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A

ACCA | Accel World | Air TV | Aishiteruze Baby | Akagami no Shirayukihime | Akatsuki no Yona
Aldnoah.Zero | Angel Beats! | Animal Academy | AnoHana| Arata: The Legend | Assassination Classroom | Asterisk War | Astro Boy | Azumanga Daioh

B
Bakuman | Beast Master | Beyblade | Birdy the Mighty: Decode | Black Bullet | Black Cat
Blue Inferior| Brynhildr in the Darkness | Buddy Complex | Bungou Stray Dogs

C
[C]-Control | Captain Earth | Case Closed | Casshern Sins | Celestial Method | Charlotte
Chichikogusa | Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai | Clannad | Clay Lord | Claymore | Code: Breaker
Code-E | Code Geass | Coppelion | Corset ni Tsubasa | Crest of the Stars | Cyborg 009

D
DanMachi | Darker Than Black | Darling in the FranXX | Dawn of the Arcana | Dengeki Daisy
A Devil and Her Love Song | Diamond Cut Diamond | Digimon Adventure | Digimon Data Squad
Digimon Tamers | Dimension W | Disastrous Life of Saiki K. | .hack//G.U.+ | .hack//link
.hack//Quantum | .hack//SIGN | .hack//xxxx | Double Gauge | Dragon Drive | Durarara!!

E
Eden of the East | El Cazador de la Bruja | Elemental Gelade | Erased | Ergo Proxy | Eureka 7
Evergreen

F
Figure 17 | Frankenstein Family | The Friendly Winter | Free! | Fruits Basket | Full Metal Panic

G
Gakuen Babysitters | Gargantia | Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun | GetBackers | Guilty Crown
Gundam Seed | Gunslinger Girl

H
Hayate the Combat Butler | Heat Guy J | Heroic Legend of Arslan | Hetalia: Axis Powers | Hitogatana
Horimiya | Hunter x Hunter | Hyouka

I
Illegal Rare | Immortal Rain | Inu x Boku | Irregular at Magic High School | Iris Zero | Isshukan Friends

J
Joker Game | Jormungand | Jyu-Oh-Sei

K
K | Kado | Kagerou Days | Karneval | Kiddy Grade | Kimi ni Todoke | Kimi to Boku | Kino's Journey
Kino: The Beautiful World | Kiznaiver | Kotoura-san | Kuromukuro

L
La Corda D'Oro | Lagrange | Last Exile | Last Ranker be the Last One |Library Wars | Lime Odyssey
Little Busters | Love So Life | Lucky Star

M
Mai-HiME | Maid-Sama! | Majestic Prince | MAOH | March Comes in Like a Lion | Medabots
Michiko & Hatchin | Monster Rancher | Mouretsu Pirates | My Hero Academia | My Little Monster
My Love Story!! | My Roommate is a Cat

N
Nabari no Ou | Nagi no Asukara | Naruto | Night Head | Night Raid 1931 | Nisekoi | No.6
Norn9 | Nui! | Nukoduke!

O
Oban Star Racers | Okami-san and her Seven Companions | Okami-kodomo | One Piece
One-Punch Man | Orange | Oresama Teacher | Otomen

P
Pet Girl of Sakurasou | Plastic Memories | +Anima | Poco's Udon World | Pokemon | Princess Jellyfish
Psyren | Pumpkin Scissors

R
Re-Life | Rideback | R.o.D. TV | Romeo x Juliet | The Royal Tutor | Rurouni Kenshin | RWBY

S
S.A. | Saijou no Meii | Sailor Moon: Crystal | Samurai 7 | Sands of Destruction | School Rumble
Seven Deadly Sins | Sgt. Frog | Shining Hearts | Shirayukihime to 7-nin no Shuujin
Silver Diamond | Skip Beat | SNAFU | Solty Rei | Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii | Spiral | Starry Sky
The Story of Saiunkoku | Sword Art Online | SAO II | SAO: Alicization

T
Tegami Bachi | Touhou Shinigami | Trickster | Trigun | Tsubasa: Those With Wings | Tsukikage Ran

U
UN-GO | The Unlimited

V
Valvrave | Violet Evergarden

W
Wasureyuki | When Supernatural Battles Become Commonplace | Whistle! | WIXOSS | Wolf's Rain
World Embryo | World Trigger

Y
Yatterman Night | Yotsuba&! | Young Black Jack | Your Lie in April | Your Name |
YowaPeda | Yuusen Shojo

Z
Zankyou no Terror | Zennou no Noa | Zoids | Zoids: Chaotic Century

My Roommate is a Cat

Plot: In search of inspiration for his next novel, an introverted writer named Subaru Mikazuki, who closed himself off after the death of his parents, takes in a stray cat. In learning to take care of her, he starts to open up to others and broaden his horizons. (Nothing ground-breaking here, just a fluffy slice of life. -- B-)

Characters: None outside of Subaru and Haru (the cat) are explored in-depth, but those two are explored well. -- B+

Artwork & Animation: B-

Voice Acting: A-

Music: B+

Objectionable Content: barely any

Other: This series is interesting in that the formula in 90% of the episodes is the first half telling events from Subaru's point of view and the second half telling events from Haru's point of view. Haru mostly acts like a real cat would act, so seeing her side of the story is always fun. ^^

I really enjoyed this, personally, and would recommend it to anyone searching for a good, clean, lighthearted series.

Overall Score: B+

Recommendation: 3.5/5

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A Blast from the Anime Past

I've been feeling nostalgic recently. From the early days of mon anime to the kids' shows that I watched later, I've been going back and revisiting them at least in part. So, here's a ranking/assessment with nostalgia glasses off.

7. Pokemon
The anime that hooked me before I knew anime by name. I went back to some of my favorite episodes, and while they were fun, this is definitely the lowest on the list.
Good points: The fun. This series was unabashedly fun.
Bad points: The least mature with the least-developed characters. The whole plot comes down to the tournaments without much reason to root for characters you have minimum investment in.

6. Beyblade
Fun enough that I go back to it every so often even if the premise is dumb.
Good points: Unlike Pokemon, character arcs are well-done, which ups the investment when the stakes get high. This series always manages to make me laugh, but it knows when to play it serious too. (On more of a sidenote, the first season's art is head-and-shoulders above the simplistic art in the rest of these series.)
Bad points: The premise is kinda ridiculous when all is said and done. Really bad voice acting really makes it not hold up well against the competition.

6 - TIE. Monster Rancher
Of all of the mon anime, this was the darkest. The episodes were played at random, so I never saw the end. I picked it up again intending to finally finish the series, but... I dropped it at some point.
Good points: More complex characters and storytelling.
Bad points: The story's uneven, sometimes taking random detours. I also can't take too much of Genki in a single sitting because he's just kind of over-the-top.

4. Digimon Adventure 01
While I enjoyed seeing this again, it didn't hold up as well as some of its later counterparts.
Good points: The "destined" aspect gives it a kind of epic adventure feel that gets lost in the later seasons. The world-building was also cool. The kids get nice character development, but not so much for the Digimon.
Bad points: Couldn't take the final boss seriously because of all of the jokes that were apparently added into the dub version. That took a lot of tension out of what should have been a climactic point in the series.

3. Digimon Savers (Data Squad)
Some parts of this season are definitely stronger than other parts. I find myself revisiting specific arcs.
Good points: Keenan. Yup. He's what hooked me and is still my main reason for watching. Okay, and also a more complex conflict that's a little less black & white than the one in the original series. Doesn't dumb things down for its audience.
Bad points: Marcus. ... He just wasn't as likable as the protagonists from the other series -- he has a major attitude problem, with less redeeming qualities than Tai and Matt, who were also hotheaded, but stronger characters. I also found Yoshi a bit grating. Standing alone, the premise is good. But taking it in the context of the franchise, it's lost its roots. The whole basis of the series has been changed, and the epic feel and sense of mystery are gone when the protagonists are now essentially regular kids on a police force and the Digimon are basically their Pokemon. (No, really, they even store them inside their digivices the same way Pokemon are carried in Pokeballs.)

2. Digimon Tamers (SPOILER WARNING)
I did skip a couple episodes here and there, but in my review of Digimon, this was the best season of the franchise, hands-down. It still has a little bit of the adventurous/magical feel of the first season but with the complexity of the more recent seasons. It balances a lot of fun moments with some downright dark segments and plays well to both.
Good points: Again, doesn't over-explain/dumb things down for its audience. The portrayal of having to hide and care for the Digimon in the real world is actually pretty realistic. This has some very good character development. Even characters that I initially couldn't stand (Rika) were developed well. The kids' bonds with their Digimon is highlighted particularly well.
Bad points: There were some moments in the final conflict that were just kind of thrown in without making much sense. One of them was the weird blonde girl that was the daughter of one of the developers, I think... She popped in, gave the heroes a convenient ace-in-the-hole for their big battle, and disappeared. There are also some kinda random episodes (Kazu and Kenta's adventure in the digi world -- pretty much anything with Kazu and Kenta is unnecessary) and cheesy parts, but overall this was still enjoyable to watch.

1. Oban Star Racers (SPOILER WARNING)
Good points: This is one of the best-written shows for kids and teens that I've ever seen. You understand the majority of the characters' motivations, and it's so emotional (particularly Molly's character arc). Creativity's also a strong point here.
Bad points: I was totally on board with the plot and the characters...until the very end. Caniletto and his whole destiny shpiel, and JORDAN, Mr. Blast-Everything-In-Sight, getting all the powers and authority of the highest alien lifeform in the galaxy? NO. Just NO. XD

To complete my nostalgia viewing, I'll have to go and dig up Astroboy 2003 and Medabots. Hmm... I wonder where those would fall in the ranking? I'll probably wind up revisiting this post. XD

RWBY

I'm going a bit off the beaten path this time with a series that's not technically anime -- but it's sure close enough, and TDE has me on a roll with his recent analysis of the show.

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Plot: In the world of Remnant, huntsmen and huntresses protect the kingdoms from the mysterious creatures of Grimm.

Thanks to her antics during a high-profile robbery, aspiring huntress Ruby Rose is accepted to the prestigious Beacon huntsmen academy, where she becomes the leader of her own team. Ruby, her sister, Yang, and their friends, Weiss and Blake, soon find themselves fighting much more than just the Grimm as tensions come to a head and secrets threaten to shatter the fragile peace. (Early episodes are standard school dramedy fare with a fairytale twist, but pieces of plot dropped here and there build into quite an involved web of events. The latest season or two have made this web a bit more tangled, and not in a good way. -- A-)

Characters: Even if some of them seem tropey or irritating at first, the main characters, and even some of the supporting cast members, grow and get some real depth as the series progresses. -- A

Artwork & Animation: The cel-shaded 3D style, reminiscent to the DBZ and Naruto fighter games, takes a bit of getting used to, but improves with each season. In the earlier seasons, especially, fight sequences look like something straight out of this type of game. -- B-

Voice Acting: First season -- C | Latest seasons -- B+

Music: Not a huge fan of the hard rock vocal numbers used in some of the fight sequences (because it jars me right out of the scene), but the orchestrated BG music is very nice. -- B

Objectionable Content: blood, occasional profanity

Other: I actually initially quit this series not even halfway through volume 1, but picked it up again after hearing how great the later seasons were. Volume 1 is an introduction to the world and characters, volume 2 sets up all the pieces that later come into play, volume 3 is where all the villains' plotting comes to a climax, and volume 4 is the fallout, where we get a lot of character development. Volume 5 builds up the action again, but this is also the season with the messiest (meaning most convoluted) storytelling and a number of other issues. Finally, volume 6 introduces a second major turning point in the plot.

Volumes 2-4 are my favorite. Volumes 5 and 6 have some elements that I enjoyed and others that I strongly disliked. I may not be watching further.

Overall Score: B+

Recommendation: Vol 1 -- 2.5/5 | Vol 2-4 -- 4/5 | Vol 5, 6 -- 2/5

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SAO: Alicization

Plot: After Kazuto/Kirito is attacked by one of the remaining members of Laughing Coffin in the real world, he wakes up in a place called the Underworld with little memory of what happened outside. He meets a boy named Eugeo, and as he learns about this strange world with Eugeo's help, he realizes that he is inside of another virtual reality. In order to contact the outside and escape Underworld, he journeys with Eugeo to the Central Cathedral in Centoria. (A-)

Characters: We're introduced to two new characters in this season/arc, and both are likable. One of these is Kirito's first close male friend, Eugeo. Their dynamic brought a welcome breath of fresh air to the story.

On the other hand, Asuna's become even more unlikable, and it feels like Kirito's character development's taken a step backward from GGO. (B+)

Art & Animation: Everything looks shinier, but it seems like the quality was better in previous seasons. (A-)

Music: A-

Voice acting: A

Objectionable Content: Blood, sexual situations, profanity

Other: I separated this season out because we've again started in yet another world different enough from SAO and SAO II (Phantom Bullet/GGO) to stand this one on its own.

This season also stands out from the others in a bad way. For the first time, the series regularly includes blood -- needlessly gratuitous amounts of blood. The series has had issues with uncomfortable sexual assault scenes starting with the Fairy Dance/ALO arc. That's also taken a step further in this arc. These were graphic enough in the novel (which, for the first time, I read before the animated version) that I took a pen to it and blacked out when they went over the top, or even tore out pages. But at least in book form, your brain still has some control over the gritty details. The animated version leaves little to the imagination, and it's not edited, either. Thus, I'm only watching pieces of the anime.

Overall score: A-

Recommendation: Many recommendation points taken off for objectionable content. I also stopped reading the book after they killed Eugeo. -- 1.5/5

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Series that Could Have Been Great

One of the things that really gets me about anime/manga in particular is when a show begins with great potential but the execution just can't hack it. This list breaks down 6 of these could-have-been's.

1. Aldnoah.Zero
Why it could have been great: The production itself was excellent. It was a Gundam-esque premise ("War is Hell," featuring a naive princess trying to stop the fighting) with Code Geass levels of behind-the-scenes plotting and "grey" villainy.
Where it fell short: Its central protagonist, Inaho, was flat and uninteresting, while the far more interesting secondary protagonist, Slaine, who was set up as the "frienemy," was used as the antagonists' whipping boy for more than half of the first season. (In truth, there were several more interesting secondary characters, including a superior officer who had PTSD.) The most frustrating part of this came when the series reached a point where these characters could have come to a truce, but to set Slaine up as a villain in season 2 (which I did not even attempt to watch because of the way the first season ended), our protagonists were jerks and sent him back to the antagonists to be used as a whipping boy yet again. (I say "they were jerks" because prior to this, they accepted someone of far more dubious character into their ranks, who wound up attempting murder later. And after she did this, they forgave her almost immediately.)

2. Night Head: Genesis (manga)
Why it could have been great: The concept was that ESP is the result of humans being able to tap into the normally unused 80% of the brain – pretty cool, right? Also, the characters were sympathetic and well fleshed-out.
Where it fell short: It went into all-out weird territory that made no sense. The manga stopped being released after only two volumes.

3. Kiznaiver
Why it could have been great: It had another great concept of creating a system where you could feel other people's pain, in theory bringing peace. This also brought a nice psychological aspect into the show.
Where it fell short: The first half had off-putting elements that wasted time and made the ending feel rushed. In earlier episodes, it also abused its protagonist to the point where it felt mean-spirited/in bad taste.

4. Darling in the FranXX
Why it could have been great: This is another series with great visuals and an intriguing premise (the psychology of co-piloting with a partner). It also had a world that begged for exploration.
Where it fell short: Said exploration for the world was less than satisfactory and, coupled with some bad pacing, climactic information was more or less info-dumped on the audience in just one or two rushed episodes. On top of this, a final boss was added in at the last minute with almost no prior set-up, making it feel like it just came out of nowhere and adding to the confusion that resulted from the bad pacing/info-dump.

5. Trickster
Why it could have been great: It was a mix of sci-fi and mystery with what should have been an interesting central character.
Where it fell short: The characters were handled extremely poorly, to the point where they were grating. The central character, Kobayashi, had a power that made him invincible, but he was afraid of hurting people to the point that he thought he should die. The series wasted time that should have been spent on developing this character (ex: having him figure out how to control his power) on building up the big fight against an equally-grating villain and side stories that didn't contribute to the overall plot. The plot writing itself was also sloppy.

6. Plastic Memories
Why it could have been great: This series started out so well. It was an exploration of what would happen when extremely human-like androids reached the end of their “lives.” It was centered around an organization that retrieved the androids before they stopped functioning.
Where it fell short: The writers couldn’t make up their minds whether they wanted this series to be a serious sci-fi drama or an overwrought rom-com. It jammed some not-actually-funny rom-com antics in to lighten the mood, and this just took away from the overall tone and flow of the series.

Hm. Now that I've typed this all out, I'm seeing a pattern here. I guess I have very high expectations for sci-fi/drama and psychological series. What do you think of these anime? What are some series that you feel fell short of their potential? Share your thoughts in the comments!