The Summer 2009 season is great!

I’ve been bummed by the initial fall release schedule. Besides Railgun, there wasn’t one other show that seemed interesting, but I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of deja vu. Because I know I said the same thing on a few blogs back when the summer preview was doing the rounds. I think back then, there were only two shows that piqued my interest, and you could argue that both were sequels: Umineko and Spice and Wolf 2. But as it turns out, like Low on Hit Points has mentioned, the summer season has been excellent. I can’t remember a season in which there’s been so many shows that I’d consider scoring an 8-10.

Hina blushing, again
No Hina has nothing to do with this post. And no, this blog has not posted enough blushing Hina pics.

Possibly 10-worthy

  • Sora no Manimani has been my favorite show of the season. I just love Mii-chan’s character and the unbounded enthusiasm she brings to the show. It also helps that the show is shipper-friendly, and just flat out hilarious. I’m not sure if Sora no Manimani will get a 10 from me, it’ll probably fall a little short, but however it goes for the rest of the season it’ll always have a special place in my heart, because without it (and the perspectives from a few blogs), I don’t think I would’ve watched Nodame Cantabile – which I devoured in 4 days.

In 8 to 9 land

  • Bakemonogatari has been a close second to SNM. The characters are unique and capricious, the artwork is beautiful, the dialogue deftly balances verbosity and hilarity, and the storylines are surprisingly profound. I never really know what to expect from this show, but it always seems to blow away whatever my expectations might’ve been. Add to that my favorite ED of the summer and Bakemonogatari has been a huge surprise for me, as I didn’t have very high expectations for it (mostly because I didn’t know what it was about).
  • Spice and Wolf 2, it seems everything I loved from the original Spice and Wolf is back, but I think Brains Base has really done a great job sharpening the edges around both the humor and drama. So the show is that much more enjoyable during its lighthearted scenes, and that much more intense during the dramatic scenes -  Horo’s meltdown being the most memorable moment so far.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni, the first few episodes were good, but the very quick pacing kept it from being great. But the last episode (#5) felt like it was firing on all cyclinders. The mystery became a million times more interesting. And the battle lines drawn between Battler and Beatrice had me on the edge of my seat. I’d compare it to the scene in Higurashi where reptile-eyed Mion and Rena visit Keiichi bearing needle filled food, and I thought "holy crap, this show is unreal!" Umineko just reached that level, I just hope the future arcs can continue to build on it like Higurashi’s did.
  • Toyko Magnitude, I don’t necessarily like Mirai, but I don’t dislike her either, and think she’s generally been acting like how you might expect a junior high kid to act. As much as I love Yuuki, his constant cheeriness may be the most unrealistic part of the show (not that I’m complaining). Every episode though, has been gripping and powerful, and surprisingly interesting for a disaster anime. I wonder if the show can continue to stay fresh without getting too clichéd, but with Mari heading towards her home (I’m guessing there will be tragedy), and the potential Mirai/Yuuki/family reunion to look forward to, there should be plenty of emotional drama to carry through.
  • Canaan, I think has the best animation of any of the shows this summer. I mean all the fight scenes are fluid, everything looks fantastic. I can’t imagine this being a really high-budget show, so I’m incredibly impressed by the visuals. Five episodes in, I still don’t have a great grasp on the story though. But with Maria’s cute ahoge, Yun Yun’s meat bun stuffing, all the nudity and the yuri vibes, I’ve found myself watching Canaan similar to how I watched Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo – just enjoying the ride and not asking too many questions.

Possible 7s

  • Umi Monogatari, I didn’t know that this was a mahou shoujo, so I was caught by surprised when they dropped that little nugget on us in episode 2, but I’ve still enjoyed it. It’s obviously not super deep or anything, but the designs and the characters are so clean and fresh, it’s been a lot of fun to watch.
  • Princess Lover is a good harem, it’s arguably the best harem I’ve seen, depending on what your definition of a harem is. But I think I would enjoy it more if a.) it didn’t use the hackneyed super rich people acting super rich setting and b.) if the girls didn’t have bowling balls for breasts. I don’t know why that second point bothers me so much, it’s not like Kallen Stadtfeld’s ever-growing bosom bugged me, but I just think the proportions are comical. It’s sort of like Nodoka in Saki. You’re not poor. Get a better fitting shirt, girl!

And this isn’t even counting the ongoing spring shows like:

  • Hayate no Gotoku, which, even moreso than SNM, is seriously challenging for a perfect 10 score. It all depends on the ending.
  • FMA, which got a lot more interesting once they started animating the new stuff. Definitely could get a 9.
  • Valkyria Chronicles, which has been getting really good lately (episode 17! nooo!!!), and could end up with an 8.

So maybe I’ll be wrong about fall too. I guess we’ll see.

17 Replies to “The Summer 2009 season is great!”

  1. Did Valkyria get better? I dropped it back during the Single Digit episodes, since it just felt too slow for me. I guess I was expecting something else, though, as I felt sorely disappointed by the Fighting and Tactics.

    And I apologize, as a new reader I haven’t read your Hayate no Gotoku!! episode entries, but how do you view this season in comparison to the last? As shocked as I am, I think I like it more. The First season was funny as hell, but this just feels like it has much more sustenance, instead of feeling like one-shot episodes one after another. I guess I just like Hayate being a pimp and getting a new girl to fall towards him every 2 episodes, haha.
    Plus, it fills my needed weekly dose of Wakamoto.

    And I really enjoy Ookami to Koushinryou II(“Spice and Wolf” and “Holo” bug me too much to use, sorry.)
    Loved the first season, but this season, much to my liking, seems to actually focus quite a bit on the Trading/Economy aspect of the show. Plus. Horo dancing with Lawrence is never a bad thing. But I was excited when Amarti showed up, after seeing him in how many scans and illustrations in the novels, but I quickly came to want him dead, haha.

    Canaan is simply beautiful, too. I don’t understand the plot much either, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t nice to watch unfold.

    Did you get to watch the Paris Chapter of Nodame, aswell? The third season is greenlighted, so if you haven’t, there’s reason to catch up!

    1. The fighting and tactics are still silly, but I think it’s gotten a bit more darker recently. It actually feels like they’re in a war. Haven’t played the game, so I’m not sure how it compares to it though.

      My HNG entries haven’t had much depth. They’ve really just been Hina fanboy image dumps. :p I like the 2nd season considerably more than the 1st. Not that the 1st was bad, but there was so much filler. I’d say a 1/3 of season 1 was either boring or pointless. I just love how there’s actual relationship development this season.

      Ooh nice, it seems like most people don’t like the trading/economy aspects of the show, but that’s something I’ve really dug.

      Nope, haven’t gotten to Paris yet. You ever hesitated to start watching a show, because you didn’t want it to end? 😉 I’m hoping to get to it this weekend. I need my fill of gyabos! and mukyaas!

      1. Would you recommend picking up Valkyria half way through, or something? Skipping a few episodes? It feels like I won’t miss an awfully lot if I did, at least stuff that’s entertain me.
        Valkyria reminded me a lot of Tales of the Abyss. It’s got enough story to watch it all the way through, but if you miss an episode or three, you can pick up what happened pretty quickly. Didn’t finish the last 3 episodes of Abyss, though, for some reason. No clue why.. Huh…

        Wasn’t Hayate supposed to be a Gag show in the first place? I never read the Manga, but I just figured that’s how it was. I stopped watching the first season around episode 30-40, I think. Last episode I really remember is Fukuyama Jun playing some Lelouch-With-Glasses at some school festival. It’s funny, i took Code Geass rather seriously for what it was, but any time after I heard Jun’s voice in Sora Kake Girl, Ookami to Koushinryou, or Hayate, I couldn’t help but grin and giggle, haha.

        Same goes for Wakamoto, I guess. I’m sure Nobunaga was a mean, mean man. But anytime he talked, my cheek bones started hurting.

        About Ookami’s trade/economy stuff. I didn’t think many Anime Fans would care for it(Even I find myself going “Moar Horo!” pretty often), but, well.. Back in Grade School other kids wanted to be Astronauts, Race Car Drivers..
        Me? I wanted to be a, I kid you not, traveling merchant in medieval times. With a Wagon!

        And more recently, a Wolf-Diety!

        So I may be a special case for that, haha.
        But it was what pulled me to the series in the first place. “An Anime/Manga/Novel about TRADING? You’re kidding, right? I’m in love. AND HOT WOLF GIRL? BEST CREATION EVER.”

        Haha.. I haven’t finished Tokyo Majin Gauken Kenpouchu 2 yet for that reason. Cause I know once I finish it, I’ll force myself to rewatch both seasons.

        (Also, I apologize for my rather long winded comments. It’s a curse, I say. I’ll try and tone it down. But that rarely helps, haha.)

        1. Yeah, you can probably pickup Valkyria again after a few episodes without missing too much. You’d miss a bit of the dorama between Rosie and Isara, and the love triangle between Welkin, Faldio and Alicia, but that stuff’s pretty easy to figure out… The actual story itself hasn’t moved that much though.

          Hayate is very gaggy, but it’s usually gaggy within some sort of romantic story arc. This season has followed the manga perfectly. Whereas last season had a lot of anime-only filler.

          You wanted to be a traveling merchant in medieval times!? Weirdo! :p But then again, if I knew Horo came with the job, I’d quit my job now and become a merchant in a quick flash. Who wouldn’t? lol.

          1. Hmm, I think I’ll wait til the entire series is done(seeds are way too low for episodes that are more than 3 days old, jesus), and just rush through it all in a few days.
            I’ll keep up with the Blogs who blog about it, and decide if it’s worth it from that, I guess. But after reading Hinano’s post on Blue-Haired-Not-Human-Race?-Chick being snuffed out, well, I think one of the major “jabs” that the show will have has been dulled.

            I’d purposely not get attacked to Blue-haired-chick, haha. “She dies. I should think of her as the worst character, so I don’t baww.”

            !
            And I’m not weird! I just have had an unhealthy obsession with Travel since I can remember!
            Plus, Haggling and Bartering is fun!
            Obviously Bandits are nowhere in my fantasy, though. I can’t fight worth a damn. Take all my pelts! Don’t hurt me! (Or better yet, George Carlin! “Do what you want to the girl, but leave me alone!”)

            Unless that girl is Horo. I won’t have to fight, and she can eat them! Win/Win.

          2. Hmm, when you mention “Blue-Haired-Not-Human-Race?-Chick” you’re not referring to Maximilian’s chick are you? She dies!? 😮

            lol, travel is one thing, being a traveling merchant is another. :p

  2. Gotta love Sora no Manimani as well. Totally enjoyable so far and it’s definitely enjoyable. Lovin’ Mii-chan too :love: . It’s also a surprise for me since I wasn’t really expecting anything from the show but it just immediately captured me and now I’m totally loving it.

    And I agree with the rest of your list. Bakemonogatari and TM8.0 are really great shows. Umineko and CANAAN are shows for me that I enjoy because I don’t really take it so seriously, and Spice and Wolf 2’s getting very very interesting 🙂 .

    What I love the most about this season is that it feels like a “seiyuu-season” for me because I’m hearing great performances here and there. 😀
    .-= kanzeon´s last blog ..Otomen – Episode 1 =-.

    1. Hmm, “seiyuu-season” sounds about right. Chiwa Sato, Haruka Tomatsu, Ami Koshimizu, Kanae Itou as Mii-chan (I hadn’t heard of her before), have had some great performances. Interestingly, for all the shows Hocchan’s in, there hasn’t been a role that’s stuck out to me… except maybe Maria’s ~uu~? :p

  3. Summer hasn’t really been the best of seasons, but this one’s been pretty enjoyable. A lot of variety to spread around for me anyhow. Aside from the ones you’ve listed, I’ve also been enjoying Taisho Yakyuu Musume because the humor is pretty light and the characters are pretty enjoyable too.

    Fall, like you said, doesn’t look all too great, but I’m holding out hope for some surprises along the way. If nothing great is on, it’ll be a great time to catch up on the old stuff I’ve been missing out on.
    .-= zzeroparticle´s last blog ..The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2009) OP – Super Driver – Review =-.

  4. What makes this summer season look even better is if you compare it to last years. That had Natsume Yuujinchou and….err….well, Xam’d was sort of half summer half Autumn. But you get my point.

    No subs for Sora no Manimani has left me in Despair!

  5. I agree with most, I’m especially enjoying sora mani mani as well. I’d also give a high ranking to Spice and Wolf (I like economics and I like Horo!) and Bakemonogatari

    I haven’t watched Tokyo magnitude 8 -doesn’t seem to be my genre, and I have too many stuff to watch already- and Canaan -my crappy computer wouldn’t play the first episode so I gave up-

    If I had to make a list myself, I’d add Zetsubou Sensei

    As for spring shows, Hayate and Saki
    .-= Sergio´s last blog ..Bakemonogatari reminds me a little of… =-.

    1. Gonna jump in here real quick.
      Canaan specifically ain’t working? Hmm.
      Did you try watching the Xvid versions? The Sub groups doing the show are Neglecting it, it seems, but the first 1 or 2 episodes seem to have it(Mochi), so I’m sure more will given time.

      H264 is a beast, lately. I used to watch Kanon 2006, and Geass season 1 H264 perfectly fine.
      But it’s gotten too HD lately, my playback will stutter too, if there’s too much happening. I have to watch the H264 encodes pretty much right when I start up my computer to prevent it from getting too hot over time, and skipping every time the Camera decides to pan around a character(Bakemono makes this somewhat of a chore. That I’m happy to do, though!). And forget about watching them with anything big running in the background like a Torrent at 40-100 kb/s(it’s a lot for my computer, apparently).

      Anime Related, Zetsubou Sensei is always good. The latest episode was uncharacteristically very boring, though. Maybe I just missed the references or something.

    2. Ah, I was just thinking that I completely forgot to mention Zetsubou Sensei when I saw you mentioned it. That was a mistake. On the other hand, my omission of Haruhi was intentional. 😉

  6. Thanks for the shout out; just noticed it now after coming out of a little hiatus from the blogosphere, as Endless Eight (and K-ON!) negativity wore me out.

    I’m still enjoying the majority of Summer ’09, but Canaan is looking more and more like all show and no substance. Aside from the inane plot, I’m absolutely sick of those smug, cocky villains whose only claim to any sort of superiority is plot contrivance. Sea Story has also been a let down, though this time through no fault of its own. Ayako just doesn’t see it as a priority right now, and the other available sub is supposedly lacking in quality.
    .-= Michael | Low on Hit Points´s last blog ..Comparing three different cast types, watching a series for a single character, and Senjougahara fascination =-.

    1. Glad to have ya back! I’ve fallen behind on Sea Story as well. Every season there’s always a couple shows that seems to have trouble getting enough fansub support, and as a result, I’ll forget about it until weeks later when I realize I fallen way behind. I think Canaan’s story is coming together a little bit lately. I never expected it to be a masterpiece, but it’s got a bombastic summer action flick thing going for it.

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