Varms Official Anime of the Year Rankings

It’s that time of year where we find the coolest stuff of any category and throw it together for the convenience of the internet.   Much like last year, most of the rules still apply, especially the fact that any contender has to have FINISHED this year.  Any show is best judged as a sum of its parts, so you won’t find anything in this list that is only halfway done.  This year gave us lots of great shows, and in light of that I have expanded the listing for this year up to 15 shows in total.

15)  Symphogear G
Terrorism has never had such a wonderful singing voice.

The first season of Symphogear made the “So Bad it’s So Good” rank on last year’s AOTY ranking.  This second romp through the idol infused world of Symphogear has taken a drastic turn for the awesome this year, making for a huge improvement this year.  Everything that made the original series watchable has been refined with incredible care, and the only drawback to this season is the fact that some very serious issues with animation quality pop up during the last couple episodes.  This show was lots of fun to watch, and with a third season officially greenlit, there is more fun to come.

14)  Vividred Operation
 They fight for justice, alternative energy, and sexy butts.

This show has received a lot of flack since it was expected to be Strike Witches:  Modern Warfare.  While it may not have been the epic ecchi show of the year everyone was hoping for, it is lots of fun to watch, and it panders to anime fans in all the right ways.   The best way to describe this show is “Iron Man meets Strike Witches.”  This show is all about cute girls defending the world’s alternative energy from alien invaders, and delivers an action-packed adventure full of goodness that anime otaku crave.  It may have fallen short of the heavy expectations of some viewers, but this show is a blast to watch and worth checking out if you are in the market for a good action/ecchi show.

13)  Kinero Mosaic
The moe has reached dangerous levels.

This lovely tale of friendship between different cultures and nations is one of the greatest slice of life shows to come around this year.   This anime does slice of life perfectly, with a blend of cute characters, bits of comedy, and a peaceful, yet fun, tone.  This show got me through some tough times in my personal life this year, and I had a great time watching it otherwise.  If you enjoy slice of life anime, this is a “must watch” to add to your list for this year.

12)  Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko
(The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat)
The supreme blend of moe and fun.

This is one of the year’s best comedies about a young man and the troubles in his life caused by an unusual cat god.  This show is both cute and hilarious, with a touch of ecchi that makes it more than worth checking out.  Fun fact:  a wayward google search has even given this show enough fame to appear in a skit on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central.

Even the NSA knows Tsukiko is best girl.
11)  Kyoukai no Kanata
(Beyond the Horizon)
Monster hunting has never been so beautiful.

This is an otherwise excellent anime that has suffered from being forced through both a brutal hype machine and some very unreasonable scrutiny simply because it is a show made by Kyoto Animation.   Dubbed the “Monogatari Killer” since before it’s airing, this show has been unfairly judged by the get go.  Kyoani studios delivers a beautifully animated supernatural/action show with fun, charming characters, an interesting universe, and incredible artwork.  Ignore the negative buzz and studio fanboys, this show is more than worth a look.

10)  Outbreak Company
Being a hikikomori has never been so awesome.

This anime is about an otaku outcast that is given the job of a lifetime:  the opportunity to spread otaku culture to an alternative realm of magic and fantasy.  This is the kind of anime that appeals most to those that keep up with anime otaku culture and everything that goes with it, but if you keep up with anime in general you will have a great time watching this.  This show has a mix of great characters, comedy, fanservice, and other assorted bits of otaku fun to make for awesome entertainment.

9)  Date A Live
The insanity of anime, condensed into one great package.

Date a Live sets out to take the harem trope commonly found in anime and do something amazing with it.  This show does so with laser-guided precision, and the results are nothing short of fantastic.  The absurd, yet very fun concept of having the main character swoon cute and deadly girls for the sake of saving the world is loads of fun to watch, and Tsunako’s (the character designer from the Hyperdimention Neptunia games) lovely character designs bring everything to life.  With a second season on the way, the life of anime fans couldn’t be better.

8)  Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san
(Muromi by the Sea Shore)
Crack open some cold ones, it’s time for Muromi-san.

If you somehow mashed “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” with an anime about mythical creatures, Muromi-san is what you would get.  This show is an unapologetic comedy about drunken mermaids and other assorted mythical creatures screwing around, and it is nothing short of pure hilarity.  This anime is guaranteed to make you laugh your ass off, and it has to be one of the best anime comedies of all time.

7)  GJ-Bu
You will never have an extracurricular club as fun as this one.

GJ Bu was yet another awesome slice of life anime from this year.  This anime does everything that makes slice of life anime great, with a wonderful blend of amusing characters and its own brand of comedy.   The end of this show only left me feeling sad that it was over, and taught us all that the art of hair brushing is one of the best ways to win the hearts of women.

6)  Hataraku Maou-sama!
(The Devil is a Part-Timer!)

A fast-food gig has never been so epic.

This is the story of an infamous demon overlord that finds his way into our world, and is forced to bend to the whims of our brutal modern economy.  This show treats us to a hilarious satire on modern life for those of us barely scraping by, with a touch of might and magic.  If Kevin Smith were to produce an anime, this is what you would get, minus the pot smoking.   Maou-sama is a delightful mix of comedy, slice of life, fantasy, and romance that offers much more than meets the eye.

5)  Shin Sekai Yori
(From the New World)
Why do psychics always go on a killing spree when they discover their powers?

In the beginning, this show seemed like a strange trip through a confusing and convoluted world.  The sum of the events through this show are what make up the meat and bones of this anime, and you will be left with a thought-provoking ending that makes you question what really makes up right and wrong.  This tale of a sudden upheaval through human evolution is both surreal and shocking, and a demonstration of awesome writing within the medium of anime.  If you are looking for a unique and intelligent anime, check this out.

4)  Girls und Panzer
Girls and tanks are a winning combination.

Most of this show aired last year, but because of the painstaking efforts of everyone to get this show ended properly, the last two episodes did not air until this year.  GuP seems like an absurd concept that should never amount to anything good, a show about girls operating tanks as an extracurricular activity for both privilege and glory.  However, like anime’s other ventures into antique military culture, GuP turned out to be a formula of sheer genius.  This odd combination of cute girls, military history, and sports-anime presentation is a perfect success, leaving fans around the world drooling for more.

3)  Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S
(A Certain Scientific Railgun S)
It’s like X-Men, but with cute girls.

This is the highly anticipated sequel to the popular Index spinoff, “A Certain Scientific Railgun,” featuring a chunk of the franchise’s most popular characters.   This show covers territory that has already been tread within “A Certain Magical Index”, but the retelling is so amazingly well done it is more than worth a watch.  An entirely new view on the “Accelerator” arc is presented in an action-packed frenzy featuring everyone’s favorite electromaster, and the latter half of the show brings more adventures for a handful of cute girls fighting against evil science.  I won’t hide the fact that I love the Index/Railgun franchise, but this addition is nothing short of awesome.

2)  Psycho Pass
Thanks Obama

Psycho Pass was last year’s “honorable mention”, and this year it can get some well-deserved recognition.  Psycho Pass presented us with a dystopian future where our freedoms and ambitions are limited by our own thoughts and feelings thanks to startling advancements in science and technology.  In light of recent events revealing the NSA’s massive surveillance program and the PRISM system, Psycho Pass’s world featuring the brain scanning SYBIL system grows even more frightening.  This anime showed us an interesting world and a terrifying villain that has become the byproduct of it. This show contains a crime drama formula with a sci-fi twist, and is a “must see” for most anime fans, including those of a more casual variety.

1) Shingeki no Kyojin
(Attack on Titan)
The walls are a lie.

Attack on Titan is one of the biggest and most popular anime around the world, and for good reason.  This anime takes place in a fantasy-esque setting where mankind has made its final stand for survival behind massive walls to protect itself from man-eating giants, the titans.  This anime revolves itself around a group of characters whose lives are changed when the titans are finally able to breach the walls that humanity has relied on for protection for over a hundred years.  This story of humanity’s struggle against the titans and the mysteries surrounding them makes for an awesome show that leaves the audience wanting more and more.  No matter what part of the globe you live on, Attack on Titan has become one of the most beloved anime series in modern times.  If you haven’t at least tried watching this show, you can hardly call yourself a fan of anime.

2013 AOTY Special Categories

Honorable Mention:
Log Horizon
DATABASE WOW WOW

This show seemed like nothing more than a shallow clone of last year’s Sword Art Online, but then rose above to prove itself as one of the best shows of the year.  Log Horizon takes the idea of having thousands of players trapped in an MMORPG and brings it to life in a way no other show like it has been able to in the past.   A great setting, awesome characters, and storytelling that doesn’t rely on shock value makes for an incredible new franchise in anime.   At this time, the only thing keeping this show out of the rankings for AOTY is the simple fact that it hasn’t finished yet.  Don’t miss this one!

Best Ecchi
Highschool DXD NEW
This show could go on forever and I would never complain.

Let’s face it, sometimes all we want from an anime is some T&A.  Once again, Highschool DXD takes the crown for ecchi anime.  The war between demons and angels has never been sexier, thanks to this show’s ability to not give a fuck about holding back on fanservice.   This show gets extra kudos for delivering on the ecchi content without holding back for a BD release, even though they will shower everyone with even more ecchi goodness upon the BD release.

Best Mecha
Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince
(Majestic Prince)
Giant robots have never been so beautiful.

I originally came into MJP with minimal expectations, but I was treated to one of the best mecha anime in recent times.  MJP brings us a fairly typical story of humanity fighting for survival against an alien menace, brought to life with CG mecha battles that are nothing short of amazing.   This is wildly entertaining, and it has lots of nods to mecha anime and video games from the past.  If you want a modern mecha anime that is loads of fun to watch without an insultingly stupid storyline from this year, MJP is your best bet.

So Bad It’s Good
Kakumeiki Valvrave
(Valvrave the Liberator)
Are you fucking serious?

Valvrave is the result of Sunrise pumping a shitload of cash into one of the worst-written scripts of all time.  This is literally the story of teen space-vampires fighting space-Nazis in mecha powered by teen-angst, memories, and rape.  I’m not even joking.   Valvrave continually presents the audience with one insultingly stupid scenario after another, and does so with a completely straight face.  This show brings the definition of “train wreck” to an entirely new level, and because of that, it is also some of the most fun you can have watching anime this year.  Despite the pure stupidity of this series, this is also one of the most entertaining shows of the year.  Just be sure to remember, the second you begin to take Valvrave seriously is the second you lose.

Biggest Disappointment
Monogatari Series:  Second Season
Because she really needed a THIRD story arc.

The term “overrated” tends to get thrown around too much in the critique of just about any medium, but I have never found a better use for it than to describe this entry into the Monogatari franchise.  I thoroughly enjoyed the first two entries of SHAFT’s adaptation of this, but I can’t say the same this time around.  Even though this series has enjoyed seemingly endless critical praise around the world, no one can deny the fact that this season has been marred by excessive recap episodes and mediocre storylines that drag on long beyond their welcome.  This show constantly fluctuated between being awesome to downright boring, and there are few anime viewers around the world with the guts to call this show out for it.  This year was filled with lots of excellent anime that is worth checking out, and all the artsy backgrounds and fanservice in the world aren’t enough to make this one of them.

For the Love of Ecchi: A List of Modern Marvels, Beloved Classics, and Hidden Gems

If you’re reading this article right now, there is little doubt that your web search landed you here for one reason: a love for 2D girls.  The previous articles I have written about ecchi anime have had mixed results; some fans became enraged that I did not include one of their favorite shows in the lists, or simply became upset with the manner in which I “ranked” them.  But every now and then a reader would come out with words of praise for introducing them to an anime they have not known about.  This article is for those kinds of people.  Manly men (and maybe some women out there?) with a thirst for cute girls, bouncy boobs, striped panties, over the top harem fantasies, and all the other wonders that can only be realized in glorious 2D.  The following list of ecchi anime is a handful of shows I enjoyed, both old and new, along with a few suggestions from previous readers included for good measure; all in hopes that someone out there may find a show they have never seen before for their enjoyment.

Asobi ni iko Yo!  (Let’s go Play!)
AKA: Cat Planet Cuties (Really, Funimation?)
I would gladly submit to a Catian invasion.

Here is a sci-fi/comedy that tends to be overlooked by anime fans.  The story is about a boy named Kio that becomes involved with an alien from the planet Catia, and the adventures that follow.  The important thing to mention is that the alien he meets is a sexy cat girl named Eris, and his other love interests include a busty CIA agent in training and an ex-government agent with teleportation abilities.  This show follows typical harem antics while exploring the entire cat girl fetish, and there is some awesome action to tie everything together.

Futari Ecchi
AKA: Step up Love Story
Yes, this is a manga to help you get girls.

This series is one I have hesitated to place in previous ecchi articles because I pretty much classify it as softcore porn.  I decided to include it in this article this time around because of reader feedback and the fact that this has a rather interesting history.  Futari Ecchi started off as a manga with a two-fold purpose.  It was meant to be a “how-to” guide for people starting romantic endeavors for the first time, while also telling an entertaining story.   The original manga even included real-life facts, techniques, and statistics, and eventually spun off into a 4 episode anime OVA and several live-action series.  Despite the very heavy-handed erotic content, the anime presents an entertaining, romantic, and dare I say it, cute story of the beginnings of a married couple.

Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou (The Great Demon King in the Back Row)
AKA:  Demon King Daimao (Another bad English name, because Daimaou already means “demon king”)
It’s good to be king.

The world of this anime is a fairly interesting one, taking place in an era where magic and technology have become one and the same.  This sort of thing has been done before, but never with such sexy results.  The story centers on Akuto Sai, a student entering a prestigious Clergy academy in hopes of making the world a better place.  When one of the sages in the school predicts that Akuto’s future profession is that of a Demon King, his life is turned upside down.  While this seems like a bad thing, he actually ends up gathering a group of sexy magical girls of assorted abilites that follow him, a cute android girl that watches over him, and a really badass dragon.  This anime is one my favorite harem comedies of all time, so it’s worth checking out if this is your thing.

Kanokon
Fox deities are the best deities.

Stories of deities and other assorted spirits and gods are nothing new to anime.  Kanokon dares to ask the question: why can’t they be sexy?  Kanokon is about a student named Kouta that is constantly chased by his classmate, Chizuru.  Chizuru not only has a pretty big rack for a high-school girl, she also happens to be a powerful fox spirit.  The anime is full of mysticism and oddities, but the highlight is in the fact that Chizuru will attempt to force herself on Kouta ANYTIME, and ANYWHERE.  The anime was done by studio Xebec, a studio known for having a knack for animating voluptuous girls.

Koe de Oshigoto
How lewd!

Just as Hollywood has made a few films that look into the inner workings of the porn industry, Koe de Oshigoto is a story about Japan’s eroge (erotic video game) industry.  On her 16th birthday, Kanna Aoyagi is approached by her sister to do some voice acting work at the game company she works for.  The catch is, her sister is in the business of making erotic video games.  This isn’t technically considered to be an ecchi anime, but the sexual content in this short pair of OVA’s can put an entire ecchi series to shame.  This show is short, sweet, and fun for ecchi fans, and a must see for eroge players.

Queen’s Blade
Would you let them rule your kingdom?

Queen’s Blade started off as a series of “game books” that work something like a “choose your own adventure” kind of book, a sort of combination of a novel and a tabletop game.  The overall story surrounds a land where a tournament known as “Queen’s Blade” is held every 4 years in order to pick the new ruler of the kingdom.  This franchise has spawned a multimedia empire of books, anime, manga, and video games.  Queen’s Blade combines high fantasy, awesome fighting, and exploration of a wide variety of 2D fetishes to create a guilty pleasure few can resist.  Clearly a must see for any ecchi fan, but it is so good I’d go far enough to say any anime fan with an open mind should check it out.   There are 3 TV series and a handful of OVA’s and even a few crossover specials, so there is plenty of content for anime viewers.

Sekirei
Gotta catch ‘em all!

Sekirei combines the idea of harem anime with Pokémon.  The “sekirei” are girls with superhuman abilities born from alien technology, forced to fight in a tournament by a madman who runs a powerful conglomerate.  Humans known as “Ashikabi” are able to gather Sekirei to serve them while empowering their abilities, in other words, Ashikabi have a harem of hot girls battle for them.   Sekirei puts an interesting twist on many of the typical tropes found in harem comedies, and the awesome fights almost never stop coming.  The anime is a blast to watch, but fans of the manga clearly hold the advantage considering how little of the story the two anime seasons cover.

Senran Kagura
Ninjas+Boobs= Awesome

This anime aired very recently, and was featured in my weekly anime article here at Varms.  Senran Kagura is based on a series of video games that unfortunately have yet to make it to the west, despite a growing demand for them.  The story is about a group of high-school girls undergoing ninja training in secret, and the battles between the factions of light and darkness.  The games and the anime present a simple but effective formula of sexy, busty ninja girls fighting each other for various reasons, and the result is nothing but purified awesomeness.  The anime is loaded with action, comedy, and clothes that easily rip during battle.  The only drawback to getting into this anime is the fact that you will want the video games to come over to the west, something that isn’t likely to happen.

Softenni
Maybe I should start watching Tennis…

Softenni is about cute girls in a “soft” tennis club.  Before you think this is the typical sports anime, you would do well to know that this is a sports anime that is filled with comedy and perversion, and that is why it is great.  Softenni never takes itself seriously; this show is full of just about every flavor of anime humor, ranging from perverse to parody.  While this show is filled to the brim with ecchi content, the comedy is the real charm of this show.  This anime is completely depraved and ridiculously hilarious, a winning combination.

Vividred Operation
Cute girls, cute butts, alternative energy.  What more could you want?

Vividred is another show that I featured in my weekly anime round-up.  This show is about a group of girls that transform into “Palette Suits” to battle giant aliens known as “Alone”; beings determined to destroy the world’s revolutionary power supply, the Incarnate Engine.   Vividred is all about fanservice, and not just the sexy kind.  No other anime offers the opportunity to see high-tech magical girls fighting alongside fighter jets and naval fleets.  This show’s adorable character designs, incredible action scenes, light-hearted comedy, and truckloads of fanservice aimed at ecchi otaku and military otaku combine together to make one of the most fun shows of 2013.

Weekly Anime Round-Up: March 25th – March 31st

Winter anime has almost entirely finished for the season, with Little Busters being the only show included in the round up that did not end this week.  This season was a lot of fun, but the upcoming spring anime lineup looks very exciting, with lots of variety and the return of some popular shows from last year and beyond.  Since this article consists almost entirely of endings, I’m going to try and keep things short and sweet.

AKB0048:  Episode 26 END
Can’t… resist… the moe…

AKB0048’s final push to retake Akibastar involves singing to a crowd of disenfranchised citizens that feel they were abandoned during the DES assault.  As expected, this show wraps up with a spectacular performance of idols vs. space marines, along with answering a lot of the viewer’s burning questions.  This is the kind of show someone will either love or hate, but it was a fun ride and worth watching by any fan of idol anime.

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT:  Episode 12 END
(I Don’t Have Many Friends)  AKA: Haganai
I’ve heard this is a common practice in American prisons

This episode reinforced my opinion that Haganai is awesome when it sticks to comedy, and just plain awkward when it tries to be serious.  I really loved watching this season, and I still recommend it to fans of Haganai, but be warned, the ending for this season is going to leave a bitter taste in your mouth.  Unless a 3rd season comes around, this will be one of the worst endings to a TV anime I have ever seen.  Now go ahead and watch it and rage.

Girls und Panzer:  Episode 12 END
B-b-but tanks are supposed to be fun!

The conclusion of the biggest tank battle the girls have faced is finally here, and it was worth the wait.  The creative team’s decision to take the extra time needed to do this final battle the right way paid off, because both of these episodes were simply amazing.  This show is yet another example of anime’s unusual knack for transforming strange concepts into fantastic entertainment.  The massive popularity of this show practically guarantees another season, so it is almost safe to say we can expect even more cute girls and tanks.

Little Busters!:  Episode: 25
A true anime rarity:  a girl with an eye patch for actual medical reasons.

This week the Little Busters are… actually getting ready to play baseball?  A game has finally been arranged for the Busters to play against a team formed by the schools other athletic clubs, but they are still short one player for the game.  Will unusual circumstances once again bring another player to the Little Busters baseball team?

Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru:  Episode 13 END
(My Girlfriend and my Childhood Friend Fight Too Much) AKA: Oreshura
The final battle for the title of best girl begins…

The “Oredere” game promotion contest has begun, in a seemingly cruel display that forces the girls to pour their hearts out for Eita in front of a large audience.  The sacred answer to the question of “which girl won” is up for debate after the conclusion of this show.  In the end, Oreshura was enjoyable, but also a fairly average romcom anime with a fairly average romcom ending.

Senran Kagura:  Episode 12 END
Best girls have arrived to save the day!

The conclusion to boobie ninja’s is upon us, for better or worse.  This show set out to be an ecchi/action/comedy and achieved exactly that, and it won’t ever fall under or exceed those expectations.  Was Senran Kagura a pervy action show made to pander to fans of ninjas and boobs?  Yes.  Was Senran Kagura awesome for those same previously mentioned reasons?  Absolutely.

Vividred Operation:  Episode 12 END
C’mon crow god, have you seen gas prices?  Taking away the Incarnate Engine is a dick move.

The interdimensional crow-god thingy has spoken, and naturally it wants to destroy all of mankind, because that is the only reasonable thing to do.  Can Akane and her friends save mankind and alternative energy with the power of friendship and yuri overtones?  We are going to find out!  Vividred is a really fun show made to entertain anime fans, and is completely unapologetic about it.  Obviously this means this show isn’t for everyone, and strangely enough that is also what makes it devilishly fun.

Zetsuen no Tempest:  Episode 24 END
AKA: The Civilization Blaster
Can anyone stop the tree of Genesis?

Studio Bones is infamous for the way they end anime (Just ask Soul Eater fans), but I have to admit, they did a good job this time.  Everything wraps up nicely, and a very satisfying ending was delivered.  It’s obvious that my enjoyment of this show was lacking during the second half, mostly due to some really bad pacing issues.  This show could have been amazing if it was trimmed down to a single core season of 12-13 episodes, especially because I always had the feeling every bit of the story was being stretched beyond its limit.

Yet Another Show I Watched:

GJ-Bu:  12 Episodes
Anime high school once again proves superior to real high school.

GJ-bu is yet another show from this season that I regrettably did not include in the roundup.  The story basically involves the daily activities the GJ club, a school club that consists of four girls and a new member nicknamed “Kyoro”, the only male member of the club.  The GJ club is pretty much just an excuse for everyone to have a place to mess around, and that is the basic premise of the show.  This is a slice of life/comedy that strongly represents everything that is great about slice of life anime.  The show is both relaxing and humorous, and features a cast of colorful and memorable characters.  Slice of Life shows can be very hit or miss with me, but I really enjoyed this one.  If you are in the market for something cute, silly, and relaxing, this show hits the spot.

Weekly Anime Round-Up: March 18th – March 24th

Three of shows have come to an end this week, and almost all of them will finish up next week.  Things will be slow for the next couple weeks, but there is some good news:  Girls und Panzer has returned!  The conclusion to one of the biggest shows of last year is finally upon us!  Mahou shoujo fans also have a special treat this week, as the Lyrical Nanoha A’s movie finally came out on BD, with English subtitles included!  Naturally, I added this awesome movie to this week’s roundup, enjoy!

AKB0048:  Episode 25
Look out!  That fun is comin’ right for us!

As the girls rehearse for the concert to take back Akibastar, things on their home world are nothing short of terrible.  A strange phenomenon causes the girls to take a peek into the hidden world where the “center nova” disappear into, and learn a bit about their true origin.  Prepare for a cliffhanger ending.

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT:  Episode 11
(I Don’t Have Many Friends)  AKA: Haganai
Even when sick, Rika maintains her elegant passion for romance.

Being the only person capable of spicing up Sena’s ridiculous movie with high-quality CG special effects has taken a toll on Rika, causing her to fall ill.  The Neighbors club decides to cancel the film screening for the festival, so they call all enjoy the movie together as… friends.  Just as the festival finishes up, jealousy gives birth to the greatest enemy the Neighbors club has ever faced, and things wrap up with a shocking event!  Get ready for the shocking conclusion next week!

Girls und Panzer:  Episode 11
Can the girls of Oarai stop moe Nazis?

The much anticipated conclusion to last year’s biggest hit is finally here!  The wait was long, but kudos to the team behind this show for admitting they needed more time to deliver an awesome ending.  This episode is packed with tons (forgive the pun) of tank action, and a powerful reminder of how awesome this show can be.  The cliffhanger at the end will leave you begging for next week to get here.

Little Busters!:  Episode: 24
I’m not sure if they are determined or angry.

Now that another member of the Little Busters has had their problems solved, it’s time for yet another mysterious mission from the cat master!  This time the gang has been assigned the simple task of putting on a puppet show.  While looking through some children’s stories written by Komari, Riki is disturbed by what seems to be an ominous foretelling in one of the stories.  What is going to happen when Rin and Riki discover the true secrets of their world?

Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 2nd A’s
Magical rocket-powered sledgehammers are the solution to any problem.

For those not familiar with the series, Lyrical Nanoha is a magical girl show in a world where magic, science, and advanced technology are all mixed together.  These movies are a retelling of their respective television series.  This is the second installment, based on the second TV series, and the third and final movie covering the third TV series has been announced at the time of this article.  These films are awesome because they are the pure essence of anime at its finest:  that strange yet amazing blend of being both incredibly cute and awesomely badass all at once.

This film takes place a couple years after the first, as Nanoha is reunited with Fate after she has repaid her debt to society and the Time-Space Administration Bureau.  Not long after the happy reunion, a group of powerful mages attack with the intention of stealing their linker-cores, the source of their power as mages.  This movie is packed with awesome, over the top fight scenes, amazing animation, incredible music, and everything else one would expect from an anime made for the cinema.  This movie was so good; a Japanese police sergeant was arrested for recording a cam-rip of this film just to watch at home.  Fortunately, thanks to the fact that English subtitles are included on the Japanese BD’s, (and the fact that the internet is your best friend) you can enjoy this movie at home without the threat of incarceration!  Don’t miss this one!

Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru:  Episode 12
(My Girlfriend and my Childhood Friend Fight Too Much) AKA: Oreshura
Anime Fact:  Men naturally reach for the nearest pair of breasts whenever they fall down for safety reasons.

Eita and the girls have arrived at the beach house to get settled in before the contest.  If you haven’t realized it yet, it is time for the inevitable beach episode and the usual antics that come with it.  A surprise encounter with Mana and Masuzu finding an important passage in Eita “8th grader syndrome” notebook serve to add more fuel to the fire of “which girl will win?”  I’m personally hoping for orange to come out and win, but smart money is on silver right now.  Place your bets!

Psycho Pass:  Episode 22 END
Time for a good ol’ fashioned knife fight.

This week we finally find out if someone can stop Shougo from ruining everyone’s delicious hyper oats and bringing down Sybil with chaos caused by mass starvation!  I honestly didn’t expect this show to end as well as it did with only one episode to wrap up so many events, but they somehow managed to pull off a really satisfying ending.  This was one of the best original series I have seen in a long time, and a serious AOTY contender.

Robotics;Notes:  Episode 22 END
Can Gunpro-1 save mankind?

The final battle between the rebuilt Gunpro-1 and Exoskeleton’s high-tech war machine has finally begun!  This show had a lot of ups and downs, but it was worth watching to the end.  This is a “must watch” for fans of Science Adventure visual novels and anime shows (Chaos; Head, Steins; Gate), but it should be said that no one should go into this expecting another Steins; Gate.  Just for the record, I still say Frau was best girl.

Senran Kagura:  Episode 11
I hate bean sprouts, but I would eat bean sprouts with her all day every day.

The great ninja clash has begun!  Once again, the girls each face off with their own arch enemies, hoping to dish out some payback for last time.  Meanwhile, Hibari must escape from her holding cell so she can tell her friends about the terrible curse placed on the students of the dark faction.  Will the balance between light and darkness be restored?  Will we finally get a bath scene with the girls from the light AND dark factions bathing together?  All questions will be answered next week when we finally get to the conclusion of the breast ninja film of all time!

Shinsekai Yori:  Episode 25 END
(From the New World)
Even after attempted genocide, Squealer delivers the laughs.

The final episode of Nightmare Fuel: the Anime is finally upon us.  Discussion of what happened during this episode would actually spoil the ENTIRE series, so I’m keeping my lips sealed.  Don’t worry; you will be thoroughly disturbed when this is over.  This show wasn’t a spectacular anime, but it was fascinating, unique, thought provoking, and deserving of much more praise than it has received in both Japan and the west.  While this has been a commercial failure, this show is a hidden gem that is worth watching by anyone looking for something that breaks away from typical anime formulas.

Vividred Operation:  Episode 11
I’m not sure if this was an intentional reference or not…

The UN has arrested Rei and taken her to a special detention facility, because it seems the UN doesn’t care for acts of terrorism against critical energy infrastructure.  Despite knowing Rei is their enemy, Akane and friends just simply can’t resist friendship; so they make the sound decision to suit up and fight their way into the UN detention facility for one last talk with Rei.  What could possibly go wrong?

Zetsuen no Tempest:  Episode 23
AKA: The Civilization Blaster
This is the best possible response to getting caught with pornography.  10/10

The final preparations for the attack on the tree of Genesis are being made, but not without some more drama from the lovely princess, of course.  The last half of this episode features mages vs. naval battleships, and I have to admit I have forgotten how awesome the fights are in this show when they actually happen.  The grand finale airs next week!

Weekly Anime Round-Up: March 11th – March 17th

A delicious Hibari figure made by Phat Company.  U Jelly?

A couple shows on the round up will be ending soon, meaning that the winter anime season will be drawing to a close in the next couple weeks.  This week I have an episode of Senran Kagura to add to the lineup, and I have an extra surprise as well: a wonderful series from this season ended this week, so I’ve added a little piece about it in the round-up.  In other news, Senran Kagura has caused me to splurge on an ultra-cute figure of Hibari, and at some point this week I should be getting my hands on a copy of Hyperdimension Neptunia V.  Expect delays.

AKB0048:  Episode 24
The Zodiac Corporation: A world leader in manufacturing big robots, oppression, and daddy issues.

Chieri and Nagisa have stowed away on a ship travelling to a planet where the HQ of the Zodiac Corporation is in hopes of trying to stop Chieri’s father from turning the “center nova” phenomena into another weapon to sell to the DES.  In the meantime, the rest of the idols aboard the Flying Get are preparing a plan to retake Akibastar.  This episode is pretty much a build up for things to come, but not without a big surprise at the end…

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT:  Episode 10
(I Don’t Have Many Friends)  AKA: Haganai
It turns out Meat wasn’t Yozora’s true enemy.

After all the hard work of filming Yozora’s movie for the festival, the club discovers Yozora ripped-off an obscure movie and was hoping no one would notice.  Now the Neighbor’s club has started a new movie from scratch, using a ridiculous script written by Sena.  Strangely enough, Rika puts on her serious face in this episode and even goes far enough to confront Kodaka about some issues she has with him!

Little Busters!:  Episode23
Hey wait, this isn’t moe anymore!

As if the whole nuclear-powered rocket exploding wasn’t enough to ruin Kud’s day, an armed rebellion breaks out just to spice things up a bit.  I have to admit, I didn’t see anything coming in this episode.  Do you think you’ve been through a lot?  Do you think you’re tough?  You ain’t got shit on Kudryavka.

Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru:  Episode 11
(My Girlfriend and my Childhood Friend Fight Too Much) AKA: Oreshura
Fun fact: Video games are the only way to truly understand women.

Eita’s aunt suddenly shows up, and she instantly calls out Masuzu for being a “fake”.  One thing leads to another, and then the girls decide to sign up for a competition set up by the video game company Eita’s aunt works for.  Eita’s aunt insists the winner of the contest is the one girl that will be “truly” in love with Eita.  Now that Masuzu’s pride is injured by the fact that someone can actually see through her trolling, she’s decided to enter the contest as well.  Will best girl win?  Place your bets and find out!  (Or we will just get the typical indecisive ending and never know…)

Psycho Pass:  Episode 21
Agricultural science is way more fun than it should be.

Shougo has finally made his way to the building that controls the crop defense virus, but so has everyone that is hunting him down.  A lot of things happen in this episode that I really should keep to myself to avoid spoiling anything.  The conclusion airs next week, so get ready!

Robotics;Notes:  Episode 21
This is the only proper way to end any romantic scene.

This is pretty much just the buildup before the final episode, but it wasn’t exactly uneventful.  This episode features the wondrous and shocking phenomenon in anime where we finally find out which girl wins.  My horse in this race was a loser, but I’ll be damned if she isn’t ideal waifu material.  Oh, and hopefully we find out if they save the human race next week.

Senran Kagura:  Episode 10
Eating phallic food is a secret of true ninja warriors.

Okay, we have some subs for last week’s episode, so now we can finally find out how Hibari is doing!  Hibari continues her scary, yet sexy adventures within the school of the dark faction.  Meanwhile, the rest of her friends are preparing to infiltrate the dark faction and rescue everyone’s favorite bunny-riding ninja.  (Or at least Yagyuu’s favorite.)

Shinsekai Yori:  Episode 24
(From the New World)
Biological weapons are known for such pretty colors.

Now that Saki finally has the psychobuster, an opportunity to end this whole mess and crush the queerat rebellion shows itself.  The question is, does Saki have the guts to finish the fight?  We shall have to watch and see…

Vividred Operation:  Episode 10
Oh the fun of taking screenshots out of context…

Strangely enough, in a show no one expected to have a storyline worthy of spoilers; we get an episode full of storyline that would be rude to spoil.  All kinds of questions are answered this week, especially about Rei’s reasons for travelling from the future to destroy the Incarnate Engine, and a bit about what happened to Professor Isshiki when he first encountered the Alone.  And of course, we end with Akane coming to a shocking revelation about a certain friend…

Zetsuen no Tempest:  Episode 22
AKA: The Civilization Blaster
Ugh… yeah, it’s time for some QUALITY.

Hakaze has returned to the present to bring everyone the bad news.  This is another episode for building up for things to come at the ending, but with lots of QUALITY.  This one was almost as bad as Psycho Pass’s infamous 18th episode, but no one noticed since this show isn’t nearly as good during the second half.  Let’s all just hope we get a spectacular fight scene and a brief ending to this one.

 

Worth Watching:

Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo?
(Problem Children are coming from another World, Aren’t They?)
This bunny girl and the fact that Satomi Arai was doing the voice of a character in this show made me pick this up.

As indicated by the absurdly long title of this show, this is an adaptation of a light novel.  This show is a bit of a hidden gem from this season, as there wasn’t much buzz about it either here or in Japan.  This is about three teenagers with the powers of gods that have been summoned to a world called the “little garden” to participate in the gift games.  Explaining the entire thing about how communities in the little garden and gift games work would take some time, but it could best be thought of as a world where people battle for wagers of territory and powers.

The show takes place in an interesting setting with a fun cast of unique and charming characters.  There is a good deal of world-building, action, drama, and even a few bits of fanservice that can keep any anime fan interested.  This show was completely worthy of being part of the weekly roundup, and was set to replace Zesuen no Tempest for quite some time; but I wanted to finish Tempest and I like to limit the roundup to around 10 shows in order to leave leeway for oddball shows, OVA’s or movies that may show up at any given point in time.  Anyways, I had tons of fun watching this, and I think this would be right up the ally of anyone that wants to watch something with a bit of a fantasy flair going for it.