Roving Thoughts archives


My memorable anime from 2003

See the initial 2000 entry for the full background. I'm doing this based on the show's start date and memorable is not the same as either good or significant. Date information comes from Wikipedia and Anime-Planet.

(Because it may be relevant this year, I'm mostly listing things in alphabetical order instead of any implied quality or preference order.)


  • Fullmetal Alchemist: People argue about whether this or Brotherhood is the better FMA experience, but I hope that we can all agree that this is excellent regardless of which is the better version. The anime original ending doesn't bother me in the least and the journey there is full of excellent twists and turns and any number of great characters. There is so much good about this show that I have no real words for it.

    This is the best shonen action show that I've seen. (Shonen action shows are not the same thing as shonen fighting shows.)

  • Gunslinger Girl: On one level this is an exciting action story with a thin veneer of plausibility, and on that level it will not let you down although it will periodically disturb you, sometimes deeply. At another level this is a character story about a bunch of extremely broken people (some of them obviously so and some not). The ending is quiet and beautiful and a gut punch in its own way.

    (I was never able to take the followup series seriously. Read the manga instead.)

  • Twin Spica: This is an excellent adaptation of (part of) what I understand is an excellent manga. It features great characters, including the protagonist, good writing, and so on, all wrapped up in an affecting, heartfelt storyline, and the conclusion to the show warmed the cold cockles of my heart as few other endings ever have.

    (It's 20 episodes. That won't take long. Do check it out. Yes, this is another underappreciated series that I'm trying to sell you on.)

Standing out in a bad way:

Ordinarily memorable:

  • Dokkoida?!: You probably haven't heard of this but it's a quite charming and amusing show. It's the sort of comedy that makes me smile reliably (which is not common) and the characters are generally touching, especially once you get to know them.

  • Godannar: I've never been able to decide if this show is a straight up serious take on the Go Nagai part of the giant robot genre or a straight-faced affectionate parody of it. Whichever it is, it's epic. It has any number of plot twists, a bunch of cool characters (including secondary characters like the mechanics), and GIANT COMBINING ROBOTS in the Go Nagai tradition. Oh, and lots of fanservice of an old-fashioned style (that goes with the Go Nagai tradition, of course).

  • Narutaru (aka Shadow Star): This starts out as a pleasant bright series where a girl winds up with an alien pet and then things go all to hell. It's basically all the fault of people. The results are wrenching but memorable. Note that this is part of a manga so you won't get any real answers in the show (but by the end you probably won't care about that).

  • Stellvia: I have fond memories of watching this but I have to admit that many of the actual details of what happened in the show have faded by now. I'd probably enjoy a rewatch and I may do that someday. I remember the romance as one of the better ones that I've seen.

Honorable mentions:

  • Chrono Crusade (sometimes aka Chrno Crusade): I'll be honest; this is memorable in large part because of how it had a relative downer of an ending. But I remember it as well executed on the way there, with interesting characters (especially the protagonist).

  • Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu: This is okay, but I like the serious Full Metal Panic better than the full bore pratfalls comedy version.

  • Last Exile: Scamp's review has made me look back on this with more favour than I did at the time, partly by giving me a more optimistic take on what the show did to Lavie. Parts of it are great, parts of it I would have to rewatch to perhaps reassess, and parts of the ending are well over the top. Please note that the opening fleet combat segments are supposed to be absurd and stupid and ritualized and ineffectual. That's the point. The Guild wants them that way and what the Guild wants, it gets.

    (The resemblance to the stupider parts of World War I warfare is probably deliberate.)

  • Read Or Die the TV: Unsurprisingly the much longer TV series is much more character focused and has much less action (and it's lower-powered) than the OVA trilogy. It wasn't bad, though. Anita steals the show.

  • Scrapped Princess: Bagpipes in the opening, antagonists named after firearms, and an interesting explanation for everything that was going on. The show was not flawless and fumbles the execution at a few points.

  • Tsukihime: Apparently any number of people will assure you that this anime doesn't exist. I found it a perfectly fine show with a number of interesting concepts and interesting characters.

  • Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito: See this Secret Santa review for a pretty good summary of the show. When I watched it I thought it was going to be deeper than it turned out to be and the ending is not the greatest, but the bits in the middle are genuinely fun and crazy.

I've seen a number of other shows from 2003 that don't make these lists for one reason or another.

Things I want to watch or that I know I should watch category:

  • The Big O (second season): I loved the first season but the second season dropped into the void of disappearing Toronto anime clubs.

  • Kino's Journey: I saw the first few episodes but no more for some reason. The few episodes I've seen have been enough to show me that I want to watch more.

  • Tokyo Godfathers

I saw a fair amount of Gad Guard at the time and kind of want to finish it off someday. It was a stylish show that took a significant plot swerve just where I stopped being able to see more.

anime/Memorable2003 written at 23:22:03; Add Comment

Looking back at the Fall 2013 anime season

Since all of the fall shows that were going to finish have done so (and been subtitled, which was looking chancy at one point), it's time for the usual retrospective look back (as before) to go with my early impressions and my more or less midway views.

Clear winners:

  • Kyousougiga: The show did not let us down. It ended excellently, with many great moments and developments along the way, and it never lost its sense of whimsy and spectacle. It earns significant bonus points from me for making what was previously an inscrutable background detail into an important plot point. Following my usual rule of thumb, younger Myoe is the major protagonist because he gets the most character development (although it should be noted that younger Koto gets her share too).

  • KILL la KILL: It remains BURNING ANIME and populated with a whole collection of excellent characters. The Four Devas only improve as we get to know them and Mako continues to steal the show with her awesomeness. I am very much looking forward to more.

Plain good fun:

  • Yozakura Quartet - Hana no Uta: My final view is that this was solid but not deep. On a technical level it has the best fights of the season (although KILL la KILL's were more fun and gripping). One drawback to the show is that it's not a complete work in and of itself; it is simply a slice out of an ongoing series that doesn't reach an ending so much as come to a finale and then stop.

  • Log Horizon: This has developed into a fully enjoyable blend of good characters, amusing MMO stuff, cleverly evil plotting, and interesting philosophical issues. I suspect that the eventual ending will not really satisfy me but until then the journey there is nice.


  • Arpeggio of Blue Steel - Ars Nova: For all that the ending actually improved the show for me the whole thing was not a particularly exceptional show. It was decent and some of the battles were fun, but that was about it.

  • Kyoukai no Kanata: Episode 10 excepted this show was a disappointment. KyoAni brought its A game as far as the art went and spent some effort on the characters, but pretty clearly fumbled the writing. The end result was a disappointingly generic and unconvincing light novel adaptation with better production values than usual.

    (KyoAni also supplied a masterclass demonstration in how beautiful art and complex animation does not create good fight scenes, but that's another entry. For now see the sidebar on my midway views.)

Carried over from the summer:

  • Monogatari Series Second Season: I wish I could appreciate the depth to this that other people see but at this point I can't see past a bunch of characters standing there spending a lot of time talking at each other and not saying very much while not much happens. I liked scattered moments of this season and many of the climaxes but not much of the stuff in the middle. I also think that Shaft's visual design has long since passed the point where it detracts from the experience instead of enhancing it.

In the worth mentioning category there is Space Battleship Yamato 2199, which I finished midway through the season. Although I have qualified views of it I still think it was great.


  • Valvrave: Let me summarize my view of the second season with a tweet:
    I like the first season OP song for Valvrave more than the second season.

    I'm serious about that. First season Valvrave was at its best when it was throwing one crazy thing after another at us, topping itself each time around. The second season mostly dropped that; while it had occasional moments of craziness it never really exploited them and in fact sometimes immediately killed off the characters it had just made so interesting. Oh, and I've gathered that the ending descends to carnography, which is not one of my favorite things.

My experiences with Valvrave this season are a valuable reminder that I should listen to my gut. If I am repeatedly unenthused about watching more of a show it is a big flashing sign that I should drop it right away. Doing that with Valvrave at the first sign of lacking enthusiasm would have freed up quite a number of episodes of time.

Overall I think that this has been a great season. Ignoring Space Battleship Yamato 2199 as not really being a 'this season' show, this season is going to more or less contribute two shows to my 'best N of 2013' entry.

anime/Fall2013Retrospective written at 00:15:33; Add Comment

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