Friday, August 23, 2013

Summer Season 2013 Mid-Impressions

Deconstructing this very website: In an attempt to pander to my female audience (hah!) for once, I decided not to resort to a barely clothed anime girl for this article's cover image or whatever people like to call that stuff.

Also, I'd like to have a slice of life anime with these guys. And Morishige as Kizami's little brother. FUN!

Here's the usual info dumping: Despite this being a relatively good season (I recall saying the very same thing three months ago before everything went down the shitter so I probably jinxed something just now), I've dropped a good portion of airing shows (counting up to 12) due to several reasons, including badness, mediocrity and airing at a more or less inconvenient day, said inconvenience often caused by a whole lot of other shows messing with my schedule. There's that policy that anime should neither be torture, nor work. Granted, as a blogger, I'm perhaps the least allowed to say that but it still holds truth. What it all boils down to is that the shows you want to hear my opinion on might not be on the following list and frankly, I don't care. If you're interested in why I dropped show X, go ahead and ask. You'll highly likely even end up with an answer.

Also, shows are listed in an order from good to bad and might or might not make the jump to a different tier just a single episode later, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. Even more so because I went with whatever came to my mind, so conclusively, you're not in for thoughtful full-length in-depth reviews trying to persuade you about anything.


HUNTER x HUNTER 2011 [92/??]: There's little that can be said about this that hasn't already been said but fine, I'll do it nevertheless: It's THAT one fighting shounen that's well-written and exciting and yet still long-running, has next to no fillers and keeps the art quality up high. Granted, the rare action would benefit from better animation and particularly the Chimera Ant arc has its slower, less eventful passages but getting to its meat is a fairly great experience.

Silver Spoon [5/11]: The first hilarious comedy anime in years. Also the first good noitaminA thingie sinceUN-GO? Anyway, its visual execution is hardly anything brilliant but fun, likable characters in a relatively interesting setting presented in an authentic, realistic way easily make up for it and are generally a treat to follow through the protagonist's varying schadenfreude-inducing farm adventures and struggles with everyday life.


Uchuu Kyoudai [69/??]: Hasn't had a slump in a long time, meaning it's back to being substantial, aspects-rich, heartwarming, amusing, authentic, exciting and all the other things I ask from other shows of its kind but never get in return. I'm getting very, very redundant here anyway so I'll just leave it at that.

Shingeki no Kyojin [18/25]: It still baffles me that there are several people out there wondering why this show is so popular despite having some really obvious flaws. Here's the answer: It takes an original setting, explores it in natural, non-boring ways, uses it for a combination of action and survival horror and pairs it with characters you're made to care about and clearly used for a few psychological takes on their grim circumstances with aspects-rich dialogues. Other than that, there are also pretty backgrounds and a good OST. Note how several of those are not only reasons for its popularity but also imply a certain level of quality which is why I still have a relatively high opinion of this. Needless to say, I nonetheless don't mean to excuse its issues such as the slow pacing which is still nothing to behold and WIT's totally awful scheduling which completely and utterly ruins the presentation along with several directional issues.

Gatchaman Crowds [5/12]: Aaaaaaaand here's the most underrated show of the season. Between "average moe anime" and "downright retarded", I've seen so many descriptions for this and yet so few belonging to the fitting kind. Anyway, Tatsunoko's schedule problems, laughably frequently leading to drops in animation and art quality, aside, it hasn't really been ugly at any point of its runtime although that's more due to the design choices and Nakamura throwing good layouts at the audience than due to anything else. Content-wise, it has variety going for it as well as wittily crushing the norms of the sentai genre while doing some fairly interesting things with them. As far as its (at times overblown but also admittedly visionary) social commentary goes, there's cleverness without making it all too obvious or direct and as annoying as Hajime may appear to some folks, her role as a catalyst is an interesting thing: She's the hero no one wants and yet everyone needs. Urobuchi should take a cue or two from this thing the next time he attempts to prove his brilliance.

Uchouten Kazoku [6/13]:

Decent character interactions and an unusual setting make for an interesting show, paired with the fact that, contrary to most other P.A. productions, it's actually good-looking, particularly regarding the great layouts. It has its great share of insightful and intriguing conversations spawning forth some real cleverness and the writing generally belongs to the convincing kind.

And yet despite all of that, the characters' relationships are still way too vague at this point of time for a hookless show like this and I'm generally not very fond of writing that moves its passive-except-for-reactions protagonist from point A to B so he can get talked at. "Benten is eccentric!" alone can't carry a show, so I'd really like this to finally play its best cards but alas, it's just not meant to happen.

Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi [6/13]: It's an admittedly interesting adventure thing with a somewhat unused premise the show actually makes frequent use of. Something that doesn't just sound good on paper? Color me thrilled! Other than that, it's hardly the greatest thing ever even though yes, episode 3 s twist was rather nice. Anyway, while not bad, the writing is hardly top-notch and leaves you with way too many important questions in the open even at this point of the game and as a consequence, its hook, the living dead, used for drama, philosophizing, tragedy, you name it, doesn't really score all that much. The first arc's "You have to kill the living dead because they are unable to function in a society at all!" doesn't really mesh all that well with disproving exactly that an episode later. Well, at least it doesn't bore me.


Senyuu. 2 [7/13]: Apart from Yamakan's cringeworthy meta jokes and the fact that it's not a good thing if you neither know where most of the characters are right now and what they are up to nor can't even remember their names, it's perhaps the best RPG-like fantasy anime sinceoh, who knows.

Danganronpa - The Animation [6/13]: Not-so-strong mysteries with half-assed writing plus Kishi's atrociously gimmickry directional decisions still can't hinder this from being exciting and entertaining to follow at the very least. If you're in for some fun with ultra-extravagant characters playing detective and dying in morbid ways, then you know that this one can be a joy, if you're expecting a hard-boiled mystery series that gets its writing together - just stay the fuck away from it.

Teekyuu 2 [6/12]: High-paced joke-spewing the second. Itagaki totally knows how to play off the jokes, which, sadly, vary in regards to their quality this time around but hey, it's getting better and where else do you get to see the inanity of organ-filled cat buses and the likes? Also, still no full version of the opening. I'm saddened.

Yami Shibai [5/??]: Succeeds at what it's doing - being 2spooky4me. Other than that, there's little else to say about it.

FREE! [5/12]: Absolutely not a proper sports anime and you better not expect it to be. It's more or less a character-centric comedy anime which yes, does make use of swimming, but barely actively features it all, let alone competition-related swimming. With all that said, it's still okay and treats you to an occasional laugh and thank goodness, the characters are nowhere as dumb as originally expected (which still doesn't give them a free pass though). And contrary to several other KyoAni anime, it is at the very least watchable. High praise, I know.

Fantasista Doll [5/12]: Surprisingly solid card game heroines wish-fulfillment show with an annoying protagonist. Can get clever and humorous every now and then but gets dragged down by clich s and childishness (although it's still far better off than several other kids shows). Also makes me wonder about its target audience. Being fanservicey and childish doesn't mesh all that well and airing at 3.30 ameh. Anyway, it's okay if nothing else. Kind of.


Monogatari Series: Second Season [5/??]: Mouthpieces committing their countless, mostly insubstantial blabbering sins while interesting things might happen but never do. A single episode's content stretched to 5 of them, additionally filled with something, does not add up to anything decent and the fascinatingly bad direction doesn't really help a lot with the animation being utter trash-tier. I think this franchise has already seen its best days and needless to say, they are over.

Gen'ei wo Kakeru Taiyou [6/13]: Boring, overly redundant, formulaic dark magical girl anime relying too much on its premise without ever doing anything interesting with it. The drama and mystery aspects fall completely flat due to their bad, shallow execution and it never progresses while the characters remain soulless and empty cupboard boxes. At least the action could be worse but it's not all that great either and certainly doesn't warrant giving this a try. Not that anything else does.


To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S [17/24]: After 16 episodes of padding out an arc that is by no means as spectacular as it would like to think it is all the while adding such extremely important and thrilling activities as girls buying rice cookers, I think there's little hope left with this one. Next to no new additional material that couldn't have been cut compared to Index doesn't really help and neither does the upcoming rest of the show merely consisting of filler-material. I'd like to know why people seriously consider this as far better than its main series but unfortunately, I don't think I ever will. Perhaps that's for the best though.

So yeah, that's it. No further remarks from my side. And remember, kids: If you don't like this season, next season still has Ippo in store for you. It's bound to be good.
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