November Roundup

I thought that this would be the year that everyone remembers as the year Crunchyroll got their hands on about half of the anime airing. But Crunchyroll appears to have a far less impression on the anime world than I originally thought they would. Is it because of the rather suspect quality of their streams and subtitles? As a subscriber myself I can certainly vouch for some very dodgy work on Book of Bantorra. Is it because they could only get their hands on the lower-quality anime airing? If you go to the tag cloud on Animenano, how many of the bigger tags are on Crunchyroll? Or is it because anime fans really are the biggest bunch of cheap-ass dickheads that the ANNfags claim they are? Ah well, at least Crunchyroll have Gintama and for that I will be eternally grateful.

Source for Gintama image

A Grade: One of the tops of the year. Get ready for some fanboying here

None. No really. Normally at least FMA takes up an A spot but no, this week produces absolutely no A’s whatsoever. Great way to finish up this anime year huh.

B Grade: Hugely entertaining stuff. Not amazing but definitely worth watching

B+ Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood

A lot of people have been a bit overly harsh on the recent episodes of FMA. They have still been excellent but it’s the comparison to the last three months that leaves people feeling underwhelmed. These episodes of build up certainly haven’t been up to the sheer brilliance of some of those in the 20’s. It looks as though things will pick up again though judging by the most recent episode. Crazy female Armstrong should hopefully be the catalyst for greater things to come.

B+ Darker than Black: Comet of Gemini

I’ve never been in the ‘Darker than Black is a masterpiece’ crowd. It certainly never wows me to the same extent Eden of the East or FMA does. That said, I prefer this season slightly to the last one. I never felt the double-episodic format worked that well and the continuous storyline works far better. And although it never wows me, I still eagerly anticipate each episode. It’s still the pick of the Autumn anime.

B+ Cross Game

Best Cross Game month by far. The introduction of Akane has certainly thrown a whole new spin on the series, although by herself she isn’t that interesting a character. Bust you know what I love most of all? Way back in my July roundup I said it would be amusing if Azuma and Aoba got together. Well thank you Cross Game for reading my wishes, I love that sorta awkward pause people have when Azuma admits he likes her.

B Book of Bantorra

I didn’t like episode 8. The resolution of that arc just didn’t feel right. I dunno, I can’t put my finger as to why, it just didn’t feel natural. Other than that though, I’ve been mightly impressed by Bantorra. Anytime I think the show has a flaw the next episode goes out and corrects that flaw. It is a little bit like a poor man’s Darker than Black, although not that much poorer. It’s really the under-rated anime of the season, heck, the under-rated anime of the year.

B Trapeze

Well here’s something I didn’t expect when it started airing. Trapeze has become the feel-good series of the season. OK, it’s artfaggory doesn’t just border on pretentious, it shits on the border and tosses it in the Atlantic, but there’s real brains to this series when you can look beyond that. It’s so wild and yet the resolution to each characters problem has been hugely enjoyable and uplifting to watch. The artwork is pretentious, the actual content is not.

B- Hetalia Axis Powers

Everytime I find myself thinking how awesome Hetalia is, it goes and shoots itself in the foot with a string of unfunny gags. On the awesome side we have Belarus and Russia only to later be replaced by moe moe kyun Liechtenstein. This has pretty much been Hetalia the entire way through it’s airing. There truly has never been a series with such fluctuating quality as Hetalia has, even episode 4 of Gurren Lagann can’t compare.

B- Summer Wars

This is the only opportunity I have to express my views on Summer Wars. First, its way better than Girl through Time, mainly because it goes for the happy corny ending rather than that disastrous ending Girl through Time had. Secondly, the parallels to Miyazaki are certainly visible and I’ll go along with the ‘next Miyazaki people are throwing about. Finally, the reason why it’s only a B- is because there’s no depth to the story. It’s huge fun but nothing more than that.

C Grade: It’s good enough to keep watching but it’s not that memorable

C- Letter Bee

You know those two rather obscure series, I think they’re called Naruto and Bleach…yeah, that’s right. They both have a load of good points to them but what kills any enjoyment is not really the fillers, it’s how slowly they move through the plot. Studio Pierrot make both of these and oddly enough, this is exactly the problem that Letter Bee is falling into. I could handle the copious amounts of tears if they just moved through the plot quicker.

D Grade: I’ve lost interest in this anime. If it’s a D then I’ve probably dropped it 

D+ Umineko 

Umineko seems to go through a formula of two crap episodes followed by one episode of crazy plot twisting. I hope it keeps to that formula because this month has been pretty damn shit for Umineko. OK, we get it, whatserface is a rubbish mum. You’ve shoved that in our face for the past three episodes, we get it already. Boo hoo, Sakutaro and all that. Enough of that already, let’s get back to the game and see what wild twists Umineko will finish off with.

E Grade: Unlike D grades where I drop out of disinterest, E grades are dropped in Disgust. 

No E’s. I dropped everything far too quickly this season to have any terrible shows still on my watch list at this stage of the season.

F Grade: Any F standard anime I would only watch 1 or 2 episodes of so god only know how an anime could last to the end of the month and still get an F but I’m sure it will happen some day

26 Responses to “November Roundup”

  1. 1 December 2009 at 2:00 am

    I have to agree with you that this season is a solid entertainment but no anime really stand out and unless they manage to create miraculously great endings, I doubt any of them will be remembered when new season begins. So far, DTB2 remains at the top of my list, closedly followed by Sasameki Koto and probably Aoi Bungaku.

  2. 2 ('''\_(O_O)_/''')
    1 December 2009 at 5:30 am

    must agree about all of it except Umineko. K, the last part has been a total drag. But doesn’t every 25-50 episode long anime have at least 1 or 2 of these. To me this is the first time umineko has let me down. I agree with DTB (it rhymes ^_^;). I haven’t looked at older post but what about to aru kagaku railgun or asura cryin wait cross asura out nvm.

  3. 3 ('''\_(O_O)_/''')
    1 December 2009 at 5:30 am

    where can I find summer wars online? I don’t need subs just the raw thing

  4. 1 December 2009 at 6:21 am


    Aoi Bungaku never quite clicked with me. Normally I do love those elitist Madhouse anime but I hate shows with completely lifeless characters. That’s what Aoi Bungaku had. It reminded me of Kurozuka and that eventually bored me and I didn’t want to go through that again.

    @(”’\_(O_O)_/”’) ….odd name but hey

    If you click on the ‘monthly roundups’ catagory you can see what I thought of the past few months up until July. My problem with Umineko is it’s just not well written at all. The dialogue is so nonsensical and it hasn’t got an ounce of subtlety. But it is entertaining to watch all the twists.

  5. 5 ('''\_(O_O)_/''')
    1 December 2009 at 7:31 am

    I agree with 80% of what u say about the anime. Umineko can be nonsensical and shtuff and one good part is that they make lots of twist but I think ur forgetting one of the major interest points of Umineko: the mystery theories. I am a mystery/supernatural fan so I do put a lot of emphasis on the fact that both To aru no kagaku railgun (I can’t find where u reviewed this ‘_’?) and Umineko have interesting references to schrodinger’s cat, the devil’s proof, and other psychological theories that make one go “oh I know that term!” or “what is that? that’s interesting”. I know most people don’t look for that stuff in anime but I think that is what makes these animes interesting.

  6. 6 ('''\_(O_O)_/''')
    1 December 2009 at 7:32 am

    oh yeah and thx
    “(”’\_(O_O)_/”’) ….odd name but hey”

  7. 7 RandomPerson
    1 December 2009 at 9:05 am

    I was wondering…

    Where can I find the subtitled version of summer wars?
    I know (”’\_(O_O)_/”’) already asked but I want the subtitled version not the raw.

    Thanks ^^

  8. 1 December 2009 at 10:05 am

    Google is your friend, stop asking.

  9. 9 kaza
    1 December 2009 at 11:16 am


    *stops and stares, then hops back inside his box”

  10. 10 ('''\_(O_O)_/''')
    1 December 2009 at 11:54 am

    google answer 99% of my problems with fansubbed anime, i know that. But this is the 1% time that it has failed me. I tried bing even yahoo (to me that is going pretty far). I wouldn’t have asked if I hadn’t already tried pretty hard

  11. 11 ('''\_(O_O)_/''')
    1 December 2009 at 11:54 am

    nvm found the torrent

  12. 1 December 2009 at 12:36 pm

    You didn’t try hard enough!..was what I was going to say but nevermind, you achieved it, congratulations, you are forgiven. not.

  13. 1 December 2009 at 2:05 pm

    “Or is it because anime fans really are the biggest bunch of cheap-ass dickheads that the ANNfags claim they are?”

    Proud cheap-ass dickhead here! Even if it was free I wouldn’t use a streaming site anyway, and I think my reasons are probably shared with most of the community. I hate streamed stuff for the lower visual quality, occasional need to buffer, and the fact that I don’t have it on my harddrive to use as I please. Pfff, and they want me to pay for that? Fansubbers almost always do a far better job translating than people that are paid to do it too, for some reason. And the fact that stuff is released by fans has the appeal of being a part of/supporting your community as well as that ‘indie’ feel that any professionally released product just doesn’t have.

    I’m purposefully not watching DtB 2 until it’s all out so I can keep watching episodes in a row if I want to. I have mixed feelings about the loss of the two episode format that you mentioned though. I really liked that in the first season, but a continuous storyline format could allow for, well, more continuous story. Hetalia fluctuates, but when it’s good there’s nothing quite like it. I’m glad that South Korea’s nefarious plans to get it cancelled have not worked so far. I was hearing all these good things about Summer Wars, but I haven’t watched it yet. Honestly I was more interested in it until you mentioned that some people are saying that it’s like Miyazaki. I swear I’m one of like 5 anime fans on the planet that really doesn’t like Miyazaki’s stuff. I’ll still watch it anyway and find out for myself.

  14. 1 December 2009 at 3:20 pm

    5 centimeters per second….

  15. 1 December 2009 at 5:37 pm


    Please don’t ask for downloads.

    Anyway, it’s the fact that a lot of the mystery in Umineko doesn’t seem to fit together logically. There’s one thing I still can’t get my head around is the entire basis of the story i.e. how can Battler claim he doesn’t believe in witches when he clearly does know they exist. He’s indirectly admitted they exist several times before, that whole plot point still doesn’t sit well in my mind


    Right, time to do a miserable job defending online streaming.

    First of all, the quality of the video is pretty much equal to a download nowadays and buffering has stopped being a problem. Subs, yes I can certainly vouch that the subs on many CR series are absolutely disastrous. And anyone who doesn’t watch them thanks to region restrictions has my sympathy and support. The ‘indie feel’ though I couldn’t care less about. I would much prefer proffesionally run subtitling for my anime for the simple fact that the producers have direct control over how they are distributed. It’s the idea behind legal streams that I support more than the actual project they produce. I believe if they can tear down region restrictions and clean up those bloody subs then CR is the best way to tackle online piracy. As much as one might enjoy the fansub community, the simple fact is that it hurts the industry. I have a mountain of problems with the way things are run that I could write a book about but what it boils down to in the end is that internation, legal streams that do everything a fansub already does is the way to go.

    In other news, there’s always a few people who don’t like Miyazaki. I’m certainly not one of his biggest fans and Princess Mononoke was really dissapointing but I find his movies huge fun to watch. For Summer Wars, ignore the hype and watch it for your own enjoyment. I originally rated it a C as a sorta backlash from the fanboying on the ANN review but moved it up to B- when I decided to be honest with the review

  16. 16 what
    1 December 2009 at 9:36 pm

    I agree with just about everything you wrote here, but I have some slightly unrelated questions, if you don’t mind.

    Do you intend to read the Hetalia strips after the anime finishes? Since there doesn’t appear to be any sign of a third season, it seems fairly safe to assume that it’ll be the last. Do you like Hetalia enough to do so?

    Second, ah… would you still willing to watch Higurashi no Naku Koro ni at some point despite Umineko’s shortcomings?

  17. 1 December 2009 at 10:47 pm


    I do plan on reading the Hetalia strips. In fact I’ve already started. Problem is…I’m terrible when it comes to reading manga. I’m also reading Yotsuba& and I absolutely love the thing but for some reason I never get around to reading it.

    I will eventually watch Higurashi but probably not til the summer. I don’t want to watch Higurashi when there’s a similar series currently airing. As soon as Umineko finishes we have Okami Kakushi, another series by the same guy. I do plan on watching Higurashi, just not until I’ve finished Kakushi and Umineko first

  18. 2 December 2009 at 2:07 am

    @Executive Otaku
    That’s six people, not five. I’m not really fond of Miyazaki’s work either. 😉

    As Scamp knows, I support Crunchyroll as a paid subscriber. No, Crunchyroll isn’t perfect, but I want to support the industry both here in the U.S. and back in Japan. For me personally, I’m not too picky about pixel quality. I watch new Bleach episodes on YouTube when they come out subbed every week, and much of the time the picture quality is not too great, but I’m only watching because I want to see what happens in the story. I guess streaming (legally, preferably) works for me because I have no desire to own most of the anime that I watch through streaming. The ones I want to own, I buy or put on my to-buy list. There aren’t actually many of those, which is another reason why I support Crunchyroll – I can watch anime knowing that I’m helping to support the industry, while not spending big money on anime I’m never going to want to own.

  19. 19 ('''\_(O_O)_/''')
    2 December 2009 at 9:10 am

    I agree that fansubs hurts the industry (it’s an untouchable, irrefutable truth) but it will continue and I will continue watching them :P. I am a pirate no more no less.

    I would suggest NOT watching Higurashi. I guess its okay if u can handle Umineko psychoness but Higurashi is worse. No joke just plain creepy.

    I just asked my fellow otakus and one managed to find one… but with Korean Subs. Luckily I can read korean ^_^; So not really congrats. Apparently english subs doesn’t come out until the DVD comes out.

    “I hate streamed stuff for the lower visual quality, occasional need to buffer, and the fact that I don’t have it on my harddrive to use as I please. Pfff, and they want me to pay for that? Fansubbers almost always do a far better job translating than people that are paid to do it too, for some reason. And the fact that stuff is released by fans has the appeal of being a part of/supporting your community as well as that ‘indie’ feel that any professionally released product just doesn’t have.”
    Umm… I beg to differ. Fansubs are hardly ever better than paid people. I would say that the people who do it for a living probably are more reliable cuz they have the actual script. and also… u know what screw this let me just give u a link to a site u may have been to but this guy does it better than I do.

    “I am a pirate”

  20. 20 ('''\_(O_O)_/''')
    2 December 2009 at 9:13 am

    i give up => “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

  21. 21 kaza
    2 December 2009 at 10:06 am


    You know what… I think it just matter of where you get your resources from. I mean, for goodness sakes, not too long ago I used to just watch streamed shows off youtube. Then after I noticed the quality of the SUBS I actually found a great Subber off google BUT I had to start downloading my shows. And you know what, now a days I prefer downloading rather then streaming. You know why??? Because not everyone has money to buy great internet (or drive to places with free internet) and so the buffering becomes a Horrible problem… Not only that, but anime isn’t just a show were it has become pirated and now people are taking advantage of it. No, its not. To me, as a semi-middle class boy livin out in the country-side of Tennessee, anime is my get-away. It’s my break from a long serious day of school. It’s my breath of fresh air after working hard in the smoke of a mechanic shop. Yet, although it gives me all these pleasures, I do in fact want to be able to repay them for giving me that enjoyment. But, for reasons I think are personal and honest, I don’t have the money to help them. So, one day as I scrolled through Bokutachi’s review of Asura Cryin’ I noticed the sign saying, “Join Team”. And that’s exactly what I did. And that’s exactly what I do. This is, and will be for as long as I can take it, be my contribution to the anime world I take part in.

    “I’m no pirate, I’m Kaza, your everyday anime fan.”

  22. 3 December 2009 at 2:40 am

    @ (”’\_(O_O)_/”’)

    It’s really not fair or respectful to the abilities of the fansubbers who donate their time and effort to providing for the community to say that professionally done stuff is better. I’ve studied Japanese for four years at the university level and known one or two fansubbers and you certainly don’t need a script to be able to tell what’s being said and translate it correctly, just listening skills, a knowledge of the language, and some dictionaries. It still amazes me how many other Japanese language students are willing to put that kind of work into something that they make no money off of. Sure, it’s good out-of-class practice if you’re not living in Japan, but they pretty much just do it for the fun and for the community. I’ve also watched enough professionally done and fansubbed anime over the years, and know enough Japanese, to tell you that in my 7 or 8 years of watching anime that 95% of the time fansubbers do a better job. They don’t miss nuances as frequently, they include translation notes, add karaoke with pleasing fonts, and rarely ever change jokes into something that does not reflect the original humor. That may only be my personal experience, but I feel that I have enough experience to make that claim and I stand by it. Fansubbers really deserve to be recognized and respected for the great work they do.

    @ Kaza

    As a fellow downloader, I think you must recognize that there really isn’t any sort of legal or logical argument that can make downloading anime that’s been licensed in the US 100% okay. I’m not saying not to do it, I know I can’t defend everything I download, but just acknowledge that “I deserve it” isn’t a sound argument. Don’t mistake the anime community (which you contribute to) with the anime companies. Being a blogger doesn’t make either of us any more deserving of downloading licensed stuff. I’m differentiating this because something that’s not licensed in the US is legal to download as I understand it.

    Keep downloading, but be aware that ours is not the most tenable position in an argument if you care about justifying your actions or winning the argument. Pretty decent arguments have been made about how downloading music is ethical (bands make most of their money from tours, music has become a service not a product), but they don’t hold up as well in the realm of video media.

  23. 23 kaza
    3 December 2009 at 5:35 am

    very true… I have to agree with you there.

  24. 3 December 2009 at 8:44 am

    Yeah, this season had so much anime I couldn’t keep up…and when I took the 3 month break…ugh, I’ll just say I’m STILL recovering. Nice roundup.

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