Exactly a year ago a series of unlikely events led me to decide to watch this. Three days later, having never watched any anime before, I'd watched the whole thing. Twice. Best Christmas ever. I've since watched it again a few more times, listened to the soundtrack on loop all day, you name it.
The yardstick by which I judge everything else.
A bunch of websites told me that, if you like Azumanga Daioh, watch this. Well, the setting is similar, but the humour is different. There's a lot of references which I didn't get. It's still good though and gets better if you watch it again (and do a little research!)
An OVA was released a few months ago. I found it rather disappointing. It contains six segments that don't really go anywhere. I think it would have been better if they'd just taken one or two and developed them. Although it's likely there's references I'm not getting - the MMO segment is probably a lot funnier if you're into that kind of thing.
Watched because I saw some clips and thought they were funny. However I should have stuck to the clips, much of the rest of it was rather depressing. Not my thing really.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Ridiculously popular and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Very enjoyable although requires watching a couple of times to get everything due to the weird episode order. They've been promising a second season for years but it hasn't appeared. It might be easier to just read the books.
Lucky Star has loads of references to it, so I probably should have watched this first.
Another "if you like Azumanga you'll like this". And likewise, the first season is gloriously funny. The second was made by a different studio and was rather disappointing. A third is about to air, unfortunately made by the people who made the second. I'll probably watch it anyway.
Yet another "if you like Azumanga you'll like this". Too gentle to really be outrageously funny but very relaxing and makes you smile. Also like Haruhi the episodes are out of order, but since there's basically no plot it doesn't matter. There is a second season and some specials; they are simply more of the same.
At some point I told Msj I'd started watching those Japanese cartoons she likes and she told me to watch this. It's pretty good, the first few episodes were compelling and when I finished one I instantly wanted to watch the next one. However about halfway through the plot takes a new direction which I didn't particularly like.
Sequel to Mai-Hime which was in the same torrent so I thought I might as well watch it. It's the same characters in a different setting. Some of them have completely different personalities, others are exactly the same as previously but in a different role, it's hard to describe. I can't say which one is better.
Infamously gratuitous fanservice (nobody seems to know what trousers are, for example) I watched the first two episodes just to see how awful it was. But I kept watching because I found the plot strangely compelling and I wanted to see what was going to happen next. I have to admit that by the end I was counting the days until the next episode.
More overly gratuitous fanservice and a waste of a bunch of good characters on a plot that didn't really go anywhere. Had its moments though. The last episode was good.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Something else I watched because the entirety of the rest of the world says it's great. Lacked something for me though, I can't take this whole MANLY BURNING SPIRIT stuff seriously, especially having seen the parody of that archetype in the store manager character in Lucky Star (not that you're meant to take Gurren Lagann seriously, but you are meant to think FUCK YEAH AWESOME. I just found it all a bit ridiculous)
Described more or less as a slapstick comedy about a bunch of high school girls, this thing jumped out at me from a list of upcoming shows in Autumn 2008. And I was right - it's hilarious. Now I'm saying, "if you liked Azumanga Daioh, watch this"
This was on the same list as Hyakko but didn't jump out at me. However I decided to watch it after seeing the trailer. In the first few episodes Kannagi sets up an intriguing plot, but then proceeds to more or less completely ignore it in favour of silly situations and Lucky Star references. It's funny but I'm constantly going, "yes, but what about the plot"
Time will tell if it turns out to be a waste of good characters, but there are only a couple of episodes left. I can't see them resolving much.
Another thing from that list of then-upcoming now-currently-airing shows. I wasn't planning to watch it but it got a lot of praise so I gave it a go and found it was really good. However it is currently about halfway through and the rumour is that it is going to become less funny and more dramatic. I hope not but it wouldn't be surprising.