October 2008

Since I started Allison & Lillia first, you’d think I’d get to ep3 and write about it first, but I had a free morning and decided to start another series. Here’s First Impressions of Shugo Chara!, the hit shoujo series that crunchyroll.com ranks as one of the top ‘all-time crunchiest anime’. Pink-haired girls are popular this year.

Quick Synopsis: Hinamori Amu is a recent transfer student at Seiyo Academy elementary school and has quickly become popular thanks to her punk goth appearance and “cool and spicy” personality. However, that exterior hides her real shy and bashful personality, and she wishes for courage to change and show her “would-be” self. One morning, three eggs appear, each containing a Guardian Character that is a reflection of a part of her true self, and as they hatch, each chibi guardian helps Amu bring out different parts of her personality. Of course, in true shoujo fashion, there is love interest, and Amu’s is the ‘princely’ Hotori Tadase, the leader of the school’s student council, the Guardians, a group of four students who also have Guardian Charas. Their goal is to protect the Guardian egg sleeping inside everybody from becoming corrupted and turning into an X-Egg. There is also a group of “bad guys” whose goal is to find the Embryo, a special wish granting egg, by extracting peoples’ sleeping eggs.

Notable Seiyu:
Hotori Tadase = Takagi Reiko (Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan – Kusakabe Sakura, La Corda D’Oro ~primo passo~ – Hino Kahoko)
Tsukiyomi Ikuto = Nakamura Yuichi (Macross Frontier – Saotome Alto, Clannad – Okazaki Tomoya)

First, Shugo Chara technically started in 2007, but it went 51 episodes well into 2008 and it seems its been renewed for a second season starting this October. Secondly, its always surprising whenever a big name series asks a relative newcomer to voice the main protagonist, so I’ll mention that Amu is voiced by Ito Kanae. I imagine it can’t be easy when you’re just starting out, but I really liked Amu’s character and her voice effectively conveyed the moods she was in. She’s very cute when she’s flustered by silly things or when she’s calling herself ‘baka’.

So let’s break down this shoujo anime starting with Amu. Compared to the other pink haired lead females so far, Amu seems to have the most dimensions as a character. Lala is primarily cheerful and playful while Moka is caring and kind hearted, but Amu is sometimes “cool and spicy” when showing her exterior, sometimes cute and klutzy, sometimes the “maiden in love” as with Tadase, and sometimes argumentative and combatative as while annoyed by her chara or (I think) potentially later with Ikuto. I think deep down, she’s always caring and good natured, even if she doesn’t show it – when her charas told her they’d disappear if she didn’t believe in them, she was totally tsundere. Personally, I think her punk goth looks good (better than her magical girl clothes) and I liked her initial “cool and spicy” personality, except its not very apparent in the later episodes even if people are still descibing her that way. Her cuteness from her ‘baka’ side and from acting insincerity with her feelings make her likability on par wth Lala’s, even when her chest size isn’t (and that’s impressive when ecchi doesn’t have to be thrown around to boost a character’s appeal). And the character’s desire to change herself is universal enough for viewers to relate to easily.

The first three episodes introduce Amu’s charas, and each one brings out/adds some special abilities, especially when she character changes. Ran is cheerful and energetic and makes Amu more honest and athletic, Miki is stubborn and easygoing and makes Amu more level-headed and artistic, and Suu is clumsy and girl and makes Amu more caring and better at domestic skills. The transformations resemble some of the outfits from Cardcaptor Sakura, but some of the actions while transformed, like the purification of X-eggs, feels more like Sailor Moon. Add in the two potential love interests – the ‘princely’ Tadase and the ‘wild and free’ Ikuto – and you’ve put together all the best parts of shoujo anime, which speaks to how popular this show is. And even as a guy probably too old this this kind of show, I’ll admit I wouldn’t mind continuing this show casually. The first three episodes went by quickly without much effort, I found some parts funny, and I’ve watch my share of similar shoujo anime – Cardcaptor Sakura and Full Moon – and liked it, so I won’t mind that this show isn’t in my ideal genre.

Bottomline Impressions:
Shugo Chara! – B+, the appeal of this show to its target audience is pretty clear, and the likability of the main character easily pulls other viewers into the show. Continuing happily.

Reminds me of: Cardcaptor Sakura with Powerpuff girl guardians and Sailor Moon-like special moves.

PS. Thanks Crunchyroll.com for the screenshots (until you tell me to take them down >.<). All readers are encouraged to check out their site to an excellent variety of videos for online viewing.


I can’t believe it took me so long to finish another series after Vampire Knight took about a day and a half, but I finally got through To love-ru. Let me rephrase that…I finally got through the second half of To love-ru. Let’s reflect.

We left off with the show firmly establishing the Rito-Lala-Haruna love triangle in the first few episodes and shot down Rosario to Vampire after making some comparisons between the two shows. Starting with about ep6, To love-ru begins introducing its harem cast – the rich and haughty Tenjouin, the gender bending Ren/Run, the sexy alien school nurse Mikado, the strict but caring discipline committee leader Kotegawa, and the Eve (from Black Cat) lookalike assassin Golden Darkness. And even though the formula is standard and repetitive, the episodes are still relatively watchable from the entertaining situations, quality female character modeling, and because Lala is still so cute and likable. Of course the ecchi and fan service are still pumped out regularly, and I’m pretty sure the animator for the series has a thing for tentacle play. And clothes dissolving monsters. The example below is not the only instance. :p

So where did things go wrong? Episode 15. The premise of the episode itself wasn’t great, but the real killer was the very un-dramatic scene of revealing to everyone in the school that Lala was an alien. You’d think people would at least be shocked or in disbelief, but the general attitude was more like “Oh, well that makes sense. Now go off in your spaceship and do your thing. Oh, and its totally cool if Haruna flies up with you too.” What…? In literally a minute, the writers successfully blew up one of the biggest premises behind the show – Rito having to keep Lala’s secret about aliens while still enduring all of her crazy situations. Thats just baddecisions.com right there. And as the episode goes on, it feels more and more like a filler. A bad filler. I check Wiki to read for any differences between the anime and manga versions when I read this bomb, “The anime uses characters and general themes from the original manga, but is for the most part original story material after the first episode.” WTC! Now, I should elaborate that I’m fine with an original story in anime. Conan does it all the time. But it has to be quality and it can’t just be various episodic filler stories. And by episode 15, I’ve gone too far to just drop the series, so I endure eps 15-23 slowly (very slowly) over 2 weeks. I finally finished ep26 tonight. The struggle is over.

As disparaging in quality the first half and second half of the series was, the last two episodes return to a proven harem anime standard for series ending. A final problem is introduced that keeps the protagonist and the main girl apart, and its up to everyone from the harem group, even the odd piece of the love triangle who must choose to give up on her own wishes, to help the guy overcome the obstacle and reunite with the girl. In To love-ru, Lala’s father takes back Lala and challenges Rito to fulfill his promise of becoming the number one man in the universe by racing to his ship as he throws obstacles in his way. Rito asks Haruna to wait on hearing his true feelings, then goes off to make it to the Deviluke king’s ship to bring back Lala and prevent the earth from being destroyed, with everyone helping him along the way. The ending does take an interesting and unique turn when Lala decides that she can’t marry Rito just yet and uses an invention to erase everyone’s memory of her so that Rito can meet and fall in love with her again as a normal person. At least it would have if the anime went through with that choice, but like all her other inventions, it doesn’t work and she returns to school with everybody and the status quo remains unchanged. So they don’t take the ambitious ending, but if the anime writers didn’t want to make a decision, they could have tried pushing the threesome ending where Rito can’t choose between Lala and Haruna and they both accept sharing his attention. Instead, they lame out and leave things unsettled in the Rito-Lala-Haruna love triangle. That’s typically my least favorite ending for a harem anime, and that’s too bad because with an original story, writers could have pushed one way or the other regardless of the ongoing manga.

PS. I’m at least happy that they brought back the first ED song in the last episode since I wasn’t too much of a fan of the second ED. I think I’ll also pickup the manga version whenever I get the chance.

I’ll start with a quick story on how I got to this topic. So this weekend, I went paintballing with some friends in NYC, and on the 40 min subway ride back from Queens, we started talking about Naruto and Geass. Friend A asked me and Friend B what our Top 5 Anime were, and Friend B listed Full Metal Panic (a solid series), Gundam Seed (meh…), H2, then he wasn’t sure and needed to think about it. In fact, Friend B was the guy who introduced me to H2 (also to Ichigo 100%, as mentioned previously), and I enjoyed the series enough to pick up a couple other Adachi manga series – Touch and Katsu!. So I got home Monday afternoon, and after doing some studying, I was looking for something to do to avoid having to watch Allison & Lillia Ep3 (so I didn’t have to write a First Impression page) or struggle through the rest of To love-ru (more on that in its Reflections page when I finish). I decide to wiki our old buddy Adachi and found out he’s currently working on a series called Cross Game, which just finished its second story arc and is on hiatus until spring 2009. 140 chapters later (with more studying and going to work and class in between), here I am trying to get some thoughts down on Adachi-style sports/romantic comedies.

The interesting thing about Adachi’s works (at least the four I’ve read) is that he reuses the character models for the main protagonist and his primary love interest in each of his stories. Here are some pictures of his works:

From top left going clockwise (and also in series creation order): Kazuya, Minami, and Tatsuya from Touch; Hideo, Hikari, Hiro, and Haruka from H2; Mizutani Katsuki and Satoyama Katsuki from Katsu!; Koh and the Four Tsukishima Sisters: Momiji, Ichiyo, Wakaba, and Aoba from Cross Game.

The main character, Tatsuya/Hiro/Katsuki/Koh in their respective series, all play the same “baka, lazy, and unreliable except in their sport and in caring for their childhood friend/love interest” type characters. They oversleep and are late for school, unwillingly train hard during practices, tease and get teased by the main heroine, can never clearly admit that they like the main girl until late into series, and always shoulder some burden (usually of their respective girls) as motivation for their sport. All are pitchers except for Katsuki as Katsu! is a boxing manga, and none were exceptionally good at their sports at the start of each series. Romance is always complicated by love triangles that ultimately resolve themselves very lightly; there is never any gut-wrenching over-drama like in other romances. And although the main girl is always pursued by other characters, the main character never receives an unhappy ending.

In fact, the best way to describe Adachi’s work is “lightness”. His drawing style is simple and clean (possibly a reason why I’ve never found fault with reusing his character models – the recurring basics of the protagonist serve as a foundation for the specific character development in each series) and writing is never long and dragged out. Dialogue is typically light and witty with puns, situational jokes, teasing between the main pair, and self-satire as the main forms of comedy. Often times, Adachi has his minor characters complaining about screen time or characters breaking the 4th wall to advertise other works or refer to previous chapters in the series. Adachi himself appears as a mangaka always trying to meet deadlines or appealing to his editors for more time.

But Adachi does add aspects of sadness and tragedy to his works, and the stark contrast between those moments and the light moments adds great depth to the emotions of heartbreak and disappointment his characters face from time to time. And even in those scenes, Adachi employs a lightness in minimalism, trying to use as little as he can to drive the sad scenes without weighing down the reader. For example, in Cross Game, after the initial tragedy that sets up the story, instead of depicting scenes with everyone crying and hysterically sobbing and going through all of Koh’s feelings, he leaves it simply with Koh sitting alone on a street with some tears starting to roll down his face. As a reader, I was as shocked as Koh by the suddenness of the event and then felt the same catharsis as Koh began to let his emotions out (the first point when I thought, ‘man, that sucks…’). So while Adachi’s works are generally very light and easy to read through, its not to mean that they aren’t as full of emotion as other heavier works can be.

As which series to begin with, H2 is likely the best bet if you want a finished conclusion. His baseball work reads a lot better than his boxing (and Hajime no Ippo is a much better boxing manga to look for) and casual readers may be put off by the old feeling of his earlier animations (Touch began in 1981 and the animation-style isn’t as comparable to his other work until later in the series – the last few chapters of Touch looks contemporary to the beginning of H2). But personally, I’ve really liked Cross Game so far and am happy to have gotten to it just after he ended part 2 and went on hiatus. It still is clearly Adachi’s drawing style, but higher production values add to its more modern sense. The story is moving along well too, as the main girl seems to only be beginning to notice feelings for the main character, while the introduction (or re-introduction) of another main girl has Adachi setting up for more focus on romance in the coming part next spring.

Well, people are probably reading them, but these 5 manga just don’t seem to have as much popularity as their quality would suggest (well, one is somewhat popular already). I kinda wish that these series would already be finished so I could enjoy their awesomeness in full, because English releases just don’t come out regularly enough for some reason or another – like if the releases in Japan are monthly or manga fansub groups just don’t get around to them (and that’s probably because they give other more popular series higher subbing priorities) . So in no particular order, here are “the 5 underappreciated manga series that you may not have heard of or read, but in an ideal world should be bigger hits because they’re that good”.

Gantz (2000 – ongoing)

Of the five, this one can be considered already somewhat popular having about 270 subbed chapters, a 26 episode anime (though it ends very early in the series), and an American license with Dark Horse Comics (less of a manga company and more graphic novels like Hellboy, Sin City, and 300). The manga started way back in 2000, and even though it has one of the most interesting premises for any anime series I’ve come across, its popularity doesn’t come close to other big name shows in comparable genres like Deathnote, Monster, Hellsing, or Full Metal Alchemist. One of the biggest positives of this series is how mortal the characters can be – unlike many other action series, death is always a possibility for every character (even the main characters), and creator Hiroya Oku does a good job of building suspense through the unpredictability death adds to fight scenes.

As oversimplification of the plot would be that a group of characters (that is always changing) is sent to hunt a group of aliens with the goal being that a character must survive through some amount of missions before they no longer have to participate. But in actuality, its the various rules and circumstances dictating their missions and the interaction among characters that makes the plot so interesting, especially after Oku adds further possibilities by changing the rules late into the series (Sorry for writing as vaguely as possible, but the premise is simply so interesting I don’t want to spoil it). I picked up the series last spring and read up to the end of the first arc (ch237) in about 2-3 days, then decided to break due to the irregularity of releases and because plot-wise, it was at a huge crossroads. Kurono Kei becomes an awesome action hero (despite having to suffer a bit of a Simon-Kamina Complex from Gurren Lagann), and Reika is one of the most beautiful female characters that I’ve seen that I actually like. Oku does an excellent job with his female characters, blending ecchiness into his drawings with interesting character development. In fact, most of the main group of characters are well designed, and while reading this series, a part of me was always hoping that this character or that character didn’t die.

Addicted to Curry (2001 – ongoing)

A manga series dedicated to cooking curry at first sounds about as weird as a series about baking bread, but with Yakitate!! Japan being as awesome as it was, I decided to give this one a read and was disappointed only with that fact that only 40ish chapters had been translated at that point. And surprisingly, Curry started a year before Yakitate in 2001! The basic plot of the series is that Sonezaki Yui is trying to run her father’s curry shop after he leaves to train his skills, and even though business is going poorly, she doesn’t want to close the restaurant because she loves her father’s curry. Koenji Makito, whose life was saved by Yui’s father, comes looking for him and decides to repay him by helping Yui save the curry shop. Like Yakitate, the series features various curry recipes (that are a lot easier to make in real life than the bread in Yakitate) and spaces big cooking battles between smaller side character problems solved by introduction of a relative curry dish. Koenji has the same love of curry as Azuma does for bread in Yakitate, but he is also like GTO’s Onizuka with an ecchi personality and the willingness to go to extremes to help others. While Yakitate utilizes puns and outrageousness in its comedy, Curry employs more ecchi and situational comedy, but both are equally inspiring when the main characters show their passion for cooking.

Team Medical Dragon (2002 – ongoing)

Team Medical Dragon is one of the extrodinarily few manga/anime series I’ve seen that deals with doctors and medicine (Blackjack is the only other that comes to mind), and as someone who wants to become a doctor himself, I’ve gotta say that sucks. In a world of schoolgirls, giant mecha, and chakra/ki/spirit energy/reiatsu/dying will flame attacks, maybe the content is too close to reality or it requires too much additional research, but Team Medical Dragon leads (or should be leading) its own genre to provide a novel and refreshing alternative to the world of anime (like Phoenix Wright and Trauma Center did for video games). Asada Ryutaro is a brilliant doctor who gave up on medicine in Japan until Dr. Katou Akira recruits him as the lead surgeon for her thesis on the Batista operation, a surgical heart procedure of the highest difficulty. Asada accepts the position, but his unorthodox approach that goes to extremes in order to save lives challenges the foundations of rotten, hierarchy-based Japanese university medical centers. While fighting this feudal system, Asada recruits members for his Batista team through helping them with their own respective problems and instilling them -and the readers- with what it means to be a great doctor: the willingness to never give up on a patient.

High School of the Dead (2006 – ongoing)

Like Gantz, High School of the Dead boasts action filled with both gore and suspense. Death lurks around every corner as you’d imagine in any survival horror game, and the possibility/inevitability that one of the main characters will die is both dreaded and anticipated. Even a simple bite by a zombie will become fatal, and the series handles the mortality of its main cast very well. Also like Gantz, High School of the Dead features some very well-illustrated fan service that is never in poor taste nor does it ever drag or slow the pace of the series. In fact, it contributes to the quality of the series in two ways – firstly, as expected of a post-apocalyptic setting, law and order have become displaced by more carnal instincts like violence, lust, and sin, and the non-romantic fan service (shredded sailor uniforms, torn skirts, exposed skin) add to this atmosphere of desperate survival; secondly, more romantic fan service is employed between action/ suspense sequences during “break” sequences to give the reader the same sense of relaxing and unwinding that the characters are feeling during the sudden unstressful period. But unlike Gantz and almost all other manga/anime series, High School of the Dead is the only series I’ve seen that takes on the zombie survival horror genre as well as games like Resident Evil or House of the Dead.

The basic plot is as simple as a group of high school students escape their suddenly zombie-infested school and try to survive the following apocalypse, and many basic survival horror aspects are included such as weaponry ranging from the basic (metal baseball bat, wooden poles, revolver off dead policemen) to the unrealistic (sniper rifles, modified shotguns), the search for food and shelter, and salvaging of potentially useful items. The main cast consists of a kendo swordswoman, a gun/military otaku, a school nurse, a genius student, the would-be leader, and his main love interest. The female character models are amazing, and the characters themselves are well developed, especially in their handling of typical emotions like fear, guilt, and (interestingly) euphoria as they walk the fine line of maintaining their humanity and surviving by any means.

Mr. Fullswing (2001 – 2006)

Mr. Fullswing is a Shonen Jump baseball manga, but for a Jump school sports series, you’d think it’d be somewhat popular with the success of series like Prince of Tennis and Eyeshield 21, but there are currently only 30 subbed chapters available and the series remains unlicensed in the US. So what gives? Its by no means a short series – 24 volumes is easily franchisable. And the premise isn’t ridiculous at all. Like plenty of high school student male characters, Saruno Amakuni is a bit of a pervert and has a long history of rejection in his attempts to find a girlfriend. He hates school sports clubs because athletes get all the girls, but he meets the baseball club manager, Torii Nagi, and decides to join to impress her with his skills (like a certain red-haired Shonen Jump basketball player). Although Saruno isn’t as good as his enlarged ego makes him think he is, he does possess a lot of strength and potential, and Nagi believes that the full-swinging Saruno can carry the team to the championship just like a lengendary high school slugger did for their school 20 years ago.

Compared to other baseball manga, Fullswing is closer to Ookiku Furikabutte in its focus on the relationship with teammates than to Mitsuru Adachi’s baseball works, Touch and H2, which focus closer on the main character’s pitching success and romantic life. Unlike Ookiku, other characters on the team each have their own specialties along the lines of Prince of Tennis (a softball-style pitcher, a jet-like baserunner, etc), and the main character’s strength is in hitting, not pitching. This is a pretty crucial distinction as pitchers are generally associated with dominating or clutch performances while hitters can be built up for a single miraculous play like a walk-off grand slam. And aren’t these kinds of come from behind victories the basic driving point behind shonen sports series? Returning back to the point of this show’s lack of popularity. With only 30 chapters out, its hard to see where the series might go wrong, but the various training exercises up to Ch30 have been pretty funny and the entry test match was as entertaining as any other Jump sports series. The only possible minus for the series might be that a lot of the jokes Saruno uses outside of the situational comedy are based on puns and Japanese culture that would be difficult to understand for a Western audience without proper explanation. Still, you’d imagine Shonen Jump would jump on any chance to add one more to their list of big name franchises by pushing the popularity of this quality series.

First Impressions of Rosario+Vampire and the other pink-haired sci-fi beauty.

Quick Synopsis: Aono Tsukune, who didn’t get into high school because of his low test grades, was fortunately able to enroll at Yokai Academy, allowing him to become a high school student afterall. Unfortunately, it turns out to be a mistake because it is actually a high school for monsters and demons that requires its students to disguise themselves as humans so that they can learn to fit into human society. And while he worries about keeping his human identity a secret and whether he can survive in a school of monsters, he is able to become friends with Akashiya Moka, a vampire who is initially attracted to Tsukune because of the taste of his blood, but later also because he protected her despite him being human and her being a vampire. As their relationship grows throughout the story, Tsukune and Moka also continue to make other friends and enemies at Yokai Academy in typical harem, love-comedy fashion.

Notable Seiyu:
Aono Tsukune = Kishio Daisuke (Vampire Knight – Kuran Kaname, AYAKASHI – Kusaka Yuu)
Akashiya Moka = Mizuki Nana (Naruto – Hyuga Hinata, Allison & Lillia – Allison Whittington; Lillia Whittington-Schultz, Tsuyokiss – Konoe Sunao, Basilisk – Oboro)

When I started watching this show, I was already thinking that watching two harem, love comedies was not gonna be one of my priorities, especially with a huge list of other shows to go through. So despite the respective high popularities of Rosario+Vampire and To Love-ru, one of them was prolly getting dropped. And although I tried to be as objective as possible and even took both shows to episode 5, I had to pick To Love-ru over Rosario+Vampire. Here’s some comparisons between the two shows:
Pink-haired girls: A large majority of choosing To Love-ru over Rosario+Vampire was from the simple fact that I liked Lala a lot more than Moka. Admittedly, Moka is pretty cute when trying to resist sucking blood from Tsukune, but she just doesn’t have the same charisma that Lala has whenever she brings out her malfunctioning inventions. A lot of this is just preference whether you want a more playful Lala or a more caring, kind-hearted Moka, but liking the show’s main driving character is huge. I mean, come on, guys aren’t watching these shows because they admire Rito or Tsukune.
Scrawny but wholesome protagonists: While we’re on the subject of Rito and Tsukune, I also thought that Rito was a stronger male character. Tsukune, even though he’s dependable enough to protect the girls in a pinch, admits to his own weakness. Not to say that Rito isn’t as physically weak, but depending on Moka to bail him out of every fight kinda wears on the viewer. Maybe its just the way the shows set up the problems where Rosario always requires someone to take down the troublemakers while To love-ru can leave their comical situations to resolve on their own. But I’m liking how Rito at least knows who he likes (though it’ll prolly change by the end of the series) while Tsukune hasn’t showed any major romantic aspirations with anyone yet, even with is more rapidly expanding harem.
The episode formula: For me, the biggest problem with Rosario + Vampire has been its repetitive episode formula, which is also the typical outline for harem building. Every episode has pretty much been 1) Introduce a new female character (if there is to be a new character introduced in the episode), 2) create a problem either associated with that new character or just one in general for the group, 3) develop Tsukune and Moka relationship either positively or negatively that will lead to positively, 4) resolve new character’s problem, usually through a confrontation ending with Moka’s transformation, 5) end the episode with harem members clinging around Tsukune. You could probably think of a similar formula for To love-ru, but I’ve found the situations created be at least be much more comical.
Ecchi factor: To love-ru does not give up on its ecchiness even after the first few episodes. Lala still ends up naked a lot and even Haruna and the newly introduced Tenjoin Saki get into questionable positions, often because of Lala. For Rosario+Vampire, the creator seems to prefer the relatively tame panty shot (and the Kurumu boob attack) over To love-ru’s full exposure. Its also amusing how the mouse-bat flys around as a censor sometimes. Basically a matter of preference, but I thought Rosario is more tasteful in this aspect despite the more hilarious situations the ecchi leads to in To love-ru. The creator of To love-ru also seems to have a thing for tentacles…
Transformation sequence: Which is more ridiculous, Lala’s clothes that make her gasp or Moka’s bats that increase her butt and breast size? Hey, what did you expect when you started watching a harem, love-comedy?

OP/ED: The OP theme for To love-ru was pretty catchy for me. I found myself humming it in the elevator and caught myself wondering where I had heard it. The OP theme for Rosario was ok, but personally nothing special. I’ll probably like the ED theme for┬áTo love-ru more than for Rosario if I listened to them more frequently. Needless to say, the quality of the OP and ED animation is a lot higher in To love-ru.

Story sequencing: This is a minor thing that probably other shows have taken liberties with, but (Wiki tells me) the episode order for the anime doesn’t match up with the story order in the manga. For example, Episode 3 is actually Chapter 5 while Episode 5 is Chapter 3. This seems weird and you’d think it’d affect the animation for subsequent episodes (like having to include the girl introduced in Ep3/Ch5 into Ep5/Ch3) but in fact, Episode 4 is already an anime exclusive (hurray to some maybe, but that translates to “filler” for me) so the anime is just based off of the manga (Switching Ep3 and Ep5 may not seem like a big deal, but consider it when Ep8 is Ch12, Ep 10 is Ch15-17, and then Ep11 is Ch8). Just seems like a bizarre decision to me and makes me want to simply read the manga instead.

Bottomline impressions:
Rosario to Vampire: C, dropping the anime, but may consider switch to manga-form.

Reminds me of: Monster Princess/Princess Resurrection, but less horror/action and more emphasis on harem love and comedy. Moka is also more Lala-like than Hime-like.