End-of-Month Rundown – August 2015

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As expected, Gakkou Gurashi! remains the Summer’s highest-rated show, with its engrossing atmosphere and addictive combo of school slice-of-life and zombies. While it probably won’t unseat Ore Monogatari!! as overall King of Summer, the show has a firm lead over Food Wars.

Rounding out the Top 5 are a couple of shows that had a very strong August: the suddenly sensational Maeda Jun joint Charlotte (P.A. Works is BACK), and the equally awesome GANGSTA. Ushio to Tora and Durarara!! are humming along, though neither has 10 episode (yet), which is what separates them from the Top 5.

The second tier of Very Good shows is populated by Shimoneta, Akagami no Shirayuki-hime, a resurgent (if often tardy) GOD EATER, and OverLord, a pleasant surprise we only started watching this month. All these shows are tied at 8.

In the third and final tier there’s still some good stuff, with Dandelion fielding its first 9, Working!!! is its usual lightweight self (MAL rates it much higher than we care too). Gatchaman, GATE, and Rokka no Yuusha remain hit-or-miss, but unique enough to stay on our watchlist for now. Sore ga Seiyuu! brings up the rear, but continues to entertain and inform on the life of a seiyu.

End-of-Month Rundown – July 2015

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A quarter of the way into the Summer 2015 season and what do we see? Two Spring shows at the top of the charts. That only means one thing: nothing this Summer is quite as good as Ore Monogatari!! and Shokugeki no Souma. Even MAL agrees the latter is the best show we’re watching right now by pure rating, while they rank OreMo fourth behind GANGSTA. and Durarara!!x2 Ten.

That doesn’t mean this Summer has been a disappointment so far. It just speaks to the exceptionalism of a “They Will!” rom-com and a delicious cooking battle show, the kinds of shows we only get two per year of anyway, if we’re lucky. Our Summer field is led by another Zane show early on, Gakkou Gurashi, whose first episode demands and then handsomely rewards patience and looks to be at or near the top of the list for it’s whole run.

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is the Ghibli anime we wanted and wished Ronja had been, with conventional animation (no creepy-ish CGI that you don’t really want to get used to) and a grown-up protagonist (though we didn’t watch far enough to know if Ronja ever grew up). Durarara!!x2’s second of three cours is doing what it do, and Shimoneta is a fun screwball ecchi comedy with social commentary on the limits and travails of population control.

Because we’re only a quarter of the way in, we’ve got a lot of ties in the middle, but their identical ratings (all within a half-point of MAL) belie their diversity: we’ve got a lively new P.A. Works anime in Charlotte; the gritty underworldy GANGSTA.; the freewheeling, hilarious shonen yokai romp in Ushio to Tora; an always welcome new Working!!; and the pretty, if not altogether original, new ufotable joint GOD EATER.

A pair of fantasies, one of which melds the modern with the medieval and undermines its vivid core by casting foreign powers as drooling morons (GATE), while another employs RPG conventions with striking design and music and a true sense of scale and grandeur (Rokka no Yuusha). Gatchaman seems a little wishy-washy about where it’s going, and the RABUJOI watch-list is rounded out by two lightweight but original slice-of-lifes in Dandelion and Sore ga Seiyuu!

As always, there’s something for everyone, and all the shows in the 8s indicate there’s a lot to like, but we’re still waiting for sustained streaks of greatness for the top Summer shows to surpass the best of the Spring. A couple are close.

End-of-Month Rundown – June 2015

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Just a couple more episodes (one more Hibike! Euphonium and one more Kekkai Sensen) and Spring 2015 will be a distant memory. Well, a recent memory, anyway. And you know what? It really wasn’t a bad season!

Part of that is that we continued our trend of dropping any shows that couldn’t stay above a 7.5 average on our rating scale, resulting in one of the highest-rated seasons ever on this site. But it was also just because from top to bottom all of the shows offered something either fun, original, entertaining, hilarious, exciting, or all of the above. We were, however, surprised and a little disappointed with how many shows simply ended, often with the regular ending sequence, without any kind of “Thanks for Watching!” card at the end. What gives??

The good news: Two of the Springs top shows—Ore Monogatari!! and Shokugeki no Souma—will continue into the Summer. The bad news: it doesn’t look like we’ll get a second season of Hibike, and who knows if and when Oregairu gets a third season. Good/Bad news: Hannah watched all of UBW, but many have said Zero is better show. Definitely bad news: our budding politician Franklin probably won’t be able to review anything this Summer either. :\

We’re preparing to tackle a very full Summer schedule, and even if we eliminate half of the shows we try out, we’ll still end up with another dozen-show season, at least. It will be a lot to plow through, but we look forward to the process. To get reviews up faster, we’ll continue to try to keep reviews brief and avoid the temptation to upload the entire episode in screencaps. We’ll see how we do.

Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

—RABUJOI STAFF

End-of-Month Rundown – May 2015

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Here we are: One more month of Spring anime gone. It’s been a great season so far, whether you like drama, romance, comedy, combat, or all of the above.

Fate has a narow lead at the top, but as most shows still have a third of their episodes yet to air, anything could happen in June.

Any comments about the month or season, or in general, just leave ’em in the comments. And as always, thanks for reading!

—RABUJOI STAFF

Introducing the RABUJOI Trope Incidence (RTI) Rating

Our passion for innovation (read: boredom) has led to the development of another new way to categorize the anime we watch. The RABUJOI Trope Incidence rating, or RTI, is the result of our noticing similar or in some cases identical characteristics within different anime series. We’ve identified twenty-five such tropes. The RTI is simply the number of the tropes a series contains divided by the total, or  n/25. The results, applied to the twelve series we’re currently watching, are charted below. Warning: the results may shock you.

Fall 2012 RTI Report Last updated 22 Oct 2012. Click Here for updated charts.

As you can see, Muv-Luv Alternative (Muv) leads the pack with 18 out of 25 listed tropes each, or a .72 RTI. Jormungand (Jor) contains only seven out of twenty-five tropes;  a .28 RTI.

Does this mean Muv-Luv is the most formulaic series while Jormungand is the most original? Not necessarily; all it means is that they contain the most and least tropes, respectively. But anime can be more than the sum of their tropes. It’s more about how the tropes are used and balanced, more than how many there are. It’s also just fun to see the patterns in otherwise totally different series. Well…it’s fun for us.

A show with a perfect 1.00 RTI would probably be a complete mess, but with good writing, acting, and animation, it could still be watchable. On the other hand, a show with no tropes could still suck. That’s what our subjective ratings are for: Zetsuen no Tempest (Zet) is one of the highest-rated series this Fall despite its .56 RTI.

Since we’re only two or three episodes into most of these, the trope count are likely to change periodically.

Stray Observations:

– As of 22 Oct 2012 there are 142 total trope hits among the twelve series, or 11.83 per series, making the mean RTI .47.

– Muv-Luv is currently the only series we’re watching with mecha. Huh.

– Jormungand is notable for being the only series with no high schoolers (Jonah is a teen, but never attended school).

– For the record, we define a “tsundere” as “a person (either gender) who is initially cold and even hostile towards another person before gradually showing his or her warm side over time.”

– We determine whether one or both of a character’s parent(s) are away, divorced or dead based on dialogue and/or visual evidence in household, not pure assumption. This trope only applies to non-adult characters.

– Chuunibyou (Chu) and Panzer are series with frequent use of weapons (imagined in the former) but the characters’ lives are in no real danger.

– We’ve likely (definitely) missed a couple tropes here and there, but like we said, we’ll tweak as the series progress. Feel free to suggest revisions! We’re going for accuracy here.

– Here’s how some of our favorite anime series shake out:

Puella Magi Madoka Magica: .56
Mawaru Penguindrum: .56
Neon Genesis Evangelion: .56
Shiki: .48
AnoHana.36
Kare Kano: .28
Nazo no Kanojo X.16
Natsuyuki Rendezvous: .16

And now for some pretty charts!

We here at RABUJOI have watched a lot of anime. Not as many as some, but no trivial amount. So we were wondering, which animation studio has churned out the most works we’ve watched? The below charts are the result. We took all of the tv series, OVAs, and films we’ve seen in the anime genre and sorted them by cheif animation production company.

A few notes: These are only works we’ve watched and rated, not all the works the companies have produced.  A few works (e.g., Shikabane Hime) are co-produced by two companies (in its case, Studio feel. and GAINAX). So those shows count for both companies. So when sorting by total number of works (series + OVAs + films), here’s what was revealed:

That’s right, GAINAX and Ghibli are tied for the top spot with fourteen works each. Not too surprising. While GAINAX is a mix of formats, Ghibli is pretty much just films. We haven’t seen any Ghibli films since Tales from Earthsea, so Ponyo and Arriety aren’t included.

But what about pure episode count? Trickier, but doable. More caveats: we included the full count of episodes for currently airing Summer 2011 series (e.g. all 11 Usagi Drop eps, although we’ve only seen the first two). Concurrently, for past series we’ve either dropped or only watched part of (e.g. Bleach), we only count the episodes we’ve watched, not the sum total aired. Finally, we don’t count films as episodes, but we do count OVAs. With all that in mind, let’s have a look at the top ten studios, ranked by total episodes we’ve watched:

The “Other” column on the left is a mélange of 39 different studios. Pierrot’s lofty figure isn’t surprising, as we confess we have watched a lot of Naruto and Bleach in the past…their episodes aren’t typically that high-quality and are extremely drawn-out and filler-prone, so the high ep count should be taken with a grain of salt. Bones and J.C. Staff churn out loads of series, while Sunrise’s count is high due to big (50-episode) Gundam series.

There are some companies (including P.A. Works, Tatsunoko, David, Beetrain and Daume) we really like who are either not yet prolific enough for this list or we simply haven’t watched enough of their works yet.

One thing’s sure, perennial RABUJOI favorite GAINAX’s work count will continue gaining with their current series, Dantalian no Shoka, the continuation of Panty & Stocking, and the final two Eva films. Perhaps our second favorite studio is financially-crippled GONZO, who haven’t done much since Shangri-la, but plan to have a Last Exile reboot out late this year, which is very promising.