A couple weeks into the spring season, once again I find myself being damn glad I'm an anime fan, because some of these series are just incredible. Sadly, there are those who have not seen The Light that is anime, and watching Haruhi it is hard not to shed tears of sorrow for Those Unbelievers who think anime is just "boobs and giant robots". I'll have them know a lot of anime doesn't have giant robots at all. In any case, here are my rankings for the season so far:
The Big Three
#1 - Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu: No surprise here, other than Kyoto Animation surpassed my already high expectations. To some, it's the story that matters and the animation is irrelevant, but to me the quality of animation is part of why I'm an anime fan, that feeling you get when a scene is so detailed it's like you're watching a moving piece of art. That's exactly what watching Haruhi is like for me. The cast is awesome too--in a world of anime that at times has some pretty cookie-cutter characters (your average dojiko, meganeko, tsundere, or unremarkable male lead girls fall all over) it's refreshing to see someone like Haruhi that you can't say "oh, she's just like X from series Y". The plot, too, is very, very unique and interesting--the novels just provide great material to work with. I wish it was 41 episodes and not 14, but I'll take what I can get.
#2 - Utawarerumono: Granted, I've only seen the first two episodes, and this isn't in danger of knocking off Haruhi for the #1 spot, but I like this so far. My last post explains most of the reasons why, but they've definitely got me hooked.
#3 - School Rumble 2nd Term: The first two episodes haven't been roll on the floor funny, but this is still a great series--good animation, a memorable (and getting to be HUGE) cast, and a seriously messed up relationship chart.
Middle of the Pack
#4 - Himawari: Only seen ep 1, but it's passable so far. I was hoping for another Kage Kara Mamoru, this seems a little light on the comedy, but it's well animated and there's potential for drama. Plus it's about ninjas, but set in the future with...er, test-tube ninjas.
#5 - Soul Link: I'll be honest, there are only two reasons I'm watching this. The first is it has Shiori from Kanon in it, even though in Soul Link she inexplicably goes by "Aya". The second is the XO has Onsokumaru's seiyuu. I have to laugh every time I hear his voice just because it invariably reminds me of something funny he said in Shinobuden.
#6 - Disgaea: Ep 1 was so-so, but with Etna's arrival in ep 2 this picked up--she's definitely the most entertaining part of the show so far for me. I think the whole cast may be anorexic, though.
#7 - Joshikousei: Well, if I had a fanservice rating this would get #1 by a mile, but unfortunately the first episode wasn't that funny. I have episode 2 sitting on my hard drive, and I mean to watch it--I almost watched it yesterday, but I ended up watching Haruhi again instead. Getting close to falling into dropped-land, but I hear ep 3 is better, so I'll probably give it another week.
Strawberry Panic: Gave up in the middle of episode 2--it's yuri without the fanservice, which to quote Ataru Moroboshi is like beefbowl without the beef. If it takes this long just to get Nagisa and Etoile to kiss, odds are they won't bump uglies until episode 15.4 trillion.
Magipoka: I was barely able to finish episode 1, the comedy just missed with me. I'm usually pretty easily amused, but I don't think I laughed once watching it. Unless reviews are stellar on the next few episodes, think I'm done with this one.
Sasami ~ Mahou Shoujo Club: Before I heard Kyoto Animation was doing Haruhi, this was what I was looking forward to the most this spring, just because Pretty Sammy was hilarious. It doesn't sound like this new series has the same sense of humor...and since it isn't subbed yet, I may never find out, although I'm keeping my hopes up for now...
Not Even Anime Related, So WTF Is This Doing Here
The Back Dormitory Boys - I read about them in The Economist of all places--two Chinese college students in their dorm room wearing Houston Rockets jerseys and lip-syncing to the Backstreet Boys. I'm not sure what this says about globalization, but it's pretty funny, and evidently they're really famous in China now. Good thing when I was in college we didn't have this newfangled "Inter-net" thing, or God only knows what we would have done...