Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Final Thoughts: Fall 2013

Final Thoughts Fall 2013

This has been an interesting season, to say the least. There were so many shows that started out so interesting, that half way through I just wanted to entirely drop. This isn't helped by the fact that the shows I did keep were almost all keep going past 12-13 episodes and there are another million show I am really interested in next season. Oh the problems of an anime fan, too many shows, not enough time or attention span. Yeah, yeah, I know, these are stupid problems. But really, let's get right into it. These are my final thoughts on the fall 2013 anime season.

As always, let's start with the shows that will continue into the next season.

Cardfight!! Vangaurd: Link Joker- The whole Link Joker part of the season is surprisingly interesting. In the last episode I saw, which at the time takes place in the middle of the Kai/Aichi fight, the show brings up the whole idea of the original dichotomy of using your own power verses using power given to you, which the whole first season was about. But the second season, and the end of the first for a minute, brought up the idea that there are times when you can make that borrowed power your own, turning an evil force into something positive. I am interested in what route they will do this season, as Kai is the own who has the borrowed power and he represents the whole idea of furthering yourself on your own power. I honestly don't know the route they will take, and that uncertainty is what makes me very invested in this season. Next episode we will learn if Kia is saved, or if Aichi falls again, and then it will be a straight shot down to the end of this series. Link Joker is almost over, and after that, I have no idea what they will do next. Maybe a brand new season, maybe a new high school tournament, I have no clue, and I am excited to see what will come.

Gundam Build Fighters- A show about people building model Gundams and having them fight each other is such a fun and interesting concept alone that I would love this show. But the fact that there are such well written characters, and an actual plot bubbling in the background, is what has really elevating this show. This show could have just been Gundam reference humor, making fun of the ridiculousness of the franchise and having the fights that everyone has always wanted to see, and that alone would have made a good show. But this show is doing so much more and is really turning into its own great entity. Though, to be perfectly honest, I still want a Shining/Burning Gundam fight. I want someone's head smashed with a yell of Burning Finger. I want to see a fan boy yelling that loudly and awkwardly while others watch from the sidelines. It would be amazing, but pretty impractical. But that aside, this show is amazing and I can't wait to see how the plot evolves past the world tournament stage.

Hunter x Hunter- It is about to begin. The longest hour of every Hunter x Hunter fan's life. The greatest and darkest battle of this series is about to start. The dragons are about to start falling. I am excited and just minutes away from crying. Literally, the battle starts next episode (probably). And it will be glorious.

Kill la Kill- Row Row Fight the Powuh! This show is super stylized, over the top, ridiculously awesome series that is about to do the whole plot change up and I cannot be more excited. One of the things I love about this show is just how cheap it really is. This show must have shoe string budget, and what it does on that little money is amazing. I love it when they reuse animation, when characters go whole stretches without moving, just their lifeless corpse moving across the background, and all of Mako's little rants that are just stills of her in crazy poses. I love this show, and I am really exicted to see the direction it is going. While the original villain is still the big bad, there is so much going on in the background that we do not know yet and only have the briefest ideas of. Nudist Beach especially is an organization I would love to learn more about. I can't wait for the second half of this show, it is going to be a really fun ride.

Kuroko no Basket 2nd season- I think I have to stop pretending that this show can in any way be realistic. Kuroko's new move almost literally makes him disappear, and when they came up with a reasonable explanation for how it works, they disprove it a few seconds later. But I still like this show, ridiculous basketball and all. I am excited to finally see the red haired character in action, that will be a fun match to watch, and the winter tournament is now fully underway. My only question is who are the two teams that are not part of the Miracle of Generations? I think there are eight teams in the finals, and 6 of them all have Miracle of Generation players, so who are the final two? Unless I am wrong, and it is a tournament with only those 6 teams. I don't know, but I am excited to find out. ( Edit: I am wrong and there are a whole bunch of teams. Of course.)

Log Horizon- After watching a good bit of Log Horizon, I have to admit that it is really nothing special. But that doesn't mean that I am not enjoying it. The setting is still quite fun and interesting, and I like the direction they are taking the show, that the characters are trying to make the world better, just kind of accepting, for now, that they are stuck in this world and that there is little they can do about it. I also really like the main character, and how he is referred to as the Devil in Glasses. It is nice to have a character that is just dastardly smart, but clearly not evil. He will manipulate everyone, but do so in a nice, positive way. While Log Horizon is not breaking any new ground, or even that exciting, it is still a nice show that I like to watch, and will enjoy into the next season.

Magi: The Kingdom of Magic- The second season of Magi has done a pretty good job of setting up the individual conflicts and plots for each of the main characters. Alibaba has started a training arc, Morg has started her journey to her home country, and Aladdin has started magic school. Individually, these are all interesting stories that I really want the series to explore. But what is going on in the background of the story is starting to bother me. There is this whole world that has a million machinations going on, and it is really hard to keep track of who is working with who, or against who, and they keep introducing more elements to the conflict. This show needs to be simplified by a large degree, and refocused to the main three characters. This is all leading up to the large scale war that was previewed/hinted at the beginning of the season, and that should be an entertaining conclusion to the season, but only if they can return to the main characters and to the original feel of the first half of the first season. But still, this show is still fun and good, and I hope it will stay fun and good in the future.

Phi Brain Season 3- I still can't believe there is a third season of this show. But, to its credit, it is not bad. To be fair, Phi Brain was never bad, just boring at times and never going in the direction I wanted it to. The focus of the third season is more on expanding the history of Jin and get back his memories, which was lost during the first season. And this is leading to some pretty interesting developments with a character that I thought would never get much screen time, except in flashbacks. The idea that Jin went through a dark time, and others are taking advantage of that darkness is interesting. And the fact that the audience doesn't know the truth, that we cannot be sure of what happened during that lost year or so, makes the conflict less black and white. In the past, while the villains of the season were never really evil, just lost or manipulated, it was till clear that what they were doing was evil. Now, instead of a good person falling, it is a villain taking advantage of the heroes fall. While the show is still ridiculous, still really dumb at times, and still hints at an episodic, puzzle of the week style show, it is still not bad. I just hope it will be the last season. I don't think I could handle another season of this show.

Strike the Blood- It is still a worse version of Index. It is a more harem filled, fan service based, version of a show that already has all those elements. But, even with all the negatives that this show have, all the clich s and all the really dumb moments, I still kind of like this show. I think I like this show for the same reasons that I like Index, its main character and its world. The world for Strike the Blood is a really fun modern fantasy world that would make a really cool role-play setting, like the world of Index. I can't help but like the words sword shaman, that just sounds cool to me, and I would totally play that class. And I like the type of character that the main is. I like the type of put upon hero who still punches his way to victory, the hero who doesn't want to act, but will still be the first one to save the day. While I hope this show doesn't expand on the main's harem any further, and I hope it focus more on the world and less on the fan service. But I know that doesn't have a chance of happening.

Toriko- I love tournament arcs. It is fun, it introduces a lot of really interesting and new characters, and head on head competitions with less than life or death stakes, at least at first, are just great. And Toriko is or was, just in a great cooking based tournament arc, with Komatsu taking the center stage. It is nice to see the little guy advance more, though this arc does show just how much Komatsu still needs to grow. The dude needs a way to fight, he is still the weakest person in this show. Komatsu needs a sword, or a martial art or just something. But the cooking festival does show just how much he has grown as a chef. The second half of this tournament arc is the interruption of the tournament arc with the invasion of the Gourmet Corp, and one of the biggest fights the series has done, with every character having to show just how much they have really grown in combat. I am interested in seeing how this arc ends, because it might just return to the status quo, but I think the Gourmet Corp might have something up their sleeve to win this one. But we will see.

Space Brothers- Hibito's PTSD is something that the show has dealt with intelligently and respectfully, and his growth, both in his healing from his problem and as a character, has been a great thing to watch. Mutto, on the other hand, has been showing everyone that he is already in space. The best representation of this this season is when Mutto went through his NEMO training, showing that all during the training he acted like he was in space, thinking and acting as if he was already on the moon. I like how this isn't the first time this had been brought up, and by bringing it up here we are reminded just how prepared and determined Mutto is. They are really setting up Mutto and Hibito to be going to the moon together, which I think is interesting, but I am not sure how I feel about it. I kind of want Mutto to go alone, at least once, to set him apart from his brother. But on the other hand, Mutto and Hibito are support to represent the second coming of the Jay brothers, who were supposed to both go to the moon together, but one died. I kind of want them to fulfil that promise that the Jay brothers set up. I cannot wait to see what route this show will go.

Yowamushi Pedal- The show about a nerd terned cyclist is going on strong and is just a really great show. I like the fact that they are trying to make sure that the audience knows that the main character is not the cycling messiah or anything crazy like that. He is good at cycling because he has done the equivalent of training in the mountains for 3 years, and has a very specific talent and specialty, which happen to be mountains. He is not the best cyclist on earth, he isn't even the best on the team, but he has something he is very good at. I really want to see the main character grow in this world, and I like how he is happy and making friends. Also, I love how the professional, hard-ass bicycling character has started to really get into the terrible magical girl anime that the main character is into. It is just perfect.

And now for all the shows that are sadly ending this season. Well, I will be sad to see some of the go. Othersnot so much. Let's get right into it.

Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova- While it did not have anywhere near the level of submarine combat I was hoping for, instead having more submarine verses regular ship combat most of the time, this was still a pretty good show. From a science fiction standpoint the show created a very interesting and surprisingly developed world. Sure, we only got to see the Japanese side of the world, and it would have been nice to see how Russia or the UK dealt with being landlocked, it was still competently put together, from what we saw. And the questions the show raises on humanity and what makes someone human are good questions, even if they do not get fully answered. It might be worth it to watch this show again, but with a very critical eye, and with asking more questions. And the animation, which started out far to clunky for me, grew on me over time and became actually really fun by the end, though once in a while it would still have a hiccup. At the end of the day, this show was a really good, sci-fi piece with some sweet naval action.

Kyoukai no Kanata- After the success of Free, I had maybe a bit too high of hopes for Kyoukai no Kanata. I think it was because I was tricked into thinking it would be a much more light hearted show then what it turned out to be. Instead it was much darker, with themes of redemption and questions of humanity running through. And I liked the direction it went. It was stronger for having a tighter story, and the twists and turns it took with some of the characters were pretty well done. But it wasn't perfect. Most of the major plot points were not well explained, but done so in a way that obviously telegraphed a future season. Sometimes this works, but for this show it felt very forced. I did like the ending, but the cop out at the very end should have been saved for the next season of this show. There was just too much not explained, to the detriment of this show. Sometimes not explaining all the plot points, or how the powers work can work for a show, just glossing over them for the overall betterment of the plot. But Kyoukai no Kanata seemed to go half way, asking the questions but never fully explaining the answers. I did like this show, it wasn't bad, and I liked the characters. The main was amusing and the side characters were really interesting. But it is obvious that this is partly set up for a second season, which I will watch if and when it comes out.

Meganebu!- We are Meganebu! This show started out as one of the weirdest things I saw this season, with its bright colors and over the top characters. By the end, it is a show that talked to my very soul as a glasses wearer. Seriously, this was just a fun ride. It was not very deep, ultimately very simple, but is just so much fun. I really liked how in all the episodes all the background characters who did not wear glasses were represented as just black, white squares in uniforms, but in the last episode, after the Glasses Club got the whole school to wear glasses, everyone had a face. It was just really interesting to see. There is not a lot to say about this show. But if you want to watch something ridiculous and fun, check out this show, it is worth it. Remember, all you need is M E G A N E.

Miss Monochrome- This was a dumb show. This was a mostly unfunny micro series, with maybe one or two laughs throughout. There is really not a lot to say about Miss Monochrome other than if it was going to run longer than 24 episodes, I might have dropped it.

Non Non Biyori- I am actually really sad to see this show end. It was a hilarious, atmospheric, slice of life series that really just made country living come to life. It didn't make fun of the characters for living in the sticks, nor did it glorify living in the city, it was just an honest representation of four kids living in the country. The best character was the youngest, who had all the best lines and was just funny and sweet in her earnestness. I also liked the "will sempai notice me" subplot for the one character, and how it became super creepy with her devotion to her sempai, and how she had to put up with all the crap her sempai put her through. My only complaint is that that second best character, the brother, didn't have any lines in the series, even though you could totally tell he would be funniest. But really, this show is just a great little slice of life, really encapsulating what the genre I about. It is really the show I will miss most from this season, go check it out if you haven't yet.

Outbreak Company- This show could have been a lot worse than it was, though that is not exactly high praise. I admit, the only thing that kind of got annoying in this show is the main character, as he is the usual center of a harem type, and all the clich s and tropes they put into the show. But I did like the world they built, the fantasy world borrowing from almost every other but still having its own politics and flavor, and I liked a god amount of the anime and manga humor. Playing catch the reference was always fun, especially when they get really obscure and I still know it, and the deconstruction of the tropes and the otaku lifestyle was entertaining. But for the most part the show was just kind of boring. It had elements of all the other harem series, and just having the show point them out isn't enough to make them funny. While the show had some good moments, it really isn't anything special, and I would usually pass on a show like this.

Super Seisyun Brothers- This micro series turned out to be surprisingly good. Its tight focus on the four main characters was really well done, and you really felt like you knew each one by the end. And the shipper in me loved the little one sided crush that the one younger brother had for the opposite's older sister, it felt honest and sweet. And I have to talk about the Comiket episodes, which had a million and one Akibaranger references going on the foreground and the background. That was just really cool, especially for anyone who actually knows Akibaranger. This is definitely one of the better micro series I have ever seen.

And those were the shows that finished this season, and wow that is a short list, at least compared to most seasons. And I do feel bad for dropping a few of the shows I dropped, like Golden Time and Samurai Flamenco. I have to blame finals for making me a few episodes behind, and then I just didn't really want to catch back up. Maybe someday I will decide to actually finish those two shows. But let us not look to the past any longer, and instead look to the New Year, with promises of the next arc of the Jojo's Bizarre Adventure getting a new anime, and hopefully Sailor Moon will actually come out. So until next time, have fun watching.
Full Post

No comments:

Post a Comment