Animé List – updated 11/28/10

This page is a work in progress.
I update it fairly randomly.

Last update: 11/28/10

The following is a list of all the animé I own or had the fansubs (or in a few cases, borrowed). Some were later deleted, and some fansubs were later purchased. This used to be noted, but now if I bought it “on obligation” I just list it as DVD, and that’s that. After the title of each animé, I note whether it’s a TV series, OVA or movie, and whether I’m talking only about a specific season. This part needs a little explaining: If I list “TV” then there may have also been movies or OVA’s and I’m only talking about the TV series. If you see “Sx” (S followed by a number) then I’m specifically talking about that season only. Japanese studios are inconsistent about what they call a full season –that used to mean 22-26 episodes. Now it might mean as few as 11. “OVA” or “Movie” obviously means those. (Note that I do not call omake’s by the term OVA, which seems to be popular lately among fansub groups.)

Sometimes, I own only a partial set, which I indicate. If I viewed fansubs, the part after the slash is whether or not I consider it worthy of spending money on, and sometimes how much of it I’m going to buy if it’s licensed in R1 and sold as separate DVD’s. Where data is missing, I haven’t made a final decision, or the series may still be ongoing. I discuss my semi-pirating habits more after the list; if you’re interested in discussing my semi-amoral structure, well, you might note that there’s no comments allowed. I’m better than some, worse than others, and don’t care to be lectured about it.

A number of these have longer write-ups, and I will be re-linking to some of them. Also, I need to keep adding tags to old posts. As I do that, it will be possible for you to simply look over to the tag cloud and find all the posts on those series, not just the primary post (if there is such a beast).

20 Faces (Fansub / no)
Young heiress joins handsome master criminal, then searches for him after he disappears. This show may be good, but it lost me in a single scene of the first episode. I never fully got back into it and quit after six episdes. Grade: D+ How it lost me: The dirigible comes by and pulls the roof off the house, allowing 20 Faces to escape by ascending on a rope — and not one officer can shoot him.

Ah! My Goddess (TV S1 / DVD)
Keiichi Morisato mis-dials, getting a powerful goddess as a girlfriend–for life! Then her sisters move in…. I liked it; sweet and romantic, a good “couples” animé that isn’t sappy, but I really don’t have much use for such a show. The biggest problem is that the relationship essentially freezes at a platonic level, because the manga became a huge hit and the author milked it. Grade: C+

Ah! My Goddess (Movie / DVD)
Alternate story: Picks up about three years after Keiichi and Belldandy meet. Belldandy’s old mentor resurfaces, and a powerful rival makes a play for Keiichi. It’s more of a drama compared to the comedic series, but it works much better also. Grade: B+

Akane-iro ni Somaru Saka(Fansub/Maybe)
Juunichi rescues the heiress Yuuhi, and misunderstandings ensue when they discover they’re classmates. Then they discover that their parents have arranged for them to marry! The first episode was quite funny, but it fell off after that. Grade D+ Unique in that the (not really a) sister is the chosen haremette at the end.

All Purpose Cultural Catgirl Nuku Nuku Dash (DVD)
14 year-old Ryo’s got the hots for his new house-guest,: the amnesiac 19 year-old Nuku Nuku. But she has secrets even she doesn’t know.. She’s actually an android with a cat’s brain. Third of 3 series that played with the same basic premise. “Le suck” A poor attempt to graft a serious storyline onto a comedic franchise. Grade: F

Amaenaideyo (a.k.a.: Ah! My Buddha!) (Fansub / no)
Ikkou is a 16-y.o. buddist monk trainee and sucks at it — unless a girl exposes herself, in which case he becomes a super-monk extraordinaire. A very silly premise, for a fanservice-oriented series. It’s pretty dumb and cliche’d, but the fanservice is plentiful. The plot is sort of … there. Came out on DVD here, in which case it might be worth it for the extra episode. Grade F

Angel Beats (fansub/no)
Lost in a Japanese high school.” What might have been an entertaining show about a bizarre afterlife set in a high school turns into an exercise in nonsense and emotional incoherence. I kept thinking it was going somewhere eventually, and instead it fell apart. A KyoAni veteran sacked after poor performance on Lucky Star proves his sacking was no accident. Grade F-

Asobi ni Ikuyo (fansub / yes)
Starts out as a near-farce of what would happen if a real catgirl alien showed up on Earth. The first few episodes are delightfully chaotic and silly. Eris is quite easy on the eyes, the human girls Aoi and Manami are well conceived. Starts getting a bit angsty in the middle episodes, but finishes strong. Lots of hidden secrets in this story, not all of them fully explained. Just what is Kio’s uncle? Grade B- (maybe C+, as it’s not really serious, and has some WTF? moments)

Bakamonogatari (Fansub / YES)
This is an unusual series, in that it was 15 episodes long, and the last three were only broadcast on the web. Adapted from light novels, they skip the origin story (which was actually written later) and jump straight into the boy-meets-girl story. The art is somewhat stylized, and there’s no coherent story; it’s just a succession of arcs as Araragi and his mentor, Oshino, deals with their supernatural problems. The female characters — especially Senjogahara and Tsubasa — are very well realized and unique, but the sheer joy is Araragi’s interactions with them and the bitingly sharp dialog. If you’re looking for something that’s a bit off the beaten path, and enjoy characterization and dialog, I can’t recommend this series enough. I hope it makes it out in R1 soon. Note: at least one sequel is planned. Grade: A-

Bastard! (Fansub / no)
This is another show I remembered from the 80’s/90’s. The reason for the “no” is that it was only imported as a dubbed show that chopped the five OVA’s to ribbons and created a single movie out of them. I don’t want that — I thought it was pretty good (in a campy way) at the time — but once I saw the original, I realized what a job of butchery U.S. Manga had done. It does have some quirks — the castles and countries are named after 80’s heavy metal bands, and some of the setups are a bit too pat — but it’s still an enjoyable way to kill a few hours if you like silliness in your fantasy. “Get down here so I can kill you!” Grade: C+

Birdy the Mighty Decode (Fansub/no)
Galactic lawkeeper Birdy accidentally kills a teen boy on Earth and has to share her body with his mind while his body is fixed. Avoids the obvious crude humor, but has lots of refrigerator moments. Towards the end, characters go stupid to advance the plot. Good starting episodes, but loses pace after the first arc. Grade C-

Bakumatsu (Fansub / probably)
A demon head and the Eternal Assassin who hunts it, an acting troupe, and the revenge they seek; an ambassador and the interference he wreaks. Alternate telling of the last year of the Meiji Restoration, with guns, katanas, and dark sorcery. Almost takes a degree in Japanese history to watch, but it’s very intriguing. Slow-paced at times though, and the last arc is sub-par.. Background info available here. Grade C+ Due to the pacing and need for Japanese History

Banner of the Stars (S1 DVD) See also Crest of the Stars
Set 3 years after Crest of the Stars, Jinto and Lafiel serve aboard her attack ship as the enemy prepares to retake the offensive. This is the best of the three series released in the U.S., with a tense final arc as they desparately try to survive the Battle of Aptic Gate. Grade B

Banner of the Stars II (S2 DVD) See also Crest of the Stars
Jinto and Lafiel become ambassadors to a captured planet, but are in the path of yet another offensive. Jinto is captured and Lafiel is forced to abandon him on the planet. Taking leave, she organizes a private rescue expedition. Will the future empress figure out that that “Baka!” != “I love you”? Grade: B- Doesn’t have the fleet actions of Banner I

Banner of the Stars III (OVA Fansub/yes)
Jinto and Lafiel’s not-so triumphant return to his homeworld, now reconquered by the Abh. There is no question that they’re now in a relationship, but Lafiel is still coming to terms with being in love. Meanwhile, the Jinto must confront old friends and loved ones to keep his people from being slaughtered for rebellion. This 2 part OVA was the weakest installment, lacking the military tension of the prior two. The ending was bittersweet, but grows logically from everything that went before. Grade: C+

Black Lagoon (S1 DVD)
Rock is kidnapped by pirates known as the Black Lagoon Company. Backstabbed by his dirty company, he turns his back on a safe, boring life, and joins up with them. They’re less pirates than unscrupulous jacks of all trades — and there are worse things than pirates making the seas unsafe. Rock is a good guy in a very bad world…and trying to stay that way. Revy is a bad girl in a very bad world–and doesn’t give a damn. Then there’s the Nazis… Sort of a “slice of violent life” series. Grade: C+ Serious WTF? moment in the 2nd episode.

Black Lagoon (S2 DVD)
More days in the life of the Black Lagoon Company. This series is even more violent and dark. Brutally dark and quite disturbing. So dark that the appearance of a certain murderous bad-Chinglish-speaking rival is the high point. Rock’s idealism collides head-on with the world he’s entered, and it’s not clear which is going to win. Season 2 does not pick up plots left dangling from the first season. Grade: C Much more downer than the first season.

Black Lagoon – Roberta’s Blood Trail (S3/OVA – Fansub /?)
Rock’s just going through the motions now, shell-shocked by the Balalaika-Yakuza Princess war. Revy’s increasingly concerned, but can’t do anything about it. Then old “friends” from South America show up, and they want Rock, not the BLC, to find the deadly meido assasin, Roberta, before she sets off a covert war among a dozen different intelligence agencies. Animation has taken a step down from the prior series. (currently ongoing series). Grade: pending.

Burn Up! (OVA DVD)
Girls with guns. It was ok during its day. Nothing outstanding. Grade: D+ Unremarkable, I can’t really remember anything about it…

Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan (OVA/S1 Fansub / AAARRGH!)
Dokuro-chan is an angel, trying to change the future of a guy named Sakura. Only she keeps losing her temper and smashing him to bloody bits with a spiked bat named Excalibolg. Warning: Lark’s Vomit!! this series is not so bad it’s good. It’s bad. Really, really bad, after the first 15 minutes. Don’t let that brief spell fool you. The first “season” was actually a few short OVA’s, after which an actual half-season was produced. I didn’t watch it. Grade: F-

Busou Renkin (Fansub / half set of DVD)
High-school boy dies saving girl from monster, then she “resurrects” him and they fight together. It was a pretty decent seinein until “the Regiment” got involved and logic holes started cropping up; completely jumped the shark when they showed up with an entire naval strike force. It also mishandled the romantic subplot, I thought. Grade: D-

Cardcaptor Sakura (multi-season set)
A ten-year old girl has to capture dangerous magical cards created by a deceased magician Good kid’s show, not bad for adults Considered to be one of the archetypical “magical girl” series. There’s nothing especially dark here, though the best friend is a little creepily obsessed with Sakura. Sub only — A bastardized dubbed version was broadcast as Cardcaptors, but it isn’t recommended. Grade: C+ (It’s really better than that, but I wouldn’t re-watch it as it’s mainly aimed at older kids.)

Chobits (DVDs 1-3 of 6)
Guy finds walking, talking, very female super-PDA. Mystery ensues. Chobits in three words: “Good persocomms don’t.” I stopped watching it in mid-episode; moral allegories from a bunch of lesbians (CLAMP) should not be so heavy-handed and obvious to a five year old. Not that I’ve got anything against lesbians, just old and wrinkled ones. Grade: D+ That’s probably worse than it deserves, but I couldn’t take the moralizing.

Code Geass (S1 DVD)
A youth determined to overthrow the world’s greatest empire gets the power to do it: he can make any person obey him… once. Wild melange of plots, clichés and tropes. Melrose Place + drama + mechas + school comedy + fanservice + Pizza Hut! The series composition and pacing was badly flawed, resulting in multiple recap episodes, yet it kept surprising fans. The story here is the damnation of one man. Grade: C- (Partial incoherence and scheduling / recaps)

Code Geas R2 (S2 DVD)
Lelouche’s war against Brittania resumes, but again, the series composition is flawed, this time by studio/network forced changes. Gets “super-mecha progression disease” and spends several episodes repeating the first season. Not recapping; repeating. Finally gets its legs under it around the 10th-12th episode, after which you just better hang on for the ride. If you don’t like anime with ridiculous plot twists, this isn’t the series for you. Grade: C- (weak first half, strong finish)

Coyote Ragtime Show (Fansub / 1DVD)
A legendary criminal leads pirates and cops on a chase and treasure hunt, after breaking out of prison. Fun show to watch (for one episode), but the stupidity overwhelms it quickly. Didn’t finish it, bought one DVD on obligation and never opened it. Still, gothic loli android grenade girls are cool! Grade: F+ (No redeeming points, but May and Aug are fun)

Crescent Love (a.k.a Brighter than Dawning Blue) (Fansub/no)
Science fiction: Princess of Moon goes to live with ordinary teen Earth boy she met once years ago. Mediocre art, insipid character design, plot elements stolen from the trash bin, and a really stupid deus ex machina to cap it all off. Waste of time. Grade: F

Crest of the Stars (DVD)
An alienated and dispossessed young noble adopted into a society strange to him meets young princess. The universe is rich and detailed, and the pair of Jinto and Lafiel are probably two of the most engaging characters in all of anime to me. Both face destinies they did not choose, and find that despite their differing origins, they have one thing in common: each other. Grade: B+ (would have gotten an A, but was very slow paced, dub is done from an AWFUL translation).

Daphne in the Brilliant Blue (DVD)
Teenaged Maya just became unemployed and homeless. But who the hell is the Daphne mentioned by her dying grandfather? And why are these women she started working for so insanely violent? Fanservice, with so little plot the entire show could have been told in about 6 episodes. Grade: D J.Greely says it best in a haiku:

“Pointy chin, nice ass.
Someday there will come a plot.
Meanwhile, that must chafe.”

DearS (DVD)
A sexy amnesiac alien girl adopts a highschool boy who’s afraid of aliens as her master. No, really. Oversexed teachers aren’t funny, but I want my own DearS! This show cannot be taken seriously in the least, but I’d rate it above Yumeria. The ending of the series is “open” which frankly, makes it better than the manga, which got confused as hell. Grade: C

Devil Hunter Yohko (OVA / DVD)
This is a 1980’s era anime. A young girl discovers she is the heir to demon fighting tradition. I’d forgotten how ecchi the first episode was. It suffers by comparison with modern stories; being rather straightforward and short. Grade: C

Dirty Pair (OVA /DVD)
Lovely Angels or Dirty Pair? Comedic disasters follow Kei and Yuri, two young female agents, everywhere they go in space. Classic 80’s era animé. There were 5 movies, 1 short TV series, and this loose series of OVAs. Hey, it was good back then, when it was all we could get. Not so much now, when you can download a couple dozen series a season… The real problem is trying to accept that this pair of 19-year old girls running around in space bikinis could be the top agents of the 3WA. In short entertaining — but not to be taken seriously. Grade: C+

Divergence Eve (S1 DVD)
Misaki has just been posted to Watcher’s Nest as a pilot, only to find out that there’s a secret war going on — and someone has plans for her that don’t include her best interests … or survival. This is a sci-fi horror series, but the crappy CGI and huge tits are distracting from an incredibly good show. I still consider it one of, if not the best series (along with the sequel) that I’ve seen. And I don’t even like horror shows. Grade: A

Divergence Eve: Misaki Chronicles (S2 DVD)
Misaki’s story continues, but where is she — when is she — and what is she doing? Why can’t Watcher’s Nest reach Earth? Her friends and commander try to find out — with the universe at stake. Although titled separately, they were planned together, and the sequel is even better. I wouldn’t have believed it possible if I hadn’t seen it myself. It’s a multi-level emotional and horror tour-de-force.
The journey undertaken because of a little girl’s desire to understand why her father left her to go into space becomes so much more. My favorite animé for several years; there may be two better on this list, but there aren’t four. Grade A (Would have gotten an A+ but the villain is a bit over the edge. “I had a bad childhood, so I’m going to destroy the universe!”)

Druaga: Aegis of Uruk (S1 Fansub/Yes)
Jin is the younger brother of an established hero. A bit of a young idealistic screwup, he nonetheless falls in with an adventuring band. Everyone is trying to reach the top of a huge tower full of monsters in order to end its threat to the kingdom. This is a fantasy comedy-adventure based loosely on an old RPG. Turns fully serious with a few episodes to go, and ends on a cliffhanger. Grade: C (First episode is a riotous sendup of RPG’s and anime; stupid Jin is hard to take.)

Druaga: Sword of Uruk (S2 Crunchyroll/No)
Six months later, Jin is crushed by the betryal of his brother and Kayaa, and their failure to re-climb the tower after the end of season one. . Fatina is trying to support him, until a child with a strange resemblance to Kayaa literally lands on them, fleeing the Kingdom of Uruk. Now Jin has to reassemble as much of the group as he can to avoid a dark future — and the kingdom of Uruk itself is trying to stop him. This story kept the quirky humor going throughout and.had all the elements of an epic story, but then pissed them off in an incoherent ending. Grade C

Dual: Parallel Trouble Adventure (DVD)
Two teens accidentally teleport into an alternate world, where the guy doesn’t exist, and the girl’s father is in charge of a war. Likable little harem series from the creators of Tenchi Muyo. Subtitle it: “How many girls can we put under this guy’s roof?” Although it’s a bit uneven, I think it’s also better than Tenchi in some ways. Ends in an extra episode that was a clear bid for a new series, but it went nowhere. Has been described as a cross between Evangelion and Tenchi Muyo, but I disagree. Grade: C+

Excel Saga (DVD)
Twenty-six episodes of semi-random parodies end with quite the plot twist. Absurdity reigns! This has got to be the most whacked-out animé in history. I recommend watching it drunk, because I’m fairly sure the staff was when they wrote it. Not that they appear to be when you see them in the anime. It does take an oddly serious turn with out four episodes to go, but mostly recovers from it. Grade: B

Fate Stay/Night (TV DVD)
Somehow, unschooled mage and high-school student Shirou summons the hero Saber and is caught up in the deadly War of the Grail. He is determined to be heroic, she is determined to protect him. Then their emotions begin to get tangled… Based on a famous visual novel in Japan, with multiple paths. Taken by itself, it is a dark, bloody, and melancholic horror/love story of sorts. If you explore the character backgrounds on Wikipedia though, prepare yourself. The author must hate his characters; it’s that damn tragic. Grade: B+

Fate Stay/Night: Unlimited Blade Works (Movie Fansub / Yes)
Alternate retelling of the story based on a different path in the VN. This one concentrates on the Shirou/Rin/Archer triumvirate and Archer’s origin. The first 5 minutes of this movie over-compressed the backstory (costing it some points) and will leave new viewers confused. I recommend watching the TV series up until after Rin and Shirou leave the church, then treat the movie’s start as a recap. Of the three paths in the novel, this is actually my favorite; it has the “happiest” ending. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of blood and death beforehand; if you’re easly upset by little girls dying badly, DO NOT WATCH. Art’s a little meh, but not bad. Grade: B+ (Would have been A- but for the confused start)

Full Metal Panic (S1/DVD)
Kanamé Chidori somehow knows technical secrets that she shouldn’t. Souske Sagara is the soldier sent undercover at school to protect her.. except the only school he’s ever known is war. Very good mix of comedy and drama, but badly marred by a sub-par villain. I really dig Kanamé, but after the first arc, the series becomes very uneven. It’s based on a series of light novels, and like many such, after the first, the author has issues. The villain is sub-par; he’s just a mad brute who will not die. Background to “The Whispered” is unexplained in the series, but it comes out in the novels later, which are darker — though not any Black Lagoon or Fate/Stay Night. Note that while this is a “mecha” series, it’s not “mecha as substitute for super-powered samurai” but more “mecha as war machines used by real people.” As such, it avoids most of the faults of true mecha series. Grade C+ Dinged it mostly for the middle arc, which lacked Kanamé.

Full Metal Panic Fumoffu (S2/ Rejected)
Collection of comedy shorts. — This listing is uniuqe in that I didn’t watch it much (borrowed from Dr. Heinous) . KyoAni took all the comedy stories and created a single series from them. It was too painful to watch for me, because it’s all about Souské making a fool out of himself. But others swear it’s the funniest thing ever. Grade: D- (subjective, YMMV)

Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid (S2 DVD)
Further difficulties for Kanamé and Souské. The story continues to get darker. KyoAni does a great job with it, but the series begins to suffer from flaws in the source material. There’s some tense mecha battles here, but the suspense with Kanamé on her own is edge-of-your-seat stuff. Grade: B-

G-on Riders (Fansub / maybe, if ever released)
All earth has been conquered by alien lolis — except for Japan. A new girl has just joined a school that is the secret reason why. Very silly parody/fanservice series built around classic animé tropes such as meganekko, android combat meido, lolis, and of course, pantsu! Extra fanservice episode to finish. Grade: C

Ghost Hunt (fansub / no)
High-schooler Mai becomes assistant to a psychic researcher, has encounters of the supernatural kind. Terribly derivative through the first three story arcs; so I dropped it. Genuinely creepy at times, might work for those who like the spooky/horror/otherworldly. Grade: D+

Ghost in the Shell (Movie / DVD) 1st movie
Who’s hacking cyborgs? Major Kotoko Kusanagi, herself a cyborg, has to find out who’s trying to use Section 9 for their own nefarious purposes. It hasn’t aged well, which really surprised me. Movies have really become much more action-oriented over the last decade, and this is largely introspective. We now have such short attention spa— Oooh! Shiny! Grade: B-

Ghost in the Shell, SAC (TV S1)
Who is the Laughing Man… and what does he want? I like this series better than the first movie, but the main plot is very slow to kick in. The series has gotten some knocks for poor animation, which, along with the slow plot is why I rate it below the movie — I like it better, but the movie is better. Grade: C+

Ghost Stories (DVD 1)
Pre-teens fight ghosts stirred up by development over a graveyard. The original series was a ho-hum horror show, but ADV rewrote the dialog (a la What’s Up Pussycat?) into a howlingly funny topical comedy. “Do you know a good exorcist, or maybe Al Sharpton?” Purists howl, but others be prepared to howl in laughter. Grade: C+

Girls High (Fansub / hell no)
Six girls have hijinks in school. Lots of fanservice ensues. I stopped after episode 4. I miss my brain cells. I wan’t thim bak!!! This is the show that put the raunch in raunchy. It put the rank in raunchy too. I thought we were going to get a series where the leaders of two trios had an absurd rivalry, while the other four bonded around their hijinks, but alas… Grade: F

Godannar (DVD)
Can a young couple learn to balance marriage and risking their lives in giant mechas? What are these giant monsters attacking all over the world? This is a mecha series that is a “mecha series.” Giant robot battles, but lots of fanservice too. Angst, clichés, comedy, bits of echhi. Backstory and villians are thin, thin, thin. Everything that’s wrong about robot series. Also everything that’s right (if you’re a fan of that kind of stuff). If you want a mecha series even more overstuffed with tropes, try Gravion. Grade: D

Goyshuso-sama Ninomiya-kun (Fansub / yes)
Shungo is forced by his sister to live – and sleep(!) – with the sexy Mayu, to cure her fear of boys. Reika, a jealous heiress, moves in as a maid. The twist? Mayu’s a succubus, and if she kisses Shungo, she’ll likely kill him! Totally silly, completely unbelievable fanservice romp that prompted the temporary renaming of this blog to “Derailed by Mayu.” Because they want to be free! (NSFW) I liked the OP & ED. The series actually has a mediocre plot, though it kicks in late. Fans who read the manga note the anime is better… Grade: D+

Gravion (S1 DVD)
Aliens are attacking the Earth, and only the enigmatic billonare Sandman knows how to fight them with his custom-designed gravity-powered mechs. Godannar on steroids, with a lot less angst. Every crazy trope humanly possible to be shoehorned into this series is present; it’s so absurd, it verges on parody. Starts as “monster of the week”, but gets away from that, fortunately. Grade: D+

Gravion Zwei (S2 DVD)
Like DE, the two series were planned and executed as one. The war against the invaders reaches its climax, as everyone’s secrets are told. Grade: D+

Hanukyo Maid Team La Verite (TV DVD)
Taro, age 14, has just inherited control of the staggering family fortune–and a mansion with literally hundreds of beautiful maids. But only one has his heart… Heavy fanservice to start; downer ending for me, but others disagree. Seems like silly fluff, but pulls out a plot at about the 2/3 point. Still, I want those triplets. This was the second adaptation of the story, and by all accounts was far superior to the first. Grade: C

He Is My Master (Fansub / 1-set?)
Three teenage girls and a pet alligator are live-in maids to a perverted rich kid. Fanservice in your face; the main guy is a degenerate jerk and gets abused for it, but this show has a surprising sense of humor. Fanservice; guilty pleasure; crappy art. The suprising thing (that keeps it from being too squicky, given the girls’ age) is who really is in charge. Grade: D+

High School of the Dead (Fansub/maybe)
I’m kind of interested in how much un-censoring it will get in the broadcast version. Five teens try to survive a zombie apocalypse. Sexy, violent, over-the-top absurd. If sexed-up teen schlock movies are your gig, then hit this series. But don’t look for much of an ending, or anything about the show to make much sense. It’s schlock, and I had fun watching it, but don’t think of it as quality. Grade: D+

Ichiban Ushiro no Daimou (Fansub / Yes)
Comedy/harem that turns a bit serious at the end. Weird mish-mash of high-school romance comedy, fanservice, drama, horror, and the Matrix thrown in for good measure. It’s a fun little show, and the early part is totally madcap. Though it lags a bit around episodes 7-8. One of the reasons for that is that it’s actually several light novels compressed into 12 episodes, so at times the pace is breakneck, but then when it gets into the meat of the plot, it starts having to slow down. Ending’s a bit of a cop-out/reset, but it’s still explainable why it ended up that way. Grade B-

Inukami! (Fansub – maybe)
Amorous, magic-wielding guy and cute dog goddess keep the peace… when they’re not breaking it with their own fights. EWWWWWWWWWWW! Naked men, and p-whipped boys, elements of yaoi at times. Recommended to all the ladies that like their animé yaoi-flavored. Ew! Ew! Ew! (May pick up ep. 13-14, if it’s sold in separate DVD’s — that part was quite good.) Grade: D

InuYasha (partial fansubs/ 1 DVD of a lot)
A modern teenaged girl has adventures and romance in the past with a half-demon and their allies. I really liked the way it started, with Kagome moving back and forth in time, but I got tired of Inny the Indecisive, so I dropped the fansubs after 40 episodes and never went back to the TV broadcast. Then 3 eps per DVD just pissed me off. Years later I went back to watch the last episode fansub just to get closure. Genere is a cross between romance and seinen. Grade: C+

Kampfer (Fansub/no)
Braindead but humorous fanservice series. Almost gets a point for smart-ass magical disemboweled stuffed animals. Almost gets another for the shy, repressed librarian girl turning into a foul-mouthed violent bitch. Almost gets yet another point for hawt school president. Loses all the points it doesn’t have because the protagonist (who changes from boy to girl constantly) goes to a coed school where they separate the sexes with a tight security system. Oh, and the girl he’s sweet on hates his male form and is hot for his female self. If you like silly fanservice, it’s ok. Grade D+ (mostly for the humor)

Kamen no Maid Guy (Fansub/yes)
Naeka and her brother are the last remaining heirs to a fortune, so grandfather hires the sexy Fubuki and madcap Kogarashi to protect them. Whacky parody of maid series; packs a lot of laughs into 13 episodes, and sparing but excellent fanservice. “God likes Fine play!” Kogarashi’s powers are never explained, but I like the theory that he’s really a demon in human form. Grade C+

Kanokon (Fansub / 1 DVD)
Touma moves to the city to attend school, only to find two sexy high school girls that want to do the horizontal tango with him. And they’re not even human! Somewhat disturbing because Touma is drawn so young. This show was probably the most erotic non-hentai series I’ve ever seen until Yosuga no Sora. Be warned, Media Blasters released DVD 1 and then decided to release a full boxed set, without producing a DVD2 or 3, so if you do like I did, and get the first, you’re screwed. Grade: D (Mostly downchecked for the shotacon aspects).

Kanon (DVD)
Amnesiac teen returns to a town after seven years to go to high school; meets girls, some of which he used to know. This is a tearjerker series; in fact it’s the show that gave us the phrase, “sad girls in snow.” Magic, love, loss, music, and KyoAni’s incredible art. The ending was badly rushed, but the middle arc (Mai’s) was fantastic. You could watch episodes 10-15 and think this was great stuff. I’m not into tearjerkers but this was worth the watch to see KyoAni’s art at the top of its form. Grade: B-

Karin (Fansub / no, no, no)
An unusual vampire girl and normal guy try to have a relationship in high school. I thought I was watching a romance/comedy with a gothic horror slant. Where the hell did all the angst come from? Grade: D

Lost Universe (DVD 1-2 of 6)
Some cool guy, some spunky sidekick girl, a powerful and jeolous spaceship, adventures. Enh. Yawn. No plans to finish. Grade: F

Louie the Rune Soldier (DVD)
Impulsive, adopted son of the mage guild leader (but with little magic talent) is hired by three adventuring women who don’t like him — even the one whose god says he will become her champion. Wasn’t bad, until the last two minutes of the final episode when they crapped out to bid for a sequel. Didn’t need to be 26 episodes to tell its story either. Set in the same universe as Record of Lodoss War, but shares no characters or settings. Grade: C

Maburaho (DVD 1 of 7)
Not-so-former putz suddenly becomes the most highly prized guy in high school. Three beautiful girls are on a mission: have his kids! Brilliant and funny…for two episodes. It went downhill from there. Fast. Also, the DVD mastering was technically lousy. Grade: D

Magical Witch Punie-chan (OVA DVD)
Meet Punie, the sweetest little girl with a heart of pure evil, and her homicidal sidekick Paya-tan. Punie is the princess of the Magical Land and has to spend a year on Earth as an ordinary high-school student. This show is everything Dokuro-chan wanted to be. Viciously funny, it relentlessly skewers the magical girl genre.Unfortunately, the R1 disc did not include the omakes, which are a treat. Grade: B-

Mars Daybreak (DVD)
Guy falls in with Robin Hood pirates on a watery Mars. His ex-girlfriend is the law, and after him. It was a bit dumb (underwater mechas!) but tolerable until the last 2 DVD’s, at which point it really dropped. Got way too clichéd at the end, and the big treasure was an absurd disappointment. I don’t recommend it. Grade: D

Martian Successor Nadesico (DVD)
Earth’s defense forces are losing to the Jovians’ robotic invaders, so Nergal Heavy Industries launches its own battleship with a crew of misfits. Comedy and drama ensue. One of my favorite series, and one of the few where I prefer the English dub. Lots of replay value, and I’ve gone back to watch parts many times. ”Baka!” Deliberately leaves a lot of loose ends for the inevitable sequel… which it screwed up royally. ADV again took a few liberties with the dialog, but it was more along the lines of flavor, not content. Grade: A-

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (S1 DVD) Another famous magical girl series — third grader Nanoha obtains an artifact from an alien civilization that turns her into a powerful mage, but there’s others who want her item. Now Nanoha has to face the villain Fate, a girl her own age with a tragic past. The transformation scenes in the first few episodes are highly ecchi, especially given her age, and Fate doesn’t show up until halfway through the show. Grade: B (dinged a bit for the ecchi)

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A’s (S2 DVD) Having befriended Fate, Nanoha takes up her position as an auxiliary officer responsible for Earth. New, even more powerful villains show up, defeating both of the girls. Who are the Knights, and what do they want? What is with the crippled Hayate? This is generally considered the best of the three series. Grade: B+

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S (S3) Now 17, Nanoha heads an elite team of mages, employed by the world Midiclhoria to keep the peace. (This one is another oddity, as I have not seen it myself). Reputed to better than the first, but not as good as the second season — suffers from too many new characters. Grade: none, not viewed

Najica Blitz Tactics (DVD)
Perfumer by day, “Jane Bond” by night. Najica and her panties are everywhere. (Otaku-kun counted over 100 panty flashes in one episode alone.) a.k.a. Najica Panty Blitz, or Najica Blitz Panties. Not great, but much better than you’d expect from the panties. Actually has a surprisingly deep plot in the end. Grade: C

Negima?! (remake Fansub / no) 10 year old Welsh mage Negi Springfield goes to Japan to become a teacher to a class full of junior high girls…. all of them strange. “When 30 girls in your harem just isn’t enough.” Frantic series can’t decide whether to be farcical, serious, comedy, or parody. Same director as Pani-Poni Dash, and Shaft is the studio. Unable to adapt the manga, because it hadn’t gotten far enough, so they made up a new story, and added two new annoying creatures. That’s all you need to know… Grade: D

Omamori Himari (Fansub/ no)
Adaptation from the harem manga did not go well, as the primary male character was turned into an idealistic stupid wimp, and the long-term villains had to be significantly down-powered to fit into a 12-episode series. In the manga, he started wussy, and then manned up to a surprisingly western POV about dealing with threats, but he didn’t have time in the short series, and they went the other way with what time they had. Not recommended. Grade D- (One flash of manliness from the male lead saves this from an F)

Otome wa Boku (Fansub / um, no)
Guy has to attend school disguised as a girl due to provision in will. (H-game adaptation. Surprised?) “I don’t care anymore. Just shoot me. No way there’s a penis on this. None. I won’t accept it.” — Jason Miao. It’s pretty disturbing how feminine they make Mizuho…. Totally un-serious, but I haven’t been able to make myself buy this either, it’s just disposable fun. Emphasis on the disposable. It’s just not believable, even with two girls helping, that Mizuho is never found out, given the situations he gets into. Grade: D-

Ouran Host Club (Fansub … um, no?)
Haruhi is a poor girl at an insanely rich school. Forcibly drafted into a club of gigolos, she cross-dresses and makes many friends. The show has legs, heart, and a sense of humor. Very stylistic, it is sometimes a surprisingly deep psychological study of its oddball characters. Ouran manages to make you care about most of them. For a “bishie” series, it’s surprisingly good — for one watch, I came to realize. There’s just no real replay value, and I haven’t been able to convince myself to make an obligation purchase. Grade: C+

Outlander (OVA DVD)
Alien princess kidnaps Earth photographer at random for marriage… after killing a few hundred people, mostly right in front of him. Blood and breasts. Oh yeah, now I remember why ’80s animation was sometimes laughed at. That is one UGLY spaceship. Grade: D-

Outlaw Star (DVD)
Lazy badass & sidekick kid end up with a unique spaceship and a crew made up of an unusual android, a catgirl, a swordwoman, and a whole lot of deadly enemies. Art was good but uneven. Hard to take it seriously sometimes — it’s meant to be fun and never mind making sense — it is reasonably entertaining. Good rewatch value for mindless fun. Grade: C+

Planetes (DVD)
Garbage collection in outer space; naive newcomer meets disillusioned vet; sparks fly. Takes too long to get the actual plot rolling, but once it does, a lot of the seemingly unconnected threads from earlier really were important. Too much “slice of space life” early on. Grade: C-

Princess Ressurection (Fansub / probably)
Subversion of the magical harem genre, in which the guy is totally useless, and the main character is actually the primary haremette. Boy dies trying to save a girl, but she’s no ordinary girl; she’s a demon princess currently on the run after barely escaping a deathmatch — her family has a battle royale among all candidates to determine who the next ruler will be. She resurrects him as a zombie, but now he’s tied to her — more than a few days away from her, and he’ll die permanently. The series follows them through various challenges — it’s somewhat cute in its subversion of various tropes, and the characters are well done. The final arc is quite suspenseful. It can be a bit off-putting if you’re expecting a normal harem comedy, because the guy isn’t the center of the story. Also the art was a bit sub-par; the animation was cheap, but they did well within their constraints. Grade: C

Project A-Ko (DVD 1 of 3)
B-ko still wants revenge on A-ko and to win C-ko as her friend. Thought I was getting the goofy and fun classic, but I got the crappy sequels. Can’t force myself to watch them all. Grade: F (Really scales from C to F as it goes through the sequels).

Pumpkin Scissors (Fansub / 1 DVD)
Alternate post WWI Europe. Idealistic & young aristocratic female lieutenant, large corporal, and others encounter post-war political intrigue and treachery. A guy who can kill a tank with a pistol can only carry this show so far. Lost interest and didn’t complete it. Bought 1 DVD, never opened. Grade: D- (Should have been a shorter series.)

Record of Lodoss War (DVD)
Young human warrior will defend the peace of Lodoss with his life… and catch an elf girl too. It hasn’t aged well, mainly because much better has been done since in the same genre, but it’s still a classic western swords & sorcery story done as anime. Back when we couldn’t get any fix, that was great stuff. Grade C+

Saber Marionette J (DVD)
On a planet of nothing but human men and basic female robots called marionettes, Otaru somehow finds and activates three very realistic models. This soon propels him into a high-stakes fight for his nation, and the future of mankind on that world. Otaru isn’t too bad as a hero, though he’s not particularly engaging. Lime, on the other hand is totally annoying, Bloodberry is just creepy, and at least everyone likes Cherry. But please kill Mitsuragi. Now. There were two quasai sequels, neither of which I have the slightest interest in after this. Grade: D

Scrapped Princess
Most heirs that are to be put to death (but get saved by a loyal retainer) are threats to the usurper. Pacifica is ordered killed because she’s a threat to the entire world, which she’ll destroy on her sixteenth birthday. Now, fifteen-plus years later, she’s a spoiled girl on the run from the Church of Mauser, and protected by her foster brother and sister as forces gather around her. Not all is as it seems. The series builds up to a tremendous climax — and then throws it away. Grade: D. (Lost TWO letter grades for the ending. Worst since Mahoromatic)

Seikon no Quasar (partial fansub / No)
Milk vampires with psychic powers to control specific elements. Highly echhi — all the vampires power-up from breast milk, and are after the ultimate pair of tits that will give them the greatest of powers. Really, can you take such a concept seriously? This show tries very hard to do so, even as it gets totally ridiculous. I watched a few episodes here and there, but mostly for the “Schwing!” moments. Grade: F+ Mostly dinged it for concept.

Sekirei (DVD)
Set in an alternate Japan very similar to our own. Minato is a ronin who has failed his college entrance exams twice. Musing over his bad luck, the busty, ditzy Musabi literally lands on him as she flees two women throwing lightning bolts! Incredibly strong, she instinctively grabs him as she runs off. Finding themselves strangely attracted to each other, Minato and Musubi kiss, and suddenly Minato finds that he’s become her Ashikabi, or “master” in a battle royale between 108 super-powered Sekirei, sponsored by the crazy mega-billionaire professor who runs the medical congomerate, MBI. Before long, he ends up collecting several others, all of whom insist they want to be the sole winner of the game with him. But not all Ashikabi and “Sekirei” are as keen to fight, and others ask for his help in escaping the crazy deathmatch. Not high entertainment, mostly fanservice and a couple of outright echhi episodes. Adapted from the manga of the same name. Grade: C

Sekirei Pure Engagement (S2 Crunchyroll)
With five Sekirei, Minato is becoming acknowledged as the “Ashikabi of the North” by the other multi-Sekirei Ashikabi. But he’s now a target, not just of them, but by the Disciplinary Squad of MBI itself. The first half of the series is the high point of the two seasons, but the last few episodes shortcut the manga, shortchange Minato, and just gets stupid. Up until that point, it was a really good fanservice show, with flashes of entertaining quality. Craptastic final arc and damage to Minato’s competence cost it a full letter grade. Grade: D+

Serial Experiments Lain (DVD)
What is “The Wired” and how is Lain’s dead classmate sending e-mails from there? Nothing is what it seems in this often allegorical story. It’s deep. 2001: A Space Odessy deep. If you can hang with that, it’s worth watching. Grade: C+

Shakugan no Shana (TV-S1 DVD)
Yuuiji is having a bad day. Not only did he witness a monster attack killing dozens, including a classmate, but he’s just found out he’s dead too. Worse, the redhead with flaming hair and sword tells him that before long, no one is even going to remember he ever existed. Horror, magic, combat meidos, love pentacons, and high school angst make for a weird mix, but this show manages it. Not very well at times, but it does. The first villain was the best. Grade: B-

Shakugan no Shana (OVA – fansub / no)
The gang goes to a hot spring. No tomogara disturb them. Silly show that focuses more on one of the side characters and provides fanservice and angst. Not recommended. Grade: D

Shakugan no Shana (TV-S2 – Fansub / no)
More Bal Masque after Yuuiji and the Reiji Maigo, but also far more angst. The first couple of episodes is ok, after that, the angst overwhelms it until around 12/13 — Yuuiji really mans up then — but it drops into angst again. With only two episodes to go, I realized I didn’t care anymore.. Summary: Two words: Run Away. Two more: Very fast. Last word: ANGST!!!!!! Grade: D

Shakugan no Shana (Movie – Fansub)
Alternate retelling of the first arc of the first series. If you’re going to watch any of this show, watch the movie. Minimum angst, maximum action and horror. It’s what the whole series should have been, and Friagne is just quietly f’ing terrifying. He is just…. not sane.. Grade: B+

Shingu: Secret of the Stellar Wars (DVD)
Class president Muryou stumbles across the sleepy seaside town’s secret- his classmates work with aliens to defend the Earth. Then the strange things start happening… The animation style is old-fashioned but the story is good and the characters are memorable. You won’t know where it’s going until the last episode. It’s low-impact, but well written and voiced. I recommend this show to anime newbies and veterans alike. Grade: A+

Simoun (Fansub / 1 DVD)
Everyone is born female and choses their sex at 17; twelve naive young priestesses have to fight a war instead of pray. It’s a mild yuri fanservice show drenched in grit and war angst, but the weirdness is never explained. I really, really liked it at first, but became annoyed by he end. I thought I was getting a deep science fiction epic; what I got was an anti-war polemic. Grade: D-

Sister Princess (DVD 1-3 of 6)
Guy flunks out of school due to a stupid error and lands on an island with 13 sisters he never knew he had. The ultimate sis-con series–except Wataru doesn’t have a sis-con. Someone find his brain. And a personality. This story goes nowhere, has an annoying otaku, and is missing a plot. It’s not even a good slice-of-life series. Grade: F

Sol Bianca (OVA fansub)
I finally located a copy of the original, but have yet to locate the second OVA. Five female pirates accidentally rescue a young boy and find themselves embroiled in a planetary revolution against an evil dictator. Their ship is the unique Sol Bianca, unlike any other known. Grade: B

Sol Bianca: The Legacy (DVD 1 of 3)
Pirate girls with guns. The real problem with this OVA series is that it wasn’t the originals. And it didn’t have the same heart. It took some of the same ideas, and I think it went forward with the secret background that never came out in the original OVAs, but while I found the personalities of the girls in the original to be intriguing and/or fun, in this version they were just revolting and unsympathetic. I find it similar to Daphne in that regard. It tried for the same feel, but lacked the charm. Grade: F For those wondering what I’m talking about in the background according to what I was told from someone who worked on the original series, the ship was actually the mother of all the women. Scenes in the first DVD of this series are also clearly headed in that direction).

Slayers, the Motion Picture (DVD)
Lina and one of her friends have adventures on an island. Reasonably funny; no need to know about the whole franchise to enjoy it. Grade: C-

Spriggan (Movie DVD)
Evangelion meets a buddy movie? Of course the misguided USA is responsible for the bad guy… Not too bad, if you can get past the U.S. bashing. A couple of “oh come on!” scenes near the end. Grade: C

Starship Operators (Fansub / 2 of 3 DVD’s)
When their nation surrenders, cadets buy their warship and fight single-handedly to free their conquered planet — by selling their battles to the ultimate reality show! The characters never really drew me in, and the story had a disappointing/inconclusive ending. (Typical Japanese futility of war stuff). Barring those little failures, it’s a good war in space story, decent science most of the time & fairly gritty/real, even if they did have a penchant for “Geordi LaForge” solutions. Grade C-

Steamboy (Movie DVD)
Steampunk; young genius receives ultra powerful item, and finds himself caught in a tug of war between father and grandfather on how to use it. Ok for a change of pace, but I didn’t care for it much; Victorian steampunk and some animé tropes just don’t mix well. The scenes under the end credits bear watching, and were excellent. Grade: C-

Stratos 4 (TV S1 and OVA / DVD)
Four girls try to make it as combat pilots defending Earth from meteors, when they’re not delivering food. “Armageddon meets Invasion of the Lesbian Body Snatchers meets X-Files.” With cute young girls, because you can’t save the world without sixteen year-old babes! I have to cheer for the girls, but the logic was awful. Skipped S2 when they smacked the girls down to cadets again for no good reason. Grade: C-

Summer Wars (Movie – Fansub / YES)
Young boy, a math genius, takes a temporary job from his pretty classmate, only to find out its to pretend to be her fiancé at a family gathering! The first night there, he gets a strange message asking him to decode an encrypted phrase. Thinking it’s a simple math challenge, he solves it, only to discover that he’s given away the master key to the world’s super-computer system — now a hacker is wrecking havoc across Japan, and he’s blamed for it! Warm-hearted story about family and love…with dozens of vivid characters, and a threat to the world in the background. Highly recommended. Grade: A+

This Ugly Yet Beautiful World (DVD 1 of 3)
Two alien teen girls crash separately, each becomes live-in girlfriend to geeky guys. But they have secrets… Started off with a bang, then drifted off course into silliness, angst and boredom. I’ve read that continued until the last couple of episodes, but I didn’t get that far. Characters weren’t believable. Grade: F

Tenchi Muyo GXP (Borrowed) 
A friend of Tenchi has the worst luck. Shanghaied into outer space, the GXP discovers his bad luck attracts pirates, so he is used as bait. A spin-off harem show that might be better than the original. Good rewatch value, and room for lots of speculation. Grade: B

Tenchi Universe (TV DVD)
Tenchi Muyo is a normal high-school boy.until the pirate Ryoko crashes at his house. Soon, several other alien women land, and Tenchi is caught in a tug of war between Ryoko and the Princess Aeyaka. Re-telling of the original story as a full 26-episode series, but significant changes are made to the continuity, so it’s an “alternate retelling.” Too much filler, but at least it heads to a conclusion. Of sorts…. Grade: C

Tenchi Muyo (OVA fansub or borrowd)
The extreme prices on the original OVA DVD’s guarantee I’ll never buy this series, especially given that it was once broadcast on Adult Swim (as was the TV series). The major problem is that this was never really planned out, I think. It just became so popular that they kept tacking on poorly thought out stories that caused it to collapse under its own weight. The first 6 (of 18) OVA’s are the best. After that comes ten years of wandering around and not thinking the story through, then trying (and failing) to resolve the loose ends after a long hiatus. I can’t recommend purchasing it given the ridiculous prices, but if you can ever get hold of the first set, they’re worth watching for their “Luke Skywalker” like plot. Grade: C+ (Mostly for the early episodes)

The Third (DVD)
Post-holocaust barren Earth is ruled by a mutant race with 3 eyes, but a surprisingly powerful teen girl and her tank may challenge them. What does the enigmatic alien bishie-boy want? Wanders around for 26 episodes but had very little plot to hang it all on in the end. Excellent art, stellar voice cast. Lose the narrator, please. The dramatic climax occurs around episode 20, the rest is just… blah. Grade: C-

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimaya (S1 DVD, partial fansub of S2)
Maniacal girl Haruhi Suzamyia shanghais four other students to search for aliens, time-travelers, sliders, or espers. The twist? Three of the students are actually espers, time travelers, or aliens. The crazier twist? They’re all there to observe her, because they think she might be God. Cynical Kyon is an ordinary guy caught in the middle of the chaos that results. The series was an overwhelming sensation in 2006, but the second season (in 2009) turned out to be one of the most epic disasters in anime history. The fundamental problem was that the studio had no idea what kind of insane success the first season would be, so they cherry-picked among a series of light novels, then told the stories out of order to conceal the fact that their only long story wasn’t enough to carry a season. Committed to several other shows, they were unable to return to the franchise for three years, which angered the fan base — then they were trapped by their earlier decision to pick among the stories. Their decision to rebroadcast the full season one, interspersing the second season episodes in chronological order, might have worked — but for the decison to take the only long story arc out of the series and make a movie instead, then cover the gap by re-telling the same episode over and over, EIGHT times, with only minor variations. I recommend S1, but I cannot in good concience recommend S2 because of the repeats. Grade: C+ (Down-checked mostly for the second season, and a first-season gimmick that can’t be repeated)

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimaya (movie – fansub)
Something has changed the world around Kyon — Yuki is a normal, semi-autistic girl, Mikuru isn’t a time-traveler, Haruhi and Itsuki are missing… and Asakura is back. Kyon’s universe is turned upside down as he has to discover whether he’s become a slider, or someone has altered the world itself. The movie should be out on BD and DVD soon as I write this; I’ve currently only seen a god-awful camrip. KyoAni might have made it up to the fans with this movie, but as good as it is, I think they’ve poisoned the well of fan goodwill. Still, I recommend it once it comes out here — apart from all the studio shenanigans, it’s a good movie. Grade: B+ (Subject to increase once I obtain a legit copy.)

Those Who Hunt Elves (DVD)
A martial artist, an actress, a female military otaku, and a T-74 tank trying to make it home from a fantasy world. Just shoot me if I ever try to watch this again. My god, that was painful. Cool concept, terrible execution. Animation wasn’t too bad, and the tank was wonderfully detailed. You know there’s a problem when that’s a plus… Grade: F

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun (a.k.a: A Certain Scientific Railgun, a.k.a: Railgun) (Fansub / yes)
A spinoff of Index, this follows the story of Misaka Mikoto, the 14-year old “ace” of Tokidawa High School. She is ranked #5 out of the top seven espers in Academy City, but the series is really the story of herself, her obsessed roommate Kuroko, and two other girls: Saten and Uiharu. Kuroko and Uiharu are members of a police auxiliary known as Judgement, and Misaka, the Railgun, keeps getting involved in their cases. This is set before the Sisters Arc of Index, and has a much lighter tone. Much less talky than the other two, probably the best of the series, but it has a long patch of side stories in the mid-high teens in which nothing happens. Earns it a grade loss. Grade: C+

To Aru Majutsu no Index (S1 Fansub /maybe)
A compilation of several of the light novels that make up this series. Touma, a poor high-school student in Academy City has uniformly bad luck, and a right hand that can cancel any power, be it magic or esper. Of course, magic doesn’t exist — or so he thinks until a blue-haired twelve year-old girl, dressed similar to a nun and fleeing something, shows up on his balcony. She is Index, who holds in her head 103,000 magical grimoires — and many would like to possess her for that knowledge. Touma’s luck does not improve thereafter… Genre is “occult techno-horror”. The series is criticized for too much exposition and, being adapted from multiple novels, it’s quite uneven. It’s dark; the Sisters’ Arc, with Misaka Mikoto (x10,000) is quite bloody. Grade: C-

To Aru Majutsu no Index (S2 Fansub /maybe)
Continuing the story from novels 7 or 8 forward through at least #11. Series is underway as I write this. Again, dark, talky, and at this point, the author’s view of Christianity really starts to drag. (Nuns in mini-skirts? Papal fatwas?) Sequel to the Sisters Arc was too short. Grade: Pending

Vandread, Vandread Second Stage (DVD)
Yet another example of two series planned as one, but this time I’m putting them together. The all-male planet of Tarask and an all-female planet of Majerle are at war. As female pirates attack, they along with three captured men and a relic colonial ship with a unique power source are catapulted across the galaxy into hostile territory. Now all have to learn to work together as the ships, fighters, and crews unite to survive! Far better show than it sounds. Hibiki and Dita have a lot of similarities to Yurika and Yukito from Nadesico — and so does the overall series. Very unique harem, a lot of character growth and change. A fun series, and although there is one stretch that didn’t work for me; the characters are engaging. Plenty of twists and surprises, yet good rewatch value. Grade: B

Witchblade (DVD)
Set 200 years from now, the well-endowed Masane is the new holder of the Witchblade, but corporations want to control or duplicate it. Her daughter is a pawn or a lever used against her. Genre: Sexy slasher-chick. I mean, in transformed version, she has a pierced tongue. Do you really need to know more? Semi-downer ending. Grade: C-

Yokuwakaru Gendaimahou (Fansub / no)
What could have been an intriguing magical girl series that plays with the concept of modern magic as cast by computers unfortunately devolves into a confused and illogical mess with too many refrigerator moments. There’s some good characters and ideas here, but they’re pissed away by too many plot mistakes and inconsistent rules. Grade: F

Yumeria (DVD)
Loser-guy finds out he’s the key to helping four girls he knows save the world…and he has to grope them to do it. Cute for about 8 episodes but “bro-con” and lolicon aspects were disturbing. Tried for the “big ending” and ruined the mood. Trivia: One of the few examples of crew-served magical weaponry Is in this show. It’s kind of fun; I have re-watched it a couple of times, but I just can’t give it a B. Grade: C

Zero no Tsukaima (S1 DVD)
Ordinary Tokyo teen boy gets pulled into a magical world to become the familiar of a bitchy pink-haired, flat-chested noble falure of a mage-girl. Light novel series adaptation. The series was somewhat ruined by the tsundere never getting around to the dere. Except once, when she was hit with a love potion. After seeing a few episodes of the 2nd series and one of the 3rd, I dropped it from my purchase list; later relented and bought S1. The problems are in the source novels, not the anime, which was pretty true to them. Grade C-


As I said above, a number of these series were first viewed as fansubs, and later bought on DVD. Most of the time, when I’m not going to buy it a series, I don’t have all the fansubbed episodes, but there are a couple of exceptions where I watched through an entire series and then didn’t buy it later. For a long time, Karin was the most extreme case: I downloaded and viewed every episode until the last one, desisting only when my angst-breaker tripped. Now, however there are a few where I saw the whole series, and haven’t bought a single DVD yet. Others I bought only 1. It’s always possible I may change my mind later, as I did with Zero no Tsukaima On the opposite extreme, I got about ten minutes into Gintama and bailed, and about the same into a couple of other series.

I used to say “I don’t download licensed series,” but that’s changed as now series are being licensed before their run ends — sometimes even begins — and are even simulcast right away. If I watched a series on Crunchyroll, I consider it bought, and don’t buy the series later, even if I obtained fansubs. Strike Witches S1 was an exception — I DTO’d on Crunchy, back when they did that, then bought the actual DVD’s. Another oddity is Vandread. I unknowingly ordered a (presumably) Chinese bootleg. The quality was crap and it didn’t want to run on my computer, so I got what I paid for. I offered it to Geneon as evidence, but they never responded. I then bought a legit copy in 2007. In general, if I don’t pay for it, I consider myself to be obligated to give the industry some money somewhere, but how much, and how conscientious about it I am can vary.

There’s a long list of fansubs that I gave up on after only 1-3 episodes and may never review: Suomomo Momomomo, History’s Strongest Disciple, Clannad, Gintama (about 10 minutes), Lemon Angel Project, Sola (5 eps.), Dennou Coil, Tokimeki Memorial, Stratos 4 Advance (s2), Venus Vs. Virus (warining, bad ending), Pretty Girl Revolution (aka: The Wallflower), Dragonaut, El Cazador de la Bruja, Mamoru-kun ni Megami no Shukufuku wo! (what the hell does that mean?), Nagasarete Airantou, Romeo x Juliet, Lucky Star, Miname-ke,

Then there’s the Unwatched Pile: Stuff I bought and paid for, but haven’t finished watching yet. Or in some cases, started: Gurren Lagann, Magical Ragnarok Loki, Haibane Renmei, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, Moon Phase.