Summer ’09 Anime: Last Call

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Oh god, I’ve been letting Expo Expo dust over. D:  All the series that aren’t continuing on into the fall season are over now,  and I think Summer ’09 was one of the better seasons for a large quantity of quality shows, which is in stark contrast with the “meh”-ness of the current fall shows.  Spoilers ahead obviously…

Season Favorites

CANAAN –  The final episode was a big WAT to me, and I’m glad that they kept the animation quality up high to the very end.  I think I was hoping that Maria would have a bigger emotional transformation than she did, but I guess Cannan was the one who needed it the most.  This show gets a “Best Well-Rounded Cast” award from me.  Alphard was one of the most dynamic characters I’ve ever watched and Maaya Sakamoto provided an A+ performance (as she always does).   It’s always welcoming to see a villain who’s more complicated than just killing people out of insanity or rage.

That’s where Liang-Qi comes in!  Oh my, where do I start?  The yakuza-like tirade on Maria?  Her pop idol love song she belt out while firing helicopter missles at Canaan?  Her final encounter with Alphard?  They were all gems.  And I can’t forget Yun-Yun.  I thought they were going to pull some twist in which she’d suddenly have supernatural powers like the others, but it was kind of refreshing to see her save Maria with her own strength.  (Although maybe her superpower is the uncanny ability to survive.  I know I sure as hell wouldn’t be able to save someone from an exploding train and then walk halfway across the desert.)

The saddest and biggest twist was probably Hakko’s fate.  It’s painful to see someone who always got the worst situations forced on them even though they’re a good person.  I guess her end could count as a bittersweet “good” end, because she’s finally able to be with the person she loves and will never accidentaly hurt anyone again.

I think the only thing I would have wanted to know more about was the 3rd “Canaan” that went up in flames with the enemy compound.

Spice and Wolf II – YESSSSS, couple confirmed!  The plot toyed with viewers till the very end, but Lawrence finally confessed his love for Horo and kissed her.  I really thought they would just leave it hanging and expect all the flirting between them to confirm their relationship.  This season was certainly more about the action, though the economics were certainly still there.  Horo’s breakdown was chilling, and Abe was downright deceitful.  My only complaint is that we never actually got to see Horo’s homeland, but will they still continue there now that Horo’s staying with Lawrence?

Umi Monogatari – Just as I thought, this was pretty much the Wiseman arc of Sailor Moon, lol.  Urin grew to a teenage level just like Rini/Chibi-usa did and was saved by the ~power of love~ in the same way too.  Still I don’t feel like this was a cheap knockoff story, mainly because of Kanon’s surly attitude and Marin’s transformation from a one-trick Mary Sue character.  The show’s music is also one of my favorites from this season, and I’m hoping they’ll release a soundtrack at some point.  Oh and I’m going to just assume Kanon is bisexual until otherwise proven false.

Shangri-La – This show was kind of all over the place, but the overall plot was interesting and unlike most other series.  I was SO disappointed how easily Mikuni fell into Ryoko’s evil takeover plan, but I guess I should just chalk it up to childhood naivety.  Ghost Mi-ko was AWESOME and Ghost Hiruko was adorable.  One big issue with this show is that their main character, Kuniko, just ended up so one-dimensional.  All she does is try to save the day and be full throttle while doing so.  Learning that’s she’s a clone wasn’t surprising because she never really acted like a normal person to begin with.  Other bad subplots included lack of info on Digma Zero and his relationship with Karin, Takehiko’s spiral into self-destruction, and why Kusanagi even needed to be in this show.  I mean seriously, all he really did was whine, change sides, lose his dagger and possibly have a crush on Kuniko.

Aoi Hana – How is that an anime show can portray lesbians in a more natural way than most mainstream TV shows?  Yeah this was set up in a typical all-girls school setting, but this show (and manga series) wasn’t made to showcase hot girls making out so that guys can drool over it.  This featured real emotions, acceptances and rejections.  Fumi struggles accepting who she is, letting others know about her, and grows personally in a way that I’m sure other girls have.

The opening song done by Kuuki Koudan really fit the show’s personality, and I only wish that they had used more songs done by her after listening to her regular self-titled album.   The only bummer with Aoi Hana is that it’s over just as things are getting good in the manga, so I suggest you continue reading it!

G.A. Geijutsuka Art Design Class – I still haven’t finished this because Ayako was releasing subs at Slowpoke levels of speed, but it never fails to make me laugh.  The girls really would be uninteresting on their own, but their personalities complement each other well.

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The So So Endings

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 – What were the creators thinking when they had Mirai go off the deep end?  You don’t hallucinate people to that extent without needing some serious psychiatric evaluation afterwards.  It was also doubtful that Mari wouldn’t have spoken more to Mirai about Yuuki’s death since Mirai was acting all cheerful and crap.  I really didn’t think they were going to kill him off, but I guess that one of the most realistic effects of an earthquake.  You don’t get spared because of how nice you are or how young you are.  I’ll admit that I got a little teary-eyed when Mirai and her family broke down in the hospital.

Pandora Hearts – This show was good overall, but I’m just not a fan of anime-original endings.  This show would have done better with more episodes and a different style of animation.

Taishou Yakyuu Musume – A lot was smushed into twelve episodes and I would have liked to have seen more character development.  The midnight baseball bandit episode was a waste of time.

Saki – Again, a good show but one that was very predictable.  “Oh no, Saki is losing!  Oh snap, she pulled out a ridiculous unrealistic move!  She wins!”  Rinse and repeat.  Bamboo Blade spoiled me to this kind of format.

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Shows on the Backburner

Kanamemo – I’ll get back to this when my lesbian pedo watching levels get low again.

Bakemonogatari – I know what you’re thinking; “How could you diss one of this season’s favorites among viewers?!”  Maybe it’s because I went into this show thinking it’d be more about scary stories than “How to Build a Supernatural Harem”.  I’m still curious to see what happens with Hanekawa’s mysterious situation, so I’m sure I’ll get back to it over winter break.

Guin Saga – Just haven’t been in the mood for it, especially since I know it won’t even get through 20% of the novel material by the end.

Needless – Same as Kanamemo; gotta get my fanservice levels down to a low level first.

07 Ghost – Incoming anime-only ending and I just kinda fell off the boat with this one.

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Umineko no Naku Koro ni isn’t in here since it’s still going on, but it’d be in the so-so section for that shitty second arc.  Princess Lover‘s just not worth talking about.


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