Yesterday I watched the second Witch Hunter Robin disc. When I first saw the series, I sort of expected it to be a supernaturally themed show which involved cool-yet-flashy characters and fights of the same nature. Something a little bit like Hellsing, maybe. As it turns out, it's not exactly like I imagined. However, it's actually pretty good, despite that. It's more like.. sorta like a supernatural CSI, I guess. And now that my expectations are set, I find I can enjoy the episodes. The artwork for the characters seems a little odd at times, and I dare say it is a little "non-standard" looking. However, many series these days seem to have especially cookie-cutter designs, so in some ways that's actually a good thing. The plots are reasonable, though not necessarily stellar. The OP and ED are ok-to-decent. The bgm is about the same. One thing which I thought was a bit odd: the first disc ended with what seemed to be the first of a two-part episode. The second disc started with a completely different story. I can only suppose that we'll find out more about the villain of Ep. 5 at some later point. Overall, I give it a thumbs up.
I also watched three of the four episodes of Infinite Ryvius, disc 3. The show has a very "lord of the flies" vibe, in some ways, but is also mixed with the forementioned "cookie-cutter" anime character designs, which is a little too bad. The main male character suffers strongly from Shinji-itis. His brother looks like he should be piloting a Gundam. We have a vaguely Ed-like character (from Bebop). The list goes on, but basically every anime archetypical character makes an appearance in the crew of the Ryvius. It seems the whole point of the series is to take all these characters, strand them in the middle of space, and see what happens. That being said, the show is somewhat interesting, though part of the "mystery" of the show seems a little heavy-handed. Namely, we're introduced to characters who obviously have large events in the past defining their actions now, but we only VERRRY slowly get to see what these formative activities were. It's unfortunate, because certain characters act in fairly inexplicable ways, and I really want to know what sort of goings-on caused them to be how they are. I guess that's probably part of the draw of the show - making you wait to find out why. Anyways, it's also a decent show, not quite as good as WHR, but still something that's watchable.
Finally, tonight, I finished Infinite Ryvius and then watched the last disc of Full Metal Panic! While this show isn't at the top of my list (Tenchi OAV/Tenchi GXP, Boogiepop Phantom), it's solidly in contention to take a place in my top 10. The characters aren't completely original, but the animation and the telling of the tale are excellent. As a minor spoiler, I have to admit that I found the ending slightly anti-climactic. Also, I felt the execution was a little bit weak in regards to some aspects of the combat scenes (throughout the whole series), but the overall quality of the series was, nevertheless, fairly high. My current wallpaper on my laptop features Kaname and Tessa, with Sosuke in the background.
As an aside, I'd like to go back a week or two and comment on Kiddy Grade. I admit that I had vaguely high expectations for that series, and found myself somewhat dissapointed. I'll likely get the next disc, possibly the next two, because I still think that there is untapped potential which will expose itself with time. I have difficulty accepting certain elements of the series at this time. For instance, at least once in each episode, the main characters make an arrest.. but have to call back to their Chief for authorization to make the arrest. It leads to a number of questions. Is the Chief ALWAYS in her office? If she's unavailable for some reason, can the characters make an arrest based on their own judgement? Why can't they be trusted to have the authority to autonomously make arrests? Also, the main characters, Lumiere and Eclaire, are part of the "ES" branch of GOTT, a governmental authority. Supposedly the ES branch is a clandestine, black-ops type branch. However, in virtually every episode, one of the villians can be heard exclaiming something like "ES branch, that secret black-ops group?!?" Um, not much of a secret, I guess? Anyways, the first few episodes are fairly glossy (shiny, little substance), but just from the OP sequence it appears that there will be darker, meatier things to come. I can only hope that this is true. One point that's vaguely in favor of the series is that, while it seems to have a fairly fan-service oriented potential, it largely avoids actually cashing in ("selling out") on the fan service angle.
Anyways, almost time to leave, just have to take care of one or two things and then wait for Jeff to arrive.