What sets this season apart: the sheer amount of great series out there. Seriously, the amount of interesting shows that push boundaries is the best in at lest two years. Now all that’s left is a bunch of great finales: a lot of the series in this seasons will end next month, and a lot of them have quite a bit of potential to end wonderfully.
#23 (25) – Medaka Box – (7/10) – Medaka Box is dangerously close to being one of those “meh” series. What I mean by that is that it’s going to end within one month, even though it hasn’t really done much so far. It has introduced plenty of things with potential, but those were just introductions: it hasn’t really done anything with them because these will very likely be used later on in the series. So yeah, this show is mostly building up to parts that aren’t going to be animated. This is why I really dislike shounen jump series.
#22 (22) – Saint Seiya Omega – (7,4/10) – I’m on the verge of dropping this show, and then episode eight came and was slightly interesting. My main problem with this show is its characterization: it’s all too wooden and one-sided, especially that main character is a one-sided hot blooded idiot and the villains other than that golden saint are all terribly uninspired and stereotypical.
#21 (23) – Sankarea – (7,6/10) – Sankarea is that really annoying series of the season, that has flashes of brilliance, intermixed with flashes of incredible annoyance. Pretty much what Nisemonogatari was last season. Sanka Rea is a pretty interesting character to watch, especially considering the state she’s in. Shenever she takes up the center of attention, this show is great. The cousin however, is annoying. The classmates are annoying. This show also wastes too much time on random fluff. I understand that characters need to get fleshed out, but the balance of these scenes feels missing.
#20 (12) – Phi Brain – (7,75/10) – Oh boy, Phi Brain surely took a hit to the suspension of disbelief this month. I mean, it’s the series nature to be over the top and rather stupid at times, however what it pulled this time is so vital to the overall storyline and characters that it’s really hard to overlook. I really hope that there is more to it, because Freecell, you’re very close to becoming a very pathetic villain here.
#19 (21) – Jormungand – (7,9/10) – If I had to point out one point at which Jormungand, it’s the characterization. I still can’t exactly point out what it is, but most characters fail to capture my interest, there are a lot of very similar characters walking around, or characters who are carbon-copies of other characters or who just try too hard. It’s strange, but for a show that’s supposed to be about gun delaying, I miss this lack of tension.
#18 (20) – Aquarion Evol – (8,25/10)
Aquarion Evol continues to balance between a tense storyline and a heap of cliches, in a pretty bizarre way. It’s over the top and some of the twists are great entertainment to watch. There are characters who really shine here, but on the other hand we have Mikono: the main female character… who didn’t really do anything over the series other than get kidnapped.
#17 (19) – Hunter X Hunter – (8,25/10)
We are now at a point of explanation and exposition. It’s a point that also made me tired in the original 1999 series, so watching it in recap is… annoying. On the other hand though: the thing it’s building up to will be something really special. I usually hate remakes that do nothing but recapping, so it has to say something that I’m still stuck with this show after 30 episodes. Nen is very original, and I hope that this show’s success inspires future shounens to also put a lot of attention to detail and creativity in their settings.
#16 (14) – Shirokuma Cafe – (8,25/10)
The bizarre thing with this series is that the jokes are incredibly corny, yet consistently enjoyable. The Polar Bear and the Penguin are the standout characters here. The penguin is great to watch and gets great stuff out of the rest of the cast, while the Polar Bear has some awesome deadpan humour.
#15 (9) – Nazo no Kanojo X – (8,25/10)
In this day and age in which everything is just trying to get more and more fanservice in, it’s great to see a series that puts so much restraint in it. It’s a really good way to flesh out the characters, and I like how they grew closer together a lot here.
#14 (4) – Zetman – (8,25/10)
This month was not as impressive because the budget decreased, but the creators still are trying to make this show as expressive as they can with their limited means. The pacing also actually slowed down in order to have some mid-season build up and extra tension. It really depends on that ending whether this show will work or not.
#13 (24) – AKB0048 – (8,4/10)
Oh, AKB… I want to hate this show. I really do. But it’s such a charming series. It’s obviously pandering, but some scenes are played so straight that I wonder whether they are partially meant as a criticism as well. The cast of this series is huge, and what me impressed the most within these first five episodes is how well it gave every single one of these characters a bit of detail and info, keeping a great balance between all of the characters.
#12 (17) – Hyouka – (8,4/10)
What I like about Hyouka is that the long dialogues are about something. It’s well acted and consistently interesting, which really is a breath of fresh air after all those Shaft-series that attempted the same thing but couldn’t hold my attention. The animation still is very excellent and even though most mysteries are about mundane things, I do find myself drawn in.
#11 (8) – Tsuritama – (8,4/10)
Tsuritama is building up to something. I feel that that finale is going to be the major factor for me in evaluating this series, because it is clear that it has like a deck full of aces hidden in its sleeves and socks. There was one episode that really showed that potential and it was awesome. Now finish things properly!
#10 (18) – Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki – (8,4/10)
You know what? Poyopoyo actually is the best show about owning cats that I’ve seen. In fact, if you don’t count movies (Night on the Galactic Railroad, Tamala 2010 and the Cat Returns were awesome), this pretty much is the best cat chow I’ve ever seen. It’s all just so relatable, and the pacing is just perfect for five-minute episodes. I know it sounds weird and all, but I’m consistently enjoying this show.
#9 (15) – Legend of Korra – (8,4/10)
The romance in this series isn’t really that interesting. Everything apart from that though is really good. Especially since there are no anime about politics at the moment, this really fills my hunger for the Spring Politics Series. The villains are very credible and a great threat for Korra, and the creators made good use of how out of place she is.
#8 (11) – Kimi to Boku – (8,5/10)
Kimi to Boku really blossomed in its second season. Every episode is standalone, but they nearly all created some very impressive character-development, both for the main cast and for the cast of side-characters.
#7 (13) – Eureka Seven Ao – (8,5/10)
Eureka Seven Ao’s charms are hard to define. In any case they’re different from what made the first season great. It’s the great acting, along with some surreal parts and very good directing that makes it really entertaining to watch, but I think that it’s the acting that really put this series above most other mechas of the past few seasons: kids are treated like kids. There are tons of different parties active, all with their own goals.
#6 (5) – Lupin The Third – (8,5/10)
This show has class. I know it’s a bit weird to say that of a series with so much nudity, but what makes this show so interesting is how well Mine Fujiko is portrayed, along with the guys around her. It’s the storytelling here that really stands out with a great direction.
#5 (7) – Natsuiro Kiseki – (8,6/10)
Every episode of Natsuiro Kiseki so far has been dedicated to character development. We’re now at the point where the rock takes a step back, so that we can really focus on the four main characters, and this series still pushes them into situations in which they’re forced to grow. This show does an amazing job in showing their worries and despite that having them act believably.
#4 (6) – Mouretsu Pirates – (8,6/10)
You know, I’m really enjoying Mouretsu Pirates at the moment. I said it before, but with this, it’s pretty much the best non-sequel to have come out the past winter season. The past arc is especially fun and and this show also gets more and more creative with its storylines.
#3 (3) – Fate/Zero – (8,6/10)
This really has been a month of build-up for Fate/Zero, but what build-up there was was really, really dark. A ton of characters got extra backgrounds, changed, and moved into some really harsh plot twists. A few of these scenes were a bit too harsh (apparently they were better built up in the novels, but this is an anime first and adaptation second), but it nevertheless is excellent and dark stuff.
#2 (1) – Uchuu Kyoudai – (9/10)
Really, there are two stand-out series this season. Both of them rock because of their characterization, but both do this in completely different ways. Uchuu Kyoudai is briljant at fleshing out its characters: Mutta’s inner monologues are really sharp, and the rest of the side-cast all fits incredibly well with each other.
#1 (2) – Sakamichi no Apollon – (9/10)
Yes. To say that this show is good would be a huge understatement. This series manages to capture its characters in a unique way and it does it with so much detail and believability that is un-matched by only very few other series. The way this show plays with emotions and awkwardness is exquisite. Add that to the excellent animation (including the parts that aren’t rotoscoped but actually animated) and Yoko Kanno’s awesome soundtrack, and you’ve got a winner. Definitely the best Noitamina series since Ano Hana.