Campaign of the Month: July 2011
Sins of the First Age
Gilheru's Anime List
Old fashioned spy anime with a bunch of hot cyborgs. Doesn’t play out nearly as well as one would hope from the premise.
I really liked how they moved the school life formula to the college level and how that opened up the show to materials that aren’t normally available. But it’s not a consistently funny series and the short episode length limits how vested a viewer can be.
Objectively this shonen anime about high school kids in the near future playing a VR style game that’s more than just a game panders to too many of the tropes and consistency issues that plague this kind of show (including a non-ending). But it passed one very important test, whenever an episode ended I immediately wanted to watch the next. It may only justify a three star, but I still readily recommend it.
Action show about a group of assassins acting as the vanguard of the rebellion. They are killers, killing for the people. It’s an intersting premise wasted on an uninspired villain of the week format. Bad guys have artifacts that give them magical powers (like the heroes), heroes have to find a way to overcome the nonsense. It thinks its more serious (and better) than it really is.
Nonsensical and manipulative. Almost all characters are interchangeable, the story telling is beyond lazy and the potential of the premise entirely squandered while pretending to have depth.
Bland art and derivative story highlight an anime that’s little more than a repackaged Pokemon (kids battle each other with remote control avatar robots).
Other than the absurd premise necessary for a Japanese style horror story, this is incredibly well done. Very effective build up gets you involved in the characters before things start to go bad. The writing is also very good with plenty of foreshadowing for the viewer to unravel the mystery before all is revealed at the end.
Future slice-of-life that is so happy, so optimistic and so mellow that I’m surprised I made it four episodes. This isn’t a bad anime if you like that kind of thing, but if you aren’t up for an anime about making friends and delivering feelings you’ll want to avoid it.
Action anime with light harem elements that has moments of brief enjoyment, but is overwhelmingly dumb most of the time. This is particularly bad when you are trying to create a Holmes/Watson character dynamic.
Mysterious aliens invade, kick humanity’s ass, take and hold the oceans (but leave humans to keep the land) and destroy all communication satellites. It’s a ridiculous setup so that a teenage prodigy can get into some WWII submarine action against battleships with lasers. Oh, and the alien ships are now crewed by a single teenage girl each since the aliens are trying to “learn about humanity by taking its form”, because we are a world of teenage girls. That’s actually kind of scary… Still a bad anime.
A polarizing show about humanity hunted to the brink of extinction by giants. On one hand, the pacing and storytelling starts strong enough to pull you in, but the premise and characterizations are extreme to the point of absurdity. If it all strains your suspension of disbelief to the breaking point, the whole thing will just be a joke. But if you can buy into it it can be a fun ride. At least until the budget catches up and the series slows to a crawl where almost nothing happens from episode to episode.
Fun slice of life that manages to be interesting while at the same time not really doing much of anything.
First 12 episodes are really fun, though there’s a heavy reliance of flashbacks given the narrative restrictions. But once they are free of those restrictions it goes downhill rapidly.
It’s different, with distinct characters, but it’s beyond boring. The snail episodes in particular are excruciatingly bad. And the production itself was clearly rushed.
Some good action, but very short and the plot with the idiot love interest is obnoxious.
High quality brutal dark fantasy that only falls short of 5/5 because it has no ending.
The premise is nothing special; manifestations of negative emotions haunt the Earth and hunters kill them. But the execution here is pretty good, with the series having a good mix of easy light-hearted fun and some solid ass-kicking. Still, it’s kind of nonsensical near the end.
Well done and very entertaining action anime, but is a little inconsistent with its characterizations.
Slice of life where all of the main characters are damaged and to cope they have created this shared subconscious world where emotionless avatars try to kill each other to relieve the negative emotions of the hosts. Spectacular fight scenes, but otherwise just a bad series all around.
Based on an MMO, this fantasy action series takes itself fairly seriously, and is better for it. But the animation is awful, the characters are one dimensional and the episodes are predominantly one-offs that never satisfy. The main character, whose arc we seem to be here to see, will at times be missing from entire episodes.
Action anime about bad dudes that drive bad cars. Couldn’t bring myself to care.
Pretty much the definition of a two star anime. Hints of something interesting that never pans out, characters little more than caricatures and a plot that is mostly rubbish. I think I could have bought into this series about a teenage girl becoming a space pirate, but there is nothing clever here.
On one hand, this was written by the same author that wrote Elfen Lied, but on the other I heard from several people that were unimpressed. Unimpressed is generous. This series is awful. A story about magical girls that get their power from alien symbiotes, it starts slow and has the unusual quality of getting worse after each episode.
Dark action anime where individuals people want to see “disappear” get kidnapped and placed upon an island to kill each other to escape. Slow start, but does an effective job of ending episodes on compelling cliffhangers to keep you coming back. Has no real ending though and may not for a long time since it took only 12 episodes to catch up to the 9 volume manga.
Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040
It can’t quite remain awesome for the full 26 episodes, but this is still a great anime with girls in robot suits kicking ass.
I wanted to like this girls with guns series more than I can reasonably justify. The story is set dressing and inconsistent at best. But the conflict between Canaan and Alphard is fun.
Cat Planet Cuties
Magical girlfriend anime that tries to to use the same tricks Strike Witches did, but utterly fails at it. The fan service can be impressive, but the story of aliens who look like humans but with cat ears and cat tails secretly fighting aliens who look like humans but with dog ears and dog tails is is just too stupid to be watchable.
Ceres, Celestial Legend
It starts off with so much promise, a woman who turns against her powerful family who try to sacrifice her to maintain their power. But after about 8 episodes it goes off of the rails and never recovers.
Previous Rating: 3
A slice-of-life action anime where magic users infringe upon a city of science and espers. Suffers from an unfocused narrative, absurd conflict resolution, thinking it’s much smarter than it is and an incredibly irritating female lead. The English dub helps with that last point, but still doesn’t make this particularly good.
I can’t remember the last time I was this relieved for a season to end. There is a very good reason Funimation licensed the first season, but not this one. The content here is absolute gibberish. There isn’t any real consistency even from moment to moment and none of the actions taken make any sense at all. Characters randomly change sides, why the villains are being villains is either not explained or is ridiculous and the season just kind of ends, like it had no idea what it was building towards.
Previous Rating: 3
A side story of A Certain Magical Index, this series focuses on one of the better characters from it’s inspiration. Unlike it’s inspiration, it’s well plotted with a single narrative thread pulling the viewer through the entire season. Some of the interpersonal conflict of the all female, all teenage cast are cliched and obnoxious, but that doesn’t stop this from being a solid show.
I’m really starting to think that Kazuma Kamachi only does Index so that publishers will support Railgun. Not only does the narrative once again build throughout the entire season, but even elements from season 1 make an appearance. The characters can still be a little one dimensional and the very last episode was trite, but after the crap that was the second season of Index, this is an astonishingly a well constructed anime.
A bunch of interesting ideas (unreliable narrator, questions about reality and shared delusions) totally squandered by terrible story telling. Thinks it’s smarter than it really is.
A sports anime about karuta, a competitive Japanese card game. It starts slow and the main character swings wildly from lovable to detestable, but it’s entertaining enough.
Solid action anime that fails at being humorous but is solid when it comes to the more dramatic elements.
Wikipedia calls this a comedy. And while it’s upbeat, it’s not funny. What’s left is mostly just trite school life garbage about teenage girls going through puberty.
Beautiful and well crafted, but also manipulative and cheap. This is an anime that doesn’t play fair when pulling on the heart strings.
A guilty pleasure. Silly and nonsensical at times and sometimes the animation cheats, but visually very cool and the origin story bit is very strong across the board.
As generic as a super power action show can be. It’s not bad necessarily, but every idea they play with was overplayed a decade ago.
One of the best anime out there, though it flags just a bit at the end of season 2. Complex anti-hero storytelling at its finest.
Tokyo becomes heavily contaminated and (mostly) evacuated. A generation later a handful of whiny, emotionally stunted teenage girls that are immune to the contamination show up to.. evacuate people? I guess? Doesn’t make much sense. That’s not a deal breaker, but combined with the irritating characters that makes it pretty awful.
Corpse Princess: Shikabane Hime
Great action anime that only gets better as it goes. The main character can be difficult to sympathize with, but it’s a minor complaint.
A case where the anime is solid, but every single character rubbed me the wrong way.
This is a mecha anime series that is all over the place. On one hand the pacing is solid and the character arcs are more involved than any anime I can recall. On the other hand the plot is nonsensical, the storytelling is weak, the fanservice pandering is excessive and most of the action scenes just reuse the same footage over and over again with a palette swap on the mecha depending on the characters involved. It feels like a creator had something great, but the suits required enough concessions that the project was ultimately compromised.
Dance in the Vampire Bund
Mostly forgettable despite the premise built up around a sexed up vampire that looks 12.
Darker than Black
Entertaining action anime involving what amounts to X-Men mutants going after each other. Weakened by the odd two episode story format.
Not as smart as it pretends to be, but still fun for 26 episodes. But under no circumstance should you keep watching after that.
Satan tries to conquer some fantasy realm, loses, retreats, and ends up in Tokyo where he starts working in fast food to survive in the human realm. It’s a core conceit that constantly holds this series back. A certain measure of suspension of disbelief is needed for most anime, but there is way too much stupid necessary for this story to work, and it holds back what is otherwise a quality production.
A Ninja Warrior wanna-be teenager is summoned to a fantasy world against his will to fight for the dog people against the lion people who war against each other using Ninja Warrior style obstacle courses. Dumbest anime I’ve seen in a long, long time. The only question is whether they thought it would be funny to be this dumb. It’s not.
There’s some mindless entertainment to be had here, but there’s a lot of tedium and stupidity to go along with it.
A slice of life anime where one of the girls is a ghost. A bit of paranormal fun that gets heavier as character issues come to light and are resolved. Just a very good show all around.
School life anime clearly inspired by Azumanga Daioh, but with a yuri leaning. Slightly more interesting than your standard harem style anime since the love polygon is quite a bit more diverse. Entertaining enough to finish, and probably move onto season 2, but entirely disposable.
What was once odd enough to be engaging is now just tired and tedious. It’s just the same pointless fluff as the first season, but has now overstayed its welcome.
Sets the tempo in the first five minutes (the klutz scene) and never lets up. A little loose around the edges, but still good bloody fun.
First part of the rebuild of Evangelion. Works pretty well all things considered. A little abbreviated, but a good narrative block of content, a few surprises and more of the mythology front and center.
Starts off introducing the new pilot, but this character is entirely unnecessary. Asuka also sees her role reduced and her personality simplified. The show begins a more serious deviation from the original and is a little bumpy along the way as a result. Still, a strong character moment at the end leads to hope that this is just a misstep.
Given how the previous movie ended, this one has to be all new territory, and the show goes completely off the rails at this point. Rampant stupidity on the part of near everyone involved is required for events to play out as they do. 5 minutes of just one person (out of dozens) not being a horrible raging idiot douchebag is all that’s needed to avert the apocalypse. Not a single likeable or respectable character remains, including the new pilot who is still dead weight. The show also performs some serious bullshit where everyone in the show except Shinji and the viewer knows exactly what’s going on. Watching Anno rape this property is like watching Lucas rape Star Wars; neither one of them has any idea how the original was successful.
Evangelion, Neon Genesis
There is a lot of good here despite it being a frustrating watch at times. Still, the director takes his projection of his childhood on the main character too far.
I tried, but I can no longer justify subjecting myself to this train wreck of a philosophical giant robot anime. The narrative is jarring and ridiculously arbitrary. The story is internally inconsistent. The characters are rage inducing (I’ve never been so happy to see a character die as that sh*t in episode 9) and come and go seemingly at random. The only positive thing I can say is that the Sphinx class enemy thing has a great visual design.
School life, Harry Potter style. Throughout there are glimmers of hope that it will be something more, but it never breaks out of its own lazy writing. It’s just… empty.
Plays out a bit like a video games. There are no surprises here but it’s still enjoyable to watch.
A movie retelling of the Fate Stay Night story from one of the alternate paths in the video game. Visually much more impressive than the series, with a more interesting story, but the storytelling is extremely poor. If you haven’t watched the original you should not watch this.
An action anime with a very strong start that sputters a bit at the end, but not enough to significantly derail it. It’s unfortunate though that the narrative has to work around the ridiculous premise and rules of the Grail War.
Horrible action movie about the Russian’s fighting off a long dead conqueror during WW2.
A school days harem anime with vampires. Hints that it might be interesting before turning into rubbish for most of the middle episodes. The promise comes back momentarily before crashing once again at the end.
A paint-by-numbers sci-fi/action/school life anime that relies heavily on gratuitous nudity to hide that it’s dumb as shit. Funimation licensed it, and since Funimation censors nudity I thought maybe this show would rise above the stardard oppai trash, but that appears to not be the case.
Full Metal Alchemist
A tough call between three and four. This is better than average, but the pacing is sluggish and the ending is ridiculous.
Full Metal Panic!
Dumb anime that thinks it’s funny when it isn’t and padded with forgettable action.
I went into this series knowing that the female protagonist with a psycho, homicidal girlfriend, and I wanted to root for the nutjob. But this show about 12 misfits with diaries that tell the future that are trying to kill each other to become god just isn’t any good. It’s all so… contrived and uneven. It’s not even good for the bloodbath.
Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo
Granted, I only watched the first episode. But this re-imagining of the Count of Monte Cristo was both boring and painful on the eyes.
Bizarre ultra-violence anime. Certainly entertaining at times, but in general too absurd to be much more than a distraction.
I almost didn’t make it past the first episode, but this dark action/horror anime was still very good despite the very awkward and off-putting in medias res.
Gritty war anime with mecha. Nothing about this show really stayed with me.
Ghost in the Shell has always been a series that demands a lot from its viewers. Important names are rattled off and organizational details are all but assumed to already be known. But not only does Arise butcher the characters, both personality wise and visually, the narrative is particularly half baked. It’s not dense because it’s intricate and well thought out, it’s dense because no one involved in this project knows how to tell a complex story.
Not much more to say that wasn’t said in the review for season 1. The consistent quality of this series is very impressive.
Rich and complex action anime that just does everything right. Even on a second viewing years later, the show is still as meticulously crafted as when it was new. Just don’t expect easy viewing; this show asks its audience to pay more attention than the norm.
Poorly done children’s anime about kids putting ghosts to rest that ADV tried to spice up by dubbing it as a comedy instead. Initially very funny, but after the shock from seeing these kids bad mouth Republicans and lesbians wears off it just ends up being boring. Since they didn’t edit any of the visuals there was only so much they could do.
Post apocalyptic anime with some interesting ideas but iffy execution. I barely remember much of it at all now.
There’s a bit of fun to be had here, but generally a generic and forgettable time.
Comedic school life show about a girl with too much good fortune and a god sent to take it from her. It’s more clever than laugh out loud funny, but that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable and engaging.
The bastard child of Code Geass and Evangelion that doesn’t quite reach the heights of its inspirations. What is predominantly a very good, well paced action anime is held back by some awkward characterizations and some lazy Plot Vouchers.
Violent and dark with a premise that’s a little twisted. This series is all about the dichotomy between girls that seem innocent that only wish to make their father figures happy, but are government assassin killing people to do it. Season 1 is significantly better than season 2.
Absurd anime that’s essentially a mecha arms race. Hugely over the top and proud of it. Fun, but a little shallow and wears out its welcome quickly.
Extremely enjoyable slice of life anime with a bit of harem mixed in with some fan service. Some of the characters leave something to be desired, but I was hooked from the beginning (though the bizarre episode 0 prelude is best avoided until at least halfway through the series).
Continues where the previous season left off and is just as enjoyable, with maybe just the slightest drop off writing. Also contains a surprising amount of character growth, though the last episode doesn’t deliver on the promise of the one just before it.
A deliberate, thought provoking and touching character study about redemption and salvation. At least, that’s what they author wants this to be. And to the credit of the creative team, there are a number of well executed elements. But a character drama requires one thing above all else: good characters, and that’s where this one falls apart. The denizens of Old Home barely have a single personality among them, and a number of introductory episodes designed to establish these characters does little more than give each one a minor and utterly irrelevant quirk. Each one is interchangeable with the others and the end result is that it’s really hard to care about any of them. And without strong characters the series turns into a dull, plodding and mostly forgettable slough.
Normally I try to give a series three episodes before I give up on it (in this case I was tempted to stop watching based on the opening). But I could find no reason to continue to subject myself to this… whatever it is. Comedy may be subjective, but bizarre does not equal funny.
Entertaining rom-com more often than not and sickeningly cute if that’s your thing, but I can’t think of another anime that panders to the okatu stereotype more than this one. Everything about this show is targeting the otaku audience with only the barest hints of imagination or creativity.
Based on a guidebook for 30 year old virgins, this tries to be a romantic comedy about two people getting over their insecurities and finding love with the help of some sex gods. Neither funny nor interesting, it does still succeed in at least one place where similar shows fail: it concludes the courtship the show is based around.
He is my Master
Who knew an alligator rapist would be so funny? Fun group anime, but not a master craft by any sense of the imagination.
I’m pretty sure they took a horrible 22 minute anime, cut it down to the worst 4 minutes from each episode and then sold it as an effort to destroy the anime industry. There is so much suck concentrated here that it makes all other anime look better by comparison.
A school life anime from Shaft that while it can, at times, be engaging, is mostly just fluffy and empty. It says a lot about a series when you can watch four seasons worth of episodes in an entirely random order and not have it affect the narrative.
I think a supernatural slice-of-life anime with this many exposed breasts has to be labeled as a guilty pleasure, but the mix of action and antics is just very well done. It doesn’t reach the level of a 5 star, but still very enjoyable.
It’s hard to call this series “good”, but it continues to at least entertain even if the second season is inferior to the first. It avoids the failures of the recently reviewed Freezing by not taking itself too seriously (in one instance the male protagonist powers up to prevent the club’s president’s boobs from shrinking), which would be a hard thing to do with this much fan service.
Highschool of the Dead
Fun anime about killing zombies with as much fan service as possible, though the conclusion offers no significant resolution.
Horrible character design (both in visuals and characterization) mixed with a back story so dense and unrelatable as to be gibberish (not to mention told with all of the skill of reading out of a dictionary) leads to a sci-fi something or another that no one should watch.
A post-apocalyptic comedy that isn’t funny. Bizarre, sure. Bizarre as only a factory run by skinned, headless swearing chickens can be. But still not funny.
Borderline hentai harem anime with samurai in a modern setting and unusually stylized visuals. Generally light on the suspense with lots of action, but really dumb and cliched.
School life anime with a twist of Sherlock Holmes style mystery. Plays more low key than other shows like it, which can be a nice change, but the narrative is boring, the motivations are idiotic and the main female protagonist is irritating.
Slice of life about an okatu married to a normal girl and how their worlds constantly collide. Fun premise with a lot of potential that is fairly significantly hamstrung by being a quick-form anime. I could really see myself liking a 12 episode season of 22 minute episodes, but at 3 minutes an episode it just never quite works. Still nice enough to breeze through.
A school life anime with a twist that’s mostly scatter-brained gibberish. The first few episodes don’t represent the series well, coming across as a kinetic mess. It settles down once the gimmick gets out of the way, and has some very funny moments, but never becomes more than mediocre when taken as a whole.
Brawler anime with hot girls whose clothing explodes during fights. Maybe watchable as an irreverent late night party anime.
An enjoyable harem anime with a good mix of mecha action. Still, it’s not quite a keeper. A second season and a plot could certainly push it over the edge. Without it’s just got no depth to it.
Not much to say here other than this is an awful sequel. Not to the level of offensive that most 1 star anime achieve, but almost entirely without merit never-the-less.
Another post apocalyptic anime with robots. I wanted to like it, but after a short break from the series I couldn’t think of any reason why I should pick it up after the halfway point. There isn’t an interesting concept anywhere in the series.
Mediocre anime interpretation of the Marvel comic. Pretty and dumb.
I don’t know what to make of this magic-powered school life anime. There are too many characters, nothing is ever really explained, the techno/magi-babble is ridiculous and the protagonist is the invincible love child of Einstein and Jesus. This should be awful. But it’s also the most watchable anime I may have ever seen. The pacing is nothing short of brilliant and I likely could have watched all 26 episodes in one sitting if I had had them all when I started. Definitely a guilty pleasure.
Though definitely in the realm of guilty pleasure, this is one of the most enjoyable harem anime I’ve seen. Very funny with a good amount of action and fan service. Plot is pretty disposable though.
Japanese historical fantasy about a quest to recover the 12 masterwork swords of a famous blacksmith for the Shogun. Beautiful and interesting, but the characters are shallow, the cliches are excessive and the amount of exposition present in any given 45 minute episode is beyond acceptable.
It started like so many awful rom-coms before it; kids with no social skills have feelings for each other but can’t express them. It’s like the horror movie cliche where everyone does the dumbest thing possible so that the narrative works. But while the central premise is tired and awful, the supporting cast makes it work. Everyone knows these two have a thing for each other, and they do their best to be awful about it. It works, and this would be rated higher of the foundation wasn’t drivel.
Absurd, over the top, and not afraid to flaunt it. The show’s about… well, that’s not really important. It’s an action anime that develops at a breakneck speed and knows not to take itself too serious. The Gurren Lagann pedigree is on full display, but they learned from that previous effort, with this show paced and plotted far more effectively.
Other than Azumanga Daioh, I don’t think I’ve ever given a comedy series based on a 4-panel manga better than 2 stars. They are just too ADD and usually not very funny. But because of Azumanga Daioh I haven’t written off the genre. Maybe it’s time I did. To be fair, I did laugh a few times, but that doesn’t make this anime any good.
A space opera where a remnant of humanity has survived being hunted by mysterious, powerful aliens. Enter mysterious boy great at killing said aliens and tropes ensue. While it may have some tricks up its sleeve down the line, the trip is so bland that the destination just isn’t worth trying to reach.
Odd school-life drama where a group of friends have to deal with a series of supernatural conditions like body-switching and lack of impulse control. Interesting enough, but despite the serious business drama it does nothing more than teach a few petty and insecure teenagers to stop being so damn stupid.
The king of moe anime. It’s cute for the sake of cute with no attempts to be anything more. If you like that, enjoy. If not it will come off as empty and vapid.
School life anime where the gimmick is that the main female character can read minds. Very dark intro episode sets an odd tone that the rest of the anime doesn’t match. And while the pacing and narrative are solid, the art is poor, the characters poorly realized and the story being told just… uninteresting.
It’s rare to see a “season” for an anime work like this, and within that context it calls for a lower rating. But this girls-in-giant-robots anime, when considered more like the first book in a series, is fairly enjoyable and comes to a semi-satisfactory stopping point despite leaving almost all of the mysteries unsolved.
Season 1 held a lot of potential that season 2 successfully destroyed. The pacing is choppy and inconsistent, the characterization is appallingly bad and all of the metaphysical mysteries about what exactly is going on are either answered lazily or not at all. If your anime is going to play in the giant-robot-mysticism genre it can’t be this stupid.
Le Chevalier D’Eon
This is a hard one for me to judge. Some skill certainly went into creating it, but I was never happy with how the story came together.
This was a three star throughout most of it. Standard Key fare with lots of super sad tragedies mixed with the most cute you can find outside Lucky Star, but they are definitely losing a step. And then there is the last episode, a recap episode followed by the teaser for the real ending, “Little Busters! Refrain”, a separate OVA or movie from the looks of it. That’s just not acceptable.
MMO players get pulled into the game, setting up an immediate comparison to Sword Art Online. And while this show is good enough, it doesn’t dethrone its predecessor. The biggest issue for me is that SAO focuses on why everyone is stuck in the game while setting up tension through the perma-death rule. LH ignores why everyone gets stuck and death has a far less devastating cost. The end result is a show without any real tension that seems to meander because it doesn’t even attempt to address the fundamental question of “why.”
Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions
A school life romance that’s consistently funny and engaging. Add on top of that a very well constructed narrative with a few twists and a real conclusion and this is definitely something any fan of the genre should watch. I may second guess the 5 star rating later, but there just isn’t anything here for me to find much fault with.
An entirely unnecessary sequel that retains a few of the elements that made the original so good, but fails to provide a narrative worth exploring. The start is rocky, with a meandering story and a general lack of humor. The later half does make a good effort of turning the season around, including having the main male character recognize the love triangle instead of being woefully oblivious, but when it’s done the status quo is pretty much intact, which drags this back down into rom-com mediocrity.
Good school-life/absurdly powerful student council anime. Fun to watch, but it’s not consistently funny (when it’s trying to be) and the characters are not as strong as they could have been. Still, once again, a complete and well told narrative for this kind of show is a good way to win me over.
Oh… God… so… boring… please… ugh… wanna… die… <crack> The clarity of pain. There are not enough synonyms for “inane” to properly review this show. Asinine, daft, empty, flat, frivolous, innocuous, insipid, meaningless, mindless, pointless, vacant, vacuous, vapid, worthless. See?!
I had heard that this was a dark and twisted take on the mecha anime genre. While that may be true, I don’t care to find out. The pacing is awful and internal consistency is non-existant. Add on top of that irritating characters, and I have no desire to know what the big mystery is and how it ends. Your awesome plot twist doesn’t matter if the material leading up to it is so awful you lose the audience before you can spring the surprise.
Mostly forgettable girls with guns anime. Spiritual successor to Noir, just with different girls in a different place.
Magic Knight Rayearth
Very generic super girls anime. Think Sailor Moon with fewer scouts and a fantasy setting.
It wasn’t until I was a few episodes in that I found out that this fantasy series started on the 2chan forums, and then everything made sense. The nameless characters, the endless exposition, the hot female “demons” and the sexually impotent hero. This is just some self-aggrandizing by an agricultural nut.
By twisting a few of the school life tropes around, it manages to be entertaining enough. But by the end it’s little more than a repeating gag reel.
What little artistic and storytelling skill the first season had is entirely lost for the second. What’s left is repetitive and not terribly funny. I was ready to give up on this season 3 episodes in, and I really should have.
A light hearted fantasy story that has well defined characters and a solid arc, but failed to impress me in any other way. The humor was painful, the art was bland and the overall narrative was driven but a lot of stupidity. The whole thing only works because everyone is kind of an idiot.
Martian Successor Nadesico
One of the few action anime where the humor works. Good all around, but some of it is a little head shaking.
Fun if not terribly spectacular school life/absurdly powerful student council anime. Will probably keep watching when season 2 comes out. Great fodder material for Her Redness’s School for Exalts. It’s a school shared by normal humans and gifted humans. Just think of the gifted students as exalts…
Though the first season ended with a big multi-episode battle, I didn’t expect this season to be entirely fight scenes. And just like DBZ and Needless, anything that isn’t a fight is absurd and idiotic (though most of the fights are that way too). But, unlike its inspiration, it’s not a particularly fun watch. Season 3 is setup, but I think I’ll pass.
Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Offbeat and sometimes funny, there is some solid skill at play here. But a premise that is all about fulfilling the whims of a spoiled brat didn’t work for me.
All of the school life harem tropes are here, but it does a better job than most of using them. The characters in particular are more likable and better realized than the average for the genre. Still, it doesn’t extend itself very far with the required culture festival episode, swimsuit episode, hot springs episode and Kyoto episode.
This was a tricky one to rate. I enjoyed it; had some laughs and I had no trouble motivating myself to keep watching this slice of life harem anime. But… it’s not a good anime. The premise was ridiculously thin and the characters aren’t likable.
School life romance/comedy series about a high school manga artist and the misadventures of him and his friends. Funnier than most alleged comedies that I watch, but still not consistently so. Disposable and forgettable, but amusing enough to watch anyway.
And extremely well done action/drama fantasy anime with solid pacing and only a little bit of fluff in the middle. But being technically proficient doesn’t necessarily make it enjoyable. I didn’t care for the story or the characters in it so I found it difficult to watch it through.
Standard mecha anime with subpar visuals, characters and plot. It is wildly inconsistent in tone and pacing and effectively squanders any potential it might have had (including a bit of alternative history as a result of an alien invasion while the cold war was still going).
Fun if a little shallow. Super hero high schoolers with big monster companions that do most of the fighting for them.
Another pandering slice-of-life about a closest female otaku who, other than her hobby, is awesome at everything. The angle for this one is that the lead is tsundere, which is normally a character killer for me. It’s tolerable here, but helps keep the overall rating mired down in the realm of average.
It seems like all of the cool new school life rom-coms uses excessively long phrases as titles. Too bad no one told the creative staff on this one that they would need to make a good anime or their not so clever name would go to waste. The premise (standard awkward protagonist is cursed to choose between no-win options by a higher power) could have been, in not interesting, at least handled well. But that was apparently too much to ask for.
Takes the success of My Hime and recasts all of the characters in a more futuristic setting. It fails on almost every level and is in general massively inferior to its predecessor.
School life anime with more than a few similarities to Haganai. Loners with limited people gets get thrown together in a club where they deal with various social situations. Also like Haganai, it’s a fun show that’s an easy watch that’s consistently interesting and funny. The biggest difference is that unlike Haganai, the personal relationships of the main characters don’t evolve over the course of this series.
A premise this absurd and convoluted has to be a setup for something (I’d try to summarize it, but then this review would be huge). But the first third is all noise and no payoff. No, that’s not quite fair. There are hints that there are some tricks still to be played by the end of episode 4, but with the universally unlikable and irritating characters mixed with some really awkward pacing I had no desire to see what was down the rabbit hole.
Thematically this is almost identical to Dragonball Z, but since it’s only 24 episodes it’s dumb fun without overstaying its welcome.
School life harem comedy. When it gets the comedy right, it’s a fun series. Unfortunately, it lapses into lazy humor and lazy plotting way too often. Tsundere overreactions are not funny, and the narrative relies way too heavily on all of the lead characters lacking basic empathy and communication skills.
This show is 85% groups of two or three people standing around talking to each other, saying things that try to come off as insightful but are mostly just rubbish, 10% incest and 5% beating the crap out of the protagonist. Despite all that it’s still better than Bakemonogatari, but that’s hardly difficult. I can certainly appreciate SHAFT trying to shake up the harem formula, but this just isn’t any good.
Two super gamers are pulled into a fantasy land where the god in charge forces conflicts to be resolved through games. The premise is very contrived, which might be okay if the author was half as smart as he thinks he is. Unfortunately, most conflict resolution is gibberish. Still, it’s reasonably well constructed, doing a fairly decent job of keeping one interested. But at the end of 12 episodes the narrative has barely made a dent in the overall plot laid out, so I would recommend skipping this one.
Plodding action anime with some interesting concepts and some fun scenes but bogged down by a 16 episode story drawn out to 26 episodes.
I’m not sure what this show is trying to be, but all it has managed to be is very, very stupid. A slice-of-life show where the girls are Lovecraftian gods could have been awesome, but this is so poorly constructed and inane that it makes my head hurt.
Oh! My Goddess!
I tried, but I think I’m done. Once again an AMV has lead me horribly astray (I’m looking at you Shuffle). This light episodic slice of life / harem anime is entirely mindless fluff with truly irritating characters.
A school life anime with one of the least offensive tsundere’s in recent memory. It also has a surprisingly open approach to sex, which is another plus. But any time it tries to stretch an idea out longer than an episode it falls on its face, with episodes 10 and 11 particularly bad. Still, on the whole, enjoyable enough to finish.
Entertaining harem anime that comes in just shy of 4 stars due to the number of episodes it takes to get all of the characters introduced and a bit of a rocky start. Still worth watching, with the last 3-4 episodes particularly good.
Almost the definition of an average anime. Ambitious story can never quite get around mundane and in some cases ridiculous episode to episode moments.
Slow starting fantasy anime that starts to get interesting around the middle before crashing in a spectacular fashion with random unexplained events, poor characterization and a non-ending that would make Berserk proud. This is an anime to avoid.
Vulger comedy about two fallen angels obsessed with sex and sweets respectively trying to get back into heaven by killing ghosts. Excellent visuals with humor that while not often hilarious, does still provide enough amusement for the show to be fun to watch. I recommend the dub as the more foul mouthed approach is a better fit for the overall theme.
Massively disappointing use of the Persona 3 license. Poor characters, sloppy plotting and, in a word, boring. Even the personas, what should be the strong point in the series, are shown as mostly transparent, destroying even that potential positive.
Excellent near future thriller from the same author that wrote Puella Magi Madoka Magica. It takes the premise of a near utopia maintained by a system that measures a persons mental state and accurately predicts if they will commit a crime and deftly plays with it, constantly subverting the world without breaking its own rules. It does some odd things with how it draws womens’ eyes that really bugged me, and sexist stereotypes abound, but that’s really just me reaching for anything negative to say.
While still a very good season, it falls a little short of the first. To start, it assumes you still remember all of the characters and complexity from the first season, which in turn creates a lot of unnecessary confusion. But, the worse sin is the rather ridiculous central conflict. It’s just too artificial, too forced; which says something given the series.
I never thought I’d say magic girl anime and awesome in the same sentence. This is a dark, twisted and entirely engaging reimagining of the magic girl anime.
A follow up to Madoka is both unnecessary and tricky. Knowing this going in I was curious how Gen Urobuchi would handle it, but had few expectations. Most of the narrative works out fairly well, with a good mystery that plays fair with the viewers. And then the last 20 minutes happen. The mystery wasn’t enough; there needed to be a twist. The problem is that this twist isn’t necessary, doesn’t add anything of value, and has no real reason for happening. The kernel of the idea is interesting, but the execution is awful.
One of the few anime I’ve actually walked away from. Irritating characters, bland visuals and dumb story lines.
A fantasy anime about boobs dueling with other boobs for the purpose of… whatever it is boobs want. Borderline hentai, completely awful.
This is an action anime where the super powered heroes and villains need to suck the breasts of virgins for their breast milk to power up. The hero literally has a nun walk around with him so in the middle of a fight he can suckle from her. I need to vet my queue better…
Bearing more than a passing resemblance to Evangelion, it still never the less tells a compelling and well paced story. The metaphysical silliness at the end rings a little hollow though.
Ramen Fighter Miki
Funnier than it has any right to be at times, but normally pretty simple and uninspired.
A classic that defines fantasy anime. Still holds up after all these years, though players of D&D will on occasion roll their eyes as they notice the game behind the story.
A cash in on the strength of the license with some of the worst animation of its day. Only enjoyable when seen through the hero worship of the OVA.
Revolutionary Girl Utena
Surreal representation of a teenager coming to turns with being a lesbian. She does this by getting into lots of sword fights and car chases. Bizarre, but pretty awesome.
Class Black is composed of 13 female students: 12 assassins and their target. But one of the assassins switches sides and everything goes sideways. What starts as an assassin of the week series builds in complexity until the overarching narrative takes over. It’s quality all around and was being considered for the coveted 5 star rating until the last 10 minutes destroyed the power of its climax.
An odd mix of sexuality and violence that tries to be adult without being bothering to be mature. Still, the way it portraits characters over more than a century is definitely interesting.
Simple fantasy series that’s generic, cliched and sexist. And… well… that’s it. There’s nothing here that hasn’t been done better somewhere else. But, what can you expect when the adaptation takes a strong, intelligent and skilled female lead and turns her into an incompetent, stubborn and emotional damsel in distress?
Harem anime where the group is trying to make a dating sim for Comiket. While some of the conflict resolution is a little off (possibly some kind of anime or otaku references I don’t recognize?), the pacing is good, the characters are all likeable and the humor is quite a bit better than most.
Just shy of 20 years ago, Sailor Moon was one of a few anime to drawn me into the medium. I have fond memories of the series, so I had hoped this would at least be disposable entertainment. It is not. It is awful. Worse than that, it is misogynistic and offensive. When it comes to bad anime, this is near the bottom of the barrel. Add on top to it the awful and dated treatment of its female characters and this might be the worst anime I have ever seen.
Yet another yuri school life anime. The characters seem to be less in denial than normal for a show like this, so that’s a plus. But it’s still not engaging or entertaining.
This is a slice of life where everyone is insecure, selfish, hormonal and cruel. There’s a lot of talk about the ending, but in my opinion those that focus on the ending are missing the point. This is about the stupidity and viciousness of teenagers. Subject matter aside though, it’s a fairly well done series.
Incredibly boring high school slice of life.
It can be entertaining at times, but every character needs to be slapped. Moderation and empathy are in exceedingly short supply in this anime and that can make it difficult get into.
Torn between a 2 and a 3 on this one. Off putting exaggerated art style makes it hard to like and the series not playing by its own rules makes it hard to get drawn into. Still, this harem/magical girls anime has its moments.
This has been described as Madoka meets the card battle genre; take the usually light and love and friendship anime and darken it up so that everyone gets screwed. The problem is that this lacks the easy grace and elegance of the Madoka narrative. But, the story is only half done at this point so it’s hard to say if it’s actually playing by its own rules.
Technically the second season, but really part of the same narrative whole as Selector Infected WIXOSS. Infected was brutal to its characters, but in Spread the protagonists start to fight back. There are still some dark moments, but they lack any real impact at this point. The construct behind all of this suffering is weak, but the pacing continues to effectively carry a viewer through the series, which eventually provides a meaningful conclusion. Enjoyable, but not noteworthy.
This sci-fi action anime makes a very good case for a one star rating. The plot is paper thin, the pacing is poor, the characters are irritating, the art is bland (the alien design in particular is laughable) and the animation is atrocious. But for all of that, it’s not infuriatingly bad, it’s just bad.
It’s based on a fighting game, so maybe it’s not a surprise, but this show about ninja girls with massive breasts is beyond bad. There isn’t a single redeeming quality here.
Action anime that is solid all around. Some of the comedic elements don’t work and the “magic” is not terribly consistent or well thought out, but those are minor complaints given the stronger than average pacing and characterization.
An ambitious end to the series that does, at times, hit all of the right notes as it explores a massive conflict spanning the entire season. Too bad it’s dumb as s***. Almost without exception, every single explanation or justification for this massive conflict and all of its moving parts ranged from rubbish to outright insulting. It could have been epic, but instead it was just frustrating.
For most of the season the series held up well enough. The story had moved from the discreet denizen-of-the-month format to a more interwoven story. The pacing suffered a bit because of it, with some truly bad slice-of-life episodes, but all told still holding strong at a 4. And then episode 22 happened. Butchered Shakespeare is extremely appropriate here: “A tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Having the girls in your harem anime be angels and demons does not make your harem anime any good. There are glimpses at the very end of something darker and far more interesting, but everything surrounding it is garbage.
Near future supernatural action anime about girls with powers fighting monsters from a parallel realm. This wasn’t even a terribly original premise back in 1998 when this show aired. Characters are caricatures and the pacing/plotting is just bad. Add on top of that a bland premise and I couldn’t bring myself to get more than about half way through it.
A stylized Yuri series about war, betrayal and fate. It’s a little on the melodramatic side, but it works in the context. Still, there’s something not quite right here.
For a school life show about a grim reaper that obtains power from the perversion of the protagonist, this show takes itself was too seriously. And the storytelling in a serious show about a reaper that obtains power from perversion is about what one would expect. Would have worked out so much better if they would have just had fun with the concept.
A graphic, both macabre and erotic, chthonian style horror story by the writer of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. It’s praised as one of the most intense and well written works of psychological horror available. And while it’s very good, such high praise is more hipster self-importance at finding this kind of quality in an obscure work. For those that pursue, there are only two choices leading to three different endings.
Fun, well animated action anime with some surprising depth given the art style. Under no circumstance should the “Excaliber” episodes be watched.
A side story of the excellent Soul Eater that throws away everything that made that series great and replaced it with awful school life banality with awful characters. On the plus side, it doesn’t have Excalibur. Though, I stopped watching halfway through so that abomination may show up later.
Science Fiction drama that is based off of a novel series (and as a result shows a surprising amount of gravitas and maturity). The art style is weak and the episode count is a bit short for what they were trying to accomplish, but it’s definitely worth watching.
A quirky slice of life show produced by Gainax about an all girls school airsoft club. The standard tropes are all here, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if something interesting is done with it all. Unfortunately, the gimmick, the delusions of the main character that may actually be real, are just kind of dumb and not even present for the primary emotional stretch leading up to the climax. The whole idea is so poorly done it drags the series down from mediocre to poor.
Standard kids save the world anime; absurd premise and generally unlikable characters. Still, it’s well crafted and entertaining at times.
I was warned that this wasn’t my kind of thing and I should have listened. Though, I don’t know if I could have given it a very high score even if I did care for watching vapid bourgeois yuri all but rape each other at school.
Slice of life with irritating characters. I was ready to quit after one episode, but went to three to be fair. Two and Three brought it out of the one star range, but just barely.
A fan service anime that’s passably entertaining while it flashes panties in every shot. Second season is distinctly less enjoyable.
Enjoyable slice of life with only a hint of harem (despite the lone major male character wanting otherwise) that can be very funny at times, but is usually a mild mix of upbeat and rapid pace. I have few significant complaints, but at the same time it was never more than a diversion.
The characterizations from the first season were really what held the series together. In this season they might as well be interchangeable. What little spark the first season has is gone and what’s left is plodding and dull.
It has it’s moments, but this short skit style slice-of-life anime is not consistently funny. Maybe it works better for a native speaker, but I have my doubts that yelling vagina, anal and tampon all of the time is any funnier in Japanese.
It starts off enjoyable enough with its spoof of old martial arts movies and the gimmick of a 12 year old looking girl wanting to get knocked up, but quickly breaks down. Characters are uninteresting, the humor doesn’t have any legs, the drama is ridiculously bad and the visuals are well below average.
Action anime about a VR MMORPG that traps players within it and where death in the game means death in the real world. It’s a very enjoyable watch and definitely rates as a high 3. It’s just a little too fragmented to reach 4.
Sword Art Online: Alfheim Online
Takes the foundation established by the first season and does some great things with it. The narrative flows very well and the characters are just deep enough to add some wrinkles. It’s just too bad the story leans on some of the more obnoxious tropes of the genre rather than really embracing the creative opportunities created by the main character’s in-game race choice.
Caliber and Mother’s Rosario are a pair of side stories that close out the second season of Sword Art Online. The first is entirely disposable, but amusing enough. The second has a little more meat, but your appreciation will vary depending on how much you want to see a tragedy in this anime. It’s possible these stories might matter if the next core story is animated, but until they this is just fluff.
SAO continues to be stellar. Likeable characters, good pacing and interesting conflicts. Some of the internal logic suffers at times, characters do dumb things for the sake of taking the story in a certain direction, but a very enjoyable series never the less.
School-life drama using all of the typical tropes to manipulate the emotions of the viewer; in this case focused around a choir club. If you like that kind of thing you’ll probably enjoy this series. But as the review would indicate, it’s not the kind of series I particularly enjoy.
Not much else needs to be said that isn’t said in the Tenchi Universe review below. There was some hope that the 3rd set of OVAs might modernize the series just a bit, but they are just as bad as the originals.
This is not a series that has aged well. The characters are universally despicable, the main story is sloppy and the filler is all but unwatchable. It has its moments, and cabbits are still awesome, but this was painful to sit through a decade after having first seen it.
Forgettable action anime about a special girl saving the world. Mundane in just about every respect and just plain bad in others.
Upbeat action anime based on American style comic book heroes. Fun, though a bit formulaic at times with mostly one dimensional characters.
Supernatural action / school life show focused on the reincarnation of a great shaman and everyone’s attempts to use him. Works much better as a school life show than it does an action show. When it gets serious it also gets dumb. The whole thing just never comes together, with a rather poor ending. Still, interesting enough to finish.
All of the ecchi in the world can’t save this dumb school life anime from itself. The characters are all irritating and the attempts at humor are juvenile at best.
Fantasy series attempting to lampoon the gamisms of your typical MMO setting. The first episode was monstrously bad, but there were some indications that the beginning might not be representative. And while the next episode wasn’t as bad, it was still groan worthy; and not in a good way.
Visually a very cool vampire action anime, but the story ranges from forgettable to idiotic.
Drama based off of a ero visual novel, it can be interesting at times, but the story is not internally consistent and the “dating sim” elements are very poorly done.
School-life anime where the girls are anthropomorphic representations of assault weapons. Poor characterization, no story, bland visuals and horrid attempts at humor guarantee this show a spot at the bottom.
Another kids in giant robots anime. Starts off very poorly, doing a half-assed job trying to lay the groundwork for its absurd premise and building upon it with a wildly inconsistent narrative. But some great mecha designs, a few interesting characters (not all of them unfortunately), some bold choices and a great cliffhanger ending full of promise keep things interesting despite its faults.
A direct continuation of the previous season; when the cliffhanger of the first season is quickly resolved with no relevant impact that was the first sign that whatever promise this series might have had would not be realized. This ambitious series could have been great, but the pacing and storytelling is nothing shy of awful. Far more frustrating a watch than just about any other 2 star anime I’ve seen.
Irritating characters and weak story. I hear there is a dark, dark revelation in season two, but I couldn’t stomach the series long enough to find out.
Welcome to the NHK
I couldn’t get past how much I hated every character in this series. Some may relish seeing these saps ruin every facet of their lives with their idiocy, I did not.
Groundhog Day mixed with The Shining. Season one is very different from season two, the OVA’s should be avoided, 50 episodes for a single story like this is too long and it’s not a keeper but it’s definitely worth watching once.
Switches pretty regularly from awesome to horrid. The fight scenes are top notch, but everything else is pretty bad. And the massive cleavage of the main character is too absurd to either enjoy or ignore depending on your personal preferences.
Typical high school where some of the students have powers anime. It’s slavishly devoted to some tropes while subverting a number of others. But, aside from that, it’s just fun. Or, at least, starts that way. The climactic stretch at the end is a painful mess. Still worth the price of admission.
Girls with guns show by the same people that did Noir and Madlax that can best be described as sloppy. Storytelling, visual style, pacing; all of it is sloppy and lazy. Noir and Madlax suffered from the same thing, though not nearly as badly. And the mystery in The Witch Hunter is the worst of the three, doing little to mask the poor quality.
Witch Hunter Robin
Gets a little bogged down in the monster of the week format, but tells an entertaining story with some solid action.
Magic is real and those who practice it are strictly governed. Enter the youngest wizard every to become a barrister (wizard lawyer) and her adventures as a super innocent, super naive, super smart and super powerful defense attorney. Thematically this show is all over the place and without exception every character is exceedingly irritating.
This is an odd action journey anime that wavers between being very strong and downright tedious every few episodes. Still, it creeps above average, if just barely.
School life rom-com about a dating sims player conscripted by supernatural powers to get real girls to fall for him. Rarely funny and usually tedious. The most redeeming quality is the male lead, who definitely bucks many of the standard tropes. Too bad he’s wasted on the rest of this anime.
Strong characters and a cool visual style, but the story is diluted by the size of the cast and the melodrama lays it on a little thick.
Copy and paste from the Iron Man comment above… Mediocre anime interpretation of the Marvel comic. Pretty and dumb.
Watched this series on what amounted to a dare and found it mostly enjoyable. It’s a school life anime where the main character thinks she wants 100 sex friends but is mostly just confused. The lead can be irritating at times, but a solid foil keeps things in perspective. It could have been four stars if the middle section hadn’t stumbled as badly as it did with the addition of a rival.
I almost didn’t finish this giant robot action anime. It started strong and the premise is great, but it never does anything compelling with that premise and the last few episodes are an inconsistent mess.