thin slicing the new season, fall 2007 edition

October is in the air. The fall season is here. The greats from seasons past, Yoshida Kazumi! Ohno Kanako! Miyuki Kobayakawa! The greats of seasons to come, Amu Hinamori! Mizusawa Mao! Haruka Minami! Mayu Tsukimura! Wang Liu Mei! Have you seen them? Have you seen their destiny? Have you seen their fate? There is only one thin slicing! There is only one fall 2007! There is only one October!!!


“There is more magic in the world than what people think.”

What series is that from? Take your pick from any of the shounen action or slice-of-life series this season featuring magic as a theme. Or is it from Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun to describe Mayu’s physical assets? Or is it from Da Capo II, Shakugan no Shana Second, or Ghost Hound? Or is it from any of the non-magical yet magical “I’m glad it’s Fall!” series like Sketchbook and KimiKiss? Or is it from Lockon before he seduced Setsuna? It’s October, and there’s magic in the air.

It’s time for another thin slice of the new season. For people who have read 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?” Unfortunately, because I don’t own 50 TVs, there’s going to be shows ranked high and shows ranked low. Deal with it. For a show to be ranked high, one must be ranked low.

The premise of thin slicing is explained 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 baseball team based only on its spring training 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.

The thin slicing post is generally one of my favorite posts to write, and I had a harder time ranking this season than most. This season has a lot of slice-of-life series, ranging from comedies to supernatural to fanservice. There also seems to be a dearth of pure action and mecha (there is a biggie!) shows, not that anything would make me forget about Gurren Lagann so soon. We’ve got entries from Shaft, Sunrise, Kyoto, Studio Deen, Gonzo, Production IG, JC Staff… well, what are we waiting for? There is only one thin slicing! There is only one fall 2007! There is only one October!!!

#28. Mr. Irrelevant.


Premise: Zombie Loan + Matantei Loki Ragnarok – Fun – Hawt Yuri Fanservice = Majin Tantei Nogami Neuro

A good anime detective series like Conan or Spiral are enjoyable, but Majin Tantei Nogami Neuro is just isn’t in the same league. Neuro follows a trickster of the underworld and generic clueless high school girl as they solve ridiculously written mysteries. Unlike a good mystery, this series is poorly written; for example, the trickster, Neuros, can whip out deus ex machina-class “tools” to help him solve the “mystery.” Also, instead of presenting evidence and slowly allow the audience to try to decipher (i.e. Haruhi‘s Lone Island Incident), Neuros cheaps out on the writing by withholding evidence until it reveals the mystery. The animation quality is sub-par, none of the characters are interesting, but with ample amounts of pot brownies and mary janes, this series might be watchable. Might.

(Mitigating factor: Mr. Irrelevant is what’s used to describe the last pick of a draft. Basically, we’re in the seventeen round right now, and there’s not a Tulowitzki or Beckett to be seen.)

#27. Hayate. Zetsubou.


Premise: Debt Ridden + Despair + Yu-Gi-Oh! = Kaiji

Is it fun watching a serious anime like Kaiji about a guy who falls deeper into the debt/despair cycle when I can just watch the superior Hayate the Combat Butler and/or Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and/or the latest Britney Spears debacle on TMZ? Nope.

(Mitigating factor: The cell-shaded look just isn’t doing it for this series and feels a bit inappropriate. Can you imagine this animation style for Death Note? Might be okay for Prism Ark… but not here.)

#26. Mountain. Women.


Premise: Supernatural Slice-of-Life Horror Drama + Two Little Girls = Mokke

Can slice-of-life mix with horror? I don’t know, and I don’t really care to find out, but Mokke attempts this genre spin. The story follows two young girls who live with their grandparents in the boonies because the two have a special power to see objects others cannot. This, of course, is a dangerous power that causes pain and harm to the two girls. Unlike Ghostbusters or Ghost Hunt, there’s very little to the conflict resolution. Watching Mokke, I get the sense it really wants to be just a slice-of-life show, but the editors at Afternoon told the author, Takatoshi Kumakura, that he needed to spice things up somehow.

(Mitigating factor: Only thing that would make me watch this series is if Ginko makes a cameo.)

#25. Hai. Yes.


Premise: Shakugan no Shana + Gatekeepers – Quality – Humor = Night Wizard

The immortal good loli leading her forces against the immortal bad loli? Melonpan? A secret battleground where only special “Wizards” can go? Night Wizard is generic shounen action based on the mystical battle between good and evil. It’s hard to get more generic. Generic monsters. Generic male hero who wields a huge sword. Generic female harem-ish cast who vary from incompetent to “why aren’t they leading the show?” Generic catch phrase (“You can answer with ‘hai’ or ‘yes'”) that makes me long for “Urachai! Urachai! Urachai!” Nothing feels inspired, and the animation quality ranks up there with Monster Princess.

(Mitigating factor: Probably not a good thing that after watching the first episode, I couldn’t think of anything to add. Nothing. Then I watched the second one. Nothing.)

#24. Sargent. Slaughter.


Premise: Fist of the North Star + Ikkitousen – Fanservice – More Fanservice = Hero Tales

The main characters for Hero Tales represent the different stars that form the Big Dipper, and, as such, they have strength and powers above normal people. The lead character, Taitou, is a spunky young boy who unsheathes a sword and begins his destiny of emperorhood, only Sargent Slaughter (I’m not kidding, the dude looks like the anime version of Sargent Slaughter) opposes him like Lord Genome opposes Simon. The dialogue, plot, and animation has been dreadful… I feel like I’m playing a low-budget PS2 RPG. The action sequences involve a lot of DBZ-type powering up effects and fade to whites. There’s a lot of mindless screaming and clothes tearing, and not the good kind. I’m ranking it above Night Wizard only because of Laila.

(Mitigating factor: Laila’s Taitou’s extremely doting, playful, and teasing little sister, only she’s *gasp* not blood related even though they look alike. My money’s still on Yume Asakura though for “Most likely to trigger an inappropriate brother/sister moment.”)

#23. Magical. Netflix.


Premise: Mahou Shoujo Tai + – Epic Fanservice + Jubei-chan’s Eyepatch = Rental Magica

Egads. Shounen action fueled by magic. Rental Magica is yet entry into this genre, featuring a magical team (Astral) that could double as a harem, with a bipolar male lead. The setup is simple: Astral is a group of ragtag magicians who help people out for a fee. Instead of being “detectives” or “investigators” or “mercenaries” like in Gatekeepers, Ghost Hunt, and Zombie Loan respectively, they are rentals. Like Netflix. Ugh. But the concept is the same. They go out and solve magical mysteries for profit, only they’re not that good at it.

(Mitigating factor: I broke down laughing when Iba tore off his eyepatch and started issuing presidential orders. The lameness of the special power and memories of the old X-Presidents sketch from SNL was lolriffic.)

#22. Boy. Detective.


Premise: (Monster Princess + Angelic Layer + Rozen Maiden + Studio Deen) * Vanilla = Suteki Tantei Labyrinth

I’m not sure what Suteki Tantei Labyrinth is about, but it seems to focus around solving crimes linked to the mystical/supernatural in post-apocalyptic Tokyo. This series is quite bland and blah except for the battle sequences between the hawt, scantily attired battle dolls. I enjoyed those scenes and anything involving the meido, but everything else need some spice. Maybe they can get Emril to kick this up a notch; it needs it.

(Mitigating factor: Two wildcards for Suteki Tantei Labyrinth: the first is the meido, Hatsumi. Any anime with clumsy meido can’t be counted out. Second, Horie Yui voices the bad ass villainess Byakko… not exactly a typical role for her.)

#21. Chris. Hansen.


Premise: Underaged Girls + Overmatched Teacher + GTO for Elementary School + Howard Stern Sensibilities + Lots of Censorship = Kodomo no Jikan

I think Seven Seas has done more for Kodomo no Jikan by canceling it than it did by publishing it. It’s not a particularly new concept for anime (see Mashimaro, Ichigo), but what is new is the edginess… or Howard Stern sensibilities where the series pushes the edges of decency and broadcast standards. Unfortunately, like Howard Stern, the “edginess” isn’t there when we get a censor block or censor animal noise every other scene. It’s great that the characters are going ****** but it’s just not the same. Much like how Sopranos is like 15 times more boring without the blood and sex, Kodomo no Jikan isn’t very entertaining when it’s completely neutered, and it’s very obvious that this TV run is nothing but a huge “BUY THE DVD YOU GET TO SEE WHAT YOU REALLY WANT THEN” infomerical. They should have done an h-OVA to start off and just be done with it.

(Mitigating factor: The OP with the Aoki almost kissing Rin is beyond creepy. I think they need to air a special message from Chris Hansen before and after each episode.)

#20. Check. Mate.


Premise: Hikaru no Go * Shouji / Go + Studio Deen = Shion no Ou

If you told me that I would be watching an anime about a mute middle school girl who played shougi to avenge her parents deaths, I probably would have passed. Definitely passed. Oddly enough, Shion no Ou isn’t that bad or boring despite being about a mute middle school girl who plays shougi to avenge her parents deaths. This is more of a drama series than a shougi series. There’s not any explanation or strategizing of the shougi elements, instead this show seems to focus more on the drama around Shion… from everything from trap competitors to sinister well-endowed competitors to kidnappers. I think I would be more interested in this series if they went into more of the shougi elements instead of the melodrama.

(Mitigating factor: Ayako Kawasumi “voices” the lead, Shion. I have no clue why do they need a seiyuu for a character who doesn’t speak… Kawasumi-san actually just plays the voice inside Shion’s head. Also, the animation quality varies from character to character… you would have two characters on the screen at once, and one would be drawn more detailed than the other.)

#19. Too. Slow.


Premise: Pretentious Melodramatic Sci-Fi = Blue Drop

Blue Drop manga is actually a fairly woven story with explicit sexual content about humanity losing the war to an alien race consisting of nothing but females, and the anime is supposed to be a prelude to those events. This series gets off to a very slow start, and there’s not enough of anything: humor, action, suspense-building, expositions– nothing. The main characters, Mari and Higano, are loosely established, but Mari comes off unlikable and whiny while Higano plays typical quiet space alien, only she’s nowhere as awesome as Yuki Nagato. I see two possible routes for this series: slice-of-life coming-of-age between two girls or a pretentious, slow, prodding, and overrated story. There’s no in-between, and that’s why I’m not very interested.

(Mitigating factor: The school headmaster’s mustache. It scares me.)

#18. Where’s. Yoriko.


Premise: Da Capo = Da Capo II

Proof that the world is run by people who hate me: in half a year, there will be 3 times more episodes of Da Capo than Gurren Lagann and almost 6 times more than Haruhi Suzumiya. I never understood the appeal of Da Capo: they get rid of a pantheon-class nekomimi meido, and then he marries his little sister. Gratz. Somehow, Da Capo II isn’t much different… oh look, there’s the Kotori clone! There’s the Nemu clone, and she’s brought an onee-sama to spice things up! We even get a Miharu clone! Sakura is even back with a dog instead of cat! You know why I’m bitchy? WHERE’S THE YORIKO CLONE!?! For that reason and that reason alone, I can’t forgive Da Capo II. There’s only one nekomimi! There’s only one meido! There’s only one Yoriko!!!

(Mitigating factor: Weird how Da Capo II is in HD whereas Clannad is still 4:3. Even weirder how Chihara Minori and Aoki Sayaka have major roles in this series. Weirdest how Aoki Sayaka’s character isn’t trapped in a bag.)

#17. Imitation. Sunrise.


Premise: Generic Sunrise + Gonzo + Summons = Dragonaut

Gonzo competes with Sunrise for most ridiculously effeminate male cast amongst most ridiculously proportioned female cast with Dragonaut. Nothing seems terribly special about this series… typical ridiculous sci-fi premise (it’s the future with shuttles to the moon and everything), typical nonsensical jargon that might sound cool in English to the Japanese (Album?!?), typical genre setup (ultrapowerful cute girl saves the life of beaten down loser, thus changing his destiny in life). I could go on, but I get the feeling that you’ve seen this type of series before, but I knew it wasn’t going to be one of the better ones when I saw that after a shuttle attempting to enter orbit blows up and one guy survives. How is this possible? The explosion and shrapnel would kill him (rockets to the moon are basically fuel bombs). Plus, later on, one of the characters comes across a half-dead lady. Instead of calling for help or aiding her, he rolls her over, proclaims, “She’s alive” and then stares into the sky while the poor lady is bleeding profusely. Then there’s the fact that Toa looks like a referee at a soccer game. Ridiculous show, but it is Gonzo. At least we don’t have a Lulu – C.C. – Suzaku type of relationship dynamic going on… oh wait… we do.

(Mitigating factor: Dragonaut uses the highly successful motif from Gundam Seed Destiny where the main character stares at his dead sister’s belonging and longs for her. I feel you should know these things.)

#16. Fanservice. Knights.


Premise: Slayers + Utawarerumono + Fanservice – Plot-like Substance = Prism Ark

I think any series is in trouble when the first episode feels like watching a recap episode. Prism Ark seems to be yet another fantasy visual novel with considerable harem elements turned anime, and the gimmick this time is religion, only it’s even dumber than what is presented in Gundam 00. I think best case is Utawarerumono, where we get a decent plot, great action, and a bit of fanservice, but I don’t think Prism Ark will get to that tier. Worst (and most probably case) is any RPG-turned anime… Star Ocean anyone? What it does have going for it is fanservice. Loads and loads. And that’s why I’m giving it a slight nod above Dragonaut.

(Mitigating factor: Gotta love the genre-specific haremettes… they’ve got the magical girl, they’ve got the shinto priestess, they’ve got the swordswomen, they’ve got the evil nun… all they’re missing is the meido.)

#15. Hinamizawa. Again.


Premise: Jigoku Shoujo + Paranoia Agent + Lain + Higurashi + Production IG = Ghost Hound

Ghost Hound is the 20th anniversary special project from Production IG, and, as such, it has a pretty all-star team: Masamune Shirow, Mariko Oka, and Hiromasa Ogura. The story is about a tragic event eleven years ago, and how it effected the residents of a mountain village. There are definitely elements of Lain, Higurashi, and Seirei no Moribito (the twin world concept) involved. I’m not sure how excited I can be about such a concept if killer lolis and twincestuous melonpan aren’t involved. In any case, good production values, good level of psychological intrigue, but just not typical Derailed fare.

(Mitigating factor: The BGM and sound effects are done really well and punctuate the scenes. Plus, the 20th anniversary special project from Production IG can’t be bad… can it?)

#14. Spicy. Cool.


Premise: Generic Magical Girl + Chikage = Shugo Chara

Let me see if I got this right… Shugo Chara has an emo goth yet ungoth school girl who wishes she were a “better” person, and that wish leads to her laying three eggs that hatch into personifications of that wish as guardian angels/cheerleaders. With these three eggs and the power of Humpty Dumpty, she can transform into a magical girl and do magical girl things, like fly and emo about fabulous princes. Why am I watching this? You got me. Actually: Amu, the main magical girl, is a weird cross between Chikage, Kotobuki Ran, and Sailor Moon. Her magical cheerleading egg tema that follows her around reminds me of the bottle fairies. Shugo Chara does have genuine funny moments, maybe even more so than Raki Suta (not a high bar to cross, but a bar nonetheless). It’s from Peach Pit, which gave us the whole spectrum from Rozen Maiden to Zombie Loan to DearS. It’s well executed, which counts for something this season that features one too many Studo Deen series. I’m normally not a fan of the magical girl genre, but this one is palatable. Not as good as Prime Nanoha or Agnes, but not terrible like Nanatsuiro Drops or Moe-tan. On par with Fairy Musketeer Akazukin.

(Mitigating factor: Can’t believe Jeff had the foresight to name his blog after this series.)

#13. Sentence. Fragments.


Premise: Generic Slice-of-Life Harem ^ 2 = Myself; Yourself

I’m probably more giddy about the horrible name for this series than the anime itself. Myself; Yourself? Sounds like a second grade English practice exercise more than a slice-of-life harem series. Stop me if you heard this setup before, but student returns to town after being away from five years (Kanon), forgets about the girl that he loved then (Kanon) but remembers everyone else, and generic slice-of-life ensues. Myself; Yourself just isn’t very interesting, very bland, and needs salt. The problem is that the amount of tension in this series makes To Heart seem like Kenshin. The biggest cause of tension in the first episode was either the main character trying to figure out the girl following him around or the phone call from his mom. That’s right. We got to hear, “Yes, mom, I’m okay. Made it here safely. Ate lunch at Aoi’s. Bought food for tomorrow. Etc.” While I don’t expect the level of plot or tension to be high for slice-of-life harem, one could surely do better than a call from mom.

(Mitigating factor: You honestly could have called this series To Heart 3 or Tokimeki Memorial 4 or Da Capo II, and I wouldn’t have known the difference. Also probably not a good sign that after watching the other fifty-nine harem slice-of-life series this season, I couldn’t remember anything really distinctive about Myself; Yourself.)

#12. Cash. Crop.


Premise: You’re Under Arrest – Saori + Studio Deen = You’re Under Arrest Full Throttle

You’re Under Arrest Full Throttle is definitely lowest tier in terms of animation quality. The plot isn’t much different from the previous two series, except they got rid of Saori, one of the more interesting characters. The same problems plague this series as previous ones: nothing really happens and some of the capers are really lame. With the simplistic production requirement and the strength of the name, I’m sure this (with A!MS) is Fujishima’s cash crop. I always thought that the franchise died with the life-altering live action series, but I guess not. Full Throttle continues Miyuki’s and Natsumi’s story, yet not much has changed, and I have no expectations that they ever will. The humor/action aspect of this series peaked with the Mini-Specials that ran between the first series’ and second series’ run and really hasn’t returned to that level.

(Mitigating factor: I wonder if in 20 years, will YUA, Pokemon, Power Rangers, and One Piece still be going strong? It would have been like 5-6 generation of kids who still haven’t seen Luffy find One Piece by that time.)

#11. Bacterial. Infestation.


Premise: Mushishi + Yakitate Japan + Large Grant from the Japan Agriculture Society = Moyashimon

I can only imagine how Moyashimon came to be. “Hey, we need to boost interest in the agricultural arts!” But irregardless, the premise is truly only something anime could bring us: a random guy has the special ability to see microbes, yes, like yeast, bacteria, etc. But he doesn’t just see them like under a microscope– oh no– that would be too easy. Instead, he seems them as cartoonish personifications of the microbes themselves. And these cartoonish personifications behave like little cartoon characters, specifically a cross between the Bottle Fairies, the mushi in Mushishi, and the typical Ghibli forest spirit. The dancing microbes, for whatever reason, keep me watching this otherwise quasi-educational series. Hypnotic.

(Mitigating factor: Gotta love how they needed to sex up this series by introducing the bondage graduate chix0r with the athlete’s foot. Also, not sure which one is scarier: Moyashimon‘s dancing microbes in its OP/ED or the dancing dangos from Clannad or Mayu’s scary breasts. Needless to say, I’m terrified of all things round and plump right now.)

#BONUS! Proper. Usage.


Premise: Meido Robot + Pervert = Koharu Biyori

Finally! Someone who understands how to properly use a meido! The protagonist for Koharu Biyori, Takaya, purchases an innocent, sweet robotic meido who wants nothing else to provide comfort for her master. Unlike that Gainax anime that uses robotic meido to fight or that MediaWorks anime that uses robotic meido to fight or that Axis anime that uses robotic meido to fight, Takaya puts his meido to hard work cleaning and cooking providing constant fanservice through cosplay and associated costume raping. Of course, his new robotic meido, isn’t exactly thrilled about this development. Might I add that Takaya is a huge figurine otaku (I noticed Futakoi and Rei-chan) and has a room decorated with Shana, Dokuro-chan, and Ichigo Mashimaro posters? In other words, finally someone has put their robotic meido to proper use.

(Mitigating factor: Bah. Only an OVA.)

#10. Fanboy. Lawls.


Premise: Genshiken – Saki Awesomeness + Awkward Friends-like Moments = Genshiken 2

I covered this already in my episode 1 post for Genshiken 2, but Genshiken is at its best dealing with the differences between otaku and “normal” people. Genshiken is less enjoyable when it becomes a Friends-clone based around Comic-Fes instead of Central Perk.

(Mitigating factor: Ohno cosplay fanservice. I’ll bump this to the top spot if Ohno shows up as Yoko with Saki as Nia in tow. That’s my other complaint about this franchise: actually refer to other series! If Raki Suta can feature Keroro, Genshiken‘s gotta make that effort.)

#9. Kendo. Kid.


Premise: Umisho * Kendo/Swimming – Fanservice + Kamina + Lulu = Bamboo Blade

When I saw the first scene where the seiyuu for Ishida (Reo Kaminaga) does a voiceover: “I’ll assemble them; my five warriors! They will be the strongest team, and we’ll take on the world!” I thought I clicked on Gundam 00 by mistake. My bad. It was Bamboo Blade. Bamboo Blade has some unexpectedly hilarious moments, whether intentional (like the vice principal getting tossed out of the window) or unintentional (like Ishida-sensei is a hot blooded swordsmen obsessed with women and food), the show moves along briskly and is entertaining, even if it is a bit predictable. It’s a typical misfit sports club adventure where Ishida and the club president, Kirino, start to build a kendo club around their star player, a forlorn, withdrawn “ally of justice,” Tamaki. Lightweight, slice-of-life sports anime… ~uguu~… I’m getting RSI from typing “slice-of-life” so frickin’ much this post.

(Mitigating factor: There’s an unexpected Death Note reference out of left field. This is also the first of two series on this thin slicing that features a character nicknamed “Miya Miya.”)

#8. Death. Re-birth.


Premise: Kyoto Being Kyoto – HDTV = Clannad

I don’t know how Kyoto does it. Clannad is more of the same from the Kyoto/Key harem game turned anime factory, and, again, they’re doing a good job. One thing that I noticed right away from Clannad is that they nailed the voicework without rehashing Aya or Taniguchi. Mai Nakahara (Higurashi‘s Rena) does the crazy, withdrawn loner girl well. Mamiko Noto always does soft spoken loli welll. Inoue Kikuko is always a great choice for a MILF candidate. Though they should have gone with Ami Koshimizu for Tomoyo. That would have been perfect. The thing that gets me is that I can’t help but feel that Clannad is not longer Clannad but a remix of previous Kyoto characters. For example, Tomoya is no longer Key-Tomoya. He’s now Kyon. Sunohara is no longer Key-Sunohara. He’s now Jun Kitagawa. Sanae is no longer Key-Sanae. She’s now Akiko Minase. Unfortunately, there’s only one Kyon! There’s only one Jun! There’s only one Akiko! Nonetheless, Clannad is entertaining and should have more guts and plot than Kanon. And, if it falters, I’m expecting the return of Lucky Channel.

(Mitigating factor: Clannad continues the Kanon look, where everyone has the same type of babyface as Mikuru. Kinda related, but I’ve penalized Clannad a few spots. I need a break from Kyoto for awhile, that’s all.)

#7. Open. Canvas.


Premise: Aria + Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou+ Tenma Tsukamoto = Sketchbook

I’m enjoying Sketchbook. It’s another slice-of-life type series, but it focuses on the motif where the characters carry around sketchbooks and draw what they see. Very cute. Very heartwarming. Quite funny. People who enjoyed Aria and YKK would find Sketchbook to be a good draw. Love the cast of misfit characters: the shy main character who is obsessed with cats, the possible lesbian who has two hand puppets, the emo girl who draws all black, the angry guy who is stuck in denial, the girl overwhelmed with low prices everyday, the teacher who is slowly going crazy… they’re fantastic. I see Sketchbook as a possible Potemayo-type sleeper.

(Mitigating factor: Sora looks too much like Tenma Tsukamoto, and, fittingly, Natsumi Aso looks too much like Natsumi Hinata.)

#6. Short-term. Memory.


Premise: Harem Eroge + Sexy Voice and Robo Episode 1 + Shaft = ef ~a tale of memories~

Like Chihiro, I have a short-term memory for all the pain and agony that Shaft has caused me. Negima!?!? Zetsubou!? Well, ef ~a tale of memories~ is Shaft’s latest offering about a fairly generic eroge turned anime. I think they did do a good job building up suspense in the beginning… between the story of Hiro and the crazy girl and the story of Renji and the sickly girl, it was kind of gripping to see what exactly is the setup and gimmick for this series. Before, I always harped on Shaft that they were too focused on doing their “outrageous” side-takes and scene compositions and allusions to video games that they forgot that– wait!– there’s an anime to be made. For ef, they really toned down the unnecessary imagery (though stuff like the random basketball scenes make less sense than a typical Derailed dig at the Knicks) and what they did leave in place kinda-sort-can’t-believe-I’m-writing-this works. For a solid 20 minutes over the first two episodes, we just had one character visiting another at an abandoned train station (it later becomes clear why this repetition was necessary). If the Da Capo II team did it, it would have been hella boring. Kyoto would have tossed in Taniguchi because there’s no other way to make it interesting besides Taniguchi doing karaoke in the background. For Shaft, they interjected enough into 20 solid minutes of drudgery that it did make such an ordinary and non-special event seem special. Egads. If Gainax can redeem itself, so can Shaft. Crazier things have happened.

(Mitigating factor: Shaft is a huge– ginormous even– wildcard. Remember the praise I heaped on Zetsubou? Ugh. Also, probably never a good thing if a series reminds me of a bad Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore movie. *shudders* Maybe I’ll just think instead that it’s episode one of Sexy Voice and Robo… ah… much better. This is the second series in this thin slicing with a “Miya Miya” character.)

#5. Stopgap. Mikuru.

Premise: Girls Bravo + Cowering Moe Mode = Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun

For people who have read Derailed, I’m not someone who poo-poos a series just because it’s generic. I only poo-poo series if they are generic and doesn’t do the genre justice (see: Night Wizard). There’s nothing wrong with being dependable, and that’s what this series is: dependable fanservice. Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun is generic but well-executed and doesn’t go beyond its means. You want fanservice in a fanservice harem comedy? It has it in spades. Harem? Only one so far with a true to Kyrios meido as a major character. (Kohaku Biyori is an OVA, so it’s technically not part of this thin slicing.) Comedy? It has its moments. Toss in a character aiming to be a pr0n director, a tsundere meido, and the Stopgap Mikuru, I’m watching this series. Harem fanservice comedies are always tricky, and they can either be complete disasters or be really entertaining… so far, Ninomiya-kun isn’t in the disaster bin… yet.

(Mitigating factor: They’ll try to jam a plot in and fail spectacularly.)

#4. Very. Kissable.


Premise: Generic Harem High School Romance Slice-of-Life + JC Staff = KimiKiss ~Pure Rogue~

ZOMG! An actual harem high school romance slice-of-lfe series without any supernatural powers or any weird gimmick. I almost mistook KimiKiss ~Pure Rogue~ for shoujo because of that. No succubus. No girl with a 13 hour memory span. No guy who can create sweats from his palm. No questioning of life/death. No superpowers. Just plain old human interaction. It does seem to present a more complex harem interaction than most of the other series (maybe except for ef), and the production values are fantastic. I think best case it could be on par with Honey and Clover, and worst case it would degrade into Da Capo. I have hopes for this one.

(Mitigating factor: For people keeping score, there’s a lot of slice-of-life shows in the top ten. I’m probably not going to watch all of these as, well, slice-of-life isn’t a genre that bodes well for binge anime marathoning, unless, of course, you have insomnia.)

#3. Delicious. Melonpan.


Premise: Shakugan no Shana + More Insane Loli Villains = Shakugan no Shana Second

Already did a post for the first few episodes of Shakugan no Shana Second, and it feels like not much has changed. It’s still the same series that introduced the “melonpan” meme to Derailed. Since I don’t have a lot to add, the first thin slicing I ever wrote featured Shakugan no Shana at the one spot, going up against A’s and Mai Otome as the main notables. Needless to say, StrikerS is the first nail (or last, depending on viewpoint) in Nanoha‘s franchise’s coffin whereas the Mai Otome franchise is as rudderless as the Kansas City Royals. Shana’s franchise seems to be doing much better in comparison.

(Mitigating factor: Needs more Wilhelminia. Needs more catfights. Needs more Shana-tan. Needs more delicious melonpan.)

#2. Three. Sisters.


Premise: (Lucky Star + Ichigo Mashimaro) / 2 – Moe + Comedy = Minami-ke

Covered this already in my earlier post, but Minami-ke is actually funny for a slice-of-life comedy, so it bats in the two hole.

(Mitigating factor: Someone send me a long winded e-mail about how Minami-ke is the greatest show of this year. I guess that just shows how rare it is to find a good slice-of-life series and how it really is difficult to tell a story about normal lives and make it seem interesting. Fans of slice-of-life rejoice! There’s more to it than just Raki Suta! But, no, Minami-ke isn’t even the greatest series this season let alone this year thanks to…)

#1. Miss. Wang.


Premise: Gundam Wing + Yaoiriffic Male Cast + Melonpanriffic Female Cast + Ms. Wang in High Definition = Gundam 00

If you’re watching (or working on) the Gundam franchise, you’re dealing with a lot of history. It’s no different than dating Lindsey Lohan or Stephan Marbury. Just like how you’ll be a bit cautious getting into a car with either Lohan or Marbury, you’re a bit cautious with Gundam. By the same token, if you see a mustache on a Gundam, it’ll bring back memories of Turn A. If you see a singing pop star replaced by a bigger breasted clone of herself, it’ll bring back memories of Destiny. If you see people fighting over spare parts, it’ll bring back memories of X. That’s just the way it is. Is it justified? For your protection, yes. It’s a warning to what this franchise was and will always be. If Sunrise didn’t want the history, they shouldn’t have slapped “Gundam” on the title. Zegapain. Gigantic Formula. Keroro. They didn’t carry that cross, did they? For Gundam 00, Sunrise decided it was good (or bad) enough to carry the cross. It’s silly to say that the series should be treated with all the pluses of the history of Gundam but not the minuses. The plus is that we (at least I) will watch because it is Gundam. The minus is that it’s held to a different quality standard. It’s your model franchise, Sunrise, now prove it. As for Gundam 00, it is distinctively Gundam with overpowering mobile suits and a crazy inter-orbital conflict with confused goals. It is also distinctively brings back memories of Gundam Wing— four (instead of five, but Sheng Long doesn’t count) power overwhelming pilots, pretty boy looks (thanks Loveless!), background female cast that hates war– I just can’t wait for the first, second, and third time that Setsuna tries to blow himself up. But it is Gundam, it’s the cross it decided to carry.

(Mitigating factor: On one hand, I’m looking forward to Setsuna’s “I make the impossible possible.” On the other hand, I’m not looking forward to the flood of doujinshis featuring the Meisters. At least right now the community seems to be spitting out Ms. Wang fanservice. I think it’s solely on her cosplaying powers that Gundam 00 is in the one spot… come on meido outfit!)

In Conclusion

I didn’t expect much for Fall 2007, especially after a lackluster summer season and an epic, universe-shattering spring season. It seems like across the board, the quality has picked up, and the quality drop off from the higher ranked to the lower ranked series isn’t large. The shows in the 5 to 15 range are all a generous middle class, providing good entertainment value for their genre, and that’s what really surprised me about this season. There’s not a lot of bad shows, there’s not a lot of great ones, but there’s a lot of solid ones. I underestimated the enjoyability of ef, Minami-ke, and Sketchbook, and I completely didn’t expect Ninomiya-kun to pick up where Umisho left off. The franchises that were supposed to carry the season– Clannad and GundamClannad seems prodding, as if Kyoto is still trying to wring out the last bits from their Kanon/Haruhi success while Gundam is making a compelling case for a comeback. It’s like Kyoto stopped innovating and is resting on its laurels while Sunrise– Sunrise!– is attempting a makeover on the strength of Exia’s cool factor and Ms. Wang’s space-age curves.

Depending on things turn out, even less expected, Shakugan no Shana might not even be JC Staff’s best entry this season. Unless Hecate brings something different, we’re looking at 26 more episodes of “URASAI!,” melonpan, and complaining about lack of Wilhelminia… while KimiKiss seems fresh with better relationship dynamics and writing. There’s not a lot of action series, but for every type of slice-of-life: supernatural, school romance, magical, legendary fanservice, et al, there’s something out there for you. Remember, there’s only one Miyako Miyamura! There’s only one Kyou and Ryou Fujibayashi! There’s only one Otome and Yume Asakura! There’s only one blog derailed by Fox Sports! There’s only one October!!!

54 Responses to “thin slicing the new season, fall 2007 edition”

  1. Well….that was unexpected, even if I’m not sure I understand the reasons for why Gundam 00 is number 1 on your list. It’s the same for me, but for much different reasons.

  2. So 9 of your top 11 is on my watch list and only two shows outside of that make my weekly dose. Suddenly, I’m scared. If a blog named Derailed by Darry on My Mind is going to pop up somewhere in the net, you know who to blaim.

  3. I’m glad ef made your top 10, I’m a little surprised that Clannad was lower than ef, but I understand your reasoning, ef is a great show. But come now, Shana is lower than Minami-ke?
    and of course I’m biased against mecha series so i won’t comment on your number 1.

  4. >> “There is more magic in the world that more people think”
    That is from rental Magica LOL

  5. Gurren lagann has left a hole in my heart, it can;t be replaced by any other action series. Luckily the last season DID leave quite a bit of room for comedy, let’s hope we don’t end up staring at the screen anticipating laughter for 20 minutes again.

  6. >>Well….that was unexpected, even if I’m not sure I understand the reasons for why Gundam 00 is number 1 on your list.

    I’m rather surprised you didn’t see this coming, what with Code Geass getting similar treatment when it first made it’s debut.

  7. weeee for premature submissions… any rate, I’m sharing similar sentiments about Kodomo no Jikan. While the series’ focus is much more on the relationships between characters than the loli overtones (which is why I rather enjoyed the manga), its edginess is also not something that should be thoughtlessly blunted.

  8. Thrillingly synoptic post. I have high hopes for Gundam 00 but not high expectations.
    ‘Yaoiriffic’ is an awesome word. Use it more, please.

  9. I think you’re waaaaay too hard on Kaiji. It’s YGO-ish, certainly, but it has actual plot and substance. And while it starts off with debt and despair, it feels more like crawling out of those rather than lingering in them. It’s not a comedy like Hayate or Zetsubou (which admittedly are damn good comedies) and really shouldn’t be compared there. I can see not liking the art, it’s unique, but it fits the gritty feel of a show filled with gambling and yakuza.

  10. Interesting list. In general terms, I seem to be of similar mind about the rankings, though I haven’t checked out all the shows of this season. The biggest single difference must be your #5, Goshuushou-sama. It resides at the bottom of my list. I agree, it does eminent justice to its genre. Which is the reason why it has the honours of bottom ranking. I don’t feel that Gundam has enough strength to claim a top spot, either.
    Shana would be bit lower on my list as well, because it is basically more of the same as previous season. While I do rate it above average, it never had a chance to get an “excellent” recommendation from me. The biggest draw for me may have always been the cosmology; Shana herself appear to me as rather uninspired personality.
    To go off a tangent: when I noticed Prism Ark on the list, i suddenly realized I’ve become disillusioned about Japan producing a decent fantasy show. Trying to think back, Scrapped Princess may have been the last one I could say I enjoyed. The Elevens might be trapped in the gravity well of D&D rehashing, and the power of Gygax compels them irresistibly.I don’t know about their RPGs, but the West is already firmly in post D&D-era (even D&D itself might be moving a little, with the 4th edition) with such awesome stuff as Nobilis.
    Of the shows I haven’t yet checked out, I might look at Sketchbook (thus seeing everything in your top ten), Shugo Chara and perhaps Dragonaut for a laugh. And despite your sales pitch, I won’t touch Moyashimon or YUA.
    Finally, my personal top picks for this season, so far: Kimikiss and Clannad. Third place is contested by ef, Minami-ke, Genshiken and Bamboo Blade.

  11. Clannad starts airing in HD this week. Is it just me, or are their eyes much less shinier than the ones in Kanon and Haruhi?

  12. For the Church that Melonpan Built, I’m surprised Shana isn’t higher, but I suppose you’re entitled to your picks. Mario Williams would approve It’s a great choice.

    Okay, I admit it, that joke didn’t make much sense, (Cue Frank Calliendo’s impression of Robin Williams) I did it just for me. I will admit, however, that mecha doesn’t really do it for me, but what keeps me coming back are the great females in the series. After all, this IS the Church that Melonpan Built. To that end, I’ll have fun thoroughly worshipping Sumeragi as soon as they toss in a Murrue-class shake as well as Sergeybait Older Edition (I think that’s going to be my name for her now) who also seems to remind me of CLAMP’s Yuuko from Tsubasa and xxxHolic.

    Dragonaut reminds me of a Eureka seveN redo. Same character style, and if you squint, similar plot elements too. However, Toa is infinitely better than Eureka, so I’m on board.

    Other than those three, I’ve got to figure out what harem anime I’m going to watch this season… I suppose I’ll figure it out soon.

  13. kyoani had a easy time with clannad CV picks… they referrenced the box that game came with (cept main char since it was not voiced), but yes, Clannad would suck unless you played game, which is less than likely for north american fan base

    i wouldn’t call night wizard without quality… without innovation is prob better way of putting it, cus the quality is there, just looks old style

    rental magica novel is really good, but anime is too watered down

    you know what’s interesting? Kimi kiss is rated deadly last in about all asian fan community, it just brutally butchered the game, then danced a papelbon-jig on its grave

  14. I never realized till I read this how dismal the offerings are this season.

  15. Beowulf Lee: That was something I noticed as well. The general art style of Clannad seems distinctly different from previous works, largely Air, Kanon, and Haruhi. Quite frankly, the animation design feels like a combination of Lucky Star and Kanon, considering the changes made to the face compositions. By my own personal deduction, the KyoAni team probably had too much fun with Lucky Star, hence the backpacking of the art direction.

  16. >There is only one October!!!
    Man, I swear, if I see that commercial with Dane Cook one more time…

    But yeah, I can’t say that I agree with your choice of Gundam 00 as the number one. Like you pointed out, it’s almost a Gundam Wing clone; and for me, Wing was really poor.

    Let’s face it: Sunrise shows are much better when they poke fun at themselves with over-the-top melodrama (see Code Geass, Mai-X), rather than trying to take themselves too seriously. The three episodes of Double-O so far have been overly political and overly serious in way that makes me laugh. Gundam is not the West Wing. It’s shouldn’t be about politics or even about war. It shouldn’t be something that reveals profound themes about the human experience.

    Gundam is about great mecha battles and great drama featuring a cast of memorable characters. And this has been completely overshadowed by the political overtones in Double-O. In particular, for me, the characters have been really underwhelming and forgettable. Here’s to hoping that Graham Acre dons a mask and becomes the next Char/Zechs.

    I have to say however, that the HD animation has been pretty solid so far. No blatant reuse of pink explosion cells that plagued seed. I was really impressed with the opening scene of episode 1 where Setsuna was running from the Arab mechas. I was kind of hoping the rest of the series would be animated in that style.

  17. @Taltos: What are you talking about? The characters in Clannad have almost the exact same character design style as those in Kanon and Haruhi.

    And frankly I’m shocked (not because I disagree at all, but because of all the hype), but feel it’s justified that it’s not in the top spot. I agree with Jason too that Kyoani is just coasting on their popularity post Haruhi, but I’d go even further.

    I feel they know they don’t really have to try terribly hard with their shows anymore. As long as they stick to the formula that has worked for them in the past (Moe girls, Snappy Kyonesque Lead, slapstick comedy/harem conventions and a plot that eventually goes emo), keep with the pretty (which any studio can do if they know the expenses will always be recuperated, which with legions of fanboys, Kyoani obviously is aware of) and keep releasing details on the next Haruhi series, all the fanboys will forever rank their series at the top, by all the merchandise in droves (at a pace on par with the purchase of Gundam models), and exaggerate their qualities.

    And Gundam 00 is my top series not because it’s the best Gundam series Evar, but because it’s the only show that stands out this season and I believe the only mecha TV Series period (unless you want to count Dragonaut). It remind me of the Season of Haruhi where it trampled all the competition, because there wasn’t much outside of maybe Higurashi.

  18. Personally, from the first two eps of SnS s2, I’ve found it incredibly disappointing in comparison to the first season/most of this season’s shows. Hopefully, it will get back on track soon.

    I think the best series’ on at the moment (that I’ve watched 2-3 eps of) are Clannad, Minami-ke, Bamboo Blade, KimiKiss, ef and Gundam 00. I enjoyed the first episode of Sketchbook quite a bit so I’ll keep watching that, as well as Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun which is entertaining (and made me laugh a couple of times) but could be better animated..

  19. Wow, our lists could hardly have been more opposite. You ranked low most of the shows that I ranked high, and vice versa.
    Interesting since I’ve always enjoyed following your blogging, mainly because we seemed to have similar tastes and you wrote about shows that I liked. If this season’s thin-slicing is any indication, it appears that our preferences are diverging more and more. :P
    I have to say, though, I’m extremely disappointed to see what I believe is by far the best show of the season (Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji), ranked second to last. I’m curious to know why you didn’t like it. Is it just the art you can’t handle, or something more fundamental?

  20. @claudius: I don’t know about you, but I think Toby would’ve made a GREAT MS pilot, and CJ a passable bridge bunny. I’ll have to get back to you on the rest of the roles, though.

  21. Hmmm i am inclined to disagree about the statement about Clannad sucking if you have not played the game, i have not played Air, Kanon, or Clannad but I found them all enjoyable as stand alone animes. I also believe myself to be relatively unbiased against studios, seeing as i actually dont pay much attention to who makes it, just subject matter. Kanon and Clannad feel different. Kanon was “heavy” from the beginning, and Clannad seems a little lighter (mood wise at least…for now). And whats-his-face-main character guy in Clannad doesnt seem nearly as sarcastic as Kyon, and he seems a little less laid back about everything, i mean, look at how he reacted with his dad…. Hanyway, well now i gotta go look at the shows that were 10 and under. Jya na

  22. This season is so bare and so bereft compared to spring. Minami-ke, Genshiken 2, and Gundam 00 are the only shows I’ve found remotely watchable this year. And Gundam 00 stabs me in the heart repeatedly by cosmetically being similiar to FMP! only without everything that made Full Metal Panic good (although Ms. Wong is a nice consolation prize). Shinichiro Miki is again playing a wiseass sniper, only he’s not awesome like Kurz Weber was. We have a Sousuke without anything that made Sousuke hilarious or badass, just emo as all get out. However, it is a pretty good series for Sunrise, and by extension, Gundam (I’m no judge though, I liked G Gundam).
    Which brings me to the subject of Kyoto. I could not agree more with the opinion that they’re being complacent. I like Kyoto for waaaay different reasons than their target demographic does, obviously, because they’ve not produced what I wanted to see. Kanon was okay I guess, and I didn’t even bother watching Lucky Star, but WTF? Another Key H-game? Ridiculous. It may be slick and actually done well, but it induces a heavy case of the yawns. I was looking forward to Haruhi this season for two reasons. First, Haruhi is good. Second, and more importantly, if they produced a second season of Haruhi, they’d have no reason to stall on creating more stuff like the The Second Raid and Fumoffu. They’ve only got like 5 novels of non short story source material accumulated now, and Gatou is going to end it soon.
    Stop making H-game anime Kyoto. I want more Full Metal Panic, goddamnit. Guns, Mecha, and Comedy…is that too much to ask for?

  23. Clannad is not an H-game!

    But seriously, I can’t wait for the widescreen version. So far, I’ve been enjoying Minami-ke the best. Seems like we are getting slice-of-life in all kinds of flavours. (horror? sounds interesting :p)

  24. great job! thanks for making this list!

  25. Duly noted. It removes some of the stigma from Clannad (now its just from Key). I just think Kyoto Ani has become a bunch of sellouts once they discovered the horde of fanboys after Haruhi. Kanon and Clannad are way too similar if not in plot, than in animation and voice acting. A change of pace from school girls who effectively are god, uguu crazy school girls, lazy gamer school girls, and whatever Clannad has would be nice. Y’know. To something that involves mecha AND school girls coughFMPcough.

  26. about time this list came up…
    For me, i mostly agree on everything, except ef. I just don’t get it. Fancy video effects aside, i really can’t find anything watchable in that show…

  27. I’m in total disappointment with the way you rated Kaiji. The prerequisite for that is Akagi, which I recommend if you like mindgamez and skillhax in Mahjong.
    Otherwise, the list looks set! Sunrise being on top of the list again with yet another mecha anime dealing with controversial themes; KyotoAnimation milking all they can out of their current demographic (and shafting their own series with Windows Movie Maker transitions). I can’t say much about the other series since I’m not even trying to keep up with the 6 new series I’ve picked this season while keeping 3 ongoing series. I’m glad that ef~ made quite an impression on the list, and I think I’m going to enjoy it more than CLANNAD (it doesn’t top the Dango ED, though).
    Favourites for this series is kind of hard to pick, but if I had to exclude CLANNAD and Gundam 00, I’d have to pick Kaiji. He’s a pussy crybaby, but he’s got main character hax.

  28. Let it be noted that you, sir Jason, referred to the dancing dumpling family as “scary”. When they encircle the world and cover it with trees, your transgression will not be excused easily. THE BIG DUMPLING FAMILY DOES NOT FORGIVE.
    That picture of Tomoya, Sunohara, and the urinals, on the other hand, is frightening indeed. I think I speak for all of us when I say “If I’m watching an anime that’s specifically about cute and moe females, I DO NOT WANT any shots depicting the interior of the men’s restroom”. Let’s all be thankful that Kyoto left that out of Kanon. But wait, they still haven’t re-made Kazahana…OH SHI-

  29. The last five series placed 28, 27, 26, 25 and 24 were cut out of my anime watching list this season, just Mokkie for Ayako Kawasumi had a chance for a few episodes, but couldn’t get excited by it. At least we think the same on the last in your list.

    Rental Magica is the only show of this season about magic that appeal to me, just for the fact that Itsuki reminds me of Lelouch (same seryuu, same red eye, same clueless with girls who felt for him) and just because Shinsen and Eclipse are doing a great job (especially Shinsen) in the sub department. Nothing to say about Suteki Tantei Labyrinth.

    I’m sticking with Kodomo no Jikan just to see how they will develop the story, no more, no less. Since the series has been mutilated with that stupid censorship campaign; I feel insulted by it. And for make things worse, each DVD, like Lucky Star, will show only two episodes at the time. Luckily, everything points out that Kodomo no Jikan will be a 12-13 episodes series. Then again, nothing to add for Shion no Ou.

    Blue Drop drags me a little thanks for its suppose Girl x Girl factor. After watching episode three today before coming to work, I feel the same you just point out; is really too slow to keep the audience intrigued; as far as we know, HIgano’s ship was responsible for Mari’s parents and everyone else on that island’s dead; causing her remorse after meeting Mari. Just the fact of some girl on girl action later I’ll stick with this series.

    Is funny to see how you hate Da Capo franchise too much and then being capable of remember each DC girl just by their hair styles. The only thing that makes me watch DC II is to see when Yume will break out and fight for her “Otouto”. Thankfully this series is just 13 episodes.

    Dragonaut had a good start, but the thing that dislikes me the most was its CG, horrible can’t be sued to describe how low GONZO can go between projects. Romeo X Juliet has a mesmerizing animation compared to this show. Then I’ll keep around with it just for TOA. Lamely, I’m not following Prims Ark yet thanks to the lack of good and fateful groups to take the job seriously. For Ghost Hound and Shugo Chara, nothing that picks my attention, but Ghost Hound will have a chance since Shinsen is again a good group to follow.

    Myself; Yourself has something interesting, well maybe not, but appeals to my interests about a slice-of-life/comedy/romance series. At least we have a descent cast of seryuu members here. Love to hear Aoi’s seryuu, is freaking funny for her character; then we have Yukari Tamura and Takehito Koyasu as twins (funny to see them as such) and finally, Ami Koshimizu sure is busy this season, I guess she still misses her role as Karen in Code Geass. Some retards begun to speak about School days after episode 3, something very stupid considering the clues that suggests that Sana attempt suicide in those five years he was away from this town. Well, at least that’s a slight difference in this series

    I haven’t seen YUA for lack of good fansubs (again) on this project. I don’t know why Studio DEEN chooses to do another series of this franchise; they have to leave it when the 2nd series ended in 2001 with the Spring Terms episode. They never learn a thing. Then again, nothing to add for Moyashimon. For Koharu Biyori; I’ll wait for the DVD version. Genshiken 2 and Bamboo Blade are fun to watch, well Bamboo Blade more than Genshiken 2, and just for that reason I’m following them.

    Well, for the 2nd time I don’t know anything about a Key project, and don’t want to spoil myself again like I did with Fate/Stay Night by looking for info about the game. I’m really enjoying each and every episode so far; with Mai Nakahara as Nagisa (that name is stick to her personality) and a few seryuu her as well. That’s enough reason to side with Kyoto animation again, in prelude to Haruhi Suzumiya and Full Metal Panic to come in 2008.

    I’ll wait to Doremi for Sketchbook ~ Full color ~ because for this type of series, like ARIA, I need to know very well what’s going on with the characters, so watching a RAW isn’t very effective to me. With Ef ~ A Tale of Memories ~ catch my attention thanks to a lot of scans I got from certain page coff coff Moe Imouto coff coff and then find out about the anime version of the game. Just like you said, I’m glad to see SHAFT can do shows like this one, hopefully one to remember when this Fall season ends in December/March.

    I guess I’ll not say anything about the Top 5 here, because I’m watching those shows, enjoying each one for different reasons. Ninomiya-kun’s fanservice, KimiKiss pure romance slice-of-life series, Shana’s behavior, Minami-ke antics and last but not least, Gundam will always be Gundam for me. Last season (Spring) there were two shows I stopped watching halfway; let us see how many shows I’ll stop to watch this season; hopefully less than three or two series.

    Let us enjoy!

  30. “Premise: Hikaru no Go * Shouji / Go + Studio Deen = Shion no Ou”

    Aah! The maths! They burn!

    Excellent Thin Slicing as always, even if I don’t agree much with it this season. This season is looking pretty weak to me, frankly. Beyond Moyashimon, Minami-ke, Shana-tan, and the double-whammy of S-class Mayu-chan fanservice and Porn-onee-sama humor, this season’s looking pretty weak. Of course, I never got the whole Gundam thing. Saw the firt ep, might see the rest, but all I can say about it at this point is that it’s certainly pretty, and certainly Gundam, complete with blocky/sleek mechs and pink explosions. Dragonaut looked okay for a while until it turned into a mons series complete with crappy CG and obviously-set-to-be-stock transformation footage. Bleh…

    Just holding my breath to see what KyoAni rewards my patience with first: good mecha anime, or sad Yuki in snow…

    I need more Seirei no Moribito…

  31. >>Sora looks too much like Tenma Tsukamoto, and, fittingly, Natsumi Aso looks too much like Natsumi Hinata.

    Now that you brought it up, Natsumi’s tanned friend also look an awful lot like Moa…

  32. Gee Syaoran, with that much to say perhaps you should start a blog. ;D I also believe the word is seiyuu not seryuu.
    Anyhow, I thought more on why I don’t fancy SnS so much. It seems that it ultimately boils down to Shana’s aggravating personality. There’s just too much stereotypical tsundere packed into her. And her urusai catchphrase sounded from day one an attempt to spawn a meme on 2ch*.
    Incidentally, i didn’t know Kimikiss was based on an eroge/sim. I may have mentioned it before, but I seem to have a good nose detecting conversions. If anyone remembers the Interlude OVA, it gave me a very strong imperssion of being based on an eroge or sim, and quick google proved me right. Yet JCS has managed a conversion that blindsided me completely – but not surprising, considering they are the ones behind Honey & Clovers. KyoAni receives similar kudos for their work on Kanon, managing to obscure its roots quite well (though its structure, if nothing else, immediately betrays it) and so far with Clannad, as well – though the “cavalcade of weirdos” is a strong indication of game roots.
    (Also, I managed to misvote my fave show of this season, but looking at the numbers it’d make little difference, and the vote went to a worthy show anyway).

  33. Ummm…. Kyoani receives kudos for every under the sun. In anime Kudos for Kyoani has become as customary as leaving a tip, even if the service is bad. Too bad it’s not the same for other studios. And lo, the poll is reflecting the predicatibilty of anime fans everywhere. 30% *whistles*, well gee there’s a shocker. Like I always say, fans these days are more concerned with the fact that Kyoani is doing a show then actually bothering to weigh it’s merit. Looks like 8 more years of whatever Kyoani is doing automatically being the most popular show with everyone. Eventually they’ll probably really just stop trying instead of running a working (if overdone) formula, I’ll be curious to see what happens then.

  34. Hey, don’t look at me, I chose Minami-Ke as my favorite for the season. :) Slice of life has always been a major pull for me, and my current viewing for the season reflects me. I do sometimes balance it out with other genres (I’m watching Shana as well), as I did with Gurren Lagann last season. I really want to pick up Gundam 00, but as of yet no sub group to follow…

    Pretty much neutral about anything KyoAni makes, though I *would* like to see more FMP, as the current novel really starts picking up in the action department (*coughs*Laevantine*coughs*).

  35. Well in your top 15, I only watch 10 of those animes. This is my own top 10 favorites after watching 3-4 of their episodes. Some of those animes are not in your top 15.

    0. Myself ; Yourself ( I don’t know why maybe similar situaton I am too hype with this anime. Also would make me forget SD ep12 syndrome at least)
    1. Minami-ke (This fills up the void left by Lucky Star, Seto No Hanayome and
    Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei)
    2. Shakugan No Shana 2 (This would become now a love rectangle)
    3. Genshiken 2 (Yeah miss the days of Genshiken, good opening eh)
    4. G.Ninomiya-kun (Back to basics and they did it good following only one system “fan-service”)
    5. Kimikiss (This fills up somehow the void left by LoveCom)
    6. Dragonaut (I am very patient person to endure the dragons graphics for the sake of learning more about this anime)
    7. Clannad (Enough with Kyo-Ani, only Tomoyo and Fuuko makes this interesting for me)
    8. Kodomo No Jikan (Well I’m not a lolicon but if only the viewers would disregard the barrier setup that put them in despair and check the whole
    content then that would be good) Love it, hate it, then makes me feel the difficulty of handling children and dealing with their problems. At least not
    brainish as my beloved GTO.
    9. Gundam 00 (Since I miss FMP and definitely this is an intermix of Gundam Wing meets Full Metal Panic with a slice of Negima’s Chao Lingshen. Since this
    is a Gundam Series. I won’t mind putting it into my lowest list.

  36. All gundams suck so ill ignore that. There are many a show i dropped at the first hurdle, so it would be pointless to name them. ef and Blue drop look to be next, as the only reason im interested in blue drop for the school girl yuri action, it seems it wont be worth the effort.
    Koharu biyori is very nice for what it is, but as you said its an OVA. Ghost hound and moyashimon ive only seen an episode of each, so further investigation is needed. Kodomo no jikan needs to be unsencored asap so i await the dvd version, though it looks like it may be decent enough in the story (though obviously not as good as the manga). Ive resigned to watching Myself;Youself and Clannad for reasons unkown, so the series im enjoying this term are Shion no Ou, Shana II, Sketchbook, Minami-ke, Bamboo Blade and Kimikiss.
    btw, the best anime airing in japan right now is still Baccano! I dont think you ever thin sliced that inter-season series.

  37. It’s probably fitting that as soon as I sat down to write this, a Dane Cook commercial popped up. Anyway, every time I write this post, even though I write it up top, I need to say it again: thin slicing is never about what is the best series. Thin slicing has and always will be about what I would watch if I had one episode of each series. Some shows lend themselves better to this effect, like Gurren Lagann, where even early on, I couldn’t wait for the next episode. Sometimes, a show is good, but I’m not in “6 days, 23 hours, 34 minutes” mode after watching it.

    >> about time this list came up…

    Thin slicing always is between weeks 3-5 just because most shows don’t start airing immediately, and 30 shows is a lot to watch in a week anyway. The last few shows (i.e. Ghost Hound) didn’t air until October 19th… it’s kinda hard to thin slice what’s not there, no?

    >> btw, the best anime airing in japan right now is still Baccano! I dont think you ever thin sliced that inter-season series.

    Ever try typing “baccano” into the search box or click “Archives” then click “baccano”?

    >> This season is so bare and so bereft compared to spring.

    Try comparing it to summer, where Zetsubou was the first pick. Zetsubou wouldn’t even crack the top ten for fall. I think Umisho was the only show from summer that could have made top ten here (2-8 range). Potemayo might be in the 8-15 range also, just because I found it next to impossible to watch more than 25 minutes of it before my brain started melting.

    >> And Gundam 00 is my top series not because it’s the best Gundam series Evar, but because it’s the only show that stands out this season and I believe the only mecha TV Series period (unless you want to count Dragonaut). It remind me of the Season of Haruhi where it trampled all the competition, because there wasn’t much outside of maybe Higurashi.

    Ouran? Underwater Ray Romano? Black Lagoon?!? That season was like the 2002 or 1996 NBA draft… mmm… Haruhi would be Kobe, and Mikuru would be that Color– I better stop there. Though that comment made me think I was reading a post on Gamespot written by a PS3 fanboy, and I like how you throw Zeta under the bus after just three episodes of 00.

    >> I have to say, though, I’m extremely disappointed to see what I believe is by far the best show of the season (Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji), ranked second to last. I’m curious to know why you didn’t like it. Is it just the art you can’t handle, or something more fundamental?

    Same reason why I watch the NFL and NBA over World Series of Poker… gambling is not interesting if it ain’t your money. WSoP has a lot of viewers, just not me. Plus, Kaiji’s very similar to Yu-Gi-Oh! season one, only with less green-eyed blue dragons… or was it white-eyed red dragon? Probably good thing I don’t remember.

    >> horrible can’t be sued to describe how low GONZO can go between projects


    >> Personally, from the first two eps of SnS s2, I’ve found it incredibly disappointing in comparison to the first season/most of this season’s shows. Hopefully, it will get back on track soon.

    I cut it some slack because the first two episodes were really recaps, but it wasn’t like the first season when we had Shana undressing in Yuji’s room by now. Or maybe because what we really want isn’t more Shana but more Shana-tan.

    >> To go off a tangent: when I noticed Prism Ark on the list, i suddenly realized I’ve become disillusioned about Japan producing a decent fantasy show.

    Guardian of the Sacred Spirits or Underwater Ray Romano weren’t good enough for you?

    >> I just think Kyoto Ani has become a bunch of sellouts once they discovered the horde of fanboys after Haruhi. Kanon and Clannad are way too similar if not in plot, than in animation and voice acting.

    Speaking of Underwater Ray Romano, I think Clannad is more similar to that. Anyway, Kyoto has always been in bed with Key, no different from the Kumata/Shaft relationship or the devil/Pat Riley. I think if they wanted to appease the horde of Haruhi fanboys, they would create more Haruhi. Or does that make too much sense?

    >> Sunrise shows are much better when they poke fun at themselves with over-the-top melodrama

    I don’t think they are poking fun at themselves. I think they are desperately trying to write, only they can’t think of anything, so they just rehash old ideas. If I were a scriptwriter under the gun, that would be the way to do things.

    >> Let it be noted that you, sir Jason, referred to the dancing dumpling family as “scary”. When they encircle the world and cover it with trees, your transgression will not be excused easily. THE BIG DUMPLING FAMILY DOES NOT FORGIVE.

    Yep, these are my readers.

  38. I might be one of two people that appreciate the sports jokes Jason…

  39. I have absolutely no idea what he’s talking about when he brings up the sports things, so the joke is lost on me. The only thing I really get are jokes about Hockey. I’m waiting for something to equate to McCabe scoring on his own net in overtime to sink a Leafs game. Anyone know of a recent botched ending to a series that otherwise might have turned out well?

    And something tells me Jason’s getting the wrong idea about me and 00. It’s nowhere near as popular with me as Zeta was, but I’m willing to give it a chance, and really and truly, it has nothing to do with me being a fanboy of the PS Triple variety (although I am a superfan of Gundam), but the fact that nothing else tickles my fancy quite so much. Shana II is alright, Dragonaut is tolerable, but that’s it. Right now all I can think about is how glad I am that I saved some of the Spring series for a rainy day. Darker Than Black, Heroic Age, Xenoglossia here I come!

  40. “Guardian of the Sacred Spirits or Underwater Ray Romano weren’t good enough for you?”
    Wow, I completely overlooked Guardian when writing that. I don’t even know why – it comes highly recommended by me. The only reason I can think of is, it doesn’t fully fit into the “established” definitions of a fantasy show. Note the lack of ‘real’ magicians in it, for example (though shaman Toragai is prtty close). Perhaps because it is not so typical show, I didn’t consider it… but yes, it should be defined as a fantasy show, if not a high fantasy show.
    As for Utawareruroruromomuro… I guess I had higher hopes of it in the beginning. Towards the middle it devolved bit too much towards its strategy game / harem eroge roots and the ending, though faithful to source material, was… just no. But its worst sin must’ve been not enough Touka!!! *shakefist*

  41. These thin slicing posts are rather fun to read – it’s the sense of anticipation and potential, and the debate about which series will stay at/drop from/push up to the top. Similar to the coverage of a new season of any sport, which I suppose is one justification for the sports jokes. Which I must admit are entirely beyond me too.
    Northernshadows’ comment that Guardian is ‘not so typical’ set me thinking. I’m watching the series at the moment, and I hadn’t thought of it as ‘fantasy’ in the tradtional sense either. Maybe it just feels so immersive and convincing that there’s little sense of fantasy. And maybe it’s because the focus of the show seems to me to be on normal human characters acting in normal, human ways, rather than on magic and fighting. (That said, the fighting is superb.)
    Minami-ke is growing on me, having seen two episodes. I think it may just deserve that second spot. We shall have to see.

  42. Night Wizard = (Shakugan no Shana + Gatekeepers) – (Quality + Humor)
    AomM Rank: 25
    Quotable: ”You can answer with ‘hai’ or ‘yes’”

    Rental Magica = Mahou Shoujo Tai + Jubei-chan’s Eyepatch
    AomM Rank: 23
    Quotable: “They are rentals. Like Netflix.”

    Suteki Tantei Labyrinth = Vanilla * (Monster Princess + Angelic Layer + Rozen Maiden + Studio Deen)
    AomM Rank: 22
    Special Notes: Clumsy Maid, Dark Naru Narusegawa. (It’s over.)

    So yeah. AomM and I are opposite colors of the soul.

    I don’t think it’s proper to start doing math on Gundam Dublow as of yet. Let’s remember:

    $unrise = Sunrise + Namco Merger – (Talented Directors + Producers)
    * (Farnchise Whoring + Viral Marketing)
    + (Overtly Sensative Otaku Blobs In Charge of Directing and Screenwriting)
    – (Plot + Character Development + Consistency) – S + $

  43. So uh, Jason….gonna change the name of your blog back to Anime on My Mind?…

  44. Prism Ark is quite different that Seirei no Moribito, one is a eroge adaptation and the other is a light novel adaptation (its easy to figure out who is what) … the issue with Prism Ark is that its the standard jRPG + harem – eroge and Seirei no Moribito “fantasy” was far more grounded and given us a quite interesting slice-of-life “historical” fantasy world.

  45. Speaking of Dango Daikazouku…


  46. A friend brought up a good point about the clannad picture, it is violating a couple of major rules of male restroom etiquette,
    1. You should always take the urinal farthest away from another one currently being used.
    2. Never talk to another guy in the bathroom.

  47. @Tsukasa Dai Kazouku: ……………………………………………………………………….

    And yes, the etiquette of the men’s room vid is quite timeless.

  48. I watch anime for cuteness and love-love. As far as I’ve seen this season, the best cuteness can be found in Shugo Chara, and the best love-love can be found in Kimikiss. I’m enjoying Shana II (and Da Capo II, much to my surprise) but they’re far, far behind Shugo Chara and Kimikiss in my book.

  49. Kimikiss has some good art and cute girls. Shugo Chara… it seems too kiddy for me.

    I just started watching Gundam 00. Isn’t the premise very similar to that other crappy mecha anime Dancougar Nova?

  50. >> Speaking of Dango Daikazouku…

    Beyond awesome. Balsamic vinegar 4tw.

    >> A friend brought up a good point about the clannad picture, it is violating a couple of major rules of male restroom etiquette.

    Well, I want to add a few modern ones: Don’t use your cell phone while on the crapper. Don’t eat or drink while in a restroom.

    >> RE: Guardian of the Sacred Spirit

    I think both Northern and IKnight got it right in that GotSS isn’t a “normal” fantasy show, but it is normal in that great fantasy series make you forget that it is fantasy. Great fantasy (and sci-fi) have logical resolution through trial and tribulation of the protagonists and through human emotion and conflict rather than magic or mecha. A lot of fantasy series just use magic as a cop out rather than a scene setter.

    >> I might be one of two people that appreciate the sports jokes Jason…

    More than you think! I actually get e-mails time-to-time from people asking for advice for fantasy sports, which is funny because I finished dead last year in my NBA fantasy league. If I can find enough people, I’d love to form a Derailed by Darry NBA fantasy league.

  51. I’m amused some of the comments here are longer than the actual blog entry. Don’t you people have your own blogs? XD

    Be that as it may, great entry as usual, Jason. I’m now considering some of the shows you picked out, even though slice-of-life isn’t my thing.

    Sad about how quickly Prism Ark tripped and fell down the ditch right out of the gate. I had high hopes for it, too. Oh, well.

  52. Comprehensive.

    In regards to the poll I think I’m hooked on Kyoani cocaine :/ Far from disliking Clannad on principle for being made too soon after Kanon and displacing a Haruhi sequel, it’s still something that makes me want to see the next episode soon after finishing one. Nagisa is at least 600% more likeable as the female lead than Ayu was. And the dancing dangos won me over.

    Broadcasting initially in 4:3 is unforgivable though :(

  53. On the topic of Clannad, though: It Sucks.

    Any show that features some guy getting his butt handed to him every 10-or-so minutes is instant fail to me.

    It’s a shame that most of the Kyoto/Clannad fanbase don’t see the constant abuse and think that it’s wrong. :(

    Then again, that’s most of the anime fanbase as of now. Right?

  54. @Tyrenol >> Any show that features some guy getting his butt handed to him every 10-or-so minutes is instant fail to me.

    Ever heard of slapstick humor?

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