2010 Anime Review

God Tier

So Ra No Wo To

Some of the most gorgeous art this side of Yoshitoshi ABe; characters who’re instantly endearing and have a natural chemistry; an engaging central narrative that pushes it one step farther than shows of its like—Sora no Woto wasn’t only great, but surprising. I loved it from the first episode, but it constantly found new ways for me to love it—for the art and animation, the impressively developed characters, engrossing world, fantastic directing, and consistently interesting episodic plots—tied together by an even-more-interesting dramatic plot. What makes Sora no Woto my favorite anime of 2010 is that there are so many aspects which I adore, and which have kept me rewatching the episodes, finding new things to say or to think about them. It’s a show that nags at the back of my mind, asking me to watch it again and find the next gem of knowledge or interpretation that’ll make me love it even more. This is the kind of show I’ll still be blogging about years down the line, and I love that, because it’s so much fun to blog.

Posts I did on this anime: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Eps 4 and 5, Episode 6, On Talent

Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 1st

Never has the tale of a girl winning the friendship of her rival looked so god damn good! The Nanoha movie is special not just for being amazing, but for being amazing in replacement of a shitty series, and creating a magnificent springboard into the second season, which it rivals in brilliance (perhaps surpassing it by way of production quality). This film is wildly fun to watch and easily rewatchable, not to mention a perfect excuse to introduce my friends to the wonder of mahou shoujo anime. I love the genre, and Nanoha takes everything that makes it great and writes it for an adult audience without losing any of the magic. The final scene is one of the best emotional climaxes in anime, even if it was already done in the original show. What the original doesn’t have, however, is one of the best aerial dogfights I’ve seen.

Posts I did on this anime: Recommendation

K-On!!

The dialog and seiyuu performances in this series almost transcend anime as I know it. I can’t think of any pair of characters whose interactions are as entertaining as those that Satou Satomi and Toyosaki Aki create in Ritsu and Yui respectively. I single them out for their godliness, but that’s not to mistakenly forget that the other actors and their characters are all superb as well. Kyoto Animation continues to prove that they’re amongst the best production studios in TV anime. No other studio has the sheer attention to detail that they do, nor the general brilliance in directing. K-On is always entertaining, and at times even profoundly emotional. It has an unmistakable stage presence not unlike its own characters, which is no-doubt intentional. Add to that some excellent openings and endings, which are vitally important, because while a weak opening or ending can rarely hurt an anime, a strong one can make it all the more legendary. The only thing holding me at bay with K-On is that not every episode is equally brilliant. There are definitive god-tier episodes, great ones, a slew of average ones, and a couple of rather poor ones. The great outweighs the merely good, though, and rewatches should prove vital to the series’ strength.

Posts I did on this anime: Eps 1-6, Episode 7, Episode 20

Strike Witches 2

I couldn’t have prepared myself for how much awesomeness would come from season 2 of Strike Witches. I enjoyed the first series a lot, even if I never thought of it as something special, so I was expecting the same kind of laid-back enjoyment from this. Instead, I got a show that constantly kicked ass from start to finish and left me begging for more. The only thing that could’ve been better about Strike Witches 2 is that it could’ve been longer. Besides that, every episode had a crowning moment of awesome for one of its characters, and all of those characters etched their names into my heart. From a special attack that rivals the awesomeness of a super robot move to one of the most ingenious action scenes of the year, I was always impressed. Episodes flew by and made me look forward to watching them again, which I’ll be doing sooner rather than later with the uncensored blu-ray rips coming out. This is the best kind of popcorn entertainment, and something I want to show my friends.

Posts I did on this anime: Moments

Top Tier

FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood (2nd Half)

Perfection in storytelling and writing. I’ve said before that I’m not big on plot-driven anime because I have a hard time caring about the stories—FMAB made it impossible not to care with the most engrossing, brilliantly written, and thorough plot that I’ve witnessed. Romi Paku and Kugimiya Rie, two of my favorite seiyuu, both deliver one of their best performances as Ed and Al Elric respectively, and among the gigantic cast of characters, nearly all are memorable and lovable. Studio Bones brought the thunder with probably the highest-quality animation to appear with such consistency in a weekly series of this length. They proved again and again that no one in the industry does better fight animation and direction than they do with superb and inventive action scenes. FMAB deserves to be considered a masterpiece, and among the decade’s anime canon.

Posts I did on this anime: Review, Episode 26, Episode 54

Bakemonogatari (Eps 14+15)

The last two episodes of Bakemonogatari seemed to justify the rest of the series. I liked Bakemonogatari—not too much at first, but more and more, and then I had to rethink it all at the end. It made me realize that I did care about the characters and the story. It wasn’t “just another Nisioisin work” like I’d first thought, but an excellent anime.

Posts I did on this anime: (Not including posts on eps 1-13) Episode 15

Shiki

I hate that I have to write this before the last episode’s aired, but Shiki is the most depressing and emotionally gripping anime that I’ve had the masochistic pleasure of watching. It starts off a smart and idiosyncratic horror that always seems to be wearing a smile on its face. Things get stranger and stranger, but more and more thrilling, until a gigantic shift turns the fun and smiles into horror and agony. From episode 18 forward, Shiki became brutally hard-to-watch, tearing my heart out just to eat it in front of me. Never has the value of life, questions of morals and humanity, or the terror of death and hatred effected me more than in this anime. Adding to all of that, Fujisaku Ryu‘s hilariously tacky character designs grew on me with the greatness of the characters. Not to mention it’s so fucking bloody.

Posts I did on this anime: Episode 19, Episode 20, Episode 21

Seikon no Qwaser

Qwaser might be the most fun I had with anime in 2010. It’s what would happen if you supercolided cheesy 90s comedy-porn OVAs like Urotsukidouji with modern moe sensibilities (including a focus on yuri). The series sets out with a singular mission—to be as outlandish and ridiculous as humanly possible—and completely succeeds. It’s purposefully awesomely bad, and oh, can it be bad. The storyline is impenetrable and should never be given more than a passing thought. The characters are often terrible, either as people, or just in their level of sheer camp. And yet, the central cast gets to have so much fun that they become endearing. Only Fujimura Ayumi can play the kind of bitchy “normal girl” protagonist that Mafuyu is without ever being unlikable, and an array of excellent vocal performances (I love this image [NSFW]) make the script feel somehow genius. It also has perhaps my favorite ed of all time. Qwaser is the rare anime that somewhere in my mind, I’ve always got an urge to watch.

Posts I did on this anime: Episode 4

Durarara!!

Unable to escape Baccano’s shadow, the boring parts and significant lack of tightness on the writing front were impossible to ignore. That said, Durarara was still wild fun, with a genius cast of characters and actors. Sawashiro Miyuki became my favorite female seiyuu after her roll as the amazing Celty Sturluson, and Orihara Izaya made me long for Kamiya Hiroshi to play more utter bastards. (I could go on and on about the acting, and about the badasses that litter any of Ryougo Narita‘s work.) Durarara provided some unforgettable scenes from as early as the second episode—in fact, I’d say that if it had one strength over Baccano, it’s that there were more individual standout moments. I think I owe this series a rewatch in the near future.

Posts I did on this anime: Episode 1, Episode 2, Pulp Characters, Review, Izaya, Celty

Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou

This series may have been paced too quickly. I can’t say that there were parts where things seemed to “suddenly happen,” because it was more like the entire thing “suddenly happened.” My theory is that whereas most light/novel adaptions cut out parts and focus on others, Daimaou probably didn’t leave anything out, except explanations for most of what was happening. (It’s like the anti-Index.) I can’t say any of this for sure, though, because there’s little info about the novels in English, which sucks, because the anime made me want to read them. Not for lack of appreciation of the anime—I loved it—my core interest being a set of nicely designed characters with lovable personalities and seiyuu. (Yuuki Aoi, Hirohashi Ryou, and Toyosaki Aki are all among my favorite seiyuu, and Hikasa Youko was really good here.) The male lead was a great guy, though the series moved too fast for him to really grow; but more importantly, he commanded possibly the most awesome dragon in all of anime, Peterhausen, voiced by the great Nakata Jouji. From decently good production values (with the exception of episode 7) to exciting action, the series gave me a lot to like, but left me wanting more.

Heartcatch Precure (44 eps)

I’ll admit, I didn’t manage to catch up by the end of the year (21 eps in). Heartcatch Precure is meant to be watched over a longer course of time, where the weekly transformation sequences and recurring images don’t start rotting the brain, and that’s how I intend to continue watching. Heartcatch is probably my favorite “real” magical girl show for very simple reasons, such as the super-old-school character designs by Umakoshi Yoshihiko, which lend to an excellent visual style. The characters are cute, but they also look cool when they fight, and every so many episodes the show pulls off some visually intense action. Though I phrased that to sound somewhat rare, the show never looks bad, which is more than can be said about most long-running kids shows. Kurumi Erika is such a fun character that she gives me the energy to watch the show. The cute outfits also help.

Posts I did on this anime: Eps 1-2, Episode 15, Character Designs, Episode 16

Angel Beats!

In the tradition of Futakoi Alternative and Kyouran Kazoku Nikki, Angel Beats sets out to be something completely different and makes no excuses for itself. The story is all over the place and the pacing is as awkward as it could possibly be—once I got over those facts, I found something wholly endearing. There are no shortage of legendary scenes in this show, and probably my favorite ending of the year, which, in true Maeda Jun fashion, made me cry like a baby. Unlike other Maeda Jun anime, though, Angel Beats has heart and soul in spades and characters that I actually give a damn about.

Posts I did on this anime: Review, T.K.

Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu

Kyoto Animation’s tour de force. This ought to be shown as a lesson in how to take a minimalist setting and create subtle details that are massive accomplishments in animation. The script is rock-solid, telling a long and complex story with perfect pacing. Nothing moves too fast to understand, nor too slow to remain entertaining, nor is there too much exposition at any given time, yet not so much side development that one gets distracted from the point. Tomokazu Sugita, my favorite seiyuu, is in top form, making a Kyon who, in spite of talking almost constantly for nearly three hours (worth noting: this is the longest animated feature ever made), still manages to make an emotional scene rock. All of the brilliance in character animation and powerful moe that made Haruhi the juggernaut that it is are in full force here, and I, for one, was reminded what made the series so amazing to begin with.

Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai

Not only an excellent parody of the galge genre of games and anime, but a wonderfully imaginative adaption that shows the excellence of studio Manglobe better than any of their pretentious past projects. Playfully directed and produced with a constant smile—I can feel the fun that the creators had as I watch. Excellent acting from the likes of Itou Kanae and Hanazawa Kana bring the cute and make characters that stay memorable, even though many are only around for a few episodes. The most special part for me was all the time the series spent dicking around and having a blast, and how I identified with the fun. Greatly looking forward to the second season.

Posts I did on this anime: KamiNomi re Manglobe

Mitsudomoe

Possibly the funniest anime I’ve ever watched (besides the Gintama juggernaut). Mitsudomoe rolled with hit after hit of uproariously hilarious scenarios and provided some of the most exquisite scenes in comedy anime. It managed to do character-driven comedy without ever getting played-out or boring, which I’ve never seen before. On top of that, the characters were unique and lovable, with great vocal performances all around. Comedy anime is hard for me to speak highly of because it tends to lack in things I want from anime, and only the funniest scenes are rewatchable. Mitsudomoe had enough hilarious scenes to make the whole show worth watching again. I’m a little worried that it could dry up during the second season, but I’m looking forward to it nonetheless.

Star Driver (1st Half)

The latest from all-star writer Enokido Yoji and my favorite studio, Bones. That sentence alone is a basic summary of how I feel about Star Driver. It’s as much the product of that studio and that writer as imaginable, sort of in the way that Gurren Lagann is inseparable from being Gainax and Imaishi Hiroyuki. It’s the best kind of mess, where I’m never really sure what anyone’s talking about, but I enjoy listening. The character designs are highly attractive and the show has a lovely exploding-rainbow visual style. It does as much remembering love as any Bones series, and even remembers love for itself.

Kuragehime

In a lot of ways, Kuragehime is the epitome of a Noitamina-slot josei manga adaption. Yet even as it feels like that, it also has a charm unique to anime by Brains Base and directed by Omori Takahiro. (I kept having to slap myself to remember I wasn’t watching Kure-nai thanks to the designs.) I wish that it’d been longer, ’cause it’s got a lot of fun characters and an interesting concept; plus there are worries that the characters didn’t get enough time to shine. (The last episode has yet to air, and many have doubts about how the series will manage to pull everything together, or if it doesn’t intend to). Irregardless, it has an allure that belongs squarely to Kuragehime and sets it just above other series of its like for me. Hanazawa Kana gives one of her and the year’s best performances as Tsukimi and has regained my favor because of it.

High Tier

Koe de Oshigoto! (Ep 1)

This OVA came out of nowhere and was some of the best fun I had in anime this year. (It would place higher if it weren’t just one episode.) It’s about voice acting in a porn game, so it’s vitally important that the acting is both excellent and hot. I couldn’t decide if I was more laughing or getting turned on half the time, which is an interesting set of effects. Solidly made and written, totally entertaining, and with a lead character that left an impression even in her short time. Greatly looking forward to the next episode.

Highschool of the Dead

A show about tits and gore that had those things in rampant abundance (oh, and ass). I love tits and I love gore, so it’s no surprise that I loved HSotD. The characters managed to be more entertaining than standard horror fare without betraying the clichés of the genre that the series purposefully thrives on. Madhouse brought it hard on the animation front and chose the perfect director in Araki Tetsuro, so the whole experience was a riot of entertainment. Worth rewatching to see it uncensored, and I’d dearly like to see a second season made.

Posts I did on this anime: Eps 1-2, Review

Black Rock Shooter

I was a big fan of Black Rock Shooter before they made an anime out of her—after they did, I became an even bigger fan. That alone is what I take as an indication of my enjoyment. The art and animation were top-fucking-knotch, and the story, while not especially unique, was serviceable and entertaining. The OVA wouldn’t be memorable without the incredible animation and the fact that it was about Black Rock Shooter, but the fact stands that those two things are there, and therefore it was memorable.

Posts I did on this anime: Explanation

Asobi ni Iku yo!

This is the kind of show that only an otaku/film buff could write. Combining elements of every decade of anime, but with an overall early-90s feel, the series makes so many obscure anime and film references (From 2001 to GaoGaiGar) that it’s uncanny, and gives a great sense of what the writer was going for. The series is without an ounce of seriousness, constantly throwing out ridiculously over-the-top plot elements to be taken at face value, and this is its greatest strength. It does “cute girls with guns” right, and tosses inventive action scenes into the mix. The anime feels like a long first arc (not surprising, since it’s based on a 14-volume-and-counting novel series) with much time spent on exposition, and that exposition is interesting, though it doesn’t feel like there was time for it to pay off. What’s more, the main characters are utterly cliché, which isn’t really bad, but simply boring. The ending shows potential for the characters to come into their own, but the time wasn’t given for it. Also notable, I found myself fawning over Futaba Aoi, the Hanazawa Kana character, and realized that I’ve reached a point in HanaKana fandom where her voice is enough to make me love a character.

Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai

This is the case of a series that equally has elements I don’t like at all and others that I find spectacular. As a commentary on modern otakudom, it comes close to Genshiken levels of “getting it” (if never trying for that kind of realism). It’s well-produced, with superb vocal performances from Hanazawa Kana and Satou Satomi, whose characters are the best part of the show on the plot front. Sadly, the rest of the “plot front” is lame. Kirino is such an overblown, trope-obedient character that I find her impossible to care about. Kousuke is a fine lead whose interactions with Kuroneko and Tamura would make for a great anime, but instead he’s tied to the stupid Kirino story. It’s rare for me to agree with public opinion this way, but I honestly think that “the little sister anime” would be great if it weren’t for the little sister. Of course, the best part of is the meta-gasm, which crowned in episode 10 with Tamura Yukari. The meta-heavy episodes alone are worth rewatching.

Posts I did on this anime: Episode 8, On Little Sisters, Diary

Cat Shit One (Ep 1, Possibly Last)

Not much to say about this except that it’s worth anyone’s time who enjoys well-made action. The CG was fantastic, the battle was well-coordinated and directed and provided a level of tactical excellence that I’m always looking for, but rarely get. On top of that, the voice acting was hella cool. For a 20-minute short, you can’t do much better.

Dance in the Vampire Bund

I found this series exciting primarily from a production standpoint. As a longtime fan of Shinbo Akiyuki, having seen most of his many works and watched his progress as a director, Vampire Bund felt like a distinct turning point for him; like he’d taken everything he loved with him and stepped into a new playing field. Yuuki Aoi delivered an orgasmic performance as Mina Tepes, a fascinating character. Unfortunately, the anime took weird liberties with the manga plot and came out not really making sense, with some elements that felt pointless, but there’s nonetheless enough to entertain and be worth watching again.

Posts I did on this anime: Shinbogasm, Episode 7

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun (2nd Half)

Railgun shouldn’t be so high on this list, but I have an unexplainable love for the series that doesn’t want to dissolve. The second half was mostly terrible, with the last arc having been so convoluted that my brother and I gave up trying to understand it. There’s just something in the mix that draws me in, and I know that thing is synonymous with moe. It’s in the character designs, the voice acting, and the interactions of the girls. Railgun doesn’t have nearly the strength that other shows about a team of 4 girls do, but there are moments of excellence scattered throughout. I adore the animation style and the artwork, and the greater Raildex universe is fascinating. When the series wasn’t trapped in a retarded plot arc, it shined in the stand-alone episodes that focused on characters, and those things hold a strong place in my heart.

Posts I did on this anime: (Discluding posts on the first half) Uiharu, Saten, Review, Inconsistencies

Arakawa Under the Bridge (+ X Bridge)

Quite an unexpected treat. Even though it feels like a SHAFT anime, it also feels different from the rest. Whereas I’ve had a hard time finishing most Shinbo shows in under a year, this one has me hungry for each consecutive episode. The unexpectedly interesting story ties everything together and has a heart to it that makes it endearing. The comedy is a mixed bag with a few truly amazing episodes, but more importantly, it’s never boring to watch, even when it isn’t that funny. I credit this to the fan-fucking-tastic vocal cast. The male lead is played by SHAFT stand-by Kamiya Hiroshi, who gets the job done, and Nino is played by “sex voice” Sakamoto Maaya. A lot of anime’s best comedy actors are in here, which is why it’s no coincidence that several are in roles similar to their ones in Gintama. Tomokazu Sugita, my favorite seiyuu, is brilliant as ever, and Takehito Koyasu does his usual thing. Even Fujiwara Keiji is there kicking ass, as well as the other SHAFT stand-by, Saito Chiwa, flaunting her diversity. Sadly, Sawashiro Miyuki is in a rather boring role as my least favorite character in the show. Nonetheless, the seiyuu fanboy in me is quite pleased, and I all-around get a happy feeling from the show.

Tegami Bachi (2nd Half)

I recall enjoying Tegami Bachi while I was watching it, but for some reason the feelings didn’t stick. The series had a lot of heart and a lot to like, but it took forever for the plot to move forward, and the episodic adventures were almost always lame. Niche was my favorite character and my introduction to the wonderful Fujimura Ayumi, but she, along with the other characters I liked, didn’t take up residence in my heart the way I felt they should’ve. I loved the world that the series created, but it didn’t do enough with it. The whole thing felt like a very inspired flop in the end—a lot of great ideas that didn’t quite come together and got bogged down in episode after episode of horrendous mini-plots. It had the balls to end on a tragic cliffhanger and the second season started off strong, but it quickly degraded into lame stories again and I lost the will to continue. I want to say that I liked the show, but now I don’t know what to feel.

Posts I did on this anime: Review

B Gata H Kei

To borrow a phrase used by Shinmaru to describe Strawberry Eggs, B Gata H Kei is “brilliance surrounded by bullshit,” though perhaps not so extreme. The central plot of Yamada’s adventure to have sex is totally involving, with all the major scenes being memorable and intense. Tamura Yukari delivers a tour de force as Yamada, quite possibly the hottest anime character of 2010, and her inner monologues are spectacular, hearkening back to those of Kurada Sana in Kodocha. Unfortunately, no one in the show besides Yamada has half of her character, and quite a few of them are outright unlikable and detrimental to my enjoyment of the series. What’s more, besides the handful of brilliant and intense scenes, most of Yamada’s come-ons are played-out clichés, and her love interest shows sparks of respectability surrounded by cascades of dullness. BGHK is a series that I don’t feel like I could sit through twice, but there were enough excellent aspects to it that I’ll remember it fondly.

Posts I did on this anime: Yamada, Review

Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn (Eps 1+2)

A UC Gundam series with the excellence in presentation that the franchise has always deserved but never truly gotten. It has a definitive sense of “serious business” about it that makes me feel like everything in the series matters and keeps my attention at all times—I consider those the highest possible praises for a plot-driven anime. The combat is superb and the character designs venomously attractive. Both Mineva Lao Zabi and Full Frontal show potential to be excellent characters; unfortunately, the plot hasn’t had time to completely take off yet, so it’s hard for me to be overly enthusiastic. I highly recommend that fans of the OVA read all of ghostlightning’s posts on it over at We Remember Love.

Hanamaru Youchien

Very cute and enjoyable little comedy series. There wasn’t a particular stand-out aspect to the comedy, but it was an overall above-average series. Comedies are hard for me to think back on because even if I enjoyed them, I enjoyed them mostly while watching and not so much in the space afterward. It still might be worth rewatching for the unique premise and writing (the excellent use of perspective is certainly noteworthy). The shard of genius sticking out of the show is Hiiragi, whom I found to be a fascinating character, and who gave me at least a little to think about when all was said and done.

Posts I did on this anime: Hiiragi, Episode 1, Episode 2

Mid Tier

Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt

Panty and Stocking gave me exactly what I expected (which was good) and nothing more. It’s an arthouse show through and through; I’ve always had something against arthouse shows because they don’t give me what I want from anime. It’s not to say I don’t appreciate them, because I think it’s wonderful to see creators being true to their vision, but I watch anime for endearing characters and stories that don’t have a presence in these shows. It’s actually rare for me to finish one unless something about it really grabs me—in this case, it was that PSG was an arthouse show by some of my favorite creators. I love GAINAX to death, and I love the Imaishi Hiroyuki brand of animation and directing, so there was plenty for me to enjoy here, even though I was tired of it all by the end. I doubt I’ll feel compelled to rewatch more than one or two of the shorts, nor the second season.

Otome Youkai Zakuro

In spite of a premise that’s been done a million times, Zakuro had some elements of excellence. It had a strong focus on character art, which was consistently above average, and an excellent cast of seiyuu (including one of the few Nakahara Mai roles I actually enjoyed). The romantic aspect of the story was very good, with one of the year’s best couples in the form of RikenXSusukihotaru. The three different ending songs, all duets, strengthened the feel of romance in the series. Unfortunately, the narrative that emerged as it trucked along was awful. The story was both unoriginal and not entertaining, and presented in a way that lead to plot holes and confusion. Worse than that, the fight scenes were terribly directed. Zakuro wasn’t a series I could’ve been a huge fan of either way, but I wanted it to turn out better than it did. That said, the ending, at least, was satisfying.

Posts I did on this anime: On Spirit-Hunting

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works

As @lvlln put it, this movie should’ve come with a warning that if you haven’t played the game, you won’t have any idea what the fuck is going on. The film skips over most of the important plot points and character development and focuses almost squarely on the fight scenes. This isn’t a bad thing—the fights are nicely done, and the whole movie is gorgeous, having emulated the visual style of UFOTable‘s Kara no Kyoukai films. It’s easily the best-looking thing that Studio DEEN has produced since Angel’s Egg in 1989, but had I not watched it with my friends and cracked juggernaut jokes the entire time, I probably would’ve been quite bored instead of just confused. The heart-tearing scene was a classic.

Giant Killing

To be honest, I’ve only seen the first half of Giant Killing so far and haven’t worked up the desire to continue. That alone is a symbol of why it appears so low on this list. The show’s big problems are low-grade animation courtesy of Studio Deen, along with terrible stalling that reeks of a one-chapter-per-episode adaption. So much time is spent on recaps and stock footage that the grip of the action is lost. Additionally, with the series focusing on many different characters, none of them become memorable. That all said, Giant Killing still manages to be entertaining and just unique enough from other sports anime to be worthwhile. There’s a high level of technical detail in the series, and it brilliantly expresses just how many different factors effect a football match. It also inspired some excellent companion blogging by Shinmaru and others.

Tamayura

Tamayura was directed by Sato Junichi, and I probably could’ve figured that out without looking it up. It’s his trademark brand of iyashikei mellowness with characters that make embarrassing remarks and a feel-good undercurrent about following your dreams. At only 4 episodes (which totaled 70 minutes in length), it didn’t allow enough time to get attached to the characters or setting in any meaningful way. I don’t regret watching it, and what’s there is good, but I’ll probably never rewatch it in light of the fact that I have other, better Sato Junichi shows that do basically the same thing.

Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu

Bits and pieces of this show shined brightly, but too many others fell flat. I loved some of the character designs and interactions. It was great for me as an Oonuma Shin fan, as it made his directorial influence clear, but the series could never live up to its great opening episodes even as it reached some peaks (the Evangelion parody was very nice). In the end, I found it completely unmemorable and won’t ever watch it again. It did have one of the year’s best ending songs, though.

Posts I did on this anime: The Oonuma Shin Brand OP/ED, Episode 1, Episode 2

Senkou no Night Raid

Night Raid went from boring to strange over the course of its run, but I enjoyed it just the same. The second in A-1 Pictures‘ “Anime no Chikara” slot (perhaps spelling out the future of its downfall) the series was lavishly animated and had a splendid old-school-industrial visual flair. The animation directing was astounding, which I’ve never really felt the need to say about a series before, but there it is. Unfortunately, the plot, which started off as a GitSSAC-style political drama, fell apart when things became decidedly “anime” towards the end (not to say anything bad about anime plots, but this show didn’t need to go that way). The characters were serviceable and well-acted but completely unmemorable, and I’ll probably forget ever having watched it soon.

Low Tier

Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin

Ghostlightning has preached to me a lot recently about the pleasure in hating things, and I certainly enjoy hating on Occult Academy. The series was such a great big disappointment and such a struggle to finish that I get mad thinking about it. And then it went and had some of the best final episodes I’ve ever seen. It’s almost unfair—I want to be able to say “I shouldn’t have finished this show,” but the end made me glad I did. Was it worth it? I’m going to make it worth it with my rage.

Posts I did on this anime: Episode 11, Review

Kuttsukiboshi (Ep 1)

This thing is so terribly produced that it almost comes full-circle to being endearing. The plot is nonsense, but the OVA mostly exists to watch 2 girls make out, and let me tell you—that’s basically the meaning of my life. The animation is so bad; the characters are off-model so much that I actually don’t think there was a model. But they weren’t entirely unattractive, and they were getting it on. Also, it basically shows the one girl fucking her brother at the end, so how can I disagree with a yuri-wincest combo? At the very least, I’ll watch the concluding episode, just ’cause this one left off on a massive cliffhanger.

Hen Zemi (Ep 1)

This is as close as I’ve gotten this year to being squicked out by anime. I felt kind of bad watching it because it seemed like the purpose was to psychologically ruin the female lead. The dialog was awkward and almost hard to watch. I felt like there was a joke I was missing, since I certainly didn’t laugh. The visual style was interesting, resembling something Shinbo would be forced to do on the lowest of budgets, and it was one of the few appearances of Shiraishi Minoru this year, but all in all, I didn’t enjoy it. Not sure if I’ll watch the concluding episode next year.

Shit Tier

Bungaku Shoujo

Easily the worst anime that I finished in 2010. This movie was just a shitpile, nothing else to it. About an hour in, I enacted the following scene from Family Guy (though I stuck out through the whole thing while bitching about it on Twitter):

Posts I did on this anime: Review

Porn Tier

Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke wo Anata to Koibito Tsunagi (Ep 1)

One of my alltime favorite porn OVAs. Sakai Kyuuta, one of my favorite designers, beautifully translated Peko’s characters to animation. I couldn’t have asked for a better pair of girls for one of the few pure yuri porn OVAs, and the sex scenes didn’t disappoint. Visit Listless Ink to learn more about anything SonoHana.

Fukubiki! Triangle: Miharu After (Ep 1)

Out of that above image, I didn’t care much for the scenes with the girl on the left, but the one with the girl on the right was among the hottest sex scenes I’ve ever witnessed.

Oni Chichi

Very above-average, if without any particular stand-out elements. The character designs were highly attractive, which is all that really matters.

Princess Lover OVA

I didn’t care much for the main girl’s design, which is problematic when almost the entire thing centers around her. Even so, the limo scene in the first episode was intense and amazing.

Shows I Dropped

Shinryaku! Ika Musume – Loved Ikamusume herself and especially her voice, but the side characters were lame and humor didn’t hold up enough. May eventually finish.
Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru – Barely counts as a drop—couldn’t get through ep 1. Found everything about it to be annoying.
SD Gundam Sangokuden – I saw enough to get the point and enjoy the novelty. May possibly continue.
Tantei Opera Milky Holmes – Didn’t live up to the hilarity of episodes 2-4. May eventually finish anyway (got 8 eps in).
Chu Bra!! – A surprisingly good show, but not enough that I cared to pick it up again. May eventually finish.
Ladies vs. Butlers! – The kind of harem that I don’t get along with.
Omamori Himari – This was decent if wholly generic, but I’ve been tempted to watch it thanks to sakuga videos.
Working!! – In spite of an otherwise excellent production, the comedic timing was ass and I couldn’t find it funny. May try again.
Mayoi Neko Overrun! – Sort of a failed attempt at weirdness like Occult Academy. Still, I’ll probably finish it just for the director thing.
Yojouhan Shinwa Takei – Did nothing for me in the first 2 episodes. I might try again, but I’m really wary of Yuasa’s shit.
Ookami-san to Shichinin Nakama-tachi – I didn’t have any real reason for discontinuing it other than I heard it wasn’t that good. Will probably try sometime.
Kuroshitsuji II – I only watched the first ep for the insane table-setting, and I was not fucking disappointed.
Seitokai Yakuindomo – Watched the first ep with No Name and neither of us knew what to make of it.
Katanagatari – I wouldn’t be surprised if I tried this again, but the first episode felt exactly like Andrew Cunningham described it.
Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls – Repulsively bad. Read my tumblr rant.

Shows I’m Saving For 2011

Hidamari Sketch X Hoshimittsu (seen 1 ep), Yumeiro Patissiere, Pokemon Best Wishes!!, Tegami Bachi Reverse (seen 3 eps), MM!, Hime Chen! Otogi Chikku Idol Lilpri, The Legend of Koizumi, Shugo Chara! Party, Nodame Cantabile Paris, Cross Game, Anyamaru Tantei Kiruminzoo (seen 1 ep), Kaichou wa Maid-sama!, Rainbow, To Aru Majutsu no Index II (seen 2 eps), House of Five Leaves, Trigun: Badlands Rumble, Gintama: Shinyaku Benizakura-hen

Bonus: And now, (most of) the year in sakuga!

22 thoughts on “2010 Anime Review

  1. Wow. First time I’ve ever seen someone talking smack about Tatami Galaxy while placing Strike Witches 2 in a “god” tier. But whatever, it’s always interesting to read about the tastes of others, especially others with the polar opposite sense of humor that I seem to have.

    I will admit that I’m surprised you found any real meaning in Sora no Oto. I enjoyed the setting and soundtrack quite a bit, but that lame tacked-on ending made me think of Railgun’s need to conclude each arc with something painfully stupid, and was the biggest disappointment of my year until I took people seriously when they said Angel Beats was worth watching.

    I take it you consider this was a great year, given you only thought one anime was shit, and only 3 others as “low”?

    • I think it’s pushing it to call that “talking smack.” I respect the series and get why people like it, but it does nothing for me.

      Sora no Woto’s ending was foreshadowed throughout the entire series, it was hardly “tacked on.”

      2010 was indeed a great year, but I probably wouldn’t rank more than one anime shit or more than three low in any given year, because I don’t finish shows that I don’t like. I can’t compare it with 09 or 08, though, because I watched very little anime from those years.

  2. I love you for the fact that you included Star Driver and Panty and Stocking. Now I can die happy lol
    (How do you manage to watch so much ??? O__o I know that you drop some shows here and there)

  3. I was going to say “You have too many shows too high up on your list” and then saw the tiny scrollbar to the right. Jesus, you watch a lot of anime.

    Anyway, nice to see somebody other than myself like Strike Witches 2 AND Sora no Woto. Interesting.

  4. Could your writing style be filled with any more fluff? I’m not even sure what you’re referencing to half the time when you can’t even say why you liked an anime without using synonyms for the word “like.” It’s hard to see why you like any when you base it so primarily on your own opinion. Take, for example, why you like Magical Lyrical Nanoha the First:
    “This film is wildly fun to watch and easily rewatchable, not to mention a perfect excuse to introduce my friends to the wonder of mahou shoujo anime.”
    You don’t detail why this is ok. I can think of three good reasons why I shouldn’t show it to my friends. They are the following:
    *It has a young girl getting completely naked in a transformation scene
    *The flashbacks are dull and break up fight scenes, potentially breaking up good pacing
    *It’s a show obviously written for children younger than my age group, with a similarly designed theme
    In terms of production quality, yes, I’ll concede that point, but that is because I’ve already watched the show. The way most of your supporting comments tend to be conversational really distracts to your actual thoughts on the anime. When writing a review, supporting thoughts are vital to the impact of your opinion.

    I’m not saying I disagree with your list. You can like Strike Witches 2, K-on!!, Seikon no Qwaser all you want, for whatever reasons that are beyond me. However, if you can’t cite examples or relate your thoughts more clearly, you’ll inevitably face a harsher rebuke on your choices.

        • Okay.

          1. Please read more of my writing before you criticize my writing style.

          2. Why would I care about facing a “rebuke”? Does it somewhere say “best anime of 2010” on here? Does it say “the shows everyone should agree with me are the best?” No. I don’t even begin to give a damn if anyone agrees with me about what shows I like the most from 2010.

          What you’d know if you read this blog more is that I don’t aspire to any pretense of having “taste” or looking for “quality.” I’m a guy who likes anime, and whom likes to talk about anime. What matters to me is my opinion, and not other peoples’.

          This post, sure, it’s got very little meat to it. It’s not supposed to have much. Another thing you’d know if you read me more is that I’m obsessed with lists, and that I make them compulsively. A post like this for me is just for fun, and a lot of my readers enjoy this kind of post, so I feel comfortable with posting it here.

          What I’d suggest is, if you don’t like this kind of post, then don’t read it, but I can assure you that not every post on this blog is the same. I cover a cast range of topics and write everything from in-depth analysis to psychological exploration of fandom. Keep looking around, and maybe you’ll find something that suits your fancy more.

          Or maybe you won’t. In that case, don’t bother telling me that you don’t like what I’ve written, because I promise you that I will not care. I accept criticism from people who understand what I’m going for with my blog, but not from someone who’s read one post.

          EDIT: Also, I don’t know where you got the idea that Nanoha is a children’s anime. It’s squarely aimed at adults.

          • I may not entirely understand the purpose of your blog, but I understand that a blog is only nearly as good as its writer. When I say “rebuke,” I particularly mean the comment 9 posts above my first. Everyone’s a critic, and effectively defending your choices is stronger than merely dismissing the commentary of others. Otherwise, this makes one appear closed-minded and indifferent.

            When you watch anime on such a scale, there comes a time you have to understand what it really is what you like and dislike about the anime before can truly claim to be any sort of speaker on the topic. Merely watching a large amount of anime tends not to be enough. If you don’t really understand what you’re watching, you’re only staring at pixels on a screen. When you can protect your opinion, you can then discuss it. This is what it means to “talk” about anime. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself attempting to defend something you can’t fully explain, other than the fact that you merely “like” what you saw, and everyone else is just chattering birds on the power line.

            “Taste” and “quality” are especially relative when it comes to anime, for sure. I too don’t pretend I’m an expert on the subject, or pretend to know what’s good and what isn’t. People’s opinions vary widely on the subject, and I totally understand this. Everyone likes something different, and understanding why they do leaves room for agreeing to disagree. This is why I disliked your writing style. The strong point was your appreciation of various voice actors, your weak point was your reasoning behind appreciating pacing, writing, plot, and in particular, the characters.

            To say I didn’t like this and read it anyway is simply not true. With the exception of senior lit, I really only read things I enjoy. I love anime, and reading about it comes with the card. I did read a few of your other posts, and I do have some color commentary on all of them, but I’ll keep the peanut gallery to myself if you refuse to listen.

            You’re right, insofar as its not fair for me to be judging you when I’m new to your blog. I have only read one post, and I ready only that with nothing but the most critical eye. Really, I totally agree that you don’t have to listen to my criticisms at all. I came off as a total jerk, and you don’t need that kind of undue criticism. You had the courtesy to post on my blog so I figured I would do you the same courtesy. Courtesy turned to disagreement, and that wasn’t my intention at all.

            Magical Lyrical Nanoha is a show with themes that appear to appeal directly to children. Show it to your friends. Mine thought it was a kids show. You and I both know that adults are the ones who pick it up, irregardless of its “looks.”

          • Bro, you’re preaching to the choir :) Anyway, I can see you’re not just trying to be a dick. I really hate trolls so if it seems like someone’s trying to troll me, I’m going to speak more harshly. If you decide to read my blog more regularly and share your critiques, I’ll actually invite you to do so (preferably not in comments, though, but through messenger or email.) This blog has come a LONG way because my friends always pressured me to get better at writing, so I certainly would not consider criticism a bad thing.

            FWIW, I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but I’ve been watching anime for nearly 10 years, and blogging for nearly 4. I have well over 800 posts on this blog. I feel like I have a lot of experience with anime blogging. This is why I expect that if I’m being critiqued, it’s by someone who knows my writing well and really knows how I can better it.

            By the way, you may have noticed above I linked to posts i did on all the shows I talked about that I’d posted on. Those posts are mostly more specific and in-depth, since this post was just meant to be collective. My Nanoha movie post was a recommendation, but it has a lot more details on why I found it amazing
            https://myswordisunbelievablydull.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/why-the-1st-nanoha-movie-has-made-me-a-very-happy-man-a-recommendation/

  5. Sorry I haven’t commented in a while…been so sick >_> But I’m finally better now.

    Loved seeing AB! and the Haruhi movie high on your list ^_^ I’m also glad you liked Sora no Woto so much. That show could have used more love.

    You watched a lot of these series just within the past month, right? Wow, that’s certainly an accomplishment. I think of myself as having a decent amount of free time, but even I wouldn’t have been able to do that! 0_o

  6. Pingback: The Frontier of Taste 2010 (Picks of the Year) | We Remember Love

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  8. Futaba from “Fukubiki! Triangle: Miharu After” and Airi from “Oni Chichi” is the same seiyuu….. who is she? I want to know her biography

  9. Pingback: April Anime Review – What Did We Do to Deserve So Much Win? (And a 4-Year Spring Retrospective) | My Sword Is Unbelievably Dull

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