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Anime of the Year 2009-II Spring - Souten Kouro



Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu (2009) and Souten Kouro are my favorites in Spring 2009. K-On! and Shangri-La are following slightly behind.
1. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 鋼の錬金術師 FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST [Bones] (Finished 1/64)
Tags: Shounen Military Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
After a horrific alchemy experiment goes wrong in the Elric household, brothers Edward and Alphonse are left in a catastrophic new reality. Ignoring the alchemical principle banning human transmutation, the boys attempted to bring their recently deceased mother back to life. Instead, they suffered brutal personal loss: Alphonse's body disintegrated while Edward lost a leg and then sacrificed an arm to keep Alphonse's soul in the physical realm by binding it to a hulking suit of armor.
The brothers are rescued by their neighbor Pinako Rockbell and her granddaughter Winry. Known as a bio-mechanical engineering prodigy, Winry creates prosthetic limbs for Edward by utilizing "automail," a tough, versatile metal used in robots and combat armor. After years of training, the Elric brothers set off on a quest to restore their bodies by locating the Philosopher's Stone—a powerful gem that allows an alchemist to defy the traditional laws of Equivalent Exchange.
As Edward becomes an infamous alchemist and gains the nickname "Fullmetal," the boys' journey embroils them in a growing conspiracy that threatens the fate of the world.
Overall Rating: 6/10
2. K-On! けいおん! [Kyoto Animation] (Finished 13/13)
Tags: CGDCT, Music, School Comedy
A fresh high school year always means much to come, and one of those things is joining a club. Being in a dilemma about which club to join, Yui Hirasawa stumbles upon and applies for the Light Music Club, which she misinterprets to be about playing simple instruments, such as castanets. Unable to play an instrument, she decides to visit to apologize and quit.
Meanwhile, the Light Music Club faces disbandment due to a lack of members. This causes the club members to offer anything, from food to slacking off during club time, in order to convince Yui to join. Despite their efforts, Yui insists on leaving due to her lack of musical experience. As a last resort, they play a piece for Yui, which sparks her fiery passion and finally convinces her to join the club.
From then onward, it is just plain messing around with bits and pieces of practice. The members of the Light Music Club are ready to make their time together a delightful one!
It's fresh and amusing, with nice songs, too. But can't say you're going to miss much by not watching it, so I'll stop at borderline masterpiece score.  
Overall Rating: 7/10
3. Higashi no Eden 東のエデン [Production I.G] (Finished 11/11)
Tags: Award Winning, Mystery, Romance, Sci-Fi, Suspense
On November 22, 2010, Japan was hit by missile strikes, a terrorist act that fortunately did not harm anyone, becoming known as "Careless Monday." Quickly forgotten, society goes on about their lives as normal.
During her graduation trip to America three months later, friendly college student Saki Morimi's life is forever changed when she finds herself saved from unexpected trouble by Akira Takizawa. Takizawa is cheerful, but odd in many ways—he is stark naked and suffers from amnesia, believing himself to be a terrorist. In addition, he possesses a strange cell phone loaded with 8.2 billion yen in digital cash.
Despite Takizawa's suspicious traits, Saki quickly befriends the enigmatic young man. However, unbeknownst to her, this is the beginning of a thrilling death game involving money, cell phones, and the salvation of the world. Higashi no Eden chronicles Saki's struggle to unravel the mysteries behind her savior, while Takizawa himself battles other individuals armed with similar cell phones and returning memories which reveal his possible connection to the event from months ago.
Watched it at least twice and never got to like it, mostly due to genre as it all holds on things that are deliberately not told and ends in a fluke, as usual.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
4. Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu (2009) The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Season 2 涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱 [Kyoto Animation] (Finished 14/14)
Tags: School Comedy, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Kyon has found himself dragged through many adventures as of late—all because of the SOS Brigade club and its excitable leader, Haruhi Suzumiya. He has stopped believing in the supernatural long ago, but after being forced to join this club based solely on that, he has seen things that cannot be explained logically.
Joining Kyon on his various misadventures is the shy and soft-spoken Mikuru Asahina, the bookish Yuki Nagato, and the ever-cheerful Itsuki Koizumi. Whether it is summer vacation or a school festival, things involving their club and Haruhi herself always end up becoming strange.
Overall Rating: 8/10
5. Pandora Hearts パンドラハーツ [Xebec] (Finished 12/24)
Tags: Shounen Adventure, Fantasy, Mystery
To young Oz Vessalius, heir to the Vessalius Duke House, the perilous world called the Abyss is nothing more than a folktale used to scare misbehaving children. However, when Oz's coming-of-age ceremony is interrupted by the malicious Baskerville Clan intent on banishing him into the depths of the Abyss, the Vessalius heir realizes that his peaceful life of luxury is at its end. Now, he must confront the world of the Abyss and its dwellers, the monstrous "Chains," which are both not quite as fake as he once believed.
Based on the supernatural fantasy manga of the same name, Pandora Hearts tells the story of fifteen-year-old Oz's journey to discover the meaning behind the strange events that have overtaken his life. Assisted by a mysterious Chain named Alice, whose nickname is "Bloodstained Black Rabbit," and members of a clandestine organization known as "Pandora," Oz begins to realize his existence may have more meaning than he could have ever imagined.
It starts more or less as imitation of Shana, but loses any direction soon and becomes just humor variety show. Not funny at all.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
6. Dragon Ball Kai ドラゴンボール改 [Toei Animation] (Finished 1/97)
Tags: Shounen Martial Arts, Super Power Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
Five years after the events of Dragon Ball, martial arts expert Gokuu is now a grown man married to his wife Chi-Chi, with a four-year old son named Gohan. While attending a reunion on Turtle Island with his old friends Master Roshi, Krillin, Bulma and others, the festivities are interrupted when a humanoid alien named Raditz not only reveals the truth behind Gokuu's past, but kidnaps Gohan as well.
With Raditz displaying power beyond anything Gokuu has seen before, he is forced to team up with his old nemesis, Piccolo, in order to rescue his son. But when Gokuu and Piccolo reveal the secret of the seven mystical wish-granting Dragon Balls to Raditz, he informs the duo that there is more of his race, the Saiyans, and they won’t pass up an opportunity to seize the power of the Dragon Balls for themselves.
These events begin the saga of Dragon Ball Kai, a story that finds Gokuu and his friends and family constantly defending the galaxy from increasingly more powerful threats. Bizarre, comical, heartwarming and threatening characters come together in a series of battles that push the powers and abilities of Gokuu and his friends beyond anything they have ever experienced.
Overall Rating: 6/10
7. Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom [Bee Train] (Finished 26/26)
Tags: Seinen Organized Crime Action, Drama, Suspense
Mafia is rife in America where assassinations are a regular occurrence on the streets. Inferno, a mysterious company, is behind most of these dealings through the use of their near-invincible human weapon, "Phantom."
One day, a Japanese tourist accidentally witnesses Phantom's latest murder. Desperate to escape, the tourist hides in a secluded building. However, Phantom, revealed to be a young woman named Ein, and the leader of Inferno "Scythe Master" captures the tourist and brainwashes him.
Given the name "Zwei," this once peaceful tourist is now a puppet of Inferno with no memories. Drawn into a world of lies, deceit, and violence, Zwei must fight to survive, hopefully to one day regain his memories and escape from this world where he is constantly on the brink of death.
Never watched this series to the end before, because it's genuinely boring, but had to finish it this time since I did visual novel review. And it's a rather faithful adaptation, even some bad endings are implemented with time rewind after them. But basically story is not interesting and even deliberately confusing even though characters and some missions are memorable enough, There's not enough depth and complexity for seinen, after all, as it moves mostly by adding characters and showing new relation ties. It needed to be adapted normally since visual novel is not in a good state, but it's not a masterpiece level story, and basically I don't like it.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
8. 07-Ghost セブンゴースト [Studio Deen] (Finished 2/25)
Tags: Josei Military, Mythology Action, Fantasy
Barsburg Empire's Military Academy is known for training elites who bring victory to the empire. Students of the academy freely utilize an ability called "Zaiphon" to fight, while the types of Zaiphon usable depends on the nature of the soldier.
Teito Klein, a student at the academy, is one of the most promising soldiers produced. Although ridiculed by everyone for being a sklave (German for slave) with no memories of his past, he is befriended by a fellow student called Mikage. While preparing for the final exam, Teito uncovers a dark secret related to his past. When an attempt to assassinate Ayanami, a high-ranking official who killed his father, fails, Teito is locked away awaiting punishment.
Only wanting the best for Teito, Mikage helps him escape. Teito ends up at the 7th District Church where he is taken in by the bishops. It is here that Teito attempts to evade the grasp of Ayanami and the Military, so he can rediscover his memories and learn why he is the person that can change the fate of the world.
All the boys love references cry for a missing tag here. 
Overall Rating: 5/10
9. Sengoku Basara 戦国BASARA [Production I.G] (Finished 12/12)
Tags: Historical, Martial Arts, Samurai, Super Power Action
In the Sengoku period, the struggle for power and unification has brought endless bloodshed to the unstable Japan. Out of all the warring generals, Nobunaga Oda—the "Demon King of Owari"—has established himself as the strongest ruler. Friend or foe, he is determined to crush anyone who stands in his way of creating a tyrannical central government.
The only two who dare rebel against Oda are the "One-eyed Dragon of Oshu" Masamune Date, and the distinguished but hot-blooded warrior of the Takeda clan, Yukimura Sanada. Though they share the goal of preventing Oda from unifying the domains, Masamune and Yukimura cannot see eye-to-eye. Equally skilled in combat, mutual admiration for one another causes these two feuding warriors to forge a fierce rivalry, thwarting any attempts to form a united front against the Demon King of Owari.
With Oda's forces closing in on their respective territories, Masamune and Yukimura reluctantly learn to put aside their differences and fight together against the threatening usurpator.
Superpower fantasy on Sengoku requires a lot of care while this game treats Sengoku as frivolously as possible resulting in mindless action with the gist pushed to the end.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
10. Senjou no Valkyria Valkyria Chronicles 戦場のヴァルキュリア [A-1 Pictures] (Finished 26/26)
Tags: Military Action, Romance
In its expansion west to gain resources, the Europan Imperial Alliance invades the neutral Principality of Gallia, seeking to take control of its vast Ragnite deposits. Their strategic advantage, technological superiority, and military might make opposition nonexistent, so they steamroll through the border of the sleepy principality with ease.
As Imperial forces run through his quiet hometown, Welkin Gunther and his younger sister Isara jump into action, banding with the leader of the local militia to push the occupational forces out of the village. Quickly retreating to the Gallian capital, they are organized into a unit with the remnants of the militia, tasked with assisting in repelling the Imperial presence from the country.
Though unfamiliar with war, the newly formed Squad Seven must defend their country from annexation. But as the battle rages on through the streets of Gallia, ancient secrets will bring the team closer than they'd ever anticipated.
I hate original series, because I always want to get only perfect score as it gives more exp, and perfect score means winning in like two rounds with only precise actions foreseeing future  as they should be based upon countless replays. But as a result I have not played more than five missions of the game and am curious to learn if story leads anywhere particular. But I've seen the tomb in the game, and nothing really good happens after that in anime. The middle is basically trope-heavy shoujo with Alicia behaving in the most evident banal way. The ending is a very expected and hinted twist (hinted even in the title, lol). Poor game, boring anime.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
11. Cross Game クロスゲーム [SynergySP] (Finished 1/50)
Tags: Shounen School, Team Sports Drama, Romance, Sports
Kou Kitamura and Aoba Tsukishima are often at odds—even though their families happen to be close friends and business partners. Although the only child of a sports shop owner, Kou has never been interested in playing baseball. Despite this, he possesses an impressive batting ability honed by frequent visits to the local baseball batting center run by the Tsukushima family. On the other hand, Aoba loves to play baseball and is a star player with exceptional pitching form.
However, these two seemingly complete opposites share something very important to them—Wakaba Tsukishima, Aoba's older sister and Kou's destined sweetheart. Admired by the quarrelsome duo, Wakaba often finds herself the catalyst to their never-ending rivalry. But whether or not they realize that they have more in common than either would care to admit, only time will tell. The game of baseball may just be what the pair needs to ultimately overcome their own personal struggles.
I'm absolutely tired of Mitsuru Adachi eternal baseball spokons. He's made like ten of them already and they all feel relatively the same. It's nauseating by this point.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
12. Hayate no Gotoku!! Hayate the Combat Butler!! ハヤテのごとく!! [J.C.Staff] (Finished 1/25)
Tags: Shounen Harem, Parody Action, Comedy, Romance
Hayate Ayasaki's misfortune continues to hand him the short end of the stick. Now settled into his routine at the Sanzenins' mansion and Hakuou Academy, the butler continues to work as hard as ever in caring for his young mistress Nagi while studying the school's grueling curriculum—all on top of trying his best to survive the multitude of troubles that life relentlessly pushes onto him.
The unintentional chick magnet's life is far from quiet, forced to deal not only with Nagi's yet unnoticed infatuation with him, but also the evergrowing string of accidentally seduced girls—most notably, the exceptionally plain Ayumu Nishizawa, a friend of his before he became a butler, and the diligent Hinagiku Katsura, Hakuou's student council president. While one struggles to gain his affection and the other desperately tries to deny her own, both the girls are going to make the boy's life a little more complicated than it already is.
Overall Rating: 6/10
13. Asura Cryin' アスラクライン  [Seven Arcs] (Finished 3/13)
Tags: Mecha Action, Supernatural
Natsume Tomoharu is a normal high-school student in every way with one exception: he's being followed by the ghost of his best friend, Misao.
After moving into his brother's old house, Tomoharu expects to continue living his normal life but is one day left with a mysterious and locked briefcase without any instruction. At first he plans to leave it in storage; however, his house is soon invaded by multiple groups of people after the briefcase. Although still not knowing the purpose of the briefcase, Tomoharu and Misao attempt to escape with it.
From there on, Tomoharu tries to learn the secrets behind the briefcase, the connections between it and Misao, and why it has the power to change the world.
Not decent characters spotted, and overall it's an average wonder waffle story with weird tilt into spirits.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
14. Hatsukoi Limited. 初恋限定。 [J.C.Staff] (Finished 12/12)
Tags: Shounen School Comedy, Romance
Ayumi Arihara believes that being loved is the ultimate key to happiness—which is why her greatest wish is to have a boy confess to her. A series of unfortunate events leads to her ideal dream coming true, albeit in a nightmarish way: the towering and terrifying Misao Zaitsu confesses his love to Ayumi through a letter.
Mentally exhausted from not knowing what to do, Ayumi collapses in class. A classmate comes to her rescue, carrying her princess-style to the infirmary. This makes Ayumi fall in love with the cute boy, only to realize he is none other than Misao's younger brother, Mamoru.
Feeling caught between a rock and a hard place, Ayumi must decide whether to stick to her idea of love or pursue what she truly desires. However, Ayumi is not alone in her struggles—all her friends are also taking on the challenges of first love, and for teenagers, it is never as easy as it seems.
Cute designs and small romance stories. It's all nice and watchable, but I'm not sure I can ever rate an omnibus format as masterpiece no matter the quality just because it can't be integral.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
15. Queen's Blade: Rurou no Senshi Queen's Blade: The Exiled Virgin クイーンズブレイド 流浪の戦士 [Arms] (Finished 3/12)
Tags: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Ecchi 
In a land where a queen is chosen every few years solely by winning a tournament, there can be no short supply of formidable opponents. For one woman warrior however, an early defeat clearly shows her that she is lacking in experience though she may be bountiful in body.
Fortunately, while defeat could spell one's doom, her life is saved by a powerful stranger. But unfortunately for this savior, less-than-pure motives and shrewd family members mean her reward is a prison cell. Her release is prompt when the unseasoned warrior she saved, tired of her current lifestyle of nobility, sets off to prove herself.
Queen's Blade is probably the most famous booby action series. And unlike some Freezing story here is just battle royale.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
16. Saki 咲-Saki- [Gonzo, Picture Magic] (Finished 1/25)
Tags: Seinen School, Strategy Game Slice of Life
Due to childhood circumstances, first-year high school student Saki Miyanaga hates anything related to mahjong. When she does play the game, she keeps a low profile to avoid standing out. One day, her friend Kyoutarou Suga drags her along to the school's mahjong club. There, she meets Nodoka Haramura, the champion of the previous year's national middle school mahjong championship, and Yuuki Kataoka, a fellow club member.
As the club play a few rounds, Saki attempts to hide her talent. However, the club president, Hisa Takei, notices Saki's unusual playstyle. Realizing her potential, she puts Saki's real ability to the test—proving her to be more talented than expected. This revelation damages Nodoka's pride, and their relationship gets off to a rocky start.
Saki ends up joining the club, and after clearing up the misunderstandings between her and Nodoka, friendship blooms between them. As Saki slowly warms up to mahjong once again, she and the rest of her club only have one goal—to win nationals!
Mahjong is not fun, and I don't find these characters or development interesting either.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
17. Tears to Tiara ティアーズ・トゥ・ティアラ [White Fox] (Finished 3/26)
Tags: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
As the Holy Empire rises to power, the neighboring lands begin to gradually fall under its control. The Empire's conquest eventually reaches the small island of Erin, home to the Gael tribe. There, a priestess named Riannon is kidnapped to be offered as a living sacrifice to the demon king Arawn, a malevolent being rumored to have caused untold destruction in the past.
Riannon's brother, First Warrior Arthur, rescues her, when Arawn suddenly materializes before them as a handsome grey-haired man. Hiding his true identity and remaining enigmatic, Arawn pledges his power and leadership to the tribe's cause and joins Arthur, Riannon, and their merry band of friends—including a talented swordsman, an agile hunter, and a group of ecstatic pixies—as they fight back against the Empire, while uncovering the dark secrets of the land along the way.
Leaf has serious problem with plots, so this is another boring story, now even more banal than Utawarerumono, just fantasy about retaking kingdom as an adventurer party with some sympathizers. Many flaws and irritations in here.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
18. Tayutama: Kiss on My Deity タユタマ -Kiss on my Deity- [SILVER LINK.] (Finished 3/12)
Tags: Harem Romance, Supernatural 
Yuuri Mito is a typical, normal Japanese teenager. He goes to school, works on people's motorcycles and performs exorcisms. Okay, that last part's a little bit unusual, but his family lives in a shrine and they do that sort of thing. Still, you would think he'd know enough to be careful with an ancient relic he finds in the woods, especially when a mysterious goddess appears and tells him to leave it alone. Unfortunately, despite Mito's best efforts, the seal gets broken anyway and a number of dangerous "tayuti" that it held in stasis get loose. This is bad. Mito also ends up with a beautiful goddess girl who decides that she's going to marry him. This might not be so bad. if he wasn't already caught up in the middle of a war between the entities he's released. The flesh may be weak but the spirit's more than willing to compensate.
Never liked the game, adaptation is same banal harem mess.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
19. Shangri-La シャングリ・ラ [Gonzo] (Finished 1/24)
Tags: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi 
In a post-apocalyptic society, much of earthquake-riddled Japan has been left to ruin, resulting in an abundance of greenery. Governments manage much of the world's emissions, resulting in a massive class divide and economic disparity. The Japanese government launches "Project Atlas," a utopian city that will replace Tokyo but can only fit a certain amount of people. This limitation means that some people will have to live outside the city in jungles, as refugees.
However, with any flawed plan comes those who are willing to challenge it. These include Kuniko Houjou, an heir to a renegade town; Mikuni, a mysterious and powerful child kept in a secret temple; Kunihito Kusanagi, a soldier for the high-tech and exclusive monopoly Atlas; Karin Ishida, a genius economics whiz with her hand in markets across the world; and the villainous Ryouko Naruse, leading Atlas in its domination of this future world.
Can this group of rebels, forming a movement known as "Metal-Age," band together to demonstrate that inclusion and teamwork prevail over cruel segregation?
Shangri-La made a great impression on me when I watched it for the first time, definitely of a masterpiece level. And even now I see it as a full head ahead of rivals as it has memorable characters, world and story. It deserves a minor masterpiece status, because it's an innovative concept though not without flaws and some irritations.  
Overall Rating: 7/10
20. Natsu no Arashi! Summer Storm! 夏のあらし! [Shaft] (Finished 2/13)
Tags: Shounen Time Travel Comedy, Romance, Supernatural
In modern-day Japan, 13-year-old Hajime Yasaka moves to the countryside to stay with his grandfather. On the way to his new home, a lost Hajime finds himself in a cafe called Ark, where he immediately falls in love with one of the waitresses: the gorgeous Sayoko "Arashi" Arashiyama. While Arashi is initially unconcerned with the boy, her attitude quickly changes after she grasps Hajime's hand, leading her to believe they are "connected."
As it turns out, Arashi is anything but a regular teenager—in reality, she is the ghost of a girl who perished in World War II. By touching a man she connects with, she gains the ability to travel back in time. Delighted to have found someone who can unlock her powers, Arashi asks Hajime to help with her mission: to save civilians from the carnage of the war that claimed her life. Smitten with Arashi, Hajime readily agrees. But as the two get further involved with Arashi's past, they soon discover that she is not the only one able to transcend time.
Learning that it comes from School Rumble author helps me a lot. There's also lots of girls, ultramusculine side character, supernatural element used for convenience and same unfunny stupid humor that I absolutely can't stand for long (there are even characters from School Rumble occasionally at background).  
Overall Rating: 6/10
21. Basquash! バスカッシュ! [Satelight] (Finished 1/26)
Tags: Mecha, Team Sports Sci-Fi, Sports 
On the planet Earthdash, its inhabitants gaze on its moon and the technologically advanced lunar city of Mooneyes with awe. Dan JD, a boy living in Rollingtown on Earthdash's surface, gets caught up in Bigfoot Basketball—a fast-paced sport played with giant Bigfoot robots.
Yay... childish CG mecha basketball... yay...  
Overall Rating: 5/10
22. Ristorante Paradiso リストランテパラディーゾ [David Production] (Finished 2/11)
Tags: Josei Workplace Drama, Gourmet, Romance
When Nicoletta was a little girl, her mother, Olga, abandoned her and ran off to Rome to remarry. Now, 15 years later and a young woman, she travels to Rome with the intention of ruining her mother's life. She tracks Olga down to a restaurant called Casetta dell'Orso, but the second Nicoletta steps through its door, everything changes. It's a peculiar place staffed entirely by mature gentlemen wearing spectacles, and like their clientele, she is helpless against their wise smiles and warm voices. Before Nicoletta realizes it, her plans for vengeance start to fade, and she's swept up in the sweet romance of everyday Italian life.
I can't stop getting surprised at combinations of unpleasant things that authors manage to combine in one anime. First of all, reverse harem tag is missing here. Josei needs intelligence to shine, like Nodame Cantabile. Girl having revenge as motive, obsessed by adultery phenomenon and easily getting charmed by everyone while acting impulsively is the opposite of intelligent. And on top of that I can't treat gourmet shows seriously. And why every single character so ugly...  
Overall Rating: 5/10
23. Guin Saga グイン・サーガ [Satelight] (Finished 26/26)
Tags: Adventure, Fantasy 
The ancient kingdom of Parros has been invaded by the armies of Mongaul, and its king and queen have been slain. But the "twin pearls of Parros," the princess Rinda and the prince Remus, escape using a strange device hidden in the palace. Lost in Roodwood, they are rescued from Mongaul soldiers by a strange leopard-headed man, who has no memories except for the words "Aurra" and "Guin," which he believes to be his name.
Despite being fantasy with complex setting, it feels morally old and banal and super convenient, so boring as a result .  
Overall Rating: 6/10
24. Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica Crimson S 神曲奏界ポリフォニカ [Diomedéa] (Finished 1/12)
Tags: Music, School Drama, Fantasy, Romance
The new series will again focus on Corticarte, but it will tie into Ichiro Sakaki and Noboru Kannatsuki's Shinkyoku Sōkai Polyphonica crimson S light novel adaptation, which are set during the Academy years of the storyline.
Overall Rating: 6/10
25. Souten Kouro Beyond the Heavens 蒼天航路 [Madhouse] (Finished 1/26)
Tags: Historical Action, Adventure
Souten Kouro's story is based loosely on the events taking place in Three Kingdoms period of China during the life of the last Chancellor of the Eastern Han Dynasty, Cao Cao (155 – March 15, 220), who also serves as the main character.
The Three Kingdoms period has been a popular theme in Japanese manga for decades, but Souten Kouro differs greatly from most of the others on several points. One significant difference is its highly positive portrayal of its main character, Cao Cao, who is traditionally the antagonist in not only Japanese manga, but also most novel versions of the Three Kingdoms period, including the original 14th century version, Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong. Another significant difference from others is that the storyline primarily uses the original historical account of the era, Records of Three Kingdoms by Chen Shou, as a reference rather than the aforementioned Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel. By this, the traditional hero of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Liu Bei, takes on relatively less importance within the story and is portrayed in a less positive light. Yet, several aspects of the story are in fact based on the novel version, including the employment of its original characters such as Diao Chan, as well as anachronistic weapons such as Guan Yu's Green Dragon Crescent Blade and Zhang Fei's Viper Blade.
A consistent theme throughout the story is Cao Cao's perpetual desire to break China and its people away from its old systems and ways of thinking and initiate a focus on pragmatism over empty ideals. This often puts him at odds with the prevalent customs and notions of Confucianism and those that support them.
I enjoyed it more than expected. It has decent designs and fights and tricks. But it covers strife inside the Empire, Cao Cao ascension, Yellow Turban rebellion and gradual transformation into direct conflict with Liu Bei, so it's basically prequel to Sangokushi trilogy that covered the most epic parts already. And Liu Bei is pictured here as a charismatic and weak adventurer which was not to my liking. In the end I enjoyed it substantially, but without any awe - for a firm masterpiece score.  
Overall Rating: 8/10
26. Arad Senki: Slap Up Party アラド戦記 ~スラップアップパーティー~ [Gonzo] (Finished 5/26)
Tags: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy 
The anime will follow the adventures of Baron, a man living on continent of Arad in the year 981 after "the cursed light of Kazan" has fallen across the land. Thanks to the curse, one of his arms has become possessed. After finding a sword that has been possessed by the spirit Roxy, he embarks on a quest to unravel the secret of the curse and meets various people who also join his party.
A decent jrpg parody with occasionally ok humor, but most of the time it's not funny, and random development only tires me.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
27. Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z-hen Mazinger Edition Z: The Impact! Zマジンガー; 真マジンガー 衝撃!Z編 [Bee Media, Code] (Finished 1/26)
Tags: Shounen Mecha, Super Power Action, Drama
Set in the near future, humanity enters another energy revolution following the discovery of Photon Power. Derived from the ore discovered under the foothills of Mt. Fuji, its intended use was to solve the world's energy problems with its unimaginable power. Seeking this energy is Dr. Hell, a madman craving world domination who with his subordinates Baron Ashura, Count Brocken and Viscount Pygman, commands an army of mechanical beasts excavated from the ruins of ancient Greece to seize the Photon Power Lab for himself. Meeting the attack head on is the hot-blooded teenager Kabuto Kouji, who pilots the Photon Powered robot built by his grandfather, Mazinger Z. But in this battle between Dr. Hell and the Kabuto family, many legends surrounding the Mycenaean Civilization and Bardos Island, as well as the secrets of Mazinger Z remain shrouded in mystery.
A new series based on the mecha show that started it all, Mazinger Z. Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z-Hen starts over from the beginning with a new cast, to tell a new story unrelated to the original show
Overall Rating: 5/10
28. Jewelpet ジュエルペット [Studio Comet] (Finished 1/52)
Tags: Shoujo Anthropomorphic Fantasy
When what looks to be a cluster of shooting stars appear in the sky, Rinko Kougyoku and her friend Minami each make a wish.
What the girls truly saw were not stars, but 'Jewel Charms' falling to the Earth. These charms were created by three magicians in a magical world names Jewel Land, each housing one of its many native Jewelpets. Although these creatures are free to roam the world in their original form, the magicians sometimes turn them into charms so that they can be carried around with great ease. Most Jewelpets don't find this troublesome, but once a mischievous bunny by the name of Ruby feels overly claustrophobic, she devises her escape.
One day, the magicians decide to move the Jewelpets, and task a pelican with delivering them to the Dream Forest. All is well until a strong gust of wind disorients the bird, who then drops all of the charms that he was carrying. Instead of heading towards the Dream Forest, all the Jewelpets but Ruby fall to Rinko’s home city on Earth. Someone must go and retrieve them all, and as Ruby was the worst-behaved of the bunch, she is given the task of going to Earth.
When Ruby reaches Earth in the form of a red Jewel Charm, she falls into Rinko’s water glass, and thus begins a rather unexpected adventure. Rinko, Minami, and Ruby form an alliance to search and gather all of the fallen charms, encountering strange creatures and tons of helpful allies along the way. Will they be able to succesfully bring the Jewelpets home safely, or is Earth full of more danger than they had expected?
Rather typical shoujo of a girl who wants courage to talk in public and needs magic for that, and couple pinky plushies help with all that. The number of tropes in pilot episode is overwhelming, so that's all I can bear.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
29. Gokujou!! Mecha Mote Iinchou The Best!! Extremely Cool Student Council President 極上!!めちゃモテ委員長 [Shogakukan Music & Digital Entertainment] (Finished 2/51)
Tags: Shoujo School Comedy, Romance
Mimi Kitagami is a kind, level-headed girl who aims to be the best, coolest student council president of her high school class. However, three trouble-making boys are always causing her grief — and she has a one-sided crush on one of the boys, Ushio Toujou.
We've seen many times this school romance shojo where girl gets turned down over and over by mysterious boy with presumably tragic background. There's also enough cringe. But CGI makes it look even worse than usual and deserves an extra penalty score.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
30. Konnichiwa Anne: Before Green Gables こんにちは アン ~Before Green Gables [Nippon Animation] (Finished 1/39)
Tags: Historical Drama
The story of what happened to Anne Shirley before she was adopted.
Prequel to World Masterpiece Series show, so only for niche audience.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
31. Mainichi Kaasan Kaasan: Mom's Life 毎日かあさん [Gallop, TYO Animations, Dongwoo A&E] (Finished 1/142)
Tags: Childcare Comedy, Slice of Life
Based on Rieko Saibara's humorous semi-autobiographical manga about her life raising her two children.
Just very short simplistic SOL sketches with crude graphics. And most sketches follow the same structure - mom has to clean after her relatives or otherwise handle their actions, and that's not funny at all. It only confirms my thesis that autobiographies are usually boring.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
32. Kigurumikku V3 きグルみっく☆V3 [AIC ASTA] (Finished 3/3)
Tags: Mecha, Parody Comedy, Ecchi 
The high spirited girls Azuki Edomae, Mutsumi Mutsuki and Serika Shihodo, put on their "KIGURUMI"costumes instantly transforming them into the super heros Kigurumikku-Swan, Kigurumikku-Falcon and Kigurumikku-Swallow. Follow these super-girls as they defend Minamachi City and bring peace to the town.
A silly magical girl parody that is over in half an hour, and I'm not even sure it would be any good to watch in a company.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
33. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete ファイナルファンタジーVII アドベントチルドレンコンプリート [Square Enix Visual Works] (Finished 1/1)
Tags: Super Power Action, Fantasy
Two years after saving the world from a cataclysmic event, the members of the activist organization Avalanche have gone their separate ways. Tifa Lockhart opens a new bar, and her childhood friend Cloud Strife starts up a motorcycle-based courier service. Although most of their former allies have fallen out of touch, Cloud and Tifa live in fragile peace with their two young wards Marlene and Denzel.
Their life together begins to crumble as a contagious plague and overwhelming grief pull Cloud away from his newfound family. While distancing himself through his work, Cloud is attacked by three silver-haired figures in black uniforms who bear a passing resemblance to his bitter rival, Sephiroth. As the antagonistic trio stalks Cloud and brings harm to his loved ones, the former mercenary struggles against his own demons while fighting to protect his family and prevent the will of Sephiroth from returning to the planet.
How much does Director's Cut version add to the movie? In my experience, very little of what matters - usually just flavor scenes for some characters. I remember 2005 movie as action packed thriller while here pace is worse. but I'm definitely not going to rewatch it again in search of new scenes. Should watch one or another, but not both. Don't see the need for this version tbh.  
Overall Rating: 4/10
34. Dogs: Bullets & Carnage ドッグズ/バレッツ&カーネイジ [David Production] (Finished 4/4)
Tags: Seinen Action
It is sometime in the future, where a certain European city extends far underground, even secret, dark levels that have the key to the past. Ex-assassin Mihai has returned and is living with Kiri, who now runs a restaurant. Sword-wielding Naoto, Haine (white hair), a mysterious product of genetic engineering and his sometime partner Badou (eyepatch).
Each episode is a short 15-minute story with different protagonist, and I really don't like omnibus collections.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
35. Final Fantasy VII: On the Way to a Smile - Episode: Denzel デンゼルを中心としたオリジナルアニメ [A-1 Pictures] (Finished 1/1)
Tags: Super Power Action, Fantasy
After the three-pronged conflict between tyrannical electric company Shinra, rebel group Avalanche, and the maniacal Sephiroth, the damaged planet slowly heals its wounds. A rural town dubbed Edge sprouts up on the outskirts of Midgar's ruins. Reeve Tuesti, former Head of Urban Development at Shinra, interviews a young boy named Denzel for potential membership in Reeve's World Regenesis Organization, a group devoted to the restoration and protection of the planet.
Denzel recounts his tragic history to Reeve, detailing how the aftermath of the heroic Avalanche's actions laid waste to Midgar and took the lives of everyone the boy knew. Through reminiscing to Reeve, Denzel discovers a newfound purpose.
It's under half an hour and about a side character that was not really interesting from the start, so I'd live without it.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
36. Issho ni Training: Training with Hinako いっしょにとれーにんぐ [Studio Hibari] (Finished 1/1)
Tags: Sports, Ecchi 
"First muscle training animation ever," a 16-year-old girl named Hinako leads exercises in push-ups, sit-ups, and squats. Hinako was once a human, but she was turned into an anime character when she was a second-year middle-school student.
There's no plot, so just a waste of ten minutes.  
Overall Rating: 4/10
37. Yurumates ゆるめいつ [Indeprox, Takeshobo, indigo line] (Finished 1/1)
Tags: Seinen Comedy, Slice of Life
Yurume, an 18-year old "ronin" and recent high school graduate, has high hopes of being accepted and attending Tokyo University. She moves into an apartment complex, the Maison du Wish, located on the outskirts of Tokyo where other ronins living there are studying for upcoming college acceptance exams.
Relaxing episodic SOL comedy, but with schematic graphics, so can't really appreciate it.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
38. Cobra The Animation: Time Drive COBRA THE ANIMATION タイム・ドライブ [Magic Bus] (Finished 2/2)
Tags: Shounen Adult Cast, Space Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Lady has disappeared so Cobra must dive into her past to save her. This is the story of who Lady used to be and how she got that metal body.
Another prequel to the series, this time about side character. Don't know about the 2010 series, but these movies are synonyms to cringe.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
39. First Squad: The Moment of Truth ファーストスクワッド [Studio 4°C] (Finished 1/1)
Tags: Historical, Military, Super Power Action, Supernatural
As the Second World War rages on throughout Europe and the German forces advance closer to Moscow, the days of the Soviet Union seem numbered. Their only hope is the First Squad, a special unit operating within the Soviet intelligence service that consists of teenagers possessing supernatural abilities. However, the unit's sole surviving member Nadya Ruslanova suffers from memory loss and is unlikely to take part in any combat operation.
The next Moment of Truth—an event that happens once every 700 years, when the actions of a single man can change the entire course of history—is rapidly approaching the Eastern Front. In hopes of breaking the stalemate at the frontlines, a German occult organization called Ahnenerbe plans to summon Baron von Wolff, a medieval knight from the Northern Crusades, and his undead army from the underworld. To prevent this from happening, First Squad must gather once again, and it is up to Nadya to bring back her deceased friends to stop the Nazis from taking over the world.
Tasteless averageness created just to steal budget money.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
40. Miyamoto Musashi: Souken ni Haseru Yume Musashi: The Dream of the Last Samurai 宮本武蔵 ―双剣に馳せる夢― [Production I.G] (Finished 1/1)
Tags: Historical, Martial Arts, Samurai Action
The film's story centers on Musashi Miyamoto, one of the most famous swordsmen in Japanese history. He pioneered the Hyouhou Niten Ichi-ryuu style of two-sword fighting and wrote The Book of Five Rings, a book that has been compared to Sun Tzu's The Art of War for its insight on tactics and strategy.
If you expected a coherent life story of a famous samurai, it's the wrong place. Most of it is CG with explanation on warfare and time period and climate and whatever else. Add real life footages and numerous guides antics and you'll get a weird mix... that is definitely not a documentary, so better use something else if you're really interested in this samurai.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
41. Crayon Shin-chan Movie 17: Otakebe! Kasukabe Yasei Oukoku クレヨンしんちゃん オタケベ!カスカベ野生王国 [Shin-Ei Animation] (Finished 1/1)
Tags: Seinen Comedy, Sci-Fi
Comical action adventure film including a caricature of radical ecoactivism and theme of bond between mother and children. The new mayor of Futaba Town, Kasukabe-City, Saitama Prefecture, Mamoru Shizan promotes ecology activities, but his true identity is the leader of an eco-terrorist organization "SKBE: Save Keeping Beautiful Earth", and he launches a plan to transform human into animals by making them take a drink to change into animals. By taking the drink, Shinnosuke's father, Hiroshi changes into a chicken, and his mother changes into a panther. With a mystery woman Victoria, the Nohara Family and half-animalized members of Kasukabe Defense Forces fight against SKBE to stop Shizen's plan. 
Ecology cult episode is one of the weakest overall.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
42. Baton バトン [-] (Finished 3/3)
Tags: Adventure, Sci-Fi
Project to mark Yokohama City's 150th anniversary.
On Planet Abel, humans and robots co-exist. One day a mysterious stowaway on a transport vessel tries to invade the planet, but is discovered by Apollo (Hayato Ichihara), a robot that looks like a human; and Mikaru (Aya Ueto), a human that looks like a robot. The stowaway had in his possession a memory chip containing the latest in camouflage software, the mysterious "Cipher" OS. Apollo takes the Cipher chip simply for fun, but has no idea what he's getting himself into. He suddenly starts acting strange, but Mikaru has no idea what's wrong or that Cipher is behind it. What exactly is Cipher? What sort of secrets does it hold? Apollo and Mikaru will unravel a mystery encompassing the past, present, and future to find out.
The main problem is that it's not anime, but some kind of digitalized motion capture. World is shown only schematically, and focus is on facial emotions and fighting choreography, because it's what used technology can do the best. Story is not bad though short, but poor crude visuals and long scenes of the similar action happening kill all the intrigue.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
43. Batain Lai!! Minami no Shima no Mizu Monogatari パッテンライ!! ~南の島の水ものがたり~ [Mushi Production] (Finished 1/1)
Tags: Historical Slice of Life
The year is 1917, and under Japanese occupation, Taiwan suffers from terrible drought and famine. Residents of the Chianan Plain live in squalor, their lives defined by the daily struggle of carting water home. When Yoichi Hatta, a Japanese civil engineer, arrives with a plan to reshape the area's irrigation dramatically, the local residents are quick to call him a liar. Xu Yingzhe, the son of a poor farmer, takes issue with the outright rejection of Hatta's plan and tries to reason and grasp the situation. Hatta's scheme may seem crazy, but it could be the very thing that improves the strenuous lives of the Taiwanese people.
Good occupant tries to make residents' lives better and only meets resentment which gradually changes. It is pretty well done and based on real events, but I don't find any of it interesting.  
Overall Rating: 5/10

Edited by kivandopulus


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Souten Kouro- Series following Cao Cao from the early days of his rise.  It is fairly high quality and a good watch.

Haruhi Suzumiya- You either love it or you hate it.

K-on- The abomination that caused the term 'moeblob' to be coined.  This series should never have existed, as it spawned even more abominations of a similar nature.

Tayutama- Middling quality, screwed up ending (for some reason, they didn't use the Mashiro path ending, despite her being the chosen heroine...)

Tears to Tiara- An abortive attempt to repeat the high-quality results they somehow managed to get from the Utawarerumono anime.

Asura Cryin- If it weren't for the protagonist being a Shinji Mk-???  then this would have been an interesting anime.  Setting is often poorly presented despite the hints at greater complexity.

Phantom- In terms of action, it is similar to Noir and Madlax (fun if you like assassination action with guns) but it fails to fully capture the attraction of the gritty and down-to-earth (relatively speaking) VN from nitroplus.

Pandora Hearts- Fantasy series with an interesting concept and good heroine, but it never gets an ending.

07-Ghost - BL-ish fantasy action series that is actually good to watch if you don't mind the undertones.

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For the last season, I only know White Album and Fresh Pretty Cure (FPC) with While Album itself is the adaptation of the VN that Shiravune will release on this year. No ideal on how faithful the adaptation would be compared to WA2.

FPC - After YPC5GG failed to gather the money as Toei and Bandai expected, they decided to pull one last effort with the new producer and manage to produce FPC with them mix some sci-fi element into it along with making the villain cadres more good looking, resulting in some success so much that they can keep going with it, although Toei decided to not do the direct sequel now but instead from FPC each of Precure series would be one year standalone series.

Before Green Gable - The last World Masterpiece Theater theater TV series that is the prequel of another series, and so we didn't have that series until now. No idea if the series will be revived or not.

Tears to Tiara - Well the premise is more simple than Utawarerumono, so I can see if you think like that. Anyway, with Shiravune took the license for Aquaplus work (Utawarerumono trilogy, Dungeon Traveler 2, and White Album), I hope that they eventually took Tears to Tiara duology for PC later. Oh yes, it also has English translation, although the graphic between the original and the remake are very different, and the anime using the art from the remake.

Phantom of Inferno - The 2nd opening is not quite fit with the tone of the anime while the 1st opening set the mysterious tone, although the remake opening is still the best one to me. Anyway like Tears to Tiara, the anime also use the art from the remake. Also if JAST run out of Nitroplus title to localize, I hope they can consider to localize Phantom of Inferno remake version even with the sex scene removed, because the original version translation is quite bad and more importantly it was only available on the hard to use medium (DVD Player).

K-ON - While it's just usual Cute Girls Do Cute Things, obviously it set up the same series that follow the success of K-ON. Series wise, there's no much to say other than it's about the girls who tried their best to do their band inside the school.

Haruhi 2 - Mod Clephas word is definitely can be applied to the second season of Haruhi, especially with on how Kyoani decide to do the infamous Endless Eight as the way to pad the anime after they decided to scrap the initial plan to animated one of the arc on TV series (Said arc is instead adapted as the movie). While it's nothing new on how the studio decided to pad the series with filler, the thing is Kyoani decided to push their creativity with airing eight episodes with the exact same storyline (Several differences in the drawing aside), which to say would be very painful if you watch it weekly (Especially if you've waited for the new story only to be greeted by the exact same story after a week). Well if anything else at least the audience can understand the feeling for one of the character, and it didn't feel as much as painful if you watch it marathon.

Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood - The best anime according to MAL people, which if we compared to VNDB it would be MLA before being dethroned by Steins Gate (The first rank in both database are serious business as it happen). Seriously speaking, it's the more faithful adaptation to the manga compared to 2003 series, with the story goes in way with the manga. While it being praised for being faithful, there's a critic in regard of the rushed pacing for the first 14 episodes, which is understandable seeing that the comparison for that is 2003 anime that adapt those extensively (Thanks to the manga is still far from finished). Oh yes, I like all of the opening, although if I may chose I like the 4th opening the most.

That's all for what I can say in regard of Spring 2009 anime, and yes FPC is count because each of Precure series airing for a year.

Edited by littleshogun
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