-- Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls --
I'm not going to lie. We came to Samruai Girls for the fan service (And there is a LOT of it. Constantly.), but we're staying for the plot. the first episode was actually aired weeks ago as a leaked preview of the series, and we watched it then and picked up with episode 2 this week.
The series has something to do with a school full of samurai women, and some guy arriving to meet with the student president or something like that. He runs into a couple students getting changed, and they bicker about that before ending up getting into a bit of trouble with the student council and being pursued by a ninja-maid, before our real lead female arrives, falling out of the sky. This girl is apparently some kind of "master samurai", and in certain situations is incredibly powerful and fairly terrifying, but out of battle is weak, air-headed, and kind of ridiculous. So far we're not sure what triggers this change in personality.
The thing that really kept me attracted to Samurai Girls was the visuals. If, like me, you played and loved the visuals in the Capcom/Clover game "Okami", you'll be sucked in by the visual style of Samurai Girls. While the characters themselves are done in a fairly traditional style (though they have some weighty linework), the backgrounds and settings are very artistic, graphic, and stylized. Espeically in episode 2, theya re very reminicent of the feeling brought by the settings in Okami.
-- Tantei Opera Milky Holmes --
Another friend and I have frequent discussions about how the anime market is currently over-satruated with "moe" lolicon series that are all cute girls and no sustance. It sells, and right now with the world economy the way it is, studios are just making whatever they can market to large audiences.
At first glance, Mily Holmes might seem like one of these series. But underneath there seems to be more substance to it than that. The entire time we were watching, DTO and I kept asking each other "Is this really episode 1? Are we sure there's not more story before this?" And, upon research, there is a PSP game and a TCG that probably have the backstory, but in subsequent episodes, I have faith that I'll learn everything I need to know.
Milky Holmes is set in "the age of great detectives and gentleman theives", and focuses on a school full of budding detectives. It centers around four girls who make up the team known as "Milky Holmes", four girls (all named after great detectives) who were taught by a famous detective and are said to be the best in the school. There adversary is a female theif (who is undercover in the school as the student president) and her three henchman (who disguise themselves as personell and students at the school).
In order to "be a detective" you have to have and be able to control a magic/psychic ability called a "Toy". In the first episode, the girls lose the ability to use their Toys and thus lose all of their privileges at the school such as special meals, private luxury rooms, and being allowed to skip classes.
So far, the four girls of Milky Holmes sort of blend into each other a bit (in the way that a group of girls in a "moe" series tend to), but they do all have very distinct personalites, and the mosre I watch I'm sure the more i'll be able to pull them apart from one another. In contrast, the four antagonists of the series are all strikingly different from one another, and play off of each other and Milky Holmes in ways that are quirky, hilarious, and incredibly fun. The antagonists quickly and easily became my favorites and I can't wait to see how they use the lack of Milky Holmes' toys further to their advantage.