Okay so I resigned myself to watching haruhi season 2 to find out if it really is that crappy -and yes, the Endless Eight are boring- INCREDIBLY boring... they could have strung it on for 3 eps, but 8? No. However it does bring back to the front of my mind that thought we were always having about whether it is really Haruhi or in fact Kyon who has the world altering powers. The time loop (which has apparently happened 15,000 times- at least they spared us that) ends each time with Kyon realising that he has not done his summer homework, and depressed at the fact that he knows the loop will repeat again, he does not bother doing it. So how is the time loop broken? No- Haruhi doesn't have any significant epithany or event, Kyon convinces them all to sit and finish their homework together (haruhi had already finished hers but she agrees to stay and help) - this event seems so insignificant from Haruhi's POV that i can't help but wonder who's really the blimmin unknowing omnipotent super-being here- and is the whole thing *actually* caused by Kyon not wanting to get in trouble for not having done his homework.
also weirdly- whilst the plot and dialogue is recycled, a lot of the animation seems new each time round... why go to this much effort to bore us all to tears?
exactly- they use the same scene, from different angles, or in a different loaction, or with different costumes. It just seems like such a huge length of effort to go to to repeat the same thing over and over. it's kind of interesting, in a boring way, like a spot the difference game...
And I'm still maintaining the viewpoint that Kyon is magical not Haruhi.
I can imagine that someone said "Okay we can do this 8 episode gimmick - but if we just repeat footage people will shit on it, so in order to prevent this we have to demonstrate that we're not just being lazy and this really is part of some grand artistic vision that we're working very hard on".
Or in other words, they totally underestimated people's determination to shit on things they find dull.
Thing is, I can see what they were going for- everytime you get to the end of the episode you're like "will it be this time? has he figured out how to break the loop?" which is almost exciting- but then no... like I said, doing this twice or even three times might just have been genius.it just goes on too long.
I know this thread is a few days old now but after my conversation with Em today I felt I had to add something. [WARNING IMPENDING WALL OF TEXT, my sincerest apologies to your attention spans]
Ally mentioned Eden of the East on the last page. I watched that, and it starts out AWESOME, but kind of feels like it doesn't deliver in the end. However, there are going to be two movies to tie up the plot so maybe it'll end well. It's worth checking out though.
Others worth watching? Well to be honest I've not been great at watching really recent series (only what the online community seems to really get in a frenzy over, like the new Haruhi episodes), I only started watching lots of anime over the past few months and that's mostly consisted of catching up on older series.
Have you seen Pani Poni Dash? If not you should watch it because it is exceedingly awesome. Judging by his avatar Tim probably has it on DVD (or at least downloaded). Hare + Guu has crappy-looking character designs but is actually genuinely funny (well, for the first two seasons, it gets a bit too serious business in the third). To clean out the bad taste of Endless Eight (and to a lesser extent Sighs), you might consider watching Haruhi-chan. Yes, it looks stupid, and it IS stupid, but I honestly can't deny that I laughed pretty goddamn hard at some of it.
Eeeeer, other stuff I've watched has either been mecha (Gunbuster + Diebuster, GaoGaiGar, Giant Robo, Gurren Lagann, which you've mentioned), non-mecha but still super manly (Kaiji), or slow-paced slice-of-life series (Aria, Hidamari Sketch, Hyakko to a lesser extent), and I'm only vaguely familiar with your tastes so I'm not sure you'd like those any of those. If that's not the case do say though.
Where to get anime? I use BakaBT, which you kind of have to keep a 0.5 ratio on but it's a really good, well-seeded site, especially for older series. They don't carry anime licensed by certain companies, though. For all other needs I go to Tokyo Toshokan, though I see AnimeSuki mentioned alot, too.
Also, while I haven't kept up that well with actually watching new series, I keep abreast of the hype, so here's a few that've caught my eye and that I intend to watch at some point soon
Kimi Ni Todoke sounds like a very sappy, sparkles and bubbles shoujo romance, but I get the impression it's very likeable.
People were going mad for Trapeze a little while ago. The hype seems to have died down a bit lately but I still see the odd discussion and it seems...interesting, at least. It seems like some sort of crazy psychadelic mindscrew comedy.
There's also Aoi Bungaku (Blue Literature), an adaptation of six modern Japanese literary classics. Sounds rather high-brow.
Taishou Yakyuu Musume is an adaptation of a series of novels about girls forming the first all-girl baseball team in 1920s Japan. Seemed to get a pretty positive reception. The character designs look a bit cutesified, though, so maybe it's one of those series intended to appeal more to lonely adult males.
For irreverant humour and social satire, the Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (Goodbye, Mr. Despair) series seems to be a perrenial favourite (the third season finished recently, reactions to that were mixed, though).
Of course, as I say, these are all just series that have caught my eye due to audience response, and, again, I'm not 100% sure of your tastes.
A good way to keep up with what's currently airing is Chartfag's site. Basically just provides a simple chart of what's airing each season. The archives only go back as far as summer 2008 but it's still useful. And sites like anidb (which I linked to above) and My Anime List can help get a better idea of what a series is like.
Also, to add what I said to Em earlier into what discussion there was about Haruhi, I think there's evidence both ways regarding who has the powers. As I said to you, while it's certainly possible that Kyon was causing summer to repeat because he didn't finish his homework, it's also entirely possible that Haruhi was causing the repititions because she still wasn't satisfied after completing her list (and could see her friends weren't either), but after the big study session she felt they'd had a proper, fulfilling summer, and THAT was why the loop ended.
Of course, to know more I'd have to read the novels. The Dissappearance arc (which is going to be adapted into a movie) sounds very interesting.
Also nobody really knows exactly why Endless Eight happened. I've heard that Kadokawa Shoten (publishers of the novels, who have control over the whole franchise) wanted to kill off the series after the author asked for more royalties, and so wanted to literally have the same episode aired eight times (thus not having to pay for those extra 7 episodes) to troll the hell out the fanbase and make them stop buying it, but then Kyoani decided to counter-troll them by actually re-animating all of them and thus being able to charge them for it. Of course, there's nothing to actually support this, and it could just have been Kyoani being dicks, or EVEN thinking they're actually being clever (or maybe the produces being dicks and the director trying to be clever in spite of this). Only now the DVDs of those episodes are actually selling so I don't know who's trolling who anymore.
I dunno about 2000-2003. I didn't really get into anime until 2003 itself, so I'd probably make it 2002-2005. Or alternatively I might say something completely different if I actually checked the dates of any series. These are mere technicalities.
But anyway, I've decided I'm going to try and ease myself back into the anime vibe by rewatching some good old series that I may have only watched through once anyway. This is part of the reason why my PSP has been dusted off for the first time in 18 months - the daily commute is the best time for anime.
I'm beginning with Gankutsuou (which wiki confirms to me is of 2004-5 vintage). The first two episodes may no longer be readable on my old CD-Rs but I know what happens in them anyway: They party on Luna, Albert gets himself in trouble, The Count swoops in and saves the day in what quite wrongly appears to be something of a coincidence. That's all really.
As I recall, it's a little slow for about 4 episodes, then really ramps up the intensity around episodes 7 - 13, before bobbing along towards a decent finish.
When I've finished the whole series of Haruhi (because of the weird episode order it is a BITCH to find all the episodes as everyone is numbering them differently) want me to put on a disk and send to you? without the hassle of downloading and organising it, bits of it are actually quite watchable- even the endless 8. Like I say, it's *almost* genius... just not quite.