Spring 2009 Anime Season First Impressions

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Given that some people were predicting that the season would be a total loss, I think things are looking better than expected.

Likely Winners

Cross Game This seems not so much a conventional sports anime but more of a poignant romantic comedy. Very well done so far.

Eden of the East A summary doesn’t really do it justice. An ordinary girl (naive, idealistic, somewhat spacey, vulnerable, braver than she thinks she is, and generally adorable) meets a handsome, engaging super-spy who has lost his memory. So far this is awesome.

Overlooked Gem?

Mom’s Life (Mainichi Kaa-san) Bloggers have been ignoring this one, maybe because of the deliberately horrifying character designs, or perhaps because any summary makes it sound like a 1960s American sit-com. (Specifically it sounds like Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, though with a manga artist instead of a newspaper columnist.) Nevertheless, it’s hilarious.

Reserving Judgement

K-ON My first impression was that this is just like Lucky Star, except not as funny. But while Lucky Star had no real overall story, this seems to be turning into a story of personal growth. If they continue in this vein, it might be pretty good. In any case it’s bound to be a hit, what with thousands of bloggers all over the ‘Net declaring their undying love for Mio.

Ristorante Paradiso A sophisticated josei series reminiscent of Nodame Cantabile or Honey and Clover. So far, unfortunately, it seems more like Honey and Clover, i.e. sort of boring. It also has disconcerting and unnecessary computer-generated 3-D sequences, which I could overlook but don’t appreciate.

Tears to Tiara Mostly a very conventional fantasy-adventure, but each episode so far has had one little twist that I found delightful. I have no idea whether they can keep that up.

Interesting, but Probably Not for Me

Asura Cryin’ I don’t know what’s going on here, and I don’t think I care.

Fullmetal Alchemist–Brotherhood I watched a few episodes of the original 2003 series, but never really got into it. The new version looks nice and is supposed to be closer to the manga, but somehow it still just doesn’t grab me.

Hatsukoi Limited The girls are gorgeous. The stories make me cringe.

Phantom–Requiem for the Phantom They are obviously trying to make this resemble Noir as much as possible, but they left out one important detail. Noir had sympathetic protagonists who took responsibility for their fate, even when trapped in a murderous web of deception. This thing has protagonists who may be considered pitiable, but don’t seem at all sympathic or likeable.