Posted by psgels on 9 June 2012 with categories: Spring 2012 Kaleidoscope

#1: The Legend of Korra – 08: This episode caught me off-guard. Every time I thought “oh, they’re finished now”, it only got even better. This had it all: excellent action, it was full of emotion, it played with Korra’s hypocrisy and touchy politics. The best episode of this series yet, without a doubt. – *** (Awesome)

#2: Nazo no Kanojo X – 09: I already had a suspicion when the episode started up, and a quick look-up on ANN confirmed it: yes, Shigeyasu Yamauchi was behind this episode, and he really succeeded in making an already excellent adaptation even better. This episode was even more expressive than usual, and his camera-angles and different poses that focus on subtle movements really brought the characters to life here. – *** (Awesome)

#3: Saint Seiya Omega – 10: Okay… I was originally intending to drop this series; it still hadn’t caught my attention, but I figured that I might as well give it one more episode. And then this episode proceeded to surpass the entire series in every single way: better acting, better action, better music and better use of it, there is better character-development and the plot got a lot more interesting, not to mention that the drama also finally delivered. A quick look-up revealed that Rie Matsumoto was behind this episode, and it really shows. Keep an eye out for her, because she really is Toei’s latest rising star, and let’s hope that the next episode can keep up with this momentum. – *** (Awesome)

#4: Natsuiro Kiseki – 10: And with this, this series is back to its old level. The rock was at its trollish best again, and the entire episode was just based on a great idea with time travel. This one was all about youth memories, and a really creative way to show more about the cast when they were young. – **+ (Excellent+)

#5: Shirokuma Cafe – 10: A hilarious episode. It pretty much was the best use of Panda in the series so far. He is such a troll, and this episode had a ton of fun with that by having a group date with Handa of all people. Penguin also was priceless in this episode. – ** (Excellent)

#6: Kimi to Boku – 22: Very cute episode, again with great romance. Plus, having a graduation ceremony has been done many times before, but it is a great way for character-development. – ** (Excellent)

#7: Sankarea – 10: This series really is trying to get its basics right: background, background and more background. This is the third episode that just takes one of the members of the cast and devotes the majority of its time to show her background and her issues, this time it was the mother’s turn. And really: this was good. It showed who she is, why she is with that asshole of a father and how she changed over the years. Plus: none of the annoying characters made an appearance! Or at least a conscious one. – ** (Excellent)

#8: Medaka Box – 10: And we’re over nine thousand here with Medaka Box. This episode was not as creative as last week, but the change of tone really is apparent here and I like how the creators pulled all of the plugs, while still remaining consistent in the themes it explores. – *+ (Great)

#9: Jormungand – 09: An episode of contrast. It worked very nicely, with the combination of an escort mission giving a new dynamic to this series, while on the other side the small moments take enough time for the characterization of the main cast. The fanservice was annoying though, and this series chronically ignores to give any sort of interesting background or touches to the villains beyond the basics. – *+ (Great)

#10: Hunter X Hunter – 34: That one scene with the electricity: that’s where the animators finally loosened up a bit, and there were other scenes during Killua’s fight that finally had a direction that didn’t seem like it was pasted from manga-panels. The rest of this episode had plenty of those shots, but it’s definitely good to have a start here. What I also appreciate is that the creators bothered to fully let this arc play out, even though that meant having a few repetitive fights. – *+ (Great)

#11: Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki – 22: This week’s episode was a cute story about a crow. Nothing stand-out hilarious for this series’ standards, but it remained very cute. – *+ (Great)

NB. Yes, Poyopoyo is actually last this week. What that means is that pretty much every series on this list delivered and was really enjoyable to watch, and I have very little to bitch about. That’s the great thing about this season: the huge quantity of series worth watching.

NB2. Overall, I’m really enjoying doing these rankings each week with short summaries. I’ll probably do this next season as well.

23 Responses

  1. Juno says:

    The screenplay of Korra was, surprisingly, very articulate. I also like how we now have a good guy who just may be worse than the bad guy himself. It can easily turn into typical villain fare, but the build up so far was excellent and the series has yet to let me down. I hope it continues to be this awesome~

  2. Kim says:

    Glad you are enjoying Korra. Now I still recommend Avatar. Korra has the better plot & stronger villains, but Avatar has the better cast of characters & more interesting setting. Either way they are both fantastic.

    Anyways while I think Korra is flawed, I don’t agree she is the same as the villains. She makes mistakes (and definitely relies on fighting a bit too much) but ultimately her heart is in the right place. Otherwise Tarrlok saying she bullied people would not have got to her so much.

  3. AidanAK47 says:

    About Nazo no Kanojo X. I thought this episode actually terrible quality. Yamauchi’s style that made it worse, not better. The animation suddenly got cut down to lip flaps and very little movement was present. The lighting changes were distracting. Not to mention I was looking forward to another animated scissor attack as the first one was animated beautifully. But instead I got that rubbish animation saving technique.
    I don’t want people shafting this anime.

  4. Nic says:

    Tarlock’s accusation to Korra she was being hypocritical isn’t true, it’s just a ploy to get to her. But Korra has shown progression. She’s getting closer to learning air bending and it shows by the way she’s now able to let things slide instead of letting emotion get the best of her.

    For one, she could have attacked him in front of witnesses, she cooled down and went to Tenzen instead of playing into his game. And she successfully deflected Tarlock’s accusation that she bullies people by claiming he’s just as bad as Amon, which set him off and made him attack Korra.

    She may not have realized it but she’s getting very close to learning air bending and developing the spiritual side that she’s lacking so far.

    • bobzilla21 says:

      I disagree, Korra is a hypocrite. Or perhaps more accurately, her being the Avatar makes her a hypocrite. The idea beind the Avatar is to give a person vast amount of power to suppress things that may upset peace in the world. Amon and Tarrlok are also both using power to suppress people that upset peace in the world. True, both Amon and Tarrlok both hold very opposite and extreme views, but all 3 assert power to get what they want. Korra’s stance may be more justified, but that doesn’t change the fact that her methods are similar.

      • Nic says:

        No, she isn’t. There is a major distinction with someone policing to keep peace and a bully. Are the police bullies for arresting people who committed crimes? Of course not.

        But in Korra, Tarlock used the police force to arrest and detain innocent people, proving he is a bully using his power to suppress dissident speech.

        Meanwhile, Korra, even though she would have been somewhat justified to use force, declined to do so. She used her powers to suppress and arrest TERRORISTS. Not innocent people but major criminals.

        Had she just barged in and attacked Tarlock to force him into submission to stop him from oppressing the people, he might have a point. But she didn’t. She used her position to try to get him to reconsider what he’s doing. Although she was aggressive, she only used force against him in self-defense.

        Not every instance of ‘using force/powers’ means you’re a bully. That’s why Tarlock’s argumentation is inherently crap. I can’t believe people are foolish enough to agree with him. It’s just pure political ‘the others are just as bad’ drivel to justify doing whatever the fuck he wants.

  5. james says:

    I’m totaly agree with (bobzilla21): Korra is a HYPOCRITE.

  6. JaK says:

    da fck tarlock used blood bending :O i thought kitara was the only remianing water bender who knew that secret

    • Anca says:

      Blood bending? x_X way to god mode water mages. EVERYTHING is mostly made of water, not just blood.

      • Juno says:

        I don’t remember much about blood bending in Avatar: The Last Airbender, but… I believe that one who can harness the powers of their element does not necessarily know how to focus down to a minimal level. Meaning, only a few earth benders would be able to bend metal because metal can have small mixtures of earth in it. In the case of water bending, I believe blood bending is something that takes the small amount of water in one’s blood and moves it around. It needs a lot of concentration and knowledge for the user to do it right without destroying the other person’s body. Katara was the only one who figured it out, but I believe even she decides she doesn’t want to use it ever again after she “masters” it.

        • KaZuHiRo says:

          Well there was only one episode in Avatar that featured blood bending. It was a water mage who are “spiriting away” some people in her village. Katara learned of this technique and used it against her.

    • starry says:

      I think its definitely possible for one to figure out how to bloodbend on their own. Hama, the original bloodbender figured it out all by herself and she’s locked up with no resources to the outside world.

      However they’ve got to explain how can he do it without drawing power from the full moon.

  7. kkkaza says:

    I did notice some changes to the direction/production of HunterxHunter, specially in the fight Scenes… I hope it means to get even better in the YorkShin Arc, because that an Arc that deserves being beautifully animated

  8. Tomtom says:

    Really happy with legend of Korra so far. It’s pretty rare for this type of sequel (completely new characters) to be as good as-, or perhaps even better than the orginal. I like how it has a new and fresh atmosphere, while also being very true to the original in terms of art and setting.

  9. blackstar says:

    but aang was the best his charaktar and the last 2 ep.of fire book were epic i dont think legend of kora is better than aang’s story (so fAR)

    • Juno says:

      I think the strength for Korra lies in its setting and plot. The political direction is very mature, too. It lacks in character development, though. Sure, we have characters who are interesting, for the most part, but in the span of the past 8 episodes, we haven’t had nearly any actual development in them. Things happen, and the things that happen are exciting and intense… but some of my friends who like to really pay attention to character development are not that convinced.

      But whatever. I like it. And they have plenty of room for development if they play it right. =P

  10. DuelEX says:

    Having watched both the original Saint Seiya and its prequel spin-off Lost Canvas, I say that there is only one episode in each that can compare to the level of drama and suspense presented on this one from Omega (which says a lot since the original and the spin-off were aimed at a more matured audiences). Also, this episode has the Bronze Saints acting smart and taking time to come up with a plan, which is a nice change.

  11. Juno says:

    I agree that it has to do with writing. What we have now in Saint Seiya is someone respected, who was assigned to write for a major part of the series. I doubt we’ll see a good level of consistency, but I can see them bringing in some good writers again for the other big developments. And that is part of the reason I like to watch these shows. It’s their “blandness” that makes instances like this stand out, with some excellent direction. Not to say the good stuff is just made to seem good in comparison, but that all the “blandness” is there to give us something to look forward to later.

    • DuelEX says:

      I think thing that Omega is really that “bland”, but it does has its peaks and valleys (as Jack said, a lot of peaks tend to involve Gold Saints), unlike Lost Canvas which may have the most dramatic episode but it gets drown out by all the heart-wrenching moments is has throughout.

  12. Jack says:

    Funny thing about SS Omega is that, just like the original series, whenever a Gold Saint shows up it gets ten times better…

  13. Hogart says:

    Please do continue these blurb-style rankings, psgels. In fact, it might be best to reserve your full blog posts to whatever shows deserve to be talked about the most in a given week, rather than forcing it for specific shows. That way you can focus on what you want to talk about the most, and you can even use split posts like you’re doing for Aquarion and AKB when time is short or you just want to contrast two show’s approaches or something like that.

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 05:18 AM)
    Oh, awesome, dark horse is releasing volume 10 of black lagoon in April, its been nearly five years since the last complete volume…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 03:56 AM)
    @Aidan: I think theres something seriously wrong when theres the actually possibility of there being a good PA works anime but we all have our opinions =P
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 03:13 AM)
    @Raggers, I will go into detail when I review it. But I think something is seriously wrong when I get a far more satisfying ending out of shirobako than Death parade.
    Looking forward to writing a review of shirobako too.
  • Raggers
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 02:56 AM)
    @Aidan: it wasn’t bad though. I think it suffered from too high expectations and lack of focus (or overreaching).
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 02:29 AM)
    Well. Death parades ending was quite underwhelming.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 11:21 PM)
    Waiting between releases for this will be a good thing, its the sort of manga you pick up and put down, then go back to with breaks in between.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 11:13 PM)
    13 volumes into dorohedero, I’ve found it good enough to buy now that I’ve caught up with the official English releases. While the plot meaders and is kind of messy, isn’t up to much, I love how crazy the gory action is, the gritty artstyle/world and the black comedy more than well make up for it. It works best when focused on those masked gangster magician guys and also the main character, the others are only alright.
  • Raggers
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 02:19 AM)
    @Aidan: true, but I don’t think the level is anywhere close to a true shounen. And once the basic rules are established it’s strategising and straight out fighting.
    I’d be more inclined to call it seinen with shounen elements than actually shounen.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 09:59 PM)
    Good all action finale to cap off Garo there, went out with a bang, though thing is I have no idea where their going to go with this when the movie, second season comes along, this seems like a pretty good point to finish.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:35 PM)
    I think that just about all the manga serialized in ultra jump feel less seinen than those serialized in other seinen magazines.

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