salinea: (do go on)
Well this year I utterly lost my motivation of doing anime reviews. Partly that was due to being disappointed with many anime series, and I guess the anime fandom. Partially it's... I don't even know :/ Perhaps just an anime overdose. Only so many shows you can watch and pay real attention to and it's easy to get carried off into trying out a lot of series every semester.

Anyway I especially was concentrating on finishing watching series which I started last year so I could finally get rid of the clutter of shows-in-mid-watch. I still have a few left, though, but those are some I'm more interested in. So, yay!

The Awesome

Read more... )

The Good

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The Okay / Average

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The Mixed Feelings

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The Disapointing

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The Dropped ones

Read more... )

(2009 for comparison)
(I don't think I did this in 2010)
salinea: (Default)
I'm going to keep spamming you folk lately. Sorry. Figured that if I was to post some impressions on the anime series of this season, I better do it now, since tomorrow we enter the land of Dance with Dragons, and I'll be busy posting and reading about other things.


N° 6: BONES production + intriguing SF setting + slashy vibe+Noitamina slot; this is hooking me fast and I really liked the direciton and pacing of the first episode and the chemistry between the two leads.

Usagi Drop : the other Noitamina series; quiet, delicate slice of life drama about a thirty year old man ending up adopting the young illegitimate daughter of his grandfather and his dad. I thought the cuteness/poignancy felt a little tiny bit forced there; but otherwise as gorgeous as you'd expect a series with this premise, and the little girl really is well characterised and adorable.

Mawaru Penguindrum : the return of the great Ikehura (aka director of Utena) to animation. I can't say I know what to do of the first ep. The premise wouldn't really appeal to me on the text, the animation/art was gorgeous and disconcerting, and the episode filled with intriguing weirdness. I'll take it on faith in any case.

Natsume Yuujinchou San: *squeeeeee* the return of my beloved Natsume Yuujinchou. Love the manga, loved the first two anime series, what do you expect? It starts with a nice episode that does it job of reminding us of the premise well, then tells its bittersweet story wonderfully.

Blood C: I may be a CLAMP fangirl, but I just finished watching Blood + which didn't impress me all that much (terrible pacing that show had), and this first episode didn't really impress me. Very boring characterisation overall, though the animation is pretty and I loved the colour palette. I'll probably pass.

Ikoku Meiro no Croisée: historical moe series set in Paris of the late 19th. Ok, I only watched the first episode cuz I was curious about how they'd handle Paris ^_^ anyway. It's not actually bad. I can see some appeal to the characters and their dynamics, the art does cute and gorgeous well, I love the focus on art nouveau ironworks (love that stuff ^^) Probably not enough to hold my attention though (given that I don't like moe much).

And I'll continue watching Tiger & Bunny and Ao no Exorcist

That's it for now (I dunno if there are other stuff down the line).
salinea: (Default)
I've watched so many series last year, I think I'm going to make a separate post for the liveaction shows.

The Awesome
Natsume Yuujinchou (S1&2): The very good adaptation of one of my favourite fantastique shoujo manga. Here's hoping to a third season!
Mononoke: Gorgeous art and chilling historical horror at its best.
Michiko e Hatchin: Action road movie series about a young badass orphan girl and a female gangster on the run in Brazil of some years back. This one really caught my heart.
Black Lagoon (S1&2): Comparable to Michiko e Hatchin with original setting and many badass female characters, this one has slightly less "heart" and compensates for it with gonzo action & dark existential musings.
Mushishi: Sublime historical supernatural cases stories!
Baccano!: Tarantinesque action & narrative deconstruction meet alchemical immortality in the 30's. Woohoo!
Aoi Hana: High school f/f romance & slice of life at its best, served by beautiful animation.
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0: Poignant catastrophe story.

The Good
Shion no Ou: Murder mystery meets Japanese Chess series, excellent plotting served by a break neck pacing.
Spice and Wolf (S1&2): Fantasy with a focus on economics & the relationship between a wandering merchant and a trickster wolf goddess.
Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood (on going): A pretty good adaptation of an excellent manga series; after a few clumsy first episodes it really took its strides and really delivered in the high points of the storytelling so far.
Ghost Hunt: Extremely solid supernatural case stories with endearing regular characters.
Ghost Hound: Horror & mystery series with a great creepy atmosphere and excellent characterisation.
Kodomo no Omocha (on going): An adorable and very funny old shoujo series (from the 90's) about an hyperactive ten years old child actress and her day to day life. I've been stuck in the middle of this one because I couldn't find good subtitled version of the episodes after ep 40 ;_;
Taishou Yakyuu Musume: Adorable and well crafted comedy series about a female baseball team in the 20's.
Le Chevalier d'Eon: Swashbuckling meets alchemical zombies meets esoteric conspiracies meets genderfuck in 18th century Europe.
Sasameki Koto: Well crafted High school comedy & f/f romance with very endearing characters.
Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann: Reconstruction of the mecha genre. Even for someone like me who rather hates the genre this show is a love letter too, this series stood out as pretty awesome and communicative in enthusiasm.
Towards the Terra: Epic old school space opera with psychic powers.

The Okay
Ristorante Paradiso: One of the two series I finished watching this year which I failed to write a review of (oops). A slice of life show around a restaurant in Rome which focus on, err, fetishizing old men with glasses. I'm a bit at a loss about what to say about it, it's no unpleasant to watch and rather refreshing in its originality, but it was strongly lacking in plot and characterisation.
Kazemakase Tsukikake Ran (on going): A female samurai and a female kung fu warrior wander Japan and fight crime injustice. I'm only 2 episodes from the ending. It's a rather charming chambara show despite some weakness of the episodic plots and the way the sidekick is mostly used as the butt monkey of the story.
Requiem for the Phantom: Noir story about assassins, a little bit overdone and with some flaws, but still decent enough overall in terms of story and characters.
Rental Magica (on going): I'm halfway through this urban fantasy stories about a team of Magicians for hire. Pretty slim characterisation and plots, but the magical system is interesting at least.

The Mediocre
Kannazuki no Miko: Mecha & magical girl series plagued by a horrible lead and trying too hard for fetish tropes.
Daughter of 20 Faces: Great female Phantom Thief premise undercut by terrible storytelling.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya S2: Repetitive sequel :p (worst time loop story ever)

Mixed Feelings ones
Ayakashi: Japanese Ghost Stories: Classical horror stories anthology of very uneven qualities.
Sayonara Zetsubuou Sensei (S1&S2): The other anime series I finished watching (well, up to the season season at least) which I failed to review. Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is tough to describe... imagine South Park with better art and more fanservice? Dark&morbid humour, parody, puns & gorgeous animation meet in a crackful fest around the class of the weirdest high school students of Japan and their suicidal teacher. First season is pretty good (if frequently offensive), but the second loses most of its charm and originality.
Bakemonogatori (on going): Interesting graphics and supernatural cases stories but undermined by harem dynamics & disturbing fanservice.
Kemonozume: Weird supernatural love story with a dark and ironic atmosphere. Pretty good up through the surrealist ending. Gets prop for originality and art.
Simoun: Steampunk war story in a genderfucked world; a great setting and characterisation but too many flaws of pacing and storytelling.
Spiral: It's hard to decide if a mystery focussed series is good or bad WHEN THERE IS NO ENDING! (grrr)

The ones I dropped
Fate/Stay Night: Contemporary magical tournament for the Graal of teams of one Magician and one Heroes of Legend servant. So many bad sides to this one... a terrible lead character, annoying harem dynamics, bad graphism and animation. On the other hand one of the female lead is made of awesome and has great snarky interaction with her own servant. In the end i gave it up when I read some spoilers about more of the world/story. It's just... not my kind of stuff.
Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji: A very weird series about a desperate loser taking part in gambling tournaments in hope of winning enough money to repay his debts. Very idiosyncratic in style, so it gets prop for originality and for trying for interesting themes about the darkness of human nature and hope one can have nevertheless; although the pacing was sometimes very annoying and oddly enough has zero female characters. I dropped it because I'm depressed enough in my life, I don't need a show to increase my anxiety level. XD
Eureka Seven: Surfing mecha shows. Pretty intriguing setting and overall story, but I got annoyed by the lead - obligatory 14 year old boy - and how everything in the story is focussed on him and his romance with obligatory Emotionless girl, and all the relatively cool secondary characters only get to play peanut gallery to his antics. Bad pacing too.
Kemono no Souja Erin: Coming of age fantasy. Dropped it after 6 episodes because it seemed to much built as a children show; but with the superlative reviews I've seen of it lately, I think I'll probably pick it up again.

The not sure yet
Ergo Proxy (on going): Post apocalyptic/cyberpunk mystery. I'm a bit more than halfway through and it's a pretty interesting stories if a bit tough to get into at first. My final opinion will depend a lot of the ending and how it resolves of the mystery, but it'll probably be at least "good".
Legend of Galactic Heroes (on going): Very old, very epic, and very long Space Opera drama series. I'm in the middle of S2 on a total of 4 seasons (not counting the movies and side stories). It's really good, with excellent characters, plotting and political intrigue and battle scenes, with most of the flaws I can blame on the age of the series (mid 80s to early 90s).
Bokurano (on going): Deconstruction of the humongous mecha genre, with a lot of death and character exploration. It's been pretty good so far, although I'll need to compare it to the manga sometimes.
Kobato (on going): CLAMP's latest slice of life/supernatural adaptation. Cute and pretty pleasant to watch so far.
Armed Librarians of Bantorra (on going): Action/mystery series in a weird diesel punk world where everyone leaves a "book" (a stone tablet than can be read by touch) behind them when they die. So far I have mixed feelings: animation is pretty bad and characters are somewhat clicheed but the storytelling has been pretty good and the setting is intriguing.
Aoi Bungaku (on going): Anthology adaptation of Japanese Literature classics. So far what I've seen has been stylistically awesome, but the source material is seldom to my taste.

- on going means I'm still in the process of watching it, not that it's still being broadcasted. Although, in some cases, it is still being broadcasted.
- Links go to my reviews of the series, when I made one

Total series: 41 (well shit)
Best series overall: Mushishi
Best Male Lead: Natsume
Best Female Lead: Michiko
Best Art/Character Design: Mononoke
Best Animation: Baccano!
Best Plot: Baccano!
Best Storytelling: Mushishi
Best Soundtrack: Mushishi

See the recap of the year before

icon posts

8 May 2009 02:54 am
salinea: (Default)
Natsume Yuujinchou x40
Miscellaneous x3 (Tokyo Babylonx2, Sarah Connor Chroniclesx1)


Natsume Yuujinchou )

Miscellaneous icons )

Comment & credit if you take them, please
Concrit always welcome

(so my first attempt at crossposting from DW: failed; and my LJ entries for some obscure reason looks better on LJ than on DW... oh well)
salinea: (Default)
Fulfilling my resolution of writing reviews for series as I go, here's my opinion on the anime Natsume Yuujinchou, first season

An episodic shoujo series about a highschool boy, Natsume, who has the gift of seeing spirits and monsters; and which has always considered this as a curse - being seen as weird by his classmates, and being passed on from adoptive families to adoptive families. His grandmother had the same power and used it to bully spirits into forming many a "pact of friendships" which she collected in a book which is now in Natsume's possession. This brings Natsume a lot of unwanted attentions from yokais which want to steal the book for their own advantage, or to be released from their pacts of friendship. Natsume forms an agreement with one such powerful creature - Nyanko Sensei - which takes the form of a Maneki Neko to be his bodyguard against the other spirits, and in exchange will inherit the book of pacts once Natsume dies. Meanwhile Natsume will try to release as many yokai from the pacts as he can.

(this was my summary of the manga I just copy-pasted. I'm lazy, okay? :D )

Loving the manga a great deal, I was a bit apprehensive of the anime. I was wrong to be: this is an excellent adaptation, which manages overall to catch quite well the atmosphere and the characters from the manga, both in terms of animation, music and voice acting; and even manages to improve on it on a few points, such as making Natsume's school mates more present through out and fleshing their characterisation better (we also gain a bit on how Natsume look in their PoV, which is sort of funny in that he's much more cool in a mysterious way than when we're in his PoV). It also avoids to repeat the basis of the series as the very episodic manga did every chapter, also a plus XD and tied up a lot of storyline cutely together in the final episode (as well as including hints of some further developments in the manga, hehe) There are only one or two stories I found a bit weaker than their manga counterparts - stretching the pathos or cuteness too heavily; but nothing to really complain about. All in all, it has deepened my fondness for this series, and I'm now curious to see what the fandom is made up of and if there are fics with my ship.
salinea: (smug)
I never properly most of the manga I read. I justify this to myself by saying I don't like reviewing little bits of stories, but I don't even when I suddenly devour a huge chunk or even complete series - so, yeah. Let's try to remedy that.

Natsume Yuujin Chou - titled the "le Pacte des Yokai" in the French translation - is an episodic shoujo series about a highschool boy, Natsume, who has the gift of seeing spirits and monsters; and which has always considered this as a curse - being seen as weird by his classmates, and being passed on from adoptive families to adoptive families. His grandmother had the same power and used it to bully spirits into forming many a "pact of friendships" which she collected in a book which is now in Natsume's possession. This brings Natsume a lot of unwanted attentions from yokais which want to steal the book for their own advantage, or to be released from their pacts of friendship. Natsume forms an agreement with one such powerful feeling - Nyanko Sensei - which takes the form of a Maneki Neko to be his bodyguard against the other spirits, and in exchange will inherit the book of pacts once Natsume dies. Meanwhile Natsume will try to release as many yokai from the pacts as he can.
I've started hearing about the anime adaption of this series - mostly in good - a lot lately. There's three volumes of the manga translated in French so far, and it is very good. The art is very thin, delicate and expressive in a way that suits perfectly the sensitive and melancholy nature of the stories. There's also a lot of natural landscapes adding to the lovely poetic atmosphere. The characters and their relationship (Nyanko Sensei is a rather snarky trickster mentor) is well depicted. Despite their very episodic nature, the stories are well developped and usually quite touching, articulated around themes of loneliness, friendship and the difficult of connections between the human world and the spirit world.

Hyakki Yakou Shou - "le cortège des cents démons" in the French translation - is a series with a very similar summary : Ijima Ritsu is the grandson of horror stories writer and medium and has had the same power to see spirits and monsters since he was a little kid. Before his death his grandfather set spirit Aoarashi to protect Ritsu from other monsters - and to possess the just recently dead body of Ritsu's father. Follow episodic stories of Ritsu dealing with some kind of supernatural happenstances, being (snarkily) protected by Aorarashi and bemoaning about his power.
Despite the similarity of formula, Hyakki Yakou Shou has a very different mood from Natsume Yujin Chou, being more truely horror, with a touch of dark humour, and less focussed on feelings, and targetted to a slightly older audience. It's slightly less epsiodic in nature too, having a larger cast of regular characters, including two of Ritsu's (female) cousins who also have some medium powers if less powerful ones. It's just as high quality, though, very intriguing and compelling stories.
Sadly the translation was discontinued after the 6th volume due to lack of money (the series is still ongoing in Japan); and the scanlations available don't reach this point yet.

To keep going on with traditionnal Japanese supernatural stories, Onmyouji is an adaption from famous Baku Yumemakura novel which also had two movies adapted from it; about legendary onmyouji Abe no Seimei solving supernatural cases during the Heian era along with his friend court noble Hiromasa who plays The Watson to Seimei's Sherlock.
This is a gorgeous manga, with exquisite and detailed art (although I occasionnaly have trouble telling characters apart but I blame the Heian fashion - all those hats) and great storytelling. The stories are subtle, complex, sometimes creepy, sometimes touching. Seimei's character is awesome, mischevious and charismatic, and play up to Hirosama's earnest, clumsy and kind personnality with a lot of humour and chemistry. The French adaptation is also extremely well done, with several coloured pages, and annexes going into depth about historical, geographical and esoteric details. There's three volumes translated so far out of a total of 12.

Now for something completely different, Kami no Shizuku - "Les Gouttes de Dieu" in French - is a seinen manga about wine. More specifically, when a famous oenologist dies, his testament determines that the one to inherit his impressive wine collection will be, between his son, Shizuku Kanzaki, who's never tasted wine in his life so disgusted was he with his father's extantricities, and his adoptive son another oenologist; a contest in identifying 12 great wines from descriptions. In order to be his father's inheritor, Shizuku will have to learn all about wine very quickly, with the help of apprentice sommelière Shinohara Miyaba.
One of the thing I love about manga is the capacity to pick any random subject a tell a great story out of it. This is the case here : the art is beautiful, the characters are endearing, and the story is actually very compelling... Sure, it's far-fetched that Shizuku keeps on falling onto situations which his growing knowledge of wine helps solve and lets him develop his knowledge at the same time; and, sure, the way wine is described through full panel landscapes is a ridiculously case of what do you mean it is not awesome... but it works. It makes the idea of wine tasting as something cool, plot carrying and full of imagery accessible, and, also, it's hysterical. Characters both main and secondary and very well developed and plays in and out of the story showing a great mastery of storytelling. I've read up to volume 4 so far, and the plot develops, slowly but surely, with a lot of suspense, humour and entertainment. If this manga doesn't make you into an alcoholic, you have no heart.

That's it, I'm done making you drool about the stuff that gets translated into French for today.


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