Anime Power Ranking votes
1. Fate/Zero (16): Good balance between exposition and action; the Saber-Lancer fight had some nice animation but was ultimately meaningless in the face of their respective Masters’ decisions. Kiritsugu’s understanding of conflict actually very close to the conclusion of Clausewitz’s Ch 1(3): “war is an act of force, and there is no logical limit to the application of that force. Each side, therefore, compels its opponent to follow suit; a reciprocal action is started which must lead, in theory, to extremes.”
However, Clausewitz, in Ch 1(23), then argues that, in reality:
War… is an act of policy. Were it a complete, untrammeled, absolute manifestation of violence… war would of its own independent will usurp the place of policy the moment policy had brought it into being; it would drive policy out of office and rule by its own laws of its own nature… but it always lasts long enough for influence to be exerted onto the goal and for its own course to be changed in one way or another – long enough, in other words, to remain subject to the action of a superior intelligence. If we keep in mind that war springs from some political purpose, it is natural that the prime cause of its existence will remain the supreme consideration in conducting it.
Thus Saber’s wariness about employing means that would increase escalation in the current conflict and lay the seeds of future conflict.
2. Tasogare Otome x Amnesia (02): In some ways, faithfully following tropes of horror stories: e.g., emphasizing the primacy of the subjectiveness of the haunted’s subconscious over that of the objective reality of the haunter. Other times, subverting it cutely: e.g., finding the ghost’s physical remains as the starting point rather than the end; changing clothes (parallel Cardcaptor Sakura’s subversion of magical girl costume transformation).
3. Natsuiro Kiseki (03): Hanners might have dropped it but I continue to enjoy this very much. The emphasis on friendship has thus far been very positive and the wishing rock does not over-determine outcomes, remaining as a catalyst to plot and character developments. Even the two elementary school boys in this episode were employed to that effect. What distinguishes this series for me is how Saki’s impending departure lends it a wistful edge, a very faint echo of Azumanga’s graduation arc and an even fainter one of Mahoro‘s clock ticking down at the end of every ep of the first season, that differentiates this series from other Girls Doing Cute Things Series.
4. Sankarea (03): My heart sank at the beginning when Chihiro’s voice-over indicated that the story setting had been completed and it was moving full speed ahead into, as Kurogane put it, into the “zombie portion” of the show. It’s done an excellent job thus far of making me understand why Rea was deadly serious in her request to Chihiro. I’ve not read the manga so I am really curious about how things will develop hereon: what will be emphasized? Romance? Adventure? Comedy? In any case, I like this a lot more than the (male) zombie sequel series.
5. Jormungand (02): I agree with inushinde that this series so far “is riddled with more problems than you can shake a particularly problematic stick at.” The characters are coming along fine but the settings just feel somewhat flimsy particularly the link between the local tactical situation and even the next level up (operations), much less the connections to the strategic and policy levels. Black Lagoon was much much better at building a plausible story linking the current fight to wider struggles which, in turn, gave the violence a certain weight and gravitas beyond its apparent sexiness. If I dial down my expectations, I could easily enjoy Jormungand for its firefights and Itou Shizuka’s voiceacting. Particularly if the annoying rap/techno BGMs was also dialed down.
Under The Threshold
6. Nazo no Kanojo X (02): Akira should know better than to foist conventional expectations of a romantic relationship onto his with Urabe. The scissors are a useful plot device to maintain her air of mystery by maintaining a real threat/sanction against him getting too close too quickly while the “drool as bond” device was more literal (and magic-type) than I first thought.
7. Bodacious Space Pirates (16): continues to be an undemanding weekly watch now that I no longer expect big developments and just coast along with the “Marika is wonderful and is having fun adventures” narrative. The current Yacht Club Pirates arc has been very pleasant and I LOL’ed at helmsloli Ai being hit on by the two men (and then chased away by Lynn) during the Princess Apricot boarding.
8. Ozma (06): What a disappointment. In the end it was a mishmash of things that lots of other anime had done before and better: Nausicaa on environmental degradation and the possibility of recovery; Gundam SEED (yes, I know) on the stagnation and approaching extinction crisis of engineered genetics as well as the Char/Neo Loarnoke character. Sam was a reminder of why I dislike shouty, impulsive shounen leads, Bainas falling apart was a terrible thing to watch but at least Mimay and Maya emerged with some credit. Dreadful yet forgettable series.
9. Shining Hearts: Bread of Happiness (02): I’m only in this to see the inevitable catfight between the girls. This series is really like Tony Taka’s art – beautiful at the first impression but ultimately pretty soulless stuff (but not as bad as soul-destroying).
META: Have decided to drop the cumbersome [Author Name] tag in the post title. No other currently active group blog does it anyway.