About a year and a half after releasing the final episode of Bakemonogatari, Shaft followed up with its sequel Nisemonogatari. Although shorter than its predecessor with only 11 episodes, watching Nisemonogatari nonetheless felt like a long, drawn-out affair. I watched the series over the course of a weekend, but I wouldn’t suggest watching more than two or three episodes at a time. Despite my intrigue and mild excitement going in, it was a pretty exhausting anime to sit through.
Thanks to a chance encounter with a vampire, high school student Koyomi Araragi became aware of ghosts, spirits, and other aberrations. Bakemonogatari tells the story, from Araragi’s viewpoint, of five girls who have been possessed (or cursed) by such spirits. Each story arc has Araragi getting involved with a new protagonist. Out of a sense of duty, he takes it upon himself to rid each girl of her curse.
Okawari continues the Minami-ke series, telling no story in particular about the lives of the Minami sisters. Chiaki is irked by the new neighbor Fuyuki, Kana continues her selfish ways while oblivious to Fujioka’s advances, and Haruka is slowly becoming a slave to her sisters.
Minami-ke is a slice-of-life anime that follows the mundane lives of the three Minami sisters: Chiaki, Kana, and Haruka. It also gives a lot of attention to their classmates in elementary, middle, and high school. Kana is usually the mischievous troublemaker with Chiaki frequently as her target. Haruka is the responsible older sister who everyone idolizes. Due to their large network of friends and acquaintances, the sisters are always assured eventful days.
Lucky Star follows the lives of four friends, Konata, Kagami, Tsukasa, and Miyuki, through high school. Konata is an otaku with unusual tendencies, who is often at odds with the straight-laced and serious Kagami. Tsukasa is well-meaning but a bit dense, and Miyuki is the archetypal meganekko character. Based on Yoshimizu Kagami’s four panel comic series, Lucky Star is told as a series of short stories revolving around the gang and their network of friends and family.
Kyon thought he was going to have a normal, uneventful high school life. Then he meets Haruhi, who claims she has no interest in ordinary people. She chooses him on a whim to be her partner in creating the SOS Brigade, her own after-school club to search out everything mysterious and wondrous in the world. They are joined by three peculiar people: the taciturn Yuki, the shy Mikuru, and the gregarious Koizumi. Although Haruhi never seems to acknowledge the strange events happening all around her, Kyon is let in on the secret, and discovers that he plays a pivotal role in the preservation of the world.
Ichigo Mashimaro takes a look at the lives of Nobue, a college student, her younger sister Chika, and their friends Matsuri, Miu, and Ana. Their days are completely ordinary, yet Nobue always manages to find a certain kind of charm as her young friends deal with growing up and other real world challenges.
Kusakabe Sakura is visited one day by a mysterious angel. Some might see this as a blessing, but for Sakura’s life becomes a living hell. Not only is Dokuro lazy and a freeloader, she is also violent and somewhat delusional. Offend her, and she’ll club you to death with her spiked bat Excalibolg. Unfortunately for Sakura, she has a kind heart and will restore him to life each time he meets his grizzly end – only so he can repeat the whole cycle of pain at a later time.
It’s always sad when an anime series ends. But for the creators of Full Metal Panic!, it was so sad that they made a whole new series! Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu! isn’t really a sequel, but is rather a spin-off showing bits of whacky humor as Sagara Sousuke struggles to live a normal life. As always for the military otaku/elite mercenary, he applies his martial logic to everyday situations, which results in classmate Chidori Kaname getting on his case. Between surviving a haunted hospital, beating up an entire karate club, and learning how to flirt, Sousuke also manages to pick up a few lessons on life and love.