I had some time off of work a while back so this is what I did:
Paranoia Agent is absolutely amazing. I love everything I’ve seen by Satoshi Kon and Paranoia Agent is no exception. I used to catch it sometimes back when Cartoon Network showed it but it freaked me out too badly that late at night so I didn’t watch every episode or see the ending. Satoshi Kon has (had) a wonderful but slightly uncomfortable understanding of human nature and psyche. I can’t say enough about how great this series so please watch it. I am fond of marathoning shows and just immersing in them; I do think Paranoia Agent is best consumed in a big chunk.
Madoka Magica I wanted to watch this show because I heard so much good stuff about it. And I did learn some stuff, like: 1) Don’t make a deal with the devil; 2) No good deed goes unpunished; 3) Seriously, even if the devil is a cute alien, don’t make a deal with the devil; 4) Don’t sell your soul to heal your childhood friend because he’s just going to start dating your best friend; 5) When you ask the devil if he feels bad for the pain he’s caused and he tells you he doesn’t comprehend human emotion, you don’t really need to ask him fifty more times–believe it or not, he really doesn’t feel bad.
That said, I know a lot of people who LOVED this show and thought it was amazing. I’m not trying to hate on anyone’s tastes but I just wasn’t feeling Madoka Magica. I wanted it to be great and mind-blowing so I kept watching until the end…but by about episode 6 the art style was grating on me and Madoka’s uncertainty and whining made me really dislike her as a character. I saw some similarities with Evangelion, which is another series a lot of people LOVE and I…really don’t.
Tsuritama Ended up watching this soon after finishing Madoka Magica and couldn’t help but think, “Alien, power of friendship, saving the world…this is way better!” So, yeah, I would recommend Tsuritama over Madoka Magica but I’m sure a lot of people would disagree. 🙂 This was a pleasantly-strange and kind of…soothing? anime that managed to escalate and become action-packed but not obnoxious (to me, anyway). Plenty of Tomokazu Sugita was just a bonus.
Chihayafuru I’ve never wanted to play karuta so badly in my life! Which might be tricky since I don’t speak Japanese. A sports anime about karuta might not sound like the most exciting premise…but it is amazing! Because of the concept I doubt Chihayafuru will ever be popular here and that makes me sad. I happily raced through two seasons and can only hope there will be more in the future. I do recommend giving it 3-4 episodes to really hook you, so don’t give up! I would pick up the manga if only it were available in English.
Space Brothers (Manga) Yes, the Space Brothers anime is available on Crunchyroll and after reading the manga, I did watch a couple episodes…and those episodes followed the manga very closely. My brother started watching the anime when it first started streaming and told me how good it was but I don’t really care about space so I never picked it up. However, the manga is included in my Crunchyroll subscription so out of curiosity, I started reading…and COULDN’T STOP. Every give chapters or so, I kept thinking, “This is SO GOOD! I wish more people read this!” I look forward to the new chapter every week.