Let’s get this out of the way before I get back to the top picks of the fall season.
This was another good week of anime watching. Two shows I didn’t list below but I did want to mention was that I finished up a re-watch of Library War and the first season of Minami-Ke with my sister. The first thing that struck me was that hearing Marina Inoue featured prominently in both really drove home how much I enjoy listening to her voice and the roles she plays. Also it reinforced my belief that Library War was one of the most entertaining shows of the year and the first season of Minami-Ke is one of the best anime comedies of all-time.
To Aru Majutsu no Index, episode 9 – 10/12A
Toradora!, episode 9 – 12++/12
Soul Eater, episode 33 – 11/12 A+
Soul Eater, episode 34 – 12/12
Soul Eater, episode 35 – 12/12
Kannagi, episode 9 – 10/12A
Yozakura Quartet, episode 9 – 11/12A+
Yozakura Quartet, episode 10 – 10/12A
Chaos;Head, episode 8 – 11/12 A+
Somedays Dreamer’s S.2, episode 10 – 12+++/12
Skip Beat, episode 8 – 10/12 A
Skip Beat, episode 9 – 12/12
Earl and Fairy, episode 8 – 11/12A+
Earl and Fairy, episode 9 – 10/12A
Shikabane Hime: Aka, episode 7 – 11/12 A+
Clannad S.2, episode 10 – 12+/12
Xam’D: Lost Memories, episode 17 – 12/12
Ga-Rei Zero, episode 8 – 12+/12 A
Kurozuka, episode 8 – 11/12 A+
Kemeko DX, episode 9 – 10/12A
Which shows have momentum this week
Up – Ga-Rei Zero : The second most surprising good show of the season
Down – Kurozuka : Still a great show but it’s been living off it’s style and it’s beginning to let it’s weakly developed story drag it down
Thoughts and Highlights
After the first two episodes of Ga-Rei Zero, I really had no clue where the show was going and a sinking feeling that the animators where too ambitious by opening the show how they did and would be unable to keep the viewers interesting. It appears that I was wrong because I’m liking this show week-in and week-out. One thing that I thought would hurt this show, like the Star Wars prequels, was that I know one of the main characters ends up evil. In the Star Wars case, this prevented me from sympathizing with Anakin because I know he becomes Darth Vader but not so with Ga-Rei Zero. I got to really like Yomi in these flashback episodes and when we get back to the present, I’m going to feel very sad if they can’t save Yomi somehow.
I feel bad about picking Kurozuka for losing momentum this week but I have to at least try to be objective and these last few episodes have felt very underwhelming. I think it’s safe to point to the shows padding of a thin storyline as the culprit. Hopefully, episode 8 will be the last of this padding as we transition to the conclusion.
As awesome as episode 9 of Toradora was, the best episode of the week was episode 10 of Somedays Dreamer’s S.2 which earned the absolutely highest rating I can give out for a single episode. There was a big revelation, which I won’t spoil, and it caught me totally off-guard. It really shouldn’t have since there had been a few hints but I really didn’t expect the show to go in the direction it now seems to be going. Nor was the revelation the sole reason for the high score, the way in which the show went about revealing it was perfect and the character’s actions throughout the episode were just right.
Episode 9 of Yozakura Quartet finally did something that made me really interested in this show. The Nana-gou trees that help protect the city were being altered and this caused the Youkai of the city to have a harder time controlling their Youkai powers. So, for example, the pair of vampire children had to start using umbrellas to walk around in the daytime. A little touch but it was the first original thing this show has done so far.
The past two episodes of Clannad have really covered a lot of territory and watching Tomoya trying to succeed post-H.S. is something that I haven’t seen much in anime and a nice change of pace. There was a small scene that encapsulated this so well – he was worrying over finding a cheap apartment and we see a high school girl with her friends worrying about her hair. The huge gulf between the two worlds couldn’t have been articulated any better and the use of shadows and also Tomoya’s loneliness only reinforces this.
And finally, if you dropped Soul Eater before episode 20, you should give the show another chance. The show’s pacing has picked up dramatically around then and it has been going full tilt ever since. I’m really enjoying just about everything about this show right now – we where introduced to a few more characters, the fights are awesome, and they’re intertwining many plot threads right now. Soul Eater is really showing why it’s the best shounen title right now.