Ah, winter--a season where here on the Left Coast it's sunny and in the mid-70s. When the weather's like it was this weekend, watching Kanon felt like I was watching a madman's depiction of some alien, impossible world, a world where frozen water falls from the sky and piles up everywhere, and just for fun people build vaguely humanoid forms out of the stuff. I hear it's called "snow" and I vaguely remember it from the dimmest recesses of my memory, falling outside as I sang "searching for a distant star; heading off to Is-can-dar!" I'm not sure it's real, it's been a while since I've actually seen it fall from the sky, but Kyoani does make it look damn good.
So the winter anime season is halfway over, which is hard to believe--then again, I can't believe checks don't have "19" on the date line anymore, so maybe my internal clock's just running a little slow. Usually in winter the voices of Blogistan start to complain that there's nothing good out, can't wait for spring, etc., but this winter has been amazingly good, for me at least. Not only are Kimikiss, Clannad, and Bamboo Blade still running from fall, but three of the winter anime series in particular have just been awesome. And this is their story.
Spice and Wolf: Best ED ever. Peanut butterflies? I don't know if having the official lyrics makes it more comprehensible, but it's good to know there's still a big market in Japan for teaching English in case the US economy ends up in an implosion of debt. Speaking of the economy, if you told me a couple months ago that one of my favorite winter series would have a plot straight out of a medieval edition of the The Economist, a heroine with ookami-mimi, and a male lead who answers to Lawrence, I'd probably have said you should really lay off the crack, but that's where we are. Horo is just a great character overall, with more emotional range than the entire cast of Girls Bravo combined (OK, bad example, so does Gumby) and after episode 6 Lawrence gets some major points for guts. He really dodged a bullet with Chloe--I'd bet if he'd ended up with her, she'd have killed him in the middle of the night for leaving the toilet seat up or something.
Minami-ke Okawari: I know, it's different from the first season. The characters look different. Chiaki has bad gradient hair. In one scene the bastards drew the kitchen partition differently or something. Seriously, in the name of the Holy Bleeding Eyes of Jesus, what Unholy Monster, what freaking Hitler of the Anime World could commit such crimes?? (<-sarcasm) I honestly like the new character designs better, and while part of me wishes Asread went in a totally different direction and had Kana and Chiaki jumping out of an exploding E-3 with a giant squid on it, Okawari does a good job of putting a smile on my face, as much so as the first season did. While a lot of the reaction on the web seems to be negative, leading to a couple weeks' lag before subs appeared, I love it so far--and if Asread had gone first I wonder if Okawari would still be getting as much hate. Mako-chan is even funnier this season, Chiaki is still awesome--but they could run this series for a dozen seasons, with a different studio every time, and I probably still wouldn't get sick of it.
True Tears: Awesome animation (not a fan of the CG background characters, but otherwise looks really good), a likeable cast (except for the evil mom), and the drama is kicking up with episode 6--I'm surprised Hiromi's revelation came this early on, but the second half of the series should bring some really good drama. I'm wondering if the story would be better without Ai-chan, though, since zettai ryouiki or not she has a snowball's chance in hell and doesn't seem to be adding much to the story so far, but maybe they'll work her into things in a convincing fashion later on. Shinichiro's mom and the Evil Grandpa from H2O need to be sent to a deserted island somewhere with no food, just to see how long they can live on their own bile.
Even with all the good winter anime, my favorite series I'm watching right now is still Kimikiss--go Mao-neechan! Yuumi's nice and all, but she still doesn't seem to have much personality to me, aside from being rabu-rabu for Kouichi. If he does break up with Yuumi I'm thinking she'd sublimate on the spot.
P.S. As I go to actually post this it's raining and 40-something out...that's what I get for extolling the weather here...