Weekly Anime Review (Mar 9 – Mar 15)

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This week’s review is getting done much later then I wanted and there’s a few reasons for that but the primary reason is that the ending to Clannad gave my brain a bunch of things to chew on and I couldn’t get in the right mood to write this column. The ending adds greatly onto a post I’ve been trying to gather and order about Clannad; this includes refuting the idea that Clannad had a “Deus ex Machina” ending. This is requiring me to got back to the first season and refreshing my memory; so far I’ve hacked a short movie together and collected a few screenshots. I hope to have that post done within the week along with my best anime of winter posts.

The scores (now more-or-less in order):

Clannad S.2, episode 22 – 11.5/12Near Perfect

Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou, episode 10 – 11.5/12Near Perfect

Minami-Ke: Okaeri, episode 10 – 11/12A+

Toradora!, episode 23 – 11/12A+

Munto TV, episode 7 – 10.5/12Strong A

Asu no Yoichi, episode 9 – 10.5/12Strong A
Asu no Yoichi, episode 10 – 10/12A

Maria+Holic, episode 10 – 10/12A

Sora o Kakeru Shoujo, episode 8 – 9/12A-

Shikabane Hime: Kuro, episode 8 – 9/12A-

Michiko to Hatchin, episode 19 – 8/12B+
Michiko to Hatchin, episode 20 – 9/12A-

Soul Eater, episode 48 – 8/12 B+

Hayate the Combat Butler 2, episode 0 – 7/12 B

Chrome Shelled Regios, episode 9 – 7/12B

To Aru Majutsu no Index, episode 23 – 7/12B

Rideback, episode 9 – 7/12B

Hetalia Axis Powers, episode 7 – 5/12C+

Show I most want to see the next episode of

Asu no Yoichi

Thoughts and Highlights

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Clannad was the best episode of the week but I’m reserving a discussion about it for later. As for the scoring, even though I liked the ending episode alot, I decided to deduct a half point because the Fuko part was too long and felt a bit outta place and it would have been nice to have Ushio actually speak. The second best episode of the week came from Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou. I’ve mentioned that one of the reasons for this show’s success is it’s ability to leave the viewer feeling satisfied when the individual stories are resolved. This particular episode had that and was able to mix in more of Reiko’s past, showing her to be a nice person, as well as showing Natsume growing closer to his adoptive parents. (Queue the dango song.) This episode was also interesting because Natsume conducted an exorcism by himself – a big departure from how he normally helps spirits – further confirming his innate power against spirits.

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In episode 9 of Asu no Yoichi we see the masked bad guys make their unmasked debut as they set their next plan in action and in episode 10, they carry out their devious plan successfully. They ended episode 10 with a cliffhanger that was very unexpected and I’m extremely anxious to see what happens next. It’s a shame that there’s only a few episodes left, it would be interesting to see, in detail, how the different relationships between the characters would be altered after the events of episode 10. Maybe there’ll be time to show some of this before the season ends. I’m also hoping for an announcement of a sequel soon, it feels like we’ve just gotten to know these characters.

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This episode of Minami-Ke: Okaeri saw the show return to the higher level that it’s capable of. The first skit dealt with Chiaki trying to teach Touma the importance of saying please. This being Minami-ke and not Barney or Sesame Street, the lesson centered around Touma, a female elementary student, trying not to be seen wearing only a towel by Fujioka, a male middle-schooler, with the added twist that Fujioka thinks Touma is a guy and not a girl. The middle skit dealt with the mental scarring effect trivia can have on a person which reminded me of my high school teacher when he talked about what’s really in hot dogs. The last skit showed Natsuki in his attempt to get Touma to come home earlier by asking for the help of the Minami sisters. Since he’s who he is (being a friend to Hosaka should be a tipoff), the advice he’s given about how best to ask a favor gets twisted for maximum comedic purposes.

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I haven’t mentioned the flap around Munto TV yet. While I liked this episode and continue to like the series, it’s hard to really get into it because of how this franchise is being milked for money. It turns out that it’s going to be only 9 episodes long with the first 6 episodes containing the OVA content that was done years ago with only a superficial upgrade this time around. Further, episodes 7-9 are going to released as a movie, with some addition new content not shown in the episodes that are playing now, in only a few months time to the movie theaters in Japan. This is obvious milking by KyoAni but I don’t share the ire and frothing-at-the-mouth that many fans are displaying. Unless these fans have already spent money on importing the Japanese DVDs then nothing has happened to them personally to make their anger justified. At this point, I probably will not buy the DVDs of this show if and when they’re available over here, unless I can get them very cheap, because I was disappointed over the small episode count – it deserves a minimum of 26 episodes to fully flesh out the story. Disappointed, yes; angry, no.

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Now some short thoughts:

  • This episode of Maria+Holic was the best of the series; if only the whole series had been this good. A nice dose of Mariya and Matsurika being themselves along with a personality tweak to Kanako (courtesy of Matsurika) and the various side characters actually contributing to the comedy of the series all helped make this a very enjoyable episode.
  • Rideback was scored pretty low because this was one of those episodes that just set up the pieces for later. It wasn’t bad but compared to other past episodes, it was far less riveting.
  • After Soul Eater finishes, I’m going to check out how the anime has deviated from the manga because it feels off right now and I suspect it’s because Bones is taking liberties. For example, the demon god was genuinely creepy when he was awakened but now he just seems like a punk, hardly worth the trouble.
  • I know the Hayate the Combat Butler 2 OVA was really just a reintroduction of the characters after the year break but I was under whelmed by this episode. Hopefully the series will be better. If nothing else, one of the upshots of having J.C. Staff doing this series is that we’ll probably get Hayate-tan or Nagi-tan extras.
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