thin slicing the new season, fall 2006 edition

Something like a record 52 new series premiered Fall 2006 making it the Wild Wild West for anime fans. What to watch? What not to watch? What to secretly watch? What to make fun of? I don’t know about you, but I sure was overwhelmed with the choice and variety of this season. The early returns are in, and it’s time for some thin slicing.

Thin Slicing Fall 2006

Fall 2006 is just a tremendous source of new shows. Maybe this is a new anti-piracy push– hey, if we toss out fifty-some new shows, no way those fansubbers can keep up. Nonetheless, there’s a few patterns with Fall 2006. One, there’s a lot of sequels and remakes: Kanon. Law and Order: Loli Demon Revenge Unit. Black Lagoon. Galaxy Angelune. Negima!?.

Second, there’s a plethora of slice-of-life harem anime (mostly from h-games or ecchi manga to boot): Gift. Tokimeki. Sumomomo Momomo. La Corda. Otome wa Boku. Kanon. Happiness. Crescent Love. Mamoru-kun. Lovely Idol. Consider that Summer 2006 basically just had Tsuyokiss, Tonagura, Zero no Tsukaima, and Chokotto Sister. Hell, there’s even two series about people dying and coming back to life. The problem is that with so many harem anime and so many remakes, Fall 2006 doesn’t feel very original. It’s hard to differentiate between some of these generic harem shows. Everything kinda becomes a great, big grey blob at the end… and I’m still looking for that show or shows that really start setting themselves away from the pack.

(Worse yet, there’s a dearth of pantheon-class meido and good fansericy series. Is it hubris for the anime companies to think that they can succeed without fanservice and without meido? I don’t know. If only Shakespeare were still around.)

Back in Winter 05, there was Magikano, an unexpectedly delightful harem show. Then for Spring 06, there was Haruhi Suzumiya, the modern day Evangelion. And for Summer 06, there was at least Muteki Kanban Musume, a well-executed breath-of-fresh-air. This season? Nothing really comes to mind.

(Miki and company was probably one of the easiest series to write posts for. It was easy to write for Haruhi and Magikano as well– everything this season just feels more difficult.)

As always, think of the rank as if I received one episode of all the shows at once, which one would I watch first? Second? Last? Unfortunately, because I don’t own 50 TVs, there’s going to be shows ranked high and shows ranked low. Deal with it. This time around, I tossed in a new gimmick: two word summaries of each show. Also, because there’s so many shows, just because something isn’t in the top ten doesn’t mean it’s not good– in fact, usually every time I do a thin slice, I forget to include a great show– like last time with Planet of the Beast King. Even though there’s no obvious sleeper hit as of now, IMHO, there’s a lot of good, solid anime. Basically a large middle class with a small upper class… a democratic capitalist’s dream. Anyway, enough foreplay. Let’s dig in, shall we?

#26. Strongest. Bride.

Tissues in bulk from Costco? $20. Cozy futon from Macy’s? $150. Human reproduction? Priceless.

Premise: Mabaraho meets Rizelmine. Horny girls want to reproduce with typical, slightly abusive, harem loser male.

Sumomomo Momomo was just pain to watch. All of the characters are twits, and male lead, Koushi, is highly unlikable. He’s puts up a shield of smugness to hide his own insecurities and failings, and he takes advantage of the people around him, skating by with is “looks” and “legalese.” I just can’t stand him in this anime adaptation– at least in the manga, he doesn’t come off as being this smug and full of himself. Momoko has common sense on par with Shion Sonozaki– at least she stalked her man before blindly falling in love with him. Still, it’s painful to watch her toss herself at Koushi and have him either use her or completely reject her. You know what her problem is? She needs help. Maybe we need to swap out Sunako with Momoko for Perfect Girl Evolution.

(I think Sumomomo Momomo highlights nicely some of the gender inequalities in anime.)

#25. Flamin’. Moe.


Premise: Yakitate Japan with more alcohol.

They’re really out of ideas. What’s next? Anime about dry cleaning? Yoga instruction? Jamba Juice? I was floored by the first episode– just 24 minutes of explaining what a martini is and mixing drinks, and I started off doing other things like checking my e-mail and trying to pull off a fantasy football trade by minute 8. Did I mention that the climax involved making ice cubes? What were they thinking?!? I don’t think I’ll stick around for episode two.

(Needless to say, as of this writing, it is rated as a “Masterpiece” on ANN. At least until people actually watch it and start modding it down.)

#24. Blissful. Ignorance.


Premise: Yet more slice-of-life harem comedy. This time… with mages! *sigh* This time… with a trap! *sigh*

Happiness is an undistinguished slice-of-life harem comedy. The animation quality isn’t as good as Boku wa Otome, Sumomomo Momomo, or Kanon (in fact, Happiness is approaching To Heart 2 levels of animation crapuality), and the premise is uninspired to say the least. Top tier female mage (Haruhi) through random chance meets typical harem male… and gasp! Situation beyond their control puts them in the same class. Aiyiyiyiyi.

(Jun the Trap is disturbing, but his friends are even more disturbing. If you were a straight male, would you hang around a guy who pretends to be not just a girl but your girlfriend? This is worse than owning a Doug Christie jersey.)

#23. Super. Star.


Premise: Lemon Angel Project meets Making the Band with disasterous results.

Ugh. Lovely Idol is yet another lightweight harem anime. The premise is very simple: there’s an ultraidolpop group that has twelve members. And the manager wants to add even more girls to it, but I guess they can only add girls in batches of six. The anime quality is poor, and there’s just too many girls (18!!!!!!) who are too similar. An anime has failed if I need to create an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of each character and “what that character is about.” And the first nine minutes of singing? Painful. The last four minutes of stalking? Disturbing. Still, I was delighted by the final “I sing for revenge” line– that’s straight out of the Grey’s Anatomy playbook.

(One thing Lovely Idol has going for it is that it has a lot of good seiyuu. Except somehow Aka’s managed to get a prime singing role– didn’t they watch REC?)

#22. Not. Ouran.

Saber! Emiya!

Premise: Queer Eye for the Straight Guy meets She’s the One. Four possibly gay males try to give an ugly duckling an ultimate makeover.

At first, I thought Perfect Girl Evolution would be “Ouran Lite.” Well, there’s a few problems with that– first off, the guys are infinitely more queer in PGE than Ouran. Yuki especially looks like he’s taken part in a few Gay Pride parades. They look like they wear lipstick and had botox injections for their lips. Secondly, Kyouhei isn’t in the same class as The King. Not even close. If The King were Strike Freedom, Kyouhei would be an RB-79 Ball. PGE has some genuinely funny moments (like the “This is erotic but not” comment), but most of the time, feels like it just goes through the motions. It doesn’t have any subtly– everything is spelled out — and the female lead (Sunako) is drawn chibi so much, it distracts from the ugliness. How am I supposed to take this ugliness seriously if she’s reminding me of Mahoraba’s Satoko half the time? “Asami! Dinner!”

(Honestly, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is more entertaining than PGE. For one, they don’t take 26 or so episodes to fix up one person, and they’re a fantastic source of unintentional comedy everytime they peak around checking out the straight guy’s ass. I think I’ve been living in the Bay Area for too long.)

#21. Violent. Girl.


Premise: Boy meets girl. Girl falls for boy. Girl tosses mid-size sedan in the air.

Mamoru-kun ni Megami no Shukufuku starts like so many typical harem anime– guy meets girl, both blush under the falling cherry blossoms, and the pretty girl asks out the stereotypically loser guy. Yes, there’s magic (“Beatrice”) involved. Yes, there’s an insane student council involved (since when do student councils control objects that can control the fate of the planet, outside of Zegapain, that is). Part romance, part action, Mamoru is all potential train wreck. At least it has fanservice.

(I noticed that the school they are in is nice and has trees and everything while the outside world is a collection of ruined buildings that I expect more out of Desert Punk.)

#20. Symbolic. Tree.


Premise: Yet more slice-of-life harem comedy. This time… with more men! *sigh*

Random possibly loser transfer student gets on the good side of the top tier girl in school? It never happens! Not even in Happiness! Tokimeki Memorial is just more of the same typical shounen harem anime stuff. Most of these shows this season are just like journeymen right handed pitchers with an 5 ERA. Not much different, and you definitely won’t win your division with too many of them. A few differentiators for Tokimeki Memorial: it’s a sausage fest compared to traditional shounen harem anime (the student council is all male… the equivalent student structures in Gift and Red Garden are all female). Second, it has a pedigree that surpasses Kanon, yet Tokimeki is lost in the shuffle (we don’t see Sayuri vs Sayuri comparisons the same way we were flooded with Haruhi vs Haruhi comparisons six months ago). I’m puzzled how they got so much free space to put up a high school– most of the schools that I’ve seen travelling around Tokyo didn’t have space for a track field let alone an open area in front of the school larger than said track field.

(I think the ultimate in male ego fantasy has to be Shuffle!… not only do you have your choice of the hawtest human, god, and devil girls to choose from, the losers turn to lesbianism because you’ve ruined them for other men. Still, I’d like the see a harem show end with the harem ending. They could move to Utah.)

#19. Demon. Ronin.


Premise: Ghost bustin’ in feudal Japan. A dash of Mushishi on top of Samurai Deeper Kyo with a Sakura Taisen glaze.

I’m not exactly sure what Ayakashi Ayashi is about. A ragtag group defends feudal Japan from monsters that only a certain few can see? The plot has been blah, the animation as been blah, and the heavy use of a grey palette has been blah. Just very blah. I can’t believe that this series is from Bones and Aniplex. I would have guessed AIC. Oh, there’s plenty of male ass shots later on… which is probably why this isn’t going to be ranked any higher by me.

(Features a trap. My gosh, whoever in Japan is thinking, “Hey, you know what will take our anime to the next level? Men crossdressing!” “OMFG you’re right! Our predominately hormonal male audience will eat it up!” These must be the same people who brought us NBA Floor Cam where we got a chance to look up Vlade Divac’s shorts back in the 2003 playoffs. Bad times… very bad times… Dustin Diamond sex video bad times.)

(The main character, Yuki, talks to himself like he’s the narrator– but the lips move. Aiyiyiyiyi.)

#18. Cancer. Man.


Premise: The X-Files as done by JC Staff. Cutie Mai works for Narcissist boss Kazuya as they unravel paranormal events.

Mai and Kazuya actually remind me a bit of Mulder and Scully during the later part of season one of the X-Files, only Kazuya is nowhere as loco as Mulder and Mai is nowhere as competent as Scully. Ghost Hunt has mildly interesting characters with the kansai kid from Austrailia and Kazuya’s rudeness being two of the highlights. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of action and a lot of people standing around in a circle talking so the character interactions mainly carry the show. The plot boils down a lot of semanics… “Oh! It’s a ghost!” “No! It’s a spirit!” “No! A spectre!” Silly semanics. Animation is good and seems better than Zero no Tsukaima‘s. Ghost Hunt doesn’t have a traditional OP/ED, and instead uses intrumentals a la the opening to Crest of the Stars.

#17. Childhood. Friends.

Best 30 seconds of this season thus far

Premise: Yet more slice-of-life harem comedy anime. This time… with magic! *sigh* This time… with childhood friends! *sigh*

Gift is yet another shounen harem anime… I’m getting tired of this typing this phrase… with a twist that everyone in this town can give a special gift to their loved one once. It could be anything, but so far we’ve seen an unicorn and a tree. I’m not kidding. No one has asked for health, happiness, North Korea nuclear disarmament, bigger breasts, money, another season of Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, or “I want a goddess like you forever by my side!” yet. The second twist is that there’s not one but two childhood friends. In addition to the childhood friends, the student council president has Mikuru-levels of self-confidence. There’s also a badass swordswoman and a loli mage to round out the harem. One thing Gift has going for it is that it has fanservice! OMFG! It’s like stumbling across a prime rib after eating nothing but couscous for two weeks, and that’s the real gift to the viewers. Oddly enough, I’m looking forward to more episodes of Gift… if anything because I’m curious what happens when two childhood friend characters collide? Are they like betta fish where you can’t have more than one in a tank?

(The main male character is voiced by the same seiyuu as Da Capo‘s Junichi, and his friend Maki reminds me of yet another Da Capo character… same with Kirino. Speaking of Kirino, where can I find a childhood friend who would wake me up every morning and make me breakfast while spinning around in a short skirt? Let’s add Kirino to the Kotori/Kaede-All Star Team. I missed out on something in my childhood.)

(I enjoyed the “I’d like a turn-over today.” “Ummm, I’ve never done a turn-over before.” “It’s a good experience.” conversation.)

(There’s a character in Gift called “Loli” who likes to take pictures of, uh, lolis. All the other characters just go, “Oh, it’s just Loli being Loli” when he does something socially weird. Can you imagine a character like Loli on any American show other than Law and Order: SVU and Dateline: To Catch a Predator? Yet… he’s here… setting an example for Japan in Gift.)

#16. Typical. H-Game.


Premise: H-game turned anime. Minus the H.

Childhood friend? Check. Imouto? Check. Hawt chix0r who would normally be off-limits for typical losers? Check. Tons of band camp jokes? Check. Crescent Love is more of the same piled on higher and deeper. Just too many damn low calorie harem anime airing this season, and it’s making them look worse collectively. Imagine if like Crescent Love ran against Love Love a few years ago… it would have blown it out of the water. It would have the hawt girl standing next to the ugly girl. Now? Crescent Love looks like Sunako next to Kanon‘s Mikuru-run, Negima!?‘s Emiri, Otome wa Boku‘s LOL FANG-TAN, and Asatte no Houkou‘s Itsuki.

#15. Shinde. Miru.

“Ippen… shinde miru?”

Premise: Law and Order: Loli Demon Services Unit.

26 more episodes of the same revenge cycle. I wonder if they actually brought Mamiko Noto in to record new lines, or are they just recycling her “dialogue” from the first 26 episodes? Anyway, more of the same. The OP, Nightmare by SNoW, is good but a notch lower than Sakusama no Chou.

#14. Millenium. Earl.


Premise: Chrno Crusade meets Black Cat.

DGray-Man is a shounen action series featuring a plucky young hero who is a special “exorcist” hunting “Akuma” using “Innocence.” I think I can make up any generic shounen action show with that formula… a plucky young hero who is a special “shinigami” hunting “hollows” using “bankai”… I’m suddenly depressed. Anyway, DGray-Man follows Exorcist Allen Walker as he tries to clean up a modified 19th century Europe (?). Mediocre for action shounen; high chance this could be licensed by Funimation and shown by CN at 1AM on Saturday nights. That’s saying something. Anyway, I’m giving DGray-Man a mediocre ranking (I don’t normally care for Toriyama-style anime) just because of Lenalee’s epic double ponytails.

(Komui looks like Full Metal Alchemist‘s Hughes.)

(I find it hard to take this series seriously when the main villian is Millenium Earl. He looks like he’s a KFC family meal away from a heart attack.)

#13. Crying. Butterflies.


Premise: CSI: New York meets Battle Royale meets Basilisk.

Red Garden is an interesting beast. First off, it’s Gonzo, so you know it’s going to start strong and fade worse than David Caruso’s career. Second, the premise is simple, yet mysterious– not mysterious as there’s actual clues to unravel– mysterious as Gonzo hasn’t pulled back the curtain to reveal who is the real Wizard of OZ yet. And that’s what keeps me interested, but once I know what’s really going on, would I care about the characters? The whiner? The clubber? The preppy princess? The tough girl? Three out of four of them are really annoying. The show moves along swifty, but I feel the musical interludes kill the mood. So far, I’ve watched two episodes– with two musical interludes– this ain’t Sound of Music, Gonzo. Red Garden tries to establish a certain mood– then next thing I know, ballads break out. Can you imagine watching Fearless and have Jet Li start singing One Headlight in the middle? Even more curious, Gonzo decided to go with shoujo-styled character designs. Red Garden occurs in New York, which baffled me because I don’t recall New York looking like that. Shouldn’t there be more, uh, diversity than just one black cop? Also, I can’t believe a trucker in New York would approach a young, hawt girl by herself in the morning and not make a lewd comment. Is this Bizarro New York? Finally, if it really were New York, shouldn’t Ace Forensic Expert Gary Sinise be the one handling the case? He’d have it solved by episode 3.

(W00t! Two CSI references in a paragraph.)

#12. Shafted. Again.


Premise: Negima‘s and Pani Poni Dash‘s bastard child. This time, with much improved animation.

Can someone please tell Shaft that Pani Poni Dash ended already? Please, I want my Negima back in my Negima!?. What’s wrong with the tried-and-true formula of a shota running his own harem with comedic hijinks ensuing? What’s wrong with fanservice? What’s wrong with making an anime where I’m not worrying about seeing “Kama-sama” pop out of a vending machine? What’s wrong with that? Okay, this might be a bit premature, but can we please get a remake of this remake?

(Yes, the animation is better. But it feels like it lost its soul in the process… Negima!? currently feels like a trophy wife.)

#11. Chess. Game.


Premise: Raito receives a book that allows him to kill anyone by writing their names in it, and he quickly proceeds to extract his justice on the world.

Death Note is an intellectual series, and it’s a sharp contrast to, oh, Sumomomo Momomo and Crescent Love. I spelled out my issue with the series earlier, but I think for people who have never read Death Note, it’s going to be a fantastic ride (bump it up five spots if you haven’t read the manga). As for me, the first two episodes pretty much followed the manga line by line– I didn’t get the goosebumps when L’s first trick was revealed like I did when I first read the manga. Chill scenes like how L and Raito one up each other are awesome, but they only come around once.

(Death Note is the opposite of Kanon with regards to spoilers. In Kanon, so what if we know who Yuuichi will end up picking? For Death Note, it does matter what happens to Raito. That’s most of the fun of the series.)

#10. The. Bachelorette.


Premise: Nodame Cantabile dating sim.

Two important things to note about La Corda D’Oro: One, I wasn’t bored during the episode; this should raise some eyebrows. Second, the episode went by surprisingly quick, and I wanted more after it was over. It’s good. It’s also a shoujo harem series with one girl, many guys, and sadly very few lesbian prospects. Yet, it’s good. La Corda follows Kahoko, who is the chosen one, as she adjusts from normal student to musical prodigy. The setup is kind of a cross between Happiness (school broken up into the musically inclined and not) and Lovely Idol (music competition). She runs into all sorts of dreamy guys and, well, it’s shoujo harem. Yet, it’s good. Nothing really jumps out as why it’s good at first… the animation is passable, the music isn’t going to be confused with Eric Whitacre’s Cloudburst but is servicable, the characters are mostly cliche (but Kahoko is top tier)… yet, it’s good. The pacing is excellent, and the slice-of-life feeling of this type of show is captured perfectly. I’d say better than the shounen harem series airing this season. Charming little show– even if it is about a bunch of dreamy men.

(BTW, the OP gives away too much. Did Sunrise work on this or something?)

#9. Working. Girl.


Premise: Day in the life of a magazine editor.

Anytime an anime features a 28 year old hottie going “It’s been three months since I last had sex,” I have to rank it highly. Even if a well-meaning but ignorant hampster isn’t involved. Hataraki Man (Working Man) is actually more slice-of-life-ish than shoujo as the series deals with Matsukata’s job more than her romance life. This series is an acquired taste as people will either love Matsukata’s antics or they don’t. Personally, I enjoyed how the anime moves a lot faster than the manga (almost too fast even), which suffers from typical shoujo over-dialogue-balloonitis. Still, there’s a few undeniable facts: Hataraki Man has the best animation of all the shoujo series airing this fall; Matsukata sets a new record for bringing over SEED mode to shoujo; and Rie Tanaka is pulling off yet another golden microphone performance as Matsukata. Using a different voice than her Mariel, Chii, Lacus, Suigintou, and Simca, Rie Tanaka shows again why you can never count her out, even if she mailed in Lacus so blatantly and badly that the 2006 New York Yankess sent her a congratulatory telegram.

(I can’t believe I ranked a shoujo series about a magazine editor’s job in the top ten. It’s like ranking Sex in the City in the same list with Battlestar Galactica, The X-Files, Xena: Warrior Princess, Star Trek DS9, and Firefly.)

#8. Beauty. Beast.


Premise: Beauty and the Beast meets Gonzo. In a war torn dystopic world, a ragtag squad teams up with Frankenstein to save the world, one tank at a time.

Ridiculous name aside, Pumpkin Scissors starts out promising as quite a few other Gonzo series… but I just can’t wait to find out when the other shoe drops. The premise is simple (think Scooby gang), the characters are likable, the animation is great, and the first two episodes have been engaging (the meido sway me)… so what’s the problem? Well, I have a sinking feeling that it’s going to be “tank of the week,” and that’s going to get old by episode nine or sooner. Second, Alice looks better with the longer hair. Warrents mentioning. (Plus I’m already sick of her sticking her dagger out all the time… just looks silly.) Lastly, it’s Gonzo. When was the last time Gonzo successfully pulled off a romance angle? Gatekeepers? I think Pumpkin Scissors needs this “beauty and the beast” type of romance to really set itself out from the pack (and lose the “guy walks up to tank, pwns it” plot resolution for every episode), but I don’t have confidence in Gonzo to execute properly in this angle. If it were Bones or Kyoto behind this series, I’d rank it higher.

(Reminds me of Gun x Sword starting out. Could be a very good thing or a very bad thing. Needs more emo strippers in either case.)

(And what the heck is a “Pumpkin Scissor”? I think if the creator can’t come up with a name, they randomly pick two English words… “Bubblegum Crisis”… “Innocent Venus”… “Mac OS”… “Virgin Fleet”… “Refrain Blue”…)

#7. SCAR. TAN.


Premise: Tokyo Underground mixed with Shakugan no Shana with Full Metal Alchemist‘s vocabulary. The world we live in is not as it seems as an eternal battle between the homonoculus and the alchemist arms users rage on in the background.

Busou Renkin is an enjoyable cheesy shounen action series from XEBEC. Kazuki, the male protagonist, is spunky and likable. He doesn’t back down and always tries to do the right thing, even if it leads to the wrong results. I also liked the interaction between him and his little sister (a bit overprotective of her). The female protagonist, Tokiko, or as she has already been dubbed, SCAR-TAN, is bad-ass and seems to be a good break from the Shana/Louise heroine mold. Still, I can’t shake the feeling that like four episodes from now we’ll find out that she likes cute pink things. Anyway, the battle scenes are actually done pretty well save for the final scene of the first episode where the hero plunges oversized sword into his opponent… bad times. The best part of Busou Renkin is Tokiko’s choice of weaponry, and it makes her look like a walking pumpkin scissor of death.

(Why is Bosou Renkin ranked so high? Aya Hirano. And also Kazuki’s “Sword of Surprise.”)

#6. Freaky. Friday.


Premise: I’ll let you find out yourself.

Asatte no Houkou (Day After Tomorrow) is a surprisingly entertaining series from JC Staff. My initial impression is that it’s a slice-of-life series– something like Lamune crossed with Ichigo Mashimaro, but I’m dead wrong. For full effect, I recommend people not to read or look for any information about this series before watching it– not even anidb, ANN, or animenfo.

(Yuuji’s and Saito’s seiyuu plays Hiro. I honestly couldn’t tell until I looked it up– I’m glad he’s evolved from washing panties. Weird not hearing him opposite Rie Kugimiya. Though Shouko is voiced by the same seiyuu as Wilhelmina .)

#5. Better. Mousetrap.


Premise: Strawberry Panic meets I My Me Strawberry Eggs. Boy pretends to be a girl to attend an all-girl’s school at his dead grandmother’s request. Unapologetically ridiculous.

Just feels like a fun series. The problem with Otome wa Boku probably is that pretty much every single harem anime this season is the slice-of-life variety– there’s really no Magikano or Girls Bravo-styled more kinetic show to diversify. No, Sumomomo doesn’t count– I can’t stand Koushi to regularly watch that series. Because of the glut of slice-of-life harem series running concurrently this season, I think it’s easy to overlook Otome wa Boku.

#4. 2002. 2006.


Premise: Remake of the 2002 series of the same name.

Not exactly a resounding success:

Garten: “I really want to be impressed with the storyline but at this point, I think it’s a bit boring.”

Hirano: “As I said, for new Kanon fans they may find this to be a snooze fest.”

Omni: “Now we can discuss whether Uguu or Gao is better.”

Stripey: “Myself? The engineer in me says Kanon is 45% story, 35% character and 20% ambience but the fanboy in me says it’s 100% anime love. I watch it simply because it is Kanon.”

Jeff: “I don’t think I’ll be disappointed. The amount of detail in the first episode of the remake amazes me… detail that never even saw the light of day in the first series.”

I like to judge a show by itself and what it presents in those 24 minutes, and an anime series needs to be able to stand up by itself. There needs to be something fundamentally enjoyable about a series, and Kanon‘s appeal is tough to explain because the appeal isn’t straightforward. I’d say it is more like Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou in that respect, just Alpha doesn’t have the same rabid fanbase Ayu has. Or Lamune. What exactly is the difference between Lamune and Kanon besides the temperature? Nonetheless, I still enjoyed this new Kanon, and I’ll rank it highly. Why? Kyoto Animation is like Tiger Woods. You don’t want to count them out. Ever.

(Random prediction: Kanon will be the first Fall 2006 show to crack blogsuki‘s top ten.)

#3. Revy. Love.


Premise: Continuation of Black Lagoon.

Quoting myself: “Black Lagoon Second Barrage ups the ante once again with disturbing sexual tension on top of the already volcanic violence.” I have nothing to add. Disturbing sexual tension 4tw.

#2. Kahlua. Liqueur.


Premise: Around four years after Galaxy Angel, the original team retires, and the new Angelune-tai is assembled to continue their wacky space comedic adventures.

Great animation? Check. Great music? Check. Great seiyuu work? Check. Fanservice with a servicable plot? Check. Need something to take it over the top? Say hello to Kahlua. Good times. One thing about Galaxy Angelune is that it is supposedly going to follow a plot instead of just randomness of the original series. Plus, you don’t need to have watched the original to make sense of the plot. I think it’s a great chance for new fans to get into the Galaxy Angel universe.

#1. Emo. Rebellion.


Premise: Gundam Seed with Athrun and Lacus “dying” in the first episode.

Code Geass is Sunrise giant mecha fun with CLAMP character designs. It’s either going to be very good or very bad– no inbetween– and that’s what makes it this season’s top thin sliced show.

#0. November. 24.

Has Mai always been, uh, so perky?

Premise: Man beds his 14 year old daughter after almost going all the way with her friend.

Am I looking forward to Mai Otome Zwei? You bet. Do your best, deshou.

Since I’m around the 5,000 word mark for this post, I’ll end with some final thoughts: it’s not about quantity but about quality. It doesn’t matter how much anime is churned out if it’s all crap. Compare this season to one year ago, Fall 2005. Would you rather have Mai Otome or Code Geass? Mushishi or Red Garden? Nanoha A’s or Kanon? Rozen Maiden Dreams or Death Note? Shakugan no Shana or Busou Renkin? Noein or Pumpkin Scissors? Aria or Lovely Idol? To Heart 2 or Happiness? Jigoku Shoujo or… uh… Jigoku Shoujo? For most of these choices, I’d take the former rather than the latter.

Also, most of the new series do not have eyecatches and instead have just the logo of the show appear after the commerical break. In American TV, it’s very rare to see eyecatches or even a credit roll– could Japanese TV trend the same way to maximize ad time? Would anime, which depend a bit on the OP/ED music be the same if OP/ED ceased?

Lastly, even though this Fall 2006 has a lot of similar shows, it does have a lot of interesting ones and few absolute c-r-a-p series (i.e. no Gun Musashi or To Heart 2). With all the slice-of-life type shows, there’s very few absolute comedy shows, very few giant mecha (Code Geass and… ?), and very few magical girl series– traditionally, giant robot and magical girl have been cornerstones of anime. I find a shift to slice-of-life as the current “in” genre kinda amusing– it’s not a genre built on excitement for one. AoMM will follow Kanon and another series. If you have any input as to what that other series should be, let me know (currently leaning towards Code Geass or Otome no Boku). Now excuse me as I go prepare for the winter season.

50 Responses to “thin slicing the new season, fall 2006 edition”

  1. The ANN rating of “Bartender” had been buffed up by the anonymous horde of 4chan who have hyped this show over and over. You know, the same horde who have put SHnY in their blacklist of shows to troll in sight.

  2. I’d just add that having watched both Happiness and Otome wa Trap, I am more eager to see more of the latter than the former. Yui Horie voicing a trap = OMG!
    And am I the only one to think that the ED animation is creepy?

    PS: About Busou Renkin, yes, Aya Hirano was here, voicing the sister with Asakura Epic Eyebrows.

  3. >> If you have any input as to what that other series should be, let me know (currently leaning towards Code Geass or Otome no Boku).

    Why not both? Double our pleasure, double our fun. lol

  4. I’d say you should keep on blogging OtoBoku.

  5. Aw, but I like Bartender. Then again, it does fall into the scope of my interests. Different folks, different strokes. I tried watching Bousou Renkin, solely because of Tokiko, but I got disinterested in it by Ep02. Dropped it from my watchlist. Unless something amazing happens and somebody talks about it, I will probably be skipping it.


  6. Another vote for OtoBoku.

    But you should throw in a few pieces of other shows if they get something “tastier” (i.e. Strawberry Panic 19) XD

    I’ll watch Sumomomo just because of Aya Hirano in meganekko/iincho/kunoichi chara…

  7. Galaxy Angelrune as your other one.

    I liked Sumomomo Momomo… =(

    Random suckup: You are my favourite anime blogger.

  8. >>> the music isn’t going to be confused with Eric Whitacre’s Cloudburst but is servicable,

    I think you are being too generous with music in La Corda D’Oro. Nodame Cantabile Live Action Drama is the best show about classical music I have ever seen, yet it seems I am the only one raving about Nodame’s choice of music and attentions to musical details ( Choice of using Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet Suite opening for the Stressemann’s scene was a stroke of genius ). La Corda D’ Oro would be like a destroyer class naval vessel compared to Fleet Carrier like aspect of Nodame in terms of Classical Music.

    >>> very few giant mecha (Code Geass and… ?)

    Try Super Robot Wars. For the first time, an anime series shows what an experienced tank group can do to a super robot squad. Go Tanks!

  9. I actually quite liked Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge, even though the dudes were quite generic and Death Note should be ranked higher up.

  10. As for second Fall-2006 series to be blogged on AoMM, I will vote for D Gray-man. The kill count is relatively high, the lead is likable thus far, it has a good OP, a good ED, and if the scenes contained within them are any indication, Allen will be receiving weapon upgrades in the future.

  11. Well, I’m speechless. CODE GEASS is definitely going 4tw.
    I don’t really like how you arranged the last few harem series, but I’m pretty much okay how you ranked the rest.
    Good luck on the blogging for this season!

  12. My vote’s also with Angelune, otherwise you could try an “episode of the week” type approach – just blog whatever catches your interest each week.

    I’ll also throw a word in for nadeshiko – if it follows what I vaguely remember of the manga things should spice up by ep 3 or 4.

  13. Phew, took me a while to read… can’t imagine how long it took to write. Anyways, as entertaining as most of the shows this season are, none of them really seem to stand out, save for Kanon (kyoani reasons) and the one breakthrough show, Hataraki Man (wow, a show where the youngest girl is over 20??). The first ep of Code Geass was also quite good, but it just doesn’t carry the weight of significance that a Gundam show does… hopefully I’ll be saying different a few eps further.

  14. Have you seen an actual list of 52 new series? I’ve been able to find around 36 so far, including all the ones that you’ve listed above, but no sign of the other supposed 16. If you know where they are all listed, can you post a link? Thanks!

  15. Ooops – I’ve answered my own question by looking at the link you provided. It’s not quite a “list”, but it’s easy to identify which series I haven’t yet seen. So that shows a number of series that haven’t premired yet.

  16. What the hell!?


  17. Agreed with you about Negima!? It feels like Negima on crack, and I still don’t like the PPD blackboard references since they keep distracting me. Not that it’s bad but I wished that they…slow it down a little.

    I don’t think Otome wa Boku should be ranked that highly. It’s okaaaaaaaaaaay, but so far I haven’t seen much that really distinguished it from other harem series. Of course when you consider the competition this season, it’s not hard to see that Otome wa Boku is the ‘better’ series this Fall.

    I think Death Note should be higher on the list, or maybe switch with Otome wa Boku’s position. And since when knowing how it ends has stopped an anime series from being any less enjoyable? As mentioned before, most anime series tend to be adaptations of manga series of which the endings are already known by the fans.

    Being a tech/game magazine writer, I can definitely relate to Hataraki Man – the rush of deadlines, interviews, constant travelling, and near absence of a social life reminds me a lot of my own life, except without the Super Saiyan mode (could definitely come in handy during deadlines near the end of the month).

    I really liked the first episode of La Corda, so thanks Jason for introducing this series. Refreshingly watchable for a jaded harem anime viewer, and it’ll make a nice replacement for Ouran High School.

    (still holding out for Furuba second season. Dammit, the series is going to end in a few more chapters! ;_; )

    First time I saw Sumomomo Momomo, I wasn’t impressed by their visuals and plot. In fact, I’m still not impressed. Only thing keeping me is Iincho, voiced by Hirano. I’d like to see how her voice acting is like when Iincho changes into her alter-ego.

    Asatte no Houkou was a pleasant surprise, and I really like how they’re avoiding the standard slapstick that usually accompanies movies of such type. But it can be a little too slow at times. Hopefully with Hiro now in the loop of what’s going on, things will speed up.

    As for Gonzo titles like Pumpkin Scissors and Code Geass…I’m gonna wait and see.

  18. I disagree with your Two Word Description for Red Garden. Instead, I would go with “Shoujo. Gantz.”

  19. Is it too early to crown this season as the 2000 NBA Draft of anime? The multitude of harem anime = the GMs love for athletic forwards. Kanon as the most hyped show sounds as sexy as Kenyon Martin the #1 pick except KyoAni’s behind it so instead of going to the Nets he went to the Spurs. I hope to be proven wrong.

  20. Sumomo momomo: I think it’s amusing that all the characters are twits. I’m not a fan of meganekko characters, but the one in this anime is pretty cute. CG dragons, though? Blech.

    Hataraki man: I have no experiences with real work, but for some reason this show is really funny to me. All the characters are likeable in an odd way. Top 3 show for me.

    Death Note: If you haven’t read the manga (I’ve only read the first chapter), I would rate this show as top 3.

    Kanon: I think the humor and pacing is good. Maybe all of you who already know everything there is to know about Kanon are a little jaded. Top 3 for me.

    Perfect Girl Evolution: A little too over-the-top. BJ lips on guys are crazy annoying; they almost piss me off. But I like this show for some reason.

    Asatte no Houkou: Slow at times, but premise is interesting like a certain classic film we know starring Tom Hanks.

    Otome wa Boku: I found this to be boring as all hell. I’ll give it another try, though.

    Black Lagoon: I’ve always liked mindless violence. Hansel and Gretel are a little too disturbing, though. Loli, incestuous snuff stars out for Hannibal Lecter style revenge on the world? Balalaika is still as awesome as ever, though.

    Code Geass: Main character is quite a bit more powerful than Jagan. Love the evil smile at the end. I’ve always liked villainous character designs.

  21. At least you’re “taking it like a man.” J/K :P

    Here’s my problem: “The traditional anime fanbase are horny guys.” Plus most people are poor anyway. (Remember; anime is an expensive hobby.)

    I’m convinced. Nobody can save $30+ dollars for anime porn anymore. So companies, rather than make porn, make crap instead.

    Shows in the US are dropping like flies. I wonder how long shows in Japan will last. (I’m rooting for Negima, Busou Renkin, The Wallflower, OtoBoku, and the new Angel Brigade.)

  22. i ranked happiness higher than gift, though both kinda blah

    wait til you watch 3rd ep crecent love…. omg! the animation quality just went to…. i don’t even know where the hell it went to
    everyone looks like made of clay, everytime someone moves his(her) face get stretched all over the place

  23. haven’t really follow any of the new shows althought considering the how much you guys are giving black lagoon i will get the first seris and watch that and the 2nd if i like the first seris.

    The last couple of weeks i have been mostly re-watch old anime series. Much better most of the crap shows this season imo.

    Outlaw Star
    Angel Links
    Jubei-Chan2 – Best sword fight scenes ever.
    Slayers Movies

    Currently Re-watching Last Exile.

  24. my ranking goes something like (only include the ones i think are great to good, though i’m following about everything remotely enjoyable)
    Black Lagoon
    Asatte no Hoko
    Kujibiki Unbalance (which you dind’t include ; ;)
    Otome Wa Onee Sama (Boku) Ni Koi Shiteru
    Galaxy Angelune (which almost everyone i know hates)
    Kekkaishi (prob the most legit shounen action series in a while)
    Ghost Hunt
    D Gray Man
    Happiness (barely made it)

    i just can’t bring myself to like Code Geass. it’s enjoyable, but something (actually alot things) doesn’t click for me

  25. >>> Xellos^_-
    last exile is the only godlike anime in my book that’s not from kyoani, only if gonzo could do this with every (or at least half, heck, i will even settle for 1/4) shows it make

  26. man the crap anime thats been spuuing out has forced me to watch some real tv…THAT DOESNT HAPPEN OFFTEN! which reminds me i have been paying my cable bill for no reason…

    as one of the people who doesnt have a clue wtf death note and kanon are about (i think i saw kanon but cant remember) im just gonna watch em..i dont care if it turns into a shitstorm from hill or a mindfuck of eva perportions i managed to get to episode 17 of ergo proxy(now thats an achievement ^^) and anything this seasons got nothing on the crappieness of higurashi…that and ill bring up kagihime just cause im feeling evil today

  27. Let the others blog Code Geass. YOU should be blogging OtoBoku IMO.

  28. I agree on most counts… Happiness is best described in my opinion, like Maburaho was out partying, met its first cousin and after a little to much to drink, a night of regret ensued.

    For someone like myself who is a Kanon virgin, I am loving the pacing and the direction the series is going.

    I also think I might have to give some of these other series that you ranked high a little try. I suppose it can’t hurt.

  29. Random thoughts.

    #1 rejected name for Pumpkin Scissors: Watermelon Shears.

    The Millennium Earl is the bastard child of the Joker and the Penguin from Batman.

  30. I feel the same as you when I started going through every show’s first eps. This season is overwhelming with so many shows – unfortunately, virtually all of them SUCK! With the exception of BLACK LAGOON 2, there is not a single thing worth actually watching. Following the bloggers will be good enough for me, let them do all the critiquing then I can really decide once the final verdict is in.

    Thanks for the long “review”.

  31. I’m wondering where Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto is, in terms of fansubbers and bloggers. It’s the show that had me the most excited going into this season, besides Black Lagoon Cont’d and possibly Kanon. I have to agree with many of the above: this time around, the stable just isn’t doing it for me.

  32. Someone just fansubbed Galaxy Angelun, so now I can give my vote to it.

    Tequila (Aya Hirano): “Oh no! So Big~!”

  33. Hey them is fightin’ words….

    Well notexactly but:

    >>Jun the Trap is disturbing, but his friends are even more disturbing. If you were a straight male, would you hang around a guy who pretends to be not just a girl but your girlfriend? This is worse than owning a Doug Christie jersey.

    I had a “trap” as part of my gaming group for quite some time until I moved out for college. While he/she (we always just refered to him/her by name) had a different life style than the rest of the group he/she was a welcome part of it. We treated him/her just like every other member of the group one a first name basis and a lot of trash talk. I chalk up your borderline fighting words to frustration over this season, still we are all a bit disturbed in one way or another. Still I am Chinese just like you, I can sympathize with the “you can be anything but gay” mentalilty that seems prevalent in the traditional Chinese parentage, despite the fact I like it as much as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

    I liked Happiness! and I dearly want to see Haruhi Kamisaka live up to her name.

    I liked PGE even if PGE has some ugly looking males I could not possibly care less because Sunako has spunk and chutzpah. I really don’t mind the SD forms for Sunako since animating ugliness is probably harder, even the manga uses her in SD form more often than not. I am not watching this for the prime bishi, rather the disturbed mentality of the heroine.

    As for Koushi being a smug bastard, he is a LAWYER in training he is supposed to be a smug cowardly SOB. If he was mild mannered and humble I would be shcoked and awed.

    While I agree with your top four plus zero I feel that anime is not as pretty was it once was this season. I must have been spoiled by bones and Kyoani during the spring.


    While I agree that the music is not the real selling point of La Corda D’Oro, you must admit despite being a comparative tin can does not rule out the possibility of attaining greatness. After all destroyers can do great things even against battleships, just like Taffy-3.

  34. Excellent pic on #9

  35. tbh i feel like there are more chinese in this blog than in whole atlanta

  36. Jason, if you feel none of the new season is good enough to blog. Blog some of the older series, stuff like slayers, escaflowne, rahxephon, outlaw star and gundam wing. You can even do a compartive theme analysis between 1990 anime and 2000 anime.

  37. Scratch that, Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto is getting subbed by Shinsen/Pino no Usagi. Can’t wait to watch…

  38. Haha, at first, I thought the girl on the TV in the Keroro Gunso screencap was Haruhi. :3

    I’m surprised you rated G.A.II so high. Makes me REALLY REALLY want to watch it subbed now. :O
    Though, I did download the RAW to loop the OP… over and over and over again…

  39. blog OtoBoku just cuz it should be more hilarious that way with the trap jokes

  40. t3h Dave says: Haha, at first, I thought the girl on the TV in the Keroro Gunso screencap was Haruhi. :3

    Well, I think it’s supposed to be her…

  41. 5 ERA pitchers may not win your division, but they can win you world series games.

  42. *Doesn’t see Super Robot Wars on the list*
    Also, there’s a Summon Nights anime coming out in a few weeks, I hear… It’s not based on the GBA one with Sugar and Pratty, but it should be good…

  43. I think you should blog PGE…and yes the designs are annoying but its good and shouldn’t be compared with Ouran I think.

  44. >>> Well, I think it’s supposed to be her…

    WHAT? Haruhi reference in Keroro Gunso? :O

  45. Well, moments later, there’s a Haruhi-lookalike cosplaying Powered 723, and even later, there’s a Nagato-lookalike with a Haro.
    Quite a shame there’s no Mikuru-lookalike. Boo.

  46. O_O Where’s Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto??? I’m seriously withering with the lack of posts for this series. It’s such a work of art TT^TT I hope you blog Code Geass, unlike your other commentors here XD I love your sarcasm, would be a loss to the Code Geass fandom if you don’t blog it XD

  47. Blog PGE! It’s like one of the only comedy animes this season


  49. @nicole: Wow, full fangirl mode.
    I’ll keep my vote on OtoBoku, but I’ll add one for Perfect Girl Evolution, just to see what happens.

  50. Traps are good, traps are fun, traps are part of anime, so learn to love them. That’s all.

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