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Durarara: Very entertaining show. Lots of cool characters and a deep plot that has lots of twists, even if it was a little hard to follow. The show does a good job helping you keep up with a short recap of what's been happening during the opening theme. I really like all the characters, definitely the best part of the show. I was a little disapointed by the lack of an ending, especially with Izaya and Celty's head. I hope there's a sequel.
Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu: A pretty innocent little romantic comedy. It's not at all original, and there are lots of character types and storylines that you've seen many times before. There's never a real sense of doubt that Haruka and Yuuto won't be together. This actually is a good thing for the show which is always very light and funny, nothing substantial. Haruka is a bit too much like Belldandy for my liking. Super Innocent to the point where it's ridiculous. Then of course to balance her out Yuuto is incredibly kind and caring but of course their relationship moves pretty slow. However the rest of the characters are one of the better qualities. They make the show light and fun providing almost all of the comedy. Haruka and Yuuto provide most of the action and plot but it's the less important characters who have some pretty memorable moments. Lastly the show has a weird vibe about anime. Haruka falls in love with Yuuto because he learns her secret and she can only be herself with him. The Love Hina style childhood encounter that shaped their destiny's i found unneeded but I think it's wrong to expect anything that's not an anime cliche from the plot. Very predictable. So to recap, sweet, light, funny, predictable, and with a Belldandy like heroine. Believe it or not I would still recomend this anime. I enjoyed it and there's really nothing bad about it. It just plays it really safe. I'm interested to see what the sequels like. If it's bullshit like the second season of Ah My Goddess ie: Yuuto and Haruka go back to not realizing their feeling I'm gonna be pissed.
Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu Purezza: So the first season pulled me in and made me check out the seconds season. This is an example of a sequel that is exactly as good as the original. I don't know if you find these in anything other than anime but I've come across a few. This season is just as entertaining as the first. It might even be better because it doesn't have to introduce you to all the characters. There's less focus on anime in the show than before. It turns into a much more conventional romantic comedy but as I've said before, I think these shows actually get better the further they go. Great opening animation. I thought the first season had a great opening, but this tops it in every way. There's a good dramatic story arc towards the end, but my problem with this show has always been there's no real conflict. There are plenty of girls after Yuuto but none of them have a real chance. Also every time Yuuto and Haruka have problems the drama always feels very manufactured because you know they will end up together. This is handled much better this season.
Skip Beat!: Didn't just watch this but I had to talk about it. Please don't read the rest of this if you haven't watched Skip Beat! unless you don't have any interest in it. God the ending of this anime was so incredibly frustrating. It's been almost a year since I watched it I'm still pissed off. That sounds a little crazy but the real reason is that the rest of the show was SO FUCKING GOOD. The ending was so retarded. Why spend all the time developing the characters and making one of the most entertaining anime I've ever seen and just end it with no type of closure at all. They even fuck with you and make you think that Kyoko and Ren finally get it... and then it just ends. Why the fuck would anyone do this. I don't understand, not all anime's have no ending at all but it seems to be acceptable to do this from time to time. It drives me fucking crazy. I get paranoid when I'm on the last episode of an anime. As the show gets closer to ending I keep glancing at the time left, panicking, and wondering if the show is going to have a horrible ending. It took me over a week to even properly evaluate how good Skip Beat! really is. I was so disappointed by the ending. It is a great show, if it had a better ending it might one of my favorite shows ever and absolutely worthy of a perfect score. It wouldn't have been hard to do, hell I could write a better ending. I might understand if they were going to make a sequel, but no, that's it. As it is Skip Beat! is a phenomenal show with an disheartening ending.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: I had a weird experience with this show the first time I tried to watch it about 2 years ago. I remember really liking the first episode but liking it less and less from that point on. This time I went back and watched it from the beginning and I was shown once again how good the first episode is (it's fantastic) and I found that the show doesn't really get worse, it just loses focus as it goes on. With fewer characters the show is a lot easier to follow but as more and more similar looking characters appear it can be easy to lose track. This show is funny, one of the funnies anime's probably, although it requires a little insider knowledge to get all the jokes. The characters are great. Everyone in this show has a flaw and it ranges from my favorites, which would be the overly positive girl, the hikkikomori, and the average girl, to some of the more absurd, split personality girl, weird immigrant girl, perpetually injured girl who likes to pull animal tails. This show does not take itself seriously, but it has real charm. The animation is really pretty although I already mentioned that characters look alike. There really is nothing else like this, it gets a strong recommendation from me... So I finished it now, it starts to drag. They really run out of stuff to do they can only introduce characters for so long. I wasn't happy with the ending. I certainly wasn't expecting the cliff-hanger but then for it to be fake that kind of bugged me. Last episode was ok but pretty weak compared to others. This show is laugh out loud funny and even though the characters are flat I love them for it. Well most of them.
Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: I actually didn't get sequelitus like I often have in the past and went the whole way through season 2. It's the same old Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei we know and love, minus the early episodes which were the best part of season 1. So basically it's just a continuation of the japanese culture jokes. There are some pretty bizarre jokes that it's not really possible for a westerner to understand and I found that for a couple episodes I had to read episode synopsi just to find out for sure what was going on. That being said there is no drop in quality from what is a successful formula. Every episode is as good as the last and I look forward to watching season 3.
Working!!: A pleasant surprise of a show. First off the title is misleading, they work in a restaurant but there is really no working. Anyway the best thing about this show is the opening theme. It belongs in top 5 openings all time. Characters are good, not great. There is really no development but the show itself is a lot of fun. I'm not a big fan of guys who get abused but this show pulls it off better than others I've seen. It's light and fun and never feels like it's dragging. I think something that makes Working stand out is that it's not set in a high school. It just helps add variety to something we've seen before. Instead of another slice of life comedy the show has a personality and charm that really can't be denied. Also it's addicting and easy to watch very quickly.
Arakawa Under the Bridge: Very interesting show. Starts strong, drags in the middle, and finishes with some good episodes. The humor is very hit or miss but there are some really funny moments throughout. Good characters for the most part. They can be a little too simple from time to time but especially in the early episodes they have good moments. The plot is non existent and most of the problems the characters run into get solved in ridiculous ways. It's a bit bizarre but it's like nothing else.
Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou: Wow so yeah I'm gonna have a tough time with this one. This show is fun, it's really energetic and packed full of content. There are lots of characters plot twists throughout and it feels like it has 24 episodes of content packed into 12. When I started I found myself being immediately reminded of Zero no Tsukaima. However when I watched Zero no Tsukaima there were a lot of things that I thought were pretty stupid. It takes the concept of a magic school nowhere and doesn't really do that much interesting plot-wise. IUD on the other hand takes full advantage of the premise and creates a really interesting plot to drive the show. Sai Akuto is an effective lead just because it's so interesting to have an anime like this where the main character isn't just like every other high school boy main character. I just got the repeated feeling that I was watching something fresh and different in a stale genre. It doesn't reinvent the genre, but what it does do is push past the standard stereotypes for ecchi. There is a lot of fanservice and nudity but it I think I actually prefer IUD over the top styles to an anime that just has panty shots for no reason. Whatever I think panty shots are pretty stupid in general, I'm not watching for the fanservice I'm watching for the actual anime. That being said there's no shortage of that stuff here and maybe that's what helps keep the show so loose and relaxed. There's conflict throughout, especially at the end but being able to keep your show light and relaxed while taking itself seriously is hard. You either end up in the Lucky Star or seitokai no ichizo zone where there's no illusion of plot to get in the way of the sillyness or you end up with something like chobits or trigun where the humor and lighthearted nature of the show eventually completely gives way to serious drama. IUD has a serious plot with legitimate cliff-hangers throughout but it never loses it's charm that makes the early episodes so addictive. Speaking of addictive, IUD gets extra points for being easy to watch, i blew through it in a couple of days. When I review most shows like this i always have to say it's funny but it's nothing you haven't seen before. Thankfully IUD is actually an exception to that rule, this is something unique that most people could enjoy. I can't compare it to anything other than tenchi muyo. This is the spiritual successor. A boy with unbelievable powers finds a bunch of women drawn to him and ends saving the universe. Now there are a lot of diferences but it's that balance of comedy and action both these shows so enjoyable to watch. Oh yeah, so i said it would be hard at first... well yeah for all the things I just said it's a really stupid show. The plot gets way to complicated at the end. The ending is ok. The final battle is exciting but it has the same ending as every other harem. So yeah it's fun but stupid, still good though.
Zero No Tsukaima: Princesses no Rondo: Meh, it's ok. I think this shows pretty pointless. There's so much bullshit and the characters are so shallow. There are a few funny moments but the way key story points are handled is really lacking. The pacing is non existent and the show doesn't really even attempt to be anything meaningful. It's not like it's much worse than the earlier seasons but it feels much less driven. This is a really generic anime that's doesn't deserve the attention that it gets.
Seitokai Yakuindomo: Now maybe this type of comedy isn't for me but I was disapointed with SY. All I know is I'm a 18 year old guy who watches most comedies like this with a very open mind. I was able to watch the show easily but the jokes are just not that good. There are a few funny moments an episodes but the sex jokes quickly go stale. Most of them are either absurd and completely ridiculous, or they're uninspired and predictable.
ef - a tale of memories: This was a highly rated show that had been in my to watch list for a while. I had to cut it with some less serious show's in between episodes to make it through. As bad as that sounds I really enjoyed ef. It's emotional and heart wrenching at times but often it's sweet and funny. I was pleased with the ending. I knew it had a sequel so I was a little worried but it did the job for me. However I have a hard time telling if I like this show or if I really like it. In the same way that a thouroughly enjoyed clannad but only consider it a 4 star show theres just something about these types of shows that I don't love. That being said I can identify quality anime in genres that I don't love and ef is very high quality. Ok so i decided to do 4 stars. What really pushed it over the edge is I just can't justify the glaring plot holes. None of the adults are ever explained, especially the two that are looking for each other. Also the character who makes movies is really insignificant. Finally Rei is the most unrealistic character. Her motivation just doesn't feel real.
Princess Princess: I read a scathing review for this show on animenewsnetwork.com and I was actually kind of puzzled by it. What PP is, is something that makes absolutely no sense in terms of the real world. I think they mention that the high school feels like it is in a different dimension during the show. It really is. Just the notion that making the attractive freshmen dress up as girls in order to motivate the students at an all boys school is an unbelievable premise. I had to wonder who is the show actually targeted at? Yes, there are good looking guys dressing up as girls but there's no real boy-love to speak of. If this is for girls it doesn't really do the things that other cross dressing shows do. I watched PP because I'm a big Ouran High School Host Club fan and it was on the list of recommended anime. Turns out it was a good comparison. The way the people in ouran handle the ridiculous concept of a host club by worshiping it's members is pretty similar to the way PP works. It's not as funny, but it has it's moments and there's some legitimately good character development. In later episodes we see flashbacks to conversations that happened earlier in the show revealing that the characters have well thought out personalities and that the writers knew where they were going to take their characters and what their motivations would be. It takes on a lot of the high school anime cliches (culture fest, sports fest, talent show, student council) but because this anime takes place in bizarro it actually manages to feel fresh and unique. I have to recommend it, but only for people who know not to take it seriously. It's also completely forgetable
Kimi Ni Todoke: Glad to be finished with this one. I haven't committed myself to anything over 12 episodes for a while so this was a long haul for me. A really highly rate anime I enjoyed KNT throughout but don't think it's without it's flaws. The show moves criminally slow. Many events such as school festivals take several episodes to play out and it hurts the flow of the overall show. Now when we're in the midst of some drama the show shines but It's broken up too often with problems being resolved and new ones needing to be created. The characters are pretty good. I enjoyed Ayane and Chizu as much as anyone in the show.They bring an energy and enthusiasm that the show lacks when dominated by Sawako and Kazehaya. In fact the rest of the supporting characters are mostly just commic fodder (pin and the infamous jo incident) with the exception of Kurumi who I thought to be one of the most interesting parts of the show. This was similar to the way I felt about Ami in Toradora (I hope that's the right name, the blue haired girl). The problem with Sawako is that she's just to sweet and innocent. She actually isn't as simple a character as she first appeared but most of the things that astound her aren't that interesting to us. She has some really great moments where we can identify with her growth and think back to a time where we found acceptance with new friends. Kazehaya is charming but ultimately a pretty bland character. He's the perfect love interest for Sawako but I wished they would have explored his dark past a little more. They set him up as a boy who had been emotionally scared by being shared by all the girls at his middle school but never go anywhere with it. Kazehaya mostly just acts incredibly shyly and distantly towards Sawako in a complete mirror of her behavior. It creates a lot of, come on, you both like each other, figure it out, moments. The ending of the show really wanders, not wanting to lose it's comic relief but having to include the other characters in a way that detracts from Sawako's and Kazehaya's romance. Nothing is resolved, nothing gets answered. Why is it ok to end an anime like this. I know it's not impossible, Lovely Complex has a the main characters get together for the last 8 episodes. We get it, she's happy now but we've not just been watching her grow as a character, we were watching her develop a relationship with Kazehaya and to not resolve that in an anime like this is inescuesable. This is Skip Beat! all over again, except Skip Beat! blindsided me. I could see KNT's ending coming from a mile away. It's amazing I can complain so much and then turn around and tell you that I actually really like KNT. Yeah believe it or not, it's one of the most charming, charasmatic shows I've ever seen. It's sweet to another level, sometimes painfuly, but when KNT gets rolling there are some great moments. Does it have problems? Yes, but what it also has is a well written story with great characters, solid animation, and a genuine goodness about it. I thought going in that this was going to earn a 4 1/2 from me but it's a flawed package. Much in the same way I believe Last Exile and Chobits deliver great experiences that are only slightly detracted from by bumps along the way. Both those shows have 4 star rating and so does KNT.
Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Every so often you find an anime where the premise is so great that it helps am anime rise to another level. This is the case with KNzSS. Keima is a boy who lives in the world of galges. For no real reason he's forced to join elsea and help collect loose souls by making girls fall in love with him. Each girl is actually more challenging than the last but I think my personal favorite has to be Kanon. Each girl gets 2 to 3 episodes and Keima, with the planning of a master detective, leads the girls down his chosen path. The show is crazy for many reasons and if I tried to explain everything that happens I'd get a headache. The important thing is that Keima is an interesting main character. He's a slight variation on the main character of Seitokai no Ichizon. He tries to ignore the outside world as best he can but his attitude of defiance to the limits the real world puts on life is where the show shines. For example one girl is as Keima describes an inner voice character. She is quiet so she is always thinking to herself. In a game Keima would be able to read her thought as text. Frustrated he gets her mad which eventually helps her start talking. One thing that really stands out to me is the quality of the romance in the show. Because each girl only gets a few episode the episodes feel very focused. There's none of the mid-season meandering that happens to other shows. This is with the exception of the final episode which is absolutely pointless. It always made me a little sad to see the girls forget about keima after he helps them. There's a strange tragic quality to Keima's character. Like he's really living in a world he doesn't belong in.
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