With the summer season over and the fall coming up shortly, some reflections on the series this blogger has watched (and in one case, dropped). Done in a short format, your own thoughts and comments on these or other summer series are very much welcome. While two of these series have yet to have their last episodes out subbed, I thought I should include them now before everyone gets caught up in the new season and a post like this become irrelevant.
While I was a little put off by the flow of the first episode, by episode two I was really hooked and the show only got better. I’ve loved everything SHAFT since I started watching the first season of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, and in this series they took their unique art style to unconventional and interesting new heights. Very minimalist backgrounds in most cases, repetitive objects (all the cars except for Senjogahara’s dad’s were SR 311 Nissan Fairlady 2000 convertibles, one of my favorites of all time), and scenes with only a few colors/cut ‘card’ scenes with just a color and a few words on it. The characters and monster/spirit stories were all unique and interesting. Dialogue and character relationships were always interesting, quirky, and well done. And the ending conversation between Araragi and Senjogahara was just so sweet <3
Notable things: Awesome ED (and to a lesser extent, fun/catchy OP), stuttering (“Ararararagi-kun” ), very unique art style, mythology tie-ins, custom OP for certain episodes.
Sora no Manimani*
*still waiting on last ep subs.
The very enjoyable rom-com centered around a high school astronomy club was so much fun to watch and blog this season. While the show isn’t the most revolutionary in terms of setting or style, it does the basics very well that I ended up enjoying it more than a lot of higher concept shows I’ve watched. Comedy was great, drama was very good but the show probably could have used a little bit more. The real-life astronomy information was accurate and presented well, and not to sound like a huge nerd (though I am one), it restarted my own interest in astronomy. The shipping was also a fun side event, with RabbitPoets, Scamp, and myself raising the banners of Mihoshi, Hime, and Fumie respectively. Though we all (unfortunately) know who is the author’s intended OTP. I’m very much looking forward to the last episode and DVD episode. Another season or some OVAs would be great too.
Notable things: accurate astronomy info, nicely animated night sky scenes, our Queen Fumie!, simple but solid.
More than just an action show, though not the deepest thing you’ll ever see. Characters and motives, even after seeing the ending, are still somewhat fuzzy in some respects, but if you just enjoy the interestingly developed characters and their motivations set against a fun action background you’ll find it worth watching. I’m not as big a fan as Crusader, but the central motivation for Alphard, combined with how she carried it out was very interesting and made for a nicely complicated pair of characters. Add in some fun side characters and I had a fun, if not amazing time watching it.
Notable things: SUGOI SUGOI, strong yuri undertones, very accurate and well-researched weapons/vehicles (with the exception of the B-2), very crisp animation.
Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei*
*still waiting on last two eps subs.
The continuation of my favorite comedy anime evar (and there’s at least one more season to come too!), ZSZS has probably been my favorite, tied with the first season, yet. Who would have thought something with so much social and political humor would last this long? More numerous and more scathing social commentary and political jokes, new situations for characters, and some interesting new art styles in one episode. More needs to be done with Tsunetsuki the stalker, but other than that things didn’t get stale. And the tinted glasses segment was A+ good. Lots of Chiri in new outfits in the two most recent episodes didn’t hurt in this blogger’s opinion either
Notable things: current events humor especially about the recent Japanese election, still more paranoia about China and North Korea (“that country”), experimental animation.
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
This is the series that I ended up dropping, but since I’m commenting on it for three reasons. Firstly, I had great expectations for this show’s premise; second, it seems to have developed a pretty strong following with bloggers; and lastly because I watched half of it so I may as well comment. The premise made me think this was going to be my favorite show of the season. But it felt so sanitized the way that the government response to the earthquake went so well, so quickly. It was like the Japanese government sponsored it to reassure people. I also didn’t like or get into any of the characters, they also just felt unnatural to me or one-dimensional. I’m sure many will disagree, especially with that second point given the cult-like following Yuuki gained. FYI, I continued to follow what happened after I stopped watching via We Remember Love and Scrumptious. Credit where credit is due: I do have to say that the OP animation was eerie as hell for someone who lived in Tokyo for a year and went to many of those places on a regular basis. Big points for that.
Final Thoughts: - Either Bakemonogatari or Sora no Manimani is going to claim the prize for my favorite show of the season. Bakemonogatari had a super-solid last episode, but I’ll wait for the last SoraMani to make my decision. I enjoyed Bakemonogatari more on a technical level (concept and art) but SoraMani is just so much fun even if a much simpler show in artistic terms.
– Of those two favorite shows, I’d love to have more of both. SoraMani is at least getting a DVD extra episode.
– Can SHAFT do no wrong in my eyes?
– I started watching Aoi Hana and fully intend to finish it. But for whatever reason I just wasn’t in the mood after episode 3. Plan to finish by New Year’s at the latest.