Allison and I watch a lot of television shows while eating. As we started to run out of “real” TV shows to watch, I started to watch Anime and Allison didn’t seem to mind. This means I’ve actually gotten the time to watch anime from 2012 while simultaneously fulfilling my “spend time with Allison” daily quota.


Fate/Zero is supposed to be the best anime of 2012, according to several web sources and a random candidate I interviewed at work. When it first came out I was very hesitant to watch it as it’s a prequel to Fate/Stay Night, an anime I consider to be awful. However, having heard all the great reviews, I finally watched it and was very pleased by the results.

So the story is essentially the same as the original, 7 masters summon heroic spirts of the past to fight to the death over the Holy Grail, an object that can supposedly grant wishes. The only difference is that it’s executed ten times better. The animation is top notch, with everything looking crisp and detailed. There were some fantastic and memorable scenes, like the fight between Emiya and Kotomine and of course all the Noble Phantasms.

The biggest improvement over the original anime was just how much more serious everyone was about the entire ordeal. The #1 thing in the original anime that pissed me off was that every master was essentially a random highscool kid or some other irrelevant character. In Fate/Zero, most of the masters are adult mages who have trained for years to prepare for this event. I cannot stress how much of a difference this makes in the overall feeling of the anime. It adds so much impact to the motivation and tone of the story, compared to a bunch of kids that randomly got dragged into a fight. Fate/Stay Night would never have serial murdering of small children but an atrocity like that completely fits the tone and motivation of the characters in Fate/Zero. And yes, there are a lot of little kids getting killed in this. It sounds awful but it fits and I’m glad they didn’t shy away from something like that simply because it’s too shocking.

The main characters are very well developed, and Emiya Kiritsugu has a fantastic back story and personality. I really liked the direction they took with the main character, as he would frequently shock you with his brutality, yet it would always fall into his “ends justify the means” philosophy. What was really fun was looking at the wiki and reading about the real-life characters that the heroic spirits were based off of. I was surprised how much actual history went into recreating the personalities and motivations of the heroic spirits.


Unfortunately, Fate/Zero is still plagued by the annoying fact that it has to be 25 episodes. Thus, we get to see people employ the “teleport away before I lose so that we can drag the fight on to another episode.” There are probably 3-4 times when two people decide to not finish the fight because it’s not honorable, it’s unfair, or they’re just tired.

Regardless, I was very pleased with Fate/Zero overall. The fantastic action and engaging story make up for the anime dragging it’s feet. It’s definitely a must watch and one of the best animes I’ve seen in the last few years.


This anime is good. I’ve heard a lot of good comments about it throughout the internet and I have to say the anime lived up to the hype.

The plot centers around a scientist who accidentally discovers he created a way to send text messages to the past. They initially start changing the past which results in a bunch of crap happening and a quest to return things back to normal. It’s not a particularly unique concept, but they do approach it very well and leave some nice twists in turns in there to keep viewers on their toes. There are a few doubts about the way they executed everything in the end (it seemed like kind of a cop out) but overall, it was well done.

The characters are the focal point of the anime, with the time traveling just acting as the plot driver. The main protagonist Okabe, is voice by none other than Mamoru Miyano, who is responsible for Light in Death Note, Tamaki in Ouran High School Host Club, and Masaomi Kida in Durarara (also Setsuna F. Seiei from Gundam 00 but Setsuna is an emo, quiet bitch in that so I don’t really care for him). He gives an outstanding performance and really helps to add a lot more emotion to the series.

But really I like dthis series because of Makise Kurisu. She is such a well designed character, from her overall display and style, to her slightly arrogant yet caring personality. She has a touch of tsundere in her, but it’s pulled off in the “right” way. Animes tend to milk the “tsun” part to death, making for some very unnatural and exaggerated situations. Makise behaves like a real person would, acting initially annoyed by Okabe’s strange mannerisms but slowly getting used to it over time. After they work together and accomplish some things, they grow to enjoy each other’s company. However, there is always a hint of “tsun” left in there, manifesting in minor teasing or scolding. The banter between Makise and Okabe is extremely well written, and it’s wonderful to see their relationship develop throughout the series, without any kind of stupid situations coming between it. The moments when they are talking together are much more memorable and interesting to me than all the rest of the time traveling science fiction.

I highly recommend this series and anything more I say will just spoil it more. It is one of the best anime I’ve seen in recent years and definitely deserves a watch.


My viewing of anime has been lacking recently, whether it be due to time constraints or general lack of interest in new series. I had a few non-redeye plane trips with nothing else to do, so I actually got some time to finish watching Katanagatari.

The original reason this anime caught my eye was that it is based off a light novel written by the author of Bakemonogatari. The story revolves around two main characters: the head of a sword style that doesn’t use swords and a girl trying to collect 12 legendary swords. The plot isn’t particularly deep or thought provoking, but that’s not he point. The way they deliver the story works and it is paced reasonably well.

Whenever you have some quest to gather a bunch of parts, it has to be a manageable goal. This can’t be Inuyasha where some power orb shatters and breaks into a million pieces, resulting in hundreds of episodes of collecting. Katanagatari has 12 swords and 12 episodes. They collect one sword in each episode (mostly) and don’t drag things on. Each episode you get to meet the original owner of each sword and they spend half the episode setting up that character’s personality and background. Meanwhile, you get to see development of the main two characters, how their outlooks on life change, and how their relationship gets closer.

When it comes to artstyles, I tend to like the two extreme ends of the spectrum. One is the shiny, stereotypical anime look where all the girls have shiny colorful hair and big eyes. The other is when the characters are clearly “drawn”, with jaggedly drawn lines and they almost look like paper cut-outs (e.g. Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei). I really dislike the “realistic” anime style that tends to be in those serious, award-winning or slice-of-life animes (Spirited Away, Girl Who Lept Through Time, Summer Wars, etc). I want my anime to be about as far from real life as possible. Katanagatari has the style where the backgrounds are realistic but the characters themselves look goofy and unreal.

The fight scenes are good. The 12 swords are interesting and unique. The series is extremely dialogue heavy, but I tend to like that about anime. The ending is a bit confusing but I think I was generally pleased by it. Overall, a good experience.

More Suzumiya Haruhi

I remember last year they released the Suzumiya Haruhi movie in Japanese theaters and [Mazui] made a cam fansub (meaning guy sneaks a video camera into the theater). Unfortunately, the video was slanted at 30 degree angle and terrible resolution, so I had to postpone my viewing till they released the DVD/BluRay in Dec 2010. I recently started updating all my old anime to 1080p/720p and came across this forgotten thing.


After they trolled us with eight identical episodes in Season 2 of Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, I wasn’t expecting any sort of masterpiece. Honestly, I’ve never really liked Suzumiya Haruhi’s character very much. Kyon, and more specifically Kyon’s seiyu Tomokazu Sugita, is the main reason I watch this series. His cynical commentary on everything Haruhi does is the highlight of each episode for me. So I guess it should please me that the movie is very Kyon monologue heavy and also much more Nagato centered.

What is strange is that Haruhi and Kyon have pretty much no development at all in the movie. In fact, Haruhi is absent from the majority of it, and her disappearance only serves as the plot driver. At first I was kind of annoyed by this, given that I expect to see some sort of development in their relationship. However, I realized that this movie is based off a single novel, so it probably was the novel used to develop Nagato. Makes a lot more sense if you think of it like that.

Haruhi disappears and Kyon needs to figure out why. There is some time travel and randomness and somehow Kyon ends up reverting time to go back to normal. I didn’t particularly like the plot too much. It seemed kind of stupid and didn’t make much sense to me. Then again, most of the storyline of Season 1 and Season 2 aren’t particularly interesting. It’s mostly the interactions that are fun to watch.

What I did like was how they portrayed Nagato as a super shy and embarrassed girl with a crush on Kyon. There’s always been that underlying feeling that the robotic Nagato actually is hiding a ton of emotion underneath her emotionless speech, but it all came flowing out here. The shift in character was so startling. I have to admit I really enjoyed it when she grabbed Kyon’s sleeve to keep him from leaving. That scene was probably the best part of the movie for me. It is somewhat sad though that even though Kyon seems to care a lot about her, he clearly is still focused entirely on Haruhi.

Serious Nagato

Versus Shy Nagato

Mikuru continues to annoy me. The only point where I liked her was when both her present and future self were there and Kyon refers to them in the plural “Asahina-sans”.

Kyon once again ends the movie in the exact same way. He has a long monologue in his head where he admits to himself that he in fact likes spending time with Haruhi despite the fact that she bosses him around. I find it strange that this is the EXACT same ending to season 1, with an almost identical revelation. Like I said earlier, I had hoped he would progress his relationship with Haruhi a bit more, but in the end it stayed pretty much the same. I tend to rate movies and animes heavily on the ending and the impression it leaves me with, and so this is quite the let down.

Overall, the movie was alright, although long as hell (2hr 40 minutes or so). I don’t think I will be re-watching it anytime soon though, unlike season 1 which has a few episodes I re-watched multiple times. I liked some of the dialogue and Nagato is now a lot more interesting. It’s a big improvement over Season 2 though, so when they inevitably milk the cash cow more with season 3, I’ll be here to watch it.

Nagato Final version, inbetween super serious and super shy

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

Let’s all recall Code Geass R2 where Jeremiah is fighting Anya. He pilots some enormous nightmare mobile armor (for lack of a better word). Upon the mobile armor exploding in a flash of fire and explosions, his normal nightmare mobile suit comes charging out. Upon THAT getting destroyed, Jeremiah himself comes charging out of another explosion to deliver the killing blow.

Did not think it could get funnier than this

Little did I know that this was probably a reference to Tengan Toppa Gurren Lagann and is in fact child’s play when compared to the original

Was very wrong

Gurren Lagann has been on my list of Anime to watch for some time now. I’ve heard comments on the order of “best mecha Anime of all time” so it was something I definitely needed to get my hands on. Not to mention I was eagerly anticipating the scene in which “Libera me” From hell would be used.

Row row fight the power

What I liked:

Absolutely loved the animation style. The ridiculous and over the top mecha style is extremely fun to look at. I’m a big fan of Anime that takes advantage of the fact that it is animated to diverge from the normal path. Whether this be drastically shifting the art style for a particular scene or deliberately leaving the scene in an unfinished state (at least, when it’s used sparingly and not as an excuse to cut animation costs). It really puts emphasis on certain scenes and adds dramatic flourish.


Fight scenes are great. Tons of action when needed and limited reuse of the same scenes. The battles were quick and to the point, with a clear victor most of the time. The thing that always baffled my mind is how bad guys have universally perfected the “teleport and run away so we can drag out the confrontation” technique. The last battle in particular is so stuffed full of things going on it is amazing to just look at screen captures. Everything about it just makes the Anime feel so badass.

This makes me want to beat up some little kids

The major characters are all very well portrayed and likeable (exept Rossiu, that fucker irritates me). Simon is a innocent, nice guy shounen character that starts of weak but through determination and hard work becomes the strongest person in the universe. Kamina is quite possibly the sweetest character I have ever seen in any Anime, period. Yoko is of course there to prevent it from being a sausage fest and provide fanservice.

People die in this Anime. Sounds morbid but it’s true. If you’re going to engage in a war of the worlds between galactic super powers, somebody is bound to get killed. It is too ridiculous when everyone is saved due to miracle healing powers or some bullshit (I’m looking at you Naruto and Bleach).

Music is good. Opening theme is great, background music isn’t annoyingly repetitive, and climactic scene have appropriately epic music. I do with that they would have blasted “Libera me” From hell in one of the scenes, but I guess playing it quietly in the background is alright.

When people are acting emo, it is resolved by having someone punch them in the face. If only this worked in the real world.

What I disliked:

The stretch of several episodes with Rossiu being President and people rioting. It made absolutely no sense. The fastest way to eliminate racism and hate amongst the human race is to introduce an Alien race that is threatening to destroy your planet. I would have assumed in that situation people would put aside their differences and fight the common enemy (aka Independence Day style). Somehow, the people in this Anime act completely irrationally, which makes no sense to me.

People die in this Anime. Yeah, I liked this but I disliked how they pulled off some of it. I particularly disliked the final battle where, scene after scene, people sacrifice themselves to perform some extraordinary task or save someone. When it happens every five minutes, it loses impact and becomes stupid.

Simon being a beast.

This Anime is fantastic. This is definitely worth the time and is a must see for everyone. It definitely lives up to the hype I had heard beforehand and is vastly superior to any Gundam I’ve seen before. I’d defintiely say it is one of the best mechas out there, although I still think I enjoyed Macross Frontier a little more for the soundtrack.

Amagami SS

Allison, after bothering me for ages, finally decided to make her website and name it baconfriedrice. As the big time commitments in my life are now gone (these commitments being Allison and school), I figure I would use her website to resurrect my weblog, which I unscrupulously executed.

So Amagami SS.

Amagami SS

A harem anime based off a PS2 dating sim. I typically don’t expect much from these types of series besides the pretty artwork. I don’t mind watching them, but I lose interest very quickly.

However, there are some unusually appealing characteristics about this one. You have the typical high quality animation and as a bonus, one of my favorite seiyuu, Itou Shizuka is voicing the “main” girl.

Itou Shizuka

However, the real killer is the way they compose the story. The main man goes after one girl and only one girl. This continues for four episodes, until some sort of conclusion is reached. Then, the series undergoes a time reset and it repeats, but with a different girl. All the actions of the previous sections are erased and forgotten. Meanwhile, the remaining girls that are not the primary characters for that stage remain, providing support roles.

So why is this so much superior to the traditional high school harem where every girl wants a piece of the main character? It allows you to focus solely on the single girl and become emotionally invested in that relationship. With five girls all fighting over the attention of a single guy, it’s hard to take anything seriously. Essentially, Amagami SS is a bunch of miniseries, each given its own flavor by the personality of the girl.

Amagami SS

Plus, you get CONCLUSION. One of the things I hate about Anime is how they drag things out. Most of these romance animes are like watching Goku charge up his kamehameha wave. I absolutely love how the main character gets to know the girl, develops the relationship quickly, and finally seals the deal promptly.

Of course, it takes a bit of getting used to. Especially when you come to like a particular relationship and then suddenly it ends and is forgotten. However, you’ll find that the next relationship to be just as enjoyable to watch, despite it being drastically different.

I also have to at least mention this. The fan service in this series seems much more toned down than what I would expect. Yes, there are still the very convenient camera angles, bathing suit cameos, and bath scenes. However, they tend to flow much better with the story and don’t make me cringe as much. At least, it hasn’t gotten to a point where I want to smash the computer screen in.