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[In Which I Review] Anime series from 2000


Writer of Ten Thousand Ideas
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So, anything else planned? Are you going to resume your watching of Gundam?(I ask because while Gundam 00 is well-regarded, there are still many people who hated it, so it would be interesting to see your opinion)


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Must Watches (4)
Those were so promising I'm going to watch them asap :
- Niea_7
There's actually not a lot on this on the net, although I found it rather enjoyable. I'm an unabashed yoshitoshi ABe fanboy, though, so I naturally had to watch it as it came out. I'd love to see a WIW for it, but I'm not particularly optimistic about how much attention one would attract.


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That Was Just Bad (9)
Those shows had way too many problems :
- Hand Maid May
I can't actually remember why I watched this, because it "started" badly (like 4 episodes worth IIRC, of 13), but once I did finish it, I was glad I had done so, as I felt the whole was far more than the sum of it's parts.

Then I watched the OVA, Don't do that. Ever.


Unrepentant Froggie
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I'm hoping that's an intentional joke about Duel Masters.
Nope, just your garden-variety hilarious typo. Oops. :D

There's actually not a lot on this on the net, although I found it rather enjoyable. I'm an unabashed yoshitoshi ABe fanboy, though, so I naturally had to watch it as it came out. I'd love to see a WIW for it, but I'm not particularly optimistic about how much attention one would attract.
WIW are a lot of work and I'm not sure my terse style would be appropriate for this show. And anyway it's a bit of a moot point, as...


You know what ? I haven't been entirely idle during the couple of months this project fell by the wayside. I've actually been watching a good number of the shows I had selected.

So, without further fanfare, a few comments regarding each of these shows :

Miami Guns
It quickly becomes apparent this follows the Excel Saga formula of parodying a different type of cop show in each episode. As a result, it's more than a bit uneven, and the attempt to inject a bit more of serious drama in the last stretch doesn't really work. The show really is at its best when it's unashamedly stupid.

And this shows nowhere better than in the second episode, which is by far the best of the lot (and worth watching by its lonesome). It's a recap episode that plays as though this was a long-running series that's been on the air for ages, and as such much of the (completely fake) earlier material being recapped feels quaint and at odds with the "current" set up (such as the Chief being black because the writers hadn't decided yet he was Lu's father, and major characters in the magnificently retro "original" OP sequences have been written out long ago). It's also a series of smaller vignettes within the framing device, allowing each joke to run its course quickly, without outstaying their welcome.

Boys Be...
So, as it turns out, this is halfway between an anthology series ("a different couple each episode !") and a more traditional romance series with continuing plot threads (as the four leads - Kyoichi, Chiharu, Makoto & Yoshihiko - are usually involved in turns). This allows for quite some variety (as not all pairs go anywhere, or are even romantic), while letting some room for some decent character development to occur. The way the series juggles with everything is actually quite impressive, from a structural point of view.

... On the other hand, it's been two months since I've watched it, and I've already forgotten about most of it. So, while it's a pleasant way to pass time, it's not exactly memorable.

I didn't think this show would turn out to be so depressing.

What really got me was the impressively realistic depiction of Mayuko's abject poverty. (And it's not like her close circle of friends and acquaintances are much more better off.) As the series goes on, this is clearly taking a toll on her, leading her to both reject NieA for her obnoxiousness, and then blaming herself when the alien disappears. Even the relatively pat ending can't make up for how raw an emotional roller-coaster this is.

The wacky hijinks end up being gallows' humour : desperate attempts to let out steam to avoid everyone collapsing into clinical depression. That was quite a harrowing watch indeed, and not exactly what I expected.

Strange Dawn
Wow, you really weren't kidding about the "no ending" thing ; on the other hand, it plays quite well with the themes of the show. Our two heroines' presence in this fantasy world progressively makes the political situation deteriorate faster and faster, and there's very little they can do about it. The series ends with them making an empty symbolic gesture akin to throwing a tantrum in despair at the cycle of violence, and them being suddenly whisked back to Earth by a deus ex machina. And of course, this solves nothing for the natives, and if anything leaves the ones the viewer has grown most fond of in a terrible situation.

I don't have a problem with this. Oh, sure, the original 50-episode plan would have been interesting to watch, but there's something fascinating with the idea that the two teenagers from Tokyo didn't make the fantasy world a better place just by showing up, and didn't lead any kind of uprising against the terrible status quo. (They kind of tried, but it quickly petered out and if anything it made things worse.)

Love Hina
In many ways, this is the platonic ideal of wacky harem comedies : archetypal, borderline one-dimensional characters (especially in the supporting cast) ; many episodes going into random tangents for the heck of it ; and a main romantic thread that makes very slow but definite progress. The slightly surreal atmosphere helps it out, giving the impression that anything can happen if it looks fun enough. And it usually does.

As it is, the series is decently entertaining, with the couple of TV specials bringing it to an adequate conclusion. I wasn't blown away by it, but it was fun enough.

... And then I watched Love Hina Again, and argkfgerfgrg. This goes wrong in every possible way : the art direction has taken a turn for the worse, as the new designs are ugly and barely animated ; most of the characters see their character development regress (or get derailed into wholly unlikeable territory, such as Keitarou turning into Seta 2.0) ; and worst of all they introduce a creepy incestuous little sister character who's not only super-annoying and unwelcome, but warps the whole show around herself.


That was... interesting. The first episode was so dense that there's a few major points I didn't get until a bit later :
- The female warship who captured our few male protagonists are actually pirates, and thus only loosely associated with the female homeworld ; this explains why they have a less hostile attitude to the dudes than average.
- The male warship being inaugurated was actually a refurbished relic from ages ago, and something really bizarre happened when the female warship docked with it ; they kinda fused together, and it also changed the mechas (from both sides) inside. None of the science makes any sense, but then this is a very soft SF show that's clearly using all this for metaphor. (And a very obvious one, given all the "combining" going on.) I like that none of the technical crew have any clue how any of this works, and after a fashion they just go along with it.
- The combined warship somehow got transported by a space wedgie to the other side of the galaxy, and they're several months away from getting back to their two home planets. This means that the show takes a very episodic travelogue format, with our heroes stumbling onto a number of other planets with normal male-female coexistence, making Tarak & Marjale an anomaly rather than the norm. Which is a great framework to focus on the crew and give them fodder for character development. (With the looming threat of the Harvesters giving the plot a bit more direction.)

Anyway, this was a great show. Often very silly, but a fun exploration of gender roles, with likeable characters and a clear idea of what it's doing. I really enjoyed spending time with these people and sharing their struggles, and isn't that the whole point ? One could quibble about the combining mecha being a really stupid plot device, but they're used in a fun way that's really all about the pilots.


So, anything else planned? Are you going to resume your watching of Gundam?(I ask because while Gundam 00 is well-regarded, there are still many people who hated it, so it would be interesting to see your opinion)
I do plan on getting back to that at some point, but I really need to get my groove back. The last few seasons were written in intense bursts that were physically exhausting and led to longer and longer hiatuses. (Wow, it's really been nearly a year since I last touched it ?) I need to somehow find back the more sensible "1-2 episodes a day" schedule I managed in the early months of that project. We'll see ; it may happen as soon as May.

(Apparently there are still people waiting on Book 8 of my Umineko WIW, four years after I covered Book 7. Er, sorry, not happening anytime soon ; I want to first rewatch everything with the PS3 patches to get the benefit of the magnificent voice-acting, and I'm only partway through Book 4.)

In the meantime, I still have a few other things on my plate to watch, including at least half a dozen shows discovered thanks to this project.

At least I can take solace that there's no longer a big gap in 2000 in my anime watching ; the curb is now much more regular...

... Wait, what the heck happened with 2005 ?

Looking it up, there seems to be at least twenty shows in there I have been meaning to try out for a while... Goddarnit, I'm actually tempted to repeat this project for 2005. A much busier year, with close to a hundred eligible series. Oh, dear me. Clearly this won't be happening tomorrow, as I'll need time to gather materials and build a better buffer than just two weeks' worth.

Which is as good a closing question as any : since I'm apparently crazy enough to have another go at this sometime in the future, do you have any suggestions ? Format-wise, schedule-wise, etc.


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I think 2005 was actually a pretty good year for anime, but it was a decade ago and so I can't remember a lot of specifics.


Writer of Ten Thousand Ideas
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Looking at the list of 2005, there's a lot of heavy hitters there. I'll give brief thoughts on those I know about and aren't in your MAL.

Air: The third of the "Drama Triad" with Clannad and Kanon and the most depressing one.

Akagi: Another from the author of "gambling" manga, who is also responsible for Kaiji. But while Kaiji is mostly a normal guy, Akagi is as far from normal as possible. Also, this series is centered around Mahjong, instead of the varied games of the others.

Aria: One of my favorite animes of all time. This is one of the most "feel good" anime in the world. There's barely any conflict, and villains are non-existent. The appeal is mostly character interactions and little mysteries, as well as the sheer beauty of it.

Black Cat: From the author of To-Love ru, this is a completely different series. It's action shounen with a lot of style and very different from the standard shounens. I've actually never saw it, but I read the manga.

Eyeshield 21: Shounen sports series. I would reccomend it, but it's really long and I'd prefer to reccomend the manga, since the art of it is incredibly good.(It's from the same guy that's doing the redrawing of One Punch Man)

Futakoi Alternative: A sequel that's not actually a sequel!(It just shares characters with the first one) It's one of those anime that does a lot of different things. The main thing is romance, but there's both comedy and drama too.

Genesis of Aquarion: A mecha series that does homage to the old mecha series. It has a songtrack from Yoko Kanno and had a sequel a few years ago.

Ginga Densetsu Weed: A series about fighting dogs. A very bloody series about fighting dogs with one of the most despicable villains ever. It's technically a sequel to the earlier Ginga Nagareboshi Gin but has a completely separate story(It even had a separate manga).

Glass Mask: The most recent series about possibly my favorite shoujo manga ever. I never saw any of the series, though.

GunXSword: A space western that is held as an example of series without filler. It's been on my list for some time.

Guyver: A toku homage. That's all I know.

Hell Girl: The first season of this extremely depressing series. I saw a few episodes on cable TV.

Honey and Clover: The first season of a very well-regarded shoujo. I never saw it.

Ichigo 100%: I read the manga. It was a pretty good romance. I don't really trust a 12 episode anime to be as good, though.

The Law of Ueki: Shounen action series with a main character that has a very unique power. He can turn trash into trees.

MAR: Shounen series from my favorite shounen author. It's very long.

Noein: A very interesting science fiction series that I plan to watch later.

Pani Pony Dash: A comedy series in the vein of Excel Saga.

Peach Girl: Probably the shoujo that most made me angry after Fushigi Yuugi Eikoden. Completely due to the villain.

Shakugan no Shana: The first season of one of my favorites Light Novel Shounen animes. The second season was inferior, but the third season managed to more than make up for it and finish the series.

Shuffle: The series that pretty much chronicles the moment where harem went wrong. The original visual novel is still well received, but certain changes made to the characters in the anime made it extremely divisive.

Speed Grapher: I mostly know about it because of cable TV. It seems interesting but I never watched it.

Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle: I watched the entire series, even though half of it was filler. I watched the OVA that puts the series back on track, it was fun. I just wanted a follow up because the most interesting parts are after that. I read the manga several times. Enough that I managed to create a theory that makes most things make sense.(This is a confusing series)

Okay. That was more than I expected...


Unrepentant Froggie
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Air: The third of the "Drama Triad" with Clannad and Kanon and the most depressing one.
Wait, it's not on my list... Oh, I see, that's ANN dicking around with airdates and considering the November preview of the first episode as the show's starting date. Well, fuck that : I'll have another look at my list and check whether I've missed anything else. (After all, I've already excluded Fate/Stay Night for the opposite reason.) No way I'm skipping on Air, given its significance.

Honey and Clover: The first season of a very well-regarded shoujo. I never saw it.
I have seen that one a few years ago ; here's my take on it.
(MAL isn't helpful with its insistence on using Japanese titles even when that's stupid ; that's probably why you missed it.)

Noein: A very interesting science fiction series that I plan to watch later.
Pani Pony Dash: A comedy series in the vein of Excel Saga.
I've actually watched the first few episodes of those quite a while ago ; they didn't quite work for me, for reasons I'll expand on when I get to them.

Spoiler: Show
- Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart (a sequel anyway)
- Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan
- Basilisk (urgh)
- Honey & Clover
- Kamichu!
- Pani Poni Dash!
- Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid (again, a sequel ; just rewatched it, actually, and it holds together better than I remembered)
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's (sequel)
- My-Otome (urgh again)
- Noein
- Paradise Kiss (very recently)
- Mushishi

Spoiler: Show
- Air
- Negima! (just to see if it deserves that horrible reputation)
- Ah! My Goddess
- Emma: A Victorian Romance
- Glass Mask
- Best Student Council
- He is My Master (for Gainax/Shaft completism)
- Speed Grapher (reputedly lost in its own ass, but we'll see)
- Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE (although I expect to be utterly lost)
- Eureka Seven
- Trinity Blood
- Shuffle!
- GUNxSWORD (by the director of Code Geass !)
- Guyver
- Shakugan no Shana
- Angel Heart (because City Hunter was part of my childhood)
- Akagi (actually I'm more interested in Kaiji, but this will do for now)
- Hell Girl
- Aria
- Blood+ (can't be as unengaging as Blood-C)


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- Kamichu!
Funny story, I watched that one while sick, and since then everytime I watch the intro I feel really queasy. Which is too bad because it was a very nice, very mellow show.
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