THE TOP 9 "NEW TO ME" ANIME SERIES OF 2006 (conclusion)
Continued from Part 1.
Again, just a reminder, these shows are ones that were "new to me" this year, not necessarily shows that first aired in Japan this year.#4 Windy Tales
I had actually been wanting to see Windy Tales since around March 2005, when someone on another message board compared to Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou ("Yokohama Shopping Log"), but I didn't actually get a chance to see this anime until someone uploaded all of it fansubbed to YouTube.
It's a show about a couple of high school girls, the only members of a photography club at the school, who, one day, are taking pictures of clouds (and the wind) on the roof of the high school when one of the girls, Nao, notices a cat perched on the edge of the roof. Nao jumps over the safety fence and tries to get a picture of the cat, but the cat jumps off the edge. However, instead of falling to its death, a mysterious gust of wind keeps the cat suspended in air, which would be a surprising enough sight in and of itself, but then Nao notices that there are dozens upon dozens of other cats floating in the air. She tries to take pictures of them all, but she leans too far over the edge of the roof and falls off, almost to her death but another gust of wind saves her at the last second. Nao is unharmed, and, printing out the pictures from the camera, notices a picture of her math teacher, Taiki, that she seemed to have taken while she was falling. She tries to see him, but finds out that he has taken a sabattical to visit his home village. Nao, Miki (the other member of the photography club), and Jun (a male classmate who spread a rumour that Nao had tried to commit suicide and now feels sorry for spreading it) decide to try and find the cat first, but, after fruitless searches through alleys and on top of walls, Nao heads for the now closed-off roof from which she fell and finds another classmate, Ryoko, who seems to know what's really going on: the cat can manipulate the wind to "fly", and the teacher, Taiki, has the power as well, and he taught it to her, though she isn't as good as he is. Nao, Miki, and Jun decide to head for Taiki's village, where all of the wind manipulators in Japan are meeting up for a Wind Festival wherein they chart out the weather for the coming year or so in Japan. The kids find a mentor in an old gasoline station attendant, who teaches them the "Wind User" basics, and so begins the low-key adventures of the "Wind Cat Sisters".
Despite the slight supernatural elements of the storyline, the whole series is pretty much a down-to-earth "slice of life" coming of age drama about a group of friends with some mild comic relief, but only coming directly from the characters in a natural way, nothing forced. If you don't like slow-paced, character-driven shows where nothing terribly exciting happens, you probably shouldn't bother. But I'm a slice-of-life anime fan, so this sort of anime appeals to me greatly. Like the similarly-paced Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, Windy Tales is the sort of show that tries as much to create a calming atmosphere in the viewer as it does to tell a good story, and it does so splendidly, with a watercolour palette colour scheme and wind noises supplementing the sparse musical score, which is mostly piano with some soft guitar. And, as is also the case with Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, the literal atmosphere is almost a character in and of itself, always present in the background and manifesting itself in the clouds, hair, and trees almost as though there was some kind of intelligence behind it (and, in Windy Tales, that is at least somewhat the case). And, another major selling point of this show is the unique look of the artwork, with abstract, deformed character designs that almost looked like these characters were cut-out from construction paper and then had their expressive faces sketched on.
Unfortunately, I think this anime is just too "different" to ever be licensed.
(Episode 1: 1/2/3.)
#1 (3-way tie) The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Eh, I can't rank my top 3 "new to me" anime, so I'll take the lazy way out and declare a 3-way tie, and I'll start with the anime that I believe to be the most widely-acclaimed of the three, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya might, at first, seem like a typical high school comedy anime, but appearances can be deceiving. It's the story of an eccentric and capricious high school girl named Haruhi Suzumiya as seen through the eyes of an ordinary high school boy known to the viewer only by his nickname, "Kyon". On the first day of her arrival in her new school, she announces to the class that she is completely uninterested in normal humans and only wants to socialize with time-travellers, aliens, and ESPers (psychics). She is bored in class, and, while she is athletically gifted, she is notorious for joining clubs for a day and then leaving. When Kyon, the only person she'll listen to, half-heartedly suggests to her that she start her own club, she enthusiastically embraces the idea, enlists Kyon as the first member and her second-in-command (before he can even say "no"), and proceeds to take over a practically abandoned club room that had been more or less vacated by the literature club, whose sole remaining member, Yuki Nagato, a bookworm with a monotonic voice, is content to let Haruhi do her thing as long as she can continue reading. Haruhi enlists Yuki and a couple of more members for the purpose-elusive SOS club, Mikuru Asahina, a teenage girl whom Haruhi chose for her big-busted lolita mascot value (and whom Haruhi likes to abuse by making her wear all sorts of embarassing costumes), and Itsuki Koizumi, a suave transfer student, and they all soon help to make Kyon's ordinary life a lot more interesting in ways Kyon can barely understand.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya stands out above the pack of anime comedies for having intelligent writing, dry humour, and some real depth, not so much in terms of the true natures of the characters, which are actually revealed fairly early in the series, with a lot of hints even earlier than that, but more in terms of the bigger picture "implications" once the truth is known. And it bears stunning animation quality for a television series (where, for example, when characters play instruments in one episode, their hands are actually shown playing the instruments in tune with the music rather than just repeating the same 4 or 5 frames over and over). And the ending theme song animation, "Hare Hare Yukai" (Sunny Sunny Happy), has got to be one of the most parodied ending sequences ever, though I prefer the opening song for the "bounciness".
(Chronological order episode 1)
(Broadcast order episode 1, "The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina".)
#1 (3-way tie) Ouran High School Host Club
2006 has really been the year of the Haruhi, with two anime comedy series about high school girls named "Haruhi" who become associated with rather unusual school clubs, but, whereas Haruhi Suzumiya was the driving force behind the unclearly-purposed club that she started on a whim, Haruhi Fujioka finds herself reluctantly enlisted into a club due to unfortunate circumstances.
You see, Haruhi Fujioka is a rather androgenous-looking middle-class girl who is just starting at the ultra-prestigious Ouran High School, a school for the idle sons and daughters of the ultra-wealthy and ultra-powerful that Haruhi is only able to attend after working hard to get a scholarship, and, while looking for a quiet place to study, she happens across a music room that she assumes is abandoned, only to find that it is the room used by the Host Club, whose members get paid by girls to go on dates, though it's nothing salacious. What the girls are paying for is to be flattered by the most popular boys in the school. When Haruhi enters the club room, she is mistakenly assumed, at first, to be a gay boy by the club members, but a customer is a customer, so the various "hosts", all of whom carefully cultivate their public personas so as to fill some kind of bishounen (pretty boy) stereotype among fangirls, offer themselves to her. In an attempt to flee the room, she backs into a vase that the club was going to sell off at a fundraising auction with an expected bid of around 8 million yen (around $80,000 U.S.), so, to pay it off, the club (most of whom have figured out, by that point that Haruhi is a "she", since she's not really trying to hide it) makes Haruhi the "dogsbody" (lowly servant) of the club, and they decide to dress her up in a boy's high school uniform and pass her off as a boy for the rich-but-not-too-bright-or-too-sharp female students to date.
Haruhi also becomes a point of fascination for the club members, as they are so isolated from the realities of the "proletariat" that she is the first Japanese commoner that they have ever really befriended, and they set out to familiarize themselves with such exotic (for them) delicacies as "Instant Coffee" and "Cup Noodles". Tamaki, the leader of the club, tries his best not to be condescending towards the middle-class Haruhi, but, in telling the others not to be condescending, he usually ends up being very condescending himself, thinking Haruhi is a lot more poor than she actually is, which irks Haruhi, but she recognizes his sincerity and that he doesn't really mean to offend her, so she doesn't stay offended for long.
While Ouran High School Host Club borrows a lot of styling cues from high-concept, mind-screw shoujo shows like Revolutionary Girl Utena, the story itself is fairly straightforward and accessible, with some depth, with a clearly defined subtext about class differences in Japan, as well as a more vague subtext about Haruhi not being particularly interested in gender roles. Ironically, though, in attempting to fashion Haruhi into a "boy", the members of the club, especially Tamaki, begin to awaken some adolescent feminine undercurrents in her personality. But it's not a show designed to be analyzed too much, it is a comedy, and a funny one at that, possibly the best shoujo comedy series since Super GALS!
(Episode 1: 1/2/3.)
#1 (3-way tie) Ichigo Mashimaro (Strawberry Marshmallow)
Well, this is an easy show to describe: cute grade-school girls go about their daily activities in the cutest of ways. Four cute girls, actually: Chika Itou, the ordinary one, Miu Matsuoka, the bossy and mischevous one, Matsuri Sakuragi, the glasses-wearing, ferret-owning, shy, timid, and easily-hurt one, and Ana Coppola, a rich girl who was born in Cornwall, England, but moved with her parents to Japan around a half-decade before the start of the story, when she was about six years old, and who has more or less forgotten how to speak English. Chika and Miu are 12-years old and are in sixth grade, while Matsuri and Ana are 11-years old and are in fifth grade. The other major character is Chika's older sister, Nobue Itoh, who is a chain-smoker always short on the money needed to support her habit. Nobue is a 16-year old high school student in the original Barasui manga, though, in the anime, she claims to be a 20-year old college student largely to get around a Japanese television prohibition against showing underaged characters smoking. That's pretty much all you need to know. The stories, like one about the girls making an ashtray over the course of just a single evening for Nobue's birthday, are really just pretenses to show how the girls waste so much time doing something simple, more often than not due to personality conflicts instigated by Miu.
Generally speaking, if you don't like low-key slice-of-life stories, Ichigo Mashimaro is not a show that you'd have any interest in seeing, though you might get a kick out of the often slapstick comedy if you have enough patience. On the other hand, if you liked Azumanga Daioh, this is supposedly more or less the same thing with different characters (though I can only rely on what others have told me, since I've still never seen a full episode of Azumanga).
Also, Ichigo Mashimaro is somewhat controversial, since, although it's about young girls, the target audience is actually college-aged men. If you watch the short preview episode, "Episode 0", in the extras of the first disk, you will see that it actually aired very late at night (25:55 = 1:55 a.m.), in time slots where the only viewers whatsoever is the small otaku niche audience. It does lead one to ask what the intended appeal is supposed to be. If you're a viewer like me, the appeal is simply that it's a cute, slice-of-life comedy, and that's all. Some other people who like the show tend to get more defensive, saying that the appeal is a nostalgic one, showing a version of childhood friendship that is somewhat idealized but not too saccharine, or that it appeals to people who appreciate the moé aesthetic, where you're charmed by cute things. Then there are detractors who claim that the only people who are into shows like this are closeted lolicom fans, but I think that's a gross and unfair oversimplication of the appeal. Though, I will concede that the anime is a bit toned down from the original manga, which has some mildly suggestive elements, particularly how Nobue herself seems to have some kind of weird lesbian lolicom attraction to her sister's young friends, sometimes being so bold as to trick them into kissing. While the anime Nobue smiles and sometimes says that her sister's friends are cute, in the episodes I've seen, she hasn't kissed any of them.
That's it. Before anyone asks, I still haven't seen Nana, which is supposedly another show that's big with shoujo fans over here.
ERIN ESURANCE: THE SEXIEST AMERICAN CARTOON CHARACTER SINCE CHEL!
Don't you just love those animated Esurance
insurance commercials featuring insurance agent-turned-special agent Erin Esurance
? I could sit and watch her adventures all day, whether she's racing cars
, fighting a tree-cutting iron giant
, facing off against android gunslingers in an Old West locale
, taking in a ballgame
, or playing space robot football dressed up like Megaman, for some reason
. I can quite honestly say that Ghostbot
has created the first American female cartoon character in a good half-decade to make my pen- make my heart flutter. The last non-anime cartoon girl to have had such an... ahem... "effect" on me was Chel in Road to El Dorado
back in 2000. The only thing I don't like about the commercials is that they are too short. They should make it a real TV cartoon series. She could team up with Kim Possible and Harold Rosembaum: Chartered Accountant Extreme
But, does everyone love Erin Esurance? No, the heretic Seth Stevenson of Slate magazine finds her ads to be confusing
"[I]magine that you're sitting on your couch, idly waiting for SportsCenter to come back on, rather than hunched attentively over your computer screen. Personally, I'm lost from the moment the ad begins. Who are these animated characters? What's their relationship? Why are they playing football, against robots, in outer space? And—just like that—I've lost interest. I'm sipping my beer, gazing out the window until the next commercial comes on, and hey, it's the Geico caveman! He sells online car insurance! I love that guy!"
Eww... the Geico cavemen? The neanderthals with the biggest eyebrow ridges this side of Kelsey Grammer and who are only slightly less hairy than Robin Williams? Bah, they don't register on my patented "E-rectometer" at all. And that latest commercial of theirs totally massacres Royksopp's "Remind Me"
Stevenson goes on to malign those of us who get too much enjoyment out of the Esurance commercials.
"If Esurance wanted to, it could devise a more effective ad campaign than this one tomorrow. But I admit that, even as I write, a select group of you is no doubt waking (or is it wanking?) to the charms of Erin Esurance. You're eager to see what sort of mess she'll get into next. And you're hoping that, whatever she gets into, she also gets into a satin negligee. Or maybe a nurse's outfit. I suppose if there are enough of you comic book perverts out there treating these ads like anime porn, visiting the Esurance web site to learn more about Erin, well … I'll be forced to raise my grade."
Erin should go undercover at a high school in Japan wearing a Japanese schoolgirl's sailor fuku (outfit). Or she'd make an excellent flight attendant.
At least I'm not one of those losers making Erin Esurance hentai.(NOTE TO GHOSTBOT, ESURANCE, AND NELVANA LAWYERS: THIS PICTURE IS A PARODY! PARODY! PARODY! PARODY! PARODY!)
No, see, that's not hentai. It's not even yuri
(lesbian anime porno). I might have drawn Erin Esurance tongue-kissing Nikki Wong from the Canadian cartoon series 6teen
, but they have their clothes on, so it's only shoujo-ai
(girl's love). It's hardly even Ecchi
. I'm not even suggesting the characters are lesbians, just that they might have some slight bisexual curiosity. (For the intellectual property lawyers: I'm only kidding there.)
Yes, it is the most "loser fanboy" thing I've done in a while.For Google Image Search indexing purposes:
Erin Esurance from the insurance commercials tongue-kissing Nikki Wong from the Canadian cartoon series 6teen.
Erin Esurance from the insurance commercials tongue-kissing Nikki Wong from the Canadian cartoon series 6teen.
Labels: cartoon, character, Erin Esurance, hentai, sexy
PIERRE BERNARD'S RECLINER OF RAGE!
Hmm... these segments are appearing a little more frequently than they had been for the past little while on NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien
; the previous one, about the cancellation of Stargate SG-1
, aired just a little over two and a half months ago.
My aging Toshiba VCR was reluctant to allow the videotape to be inserted, and I missed the introduction, but I got all of the meat of his rant.
From where my videotape started.
Conan O'Brien: ...Pierre, are you comfortable and angry?
Pierre Bernard Jr.: Comfortable and furious, Conan.
Conan: Then go ahead... go ahead, Pierre, and speak for America.
Pierre: Okay, here goes.
Recently, I decided to purchase a few items I had been eyeing on the Internet, including collectibles Justice League action figures like Star Sapphire and Lightray, as well as another item I found particularly captivating, a five-foot tall Betty Boop statue.
I desperately wanted to purchase the statue for my living room, but my co-worker, Tara, discouraged me, saying that if I plan on meeting and keeping a girlfriend anytime soon, the last thing a woman coming into my home for the first time would want to see is a life-size statue of a cartoon character.
So, instead of getting a five-foot tall Betty Boop for my living room, I decided instead to get an 18-inch tall Betty Boop for my dining room. The smaller Betty Boop was particularly alluring since she was wearing a French maid outfit.
I went online, thinking it would be easy to purchase the figure, but it turned out to be a nightmare. The French may- the French maid Betty Boop was unavailable, and the company, Characters Collectible, had an unlisted phone number. I eventually tracked down a French maid Betty Boop on a site called Boop World, but it turned out to have a red French maid outfit instead of the black one I had hoped for.
Why would anyone ever want a French maid wearing red? It's ridiculous!
I'm too busy right now to search anymore, and I'm too proud to ask for help from my Internet friends, "Miss Tracey", "K8", "Endanger D. Animal" or "Birdy Yum-Yums".
Bottom line, America? Character Collectibles should be reachable by phone so I can stop hunting for a French maid Betty Boop for my dining room.
Conan: Thank you, Pierre, I'm sure that there's at least one or two other guys in the world who know exactly how you feel.
Pierre: Keep the faith, amigos.
Singer: PIERRE BERNARD'S RECLINER OF RAGE!
Conan: We'll take a little break. When we come back, from Saturday Night Live, Kristen Wiig is here. We'll see you in a second.
Hey, Pierre, if you're reading this, here's a site that seems to be selling the French maid Betty Boop figure in a black outfit
, and here's the contact information for Character Collectibles from the Van Group website:
2551 Philadelphia Ave.
Ontario, Ca. 91761
Phone: (909) 923-6789
Fax: (909) 673-9699www.vangroup.com
If you have questions regarding: New orders, Previous orders placed, Product knowledge, Store locations in your area, Rep information, Consumer questions please click on the link below
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Personally, Irona, the skanky robot from old Richie Rich
comics, turned me off French maid outfits for life, though I'd make an exception for the purple one that Haruhi Suzumiya made Mikuru Asahina wear in the fifth episode of the anime The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Labels: Pierre Bernard's Recliner of Rage
THE TOP 9 "NEW TO ME" ANIME SERIES OF 2006 (part 1)
A list I started at Rotten Tomatoes.
These are all anime series that I've seen for the first time this year, though these aren't all of the anime series I've seen for the first time, just the ones I can honestly recommend. Most of them first aired (or, in the case of OVA series, were sold) within the past two years in Japan, but there are a couple of somewhat older shows on this list as well. Four of these shows I saw for the first time at the University of Ottawa anime club, but I've also been watching fansubbed unlicensed shows on YouTube, where I had my initial viewing of four other of these shows. Only one of these shows was a complete and total "blind buy" on DVD, and only because I was able to find a previously-viewed copy of it for a significantly reduced price at Blockbuster.
Also, I'm not including sequel seasons of series I've already seen in previous years. If I were, Ah My Goddess
series 2 (Sorezore no Tsubasa
; episode 1 part 1
) would be very high up, since the newer series introduced Peorth, my favourite of the goddesses in the manga.
I have the list, but I haven't written anything out in advance, so I'll write a paragraph or two for each entry, but don't expect essays or anything.#9: EXCEL SAGA
Yup, believe it or not, I hadn't seen a single episode of Excel Saga until this year. I like Kotono Mitsuishi, the voice of Excel, because she was the Japanese voice of Sailor Moon, and she was also the voice of Mink in Dragon Half, so I know she's the major voice actress best suited for this sort of fast-paced manic comedy, but, for some reason, even though I love hearing Kotono, I just never got around to seeing Excel Saga until I found volume 3 of this show for just $9.99 CDN in the previously-viewed bin at my local Blockbuster. I think the major problem was that this show aired in Japan soon after the anime club that I used to attend in Montreal folded, so the amount of new anime from 2001 to 2004 that I was able to see was significantly reduced compared to the amount of anime from the 1980s and 1990s that I watched at my old anime club.
The plot, about two female agents from some kind of space-based secret agency called ACROSS, is paper-thin... it's basically just an excuse to have them go on missions to spoof various anime genres, as well as videogames, and other forms of pop-culture (including American cartoons) every week. I get the idea that volume 3 is one of the weaker volumes of the show (one of the four volumes is the semi-usual episode 13 midpoint "Clips" episode, but it was at least presented in an amusing way, as a game show competiton between Excel and her partner Hyatt, over which one of them has performed superior over the course of the series so far). Of these four episodes, I liked the parody of high school and sports dramas the best. I wouldn't say that I found what I've seen of this show to be too laugh-out-loud funny (maybe if I was a few years younger, I might have), but it was consistently amusing and I'd get more volumes if I could find them locally for a reduced price.
Excel Saga would probably be ranked a notch or two higher on this list if I had seen more than just four episodes of it.
#8 Rozen Maiden: Träumend#7 Gatekeepers/Gatekeepers 21
Yeah, I know this is a sequel series, but I've never seen the original Rozen Maiden, so it's all new to me.
Basically, the plot is something about a loner or social outcast boy who gets a magic living doll, and they meet other magic living dolls and their social outcast owners, and the dolls have tea parties and watch TV together and cook. These dolls were all made to participate in something called the Alice Games, where one doll would become Alice, the ultimate doll, while the others would lose their lives or something like that. None of the dolls seem all that eager to participate in the battles, yet they feel compelled to, or maybe some do and some don't. I forget. And there's some plotline about some evil doll awakening.
Essentially, it's like Saber Marionette, only, instead of androids, there are dolls, kind of like in Angelic Layer but much larger, dressed in very pretty Elegant Gothic Lolita sorts of frilly, lacey dresses. And that's why, even though I thought that the show would have been much better without that tournament nonsense, I can recommend this show. It's a visual treat. Especially how the dolls actually look like living dolls, but without that "uncanny valley" creepiness that usually comes into effect when animators try to draw living dolls. And the credits remind me of the opening credits to Utena, with all of the stylized roses. And it's the origin of the "DESU! DESU! DESU! DESU! DESU! DESU! DESU! DESU! DESU! DESU!" Internet meme, so, if you watch this, you won't react like Tom Green did when someone DESU-ed him on live Internet TV.
(Episode 1: 1/2/3.)
One's the TV series, the other's the sequel. Both are essentially the same thing, with high school students with special powers to open "Gates" to gain special abilities who work for a secret government organization called "AEGIS" and get cool cars and other vehicles in order to fight alien "Invaders" who dress like 1930s Chicago gangsters and can take possession of humans and objects. The main difference between the two is that the Gatekeepers TV series is set in 1969 and mixes a wacky harem comedy into the alien fighting, while the much darker sequel OVA series, Gatekeepers 21, is set over 30 years later and plays the story dead seriously.
I saw the sequel OVA series first over the summer, and now the anime club that I'm in is playing the original TV series. As a fan of comic relief, you can easily imagine that I'd prefer the TV series to the OVA series, and you'd be right, even if it makes the second half of most episodes, in essence, really just glorified "monster of the week" battles. Since the Invaders can take control of objects and not just people, it does lead for some pretty wacky fights, like when the teenage heroes were fighting against huge slabs of highway that were walking around like giant feet. Also, I give this series major props for the cool Aegis car, which resembles a Honda S800 RSC race car with a Shelby Cobra blue-and-white-stripes colour scheme.
#6 Shinigami no Ballad
Have you ever wanted to see a series about death that isn't angsty, gloomy, or too dark, without too much solemnity or forced sentimentality? Shinigami no Ballad might be the show for you. This is a collection of 6 OVA episodes which are more or less standalone stories about people who are about to die or are about people dealing with the death of someone close to them, with the only common character in the stories being a death god girl named Momo who is essentially a grim reaper, but not in a scary way. She both eases the transition for those who are at the point of death or she can sometimes also help those left behind cope with the loss, whether or not the survivors are aware of her presence.
I suppose that it could be compared to the comedy series Dead Like Me, but played as a straight, slice-of-life drama.
(Episode 1: 1/2/3.)
#5 Kage Kara Mamoru
If you're the type of person who hates the comedy filler in Naruto, be advised to stay well, well, well away from Kage Kara Mamoru, because it's a show that is essentially 100% ninja-themed comedy filler.
Mamoru Kagemori is a glasses-wearing geeky high school boy who is actually a ninja from a clan that had, four centuries prior, sworn to be the protectors of the Konnyaku clan, and Mamoru really has his work cut out for him, as his neighbour (and protectee, though she doesn't realize it) Yuuna Konyaku is the ultimate anime ditzy girl without a grain of street smarts, and she has a tendency to unwittingly implicate herself in trouble, involving yakuza gangsters, mole-men, aliens, and girls with martial arts abilities, who eventually also become enamored with Mamoru, this being a martial arts harem comedy.
Speaking of martial arts harem comedies, Kage Kara Mamoru's opening credits sequence has a blatant and obvious homage to Ranma ½'s original opening sequence, with characters running in place who change angles with each cut as more characters are added to the screen. I guess that might be a subtle way of saying that Kage Kara Mamoru aspires to be the Ranma ½ for the new generation, and the style of broad comedy is somewhat similar (though without the gender-bending and lycantrophy gimmicks). I don't know if it's quite on that level yet, since the entire TV series is only 12 episodes long while Ranma ½ had 161 TV episodes alone, but I certainly wouldn't mind seeing another season or two of this.
Also, if there's any justice in the world, someone ought to do a YTMND of Yuuna's Banana song.
To part 2.