End of Winter Season '08

This season trned out to be better then I expected. It offered the conclusion of Hayate and Bamboo Blade, Shigofumi and Ookami, which were very good, as well as, the second part of Mokke, Shana and Magica. I should also mention the two series that existed for the sole purpose of fanservice: Shitsuji and Rosario

Hayate no Gotoku
Amazing! For comedy/satire this is a top pick! A one-paragraph review can not convey the awesomeness of this 52-episode series ... so stay tuned for details and a lot of service-shots!

I was in awe after the finale of the first episode and realized after the preview that the story will continue. Very good story and above average animation. The character designs are not always beautiful, but effective, conveying the appropriate mood. From the second story and on the series begins to focus on Fumika's past, beginning with clues and small revealations until the last three episodes, where you have the resolution. Very well worked and emotionally involving plot, as well as, the structure was well thought of. By far Shigofumi was the best series of season, one of the best I have seen, on par with Laine, Boogiepop, Kino, etc.

Ookami to Koushinryou
Wow, this was also very nice. Though the plot progressed kind of slow, animation and designs were very good and the characters very interesting. It proceeded as a road movie or better as an introductionary RPG-adventure to a new setting. I also liked the underlying theme of the pagan/christian clash, as well as the realizition of a late medieval era. Not to mention that the "wise" Horo has an amuzing personality, making her the best traveling companion ;)

Bamboo Blade
This was the first and probably last sport anime that I will ever watch. The characters were quite interesting, though some of them kind of stereotypical, but their interaction as a kendo team was what made the whole concept interesting. Animation was ok, with ups and downs. Certainly a solid choice if you want something to take your mind away from work or study.

As I have already said, Mokke feels like Mushishi for middle/high-school audiences, staring his two little sisters ;) In any case, it also shares the episodic nature and lack of character development. Despite that the stories themselves were quite interesting and kept the most involving for the end, dealing with loss and death, always dealing with them optimistically.

Shakugan no Shana II
I really don't get it, they wasted the first half in half-hearted drama/romance, which added nothing to plot and development, instead of covering the material from the novels ... why !? The second half though was on par with the first season.

Rental Magica
Some decent episodes from time to time, but remove the fanservice and Ren's Neko-kami, I wouldn't watch more than one episode. Technically, it was good, but too much coolness and show-off really hurts the story.

Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de
Buttlers, maids, young noble ladies => fanservice ... a lot of it.
Though the show made an attempt on seriousness by presenting some of the tragic past of the protagonist, still it felt quite disconnected from the overall mood.

Rosario to Vampire
A lot of fanservice, decent animation, but nothing to indicate a plot. The humor also is too cliched and the characters are simplistic stereotypes.
Verdict (3 ep.): watch, since my vacation started

I picked it up during christmass break because of the relative lack of releases, but I'll drop it again after reaching episode 13. The way I see it, Clannad is just delaying the new season of Haruhi.

If you like Key's approach to drama (Air, Kannon, Clannad), this is a decent imitation. On the other hand, since it is not made by KyoAni (as Key's VNs), animation, designs, etc are inferior. Personally, I dropped this after the first episode.

true tears
Plotwise, the first episode introduced the cast, which was not bad, but kind of slow. What surprised me was the animation and designs top quality. Still, romance is just not cut for me, it must be really exceptional in order to watch it and this didn't catch my interest in the first episode.

Hatenkou Yuugi
Very funny first episode, rediculing cliches (which I personally enjoy), but still it is based on a shoujo manga, which carries a lot of elements I do not enjoy in the anime. Despite that I continued watching until the fourth, but then more interesting things were available. Way too shoujo ...

Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
The same all over again, which does not bother me the least. On second thoughts, it is one of the hardest series to follow, despite the fact that it actually has no plot, but only short gags. And without subs coming out it is impossible to understand and enjoy.

Minami-ke ~Okawari~
Direct continuation, minor changes, still the same deal, which is good in my opinion, though it felt kind of repetative ... which ended up in a halt status.

Goverment forcing little kids to become assassins and maintain ambiguous relationships in order to fight terrorism? Give me a break! This too stupid! On the other hand, animation and designs are top quality and I guess people who are into actions flicks don't really care at all about plot. Though I really mind the nature of relationship implied. Either be realistic and raw or don't touch these subjects.

Ghost Hound
I am more or less left with the good impression of the first episode. I am waiting for the series to be over to watch it all at once.

Shion no Ou
As I said before, this is two diffent anime in one (detective and sport). So unless you learn shogi, you would find it pretty boring.