I am a couple of days late on this (pulling quite a bit of time on making sure a customer's server is working fine after a code migration), but here's my current list of what I've been watching:
Berserk - Episodes 18-26[img_assist|nid=2089|title=|desc=|link=node|align=right|width=200|height=150]
Nothing like compensating for all of the shoujo I've been watching lately by finishing up a series like Berserk. As it is, there's very few testosterone-filled yet thematically powerful anime out there like this one. Though many people dislike and pan the last three episodes for the horrible events they portray, I feel it works perfectly in line with the main ideas of the anime as a whole. This series is really about Griffith downfall, and is actually the prelude to Guts's story as it appears in the manga (which I've only read the first volume of so far). I've heard comparisons to Greek tragedies about the anime; not too bad for a manga that was simply inspired comics like Conan the Barbarian.
As I mentioned before, though I know some people that really identified with Griffith, I seem to be taken by Gut's realization of his lack of a dream. His inner search for this dream to call his own resonated with me. Not that Griffith is any less of a character in my eyes, as it is his definition of a "friend" that he says to the princess is what triggers this introspection in Guts. And this also highlights the complexity within Griffith himself, as you are never sure as to if what he's saying is a calculated action or really what he's thinking. Even through a re-watch, it's hard to tell.
Now that I've finished the anime series, I am itching to start reading the Berserk manga.
Windy Tales - Episodes 1-6[img_assist|nid=2085|title=Miki, Jun, and Nao|desc=|link=node|align=right|width=200|height=112]
I finally gave in and started watching this one. And I'm enjoying it. This unassuming series centers around a junior high student named Nao Ueshima who learns about people (and animals) that can control the air called Wind Manipulators. She (and some of her friends) eventually learns how to do it herself, as it's apparently an innate ability in living things in this anime. She's the president of the school's Digital Photography Club, which consists of two members: Herself and a friend, Miki.[img_assist|nid=2086|title=The Flying Cat and Nao|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=200|height=112]
In the first episode, we are first introduced to the ability to control the wind via a cat that Nao sees on the roof of the school building while she was taking pictures of clouds. So, like any picture enthusiast would do, she climbs over the railing onto the ledge of a 5-or-so-story building to get a better shot of it. While taking a picture of the cat, it leaps off the edge and is held aloft by a strong gust of wind. Nao then looks up and sees the sky filled with flying cats. In her surprise and hurriedness to take a picture of the amazing scene, she slips off the edge. Taiki, a math teacher at the school who happens to be a Wind Manipulator, sees her fall and uses his power to discreetly slow her fall before she hit the bushes on the ground. Unfortunately for him, she had taken his picture during the fall, and with some investigation, Nao discovers the math teacher's secret.
As you can see from the screen shots, the animation is a much simpler style than your normal anime. In fact, it's quite the opposite of the highly-detailed look of the Shinkai movies I love, but it works to its advantage. First, characters tend to have a much more animated look to them. Also, though the series does make user of computers with digital effects and 3D modeling, the simple style really works at masking that and gives the series a nice hand-drawn look. The series is also filled with pastel colors for the backgrounds, especially in outdoor shots and scenes of the sky. I also like the extra touch of light glares; they are drawn by hand rather than omputer computer in post processing.
Nao makes a fine heroine in the school slice-of-life series, and the music give a nice, relaxed atmosphere to the series. I'll definitely be enjoying the rest of this 13-episode anime.
Denno Coil - Episode 1[img_assist|nid=2087|title=Fumie Hashimoto and Yuko Okonogi|desc=|link=node|align=right|width=200|height=112]
Kineska was where I first really taking notice of this series (Though both AniPages and Cinnamon Ass had mentioned it before hand). After watching the first episode, I can see the enthusiasm with how subtle Denno Coil is being. As of the first episode, it's looking to be another series for young viewer, but it's not really treating the audience with kid gloves.
Already, I have questions that I wait gleefully for answers to in future episodes!
Darker than BLACK - Episodes 1-5
I first start really hearing about this Sunrise animated series from Iwa ni Hana. Sunrise is an animation production company that has rarely let me down, and so far, I've finding Darker than BLACK quite entertaining, if not answering many questions. The setting is a post-apocalyptic type world, but not everything has to be original, it really just has to entertain.
I really like how it presents the gore up front without it crossing over into over-the-top gore fanservice (I.E., Elfen Lied). People get their hands chopped off and heads cut in half on screen, rather than copping out with a off-screen action and splash of blood. And these are far from the most disturbing images. Astro has a good summary of that scene, if you dare to see it.
I think I will like this one.
UPDATE: I almost forgot to mention this, but the background music really had this bluesy and jazzy sound that was slightly reminiscent of Cowboy Bebop. This shouldn't be much of a shock, as it is the famous (at least in anime circles) Yoko Kanno doing the music for this series.
Claymore - Episode 7
Claymore is starting to lose a bit of its edge for me right now. It already seemed to lost that little bit of subtlety that it had in the first few episodes. Theresa's betrayal of the organization was interesting, which requires the #2 to #5 Claymores to face her (who is considered the #1 warrior). Of course, the young Clare is watching all of this. Thankfully, it seems the series is willing to take its time, of which it has plenty with 26 episodes. I just hope the creators don't drag it out too much and get in a pinch at the end.
Lucky Star - Episode 6
Bad car CG aside, Lucky Star is getting better for me over time. Besides, I'm watching this for the laughs, not for amazing animation. And it's delivering, especially with the references to MMO terminology and Konata's obsessions with video games and anime. I, for one, welcome our... err... I mean, I welcome the change in directors if that what improved the flow of each episode. Lucky Star has been nothing by more laughs and better cohesion since.
Rocket Girls - Episode 3 (Stalled)
The only reason this one is "stalled" is because episode 4 was just released today. I might write something during the week if something significant happens; otherwise, I'll put down something in my next update.
On Hiatus/Future Plans
Saiunkoku Monogatari - Episode 29 (?)
Legend of Galactic Heroes - Episode 50 (?)
Haibane Renmei - Episode 6
This one's been stalled for a while, but I do plan on getting back to it at some point. Heck, I'm just getting to the good parts...