Some time ago we checked out Shinigami no Ballad. Momo is a shinigami: a death god. She is dressed in white and carries a scythe around. When you die, she comes to collect your soul, to take it to the afterlife.
The first story is about a boy and a girl who find an abandoned kitten. The girl is sickly (somehow heart conditions in Japan show themselves through heavy coughing), and she want to take care of the kitten -- because they are the same. The boy agrees, but reluctantly -- they hide the kitten in a box under a shrine. When the girl dies after being out in the rain for too long (she had to take care of the kitten while the boy is off playing soccer), the boy blames the kitten and threatens to abandon it...
The stories are 'small', and Momo doesn't play a large part. Designs are pretty good -- if you like sad and beautiful stories, this is for you.
Keisatsu Sensha Tai TANK S.W.A.T. is based on Dominion Tank Police by Shiro Masamune (of Ghost in the Shell fame). This incarnation, however, is completely CGI. Cell-shaded CGI. Not to everyone's tastes -- the characters move quite clumsily, and the visual style is more akin to a videogame than an anime with any sort of budget.
The story is amusing though: discs containing private data on pretty much every citizen in the city have been stolen, and the tank police is sent in to retrieve it! Add a bomb in a collar and a golfer android to the mix, and you get an interesting story wherein one has to double- and triple-guess the android and the rest of the police force.
Dai Mahou Toge is about a princess of the magical kingdom who is sent to Earth for a year. It starts off innocent enough, with Punie being a popular girl because of her cuteness. But when the 'delinquents' try to teach her a lesson, her true nature comes out: she uses her magic and her knowledge of martial arts to strick back mercilessly.
Lots of random, magical violence. One would not be surprised when one learns that this is made by the same people who brought us Dokuro-chan -- if you like one, you'll like the other. We like neither, though watching a potato commit seppuku was pretty amusing.
KIBA is sponsored by TopDeck Japan -- a marketing vehicle for a (collectible, no doubt) card game. Zed, a fifteen-year old boy who lives in a multi-leveled city where the air doesn't move. His mother is in a mental institution, and Zed has taken to vandalising stuff out of frustration. Of course, he gets into trouble with the police and his school teachers. When one of the teachers kills another and then tries to kill Zed, his mother escapes the institution and starts casting fire spells! Through various circumstances, Zed jumps through a portal and finds himself in a fantasy world where a dwarf is just about to do battle with another guy who just summoned a monster...
It's a typical shonen marketing tie-in, though this one isn't as bad as, say, Beet the Vandal Buster or Onmyou Taisenki. Characters speak in normal tones (often, shonen anime has all the characters shouting at each other constantly), and the designs by Madhouse are pretty good. We'll give this a second chance before we judge it.