Once again I shall rank my picks based on entertainment value:
Generally, 1) & 2) are anime that I’ve dropped, 3) is anime I’d watch if I had nothing else, and 5) & 6) should be obvious.
You might notice the new category 4). It’s there for the same reason why I don’t watch films like Grave of the Fireflies, among other things i.e. I recognize it’s a good show, but really I don’t want to spend my life thinking hard questions all the time.
To be honest, Medaka Box isn’t so bad to the extent that I’d rather go through strenuous physical activity than watch it (although I have been exercising rather much lately), but I can’t get over how bad my initial impressions of the anime was.
Maybe it was because I had such high expectations, maybe it was because of the way my high expectations were swiftly crushed, maybe it was the hype that persisted despite the blindingly obvious fact of how mediocre Medaka Box is – but the end result is that I can’t think of it without getting this bitter, horseradishy taste in my mouth. Admittedly the hype didn’t last a week, so I’m just really biased here.
That and of all the anime in this category, it’s the only one that I watched, and I needed a screencap, so Medaka Box gets the dubious honour of starting off my list.
Saint Seiya Omega
Kuroko no Basuke
Eureka 7 AO
Fushigi no Umi no Nadia
Kimi to Boku 2
I watched a bit of Phi Brain S1 for the novelty, but that paled fast. And parts of Eureka 7 AO didn’t seem that bad, but since I can’t get an acceptable source I’m dropping it. I did watch Kimi to Boku for most of S1, but it was too tiresome, in the end.
So yes, the reason why they’re in this category is because they didn’t even appeal to me enough to watch the first episode – regardless of how good they may turn out to be. Apologies to Nadia fans.
Ginga e Kickoff
For better or worse, I can never look at a soccer anime again and not be reminded of the abject trashheap that is Area no Kishi. It certainly doesn’t help that I can’t stand soccer in the first place.
It’s not that I hate sports anime (just a significant majority). But when a major plot device requires me to not just engage in a willing suspension of disbelief but also a great big fock-you to how biology works, that’s simply it.
To its credit, Ginga e Kickoff is no Area no Kishi (at least, there were no violations of Bio 101 within the first episode). And it doesn’t take itself too seriously. But it’s still a sports anime that isn’t Prince of Tennis and I doubt it’ll ever come close. And that name just makes me want to stab my eyes with a rotted chopstick.
As I watched Sengoku Collection, I kept being reminded of Kannagi. But not in a good way. More along the lines of “hey, Kannagi did that, but better”.
I guess I expected more from this than the typical “insert strange girl in unfamiliar surroundings, hilarity ensues” trope, because Sengoku Collection really doesn’t aspire to more than that. Heck, I’ve seen a hentai with a similar theme and it had better plot development.
Episode 2 onwards seems to be “like idolm@ster, but worse”, so that’s the end of that.
Shining Hearts -Shiawase no Pan-
This is an interesting case study. Decent animation, decent character art, possibly decent characterizations. But in the end result is just mediocrity.
It’s not good. It’s not bad. It’s just there. This is what uninformed Japanese think anime is – generic cartoon characters doing generic things. This is what other anime shows would put on the television screens within the show for filler.
There’s no effort made to stylize anything. No interesting camera pans or scene shifts or form of direction whatsoever. It’s quite possibly the most boring harem anime I’ve ever seen.
Maybe it was the more blatant than usual self-advertising that got to me. A main character’s morning alarm being a SPHERE song? Such subtlety!
Maybe it was the moment I realized Toyosaki Aki’s character didn’t resemble Toyosaki Aki, or even Hirasawa Yui at all.
Maybe it was the scene of the 4 girls flying into the air, loftily remaining airborne through the magical power of a giant wishing boulder.
Nope, can’t bear to keep watching this any longer. Take some notes from idolm@ster, m’dears.
It’s not really all that bad. It helps that episodes are only 3 minutes each.
But it’s not good enough for me to go through the trouble of watching it. Yes, not even for 3 minutes. I am spectacularly lazy, and one champion of a procrastinator, but Yurumates 3D just isn’t good enough.
Oh, and then there’s
Technically, it ought to be in the Possibly-critically-acclaimed-but-not-my-cup-of-tea category. But the fanboys can’t seem to stop bugging me about it. So I’m putting it here, mostly because I’m a vindictive arse ;D
Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? OF THE DEAD
It’s the same Kore wa Zombie that I liked, although the crossdressing has been flogged to death. It’s probably about time they consider another source of humour before the whole thing turns stale.
As it is though, the Fantasy Eu segments are always a pleasure, and I like the depiction of social phenomenon like the rapid deployment of camera phones and seamless integration with the keyboard warriors.
But I can’t help but wish that less attention would be spent on exploring the various combinations of magical girl/necromancer/zombie/ninja and to just build up the existing cast. Quality over quantity.
Hiiro no Kakera
I like to think of this as Chihayafuru crossed with Natsume Yuujinchou, minus the Karuta, plus a whole new otome game sidequest unlocked. The female lead shares personality traits with Chihaya, the main plot revolves about Youkai, and otome game bit is self-explanatory.
Right now though, I can’t quite tell where Hiiro no Kakera is going. The guys have quite a bromance thing going on, rather keeping to themselves than paying attention to the female lead – so I don’t know if this is going to have Yaoi implications or a simple straightup reverse harem conclusion.
Either way, the males are interesting, and while I can’t say I like how there simply must be a bunch of villains to oppose the main group (even if it’s for a “love redeems” additional romance route), it’s definitely watchable.
My single greatest gripe about Accel World is that it’s almost condescendingly pandering to the otaku base.
Lonely, bullied, ugly male character manages to not just excel in the digital world, but snags a hot real life girlfriend in the process? I’m guessing here, but it seems pretty evident that that’s how the story ends. It’s fantasy fulfilment. It’s quite essentially, a self-insertion fanfic.
But it is a very well done fanfic, and I guess you could also say that Accel World defies the status quo of needing to be a hot male to get a girlfriend. Or something. Genshiken would probably like to have a word with me.
Saki: Achiga-hen episode of Side-A
Two episodes and no sign of any probability-bending mahjong goodness. I have been deceived!
But even though I’d rather be following the characters of the main story (especially Yurilicious Kajiki Yumi and Tōyoko Momoko), it’s still Saki, so those mahjong powers are bound to appear sooner or later.
That and I’ve found a new interesting character to follow: Sagimori Arata-chan. There’s quite a bit of the lolicon in me.
It’s fresh, it’s dynamic, it’s to fishing what Kaiji is to gambling.
Strike out that last one. For all the dialogue and attention given to fishing, the actual fishing itself wasn’t great. I expected an art shift, perhaps a sudden increase in animation quality, but all I got was perhaps a 30 second segment of lesser animation and an even more disappointing denouement.
But it’s something new. Maybe a bit too similar in art style to last season’s Symphogear, but it’s still worthy of note simply because it’s a step off the beaten path.
Tasogare Otome x Amnesia
From what I hear, the story gets really good later on. And I can respect that.
But for now, the mysteries aren’t really that engaging, the fanservice seems tacked on, and I can’t bring myself to like any of the characters.
Plus, there’s a better mystery anime airing this season, so why settle for less?
Nazo no Kanojo X
This anime made me realize that I’m a much greater art-style-whore than I admit to.
Because I really can’t get around the art. Which is strange, because I had no problems with Cooking Master Boy. Maybe it’s because Nazo no Kanojo X employs fanservice, and I can’t think of it as fanservice if it’s not done in a more modern art style.
Maybe it’s deliberate, so that a viewer is filled with a sense of unease at the old school art of the conservative era mixed with the bizarre fetishes of the new (then again, it was the 1980s that produced Akira and other mindscrew).
Ultimately, I can’t bring myself to enjoy it, but I guess there are people who do.
Uchuu Kyoudai (Space Brothers)
Another interesting case study. If I was watching this at any other time in my life, I’d probably enjoy it.
However, the last thing I need is a slice-of-life that is all too realistic and pertinent to my own life. Being outdone by my siblings, the fear of not getting a good job, lost childhood dreams.
I can’t deny that it’s good stuff. Humour, direction, art, everything. And it’s very likely that Uchuu Kyoudai is meant to be inspirational, that the first episode is just setting the scene for the grand climax.
But even knowing that, watching this fills me with discomfort. Some other time.
This is the anime that gave us the following quote.
“The gun’s stock of kind of like her butt – The FNC has a skeleton stock. So that’s why she wears a thong.“
This was the anime that I originally intended to blog. But I changed my mind for the same reason an otaku friend stopped reading the manga.
The story can’t decide what atmosphere it wants. My friend was interested in it because the manga started out dire and dark. Then he dropped it after it became slapstick.
The anime started out slapstick, and obviously the dark parts became massive mood whiplash. It annoys me. It it possible for comedy to suit itself to dark situations. It’s called black humour. But the writers for Sankarea apparently only know nothing beyond the one subgenre of humour.
That said, it’s not all bad. I’ll be watching it, just with diminished expectations.
Still going strong. I keep thinking that the anime is a very long RPG in-game cinematic. Every now and then I wonder why the main characters aren’t level grinding or looking for rare drops.
Folktales from Japan
One of my guilty pleasures of the season. I like mythology, and Japanese mythology is no exception.
From the narrator going “Mukashi mukashi” at the start of each tale, to the direct unembellished exposition, Folktales is a work of simplicity that hearkens back to the fairy tales of childhood.
The story is kind of a mess at the moment, but Jormungand isn’t driven by the story. It’s driven by the characters, especially Koko Hekmatyar.
I daresay Itou Shizuka could let loose a bit more, but it’s enough of a pleasure to watch Koko throwing figurative spanners in figurative machinery everywhere she goes.
Some GITS: Stand Alone Complex vibes from the action sequences, which is always a good thing.
I don’t see why Jonah gets so much hate though. He’s not that unlikeable.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Zetman wasn’t the gratuitous gorefest that the trailer seemed to suggest it would be.
Rather, it’s Akira, without the shock factor, but still willing to show a little blood and gore when it’s natural. I mean, if you want to kill someone, you’d stab him in the heart, right? There’s no point in pansying around and making little slices across his arms or whatever.
One of my favourites of the season. In fact, the only reason why it’s top in the top-tier category is because technically, I don’t actively seek new episodes.
Just so you know, these are my personal top 4 (well top 5 counting Zetman) for the season.
Sakamichi no Apollon
The homoeroticism in this anime so damn thick. I know that Kaoru likes Ritsuko, but every time I see Kaoru being jealous that Ritsuko’s paying more attention to Sentarou, I immediately think it’s because he wants to be the one paying attention to Sentarou.
But I’m not watching this solely to satisfy my Yaoi needs. Sakamichi doesn’t look the best, animation-wise, but it’s got great characters, humour, and one more thing that most anime gloss over – music. Kanno Yoko on the music? Jazz?
Tezuka Productions put in their best to animate the instruments in full detail too. I don’t think anyone but KyoAni’s tried to do that, and that was way back in 2006 for Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu’s rock concert. Tezuka Productions is crazy awesome.
I don’t think anything more needs to be said.
This was my thought process while watching episode 1.
>Oreki Houtarou is another Kyon clone or Tomoya
>Fukube Satoshi is a smarter Sunohara
>Chitanda Eru is Mikuru with a bit of Haruhi
>Omg they focking played Air on the G String
>OMG THAT’S SUITE NO.1 IN G MAJOR, BWC 1007
>Completely plausible solutions to mysteries
HYOUKA BEST SPRING 2012 ANIME
So maybe I was a little overwrought. Classical music does not a masterpiece make (although Thermae Romae was pretty kickass, natch).
But the best part of the anime was the reveal at the end – I was thinking that Houtarou’s deductions seemed too improbable, and then we find out how he did it. Not only that, but Satoshi got in a little cutting, extremely perceptive remark of his own.
I don’t know how Eru’s going to turn out, but in the course of single episode I immediately stopped thinking of the protagonists as being mere imitations of established characters. That’s no mean feat, especially when Houtarou resembles Kyon so much.
And he’s smart. And he sees the world in a slightly different way. I squealed like a girl (sorry girls) at the scene with the kanji popping out of the posters. Couldn’t help but think of BBC’s Sherlock.
I did come across some complaints that the mysteries weren’t mysterious enough. Well shit, forgive me if I don’t expect my amateur detectives to always save the world from hidden conspiracies unknown. That’s like saying a pâtissier isn’t the real deal if he makes macarons and not focking 23-tiered wedding cake monstrosities.
Okay, so it’s a little early to be putting Hyouka in my top 5, much less declare it the best. But I have a real good feeling about this one. Then again, I said the same about Kamisama no Memo-chou, and look how that turned out D;
Hyouka may be what I consider the best of Spring 2012, but Acchi Kocchi remains my favourite.
It’s sweet, it’s charming, it’s not always over the top. It picks me up when I’m feeling terrible, and it calms me down when I’m holding too much tension.
The characters aren’t developed, and we don’t really see them working or improving themselves. You can’t really call Acchi Kocchi inspirational. The plot is never going to go beyond Io and Tsumiki dancing around the edges of an actual relationship.
But it’s soft, light entertainment. It’s cotton candy. It’s a guilty pleasure. It’s my – to use the title of a K-On song – “Fuwa Fuwa Time”.
And that’s good enough for me.
-Spring 2012 Sasagaki ends here-
Personal stuff: If you’ve been reading my posts, you’d have noticed I’ve been whining about my breakup for a while. Since I’d like to overcome this with a distraction, I’m asking anyone willing to add me on Skype so I have more people to talk to (yes I am using your goodwill as a distraction, I am inherently self-serving and bad).
If you’d like to find out my real name, take a gander at my ugly mug, insult me directly (well as far as internet chat can be considered direct), my Skype name’s “johnnyyandere” (How original, ja?). I promise to not complain about my personal life to you. Oh and you can harangue me with messages like “ACCHI KOCCHI EPISODE 3 FOCKING WHERE” too, if you like.