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Here's how to catch up on Bleach and Naruto.

Step 1. Download the soundtrack. Just the first couple, the restis boring.

Step 2. Play soundtrack.

Step 3. Find a site that has the manga.

Step 4. Read the manga with the soundtrack playing.

You've just made the series much more tolerable and you can catch up quicker than watching it. No filler, all the good parts, and you can catch up as quickly as you can read.

I guess the same applies to just about any long-running series that follows the manga exactly, but you get the idea.

I haven't watched Bleach or Naruto in years because of this.

I've actually been watching Naruto Shippuden occasionally on Hulu (when it's not filler). They go back to the original Naruto time line so much now. How many times can they show how team 10 met, and the Uchiha masacre? A lot apparently.

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MX: stop grading things based upon how much other people liked them.

EC: you expected it to be something completely different than how it advertised itself? Perhaps you should be more surprised in your disappointment.

freeshrugs I guess. I thought PSG was nice for disgusting, low-brow humor.

Going to have to check out Mushi-Shi.

Bunny Drop (Usagi Drop) was pleasant. Was mentioned a few months ago in this thread (thanks Graycascade): single guy's life changes as he starts caring for the child of a deceased relative; show progresses with their interactions. Simple themes, a slow pace, a little heartwarming... probably not everyone's bag, but I enjoyed it. Though I think the timing was perfect for me to appreciate the subject matter; I doubt that even two years ago some of the things would have resonated with me as much they did just a month ago. On the other hand, there were several times I felt like it was on the cusp of being poignant but never quite got there. Although that very well could have been intentional, since it was a story about normal people in more-or-less everyday circumstances, and a plain conveyance suits that better than over-dramatization, at least. Prevents it from being great, I think, but it's still good and worth watching if the style and subject matter are up your alley.

Went with Doki subs. Used this to compare and choose.

Giving Black Lagoon a shot. Not sold on the action or acting thus far, but there seems to be more to Revy so I'm hoping that starts to play out.

Koishi's Heart-Throbbing Adventure is delightfully twisted and should be watched by everyone who's up on the Touhou universe (esp. characters' abilities). Everyone, that is, who can stomach gore and disturbing imagery. yt:

; next ep was always at the top of 'related videos' for me. Extremely slow start: ep1 is meh and it takes until ep4/5 for the series to go beyond simple shock value (which admittedly has its moments), but then plot threads start materializing and it begins descending into irreverent chaos. ep8 is probably the single most brilliant thing that has ever and will ever come of the Touhou fandom. Obviously not a good sales pitch for most, but if you already have a bunch of worthless Touhou knowledge then this show might vindicate some of those hours lost in its acquisition.

Show isn't finished and there have been multi-month breaks between recent episodes, but it's a satisfying watch as it stands now. That is: it's winding down, so there aren't as many things to anticipate as there were a couple episodes ago. And yeah it isn't exactly an anime, more a comic put to music and in video format, but I figured it close enough to mention. For the one/two people here who might possibly care about this in the least.

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I suppose I had high hopes because it was Gainax and because they always have something up their sleeve.

Oh well, I stopped after episode 4 because I realized the show wasn't for me and couldn't get myself to like it at all.

Now, I just finished New Dominion Tank Police, and holy moly, it was pretty awesome. Like, Lethal Weapon 1 and 2 levels of awesome. The dub was perfect (strong acting from Toni Barett as the main lead Leona), the action was so over-the-top that it was endlessly enjoyable, and unlike the first series, Dominion Tank Police, since this was a sequel it could tell its own story without having to bullshit around with tying itself into the manga.

It's up there on my list of anime to recommend to people who want to watch extremely entertaining, heart-on-its-sleeve stuff. It doesn't try to be contemplative, or muse about serious subjects. It's about policemen and women who drive tanks and take on bad guys. And sometimes, that is all you need to have a good time (and dammit did I have a good time!).

Both series get recommendations from me. The first one has a cooler sci-fi 80s cyberpunk style about it, with cool funky 80s music, but I think the sequel tells a better story in the end, so they both have something worth watching about them.

Also, for Black Lagoon, I'd recommend the dub if possible. The japanese version is nothing but horribly broken Engrish, and is impossible to take seriously. The dub is actually really well-done, with a lot of big stars in the VA industry lending their talents to great effect.

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I really like the first season I Black Lagoon, but I felt like the second went too much on the "dark for darkness's sake" end of things. The first season seemed to have an attitude of "bad shit happens and the world isn't a nice place, but you can survive it and at least try to find something good", but the second season is more like "bad shit happens and the world is a terrible place, the end". Season two also focused significantly more on Rock and Revy, to the exclusion of Benny and Dutch, which I thought was a mistake. Black Lagoon needs its secondary characters in order to balance it out.

For the record, I watched Black Lagoon in the first place because I saw

. It's three minutes of every use of the word "fuck" in the series, so... y'know, turn your speakers down if you're at work or something.

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Bunny Drop (Usagi Drop) was pleasant. Was mentioned a few months ago in this thread (thanks Graycascade): single guy's life changes as he starts caring for the child of a deceased relative; show progresses with their interactions. Simple themes, a slow pace, a little heartwarming... probably not everyone's bag, but I enjoyed it.
Same here, though it's so slow-paced that I stopped watching. It seems like something I can pick up at any time and enjoy when I'm not looking for action but just want something to relax to.

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I've actually been watching Naruto Shippuden occasionally on Hulu (when it's not filler). They go back to the original Naruto time line so much now. How many times can they show how team 10 met, and the Uchiha masacre? A lot apparently.

This reminded me of Yu-Gi-Oh!. When nothing else was on, I would turn that show on and watch it. Started somewhere toward the end of the first season, and I remember really enjoying the episodes that took place at Pegasus' castle, including the 6-episode final duel with Pegasus. It was an interesting enough story that I kept watching through the Battle City story arc.

Now for those who are unfamiliar with the whole thing, let me bring you up to speed a bit (and if anyone is more familiar with the show, correct me if I'm wrong). Like most long anime, the show was catching up to the manga. As such, they did a filler arc dealing with a character named Noah, and that storyline was dropped right when the action started getting really good during the Battle City arc. On DVD, you can skip the whole Noah side story and miss nothing. So then the action goes back to the Battle City tournament and, for those of us who didn't follow the manga, it's like, "Alright, shit's gonna hit the fan now!" And it kind of does. Scattered sporadically amongst a whole lot of nonsense filler scenes during episodes.

Soma, your comment reminded me of this one particularly grating aspect of that series where in what must be every episode for like 5 in a row, the one character Joey (or Jounichi in the Japanese version, and no, I can't spell his name) has a flashback about beating 3 particular duelists during the tournament. I swear, it actually makes you laugh whenever you hear the monologue building up to that flashback. I have to assume they were still too close to the manga and had to pad it somehow, but they chose the single most annoying way to do it.

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The filler in Naruto has been pretty awful, and there's been so much of it. I suppose it's a necessary evil.

Speaking of filler, I have to imagine that episode of Dragon Ball Z where Goku and Piccolo get their driver's license has to be filler. That's one of my favorite episodes of the series though.

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Speaking of filler, I have to imagine that episode of Dragon Ball Z where Goku and Piccolo get their driver's license has to be filler. That's one of my favorite episodes of the series though.

same with gohan goes to high school

some of my favorite episodes of the entire series

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Right, so as you guys here probably know if you saw my previous posts, I absolutely LOOOOOOOOO~VED Clannad. Made me realize just how much of a sucker I was for a good, emotional story. I read the visual novel and then immediately started and finished the anime. Cried lots. Lots. It's taken me a while to recover from it, and I'm still not fully there; I have the OST (and other related albums) and there's still a few songs I can't listen to without getting a bit teary-eyed.

A week ago, I felt the need to subject myself to new round of emotional storytelling. So, naturally, I took a look at the release history of Key, the studio that produced Clannad. I decided to just go straight to the beginning with their very first release, Kanon. It was also released first as a VN and then as an anime years later, much like Clannad. However, Kanon's anime has two incarnations: the 13-episode 2002 release, and the 24-episode 2006 release. It's sufficient to say that the 2006 version is generally regarded as superior in just about every aspect, but I'm not sure if I'll be watching the 2002 version to make a comparison at some point.

As I did with Clannad, I completed Kanon's original VN release and then jumped into the 2006 anime release. I finished the VN in about four days and then (unintentionally) marathon'd the entire anime in one sitting immediately after finishing the VN. It was quite engaging, to say the least, since I had only planned on watching the first four episodes that day.

No regrets.

Kanon has five storylines, each focusing on one of the main female leads (Ayu Tsukimiya, Nayuki Minase, Makoto Sawatari, Shiori Misaka, and Mai Kawasumi); one of the stories is considered the "true" path, and it's not hard to guess which one. There isn't any overarching plotline that directly connects them all like Clannad's story had, but the themes of the stories are similar among them: promises and memories of the past, and of miracles. Despite the similarities in theme between the paths, the feel of each differs greatly, which is where the stories both shine and falter. In my case, Makoto's and Ayu's stories hit me hard, yet Mai's did very little for me, while I've seen the exact opposite reaction in others.

The visual novel version has a strong core with some rough edges. Writing quality has its ups and downs, particularly between paths, but may be attributable to problems in translation; I can't yet judge it based on the merits of the original Japanese writing. Pacing is also an issue in areas, and there are portions where I truly wished they had gone into more/less detail. On occasion, I felt like the writers weren't quite sure how they wanted a section to feel to the reader, leading to conflicting emotions and thus a dampening of its impact. That said, these are just rough edges, and the overall product is very engaging and moving. The characters feel real and their personalities, by and large, shine through. Occasionally the presentation of character traits stumbles and doesn't quite feel right, but for every section that missed the mark a little, there was at least two that nailed it. The plots are a little predictable, but this does nothing to hurt the appeal, and it still manages to throw in a sucker punch or two. The most important thing is that nothing brought into the story feels contrived - everything fits together rather well. This means that while you might see something coming, it still feels like a natural progression of events that you can easily get invested in. The true ending of the VN is a little bit on the vague side, but that may have been intentional, given that the same can be said of Clannad's. It's still a very moving ending. In short, the visual novel isn't exactly consistent, but it does exceptionally well to still come up with a great experience for the reader.

The 2006 anime adaptation takes many of the good points of VN and does a lot to improve upon its weaknesses. In particular, the characters are given a much stronger base for you to relate to them on, which instantly increases the eventual emotional impact later on. The pacing and writing is taken up a notch as well as smoothed over, eliminating the sometimes inconsistent quality problem the VN had. Of course, the stories are merged them into a single plotline, so expect changes. I was originally skeptical about how they could pull it off, but the end result is as faithful to the original as one could probably make, given that many aspects of each story are incompatible with the others. In my opinion, Shiori's and Nayuki's stories were somewhat negatively impacted by the merging due to what their original focus was in the VN, while Makoto's and Mai's remained relatively unchanged by the transition. Depending on your view of her story, Ayu's story benefited from the merging, perhaps due to the added screentime the other characters had as her story unfolded. Several other details beyond the necessities were added or changed when fitting everything together as well, which helped to make the end product a much more cohesive story than just a stitching together of several. Perhaps the biggest change revolved around the ending, in that the events have additions made to them to bring all the stories together, and the details that weren't changed/added are much more clearly presented than they were in the VN. If you're confused at all about what exactly happened, the anime version should clear things right up. I will also say that, as I watched it play out, I originally felt the anime nearly dropped the ball when dealing with one of the arcs in the last couple episodes, but by its resolution, I felt they had indeed done the best they could with the source material. It was, I think, the biggest victim of merging the storylines, but even then it managed to come out quite well. I think the 2006 anime adaptation misses out on some of the stronger portions of the VN's stories due to having to combine them all, but it has an overall stronger telling of the story on the whole.

Kanon, like Clannad, is a work of art. If you like one, you'll almost certainly like the other. I highly recommend both the VN and the anime. The visual novel, despite its flaws, is an incredible first showing for Key, and the anime adaptation is beautifully done.

Now then, if you'll excuse me, I need to spend the next few weeks undergoing an emotional detox. Sometime after that I'll be taking up the visual novel and anime of Key's second work, Air.

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I have the OST (and other related albums) and there's still a few songs I can't listen to without getting a bit teary-eyed.

I know that feel bro.

Yeah, a few months ago I started watching Kanon as well, but I didn't really get into it, so I shelved it. When I'm done with Clannad After Story, perhaps, if I'm not completely wrecked I'll start that as well

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Watching Death Note now (on episode 6). Moving through it ever so slowly as I'm too busy with playing video games and making YouTube videos.

Elfen Lied and Naruto are ones I started but never finished. Tried to get into Bleach and failed.

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Perhaps I should say its goodness comes from a "so-bad-it's-good" quality (especially if you watch the dub - shit's fucking hilarious).

The show is plodding, nothing but pointless gore and lolis, with uneven pacing, irritating characters, complete with an annoying group of fans that tout its "deepness" which is solely due to its above-average soundtrack.

It can't be hard to see it for what is basically a glorified loli snuff series with moeblob characters.

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Bleach is the best EVER! I finished it in like two months. THAT is how good it was. I wasn't even into anime before I started on it but now I'm gobbling up anime as fast as possible!

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Perhaps I should say its goodness comes from a "so-bad-it's-good" quality (especially if you watch the dub - shit's fucking hilarious).

The show is plodding, nothing but pointless gore and lolis, with uneven pacing, irritating characters, complete with an annoying group of fans that tout its "deepness" which is solely due to its above-average soundtrack.

It can't be hard to see it for what is basically a glorified loli snuff series with moeblob characters.

I agree with you and give it 1/10. Child pornography/rape, unnecessary nudity in every episode, a retarded main character with amnesia and a split personality, not a single likeable character, plot holes I could drive a truck through, dub is the worst I've ever heard, and many other complaints that I've forgotten since I watched it. I'm doing my best to put it out of my mind.

If you want to watch a dark gory show that's actually enjoyable, watch Berserk. I give that one 8/10 because its not my style but still engaged me enough.

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Still need to watch Berserk.

Elfen Lied is one of my favorite animes, but it's like Madoka in the respect that it's emotional porn. Agreed that some of the dub voice-acting was bad (the cousins in particular), but Lucy and Nana at least were well-done. There's definitely gore and nudity, which I can see being distasteful, but I thought it was purposeful. Plenty of reasons to dislike it I suppose, but it's far from terrible.

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If I want gore and nudity I think I'd stay with Mad Bull 34. With Manga UK's dub, I'd at least be consistently entertained. It's emotional porn... without the emotion!

Unless manliness is an emotion... then Mad Bull has it in spades.

Such is the fate of any anime starring Mike Haggar:

char_15715.jpg

I usually tend to go towards more actiony adventure-type shows, like Lupin, Space Adventure Cobra, Tank Police, etc. - mainly because i know any anime trying to be "profound" or the dreaded "deep" (loaded term!) ends up falling flat on its ass and being a presumptuous, unwatchable pile of junk. See: Ergo Proxy (and I actually watched this series twice!), Serial Experiment Lain (oh my God this is the most boring, plodding anime in existence), and Paranoia Agent*

*I actually give the series a solid 5/10, in a positive sense. Because the first half of the series is complex, and incredibly interesting, with a great sense of buildup. It's exciting, and with great psychologically-disturbed characters and Kon's impeccable sense of style. Unfortunately, what should have been a really cool OVA-length series had 6 more episodes that totally derailed the plot with nonsequitirs and killed the goodwill and respect I had for the series in the first 6 episodes.

Edited by EC2151

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You might like it ; p

It's a beautiful-looking series, with interesting characters (really liked the main heroine Re-L and her android compatriot, Iggy), but everything spirals out of control and into the realm of frustration one-third of the way through the show.

They decide "who cares about these character traits we've established in the first arc of the series? Let's just have random characters spout pseudo-psychological ramblings and call it moving the plot forward!" Which is funny because the plot grinds to an absolute stop halfway through, all the way until the penultimate episode where they realize they have to wrap things up so like everything happens plot-wise in a span of 20 minutes. It tries to set up this really ambitious look into, like, the psyche of the characters, but it doesn't have the grace or intelligence to ultimately pull it off. It sounds smart without being smart. That, and the filler episodes. Holy moly. Worst filler EVER.

Like I said though. It looks beautiful [i really love the character designs, and it's very well-animated when it needs to be].

ergo+proxy+re-l+mayor.jpg

re-l-iggy.jpg

PoutingPino.jpg

When I watched the series the first time, I didn't notice the problems, because I was too caught up in the world the series built. So I enjoyed it. Second time, however, they were the only things I could see. So yeah, it's worth one watch, but I wouldn't go beyond that!

Edited by EC2151

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I'm back with another review. Surprise surprise, it's related to Key, though I didn't realize it when I began watching.

Angel Beats!

I'll tell you right off the bat: regardless of whether or not the show impacts you, you're probably going to come out of it with strong opinions on the show's direction, tone, and focus.

Angel Beats! is a 14-episode series (13 story episodes + 1 OVA) following a group of people who are dead. You're told this from the very start: everyone in the show is already dead. Over the course of the show, Angel Beats! packs a ton of stuff in general into a relatively short time, from backstories to comedy bits to fight sequences to drama, sorrow and joy. At times the transition from one tone to another can be jarring, and the time spent in any one mood can be short, yet it manages to work. Most shows tend to overextend when dealing with so many tones, especially if all are deemed important, but it works here in its own way. The animation quality is fairly good, and it spikes upward at certain points, particularly during the aforementioned fight sequences. The animation helps to alleviate any sense of jarring one might feel, transitioning the mood through visuals, subtle and overt.

For the characters that are developed, they're done well. None of them truly feel like some kind of cookie-cutter personality, despite a few seemingly being so at the outset. The lesser-developed characters obviously remain somewhat two-dimensional, but they are there to enhance the main characters, not provide additional dynamics on their own. The character development is strong and ultimately leads up to the climax of the series, which actually only happens a few minutes before the very end of the main story. It is here that the hardest of the emotional moments is likely to be for anyone, if one experiences it. It also is when the true meaning of the show's title is also made clear, a truth that few will likely be able to guess in advance if going in blind. One of the few story twists I've encountered that has taken me by complete surprise, and one that will make certain scenes and events earlier more moving to someone upon a second viewing. Unfortunately, the climax of the series also brings forward the main problem of the entire production.

Angel Beats! is a 14-episode series that truly deserved to be the length of a full 24-episode season. It needed the extra ten episodes or so to really feel complete. They did well with the time they had, but many things were left out or rushed as a result of the limited number of episodes. Many more characters needed some sort of backstory given so that we, the viewers, could feel for them and those that cared for them more. Too few had their stories told. In addition, the proper attention one subplot, the most important of them all by the end, needed was never given to it. The ending, powerful enough as it potentially was to some viewers, could have had a much larger punch with many more people had the preceding events and development been given more screentime. That said, the ending as it is does take advantage of the lack of development as best it can to turn it around and deliver a strong emotional impact. It is a wonderfully-executed ending to the series, hitting all the right notes.

In short, Angel Beats! is too short for what it wanted to do, but despite this, it succeeds in being a very good anime that brings to the table several story and character aspects that are not commonly seen. Nothing feels forced despite the lack of time. It has some significant flaws, but the series still stands up well to scrutiny due to how well put-together the entirety of it was and the beautifully-done finale. Some may cry, others may not. It's worth checking out even if you don't find yourself impacted much by the emotional sides of the story, as it is still a solid story that brings forth some important messages.

I recommend the series to anyone willing to give it a shot, especially given its length. It is not the emotional rollercoaster that the subjects of my previous two reviews were, but all the same, it does its best of draw you in and get you interested in how it all unfolds.

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I just finished watching Clannad ~After Story~, and yes, now I'm pretty much fucked up emotionally. I think it will take some time until I can watch another Key series.

I think I'll start Rahxephon. I wanted to watch this for quite a long time now and I need something completely different...

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I just finished watching Clannad ~After Story~, and yes, now I'm pretty much fucked up emotionally. I think it will take some time until I can watch another Key series.

There's a reason why I said I needed to detox from my emotions after Kanon.

Well, since you've hit that emotional place,

. It may help to ease the symptoms of recovering from the emotional bomb and prolong the feelings you're experiencing.

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