Posted by psgels on 29 April 2012 with categories: Spring 2012 Kaleidoscope

#1: Nazo na Kanojo X – 03: What sets the soundtrack of this series on top of all of the others is hard to describe, but that one track it has that it always plays at the episode climaxes brings out a ton of emotion. – ** (Excellent)
#2: Natsuiro Kiseki – 04: That rock is very cruel: toying with the wishes of teenaged girls, and giving them a big middle finger when they try to fix it. Nevertheless though, this episode once again had some really good character development. I also really like how well this show uses the fact that some of its characters are athletic, while others aren’t. – ** (Excellent)
#3: Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki – 16: I love how the creators are able to take everyday situations, throw a bit of sadism into them, and make them fun. That Civet cat in particularly worked well with that in this episode. – ** (Excellent)
#4: Shirokuma Cafe – 04: You know I could complain about how Panda was annoying again and all. But they actually showed the polar bear driving a car this episode! The drive-through part in particular was awesome. It’s very hard to correctly explain why this series is so good to someone who has never seen it, though. – ** (Excellent)
#5: Kimi to Boku – 17: This episode was about the twins. Quite refreshing to see the blond kid completely gone. Quite heart-warming to see some of the conflicts between them. – *+ (Great)
#6: Jormungand: The crazy obsessive lesbian is a trope that seriously needs to die. What’s wrong with having just a regular lesbian on the cast? I did like the tension that the boy soldier created in this episode, though. – * (Good)
#7: The Legend of Korra – 03: Very good fight scenes, and the real introduction of the resistance holds potential, but the amount of cliches in the first half was a bit annoying, and this show has this “Saturday Morning Cartoon’-feel to it. – * (Good)
#8: Hunter X Hunter – 28: It’s finally time for the introduction of Nen, the single best power system of any shounen out there. And it lacks a bit of subtlety here. The creators just send waves of random CG without much variation to Gon and Killua. At the very least, comparing the old and new version with each other has given me a new appreciation for how well the 1999 version was made, regardless of how accurate it may have been to the manga. – * (Good)
#9: Medaka Box: If a character is good or bad at handwriting: SHOW this. Don’t just have random characters claim this. Don’t tell me that your animators only know how to do flashy action-scenes, Gainax. – (Enjoyable)
#10: Sankarea – 04: Very annoying episode with lots of cliches. Especially that cousin and those classmates are not interesting to watch at all, not to mention that the creators actually went for a “walking into the shower scene”. this episode was saved by Rea’s changes and development.
#11: Saint Seiya Omega – 04: Rather boring training episode with generic RPG element explanation. – (Enjoyable)

Introducing this season’s Kaleidoscope. I like to experiment with these things, as it’s the perfect format to try out different stuff. This time, because there are so many series that stand out, I’m going to do a ranking: from best to worst, the episodes that caught my attention the most each week of all of the series that I’m not fully blogging, followed by a small blurb for each series (blurbs can also just be “unimpressive”, otherwise it would just take up too much time for some shows). This way I can also share my thoughts of Hunter X Hunter, without having to dedicate an entire entry to it (although I will remove it from this list as soon as the Hunter X Hunter fanbase arrives again and starts telling me how I should enjoy my series…).

Every week on Sunday I will post a new entry for this Kaleidoscope, with weeks beginning on Sunday and ending on Saturday this time. I usually try to have weeks start on Monday, but this is much more convenient because nothing airs on Friday and Saturday, allowing me time to catch up (not to mention the ungodly amounts of series that air all at the same time on Sunday, on top of me being very busy on most Sundays with this thing called real life), and I’ll update this entry as the week goes along.

Also, as for the series that didn’t make the cut (meaning the series that I’m not going to watch this season):
Arashi no Yoru ni ultimately isn’t worth it. It’s overacted and I’ve already seen the story before.
Accel World has some potential, but it doesn’t have any interesting characters whatsoever, not to mention that it’s got a pretty dull and annoying male lead.
Tasogare Otome Amnesia has really bad acting. Plus, the girl turns round and the guy immediately goes for her boob. Now that’s bad fanservice that needs to die.
Kuroko no Basuke, I don’t think that it can really improve beyond what it has shown here. It’s still a jump series full of shounen powers, and it will probably follow a very constraining format. It in any case doesn’t live up to the standard that sports series have set in the past.
– I actually enjoyed the first two episodes of Saki. However, that got me thinking: the reason I enjoyed them so much, and why I actually managed to finish the first Saki, is because there were no Mahjong battles. I’m bailing out while I still can, because those mahjong matches in the first season were just an insult.
Shining Hearts needs more ambition. The characterization isn’t good enough to make this a good slice of life series, and for an adventure it just goes nowhere with an entire episode being dedicated to… a nasty storm.
Acchi Kocchi fails for me as a slice of life due to its annoying characters.
Kuromajo-San ga Tooru also lacks ambition and is just too dull.
– And then there are comedies like Gon, Haiyore, Zombie and Jewel Pet, which just aren’t funny enough to warrant a watch.

49 Responses

  1. meow says:

    Hm. I need to find a place that covers Accel World. I love cyberpunk and am also very curious about how a shounen action story that’s willing to risk a loser like this as it’s protagonist will go. Now this is going out of your typical shounen comfort zone. Well, somehow it reminds me of the Toaru series though, which is sometimes hit and miss for me.

    @Amnesia. Um…actually I found this series refreshing. I usually won’t touch horror with a 10-foot stick but somehow blending slapstick comedy has got me hooked, while still keeping this deep underlying unease about how some of the horror could turn out. I’m actually intrigued.

    @Shining Hearts. Mmmm…no, you’re right, you shouldn’t blog it. Not your style. Not with this much competition. And I agree, there’s not much to hook you…yet. They’re really slow baking this one. This is a 13 episode season right? I wonder if they have enough episodes to cover the whole game. At this pace, somehow I doubt they could get past introducing the whole cast. Hmm…

  2. Anca says:

    Ah, it’s such a pity you’re dropping Arashi no Yoru ni; the premise and execution seem incredibly well-done to me and give me Erin vibes, although I haven’t seen the movie. Plus it’s going to have 50 episodes, that HAS to be enough to do something.

    On the other hand, I’m really happy we’ll get your opinions on HxH again.

    • Anca says:

      That said, I just realised you’re dropping several series you rated >70% in potential in the first impressions. Is it exaggerated to call this the best single season ever, counting the series still that carried over?

      • psgels psgels says:

        Yes, it is exaggerated. It’s too early for that at this point, and there have been seasons as big as this one in the past.

  3. Kim says:

    So just a question are you blogging Legend of Korra by any chance? I know it’s not anime but I would have loved to hear your thoughts on it.

  4. Rio says:

    Will you be looking at Shirokuma Cafe? It feels like not many people are watching it :(

    • Kim says:

      Oh yeah I love Shirokuma Cafe as well. :)

      It might be a difficult series to blog though because it is so reliant on its comedy and what are you going to do tell the jokes in the blog? It doesn’t exactly have a plot beyond that.

  5. pata says:

    You gotta blog Nazo no Kanojo X! It’s really nostalgic! All that symbolisms in the opening, the dancing, the flirting… It’s like watching a 80-90’s romance anime opening…

    I don’t like the direction in Accel World, somehow the director fails to show some drama between the characters. Episode 3 sucked a lot… The scene in the cafe, explaining abour the Accelerated World was very cheap. I know that they’re speaking in their minds but really? You had to make it interesting, show some flahbacks or whatsoever…

    • meow says:

      Gotta disagree about the simple explanation. Keeps the mystery alive. From what’s she said, she could easily be the villain in this story but we still don’t know enough about the setting. And it seems like a very good one. It seems like a terribly useful feature to give away to people for free but why the weird restrictions? And what might be the hidden costs?

      • pata says:

        Yeah, they did a good job for making the girl a mystery. Is she a friend or a foe? thing. I was refering to the second part, in the scene where she asks “Why do you hate yourself?”. In the anime, all he said is “Of Course, I hate myself…” THAT’S ALL. While in the LN and the manga, “Hate? Of Course I hate myself! I’m fat and ugly. I sweat all the time and I look like a weakling. I don’t have a single trait to be proud of!”

        • meow says:

          Can’t comment on the manga but I can identify with this protagonist very well as is. Plus I’m curious how far they’ll take the cyberpunk elements of this story. They could keep it simple with a basic fight-to-the-top premise or it could go metaphysical like Zegapain or Baldr Sky.

          • AidanAK47 says:

            My issue with the explanation is that it lacked emotion. Kurohime practically admitted that she betrayed the whole of the accelerated world. In the novel it came across as a moment of vulnerability for her. Then when Haru made the RPG analogy it showed that he not only understood her position but actually agreed with it. It made me think “Finally, a protagonist with brains.”

            But in the anime it was like
            Kurohime: “Hey I cut off the red kings head and betrayed burst linkers everywhere.”
            Haru: “Oh, really?”
            They need to take a lesson from fate/zero on presenting dialogue.

          • meow says:

            But in the anime it was like
            Kurohime: “Hey I cut off the red kings head and betrayed burst linkers everywhere.”
            Haru: “Oh, really?”

            Okay. Didn’t read the novel so I have no idea what analogy you’re talking about but I still buy this scene. Haru does seem to have some brains, and may have a basic grasp of what the Brain Burst ability may be used but I get the impression he doesn’t care about that as much as he cares about having a relationship with Kuroyuki, the girl he’s been admiring from afar for a very long time. Any justification he gives for his position feels like rationalization in an effort to hide his real feelings/motives rather than admit them and risk rejection/ostracization. I don’t know that it’s even occurred to him yet how vital Brain Bursting may be for some people towards their quality of life or that getting to level 10 means having to beat several other level 9s, possibly including Kuroyuki herself. I wonder if it’s occurred to him that Kuroyuki might be raising him up to be “harvested” at Level 9. Heck, maybe it has and he’d volunteer for it willingly. It seems like a good choice considering the potential costs of using this system. This Brain Burst system really reminds me of overclocking a CPU. Great for short term performance but you risk damaging the CPU and it definitely reduces it’s useful life. Nothing has burned up yet because the CPUs are all still brand new and there are limiters in place. And the purpose of the game could be to identify high-spec CPUs. For what purpose?

  6. jzar says:

    What happened to Ozma?

  7. Sam says:

    What about Korra and Ginga e Kickoff?

  8. citizenofulysses says:

    So what does that leave us with for the kaleidoscope? Jormungand, Nazo no Kanojo X, and Medaka Box? Anything else?

  9. AidanAK47 says:

    The OST of Mysterious girlfriend X is great. It’s strange that such quality can come from a man with a fairly weak resume. Sure he was behind Nana but he also did Dears, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro, D.N.Angel…

  10. jreding says:

    @Kuromajo-san: This is my favourite show this season. But I admit that it’s not quite intellectually challenging and that the whole script may well be shorter than your average post length.

    • Cholisose says:

      I’m enjoying Kuromajo-san as well. The first ep felt too rushed, but ep 2 and 3 were lots of fun, and really adorable. It has a feel to it that reminds me a bit of Cardcaptor Sakura (albeit watered-down, perhaps).

      I also was surprised by how much I liked Acchi Kocchi (at least the first two eps–haven’t gotten to the third yet). Really funny and cute. The characters are a fun, likeable bunch.

      • hal says:

        I’m also watching Kuromajo. It has Romi Paku, is a show about witches and it’s not as cutey pink as most little girls shows are. Enough to keep me watching. And I like how it’s more of a slice of life than some random world saving. I like those kinds of shows.

        on another note: I’m surprised by you covering Korra. Probably to please those people, who are constantly asking about it. However I also do enjoy it somehow, so it’s interesting to see your insight.
        I also like your new Kaleidoscope. I always thought this format would be much better than full fledged reviews of one episode, since there are some series, you just can’t say much about.

        • Firechick says:

          Yeah. I love Kuromajo-san too. It made me smile. It’s so cute! In a way it reminds me of Ojamajo Doremi (which, Psgels, you seriously NEED to watch!!!).

  11. Nayrael says:

    psgels said: and this show has this “Saturday Morning Cartoon’-feel to it

    Well, it IS a Saturday Morning Cartoon AFIK ^_^;

  12. Myna says:

    Korra IS a Saturday morning cartoon…

  13. Melona says:

    …what happened to Sankarea?

    It’s been getting a good amount of praise for it’s execution and the fact that DEEN finally decided to put some effort into their art direction. I was really hoping to hear your thoughts on how its progressed, especially after that rather scathing first impression.

  14. tk007 says:

    Yes. That Waltz soundtrack from Nazo no Kanojo is really the top of the season. I’m found myself looking forward to it every episode : )
    Anyone have the title of that soundtrack?

  15. RABUJOI says:

    Nazo no(na??) Kanojo X is our favorite series of the Spring so far. It’s clever, earnest, cheeky, and extremely fun to watch.

    Sticking with Accel World for now; few anime series have a main character with dwarfism and I for one salute their commitment to diversity. Medaka Box also features a little person in Shiranui, though she’s comic relief.

    Gave Shining Hearts a chance, and while we like the fantasy setting, nothing spectacular stood out at us.

    • meow says:

      About Kanoko X, I’d like it more if there was less…. spit. XD I don’t know why but it just really makes me go ewww.

      About Shiranui, I gotta say, while I usually tend to dislike loli characters, I like Bakemonogatari’s Hachikuji’s sharp wit. It’s great to see a similar character here.

      About Shining Hearts, ah darn it, should I spoil? People who wash up to this island usually don’t have any memory of their lives before they get here. And usually, ever time someone washes up, it’s during a storm. There is a very special significance to storms in this world. And that girl that just washed up is a key figure to this whole story. Well, I don’t know if I can truly recommend this show. It’s up against really stiff competition. I’m following it because I played Shining Hearts raw and could use some translations to explain some of the finer points to the story.

      • kin says:

        Since I appreciate superbly executed slice-of-life and comedy in general, this season really does it for me with Kanoko X and Shirokuma Cafe. I do have to agree with the others above commenting that Kanoko X’s OST is quite excellent.

        Shining Hearts and Accel World just look strange. Animators need to put thought and execution into their works, not just zany art and surrealist imagery. To each his own, I guess.

  16. moochi2000 says:

    I actually find kuroku no basuke pretty interesting, maybe it’s because i like to stare at goodlooking guys lol. i’ll probably have to look elsewhere for reviews then =p

    • KaZuHiRo says:

      Me too. I’m gonna follow Kuroko no Basuke since it’s been a while since I’ve seen an anime about basketball (Basquash! – it was a fun ride). Let’s see what can this accomplish.

  17. Da5id says:

    “this show has this ‘Saturday Morning Cartoon’-feel to it”

    YOU DON’T FUCKING SAY? I thought it had a “Monday Late Afternoon Experimental Film” feel to it.

    For god’s sakes, think about how this sounds before you post it.

  18. Momo says:

    Episode 4 of Omega was definitely much weaker than episode 3; Ryuho isn’t a bad character but he certainly is a relatively boring one.

  19. anon says:

    As the others said Korra usually airs 11am EST in America on Saturdays, so yeah it is a Saturday morning cartoon. But I don’t think that’s any reason to discredit it. Batman the Animated Series was a Saturday morning cartoon and it’s considered to be a classic animated series for both children and adults. There’s a reason Korra and Avatar the Last Airbender has the large audience it has. It’s a smart show, which is well researched and has a variety of characters you can enjoy.

    While the target audience is obviously children because it airs on Nickelodeon, the creators certainly don’t close off the series to an older fanbase and they put a lot of work into making the show stylish and a deviation from the standard “people can control the four elements” type of show.

    It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and admittedly the show does operate on some level with the assumption that you also watched it’s predecessor, Avatar the Last Airbender, but I think it works as a stand alone well. Just my two cents.

  20. Al Pacino says:

    Nothing wrong with Judmun, you are wrong, you never say for Yuno crazy obcesive STRAIGH GIRL who need to die when she was more extremely, you are just be homofobic in one point without you know.

  21. ougon says:

    Is it just me, or did Jormungand just feature one of the most painfully inept gunfight scenes in modern anime history? Are you telling me that that white haired kid could run straight at a shielded opponent firing a gun from almost point blank range and not get shredded to bits? And what the hell was Koko’s team doing biding their time, waxing philosophical, and not doing anything? How the hell do you dispatch a sniper team with a height advantage with assault rifles? Is this some badly balanced FPS? Why didn’t the idiot assassins just kill Koko instead of taunting her? It was like a litany of the worst tropes of bad combat scenes rolled into one disastrous episode. Dropping this immediately.

    • Anca says:

      Considering in reality gunshots only have about a 5% chance of killing you, and it’s quite hard to hit anything with one (unlike what Hollywood tells us) it wasn’t THAT bad.

      • psgels psgels says:

        Well, I think the problem is that afterwards he blows two snipers away with perfect shots and starts bragging about how easy they are to hit. Not very consistent.

      • Pax says:

        What!?…”in reality gunshots only have about a 5% chance of killing you”, “hard to hit anything with one”…where did you come up with this stats? yeah Hollywood offers us a lot of unrealistic fights and anime does the same, but in reality a special trained human can be quite an efficient killing machine.ofc if you have no training…that’s something else.

        • Anca says:

          One gunshot wound is unlikely to kill you (na there are people who’ve survived with 100), and if a doctor happens to be there you’ll more than likely survive. Headshots and wounds to the heart have also been survived countless times, and shots anywhere else on the body – well, chances are that they won’t even slow you down with the adrenaline coursing through your veins. So called “fatal shots” leave you around 2 minutes of normal activity, and scoring one of these is a matter of luck.

          In other word, guns are pretty crappy weapons. US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan used roughly 250000 bullets per rebel killed, that’s how effective they are. Even swords have a better track record.

          • ougon says:

            But the white haired kid didn’t even get hit once. You’d have thought if pointy-teeth could dispatch two snipers from a fifty feet he’d be able to pepper a guy running straight at him at near point blank range. It’s just lazy choreography.

  22. Green says:

    I do not see any obsessive lesbian behavior in Valmet’s action. Is it obsessive to feel happy when you secure a date? Or when you are buying present for someone you love? There are so many inconsistencies in the gunfight to comment on, yet you choose to comment on something irrelevant… again. Weird… Nah, it’s probably me who is weird, I always wonder if we are watching the same thing.

    • Sei says:

      Well, to each his own, but I feel the lesbian thing of Valmet is a bit gimmick-y. I have read her backstories in the manga, and I think it could do well without that element. The ways she fangirls over Koko during the 3 episodes gets old quickly. That’s being said, maybe we have different standard. The only case when I feel a lesbian character is handled well is Juri in Utena.

  23. conyo985 says:

    Considering the Legend of Korra is an American cartoon you really have to judge it for what it is. It is hard not to be biased and I do get that but please take it to consideration when you are blogging this cartoon. The series has to be kid friendly in order for the children to be amused but I’ve gotta hand it to the creators of the show even us “adults” are entertained. I have finished the Avatar: The Last Airbender a year ago and for a kids cartoon it has a lot of depth in it. I have full confidence that Legend of Korra will be great.

    • Anca says:

      That’s like asking to judge shonen series only compared to other shonen series, and ecchi harems only compared to other ecchi harems.

      • animedude411 says:

        different shows, and kinds of shows are made and styled differently. you kind of have to judge them based on what other similar kinds of shows there are. you would never judge romantic comedy shojou for example, to the fighting animation in a shounen. there verry different styles, and thus have to be assesed differently. so whereas eastern animation is set up a certian way, have there own tropes, and styles of story telling. western animation also have there own styles and tropes. i think what conyo985 is saying, is that you have to view korra (and avatar) as a western animation with there specific tropes and storytelling conventions in mind. they are heavilly inspired by anime, but they are not. they are western animations, specifically for children, and should be assesed and viewed as such. im not saying go easy on them, but veiw them differently

  24. meow says:

    #10: Sankarea – 04: Very annoying episode with lots of cliches.

    So my mind has been reeling by the bombshells dropped in the last two episodes. I’ve been wondering how this story could possibly have a happy ending as well as some foreboding as to whether it might dissolve into something like RE or HSOTD or possibly R&J. What’s going to happen to Rea? What will the Sankas do? How will everyone react to Rea? I’m sorry to say I’m a bit disappointed that Psgels’ most visible reaction to this series is it’s annoying cliches/fanservice. Personally, I think it’s meant as a reassurance to the audience that this story isn’t suddenly switching to the survival horror genre. Personally I’m wondering about how Chihiro will deal with Rea. Seeing him fall for her might be like watching a boy fall in love with a pretty girl dying of cancer.

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  • K-Off
    (Friday, Jul 1. 2016 05:30 AM)
    On a lighter note, Tokyo Sessions feels like a watered down Persona title. The Mirage system is so weak. It throws the balance off especially during poor matchups.
  • K-Off
    (Friday, Jul 1. 2016 05:22 AM)
    To the asshat that ziptied my mailbox and called the PD just because I cut you off since you were tailgating me in a 25 mph zone last night – fuck you. God dammit this year is full of bullshit. Now I have to file a police report which I’m reluctant to waste my time on since there’s no evidence to prove what the fuckface did.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Jul 1. 2016 03:53 AM)
    I tried switching emails to get around it at first.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Jul 1. 2016 03:52 AM)
    Might’ve been a limit to number of posts.
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    (Friday, Jul 1. 2016 03:44 AM)
    Hmmm…thought it wasn’t you because of the email.
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    (Friday, Jul 1. 2016 03:36 AM)
    oh nevermind, might’ve been a weird glitch.
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    testing …
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    and I’m tellin you, someone’s in the WordPress. blockin my regular ID, and god knows what.
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Welcome to the last part of our Chinese animated guide. This part will cover Chinese traditional art style, for me personally this is the most enjoyable group. The first thing you might notice in these shows are they were in different format ratio, lean more towards the Academy ratio format. I always find their traditional art […]

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Lucid9: Inciting Incident Video Game Review – 85/100

It’s not often I pick a game up without prior knowledge. I abhor the act of pre-ordering and at least do a google search on the title to get a general idea of it’s overall quality. Gone are the day you walk into a game store and buy something purely on a whim or the […]

The Totem Warrior

Chinese Animation Guide – Part 3: Haoliners inputs

This part we explore one Chinese animation studio’s works. I choose Haoliners partly because they are independent studio, and their works are not hard to find. Just established in 2013, Haoliners is an indie studio but gathered more reputation in the last few years in their homeland. My experience with them through those titles below […]

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Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress OST Review

This will be the first time in my anime blogging career that I have ever done one of these anime OST review. It should be known that I have a complete bias for Hiroyuki Sawano as he has become one of the biggest composer for anime in recent years in some of my favorite anime […]