I just watch Advent Children. I was confused the WHOLE WAY THROUGH... is this just because I haven't played the game... (In which case shame on the film for being so inaccesible) or is it just confusing anyway?
Yes okay, bits of it were pretty awsome, but I would have liked to have known what was going on too...
Oh God. In Code Geass that black haired girl with the glasses who I REALLY hate (because all she does is have panic attacks whenever she sees 'an Eleven' [Japanese person] due to believing that "they're all terrorists" in that typically prejudiced way) was seen...or rather, it was IMPLIED that she was masterbating over pictures of one of the Brittanian princesses (the only nice one), Euphie.
I know it wouldn't be CLAMP if there wasn't some measure of creepy lesbianism involved somewhere, but I still don't think it was necessary. ¬_¬
(I know this isn't a review...I may write a review of the series in a week or two when we get to the halfway point, maybe.)
Apart from Code Geass season 2? ¬_¬ Nothing that I've personally bothered to sit down and watch, as of yet, but that could most likely be my fault. What other anime I've been watching has been catching up on older stuff I never saw, like Lucky Star (which is...odd) and Euraka 7 (which is quite good, but I imagine hasn't kicked in yet).
Bokusatsu Tenchi Dokuro-chan is one of those series where, upon reading the concept, it sounds amusing. Yet unfortunately the actual product itself is buried beneath miles of bilge produced by its constant repitition of the same unfunny gags and undue ecchi content.
So I watched a bunch of series over the past few months, including Kimi ni Todoke, Potemayo, Bakemonogatari, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha and Sengoku Basara. They ranged from so-so, to good, to great. I could write a review of any or all of them. However, I just watched Baccano! and it was fucking awesome so I'm going to talk about that instead.
Based on the light novel series by Ryohgo Narita, it takes part mostly across several years in prohibition-era Manhattan (mainly 1930 to 1932) and also one particular night aboard a trans-continental express train, the Flying Pussyfoot. It's. about Mafiosi, Camorristi, gangsters, thieves, brutal murder, and... immortality: the catalyst for the "baccano" of the title (Italian for "din" or "commotion") is two bottles of immortality elixir that go missing and get mistaken for booze.
The viewpoint switches constantly between all of its large cast of characters, and also between time periods. It seems bewildering as of the end of first episode, but you quickly get used to it, and over time the bigger picture is cleverly built up until the whole story slots together and makes sense.
Said story has everything. Action, drama, suspense, comedy, romance, gore, whatever you like... and it does all of it very well. Not only this, but its one of those rare pieces of media where pretty much every character is awesome. The best are definitely Isaac and Miria, two idiotic, eccentric, but utterly loveable thieves, who unintentionally spread happiness wherever they go.
In any other series they would literally steal the show (they did steal the door to a museum that one time...), but the rest of the cast is so strong they're merely the icing on the cake. From the charming, magnanimous Maiza Avaro, the eager and sincere Firo Prochainezo, the occasionally bold crybaby Jacuzzi Splot, and the affectionate, mellow pyromaniac Nice Holystone...
to the sadistic, unpredictable Ladd Russo, the mute, single-minded Chane Laforet, the quiet, unassuming Ennis, and the calculating, power-hungry Szilard Quates, almost all of the main cast is distinctly memorable and likeable.
Given the setting, it was actually too weird for me to watch it in Japanese, so it's just as well that the English dub is also very good, with faithful accents and dialects all round. The two french-accented characters are a bit dodgy, and I think the acting is occasionally better in the Japanese dub (that and I fucking love Miria's japanese voice), but overall it's one of the best dubs I've seen, and definitely enhances the experience.
Overall, apart from being very unlike most anime (especially compared to the moe/fanservice/high-school trend in recent seasons) it takes what must be excellent source-material (having not read the novels I only have this second-hand) and adapts it into 13 (+3) episodes so cleverly you'd never even know it was an adaptation, with almost every aspect executed near-perfectly. Definitely a must-watch.
I would post better pictures, but I can't really be bothered to sift all the way through all 16 episodes to find more than these, so you can make do.
I finally broke down and watched the shitty camrip of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya and it was not as good as I was expecting.
There is basically no conflict at all in the story, and (apart from one sudden, but ultimately fairly inconsequential, twist near the end) entirely predictable. It's one of the most autopiloted plots I've ever seen. I'm sure it's a good adaptation (the animation is consistently high quality, the direction is good, and the score is great) but the story itself just doesn't do what it feels like it needs to be doing (trying not to spoil, here).
It has occured to me that the Haruhi franchise is basically "Denied: The Anime". The original airing of the first season was all about denying simple chronological exposition (which worked well), the new episodes in the re-airing were just about denying... non-frustration, what with Endless Eight, and Disappearance seems to be about promising some sort of satisfying resolution to this whole arc (particularly concerning the motivations of one character) but ultimately denying it.
Also I saw an intriguing blog post somewhere hypothesising that Kyoani originally wanted to adapt everything up to a certain point as the first season, but scheduling conflicts meant they couldn't. Then they decided to do Disappearance as a high budget movie (since it's the most popular novel), but Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody, Endless Eight and Sighs are pretty much necessary as build up to it, so they had to adapt those. However, those stories, in their original form, were not enough for a full season's worth of episodes, and they didn't want to make up a bunch of new material for filler. Which is what lead to the re-airing and the Endless Eight fiasco.
I have no idea of the veracity of all that but it makes tons of sense. Alot of people are apparently saying that this is the end of Melancholy as an adaptation, but the same blog poster reckoned that Kyoani would probably continue the story (which apparently takes a somewhat different direction from here) with a different title.