(TL Note: Katsuramuki is a thin-slicing technique. Also, Google is your friend)
I realized a while ago that it’s impossible to really rank shows by entertainment value. It’s subjective, not only to different viewers, but also to a single viewer himself/herself – your own preferences change with your mood, your viewing history, so on and so forth.
So for this initial impressions post, I’ve broken up the shows that I’ve taken a gander at into 4 categories:
1) The Dropped
2) The Not-so-certain
3) The Decent Stuff
4) The Will-be-devoutly-following-regardless-of-abrupt-trainwreck-or-whatever
Let’s get this winter daikon on the road.
Kill Me Baby
Pretty much the only show that I genuinely struggled to watch through, and the only show that I started and dropped. Unlike Lucky Star, which successfully adapted a 4-koma into decent full length episodes, Kill Me Baby is everything that Lucky Star is not. Except for the art style, and even then KyoAni’s animation quality makes it work.
Kill Me Baby is forced, terribly paced, and – despite some gags – dreadfully unfunny. And the gags were only amusing because my standards had dropped so low within the first 5 minutes.
Perhaps the worst thing that can be said of anything of the Action genre is that it fails to excite. While Mystery should provide intellectual stimulation, Romance tugs at the heartstrings, Ecchi tugs at some other stuff-
Action should really involve flashy sequences that get you thinking, “that was physics-defying/beyond-improbability/total-bullshit, but this is just too good to not watch”.
And so far Brave 10 does have the first attribute but not the second. I’ll be following this half heartedly.
Area no Kishi, The Knight in the Arena
The problem with Area no Kishi is that its average. It doesn’t have over-the-top action, it doesn’t exactly have deep character backstories (that we’ve seen of yet, anyway), it doesn’t have the heart-crushing love triangle romance action of a Toradora!, and the humour comes off as forced and haphazardly thrown in.
Basically it’s like that one useless character in your RPG that doesn’t excel at anything, and doesn’t excel enough at anything to warrant being the substitute for the primary DPS/Tank/Healer etc.
Unfortunately for Area no Kishi, there are too many superior shows this season that surpass it in their own way. If every other show was terrible, it might stand a chance. But they’re not.
Senhime Zesshou Symphogear
I can’t give a proper quick review of Symphogear because I haven’t properly watched it yet. But I must say that I thoroughly enjoy the music, and even more so the flashy action sequences and the stylized art.
The plot does seem to me like a torrid mess, but perhaps that’s because I timeskipped through most of the dialogue scenes. And even so, I’d happily watch each episode for the aforementioned 3 exemplary attributes.
Recorder to Randoseru, Recorder and Randsell
Apparently “Randoseru” or “Randsell” translates as “backpack”?
The only reasons why I haven’t dropped this are:
1) Morita Mayu cameo, whom I deeply love
2) Each episode is only 3 minutes
I know that the whole shtick is that you have a kid in the body of a 25 year old, but I find it almost as cringe-inducing as Rob Schneider’s “animal in the body of a man” and “girl in the body of a man and vice versa” ‘comedy’.
At least the 17-year old loli provides better humour. For now.
Natsume Yuujinchou Shi
Somewhere along the line, Natsume became tiresome. I think it’s because Natsume’s character development has stopped – in season 1 and 2, he was overcoming his social awkwardness and coming to terms with his abilities.
In season 3 Natsume was stagnant throughout, and now it’s season 4 and I don’t know if I can take another 13 episodes of Natsume staring into the distance while reacting in the same panicked fashion whenever he meets an aggressive yokai that he really should have been used to by now.
And yet I’m still drawn to Natsume Shi because it’s the only slice-of-life currently airing that has that soothing atmosphere (I was going to mention Chihayafuru but then I realize I get too riled up whenever Chihaya’s kicking ass).
It would be interesting to have Natsume finally discover romance as an added dynamic to the yokai interactions, but I doubt that will ever happen. Still, seeing that I’ve ordered the giant plush Nyanko-sensei, I could try to keep up with Natsume Shi.
The Decent Stuff
Ano Natsu de Matteru, Waiting in the Summer
So I heard that this is basically a remake of Onegai Teacher. Fair enough, except that I haven’t watched Onegai Teacher, so I guess I can enjoy AnoNatsu objectively, free of any prior expectations.
Actually, I’m not sure why I mentally tagged this as “decent”, since now that I’m typing this I’m more inclined to put it under “not-so-certain”, but that’s subjectivity and moodswings for you.
Holy crap uncensored oppai!
Also, decent humour and handling of the typical usual retarded ecchi plot, and Hikasa Youko as the busty red haired main girl, but mostly holy crap uncensored oppai!
Shin Tennis no Ouji-sama, New Prince of Tennis
I’m watching for the bullshit tennis manoeuvres. Those physics-defying lightning-generating tennis smashes, man.
Mouretsu Uchuu Kaizoku, Bodacious Space Pirates
Megane tsundere Hana Kanazawa is the cherry on the icing. Mouretsu’s anime adaptation is remarkably similar to Star Ocean, right down to the grand orchestral background music.
Essentially, it’s Star Ocean but without the 95% of playtime spent grinding and fusing items. With an all girl (and one guy) party. I love it. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve recently started replaying the DS JRPG Infinite Space and I’m going through quite a space-adventure nostalgia phase.
Although plot-wise it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere at the moment, and action-wise I’m not getting my tactical space combat action, I’m sure Mouretsu’ll address those issues eventually.
Inserting stray frames of disturbing images in otherwise uneventful scenes is such an old trick but it’s still so damn effective.
Another has such potential. The music, the mood, the direction, the mystery, and that strange girl with the eyepatch and the dolls and the alleged short-term memory loss who may or may not be a physical manifestation of a girl who died ages ago and still bears grudges unknown.
I am intrigued. But then again, Blood-C had me intrigued too, and see how that went. But I did follow Blood-C up to its not-quite-conclusion, so I’ll probably be doing the same for Another, cheap scares and all.
It’s not accurate to say that I’ll be watching Amagami SS+ devoutly since I’m only interested in Nanasaki Ai first and foremost, then Morishima Haruka and then Tanamachi Kaoru.
But rest assured that I’ll be repeat viewing those select episodes to make up for the rest
( ﾟ∀ﾟ)ｱﾊﾊ八八ﾉヽﾉヽﾉヽﾉ ＼ / ＼/ ＼|
Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki
I love this. I would ask for longer episodes but it might just ruin the magic.
Poyo is freakin’ adorable. I can’t stand it. Omg.
Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou, Daily Lives of High School Boys
So good. This is what Gintama’s humour used to be. Also, the addition of Hikasa Youko as the deluded literature girl is amazing. More Hikasa Youko onegaishimasu.
Thermae Romae, Thermæ Romæ
Who needs proper animation when you have punchlines and tsukkomi this good? And surprisingly enjoyable ED. And those classical music backing tracks. Thermae Romae has caused me to rediscover my love for classical music.
My only despair is that Thermae Romae has only one more episode to go. But these 3 episodes will be enjoying repeated viewings for years to come.
Rinne no Lagrange, Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne, Flower declaration of your heart
I don’t know what the title means or refers to, but I love every aspect of this show so far.
Fanservice, a german suplex mecha action, incredibly rousing backing tracks that at least match Mouretsu’s in terms of grandiose magnificence.
A cheerful irreverent female protagonist in Madoka who leaps at the call. And is cute yet doesn’t care about her looks (dat forehead ponytail).
Then there’s Lan, who’s bringing Ghost in the Shell’s The Major’s hot bodysuit back. More fanservice.
Oh and Madoka’s Maru. Stay tuned for Maru omake.
If I were forced to pick a favourite anime of Winter 2012, it would hands down go straight to Nisemonogatari.
Fascinating stuff. Nisemonogatari blends those primal male urges so well. We all love (or at least, aspire to love) intellectual wordplay humour and yet we’re just as easily taken with shameless fanservice.
Intellectual humour + shameless fanservice = zen, absolute balance, that which monks cannot achieve because they lack that second ingredient
It’s uncanny. Just as your brain’s worn out from snappy dialogue, you get treated to suitably distracting fanservice. Then your modesty/sense-of-propriety/sense-of-whatever-that-makes-you-realize-that-you-shouldn’t-be-perving-over-a-loli-schoolgirl kicks in and you’re relieved at the sudden return to snappy dialogue.
More Maru goodness!
(TL Note: Maru means both ‘perfect’ and ’round’)