Yay! I finally have internet again!! Actually, I had it at the later half of last week, but I needed time to prepare new posts and, as luck would have it, the winter season just finished so here are my personal rankings for last season and what I will most likely be watching for the next. I normally write this a few weeks after the new season so I get a feel for the shows but I thought I’d make a change. Just this once.

Best Show: Shigofumi

OK, lets get this out of the way first, The winter season was a sea of mediocrity. the quality of shows varied but by the end of them all, there was not a single one which truly stood out  or were particularly memorable.

Shigofumi is no exception. However, due to it’s, frankly, incredible first few eps and interesting talking points, it stands above the rest. In fact, it was the closest to giving me the “must watch the next ep” feel out of all the shows (excluding Gundam 00 which wins outright on the basis of having mecha) .

Shigofumi was a really strange show which had some of the worst elements of storytelling (independent episodes) and made them work. In fact, the stand alone eps were often better than the ones which pushed the main storyline along! The rather cynical “look at the dark side of humanity”  idea is nothing new (Hell Girl comes to mind) but i felt that Shigofumi did a better job than the other shows using the same angle. I felt a little personal affinity for the characters in ep6 (the bullying ep) and the first 2 eps really were quite an incredible bit of storytelling.

Yet the eps which explained Fumikas past didn’t grab me like some of the other eps, which is why the show started sliding into mediocrity. How could it sustain itself if the main story felt weaker than the rest?

Nevertheless, there were some real gems in the 13 ep series which is why I call it the show of the season. It gave me the first “WTF!!??” moment I have had in a very long time, and that was in the first episode. I can honestly say that I did not see the end of ep1 coming. And that says a lot!!! Heck, I was able to predict most of the last 1/3rd of Mai HiME but that had me stumped! In a good way mind you, not the Mai Otome ” actually this girl is the missing princess. We pointed you towards this other character for most of the season but there was this major piece of evidence which negates all that and proves that our girl is the princess. BTW, we’re showing that evidence after the revelation!”

Man, that pissed me off…

Runner up: Gundam 00/Shakugan No Shana II

Best ending: True Tears/Gundam 00

A tie for this one. I’ll start with true tears first. This won, pretty much because it had the tidiest ending. The guy got the girl he always loved from the start. They’re happy. The girls who lost out took something precious from their time and experiences with him. The end!! It’s so simple but surprisingly few boy meets girl shows do this well!

Clannad would also fit this, arguably better than True tears, but technically, it’s not finished yet so i didn’t include it.

As for Gundam 00, it was the ending I wished they had for Code Geass (more on that a bit later). it was written in such a way that they could have technically ended it there. The only real sign of a second season was in the epilogue. If you removed that, then the show could have stood on its own and the writers didn’t seem like they were taking the fact of a second season as an excuse to slack off!  Good Job Sunrise!!

Worst Ending: KimiKiss/ H2O: footprints in the sand

Another tie simply because I couldn’t decide which one I hated more. Kimikiss was so close to having an ideal ending but it was too damn abrupt. By the end of the season, I was asking myself “is that it?” There was no sense of closure, even though the pairings were all matched up!! The show really needed just one more epilogue ep to properly wrap things up but we didn’t get that! instead it was just a feeling of emptyness.

H2O was even worse!! It was a perfectly acceptable episode right until the end. The tied up all the loose ends, threw in a bit of tragedy in there, got the main protagonist to overcome his grief and illness on his own and we even got to see the characters after they had grown up (though hamaji was kinda freaky. I feel sorry for his son) so why in gods name did they have to ruin it in the last 30 seconds by adding a bullshit magical super happy ending??

Protip: don’t just add a ridiculous  plot hack like a resurrection unless the storyworld accommodates such things! The resurrection was so out of character, you could hear collective jaws drop around the world from viewers watching that 1 scene!! Had there been some precedence that it was a possibility throughout the series then fine, but this was all based in the real world. Even the “magical fairy” character had to obey the laws of the world and could not affect things, so how the hell can she do that one thing right at the end? dammit all to hell. It was a pretty good show otherwise!!!

Biggest disappointment: Minami-Ke Okawari

To be fair, had it been the first to air, it would have fared much better. The problem is that it simply doesn’t compare to the first season. I can respect them doing something different but at least try and make them work!

The shows humour kinda reminded me of Lucky star in that, when the jokes worked, they were very funny, but they didn’t work often. However, for okawari, the problem wasn’t due to the content they were joking about but more about the lack of comical timing. The format didn’t work as well either. The first season did a 4-koma esque format where we had several separate events with their own joke. thus, the jokes were quick and punchy while Okawari spent too much time preparing since it was more like 1 long story.  So by the time the joke came around, the impact had been lost.

Granted, Minami-ke was a hard act to follow, but it still doesn’t compare.

And now for the new shows. Since they have yet to air, it’s going to be a little different. There will still be 3 tiers. The top ones are basically ones I will watch to the end even if they end up being sheer crap. The second tier shows are ones which have piqued my interest and will be given a few chances before getting dropped. The 3rd tier is the equivalent of “why the hell am I watching this?” One wrong step and game over!

Must watch

Macross F

Running away with the lead is this show. If I was only able to watch 1 series this season, this would be it. It has a good chance of sucking (esp with Kawamori at the helm) but I was so seduced by the first ep aired at Christmas that I simply don’t care!!

Code Geass R2

And coming a distant second is Code Geass: Lelouche of the rebellion R2 (henceforth known simply as “R2″).

I will admit that the last few eps of Code Geass didn’t really grab me. It felt as though the writers were throwing too much in with no intention of clearing up loose ends as they knew they had a second season to clean up the mess they will make. And a glorious mess it was with a (non) cliffhanger to boot!!

R2 Has a lot to answer to!!! Not even Karen in a bunny suit will satiate me!! It’s not that I disliked Geass, but the end was lacklustre for me, even though it started off so strongly. I have some high hopes for R2 but a sequel show which comes off the back of a first season which left quite the mess to clean up compared to a show which had me cleaning up my drool because it was so gorgeous…

I think you now know why Frontier beats R2 for me!!

Kamen no Maid guy

Take full metal panic, replace the whispered power of Kaname and replace it with the chance to inherit a fortune and replace souske with a massive burly guy.

finally, remove all elements of sci fi and seriousness (so no mithril or amalgam stuff) and you pretty much have Masked maid guy! Besides, with a name like that, How can I not watch it?

Blassrietter

The next Gonzo show made in collaboration  with nitro+. I’ll admit that the premise is only mildly interesting to me (some kind of sentai like show) so this would normally be in the 2nd tier. But it gets a jump due to it’s distribution method.

Gonzo is using this and another show called “The tower of Druaga” to experiment with streaming distribution. These shows are going to be placed on several streaming sites such as niconico and youtube on the day of broadcast. Furthermore, these eps will be ENGLISH SUBBED!!!! This a very interesting experiment and may prove to be an effective way of exposing shows to the western fans without massive overheads so I’m watching this show to support what the company is doing! I’d watch it anyway but this just gives me further reason to do so!!

Interesting but meh

Allison & Lilia

A quick read on the synopsis over at random curiosity has  piqued my interest so I think I’ll give this show a go. Who knows, maybe i’ll be a sleeper hit like Denno Coil was…

To Love-ru

I’m pretty much watching this purely on the recommendation by Danny choo. It’s also a fanservice show and there’s space on my plate for one or 2 of those every season!!

Kanokon

Speaking of 2 service shows, here’s the other one!! The story is about a big breasted fox-girl falling in love with the main guy so service ahoy!! It’s also being animated by Xebec and I’m a bit of a xebec fanboy… OK, alot of a Xebec fanboy but I tend to enjoy their original series (Fafner, Nadesico and Stellvia, lots of stellvia) more.

Special A

Plot goes something like the main girl is in constant competition with our main guy. She’s always #2 while he’s comfortably #1 so she ends up challenging him at everything she can to try and beat him and take the #1 spot.

Just the synopsis had me smiling and the first few volumes of KareKano followed a similar theme and I enjoyed those the most so I think I’m going to like this show! Not quite must watch material, but it may go up.

Kyoran Kazoku Nikki

Where to start with this one…

Basically, there’s a prophecy that the child of a god of destruction will be born and destroy the world. Problem is, nobody knows who or what it is, so they gathered up the potential candidates and stuck them in a house to form a rather dysfunctional family and hope that the child will simply decide not to destroy the earth by growing attached to this “family”. The Simpsons ain’t got nothing on this!!

Real Drive

Production IG and Masamune Shirow team up yet again to give us this show. Danny did a post about this show so I won’t dwell on it much. Sufficed to say, the staff alone makes this show worthy of a look, but I don’t know if it will go the way of Stand alone complex (i.e. good) or Innocence (i.e. really dull and unnecessarily heavy on the morals and ethics.)

I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan of shirow and I don’t know why ppl rave about his work so much. but with the right staff, his works can be gems. Lets just hope they got the mix right this time too.

Why am I watching these?

Nabari no O

Pretty much, the only strength of this show is that it’s a JC Staff show which keeps most of the cast of Shakugan no shana and Zero No Tsukaima. For that reason alone, I’m willing to give it a shot. Not expecting much tho.

Vampire Knight

Scrap the above, I know exactly why I’m watching this horribly bishi looking show.

Yui Horie as Yūki Cross

Yup, that’s pretty much it. Being a HoChan fan, I’ll give this show one chance. Not many VAs can make me try a show purely cos they’re one of the main characters but Yui Horie can! Yukari Tamura too (how else do you think I ended up watching all 3 Nanoha series?)

And no, Aya Hirano is NOT one of my elites!! Satsuki Yukino is tho!!

That’s all folks! A fair few show compared to last season and a few very interesting ones in there too. I may also try and fit in shows which I missed out on first time round, Like Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei.

What about you guys, anything on the list (other than R2) which you are looking forward to?

Regular blogging should continue from now on, unless odin sphere and No more heroes keep their vice like grip on me…

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