MM!: Taro is a masochist. And he is in love with the beautiful girl who visits the convenience store where he works. To avoid creeping her out, he wants to be 'cured' of his masochism before confessing to her. His friend advises him to go to the 'second volunteering club'. The club president's idea of 'curing' Taro is to beat him within an inch of his life, so that his survival instinct kicks in. Of course, being attacked by a beautiful girl doesn't really cure Taro of anything...
So, lots of random violence, and we get to make fun of 'deviant' people. Boring, and very not-funny.
Dragon Quest: Retro-sub from a series that ran ten years ago. We played 'spot the recycled character design from Dragon Ball Z' for a bit, because we didn't care that much about the story or the characters. Bonus points for the ethnic clothing designs, though.
Bakuman: Mashiro loves two things: drawing, and his classmate Miho. During class, he draws her, and one day another classmate, Takagi, finds the drawing. He tries to convince Mashiro to create a manga together with him, but Mashiro has the example his uncle set him: he toiled his whole life to make it as a manga artist, but never quite got there. But Takagi knows that Miho likes Mashiro too, and that she wants to become a voice actress. They visit her house, tensions (and teenage hormones) flare, and when they walk away, Mashiro promised Miho to create a manga that will turn into an anime -- and then he will have her be take the leading female role. Miho agrees -- so now Mashiro has to step up to the plate and start drawing!
I really liked the realism with which Mashiro approaches the idea of creating a manga and hitting it big as a mangaka. The usual 'if you want something bad enough, it'll come true!'-vibe was totally absent. Mix in the teenage romance, add a bit of slice of life, and you have a winner. And it looks pretty good too!
Star Driver: Takuto comes to an island to 'celebrate his youth', after the advice of his grandfather. There's a school with a dorm on the island (and probably not much else), and there are four priestesses (one for each compass direction) who conduct rituals for... some reason. And there's a secret organisation (staffed by Takuto's classmates wearing masks) that rummages around in the old abandoned goldmine to experiment with mecha that can cross over to other dimensions(!). One of their tactics is to kidnap the priestesses, but Takuto simply barges in and summons his own mecha!
After this first episode, we don't have the slightest clue as to what the hell is going on -- but we like it. :)
Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai: Kyousuke doesn't get along with his sister Kirino -- to say the least. Then one day, he finds an 18+ 'little sister'-type game (you know the type!) and finds out it's Kirino's! She has a hidden closet full of the stuff, and she plays those games quite avidly. But they have to keep it a secret from their father, who'd certainly flip out if he found out. Kyousuke promises to keep Kirino's secret, and she starts to drag him along in her world.
Weird premise, but quite amusing. Poor Kyousuke has to go along with his perverted sister -- even though she doesn't think of it as being perverted.
Hyakka Ryoran Samurai Girls: The Tokugawa Shogunate never lost power, so we get samurai using digital cameras. Yagyuu is a student at a prestigious highschool, where the student council is a vasal of the shogunate. He meets two girls (who have names from famous Sengoku-era samurai) who want to rebel against the school and break the might of the shogunate. Due to circumstances, Yagyuu teams up with the girls and rebels! And of course, it all happens with them running around half-naked...
The premise is interesting and the visual style is refreshing as well: some scenes look like the ukiyo-e woodblock prints from the Edo-period. Lots of action and nice character designs. And it's... pretty perverted, which helps too. ;)
You are Umasou: Based on a storybook, three-minute episodes. About a young planteating dinosaur who mistakes a T Rex for his daddy.
Yosuga no Sora: Haruka and Sora (who happen to be twins) have lost their parents in an accident. They move to a small rural village where they used to come in the summers. Sora hates it there (no convenience stores, no internet, etc) while Haruka seems to steal the heart of every female who sees him. Yes, it's based on a harem game, and quite standard at that. What isn't standard is that we also get twincest and an explicit masturbation scene at the end.
It looks quite OK, but it's all cardboard cutouts. And the sex is kinda grating too.
Arakawa under the Bridge x Bridge: Second season of the Arakawa-series. It drops right in, without so much as an introduction of the characters. Watch the first season first, then you know if you want to watch this one too.
Sora no Otoshimono: Forte: Second season of an ecchi comedy. We needed two minutes to decide we didn't want to watch it.
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: In Daten city, evil spirits possess everyday objects. Two angels (Panty and Stocking) have to exterminate them using as weapons... their panties and stockings. One of 'em is a moody goth, the other is (to quote the series) a 'little hoe-bag'. Oh, and Garterbelt is the priests that gives them their assignments.
Gainax watched too much Powerpuff Girls, perverted the idea totally and uglified the designs to boot. Painful to watch.
The World God Only Knows: Keima is an expert player of dating sims -- he is known as the 'Capturing God', who can capture any girl in any game. Then he unwittingly signs a 'contract' that partners him with a shinigami (death god): bad spirits occupy the hearts of people, and the only way to force the spirits out is to make their host fall in love with someone. The task is clear: Keima has to make the possessed girls fall in love with him, so that his shinigami can reap those spirits!
Keima is a total dork, of course. And the tactics he employs in his dating sims completely fail in the real world -- it is only when he shows his real character and really cares, that it works. It'll be amusing.
Togainu no Chi: In a bleak future, Akira participates in 'free fights', and when his opponent turns up dead, he is the prime suspect. But he can get out, if he agrees to go to Toshima, where gangsters fight eachother to the death for tags. Behind it all is a crime syndicate, and Akira's 'benefactors' want him to destroy the syndicate. (And if he fails? Well, he's expandable anyway.)
Boy's love of the blood-spattered variety. Manly men, lots of crumbling buildings and lots of rain. And no likable character in sight.
A Certain Magical Index II: Second season of this series -- or maybe the third, if you cound 'A Certain Scientific Railgun' as the second one. This time, the focus is back on the magical side of the world, and Index and Touma get hunted by a powerful mage who is after Index' forbidden knowledge!
Even though Index acts a bit brattish, I just can't get enough of this setting. It's high-energy and high-fantasy. And the cast of the previous series make their appearance as well, which makes for a nice continuity.
Squid Girl: Squid Girl comes from the depths of the ocean to conquer humanity, in order to make them stop polluting the oceans. However, she chooses a beach café as the base of her operations -- but the owners, the Aizawa sisters, turn out to be formidable opponents. In the end, Squid Girl has to work at the café to pay for the repairs...
Really funny gags. The lack of common sense is staggering, and the scene where Squid Girl has to barf ink all over the plates of spagetti had me crying with laughter.
Tegami Bachi Reverse: The first Tegami Bachi series ended with a huge cliffhanger. This series takes off right from that point -- so if you were still interested by then, you'll want to watch this one. Personally, I'd like Lag to grow up a bit and spend ten minutes not crying.
Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru: Hotori has a part-time job, working at a maid café. Well... she is a server at a café and wears a maid uniform. Her perfectionistic friend has a very clear idea of what a maid should do, and when a teacher from their school visits, she coaches Hotori to prevent him from reporting her job to the school.
It tries very, very hard to be the next 'Natsu no Arashi!' (even the family name of the female lead is the same!) but fails. The gags aren't funny and it lacks the stylistic refinement.
Fortune Arterial: Kouhei moved around a lot because of his father's work. Finally, when he enters high school, he is sent to a boarding school so that he can stay at the same school for those three years. His initial meeting with the vice-chairman of the student council is not what he had in mind, and then her brother (the chairman) starts plotting all sorts of unnecessary things. Oh, and there are vampires in the school, too!
It'll undoubtedly be rather standard, but I'll watch it all the same because of the character designs and the mix of supernatural and romance plots.
Shinrei Tantei Yakumo: Yakumo, a college student and sole member of the movie research club, claims to be clairvoyant. He is not, but he can see ghosts. Haruka asks for his help in the case of her classmates who got killed -- presumably because of the curse of the old university building that they visited at night. Yakumo finds out what's wrong and convinces Haruka she should stick with him for her own safety -- which isn't very easy given his abrasive personality.
Another supernatural detective, but this one isn't above some trickery to get what he wants. And he has a sharp mind so that he can also deduct non-supernatural stuff. Should be interesting, given the connections he has to others and the dynamic with Haruka.
Kuragehime: Tsukimi works as an illustrator and lives in an all-female apartment complex where everyone is unfashionable and nerdy -- Tsukimi's obsession is with jellyfish. One evening, she gets into an argument with the clerk of a petstore over the care of a jellyfish, and a 'fashionable woman' helps her out. They take the jellyfish home, and the woman crashes in her room. The next morning, she finds out that underneath that wig is actually a guy!
Lovely series about nerds and how their little world gets shaken up.
Hen Zemi: Poor innocent Nanako takes a 'sexual perversion seminar' at college. It's not very explicit, but all the same you shouldn't watch this while eating.
Tamayura: OVA about Fu, a highschool girl who inherited her father's camera. She and her mother moved back to the city where they lived some years before, and Fu takes her camera with her as she explores her old/new city and meets new friends.
OK, so it's a total moe-fest, but it has cute girls and SLR camera's. Of course we'll watch it. :P
Katanagatari: This one has been running for quite a while, actually. It's set during the Edo period. Main character is the son of the leader of a rebellion, who used a martial art that doesn't use swords. He and his sister live in exile on a remote island, and one day they are visited by Togame who has a high post in the Shogunate. She is looking for twelve katana, the culmination of the lifework of a famous weaponsmith. She has tried before to get these swords, but the swordmen she hired turned against her -- so now she is looking for someone who doesn't use a sword!
The character designs are very simple (though quite expressive), but the backgrounds and clothing is very detailed and lush -- kind of a big gap between the two. The lack of common sense from the main guy is charming, and it's good to have an ambitious female character once in a while. Fun to watch!
Otome Youkai Zakuro: In the Meiji era, there's some friction between the westernly organised military and the more tradition-minded spirits/youkai. Three army lieutenants are sent to the youkai office in the city to act as liasons and coordinate actions against rampaging youkai. They are partnered with youkai-girls (half human, half youkai). Kei is partnered with Zakuro -- and he is actually afraid of ghosts, spirits and youkai...
It's a bit slow-moving, but very amusing. The dynamic between Kei and Zakuro is interesting, and the (fictional) setting is equally nice.
Strange Dawn: Retro-sub. Yuko and Eri, two schoolgirls, find themselves in another world -- populated with small people. The people take them in as the 'Giant Saviours', but of course the two know of nothing. Due to the stubbornness of one of the girls, they get into trouble, but when the village is attacked, they make the legend true by chasing the attackers off.
Quite well animated... for 10 years ago. The character designs of the tiny people are both very simple and abstracted and expressive. The dynamic between Eri and Yuko is interesting as well: they're not friends, but they're all that they have left. Ought to be interesting.