Anime Recap – Fall ’08 and Winter ’09

Now that the Spring ’09 shows have began, let’s take a look back on a number of shows that I followed, completed and which went on since Fall ’08 and those which started on Winter ’09; Toradora, Minami-ke Okaeri, Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou and Clannad After Story.

A little bit of a note before reading on – there’s a few spoilers abound, so if you haven’t watched the end of these series yet, then don’t spoil yourself reading the rest of this entry.

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  • I understand I could’ve went into a full single entry about Toradora like I did for a number of other episodes, but it was already too late to do so. Regardless, despite the haphazard events which went on episode 24, episode 25 manages to brings a good closure to the series. Toradora‘s strength has always been about the characters; and it has seemingly kept that right up until the end. Each one of them have went through a noticeable amount of emotional turmoil that caused them to have a better focus and outlook on life and how they each and bring their own happiness by their own selves. It’s pretty much evident the only flaw the series had is how rushed the last two episodes seem compared to the rest, considering how they have a lot of novel content they had to cram in both. Still, it was rather enjoyable in general.

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  • Now, everybody knows how Minami-ke Okawari fared compared to the first season. Filled with unecessary drama, a terrible anime only character whom nobody can empthaize with and a skewed focus when it comes to the characters (Why not call it the Mako-chan Show?), it was very much a big dissapointment. So when people first heard of Asread, the same studio who worked on Okawari, picking up the 3rd season of the series, it was already hailed as a doomed project from the start. Fortunately, that was not the case, since Asread went back to the manga content for Okaeri and decided to give the characters their season 1 look. Okaeri essentially went back and brought us more of the amazing Hosaka, with the curry fairy skit in episode 2 being the highlight and the Minami brothers, with Natsuki’s ever brash attitude being the highlight of that. It helped that the show did have a lot of funnier moments than season 2, even almost as funny as the 1st. If there was one thing that was wrong with Okaeri, is how the animation felt a bit wonky in a number of the episodes. But that’s not so important when the series still manages to give the laughs, despite the tiny bit of unexpected drama we seen in the last episode.

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  • Natsume Yuujinchou was lauded as one of the more sublime slice of life series which emhpazises on a more supernatural aspect, namely the Japanese mythlogical phonemena known as the youkai. Zoku managed to continue the tradition, by giving us more stories which feature our timid yet likeable main character Natsume and his youkai-disguised-as-a-cat guardian Nyanko-sensei – while introducing a new character to the ensemble cast, Taki Tooru, the shy girl who seemed to had a run in with a cursed youkai and was the focus of one of the two-part episodes that the series had to offer. The ending arc seemed to bring in one of the more emotional moments of the series – as it brings in a conflict of whether Natsume should care more for humans or for the youkai whom he (and a few others) could only see. Intrestingly enough, while the season seemed more incline with the 1st, Natsume gains a gradual improvemnt over being more sociable with the rest of the people around him; as well as Nyanko’s general acknowledgement of Natsume’s companionship. Overall, this is one of the more highly reccomendable slice-of-life series that people should watch.

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  • Clannad After Story seemed to have started a bit slowly than I expected; instead of going onwards with Nagisa and Tomoya’s relationship, Kyoani gave us several sidestories featuring a number of the cast whom we have yet to see or have rarely seen before. The result? We get a rather dramatic arc regarding Sunohara and sister, but the Misae and Yukine arcs felt rather unwanted and unexpected at the same time. We hardly got to know those two characters and they hardly make an impact to the entire concept of the series in general, so to me, that felt like a wasted effort. Fortunately, it picks up later on as we delve into Tomoya and Nagisa again, as we see Tomoya acquring an occupation and sooner or later, marries to the one he loves the most. But that’s not where the best episodes of the series lies; that comes when Tomoya and his daughter Ushio manage to take a trip to the countryside and how Tomoya managed to acknlowdge that he needs to grow out of the shadow of Nagisa’s death, that he should care for his only daughter and the sacrifices that his father went through during his younger years. The ending manages to pull off yet another Key style reset that they’ve used before in Kanon but I didn’t really mind it that much. After all, Tomoya’s deveoplment and growth as a character and the emotions that went through the entire arc made the show worth it.

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