Gaze Into the Crystal Ball... (no, not the one with the stars on it)

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It's a bit late to sum up all the anime currently airing for the fall 2007 season, especially considering the fact that I've already written a post evaluating a large amount of them.

So instead it's time for more fluff as I share some biased opinions, some crackpot theories, and maybe even a few valid comments, about what we should expect from some of these shows as they pass their halfway (or quarter) mark. Feel free to share your own as well.

Inspired by the recently released Myself;Yourself (PS2) OP, which in typical fashion dropped plenty of almost-hints about how the teacher is actually important, and that angry Nanaka is angry (and jealous), among other things. Also, that whoever this KAORI singer is (that did the anime OP as well), that she is very awesome.

Place your bets after the jump.

Let's lead off with said title, everyone's favorite Engrish pronoun nightmare, which has proven to be an interesting visual novel (pre-)adaptation that, while light-hearted, has dropped a lot of hints that it's about to be hit by the drama train very shortly. This has prompted some to call this the next School Days, which, although a bit of a stretch, could come scarily close in some regards...
Nanaka wins. She's the chosen one hands-down, which is obvious in the show and in the promos. The question is how we'll get there; she's proven to be rather warm to Sana after an initial cold spell, but with impending plot coming, things might change.
2:1 Grandma Kaji figures largely into Nanaka's / Asami's plot. Having gotten a few good minutes of 'crazy time' back in episode 5, it's shown that she is very mentally unstable, and could have something to do with the gone-missing bird of the nursing home. There was a good theory going around that she might try to drag Nanaka into her world as well, giving Sana a chance to shine. Asami, who helps at the home a lot, probably will have her story here. With M;Y being 1 cour, they have to hurry.
4:1 Backstory elements to keep an eye on: Nanaka's a likely orphan (lives with uncle) due to her parent's house burning and killing them (flashback of fire). Either of these may be related to the fact that Sana probably tried to cut himself (watch, fear of blood), which may have something to do with what Shuu shouted at Sana in the first episode. Complex. It's something that Aoi / the twins seem to know of, given that they spontaneously go quiet at times.
5:1 Something with clocks. Seriously, the opening is riddled with them. There has to be some theme of 'time' here but I can't figure out how it adds up, as there don't seem to be any astral projections in this bunch...
250:1 Asami wins.
Aoi wins.
Hinako wins. Isn't it sad, non-Nanaka fans? Asami's too much of a 'chance meeting', Aoi's too friendly (and energetic, and racked, and awesome), and Hinako's the token loli. I would give similarly high odds to Shuu ending up with anyone, given that he's not a siscon and that Hinako's slanting toward Sana now. Luckily, this show seems to be more about the ride than the conclusion.

KimiKiss Pure Rouge
Another popular ren'ai conversion, KimiKiss has come under a lot of fire for coming across as more of a show aimed at girls than guys. Still, for fans of romance in general, there has been a lot to like with the triple storylines, each following one of the main character's search for love in high school.
2:1 Kouichi gets with shy girl. C'mon. They're way love-love towards each other in that scared, shy way that only gutless high schoolers could pull off. Still, given that most of us went through that phase at one point or another so it's a coupling that likely will recieve a lot of fan support. This one's probably the couple that's the most locked of the main three.
4:1 Mao ends up with Kai. This one's a bit more of a surprise; we have a childhood friend coming back for a reason other than to hook up with the main guy? No way! But at this point a Mao and Kouichi coupling is an outside bet, although highly in the realm of possible. But they're developing the whole "get Kai out of his cold exterior" thing too far for that to be likely.
6:1 We get some relationship cross-fire. With this many important characters and relationships one would think that there would be some conflict between characters over personal property (people), but two of the three main characters seem pretty much on one track. If there's any conflict, it'll probably be imaginary.
10:1 Kazuki ends up by himself. Kazuki, as the secondary male (although the balance of power is pretty equal), is a bit of question mark and has less of a shot than anyone else, and the fact that he's got the most action early doesn't help his cause. Another 'cold exterior' pairing (with genius girl) would just be redundant, he doesn't seem to have much towards the soccer girl, and so, since he's not a siscon (new catchphrase? sure.), that leaves...nobody. They can't all be winners, kid.
40:1 Mad yuri loving between the frog girls.
500:1 That I ever can manage to watch the OP fully. I saw it once and can't stand the song, for some reason. Lazy animation (visual novel style, with a bunch of stills that move) turns me off as well.

Shakugan no Shana II
One of the most-(melon)-panned shows of the new season, Shana II had a lot to live up to in terms of interesting action/romance hybrids, and failed to deliver on most of it, being a drama-fest that turned many people off. Still, I maintain faith that eventually, this show will improve. Will it be too late for the fanbase?
1:1 Ike loses in the Yoshida battle.
Yoshida loses in the Yuuji battle.
1:1 Konoe loses in the Not-Being-Hecate battle.
1:1 Shana wins in action battles, of which there will hopefully be more.
1:1 Joint wins in the Oh-God-Shana-II-OP-is-hot battle.
3:1 Yuuji wins in the Shana battle. Like M;Y, Shana isn't exactly meant to be a stumper on what characters will take who home, but the only thing that might stop a full-on relationship from forming between Yuuji and Shana by the end of this show is an open-ended conclusion. This is considering 1) the reset at the beginning of episode one, 2) the fact that the light novels haven't gone that far between the two, and 3) needs more Yoshida fight~!
5:1 Ike drama gets pulled off well. Despite the flop of the jealousy-fest over Konoe (who I presume is dormant Hecate or something), Ike has been proven to be a level-headed character and I have faith it'll be interesting to see how he handles the Yoshida situation; especially considering that he's got to know that she's going after Yuuji.
15:1 People will consider Shana II a 'good' show by the end of the series. A bet that's quickly becoming unprofitable, but I continue to fly the banner of 'it's just a really slow start', despite being one of the newer people to the Shana bandwagon.
20:1 Wilhemina overtakes the Hisui & Kohaku tag-team in the 'most awesome maids' column, or at least passes Yoriko. (No, you have not stumbled upon AoMM.) A bit of a uphill feat, but she's actually a pretty nice side character in a show where the side characters (Margery, side students, etc) have proven to be relatively appealing and, well, sane.
500:1 Odds that whoever the mature green-haired girl seducing Yuuji in the OP will NOT cause drama amongst Shana, Yoshida, and maybe Konoe...again.

Da Capo II
Actually, I still haven't watched this past 3, but given blog reactions:
15:1 Koko. Yoshiyuki. All the way, Chris Berman, etc.; with all the shouts of "hurry up and move on already" that grow louder with each passing episode, I continue to hope that she can hold on in an epic upset for the perennial loser team in harem shows. I know I love me some underdog.
10000:1 Nanaka win. Isn't it sad, Shirakawas?

Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji
An anime different from any other this season in that it features exactly zero females and zero moe. Instead, it's about a gambler down on his luck and some excellent mindgames that have led some (me) to call this the under-the-radar show of the season. Unfortunately, the blogging presence of the show reflects similar levels of under-radar-ness.
2:1 Kaiji wins in the end and escapes with his debt relatively cleared. What do you think this is, Evangelion? (Note: I've never actually seen Eva.)
4:1 Furuhata and Andou backstab Kaiji...again. They've been shown to be very cowardly in the past, and I think with the impending reshuffle, they'll turn tail once they get the chance. I wonder what the scheme behind the reshuffle is, I know Asshole Man has something up his sleeve, but can't determine what.
7:1 Kaiji and co. are forced to buy stars and go further in debt to go to the next round. They may score one or two more stars, but I doubt that they'll be way in the green (gold). Kaiji seems the type of show where the main character digs himself an even deeper hole so they can climb even further back up.
10:1 The last 20 minutes of game 1 will take at least 2 episodes. The first few hours of the game went pretty quick but now it might be time for some Anime Time Compression as Kaiji and co. beg for games or stars. While it may seem that I don't have a lot to say, it's mainly because either 1) I'm confused beyond belief (in a good way) or 2) the action has been relatively choreographed. It's a good mixture of both.

The one slice-of-life show that's struck it big this season; it features three typically amusing slice-of-life character archetypes (the mature one, the crazy one, and the sarcastic one) that are close enough to reality to be believable, yet far enough away to be funny.
5:1 Minami-ke continues to be a solid, funny show. There's been instances in the past where previously brilliant shows fell a little flat near the end, like Zetsubou Sensei. The mild fanservice set off little alarms of the latter; random hikikomori/teacher yuri may be hot for some, but for me it's distracting. Hopefully Minami-ke will keep away from Haruka's breasts. (Although if Kana can make some funny out of it...)
15:1 Any of the two or three guys romantically involved with the three sisters gets anywhere with them. Slice-of-lives have been infamous for shutting down suitors or even locking guys out entirely, but I hope that Minami-ke will continue to break the norm (considering it even has these aspects) and let one or two of them get their foot in the door.
20:1 Sensei and Ninooooooomiyaaaaa-kuuuuuuunnnn get a Good End. Here's how to do a good repeating gag - the video game adaption was gold.

KyoAni's show turns out to be heavy hitter of the season as always, as another Key adaptation leaves many in despair (and amazement) again.
1:1 Nagisa appears to be designated 'ending girl', although why I always mention this and then say "oh, it's not that that counts" is beyond me.
4:3 Dead horse, sorry.
3:1 Fuuko is really Ayu in disguise. I mean, seriously. There's an interesting aspect brought up at the end of episode 6, and I suppose 'sucking-drink-through-nose' is a new moe mode we haven't seen, but she's just not clicking (see previous rant).
4:1 Chance for Kotomi to pull herself out of the same hole. I'm worried about her character, as we haven't seen enough interesting 'intelligent girls' (someone get Kotomi her pair of designated 'smart girl megane', alternatively) in anime recently. I'm all for the smart time, and I only hope that Kotomi doesn't end up being as socially braindead as she first came across as.
4:1 Tomoya's father plays a key role later, perhaps in Nagisa's plot. Yeah, the whole "omg I haet you dad" thing was a bit melodramatic, but real family interaction (beyond the usual "parents are awesome, make funny jam, etc" deal) is another thing that files under the "sorely lacking" column...and in anime too! Kidding, kidding. Seeing more development between the male Okazaki's, and maybe of Nagisa's parents as well, would be nice.
6:1 Dream world is related to Nagisa or possible stillborn sister of Nagisa (wild stab). Where'd it go recently? We've sure been focusing on Fuuko's plot a lot lately. This supernatural aspect is one of the more unrealistic parts of Clannad, yet one I want to learn more about.
10:1 Tomoyo hit counter tops 10,000 by the end of the series. It's been two whole episodes without the hit counter. Seeing Sunohara get beat up is one of the best parts of the show. (OK, seeing what he does to get beat up is the good part.) Tomoyo's plot as a whole is still curious - we have her wanting to be accepted as a girl and not a running gag. She has potential.
15:1 Bad Stuff happens to one of the Furukawa parents. I got a minor spoiler that one of the characters is going to bite it, and since then the paranoia meter has been off the charts. I apologize if this is a spoiler to you as well, but it's the kind of spoiler that makes the show more interesting, I believe, since there are no details. Back on topic, it seems that perhaps there needs to be something to test Nagisa's family relations as well. I'm not sure if Fuuko qualifies under this category or not, so I'm just expecting something tragic to happen to one of the main characters. It IS Key after all.
50:1 Twin maids Ryou and Kyou make a dent into the 'most appealing maids' column (Last maid reference, I swear, officer.). Funnily enough that cafe scene in episode 6 really smacked of Tsukasa / Kagami instead of Hisui / Kohaku. I still maintain right to hail Ryou as the next Shiori and Tsukasa hybrid of awesome. She makes a good foil to Tomoya's jokes, at least.
200:1 We figure out why Kyou has a pig and why it says 'Puhi' instead of 'Oink' or something resembling it.
300:1 Mother Furukawa defeats TokiMemo's Bread Lady in a battle to the death of hilarious characters in anime who sells bread. Sorry, but the fact that you can get military-grade weaponry from the latter will seal the loss for the rice-cracker-bread alliance.
Google:1 SUNOHARA ENDING for the lulz.



Bias? Nay, more like awesome, well-articulated opinion. I laughed hard at some of your points, and agree with most of them. More specifically, however:

M;Y: No odds for Shuri? ):

kimikiss: If those in charge decide to make it safe and frilly, you can bet that Mao x Kai and Kouichi x Yuumi will be the final couples. It would be great to have some Mao x Kouichi for some grand tension and DORAMA, but eh.

SnS II: The odds for people considering Shana II awesome at the end of the series should be somewhat lower, maybe a range between the odds of Lucky Star and Nanoha StrikerS.

D.C. II: I don't get the Shirakawa reference. Any try-not-to-spoiler-as-much-as-possible help here?

Minami-ke: I think I laughed non-stop for most of the game scenes. Had slight chest pains later. Agreed on their deserving the Good End bit.

Clannad: Do not watch the movie trailer. If I haven't told you already (I think I might have). I've basically forgotten most of it since I watched it before watching the TV series and months before at that, but on retrospective it's a freaking spoiler, probably one of the Bad Ends that I looked up on the Clannad translation wiki.

If your Key knowledge is anything to go by, you should already have an inkling or guess of who they're going to kill off for MAXIMISED SADNESS! Or maybe not. I'm not 100% sure that the spoiler I heard was a true spoiler, but if the Clannad Bad End 1 and movie trailer is anything to go by, well.. stay away from the damn trailer. And try not to think of MAXIMISED SADNESS. Fuuko doesn't count, though, she was already dead. Well, coma, same difference. Hur hur.

Speaking of which, Bad End 2 in the game is indeed the Yaoi End, and it ends with Tomoya trying to kiss Sunohara after saying all manner of suggestive, over the top shit, mostly involving the lack of clothes. I was joking on IRC the other day that if KyoAni does that, it will be the mother of all epic endings. Needless to say, this will happen only if Hideaki Annoh or some likeminded nutjob took over, but yeah.

I have a theory that the magical world is really a metaphor for Nagisa bringing Tomoya out of his tough, cynical, beaten up shell. The dandelions have something to do with it, if it wasn't evident already, but that's all the guesswork I'm mustering for now. Still bloody paranoid of spoilers.

Yay, positive reinforcement. XD

M;Y: Was tempted but somehow Shuri doesn't give off 'competitor' vibes, and I can't make a case for her like Aoi. I'd probably slot her around Hinako's rank.

Although, sometimes I wonder why the ED features Nanaka, Asami, and Shuri. The three main competitors?

SnS II: I don't know. It's really taking some hard hits that it might not recover from, with a lot of people dropping it or at the least whining a lot. LS was more polarizing than Shana II (i.e. there were rabid fanatics and the haters), while Shana II seems to be turning off (or at least frustrating) a lotal of loyal fans.

Also note that I still haven't seen StrikerS. :P

D.C.: Trying to not-spoiler this would be hopeless, which should give you an idea of the content. Incidentally, I'm surprised you want to remain unspoiled, since that would mean you would consider watching D.C. :P

Anyway, (implicit spoilers that you could probably already figure out from my wording and some logic)

It'd be a bad bet to root for any of the Shirakawa bloodline in the D.C. series.

(end implicit spoilers)

Clannad: Yeah, haven't seen the trailer, guess it's a good thing.

The problem with me guessing the dead character is that I'd probably get my own interests (character-wise) mixed up with the important characters. They could kill off anyone to me and it'd probably be MAX SADITUDE.

Regardless, I reserve rights to point fingers at characters for the next 15 episodes and shout "Dead (wo)man walking!"

Re Bad End 2: That's awesome. XD If only KyoAni did alternate endings / outtakes (a la Shanatan).

So, the magical world wouldn't be 'real' per se? Not sure where you're going with the dandelions, but I might as well add that wasn't there a shot of dandelions in Kotomi's part of the OP? (also, Nagisa face-first in snow, some kid running, other person face-first in grass, random camera shaking, violin player Kotomi, Bear Tomoyo, bouncy Kyou, perfect health Sunohara, Nagisa in Shiori getup, a billion other side characters, and Phoenix Wright Fuuko. Man, I love how at the end of the series you can go back to the OP and it finally makes sense.)

No idea @ the M;Y ED animation. Either it's a red herring, or Sana's three main paths in the game (which means that Shuu would naturally get to go for Aoi?) perhaps?

StrikerS was polarizing too, with the radicals dismissing it and saying it sucked while the fundies were going "it's FINE WTF", etc. I was in the latter camp, obviously. Same thing with SnS II right now. It seems like StrikerS in the sense that people pose expectations on it and declare that they never watched it for the harem dorama et al, but who are they kidding? While SnS has its epic fights, they're not everything the show has to offer.

Funny how everyone tends to forget that while fights are indeed one of the draws of SnS, removing this current harem predicament means that they develop a total of zilch from the first season. Ditto StrikerS and their TRAINING HAPPENS. If I wanted to watch a fighting anime that had minimal character development I'd go read some Dragonball Z manga. The anime Anglosphere has never been one for much thought anyway, though... :|

I wasn't really going anywhere with the dandelions because there's just too little we know about to guess anything concrete at the moment. If I were to warrant a guess I'd say that, assuming the magical world isn't an elaborate metaphor, that the town they live in has ties to the "other world" that crosses over occasionally, like with the dandelions, which serve as visual cues. I'm grasping at straws here, though.

It ties in perfectly with Kanon's theme, in any case; the town wasn't exactly normal or anything given the magical hill and stuff. Key isn't showing any subtley with Ayu Mach II here, so why not recycle Kanon's setting while you're at it? At least that's how I look at it, but I'll be damned if it really turns out to be a figurative and not literal magical world -- that's far above and beyond what I thought Clannad could be, heh.

Tomoya's father really does play a prominent part in the story, at least from what I can gather. I've seen what appears to be fanart of him together with (SPOILERS), although it's not that big a deal since I figured he'd eventually be (SPOILERS). You get the idea. They'll focus on him somewhere later in the series, probably around Nagisa's arc is my best guess.

Oh, and about D.C. -- maybe sometime in the future. I plan ahead, even for my backlogs! Present tense backlog currently standing at 35 hours, which is good since I've made quite some progress over the 50 odd hours last month. :D Speaking of which, I totally added Princess Tutu to that after reading bateszi's review.

I'm only watching Kaiji but I agree with all of your points. ^_^

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