Upon waking up, the first thing Otonashi sees aside of this beautiful night sky is Yuri, who is aiming at a girl they call Tenshi (Angel) with a big automatic gun. He has no recollection of who he is or how he got there. The world he finds himself in does not reach further than the school grounds and is inhabited by 3 kinds of people: First NPCs, who are soulless students and only appear to have normal behaviour; second the students, who teamed up to build the Afterlife Battlefront led by Yuri; and third Tenshi, who they are desperately fighting against. After Otonashi joins up with the Afterlife Battlefront he learns that in this world no one seems to age or die and that this world seems to be some kind of afterlife limbo. Everyone has deep regrets about their previous lives they don’t really want to talk about, projecting their hate and bitterness onto God and Thenshi. Yet, Otonashi is the only one who still doesn’t remember anything. Unlike the other members of the Afterlife Battlefront, he asks questions and does not simply drown his regrets in an everlasting battle against this mysterious Tenshi girl, dulling their pain and forgetting that the one they really hate are they themselves and their helplessness.
Angel Beats is an original story and arguably one of the best and most successful anime of 2010. What seems like a weird scenario at first, quickly turns into an emotional roller-coaster as you learn about the tragic pasts of the main characters. These authentic depictions of the problems and hardships of contemporary teenagers let the viewer relate to them on a level very few other anime can compete with. In between there is a lot of humor and mystery, which fits in just perfectly. Music, opening and ending are equally as beautiful rounding up an already perfect anime. Many complain that 13 episodes are not enough and wish for more episodes, while I think it is just fine the way it ended. It’s one of those shows able to move viewers to tears and will not disappoint. Rating: 10/10
Jin-tan lives the life of a hikikomori, dropping out of high school and hardly ever leaving his house. Yet, when he was younger he was quite the lively and outgoing boy. That was untill the day Menma died right after he had a argument with her caused by his childish shyness. Today he has lost touch with his friends and pretty much everyone else besides Menma, who is still constantly with him as what he believes to be an imaginary product of his guilty conscience. However, there seems to be something more to his Menma. Maybe, if he reunites with his old friends and finds out about her last wish, they can help Menma move on and free themselves from this guilty weight they are still carrying with them.
Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai is the story about how a single tragic death can change the life of children forever. While everyone took a different path in life, they all still remember Menma and have their own guilty secrets and ways to live with them. As the story unfolds, we find out more about Menma and everyone of the old clique. While this show with its slightly above average animation quality and touching music is pretty entertaining to watch, I believe the real worth of this series will be decided by the quality of its finale. Rating: 8,5/10
Since Makoto-kun’s parents are away on a business trip, he moves in with his aunt to a new home and a new school. There he meets his cousin Erio, who to his astonishment lives her life with her upper body wrapped tight into a futon mattress. From his aunt and his new friends at school he finds out Erio has been missing for half a year and has no memories of what happened during that time. After that incident she started behaving weirdly and now believes herself to be an alien visitor. Makoto takes it upon himself to help her regain her senses and ensure her way back into society.
The Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko anime is based on a light novel series. To me it seems this anime’s main appeal comes from Erio’s cute helplessness and moe behaviour. Yet I find it hard to categorize it: On the one hand Makoto’s quest to reveal Erio’s past and help her out of her misery introduces serious and dramatic elements to the show; on the other hand his interaction with the numerous female characters is quite similar to usual lighthearted harem/comedy shows. But as all characters are amazingly appealing and the animation quality is above average and very detailed, I can tell this anime will be very successful within the community (and it deserves to be). Rating: 9/10
Review: The Shinrabanshou is a hidden technique to take control of all things in nature. The most powerful of all hijutsu; he who controls it will rule Nabari, the secret world of the ninja. It moves timelessly throughout the world from one host to the next at its own choosing. This generation, it lives inside of a 14 years old boy named Miharu Rokujo. His shallow life is now in danger as those who seek to obtain the Shinrabanshou must kill him to get it. It’s not a completely hopeless existence however, as he is accompanied by friends who help to guide and protect him… as good as they can.
Your fairly generic storyline: boy wakes up one day with an ultimate power and must decide to save the world or destroy it. Maybe it’s not quite that tragic. There does seem to be an intricate plot that develops with every new episode, and the action sequences are pretty good. The content is closer to Ninja Scroll than Naruto with plenty of blood and total lack of high school romances. A cool thing about this series is that it takes place in modern day Japan. All of the Ninjas actually have real lives and jobs, while struggling to maintain their traditional obligations. Rating: 9/10
Review: Years ago on a stormy night, when Yuki still was a little girl, she was attacked by a vampire. However, she was saved by Kaname, who is a rare pureblood noble vampire. She doesn’t have any memories of her life before that fateful day and was adopted by the headmaster of Cross Academy. She now attends this school as a day-class student. This school also has a night-class which consists only of beautiful and talented students. Only Yuki, her adopted brother Zero and the headmaster know that everyone in the night-class actually are vampires, trying to conform to human society. Kaname also attends this class and as a pureblood he tries to keep everyone civilized. However, even he seems to have certain secrets. And what are the secrets behind Yuki’s and Zero’s pasts?
Vampire Knight is based on a popular manga with astonishing artwork. The anime show’s animation quality doesn’t quite live up to that, but at least it by far isn’t as much of a let-down as Special A. It’s a shoujo story about the love triangle between Yuki, Zero and Kaname, which gets more complicated by the fact that they are both vampires. But even plot-wise this show doesn’t fall short with all its mysteries and tragedies that unfold along the way. Even those who do not like shoujo anime should give this show a try. Rating: 8,5/10
Review: After his mother died Hirose Takuma moved away with his father to live in a small rural town. For an unknown reason at some point of his childhood he lost his eye sight. That’s why the classmates of his new school help him out a lot. On the other hand there’s Kohinata, an outsider girl, who is bullied and beaten by her classmates and lives alone outside of this town. Hirose cannot understand this unreasonable behavior of those people who treat him so kindly and he wants to help her. Unfortunately as an outsider he doesn’t understand this towns past and the relationships between those people. Suddenly on his second day living in this town his eye sight returns and he can see again. Will he be able to help Kohinata and uncover this town’s history and secrets? Rating: 5/10
Review: This is the continuation of the popular Gunslinger Girl series. Gunslinger Girl is about a certain secret Italian agency that fights terrorism. This agency searches for young girls who are hopelessly close to death, and then through newest medical technology save them, erase their memories, enhance their muscles and condition them to be loyal and affectionate toward the agent handler they are given to. Those girls are trained to become perfect fighting cyborgs for assassinations of terrorists and still look like innocent little girls as the perfect cover-up. As all those girls used to be near death patients their seemingly forgotten past sometimes slips through as it is connected to the handler’s past that isn’t any less sad and complicated. In a perfect way this show portrays how some agents have a hard time seeing those girls, who struggle for praise and acceptance, as objects and how others don’t.
Perfectly performed and animated fights and movements, same as deep political and moral problems that are introduced, make Gunslinger Girl into an outstanding action drama that has Sci-Fi elements and yet seems so real. Sadly the animation quality of this anime is not quite as good and detailed as in the first season, but that is only a small drawback. Rating: 9/10
Review: Shinichiro is a young highschooler who lives in a big house and even employs a few servants. For a yet unknown reason they have adopted Hiromi into the family. Shinichiro was already friends with her before that and his classmates tease him saying they should make out with each other, but there really isn’t anything going on between those two and for some reason their relationship became rather distant after the adoption. At school by chance Shinichiro gets involved with the cute, energetic but also mysterious girl called Noe. His classmates become interested in their relationship, and so is Hiromi.
I know many already have had enough of this flood of dating-sim adaptations that we saw for the past years, but True Tears is yet another example for the recent trend of more and more outstanding decent quality shows from this harem genre. The animation is not only flawless, but the cars, school buildings, school grounds and simply everything is designed so realistic that you could actually think you are looking at an animated version of a real contemporary small Japanese town. The character personalities and reactions are just as believable as the animation, but still manage to be original and interesting. Even the few anime clichés that are picked up are presented in a credible way. So far I have high hopes that this story will be interesting. Rating: 8,5/10