Persona 4 The Animation
Short Synopsis: Our lead character is a transfer student with special powers.
Seeing as how this was the most hyped up series of the new season… it felt oddly disappointing. I’m not referring to the characters, although that pee-moment certainly didn’t help, but what striked me the most is that the storytelling was completely off. In particular, this episode didn’t seem to care much about timing or build up. It didn’t seem to know how to create an atmosphere, it jumped around way too much instead of establishing things, and everything happened way too quickly . This episode had a very short attention span, which really hurt any attempts on drawing in the viewer: one moment the main character is in a shop, the next he dives in a tv. It just doesn’t flow well and there were a lot of anti-climaxes in this episode. Was the game really that long, forcing such a fast pacing? Oh, and this is just a small detail, but I consider it very important too: the show had what sounded like a great soundtrack, but it didn’t seem well used at all. There were lots of scenes with no background music at all, and it only started playing at the most predictable moments.
ED: Again, funky. If only the rest of the soundtrack was like this.
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
Short Synopsis: Our lead character is surrounded by cute girls.
For a while, this episode actually avoided the usual warning signs. When it was just the main male and female together, this show avoided fanservice, the female lead was eloquent, rather than stupid, and about the only big cliche was the deadpan snarker male lead. Then the second female lead arrived, the girls turned tsundere and they wasted no time in making boob jokes. This show… when I first read that it’d be about people who are bad at being friends, I thought that this would be a show about outcasts. Instead, the main cast consists out of two people with foreign looks, suffering from Japan’s xenophoby, and another character who refuses to talk to others because of… arrogance I guess. That was not what I expected. Strangely enough, these people didn’t seem to suffer from insecurities at all. Instead, the emotion that prevailed here was annoyance for not being able to make friends. It doesn’t have the biggest cliches: aside from the boob jokes this episode refrained from beating any dead horses, but it has relatively little that it can call its own. The xenophobia was probably this episode’s biggest asset, but that was handled very one-sidedly: everyone is afraid of the main characters, aside from the really good-looking girls (yay for subtlety!). This was neither the worst moe show of the season, but it also certainly wasn’t the best.
ED: Why the nuns?
Short Synopsis: Our lead character plays card games.
This had the best animation of the new season so far. Seriously, Madhouse made this series look absolutely gorgeous. The use of cg is excellent, while it completely lacks the acting problems of Madhouse’s usual series. The shots are all creative, the animation is smooth and life-like. It would be awesome if the creators could keep it up like that. The rest of the episode also was wonderful: instead of most series about games, the female lead Chihaya isn’t a complete rookie at the start: she has been playing the card games (and seriously, they’re not what you think: this is miles away from Yugioh) for a few years now. In fact, this series series shows how she got introduced to it when she was still a grade schooler. What especially caught me however was how well it used its animation to portray the game. The soundtrack is also exceptionally well used. This is one to keep an eye out for: rock-solid… though it’s a shame that it’s a manga adaptation. Of a manga that isn’t finished yet.
OP: A bit generic, but certainly not the worst of the season.
ED: Simple, but very pretty visuals, with a decent ballad.