perfect score

Anime titles that managed to wring out a 10 out of 10 rating from me.

Our main female protagonist and also the one of the best characters in this series.

It is about time that I give H2O footprints in the sand a new challenge, and it comes in the form of a very Nodame Cantabile-esque title, Wolf and Spice (or Spice and Wolf). No need to keep you guessing whether Wolf and Spice will dethrone the former that has kept the throne for 3 months, because they have done exactly just that. Read on to know how this excellent series managed to do it.

In a setting that looks like Europe in medieval times (thus I will not complain about lack of black hair whatsoever), a merchant encountered a she-wolf that used to be worshipped by local villagers before the arrival for a certain organized religion. She asked the merchant to accompany her to her homeland in the north, and from there on they travelled together as the merchant is doing his merchant thing while avoiding the church from discovering a cute demon in their midst.

This anime reminded me of Nodame Cantabile a lot, particularly the synergy in the relationship between the two main protagonists. In fact, they are very similar to the protagonists in Nodame Cantabile, with only some minimal differences. The character strength for both of our protagonists here is what makes this anime very appealing, despite the character development that isn’t exactly spectacular like the one in Nodame Cantabile.

The story by itself is not as good as Nodame’s, but the structure is eerily similar. Just replace the classical music elements in Nodame with merchant trading skills, plus throw in a female protagonist that can do supernatural things the way her compatriot in Inukami did and you got Wolf and Spice. The story flows smoothly with decent pacing despite the gap left by the mysterious episode 7 that isn‘t released yet, before arriving at an excellent ending that is superbly executed. That scene where the main male protagonist outwitted the main female protagonist when the clock tower rang at 7 in the morning is very inventive and capped a good way to create a closure. Plus, the ending opens up the possibility for a second season, which I will definitely watch.

With only 12 episodes (not counting the unreleased episode 7), this anime has barely showed the potential that its story has. This is why, even when I say that the story is not as good as Nodame Cantabile above, that fact will not count negatively towards this series. As long as a second (or more) season comes out and we got to see what will happen to these two very lovable main characters at the end of their journey, it is fine by me. This anime is just too good not to be given a second season unlike for example, that awful Hatenkou Yuugi.

Character Design:-
A positive point of this anime, the character design is simply excellent especially for the two main protagonists. No complaints about the lack of black hair (some bystanders have them though) because of the medieval Europe settings.

Voice Acting:-
This is the part where this anime is not a match for Nodame Cantabile. The voice acting in this anime is great but nowhere near the awesome Tomokazu Seki/Ayako Kawasumi combo in Nodame. Then again that combo will be hard to be defeated.

The OP/ED themes are good but not so for the OST.

This 2008 anime surely has very good animation which is not affected by fast-paced scenes. The choreography is quite decent too, but the directing is not exactly outstanding. At least he/she keeps the story flows very well but whoever decides that the episode 7 has to be released in DVD must be shot.

Midway during watching the series, I decided that this anime will get a 9, but after seeing the strong ending, I changed my mind and gives it a perfect score, 10 out of 10. With this, Wolf and Spice will take the Anime of The Year 2008 title from H2O footprints in the sand. Plus, a new tag ‘perfect score’ will be added to all anime rated 10 out of 10 from now on. The move to wordpress really paid off.

To the main male protagonist, if you want to persuade an impressionable young oppressed naive lady to do one of the most heinous crimes in the eyes of the Church, you probably do not want to do it in the open where a lot of people gathers. You know, like open-air bars that served alcohol in daylight? Who knows, the Church may have eyes and ears in places like that. And having your partner to accompany you when all she is doing is chugging beer usually will not give a good impression either.


More crying than 1 Litre of Tears.

Oh well, for the fourth review in less than a week, I’ve chosen Kaiji instead of Clannad (which I have slightly regretted downloading). Clannad will come after this, but now I present my mini-review of an anime that has a lot of crying involved.

A not-so-obvious rip-off of a certain TV show across the Pacific.

Our hero that cries a lot, Kaiji was left in debt after the borrower he is co-signing for defaulted and goes missing. Unable to pay the exorbitant interest, he is forced to board a mysterious ship where he was told he can wipe out all his debt in one night by winning a strange card game that is held there…

Brilliant is the appropriate word that can be used to describe the story of this anime. It is definitely much better than any of the anime reviewed here in this current wave of reviews (take note to whoever wrote Hayate no Gotoku). The mind games and the psychological warfares that are abundant in this anime can easily be compared to those kinds of detective stories like Meitantei Conan or even other thrillers like Death Note. And if you ask me, Kaiji is better than those two mentioned when it comes to intricate and complex stories and plot twists. The ending is done very well too, and I hope this anime will have a richly-deserved second season.

Another aspect where this anime really shines is the presentation, which is one of the best for quite some time. Portrayals of human emotions; sadness in defeats, elation of winning and also the anger after being scammed is a major essence of this anime and contributes greatly to the quality of this anime. Characters development is also a good point of this anime, although with that small number of characters and most of them are not a recurring character, this is probably inevitable. Although, with most of the episodes happened only on two different nights, this is very commendable.

This anime has no weakness whatsoever in this section.

One of the key cliff-hanger scenes in this anime. Have to be seen to be believed.

Character Design:-
This anime seems to be aimed to older audiences just like Nodame Cantabile did, and the character design reflects that fact. It wasn’t exactly realistic, just different than those in titles aimed to younger demographic. Has plenty of black hair too, which is as realistic as it can be. Definitely a positive point of this anime.

Having to put with 2 retarded teammates can be fatal.

Voice acting:-
Another positive point of this anime, the voice acting for the relatively small cast for this anime is decent, but the main protagonist takes the cake. He is so immense and also one of the major reasons why this anime is that damn good. This dialogue-heavy title succeeded because the voice actor has done a very fine job, he is not far behind Ayako Kawasumi’s Noda Megumi.

There are no abuse of children here.

This anime has good OST and OP theme, but unfortunately the ED theme is falling behind. It is very unfortunate that this happened, and you will know why later below.

Some of the violence in this anime, you may want to keep your children away from this title.

The animation is good as usual for a 2007 anime. There are little fast-paced scenes in this psychological thriller, but when it comes it does not disappoint. Choreography is almost non-existent due to the nature of the anime so no comment for me here. The directing is superb, with some clever camera tricks and angles and also what I have described in the Story section.

An ample explanation of the main protagonist.

A definite 10 out of 10. That is how good this anime is if you enjoy this kind of stories (and I do). But just like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Kaiji failed to capture the Best Anime of The Year 2007 title from Nodame Cantabile, mainly because little things like inferior ED themes. When you got a perfect score, I will start to compare little things like this to see who is ahead and who will be left behind, and for now a slightly retarded pianist still managed to hold off a poor bum who cries a lot from getting the greatest prize of all. Hmm… somehow this reminds me about the ending of this anime. Clannad has a tough time following Kaiji’s footsteps here.

Still wondering why he loses to a pianist.

List of 10 out of 10 anime in this blog: Kaiji, Capeta, Nodame Cantabile, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Chocotto Sister and Neon Genesis Evangelion.

I forgot what caption should be put here.

Choco and her brother.

In the last review, Asatte no Houkou makes history by becoming the first anime that managed to wrest the Best Anime of 2006 title from Kiba the TV Animation. Unfortunately for Asatte no Houkou, its reign lasted only for a few days because Chocotto Sister, an anime that I am about to wrote a mini-review today, have now snatched the award away from it. Read on to see why.

She may be clueless like Kasuga ‘Osaka’ Ayumu, but she sure comes up with good ideas once in a while.

Kawagoe Haruma has always wanted a little sister when he was still a kid. When his mom has a miscarriage that kills the unborn little sister of his, he makes a prayer to Santa Claus so that his mom will be well and also asks for a little sister for Christmas. Well, as we all know that Santa is a jerk, Haruma only gets his wish many years later…

Disclaimer: I read the manga first before watching the anime, and save from some alterations and minor omissions, the anime largely follows the manga. This slice-of-life title has a very good storyline, but this is not the only reason why this anime excels and managed to get the Best Anime of 2006 award.

Apart from the storyline, the other reason why this anime is so good is the immense strength and appeal of the main character, Choco. In more ways than one, she really reminded me of Kasuga Ayumu in Azumanga Daioh, especially in mannerisms, although Choco is probably not as clueless as her. The strength of her character helps propels the series up to a height this series may not be able to attain if she isn’t present.

Character developments are done very well for most of the residents of the Tsubaki Apartment and this helps the story (which revolves around the interactions between Choco, her brother and the rest of the apartment dwellers). The story flows as naturally as possible, and here, a visit to the hot springs actually makes sense unlike the one in Nagasarete Airantou. The ending is excellent, and I will not have any complaint about that.

Unfortunately, she can also say things that can get the FBI to get all over you.

Character Design:-
This anime has your typical anime character design seen in other titles. Brown is the new black, and you can see big eyes, impossible body shapes and large boobs too. This do not mean this anime has a bad character design though.

A scene that will not be out-of-place in hentai videos.

Voice acting:-
Voice acting in this anime is good in general, with Choco being the best of the bunch by a mile. The difference between her and the others are so great it is really unbelievable, and they (the rest of the characters cast) are not that bad either. Her voice actress has done a very good job in turning Choco from the manga I have read into a great living character on screen.

Lots of that police line ribbon here.

A positive point of this anime, the OST is decent and both OP/ED themes are great. Nothing more I can say about that.

One of the screw-ups by the director. This scene happened on Valentine Day, and the class has been postponed for nearly a year!

Animation quality is probably the weak point of this anime. The animation in this anime can be not-so-fluid in certain places, and for god sake, this anime has little notable fast-paced scenes due to its nature. Meanwhile, the directing is decent, or at least I think it is supposed to be.

One of the gory scenes in the last episode. One of them will die, and you should know who.

10 out of 10
, joining Capeta, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Neon Genesis Evangelion and also Nodame Cantabile who has managed to score a perfect score in this blog. At last, a 2006 anime that gets one. And as mentioned above, also snared the Best Anime of 2006 title from the unfortunate Asatte no Houkou.

Choco’s last moments…