thin slicing the new season, spring 2009 edition

The apocalypse is here. Or, more precisely, the spring 2009 anime season. I don’t remember the last time a drop-off this severe happening– just a perfect storm of the best 26 episode shows from fall 2008 ending (Clannad, Toradora, Gundam 00, Toaru), the best 13 episode shows from winter 2009 ending (Asu no Yoichi, Minami-ke, Maria+Holic), and no shows capable of picking up the slack from either the 26 episoders from winter 2009 or anything spring 2009 throws at us. Just an utter apocalypse on par with the current economic fiasco.

But like the current economy, maybe things aren’t that bad. Maybe there’s a few silver linings in the dark clouds. And, well, what better way to find out than everyone’s favorite running gimmick post, thin slicing the new season, spring 2009 edition. This gimmick post always leaves me battle fatigued after watching so many new shows at once, so I probably forgot a few and don’t care if I do.

For people who aren’t familiar with my old thin slicing posts, these posts are where I watch as many new shows from a new season as possible and rank them in order of “if I received one episode of all the shows at once, which one would I watch first? Second? Last?” The end ranking is not meant to be quality ranking but rather a “What do I want to watch the most?” There’s going to be shows ranked high and shows ranked low for reasons that may go over your head. Deal with it. For a show to be ranked high, one must be ranked low.

The premise of thin slicing is explained in the entertaining book Blink from Malcom Gladwell that argues how a person’s ability to quickly judge what is really important and what’s not important from a very limited experience like reviewing a movie based only on its trailer or an anime only with two episodes. Oh wait, that’s exactly what thin slicing is about. With that spirit, most of these shows I have only watched the first few episodes… and that’s usually more than I need to form an opinion, justified or not. (And, guys, read Blink. You’ll impress more girls with that than with all the crap you ever learn in philosophy or psychology class.) Well, enough foreplay… it’s time to thin slice spring 2009.



A girl is bullied by her dad into a game where she has to pick one of three suitors to be her husband. Ah… something tells me Hanasakeru Seishounen isn’t going to be my cup of tea. The plot’s centered around a pretty ridiculous girl who acts tough but cannot really do much. She’s surrounded by pretty boys who look like rejects from the Gundam Wing storyboarding sessions. As how they’re supposed to woo her, I do not know, and nothing that I’ve seen thus far has made me care. (If Kogarashi turned out to be one of the guys, I might care a little.) The animation and character designs are also pretty poor. I cannot think of any reason why any traditional male fanboy would want to watch Hanasakeru except “I cheated on my traditional female fangirl girlfriend, and I’m willing to do anything to win her back.” Honestly, it’s not worth it if you’re forced to watch this show.

(Mitigating factor: The preview “0” episode was animated as an amateur movie that the characters made involving an esper, a time traveler, and an alien.)



Anytime you can make an anime out of a third rate Korean online game, you gotta do it. I think. Slap Up Party -Arad Senki- is the only anime on this list where I watched on 4X speed. Not 2X… 4X. That counts for something, right? I vaguely remember something about Gunners and Demon Knights… and I didn’t get much more out of it. I think some damsel was saved. Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed.

(Mitigating factor: Gonzo sure likes cranking out subpar anime. Do they ever say “no” to a project? Are they the Uwe Boll of anime studios?)



Basquash! (wiki) is about giant robots playing basketball. Let me rephrase that: Basquash! is about giant robots with cars as heads playing basketball. The animation by Satelight is amazing, but the whole concept of robots that look like Megas XLR playing Bill Laimbeer combat basketball is a disconcerting. In other words, this is the anime equivalent of the Wachowski brothers’ Speed Racer. No, that’s not a compliment.

The main character, Dan, is way too hyper and unlikable. He’s also supposed to be this awesome basketball player, but he can’t even properly dribble. (Go watch Nash or Rose play if you want to see how real dribbling is done. Hell, even D-Fish or Tyronne Lue would suffice.) I can’t stand sports anime that can’t get the sports part even remotely right… much like how I couldn’t stand White Men Can’t Jump for having Wesley Snipes being some great streetball player even though he shoots line drives like Shaq from 20 feet. But let me ask this– what’s wrong with just making a normal basketball anime? At least consider remaking Slam Dunk? Why do we have to get giant car robots involved? Why do we need an alternate world with a mysterious moon? Why do we need pets that remind me of Futurama’s Nibbler involved? There are shows that are so bad, they’re good– this is not one of them. I cringe at all the basketball moments.

(Mitigating factor: Why would you have an anime series with Aya Endou, Megumi Nakajima, and Yu Kobayashi voicing minor roles and pets when they are much better than the seiyuu voicing the main characters? More amazingly, Megumi Nakajima sings in the OP.)



Queen’s Blade is definitely a show that should have been an H OVA (Hello Kanokon!), but instead got turned into a normal anime series. Just a nonsensical excuse to show ladies with huge knockers battling each other and ripping off each others clothes much in the Ikkitousen or Sekirei vein. Honestly, the first episode with the main character, Reina, nakkid and providing full frontal nudity for a solid 15 minutes was over the top. But it was quickly trumped by her defeating the first villain by slamming their breasts together and thus causing the villain’s breasts to overload and explode in symmetrical docking gone horribly, horribly wrong. Did I mention that the villain’s special attack was that she can shoot acid from her nipples? Ugh. Why did her breasts explode rather than melt Reina’s? If you just want to see boobs, there’s better ways to go about it. Though this show could be entertaining to complain about… mmm…

The animation quality by ARMS is lacking for a fanservice show, and wouldn’t an uncensored HD time slot be best? Perplexing. The seiyuu selection… my gosh… Rie Kugimiya, Aya Hirano, Ayako Kawasumi (Reina), Yuko Goto, Mamiko Noto, and Rie Tanaka. More perplexing. If there’s ever a bigger variation in anime quality and seiyuu quality, I haven’t seen it. (The opposite would be great material but crappy cast… basically I just walked into thinking about Zac Efron starring as Sagara Sousoke in live action Full Metal Panic.) Andohbytheway, if you can get any seiyuu to record the greeting for your voicemail box, who would you pick? I’m thinking either Rie Kugimiya with something “URACHI!” or Inoue Kikuko telling people that I’ll call them back in her seductive voice or Satsuki Yukino laughing in the classic Sonozaki sense.

(Mitigating factor: Currently, the metaranking of Queen’s Blade is a 4.3 on ANN, with twice as many worst ever votes as masterpiece votes. By comparison, Sekirei has a 7.2 ranking.)



Do you like D-Gray Man and Bleach? You’ll probably enjoy 07 Ghost (wiki), which involves plucky coming-of-age teenagers duking it out with random powers in a random world that has no bearing in our world or to any physical laws. Also has a bunch of dense jargon that only 15 year old boys could appreciate– “Zaiphon,” “slaves,” “Eye of Michael.” In other worlds, typical shounen action nonsense. It’s apparently a very popular manga series in Japan, but, as readers know, I’m not fond of this genre. But there is a silver lining in that the main character, Teito, has a major bromance with his friend Mikage to the point that Mikage tried to sleep with Teito. Lines might have been crossed.

Okay, maybe I’m suffering from Code Geass withdrawal and am trying to shoehorn any show with bromance, melonpan, and train wreck plot into that mold. But that’s not bad– we do need a show to take over the mantle of king of unintentional comedy. And, yes, I think this is the first time in two years where there’s no Code Geass, Gundam, or Mai Otome airing… I’m getting the shakes already.

(Mitigating factor: But… uh… there’s no melonpan in 07 Ghost. Just a bunch of pretty boys choking each other… on second though… think I’ll pass. Just to let you know, if you do like this genre, there’s a much better show later on in the rankings. It does feature weird special powers, a coming-of-age story, and brotherly bromance.)



Within 30 seconds of starting up Phantom of Inferno (wiki), I was thinking, “Mmm… this looks like yet another crappy Bee Train anime.” And I was right! Though the twist this time around is that there’s a guy and a girl rather than just two girls, but the formula is the same nonetheless: two assassins battle against various other assassins and eventually the organization that they work for. Ugh, another genre I’m not very fond of. Of course, Ali Project handles the ED, like they have for Madlax, El Cazador de la Bruja, and Noir. I wonder how many of my readers remember Noir?

I do like that they replaced the subpar lesbian sexual tension with regular old subpar heterosexual sexual tension as a change up, but Bee Train never does this aspect of their assassin tales any justice. You’d have better luck betting on Churuya scoring some smoked cheese. I also like Ein in her meido outfit– I’m easy that way– but the animation is spotty at best, and their depiction of Las Vegas sucks. Their idea of Vegas and what Vegas really is cannot be more different. At least Eden of the East got Washington DC right, so that’s the minimum bar to hurdle.

(Mitigating factor: Apparently, this show is based on the visual novel of the same name with Inoue Kikuko as the shady manipulator. Perfect role for her… except she got replaced in the anime version. OTL.)



Another Gonzo anime… sigh… Shangri-La (wiki) is about carbon credits. Yes, carbon credits. Can I think of a less exciting premise for an anime? And, amazingly, Al Gore isn’t involved. Shangri-La is another anime composed of complete nonsense: apparently, this 14 year old or so girl has been locked up in some maximum security prison because she’s the leader of some rebellion… yet… she gets to wear a school uniform in prison and gets let out after a year (same time frame as Basquash?). Once let out, what does she do? Hook up with her tranny friend and go destroy some government tanks. With her boomerang. She single-handedly fends off a tank squadron with a boomerang. This show makes Mai Otome seem like Ender’s Game.

(Mitigating factor: Apparently, the whole carbon credit scheme is run by a 10 year old DFC loli.)



Classic fantasy tale… it’s a bit early to pass verdict on Guin Saga (wiki). But it’s been fairly vanilla so far, with a prince and princess driven from their homeland and rescued by Guin, a guy in a jaguar mask who has amnesia. One of the early fight scenes had Guin swinging torches at ghosts that reminded me of Aragorn in Fellowship. I find Guin to be on par with a Mexican wrestler, the prince is annoying as hell, and the princess is yet another reliable imouto. Oh, the prince wears a skirt… I didn’t appreciate that at first (maybe desensitized by Kana) until I visited Guin Saga‘s wikipedia page and learned that “Later volumes introduce elements of the yaoi genre.” This show makes a lot more sense now.

Definitely not Satelight’s A team, but the animation is passable and reminds me of the style used in Jyu-Oh-Sei.

(Mitigating factor: 124 volumes?! How can you keep a story going for that long? Then again, 38 volumes of ああっ女神さまっ later, K1 still hasn’t reached second base with Belldandy.)



I’ve seen anime about baking bread, mountain racing, bicycling, genderswapped personification of WWII aces, moe blobs, bartending– you name it, there’s an anime for it. So I’m kinda surprised it took this long to get a moe mahjong anime. And that’s what Saki (wiki) is… a bunch of cute girls playing mahjong. I’m surprised it took this long with all the strip mahjong games in a typical Tokyo arcade.

This show follows the traditional sports anime script where there’s a club, it might be in trouble, and it recruits a superstar, which causes it to rise up to the top. Basically, Slam Dunk, Touch, Hajime no Ippo, Bamboo Blade, or Umisho with mahjong. I’m tossing this in the sports category since if ESPN considers poker a sport, so be it with mahjong. Honestly, it fits the traditional sports anime genre better than giant mecha playing basketball. Furthermore, like poker, I’d rather play mahjong than watch others play it.

The animation is surprisingly good with Gonzo at the helm, the moe is blatant, and I’m enjoying it streamed from Crunchyroll. I do like that there’s a lot of shows now that are available for stream instantly this season, which should have happened years ago, but that’s a whole other rant. The problem with Saki is the mahjong. If you’re a fan of mahjong and know how to play it, fantastic. I was actually lost, since the Japanese scoring system is different from other types of mahjong. Plus, I play mostly 16 instead of 13 tile mahjong. If you don’t know as much mahjong, it’s not going to be as appealing, and, if you’re here just for the moe, there’s a better moe series this season. Unlike something like baseball or kendo, mahjong relies heavily on luck. Sure, there’s some skill, but no matter how good of a tactician you are, you aren’t winning if you aren’t getting the right tiles. And I don’t think Saki has all the right tiles.

(Mitigating factor: Not knowing the scoring system and rules hurt. If you have to pause every five minutes to look something up, it’s not a good thing.)



Sengoku Basara is a “futuristic” warring samurai videogame turned anime. I say futuristic because the samurai trick out their horses with tailpipes and scream Engrish phrases at each other… no, seriously. There are many factions vying for Japan, and they all seem to be commanded by over-the-top samurai generals reminiscent of Dynasty Warriors gone horribly wrong. Honestly, if it weren’t for the gorgeous visuals, I would have thought that this was yet another Gonzo anime. (Production IG…) The thing that really got me about this anime was just the crazy amounts of bromance. The lead samurai, Yukimura, has a bromance crush on just about everyone else. The “Oyakata-sama!” “Yukimura!” “Oyakata-sama!” “Yukimura!” “Oyakata-sama!” “Yukimura!” exchange was beyond uncomfortable. It’s even worse when you consider that it’s Onsakumaru yelling “Yukimura!” Yukimura even has a bromance going with his rival, Masamune, in a way that makes Athrun and Kira blush.

I’d recommend this series more if it had actual battles (so far, the characters just seem to collide with each other a la Mai Otome) or battle strategy (go watch the Utawarerumono spiritual successor if you want battle strategy) or more Kasuga melonpan. But, really, it lacks all three. Though if you want some highly uncomfortable bromance with samurai in really fruity outfits, this is the show to watch.

(Mitigating factor: The red/blue color scheme reminds me too much of Red vs. Blue. I am extremely delighted that Kazuya Nakai voices Masamune. You see, Masamune wields 6 swords, twice how many Rorona Zoro can wield.)



Shaft’s entry this season is Natsu no Arashi (wiki), a manga by Jin Kobayashi of School Rumble fame. The first episode was basically a lot of time traveling nonsense with Yasaka, the sad sack protagonist, his love interest, Arashi, and various other staff members of their cafe running back and forth through time. I did enjoy the magical girl-ish sequences for whenever Arashi or Kanako go through time. Shaft tries to apply their formula to this show, but I think the source material is a bit too straight and narrow for them. There’s not the same opportunities for Shaft being Shaft like there is in Maria+Holic, Pani Poni Dash, and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. And, yes, they did work in a classic despair scene.

And isn’t Shaft supposed to be working on Shina Dark by now? Such a tease. Sigh. Much rather watch that than this. And, out of curiosity, if you could only pick one sequel, would you pick more Haruhi Suzumiya… or Maria+Holic? You don’t have to lie. No one will know if you point to the trap. I promise. (Oh wait, both are trap-ladden? Nevermind.)

(Mitigating factor: They work in a meido cafe. ME-I-DO.)



Probably says something about the apocalypse when one of the best harem anime of spring 2009 is about a 21 year old woman trying to bag a restaurant filled with middle-aged men. But they all wear glasses! But… actually… Ristorante Paradiso is not that bad. A little bit of La Corda meets Bartender. The story focuses on Nicoletta (voiced by Fumiko Orikasa in her Shirley voice) finding out about her mom’s new husband’s restaurant in Rome. This restaurant only employs old men who wear glasses… it’s like a meido cafe, but for cougars. The story focuses less on the food and restaurant aspect and more on the interpersonal relationships, so if you’re looking for a spiritual successor to Yakitate Japan, keep looking. I really didn’t know what to make of this series until I watched the first episode, and it’s something different. Not necessarily better or worse, but different. Of course, when it showed the next episode preview of Nicoletta seducing the concierge, I couldn’t wait for the second episode. If only Hayate was as easy as Nicoletta, maybe we would get the score all the heroines ending. Sigh.

Production is handled by David, a new animation studio. Also, I was kidding about Hanasakeru‘s amateur movie. I did want to slit my wrists after watching that first episode… but for Ristorante Paradiso, I actually wanted to watch the second. So there ya go.

(Mitigating factor: The BGM just sounds so much classier in reverse harem anime than in harem anime.)



Marie and Gali is a series of five minute shorts… presumably about physics. I’m guessing that “Marie” is for Madam Curie while “Gali” is for Galileo Galilei… I’m right for at least one. Whatever gets the kids to study physics, I guess. Marika is a goth loli with a Kon-class stuffed animal. Gali, by the way, is a creepy old guy with a transforming skateboard. He also claims to have discovered that the earth revolves around the sun. What a kook.

(Mitigating factor: Your enjoyment of this series varies with the amount of LSD in your bloodstream.)



Normally, I would poke fun of an anime series that featured people unloading firearms at each other at point blank range and missing, but I’ll give Asura Cryin’ (wiki) a pass. It’s somewhat a spiritual successor to Chaos Head with a male lead, Tomo, able to see his ghost companion, Misao. Using Misao, he can summon his giant mecha. I’m enjoying Asura Cryin’… there’s right blend of harem antics, ridiculous battles, moe, and train wreck possibilities that keep me interested. There’s also a lot going on… multiple societies vying for these giant mecha, an evil student council president, a Rie Tanaka-voiced tease as the chemistry club president, a priestess, the yakuza… it’s literally the hot pot of anime motifs and tropes all rolled up in one.

(Mitigating factor: How does Misao change and acquire clothes? She’s a ghost… not that I’m complaining.)



Only slightly fewer women than in a typical blog好き fantasy harem. Anyway, Hatsukoi Limited (First Love Limited) (wiki) is the latest Mizuki Kawashita (Strawberry 100%) work turned anime. And… as you can expect from his work… typical coming-of-age romance stories filled with love triangles built on misunderstandings and more than a few panty shots. Hatsukoi seems focused on a group of girl’s first loves and plows through them one at a time. I mean plow through the relationships… not the girls… else this would be ranked higher. I’m not a big fan of Kawashita’s work as there’s too much drawn-out and unnecessary angst, but your mileage will vary.

(Mitigating factor: Can we work Roy Mustang into this show somehow?)



Cross Game (wiki) is typical Mitsuru Adachi, right down to his signature artwork. The guy is the god of baseball manga: Touch, H2, Nine, etc. All of his works are similar in that there’s a young boy growing up with baseball, and there’s generally lessons in love both on and off the field. There’s always some ragtag team that somehow makes it to Koshien thanks to the new star players and steady play of the old veterans. Adachi is a master of paced storytelling– I once read a dozen volumes of H2 one afternoon, and I had no clue I just spent six hours on it.

Now, I don’t know where Cross Game ranks on his works. I’ve only read the first act of the story, which, scarily, gets compressed a bit too much in the anime version. They did skimp on the baseball, and that’s a major part of the appeal of Adachi’s works. He actually knows a lot of baseball, and it shows in his works. I mean, would you want me to write a post about a series about a crossdresser and a lesbian and skimp on it? Of course not. Same thing as baseball and Adachi. Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to this adaptation– Touch is over twenty years old at this point, H2 was horribly adapted into anime (barely getting through a third before cancellation), and I’m just looking for any decent anime adaptation of Adachi’s work. (H2 live action, though, is fantastic. I urged people to watch it 4 years ago… still urging now.) Adachi does have an unique drawing style that is old school. I don’t love it, but I also don’t mind it. It looks great in the hands of Synergy SP. Best sports anime of the season. Now this is how its done.

(Mitigating factor: 100mph pitches… don’t think any Japanese pitcher has hit that mark in the majors, which makes Aoba’s man quest seem even kookier than a Japanese cyclist winning the Tour de France in Overdrive.)



Guardian spirit pops into modern times and teams up with a priest/monk/overmatched teenaged boy to save the world while dealing with harem-like substance… mmm… not exactly an original premise, but that’s what Tayutama (wiki) is. Oh, forgot to mention that the harem lead, Yuri, releases (well, his friend does) a bunch of demons that he now has to collect with Mashiro, a guardian spirit who is both the alpha haremette and his instant wife. Again, not exactly a new premise. And, of course, Mashiro first appears as DFC loli and then turns Horo~n with a 38DD bra size.

I’m finding Tayutama palatable. It’s not as, uh, unique as either Inukami or Kannagi, and the ceiling for Tayutama is a bit lower than Asu no Yoichi but definitely higher than Wagaya no Oinari-sama. One fantastic thing about Tayutama is that Onsakumaru is the dad, and he’s fantastic. Norio Wakamoto’s kinda like Taniguchi in that regards where I’d rather refer to his prominent character than to him– apparently, he used to work for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Riot Police.

(Mitigating factor: With Spice and Wolf II getting a new animator, maybe we will get Horo~n with 36DD… bah, it’s not ARMS. Brain’s Base. Oh well, nice thought while it lasted.)



What I like about Tears to Tiara: spiritual successor to Utawarerumono, bromance, pimp demon god, and easy to misspell. What I don’t like: might have the same crappy sci-fi “twist” as Utawarerumono, bromance, demon god more interested in fighting than the haremettes around him, and easy to misspell. Sums it up.

The animation is hit and miss. There’s some parts that are really smooth, but the character close ups don’t look as great. The fighting so far has just involved power blows, which reminded me of old Heihachi vs. Paul matches in Tekken.

Arthur and Arwan don’t just have a bromance… they have a tsundere bromance. Also, like Tayutama, this is yet another instant wife anime, and I enjoyed the scene where Rhiannon becomes Arwan’s first fiance and how Arthur just stands there with a “Wait, I wanted to bang my sister and become chief!” face, but he can’t say it, so he’s just making that hilariously distasteful face. Scenes like that make me remember all the fun I had watching Shadow Warrior Chronicles, and that’s why I’m looking forward to see how Tears to Tiara unfolds.

Basically, Shina Dark with less fanservice, less cleavage, and more death. Oh wait, there is no Shina Dark this season…

(Mitigating factor: Get all the free and dream… fairy tale has gone… dang, needs more Engrish. )



Hayate the Combat Butler (wiki) returns! What’s so great about this show… mmm… Maria? Wrathful DFC lolis? Trap Hayate? Zany parodies? Hinagiku? Isumi getting lost? Onsakumaru as the narrator? Did I mention Maria? Hayate‘s a known entity. We know what we’re getting, and we’re looking forward to it. It doesn’t surprise often, but, when it does (like with Maria’s epic “score all the heroines” line or the Gurren Lagann parody featuring Trap Hayate), it’s top shelf stuff. I’m already delighted by Maria’s “There’s a chance he might be switching to men” line. Nevertheless, there’s one big wildcard: JC Staff.

The first 50 episodes were done very well by Synergy SP (now working on Cross Game), and the franchise is now in JC Staff’s hands. While the content and the voice work hasn’t changed, the animation is noticeably worse. There’s less details with the characters and backgrounds, and they butchered the eyes.

(Mitigating factor: Good to have Hayate, Maria, and Nagi back in our lives. Maybe they’ll help fill the void Mariya, Setsuna, Tomoya, Tiaga, and Mako-cakes have left. Maybe not. But still much more palatable option than giant cars with legs playing basketball.)




(Mitigating factor: Don’t say that I’m lazy. I put a lot of effort into this entry for K-On!.)



It’s over. The end of days have come. I actually like an anime based on a Sega game. Valkyria Chronicles is excellent. I like Spice and Wolf. I’m a mild WWII buff. Valkyria combines both in a WWII-esque tale told through the lens of moe anime while incorporating animal studies the same way Spice and Wolf incorporates trading. For Pete sakes, the heroine is a tsundere, there’s a reliable imouto, and the pretty girl has blonde twin drills. I do love Marina Inoue using her Kana voice for Alicia… after the first battle, I expected her to offer Welkin a can of soda. That alone is worth the price of admission. The tank hierarchy is almost Gundam-esque, and the main battle tank, Edelweiss, crushes its foes like a Panzer Tiger crushing earlier Soviet T-34s. The dialogue is cheesy and cliche as hell, so there’s a good source of unintentional comedy. The animation by A-1 (Kannagi, Birdy Decode) is fantastic, and it retains the unique texturing of the PS3 game. The OP is generic (but so is K-On!‘s), but the ED is cute. Too cute.

I do have a gripe in that while the battles and strategies might pass for a videogame, but for someone who is a mild WWII buff, it just doesn’t fly. For example, tanks in WWII didn’t turn very often. Usually, a tank showing its sides or back meant death since that’s where the armor is the weakest so they usually just move backward and forward.

(Mitigating factor: I like how Alicia wears that huge red hair ribbon. Probably not the best bullseye… err… accessory to be wearing on the battlefield… but it’s cute! Are the snipers too smitten to shoot? Also, Sony, we’re in the worst economic crisis in generations. Lower the frickin’ price on the PS3. And $4 an episode for Xam’d… sigh. Don’t get me started.)



Thinking back on 2003, watching the first 26 episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist 2003 was like Kanako in the first 12 minutes of the first Maria+Holic episode culminating with Kanako finding out that Ryukan’s her roomate (Hugh’s death). In that context, the next 26 were like the last 12 minutes of that episode with Al getting warped to Germany the equivalent as discovering that Mariya has a penis. (Of course, Shambala would be Mariya trying to frame Kanako for sexually assaulting Matsurika.) Now, I’m mortified of Fullmetal Alchemist 2009– do I wait six months to get confirmation that we’re not going the penis route? Or do I just blissfully follow this series to my doom?

There’s really not a lot of other shows on that I want to watch. Let’s play some Russian Roulette. I know I’m going to regret this.

(Mitigating factor: I like how Bones finally incorporates the ahoge look, as I have mentioned before. That was just something sorely missing from the first incarnation… though did Winry’s melonpan shrink? Sigh. You gain something, you lose something with alchemy. Oh, I want to work out a trade between FMA and Valkyria where Valkyria gets Roy and FMA gets Susie plus a first round draft pick. Much needed cute to balance Al’s and Ed’s brotherly bromance, and Roy finally gets to lead a bunch of girls in miniskirts. That’s a trade that makes sense plus fits under the salary cap.)



I already sung Eden of the East‘s praises (wiki), and it has a chance to be a really solid, entertaining show. Or it could crash and burn like Code Geass, but I’m giddy to find out either way. Now, with that said, don’t you think Saki is a bit too frumpy to the be heroine? Couldn’t they come up with a cuter heroine? Maybe they could borrow one of the random girls from Saki or Hatsukoi Unlimited instead?

(Mitigating factor: “Let me see your Johnny.” Mmm… I would have gone with the classic line from Boogie Nights: “Jack says you’ve got a great big cock. Can I see it?” And wouldn’t that scene be a huge sexual harassment scandal waiting to happen?)


Spring 2009 is really a strange season. As I mentioned in the introduction, there’s really no noteworthy anime continuing from past seasons except mediocre stuff like Regios. But it’s not a complete apocalypse. There’s at least one show (Eden of the East) that’s intriguing, two more solid choices behind it, and, of course, K-On! for the Mio fanboys who now plague the web like locust. (But I, for one, welcome our new bassist overlord.) It’s a better selection than summer 2008, but that season had the benefit of major carryovers from spring 2008– Code Geass R2, Macross Frontier, Daughter of Twenty Faces, Kyouran, To Love Ru— something this season does not. And this lack of good carryovers really puts an emphasis on the shows this season.

There’s very few sequels, which goes against the lotsa sequels trend for most of 2008. There’s also zero entries from Sunrise, which makes me sad. Production IG, Bones, and Kyoto all weigh in with enjoyable new series, but all three don’t seem to be bringing their A games. This season also has a lot of sports anime, not a lot of harem, and maybe a bit too many fantasy series. Also, a lot of the anime this season are either based off of VNs or RPGs, and almost equal the number based on manga.

There’s more than a few running themes this season… amnesia (Eden of the East, Guin Saga, Phantom), reliable imouto (K-On!, Guin Saga, Valkyria Chronicles), Onsakumaru (Tayutama, Basara, Hayate), mini-episodes (Kigurumikku, Marie and Gali, Higepiyo), and instant waifu (Tayutama, Tears to Tiara, K-On!). Hell, there’s even four shows where the heroine gets kidnapped and somewhat saved in the first episode: Hatsukoi Limited, Slap Up Party , Tears to Tiara, and Hanasakeru Seishounen. Oddly enough, there’s a lacking of traps this season beyond Hayate… though I’m not sure if I should feel sad, happy, disappointed, overjoyed, crushed, or conflicted at that fact… maybe relieved.

I’m hitting the 6k word mark, so I should start wrapping this post up… anyway… some Mio for anyone who read this far into the post.


Finally, I have some early season MVPs…

For moe, definitely Mio, as she will beat Tsukasa in Saimoe. Also, we’ll get genderswapped K-On! at some point, and the world as we know it will end. Though wouldn’t the exact gender, role, and moe flip of K-On! be Detroit Metal City? Instead of some insecure guitarist, you have a demonic hellspawn capable of anything. Instead of some outgoing drumist, you have a would-be sexual predator. And, of course, we want to see cleavage from the bassist of K-On!, yet she doesn’t provide as much as we like. No one wants to see the cleavage of the bassist of DMC, yet he can’t keep his shirt buttoned.

Tsundere goes to Arthur, with Aoba in second.

Early gar returns point to Taki. At least he has the package for it.

Mecha would be either Edelweiss or Ed, depending on how we want to define this category. And, yes, genderswapped Al was around before Kyonko. So there.

Kanade has the most ambitious hopes and dreams. She’s very easy to pick out in a crowd in Asura Cryin’… miko lovers, this is your season. I can’t take anyone from Queen’s Blade seriously.

And, finally, meido goes to Maria. Was there ever any doubt?

44 Responses to “thin slicing the new season, spring 2009 edition”

  1. I shall watch ep2 of Basquash before disagreeing with your opinion.
    Even though I predict my adoration for its OTT silliness won’t wane.

    Also, Miyuki’s basketballs.

  2. How on earth did you manage to wade through #22-#11 without going on another hiatus?

    That aside I’m good for at least 3 weeks, since Clannad and Asu no Yoichi aired 4:3 first (Someone really needs to tell TBS it’s 2009, not 1999). But after that it’s looking like just 16:9 K-ON unless anything else catches my attention.

    But besides that I’ve also got Maria+Holic to catch up on (Thank you 3,000 word tribute to brokenness >_>).

  3. “as been locked up in some maximum security prison because she’s the leader of some rebellion… yet… she gets to wear a school uniform in prison and gets let out after a year”

    I believe she was only given the clothes because she was going to be released later. I don’t think she had them while locked up. But I guess that’s beside the point.

  4. I assume you’re going to blog about most of the last 5 shows you mentioned?

    Oh and more thing you forgot one more Mio in your thinslicing of K-ON! (but a Mugi is fine too)
    But it’s true, the akiyama mio tag on Danbooru is growing faster then the number of people derailed by this blog.

  5. >> “Of course, Ali Project handles the ED, like they have for Madlax, El Cazador de la Bruja, and Noir. I wonder how many of my readers remember Noir?”

    Ali Project sang the OP of Noir, not the ED. Not like it would make any difference, Ali Project makes me want to engage into puppies drowning.

    And Mireille Bouquet in Noir was HAWT <3

  6. Akagi is a very old anime about Mah Jong.

    Also, I liked Noir!!

  7. Early GAR award goes to Cao Cao in Soutan Kouro.

    For Adachi, he writes great slice of life stories with some sports in it. Would it kill him have his pitcher throw something other then a fastball. Maybe a changeup or knuckleball?

    I kinda disappointed in TTT, they are dragging the opening way to long.

  8. >> Though wouldn’t the exact gender, role, and moe flip of K-On! be Detroit Metal City?

    … does that mean Tsumugi, scion of extravagant wealth that she is, is the genderswapped Pig of Capitalism?

  9. Also, Kawashita Mizuki is a she. I know, everyone makes that mistake. Kusunoki Kei also gets this a lot.

    Girls can love drawing massive hopes and dreams, too.

  10. I think this is the season I’m ‘disagreeing’ the most with the thin slicing >_>
    The ones I liked the most were Cross Game, Eden of the East, Asura Cryin’ and Basara; but I’m still following (and prone to drop like half of them) Queen’s Blade, Shangri-La, Saki, Tears to Tiara, Hayate, K-On!, Valkyria Chronicles and FMA.

  11. >>and it retains the unique texturing of the PS3 game.

    If by “retains” you mean make a piss poor attempt at emulating that ends up being more of an annoyance than a feast for the eyes that the Canvas Engine was, then sure.

  12. Why did I expect you to mention genderbent K-On at some point?

    Amusingly, that HAS come up already.

    Although, it’d basically turn into BECK, not DMC…

  13. >> “Why did I expect you to mention genderbent K-On at some point? Amusingly, that HAS come up already. Although, it’d basically turn into BECK, not DMC”

    How disappointing.

  14. You really don’t understand bra sizes, do you honey?

  15. Hmm…I actually kinda liked your thin slicing this time, roughly speaking, despite the fact some of your statements still make me want to go kick a special someone in the balls or at least throw a rock at his nearby window.

    None of which I can do right here and now, sadly, but one can always dream.

    Pretty much par for the course.

  16. PS: Oh, one more thing.

    Phantom is actually a pretty good show.

    No, I don’t care if you don’t think so (as usual our tastes couldn’t be more different, 2/3 of the time at least), but someone needed to say it.

  17. Shingen isn’t Wakamoto in Basara, Jason. Can you really not tell that?

  18. Sengoku Basara: My first impression was that it’s the oft used gimmick of “Take Romance of the Three Kingdoms and make the characters ” where is Kamina. Execpt there’s no Simon or Yoko to balance him out, only more Kaminas. I’m sacred.

    Basquash: It’s got Trotmobiles! I didn’t find the show quite that horrible, but then again I hate basketball so I guess the mockery of the sport is a plus for me? Besides, you’re probably the only one to focus on that particular set of bouncing objects while watching it. You are right about the MC being pretty damn annoying though.

    Queen’s Blade: I don’t care anymore. Just shoot me. No way those 10 votes aren’t ironic. None. I won’t accept it.

    Valkyria Chronicles: Did the handkerchiefed bread girl and fainting twin-drilled girl’s character designs remind anyone else of a certain pair of invincible poster girls?

  19. “Ali Project handles the ED, like they have for Madlax, El Cazador de la Bruja, and Noir. ”

    Ali Project did Noir’s OP. The ED was Akino Arai. Also the ED for Madlax and El Cazador were both FictionJunction (i.e Yuki Kajiura & Yuuka Nanri).

    No, if you want a Bee Train series that Ali Project were involved in, look no further than Avenger. Or rather, don’t, because it was absolutely terrible.

  20. Currently watching Sengoku Basara (and I thought you’d love all that bromance; also surprised you didn’t see any gar in there) and Valkyria Chronicles.

  21. “the samurai trick out their horses with tailpipes and scream Engrish phrases at each other”

    i instantly decided that i had to go watch this after reading this line

    p.s. mio is a slut

  22. ^ RAGE.

    This season is all over the place…

  23. Eden of the East — I sense something great

  24. How about Pandora Hearts? Did you check that one out? It was slightly goth and dark but I feel it could be something good. (*mumbles* plus, it has Ishida Akira goodness.)

    I must agree with your take on Shangri-la, though.. It nearly bored me to tears. But I usually save my tears for better uses.

  25. I am surprised by Basquash’s low rating. I am enjoying the show. It reminds me a bit of Gurren Lagann for the gorgeous animation, the bizarre mechas, the fast pacing and Miyuki’s melonpan. The premise is a bit silly, but the story is still in its presentation stage. We’ll see when they start playing basketball for real.

  26. Lets just all hope that Eden of the East doesn’t dissolve into some indecipherable techno-babble mush, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Stand Alone Complex as much as anyone, but it just won’t work for Eden of the East, and with a season this short, I don’t know how much intrigue they can fit into these episodes without rushing it at the end. I’m just worried they could screw up the pacing by the time things start to wrap up.

  27. O, and as for the new FMA, I really don’t care anymore. I mean, I watched the first series, I got burned by the ending (or lack thereof) and now I’m done. Saw the movie. DONE. I really don’t need anymore. There has got to be better options for Bones to work on, we need new material, not a reboot of an old series. I saw the first episode and felt like I was watching the FMA I thought I finished years ago. Now a spinoff in which Winry fights bad guy’s with cool mad scientist automail gadgets and is dressed a-la Yoko from Gurren Lagann. I could watch THAT.

  28. What are your thoughts on “Charady’s Daily Joke?”

  29. The carbon credits element in Shangri-la didn’t even make sense on its own terms. Did you catch the part in the first episode where someone made a shady, black-market deal to … wait for it … sell their carbon credits to someone else? Carbon credit trading *is the whole point* of a carbon credit scheme!

    As for Sengoku Basara looking like Dynasty Warriors gone horribly wrong, well, there’s a reason for that. (Adaptation of Capcom’s Dynasty/Samurai Warriors knockoff franchise.) But I did enjoy “Oyakata-samaaaa!” “Yukimuraaaa!” “Oyakata-samaaaa!” “Yukimuraaaa!” That was totally intentional comedy there.

  30. Asura Cryin’ over Basquash!?! Unpossible…it can’t be!

    OK, maybe the fact that I know almost next to nothing about basketball and I’m only watching for the (Nike-whoring) mecha might have something to do with it, but seriously…Asura Cryin’ over Basquash!?

    It doesn’t really matter after DELICIOUS MIO, I suppose…

  31. O MY GOD, you want a trap, read Oto x Maho, it is the ultimate trap. This is worse than Maria Holic.

  32. Jason, you can keep Maria. I want to be where that leather guitar strap and the t-shirt’s K-ON! dash meet in that last picture.

    I was never really into moe, but I’m willing to adapt.

  33. “This restaurant only employs old men who wear glasses… it’s like a meido cafe, but for cougars”

    Cougars, by definition, go for younger guys.

  34. You are amazing. Thanks again for providing thin slicing. It really does help me pick the shows worth watching and the shows to at least give a chance. Most importantly the shows not to give the time of day.

  35. Very strange season indeed and it more similar to the 2009 NBA Playoffs

    Celtics losing to Bulls *Derrick Rose scored 36pts 11assists 4rebounds and 6 fouls*
    Spurs losing to Mavericks *J.J. Barrea quagmired Tony Parker*
    Blazers losing to Rockets *Perfect Yao Ming 9/9 FG 6/6 FT*

    oh Cavaliers are still Cavaliers whooping the Pistons.

    Bulls are the Eden of The East.
    Celtics are the Mecha Basketball anime

  36. >>For moe, definitely Mio, as she will beat Tsukasa in Saimoe.

    I don’t know about that. Saimoe is filled with intrigues and faction wars and K-ON faction doesn’t have the history of Lucky Star Faction. Mio has many competitors for the moe crown. Judging by history, I think Mio will have better chance in Best Moe compared to Saimoe, as Best Moe is more kinder to new face compared to Saimoe.

  37. Basquatch is way better than K-ON. It’s like Eureka 7 meets Charles Barkley’s Shut Up and Jam! Gaiden.

    And while I don’t particularly enjoy either of those things on their own, their intersection is surprisingly hilarious.

  38. The lack of Mazinger Z in this website has left me in despair.

  39. I just can’t bring myself to watch Guin Saga. It reminds me too much of King in Tekken (I actually like King in Tekken, but somehow it turns me off to see a similar character in an anime).

    There are still so many new shows I haven’t watched, I’m amazed how you managed to watch and write about it so fast >.>

  40. Shangri La is my unintentionally hilarious show this season, plus the art style is easy on the eyes although the voices are not so much. The premise of course is ridiculous, but can’t we use the DtB excuse of wanting to make a slick action show?

    I’ll check out Phantom if only because I liked Noir. I’m actually going to give Ristorante a try based on your recommendation, plus an inverse cougar (baby snow leopard?) is something different.

    I’d like to check out Valkyria Chronicles but I don’t want to spoil the game so I guess I’ll be putting it on the to do list. Glad to hear Eden of the East is shaping up nicely.

  41. Another resounding show of support for Eden… I feel like I am I the only one that doesn’t get why this show is supposed to be so great (even for this lackluster season). I don’t think it’s terrible but I felt bored or disinterested for about 80% of the time I spent watching the first two eps which is more than I can say for several of the shows on this list. Saki seems like every other female lead character ever and Akira’s happy go lucky attitude just irritates me off for some reason. I’m curious enough about the mystery aspect behind the phones and the computer and the missiles to possibly sit through another few eps but I just don’t feel any draw to the relationship development between everygirl and amnesiac guy. Here’s to hoping Akira gets his memories back at some point and reveals a different personality, preferably a badass one.

  42. Valkyria Chronicles:

    Oswald (Odin Sphere), Matsurika (Maria Holic), Tomoyo (Clannad) and Fubuki (Maid Guy)

    going against

    Solid Snake, Big Boss, Yasuko (Toradora) and Lelouch vi Britannia (with Suzaku conveniently siding with those damned Eleve-, I mean Sevens). How much more epic can you get? :D

  43. Sengoku Basara needs more love. It’s bloody (unintentionally?) hilarious (in an uncomfortable way), and Wakamoto’s there (Hayate no Gotoku narrator ftw!)!

    Also, there’s the super-detailed-kinda-slice-of-life-sci-fi-thing ONA called Time of Eve, I likey.

    Eden of the East should have just ran in one day for 5 and a half hours, waiting a week is wayyyy too long.

  44. Someone pulled a Kadokawa on this post.

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