my fears were unfounded.
June 28 Jormungand Ep. 12 This season finale was in too much of a hurry to wrap things up. That’s a shame because there’s another season coming.
June 29 Accel World Ep. 12 Those who seek power must be careful. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, but it rocks absolutely, too.
Acchi Kocchi Ep. 12 I feel like this series was a profound lesson about innocent romance coated in a sweet shell of delicious moe comedy.
Sankarea Ep. 12 Since this series is presumably going to get wrapped up in its OVAs, this season finale seems to be building up to that end.
June 30 Eureka AO Ep. 11 I really like these complicated spy vs counter spy entanglements that leave you wondering whose side everyone is on.

*You could have read these mini-reviews in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Fate/Zero (review)

Impression – a gilded clod (4/10)

Fall 2011 and spring 2012 (25 episodes)

I think by now I’ve started to solidify my status as the alternative opinion among anime bloggers, but this review of Fate/Zero may be my most controversial so far.  Voicing my opinion at critical times like this is a big part of the reason I started this blog in the first place. I’ve prepared for this by writing at length and in detail the points of contention I have with this series.   Here we go.

Kiritsugu Emiya is a magus who has seen far too much suffering and injustice in the world.  He dreams of being the hero who can rid the world of war and violence and he believes he has found a way to do it.  By entering the Holy Grail War he can pit his skills as a modern assassin against six other magi who are also pursuing the holy relic that can grant the wish of the person who obtains it.  To do this, he must ally himself with a heroic spirit that will fight by his side and share his victory (as must the other participants in this survival game).  With the intention of summoning the spirit of the greatest avatar of justice, King Arthur, Kiritsugu throws his hat into the ring.  But the person who heeds his summons isn’t what he expected.

Inevitably, Fate/Zero has to be compared to Fate/Stay Night since this is a canonical prequel to that story.  And I’m going to be very clear and say that I did not have the same experience with Zero as many other people seem to have had.  The only thing I can see that Zero has going for it is its production values.  Everything else was done much better in Stay Night.

One of my biggest complaints is that the battles are poorly conceived.  Nearly every fight always comes down to some sort of matching of wills pushing towards whoever can level up more, meaning every battle was always a forgone conclusion, possessing nothing dynamic.  Let me compare the action in Fate/Zero to two other recent action series that actually know how to make a fight scene exciting—Shakugan no Shana III and Accel World.  Both of these series understand how to deliver suspense by including strategy that is accomplished either via exploiting weaknesses in the enemy’s plans, or psychological attacks to demoralize the opponent into just giving up.  This kind of intellectual action sequence doesn’t need flashy spectacle to keep your attention because you’re too caught up in the twists of the progression of events to get bored.

There’s two points in this series that solidified for me that the majority of this anime does nothing more than pander to the fans.  The first is in the episode devoted entirely to young Rin that feels completely out of place and ultimately goes absolutely nowhere.  I know Rin is well-liked, but that’s not a good enough reason to just toss her into a filler episode because you know it’ll make people happy.  If you absolutely must do something like that, put it in a bonus episode tucked away on the DVD where it won’t clutter up the main story.

The second point is near the end of the series when Saber chases Rider while riding a motorcycle that she magically enhances to catch up with him.   All I could do during that scene was shake my head and say, “isn’t that something that should have been Rider’s domain?”  There are way too many liberties with what constitutes flavorful powers that needed to be unique to each class.  Otherwise why bother even having them if you’re just going to make the characters’ skills ultimately all up for grabs depending on whatever will tickle the fans?  These beautiful, but empty shenanigans and complete lack of pace that dominate much of the second half could have easily been substituted with watching Saber jump hurtles and taking breaks every once in a while to shoot her sword lasers and miss.

In the absence of Ryuunosuke and Caster, the only two good episodes in Zero are the flashbacks to when Kiritsugu was a child.  Here we are treated to a spectacularly dramatic…or maybe traumatic…procession of unfortunate dilemmas where Kiritsugu must choose between those he loves and respects, or protecting innocent strangers who could never comprehend the danger that he averted or the sacrifice he made to keep them safe.

And as hard as it is to accept (I actually caught myself getting a little choked up) there’s really no room for debate that given the circumstances he made the best decision he possibly could, which serves to only sharpen the pain.  To have Kiritsugu back away from this investment at the final moment, feels completely out of character and devalues everything he had worked for.  Not to mention that you don’t have to watch more than two episodes of Stay Night to see that several key events in the last episode of Zero don’t match.  There’s just no excuse for this kind of oversight from a company that’s in the business of writing stories.  Swiss cheese that’s been blasted with a shotgun has fewer holes in it than Fate/Zero’s conclusion.  Frankly, it’s just disgusting.

To think that Gen Urobachi wrote both the incredible, gritty epic that is Madoka Magica and the teaspoon shallow, sparkling flop that is Fate/Zero is a sad state of affairs. I would never have guessed these two series to have been written by the same person.  I’m going to throw at least some of the blame on Type-Moon for probably restricting his creativity to follow whatever happened in the visual novel this series took its source from.

All things considered, the heavily weighted majority of Fate/Zero is nothing more than a string of uninvested deepities punctuated by some very nice-looking, substanceless spectacle. Unless you’re the kind of person who gets easily distracted by shiny objects, stick with Fate/Stay Night and don’t ruin your experience with this spoiled, vacuous prequel.  Probably the most I’ve ever been disappointed by an anime.

Anime of the Week (6/17 – 6/23)

Anime of the Week – Medaka Box
With the season winding down I had time to marathon the last six episodes of Medaka Box and I was pleasantly surprised by this anime’s courage to do things differently and to be bold. That it manages to do this so subtly is impressive.                                
June 17 Medaka Box Ep. 6 I think I may have misjudged this anime’s ratio of ecchi to story. There’s actually some good, wholesome fun to be had.
June 18 Medaka Box Ep. 7 Even though it’s an overused theme, why are awkward people who create misunderstandings always reliable for a good laugh?
Hyouka Ep. 9 Mystery works best when you can easily recall the clues and I worry as this arc goes to three parts, I’m forgetting things.
Tasogare Otome Ep. 11 This is a creative story of acceptance and forgiveness—common throughout ghost stories, but well told in this series.
June 20 Medaka Box Ep. 8 It looks like this series is going into a more serious arc that challenges the very nature of Medaka’s selfless good will.
Jormungand Ep. 11 Shizuka Itou really knows how to get Koko to set the appropriate mood for the current circumstances of the story.
June 21 Medaka Box Ep. 9 I was hoping Medaka’s antithesis would be more sophisticated than, “I’m law because I say I am and nobody can stop me.”
June 22 Medaka Box Ep. 10 This anime was never very sophisticated, but always leaned toward creative… until now. Medaka has gone super saiyan.
Medaka Box Ep. 11 I think this series often sounds deeper than it actually is. But that doesn’t mean that it has nothing meaningful to say.
Accel World Ep. 11 At first I thought this anime would be more philosophical, but it’s turning out to be a great shounen-action series.
June 23 Medaka Box Ep. 12 This must be the most daring ending I’ve ever seen for an anime. Instead of something grand, it’s simple and to the point.
Sankarea Ep. 11 With such good writing, I’m sad they’re introducing a love triangle to continue moving the plot this late in the series.

*You could have read these mini-reviews in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week (6/10 – 6/16)

Anime of the Week – Jormungand
Koko’s foresight and ability to read people adds terrific depth to her character and is a complement to some well-thought action scenes and perfectly-timed comedic moments.                                
June 11 Fate/Zero Ep. 23 Between characters with inconsistent personalities and stupid one-upmanship fights there’s no shortage of bad writing.
Acchi Kocchi Ep. 10 It’s a little unseasonal to have a Christmas episode this time of year. But that doesn’t detract from the charm.
Kore wa Zombie 2 Ep. 4 The first season had a wacky story, but it was definitely going someplace. This is completely aimless and boring.
Tasogare Otome Ep. 10 The first-person POV animation style of this episode really sells the effect of experiencing someone else’s memories.
Medaka Box Ep. 5 I’m impressed by how well many anime from this season are finding good twists to put on stereotypical fanservice themes.
June 12 Hyouka Ep. 8 It seems the classics club is gaining a reputation for solving mysteries. I can sympathize with Oreki’s dislike of summer.
June 13 Jormungand Ep. 10 I love how Koko can request a huge piece of artillery with the same tone of voice as a child asking for an ice cream cone.
June 15 Sankarea Ep. 0 The cryptic tone of fate that fills this simple prequel has a naturalness to it that epitomizes everyone’s personality.
Sankarea Ep. 9 This break from the action of the main story feels misplaced. But it was a nice bit of insight into Mero’s dry personality.
June 16 Accel World Ep. 10 Seeing the full game world of Brain Burst is a real eye-opener. Aging mentally but not physically must be incredible.
Sankarea Ep. 10 Danichirou is the overprotective father of daughters’ nightmares. His blind devotion has even broken his neglected wife.
Eureka AO Ep. 9 Ao’s chivalrous attitude is a good character trait, but I’m inclined to think it doesn’t get him into trouble often enough.

*You could have read these mini-reviews in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.