The Winter 2009 anime season was a big letdown. However, in this review, I would also include 24-episode anime from the earlier Autumn 2008 season I could think of. For a review of 12-episode and the first half of the 24-episode shows, check out the review I did on New Year’s Eve.
Known to be carried over from Autumn 2008 season:
- Gundam 00 Season 2 – Never watched this. However, I did watch some of the episodes of the first season in 2007 and some in the related world of Gundam. Except for Code Geass (including R2) and Marcross Frontier, I find anime that are set in the future/space, and/or have large robots are difficult to follow. Time traveling too.
- Michiko e Hatchin – It follows a prison escapee and an abused orphan in Latin America to meet together to form an unlikely pair. Mentioned in the earlier review that I had dropped after the first few episode due to late and irregular scheduling. Or maybe it’s the theme.
- Skip Beat! – Instead of continuing to high school, the heroine follows a friend out of lust, who later becomes a famous star and dumps her. She works her way up to fame as revenge. Along the way, she picked up what she has been missing resulted from being dumped in a cruel way. Dropped because the heroine is an idiot? Maybe it’s the inconsistent character design (cool, normal, chibi), or that other anime I was watching at that time, like Toradora!, looked better. I seemed to confuse the ending of this with the ending of Michiko e Hatchin as they sound alike.
- Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae – Dropped, as mentioned in the earlier review. The first 18 episodes usually contains the typical storyline that goes like: Victim got bullied or lost someone/thing precious. Attacker made the victim feel worse. Victim can’t take it. Victim goes to a site that appears only at midnight and type in name of who they believe the attacker is. Hell girl visits the attacker and sends them to hell. Victim receives a permanent mark on the chest that reminds them of the request and would be sent to hell when they die.
- To Aru Majutsu no Index – Dropped at first few episodes, but picked it up again some episodes later. In the episodes that lead me to drop at first was because of the episodes had a lot of arguing and very little change of location. The episodes I found the most interesting was when Touma went for a break and to meet up with his family, after having his memories erased some episodes earlier. On the day he met up his family, Touma finds that almost everyone had their bodies swapped, except that they themselves did not notice it. What I found odd was that the last few episodes is focused on characters that were only introduced around that time instead of something that has been built up since the beginning or middle of the season. A second season, To Aru Kagaku no Railgun, focuses on the two secondary characters of the first. Also one of the few anime that is sharp and does not look upscaled if viewed at 1080p.
- Clannad After Story – One of my favorites and a continuation of the first season in 2007. I heard somewhere that “Clannad” means a clan or family in a particular European language. Since the teaser after the end of the first season, I was somewhat expecting that the first few episodes to be the life after school and the appearence of Tomoyo and Nagisa’s daughter, Ushio. However, that did not happen until the second or third quarter. What confused me even more was that there was a Tomoyo special that had Tomoya’s graduation and wasn’t expecting any for the second. What I saw instead was three: Tomoya’s graduation batch, Tomoyo’s graduation batch (or rather what happened during the storyline), and Nagisa’s special graduation. Too bad the HD broadcast looked like upscaled version of what-is-then-to-be the DVD version
- Toradora! – Including the previous 2 entries, this is one of the few anime that I actually liked with catchy opening and ending themes that also matches the atmosphere of those episodes. When I first watched it, I didn’t know what to expect. Like Suzumiya Haruhi of Spring 2006, I watched it before it became popular and managed to watch it until the end. When I watched the first episode, the character design seemed to be a grade lower as compared to the covers of the light novel version (which I have never read), but seeing that everything else is excelent, I would overlook that. When the opening first appeared in episode 2, I had been wondering, “Where is this Kawashima Ami I see in the opening? I don’t see her in the episodes”, until episode 5, where she makes an appearence. Fast forward to the last few episodes, I can see that the storyline has made a lot of progress and that the characters have changed a lot, most noticably Ami and Minori. In fact, it seems that their entire school year spans the whole series (so far) nicely. I feel that there’s something not right about the scene of the final episode, where during Takasu’s grauation (slightly after a year after the events of earlier in the episode), he meets Taiga again. According to fans and forum boards I go to, people seem to want a second season, but the chances of that are either slim or won’t happen for a long time as the volume of the light novel it is based on was released just a few weeks/days of that episode.
- White Album – At first, it does seem like something I would watch. Also one of the few anime that takes place in 1980s, follow college students, or appear sharp on HD broadcast. I have to congratulate them for being accurate of what it was like back then with the heavy reliance of payphones as almost nobody has a mobile phone that were the size of bricks. However, the storyline seems to go around in circles. As my childhood days were between mid-1990s to early-2000s, music and fashion from the 1980s (and 1970s) seemed somewhat alien to me and somewhat drives me nuts when I see or hear stuff from that era. The fact that there is a second season and that many bloggers have dropped it after a long time drives me more to drop this.
- Maria Holic – One ot the rare “dislike watching after watching the entire series”. Normally, I would either like it, or drop after a few episodes. The first episode looked promising with how the scenes and music are nicely used with scenery of the forest, and her transfering there due to fear of boys and that both her parents were students and teachers. However, everything seemed to go downhill when Kanako starts to nosebleed excessively and thinks too much at the sight of other girls in a particular attire like what boys would react. Ironically, she is a girl herself. Except for the car driver in the first episode, the crossderssing grandchild of the founder of the academy, and a teacher in the last two, there are no males in the entire show.
- Akikan! – The anime seems to be a mix of kid’s show, perverted people high school students, and promoting of a canned drink product. I can’t think of any other way to describe it.
- Sora Kake Girl – Watch only the first episode. The fact that it is futuristic and with ALI PROJECT is singing one of the theme songs, is a good enough reason to not watch it.
- Minami-ke: Okaeri – Well, the show itself is not bad as I have watched the previous two seasons. However, if it weren’t for Toradora! and Clannad After Story, I would be watching this instead. It’s like choosing between eletronic products: expensive but good, or cheap but unreliable.
- The Tower of Druaga: The Sword of Uruk – Continuation of season 1. However, this was a big letdown and difficult to follow. I didn’t like the baseball theme for the opening (don’t like sports, especially watching other people doing it). I did however, found the first episode entertaining.
- Birdy the Mighty Decode:02 – Again, because of Toradora! and Clannad After Story. I have watched the entire first season and liked it, but Tsutomu losing his body again at the end of the previous season was the letdown. Character design, though unchange (apart from them wearing blazers for winter uniform instead of the summer seen in season 1) now seemed out of place with other anime.
- Sora wo Miageru Shōjo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai – apart from the very long name, this anime seemed to throw you into a crash course for character introduction. Because of this crash-course, I didn’t even know what was going on. The video quality I saw on TV looked like VCR quality. Character design looked so wrong, especially Yumemi’s friends. Design of the alternate world reminds me of the Arabian culture. 9 episodes seemed kind of short. Ironicaly, the anime producer is KyoAni, which produced anime like Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu, Clannad anime series (except the movie, which is by Toei), and the current K-ON!. Hmm, does the second half of Clannad After Story being the same airing season as the anime in question have anything to do with it?
- Asu no Yoichi! – In some ways like Maria Holic mentioned earlier, this show started off great, but went downhill from there. The main hero spent his first 15 (or so) years isolated from the outside world in a forest with his father and some animals. Yoichi is then sent by the father to their cousins’ place. His unfamiliar encounters with the mordern world and girls. At the point where I dropped, an enemy searches for Yoichi, but is unable to find him because he is searching blindly at the wrong places. His sister sighs as she searches properly by helicopter.