Okay, I'll explain - without being spoilerish - why that gap exists. It isn't filler. It's there to take care of existing issues that needed to be resolved before the Munich arc takes place due to its 15 episode length. If I said which characters needed to be attended to before that arc, that would be spoilerish. But trust me when I say when you've reached 39 episodes, the purpose of that gap makes sense.
I'm relieved you understand what Asatte no Houkou is trying to do and appreciate its mature approach, because I thought you'd be the type that would. When I played Episode 1 for a theme night, some of the younger guys at the club who think they know it all were berating me afterwards with 'This was too slow! It needed way more drama!' while the older guys all said 'We get this show. Thank you for playing it. We'll follow this one up for sure.' Shouko is quite a character - the irony of the character now stuck in a younger body being the most mature, rational one in the mix is not lost on me. Karada certainly handles a tough situation better than most despite her age. I'll be interested to see how you feel about Karada's future actions and the final arc. Hard to believe J.C. Staff adapted Asatte no Houkou considering what they do these days.
Yeah, that sounds about right for Monster. I probably was in that brief gap. I will pick it back up soon.
I've already watched the first four episodes of Asatte no Houkou. The age-switch plot device they're using is a very compelling/interesting one, and I'm glad that they're playing it straight and seriously. As much as I liked the old Ranma ½ anime as an action-packed comedy, I have to admit that I had initially hoped upon first hearing about it that it would have explored the difficulties of constant gender switching in a more serious way.
With this in mind, I'm glad that Asatte no Houkou isn't playing the age-switch situation largely for laughs, but rather is seriously exploring how this is a "Careful what you wish for" situation with numerous practical consequences. I definitely can see some nice themes arising out of that.
I also find the three or four major characters of Asatte no Houko (particularly the two female leads of Karada and Shouko) to be very likable and well-portrayed.
Just another followup to where you think you watched up to Monster - I think I get why you halted. You were probably in the short gap between the Frankfurt arc - which was brief - and the Munich arc, which is LONG! (Episodes 25-39, to be precise!) And let me tell you that arc is pretty darn loaded! Let me assure you the gap sets essential groundwork for the Munich arc as well as hinting at a couple of things that happen beyond it. It is a lot of work to watch Monster, but I hope you can find the stamina and patience to. Zero said he enjoyed it big time too.
I've obtained Hazard. I'll watch it after I've reflected on Monster enough and feel ready to move on. Having my #1 change after another title reign there for eight years and cause a fair epiphany on my views on anime and writing has been quite an ordeal.
My basis for what will happen to PMMM in ISML 2012 comes from what happens in AST and ISML. Characters that go all the way in AST end up copping hate in ISML, as does the reverse. People don't like characters winning multiple moe tournaments for some reason and AST despises ISML. The closest was Fate losing to Suiseiseki by 10 votes in AST 2006 then Fate winning the inaugural ISML. ANN do their best to commentate about AST and completely deny the existence of ISML. On the ANN forums, KS showed me a thread saying that AST was the only true moe tournament, that Westerners didn't have a right to participate and that ISML had no right to exist. KS has gone up against a LOT of hate from several communities/countries to get ISML to where it is. So yes, there is a lot of spite involved in the voting, particularly when it gets to the finals. Not exactly nice but it's a fact of life. They way I said it earlier was to say it as it is - not to support it. Australians are generally straight up and we don't hold back. So if it came off different - sorry for that.
I watched all of PMMM because the club pres took a gamble and played it. It passed the 5th episode vote 12-12 - the closest anything has come to being voted off in a long while. So I decided I should finally see it through and see what all the fuss was about. I didn't drop it after one episode the first time - it was more like three or four, but I admit I was almost ready to drop it after one. But meh, I did honestly watch it all eventually - and it was very testing for me to. Only out of curiousity to its fandom. And I like nothing about it at all. It's a title the old school friends/randoms I come across ask me about saying 'Why is this what modern anime is about? I can't watch this!' I have nothing against those that like it - not at all. But what they need to understand is that it's a very polarising title. As are almost all popular titles. There are plenty of people around who don't like PMMM one bit, mate.
Well, I'm not exactly a huge fan of anti-voting. But I will admit I occassionally need it to fill the ballot if the remaining field is loaded with characters I don't like. I'll take the final 16 for example:
Mikoto - Vote for often (don't like the show though)
Shana - Vote against or abstain
Kanade - Vote for sometimes, vote against sometimes, sometimes abstain (show was okay)
Kuroneko - Vote against or abstain
Azusa - Vote against or abstain
Yuki - Vote against or abstain
Taiga - Vote against or abstain
Hinagiku - Vote for often (don't like the show though)
Mio - Vote for often (show was okay)
Haruhi - Vote for often (show was okay)
Eucliwood - Vote against or abstain
Yui - Vote against or abstain
Yuri - Vote for often
Htagi - Vote against or abstain
Charlotte - Vote for often (show was okay)
Nadeko - Vote against or abstain
I wouldn't say I like anti-voting. I was talking about it more from a general perspective. I'm not going to vote for a character I don't like to knock off another character. I had 7 characters at the start of SE to vote for. 2 of them lasted long. As for a regular season, probably half the field I could vote for. I don't cast a vote for a neutral/dislike character just to completely fill the ballot. You'll rarely, if ever, see a completed ballot from me because I can't vote for characters I truly don't care about or dislike. But I will say there was one round early SE where I had trouble filling the ballot and I did have to decide on one match which character I disliked less. Personally, I'd only do it out of necessity to fill a ballot. If the Grand Final had been between Shana and Kuroneko, for example, I'd have abstained even if it was the championship match, because I couldn't vote for either of them in good faith, even if I did dislike Shana more. If it was Shana v Kanade, I'd have still abstained. I voted for Mikoto because I genuinely like Mikoto. Otherwise I wouldn't have paid close to $100 for this figure of her.
Anti-voting is part of ISML. Always has been, always will be. When Shana was #1 seed 2009 and looked set to win, she almost got knocked out first round when people suddenly voted for Horo and got within 60 votes of her. Eventually Hinagiku became the go-to target that year and beat Shana by 11 votes. 2010 - when Mio looked set for 49-0 and the Shana faction hired some help to use Taiga to beat Mikoto, other people rallied and backed Mikoto to go against Shana and then Mio. This year, Yuki, Kanade, Kuroneko and then Shana got anti-voted. By different factions mind you. Yuki got sniped by Shana fans. Kanade fans got sniped by those who didn't want her to have the perfect season. Kuroneko then got sniped by those angry that Shana won and knew Mikoto could beat Shana, so they backed her in the semis and the grand final. Like it or lump it, ISML inspires anti-voting when the finals come around. It does bring the numbers out and keep them voting, but it does inspire some untoward behaviour/toxicity. Take a look at Facebook to see what I mean. And in terms of actual series sales, Railgun averaged over 20k per volume in Japan while Shana S1 averaged 10k and S2 was less. I'd genuinely believe the Mikoto fanbase in Japan and globally is stronger, but the margin did increase from anti-voting no doubt.
As for whoever told you that - I'm guessing it was Reckoner.
Another reaosn why I picked Monster is because I'm testing your ability to watch series of that length. You've indicated you want to try the old school shows from decades ago, but if you're going to have problems with Monster's length, then I don't think I can pick you 70s and 80s shows that much, because they were even longer. I'm also checking whether the pencil-drawn style/look is one you can handle, since Monster's artwork is very like that. If you end up being able to handle Monster's length and art, then I'll go a lot further back. But I need to see whether you can handle those aspects first, otherwise it'd be a lost cause.
Meh, maybe a 6/10 for K-ON. I watched it once and very quickly. But I feel no desire to see it again. However, decent art of Ui and Mio, I would have a look at.
See, there's why I don't think you liked Monster than much back then. I've tried the Monster manga from when I was 23 to 30. I was finally able to appreciate it when I was 30. It's not something a greenhorn can appreciate IMO. It's a title that is appreciated once you've been around the blocks a few times. I don't think I would have been able to watch/read it even 1 year ago. I'm now at a point where things are making a lot more sense to me within the anime/manga realm. I can view things objectively more often than not. And I'm at a point where the current/moe artstyle is beginning to bore me overall. So I craved something that was the anti. Monster is that. I think with a show like Monster, you need to be at a certain point in your life, have a certain mentality and be in a certain mood. It's a hard show to watch. But the thing is, the shows in my top 10 all gave me a big challenge on some level.
How much have you watched? Because that early, it wasn't that episodic. 8 episodes would have been about the point Nina got her memories back and Tenma rescued her, then they went their separate ways for a while. If the issue is that Nina was off-screen for a while - she comes back in Episode 15 with an absolute bang. Confused as to why you'd find it episodic after Episode 8, because that's when Dieter pairs up with Tenma and Johan's antics in Kinderheim 511 were revealed, which is a VERY MAJOR plot point, plus Dieter gradually becomes a more important character. He is really epic in Episode 17 and is likeable for me because he is nothing like the typical kid of his age. 15-17 were the three episodes that pushed this to #1 for me and I didn't look back. Nina is very prominent in those episodes and then gets good backstory in Episode 18 to fill in the gaps. I think you may have halted a bit before the Frankfurt saga - which is those episodes. The 9-14 stretch contains very pertinent material. There may have been a couple of episodes in that stretch that were episodic to a point, but none were really. In that section, Lunge gets significant development and he becomes VERY IMPORTANT late in the series. Eva's turn for the worse in those episodes becomes cruical later on too. I honestly think the pacing is fine - this is a very deep, intimately written title that requires such a length and pacing IMO. These days, so much is instant gratification, 'I want it now!', in your face, servicey and bling without much zing. Monster demands the viewer sit back and appreciate what it's trying to do, which I think is very anti what the majority of modern media is about. And I think the fandom and society in general is to blame for that. We're living too fast and settling for too low. Monster harkens to what the form is truly capable of. If the show just isn't really doing it for you after Episode 17 on your retry, I'll find another title for you. But I earnestly think the Frankfurt saga has what you had been hoping for.
Asatte no Houkou is another one that is a hard watch. I watched it earlier this year and it's in my top 20. I think what bugs a lot of people is that rather than be dramatic, the characters resolve the crazy scenario they're in maturely. We played Episode 1 on a theme night a couple of weeks ago. The younger people just didn't get it. But the mid-20s onwards people - they understood and told me afterwards 'Thank you for playing that show once off - we understand you could never play it in full and you wanted people like us to find out about it. You achieved that.' Whereas the younger people whined at me going 'I wanted more drama! Why are they being mature?! That's boring!' I think you're at an age that you'd appreciate Assate no Houkou.
Since the terms were shows we had watched before should be off the list, I'd suggest Mushishi if you haven't seen it and you feel Monster will take you a long while. 26 episode series from 2005. Utterly gorgeous, rustic and really rips at the heart. Some heartwarming tales and some very tragic ones too. This is an episodic show - but it's a rare case where that suits it. It's a show that's very natural, rustic and peaceful. You would probably find it amusing this is the one show I marathoned from start to finish without any breaks. You'll probably be watching this a couple of episodes at a time if you try it.
Again, if you have seen it, apologies, but I don't have a list of what you have seen to work off.