Posted by psgels on 31 July 2012 with categories: Monthly Summaries

So, this season had a really tough job to live up to the previous season, that was just filled with really good series. It’s definitely much smaller, but on the flip-side it did deliver with a bunch of very interesting series. In particular the dramas are better than ever, but there are also quite a few series that overflow with creativity. I consider this a succeeded season at this point.

Manga Recap:
So, this month I finally started to get into manga. Unconsciously, this mostly turned into an exploration of various one-shots, one-shot compilation, or short manga. Most of what I’ve been able to read are just introductions, and there was some nice stuff amongst them, but there were three things that really managed to catch my attention with their excellent introductions, and carried them further with excellent storytelling.

#3: Hotel
|
Hotel by Boichi. This is a mature Osamu Tezuka-esque take on science fiction and the apocalypse, all paired with the most crisp art I’ve encountered this month. Its first chapter shows an interesting portrayal of the apocalypse, but what really blew away was the Tuna story. That really was unique and unlike any other science fiction story I’ve read.

#2: Hito Hitori Futari
|
Hotel really only let me down on one area: its characterization. This all felt a bit flat. Hito Hitori Futari however, packed a ton of charm in its two characters. This really was drawn with emotion, and together with the down to earth dialogue, it really managed to bring its cast to life. It’s also got a beautiful art style.

#1: A Million Pound Love
|
This is an anthology by the same author of Himitsu the Revelation, and you can definitely see this. This is truly excellent mystery with brilliant character-development put in very short stories. Like Himitsu, she knows exactly how much to reveal at each page to keep you interested.

#33 (new) – Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru – (1,75/10) – Add some gender-swapped historical figures, and then this series would have been everything that is wrong with modern anime. I mean, Dakara Ecchi was bad, but this is one level beyond that: completely shameless and stupid without any hint of inspiration or effort.
#32 (new) – Hagare Yuusha no Estetica – (2,5/10) – This show was incredibly stupid and sexist, I just can’t remember why anymore.
#31 (new) – Dakara Boku wa H ga Dekinai – (2,9/10) – Why don’t these guys just make straight-up porn?
#30 (new) – Chitose Get You – (3,25/10) – This series was just cheap and poorly delivered. And I can understand lacking budget and all: but there is no excuse fo the completely uninspired writing and jokes.
#29 (new) – Oda Nobuna no Yabou – (3,5/10) – It’s one thing to gender-swap famous historical figures. But really: why does it always have to be with the same people? First there was the romance of the three kingdoms, now this.
#28 (new) – Campione – (4,5/10) – It looked like for a minute this series had potential to become an entertaining action series. But no, it had to focus on harem clichés instead. This show got quickly dropped once I found that out.
#27 (new) – La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia – (5,5/10) – Look, I used to be a huge fan of shoujo series. When good, they can deliver some of the most heartfelt stories out there. But it’s the series like Arcana Famiglia that make it really hard to remain a fan by reducing most of the cast to mere stereotypes who keep repeating one single gimmick. Chiaki Kon, you in particular should know better.
#26 (24) – Yuruyuri – (6/10) – Yuruyuri was very funny when it started with that gimmick of a first episode. When that ended though, it completely bored me. It’s still girls talking and making bad lesbian jokes. If that’s what you like, then by all means give this one a chance. I just tuned out immediately.
#25 (35) – Dog Days – (6/10) – I was hoping that Dog Days’ would improve on the formula of its predecessor. What I wasn’t prepared for however, was the end of that second episode. Just.. why? Why on earth would you want to do something like that in a series like this?
#24 (new) – Joshiraku – (6,5/10) – Joshiraku was too static: it entirely was about characters sitting in a room discussing wordplay. It got to the point where they weren’t characters anymore, but rather that this became an essay about wordplay from the author.
#23 (new) – Ebiten – (6,6/10) – Well, this one wasn’t the worst of this season, it had some nice jokes and all. But ultimately it’s just random fluff that has way too little potential. Also, those eyes!
#22 (27) – Hakuouki – (6,9/10) – I have to grant it to Hakuouki that out of all of the bishie-series to appear during the past few years, it has been the best. It at least tried something different from the usual cliches. But it just doesn’t seem to really try to stand out. It’s just there. I gave several seasons a try now, but never did I really encounter something that caught my attention.
#21 (new) – Binbou-Gami ga! – (7,4/10) – Comedy is incredibly subjective, but I do recommend watching the first episode of this series: that one was very well-balanced and quite funny. As for what happened afterwards, though: it just wasn’t funny enough for me, and the random references for the sake of references, stereotypical characters and lots and lots of yelling just didn’t do it for me.
#20 (24) – Phi Brain – (7,5/10) – I can live with Phi Brain being stupid, but what is a bit harder to accept is how this series has been systematically ignoring any good potential character-development. This month thankfully wasn’t as bad as the previous one, and there even was a very good episode with the Ana Gram episode, but can someone answer me why the single most pathetic villain of the first season was brought back?
#19 (new) – Tanken Drilland – (7,5/10) – Tanken Drilland has the makings of a really good kids show, but it really needs to try harder for that. It’s really quite charming, and the two leads work too good together, but the third main character is a bit too stupid. Yes, I know this is aimed at kids, but that is no excuse. What happened to the days of the World Masterpiece Theater in which kids series really took their audiences and their characters seriously?
#18 (22) – Saint Seiya Omega – (7,6/10) – Saint Seiya has been dabbling on like usual. Some episodes are a bit of a waste of time, while others are a bit more interesting, but it never really stood out, nor did it ever get annoying enough for me to drop it. Whether I’d recommend this show to others to marathon though… that’d be a different story. It’s good enough to watch weekly, but for now it doesn’t really have enough staying power to be worth it to marathon.
#17 (new) – Total Eclipse – (7,75/10) – Total Eclipse is a strange beast. I actually like that it took its first two episodes specifically to show the background of one of the main characters, but afterwards things went a bit wonky with strange nationalism and stereotypes, along with a lot of yelling and random fanservice. Seeing this, I can imagine that the director was about to break down, but the writing staff also is to blame for some of the strange design decisions.
#16 (new) – Sword Art Online – (7,9/10) – For me,the gist of Sword Art Online is: really interesting setting, gorgeous visuals, rather boring characters. At this point in the story, none of the characters really stand out yet: there were moments in the first episode in which they did, but in the episodes afterwards this series has been very gloomy and particularly bad in portraying its side-characters, on top of being surprisingly formulaic (Hello, girl of the week!).
#15 (new) – Tari Tari – (8/10) – Tari Tari is a charming slice of life series, that has yet to really stand out. The closest it has gotten is with episode two, but afterwards it really made clear that that was just a one-off issue. The blond lead girl in particular tends to get on my nerves, and is a bit too simplistic and clichéd. They still could make this work though, because there definitely is potential here.
#14 (14) – Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – (8,1/10) – Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon makes no sense whatsoever. But the ideas it has really make up for it. It’s completely crazy this way, and that’s what I really appreciate from it. Now if only the characters themselves would get a bit better: in particular the male lead is trying too hard to be comic relief. And no, I don’t care if this is explained in the plot. This is Horizon, they can just pull something out of their asses to turn this down.
#13 (new) – Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita – (8,1/10) – Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita has one thing that makes it stand out, and it does that really well: its setting. There is so much interesting stuff going on in this series, and it’s all just so inspired. Beyond that though, it doesn’t really have anything that stands out: the graphics look pretty… and that’s it. The characters are… there I guess, but that’s all So yeah, it’s a one trick pony, but that trick it does is damn great.
#12 (new) – Uta Koi – (8,25/10)

Thank you, whoever made this show possible. This series shows that anime can still make series that have no commercial potential at all, and instead are there to teach their audience new things and show their own interpretations of a unique part of Japan’s history. The acting is a bit simplistic, but heck: the content, soundtrack and pacing make up for that.

#11 (13) – Moyashimon – (8,25/10)

Bizarrely enough, the central character of the past month changed to a germophobe. Because of this, the germs have turned into narrators. A bold move, and do the creators have enough to make up for that? I’d say yes: the lectures in this series are very interesting, and the characters all have a very good chemistry together.

#10 (9) – Rinne no Lagrange – (8,25/10)
|
Rinne no Lagrange continues its strong formula of mechas and charming characters. With this, we’re heading into the real mysteries in this series, and the themes of reaching out to the enemy still remain, although the main villain of Ran’s brother could do with a bit of character-development at this point.

#9 (15) – AKB0048 – (8,4/10)

This month, AKB really won me over completely. The second season announcement, on top of the characters getting even more charming really did the trick for me. The finale was incredibly cheesy, but it worked due to the excellent direction and musical numbers. Definitely looking forward to that continuation.

#8 (25) – Kokoro Connect – (8,4/10)

This was by far the surprise of the season, after that first episode that left me woefully unimpressed. From out of nowhere, this series suddenly started delivering with excellent dialogue and voice acting, and the characters suddenly revealed complex issues that they all discussed with each other in great detail. This is one case in which my first impressions have been totally wrong.

#7 (18) – Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki – (8,5/10)

I love this show. It’s all just so down to earth. This month was entirely dedicated to Summer, and what followed were a TON of short sketches about the different characters living their daily lives while it’s too hot to really do anything. Seriously, the episodes are only 2 minutes long, and the creators still manage to stuff in enough content as if it was five times that length.

#6 (11) – Shirokuma Cafe – (8,5/10)

This show surpassed itself this month with a number of classic scenes. It’s still incredibly corny, but because of how true it is to itself it really doesn’t matter, and this actually becomes a selling point. Some of the characters, especially Penguin and Polar Bear, were just priceless.

#5 (10) – Hunter X Hunter – (8,6/10)

Yes! Yes! Yes! Finally Hunter X Hunter has arrived at the point that I’ve been looking forward to ever since it got announced (nearly a freaking year!): the Yorkshin arc. This is where the original series really went: “Shounen conventions?” Who cares about these bloody shounen conventions! I’ve got a story to tell!”, and it would be wonderful if this new season would also be able to achieve this. The early signs are all good: sure, the acting is a tad more over the top, but they can really make this work. They really nailed the introductions of the key characters in their own way.

#4 (9) – Hyouka – (8,6/10)

The school festival arc is really big. For how many episodes has it been going on now? 4? Because of that though, it really as been able to put in an attention to detail for the small things, That was great build-up.

#3 (4) – Eureka Seven Ao – (8,75/10)

To those who were planning to check out Eureka Seven Ao without having seen the original Eureka Seven: don’t. You really need to have seen the first Eureka Seven in order to be able to enjoy this to the fullest, that definitely became clear this month. And how! This month just delivered twist after twist after twist, and it all works together. The big ones in particular were just amazing, and this series doesn’t even show signs that it played all of its trumps already.

#2 (new) – Natsuyuki Rendezvous – (9,25/10)

This show is just amazing in every single way. It’s been a long while since in a season there was just one show that immediately blew away all other series that debuted that season so massively. Its voice acting is just fantastic, the characters and their chemistry is just amazing, the soundtrack rocks, the animation is incredibly detailed, the story doesn’t beat around the bush. It really is refreshing to see such a mature romance, in which the main female character actually is in her thirties: these characters are even rarer than male leads of that age.

#1 (1) – Uchuu Kyoudai – (9,25/10)

The thing with Uchuu Kyoudai is that the only criticism I might have for it is that its pacing is a tad slow: it really takes a while to get from A to B. But dammit, it brilliantly makes use of this, by using this time in order to flesh out its cast to the fullest. Mutta has become a classic character at this point, but the rest of the cast members are also awesome at this point. Everyone just feels so real and down to earth, and on top of that they all pack a ton of charm in their own way.

15 Responses

  1. Will says:

    Everyone’s dead in Hotel, of course the characterisation is going to be flat.

    • psgels psgels says:

      I also checked out the second and third chapter. Also, I consider the robots as characters as well. Who cares if they’re not humans?

  2. Alec says:

    Your first impression if Kokoro Connect got me scared at first. It took me almost 2 weeks to watch the first episode.

    To me surprise, I really didn’t find it to be bad at all… it was just normal — But you seem to hate normal stuff, though…so yeah —
    However, I saw potential in this anime : If the anime, combined with the interesting premise, tries to take itself seriously, I know it was going to be great. So yeah, I was never really surprised at the anime turning out to be awesome.

  3. bladeblur says:

    I honestly though Eureka will take it due to it being the only show this month with the 4-star rating.

    • psgels psgels says:

      Now that you mention it, I may have rated it a bit too low, but at the same time I do want to stress that the first Eureka Seven still is better at this point.

  4. Troyen says:

    Who says you never use all of the numbers on your rating scale?

  5. mike says:

    Uchuu Kyoudai might become the best of the year :P
    and Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita is best of the season for me.

  6. Lazy says:

    I still think you gave up too early on Nobuna. The excellent production values and execution are still there at episode 4.

    • Anca says:

      Agree, it’s like Madhouse looked at the old beaten horse of historical figures as cute girls and then said: hahaha look at how bad these series are I bet we can do it hundred times better.

      Well, not that it’s an excellent series – it’s not – but it’s a decent historical drama.

    • dm00 says:

      Agreed. It’s one of my favorite series. Maybe I’m lucky in that I didn’t watch any of the bad ones from before to have my expectations ruined by preconceived notions.

      Maybe I should take another look at Kokoro Connect — I did let my preconceived notions take the lead, there.

  7. Nobody says:

    How come you didn’t blog anything about Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate? Not even a First Impression about how good or terrible it is?

    • psgels psgels says:

      Ah, I knew I forgot something! Basically that entry was eaten by wordpress when I tried to publish it, and I didn’t feel like trying to rewrite that. I completely forgot that when I compiled this list.

      Basically the gist of it is that I found it cliched and boring.

  8. Zac says:

    What I found really compelling about Koroko Connect is that it treats its charters as real and complex people that makes them deeper than their respective stereotypes. In that context the first episode played brilliantly in establishing the expectation of “These are your typical anime stereotypes” and then continuing on to blow those out of the water as we are introduced to those histories.

    Koroko addresses the aspects of the character’s lives that is so often glossed over in Anime generally. Women’s sexuality is expressed as a real thing for women and is hinted at in a way that I haven’t seen done in an anime before, where women are there to please the male characters of the show and have no personal stake in their own sexuality. Furthermore, issues with trauma are handled not all at once, but over a gradual progression and is sensitive to the fact that we are meeting the characters in the middle of their lives. Their coping didn’t magically begin when we meet them, and it isn’t magically fixed in one episode, but continues as a progression and narrative thread throughout the episodes we have so far.

    In a way it feels like the movie The Breakfast Club with a Supernatural bent.

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Oct 1. 2014 08:38 AM)
    Now without further adieu I present a glorious collaboration between Blockhead, a very good electronic artist, and one of my most favorite modern animators Anthony Francisco Schepperd:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEYRBTZWu8U
  • k-off
    (Wednesday, Oct 1. 2014 08:35 AM)
    @Emma I’d suggest not marathoning the Twilight Zone. It’s best viewed 1-4 episodes per day.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Oct 1. 2014 08:25 AM)
    *remove 2bd respect lol
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Oct 1. 2014 08:25 AM)
    I respect her more respect than I enjoy her music. She has some dope songs and videos tho, and she paved a path for that style of euro/electro to make it to the international scene.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Oct 1. 2014 08:22 AM)
    @Emma: mostly my fault for assuming since a lot pf people I showed that video to thought that it’s Bjork.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 1. 2014 08:22 AM)
    Can’t believe I of all people haven’t watched the twilight zone or much of black mirror.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 1. 2014 08:19 AM)
    @Bam: Oh lol I know that. Sorry for weird phrasing, I just wanted to bring up Bjork.
  • Vincent
    (Wednesday, Oct 1. 2014 08:18 AM)
    @K-Off I remember being scared of that show as a child though. Creepy, is what I’d call it now.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Oct 1. 2014 08:15 AM)
    @Emma: That girl in What Else Is There is not Bjork but another Swedish singer named Karin Dreijer Andersson. Unless you’re talking about an actual Bjork video, in which case nevermind lol
  • k-off
    (Wednesday, Oct 1. 2014 08:14 AM)
    @Vincent Yeah, TZ always made you pity the main character. Whether or not you wanted to, heh.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Clipboard03

Mushishi – 07

Now this was such a beautiful episode. We often see Mushi portrayed as parasites. In fact, they are pretty much based on the insects and viruses of their world. There probably are enough real viruses and insects living in the Mushishi world, but they just aren’t the focus of the series. Anyway, what they did […]

Clipboard04

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders – 06 & 07

This is where this arc gets weird. We’re still in adventure modus, however in these two episodes Jotaro not only meets some of the most bizarre Stand users, it’s also done in the most camp way possible. You can see a clear difference with the first two seasons of Jojo: there it was all about […]

Clipboard01

Ping Pong – 05 & 06

Episodes 05 and 06 are dedicated to character-development. It’s here where Ping Pong shows that it also knows its stuff in terms of storytelling; the develoment doesn’t start too early or too late, and these two episodes really added depth to all of the different characters, despite that there were no big matches. I’m currently […]

Clipboard01

Mushishi – 03 – 06

I have not forgotten about this show. Not at all. I just finished marathoning these four episodes, and holy cheeseballs on a stick! this is the best anime in years! This was everything I could have hoped for and blows just about everything else out of the water. Talk about raw, powerful storytelling. I now […]

Clipboard03

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – 03 – 05

Jojo really is not kind to its females. Every time a hint is even dropped to a girl kicking ass here, it comes with this weird plot-twist that undermines any fighting potential of them. In this arc, it’s the rule that says that your stand will kill you if youaren’t strong enough. And so, Joseph’s […]

Clipboard01

Ping Pong – 03 & 04

The opening of Ping Pong wasn’t done in time, so the first two episodes showed a sortof montage as a placeholder. Now we know why, with episode 03 and 04. The creators actually got the single best animator currently in the business to oversee it: Shinya Ohira. This guy understands animation like no other. The […]

Clipboard07

Ping Pong – 02

Yes, I know that more people here were involved in making this series beyond Masaaki Yuasa. It’s written by the creator of Tekkon Kinkreet, Taiyo Mashimoto. That guy is awesome. And the combination between those two makes this series even better. Because here’s the thing: anime is significantly different from manga or light novels. Beyond […]

Clipboard02

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders – 02

We can never quite get rid of magic fights at a school, now can we, Jojo. Ah well, I forgive it this time, just due to how hilarious it looks seeing these ridiculously bulky men walk around pretending to be high school students. It’s just so over the top, and yet Jojo sets itself apart […]

Clipboard01

Mushishi Season 2 – 02

Oh yes. This is it. This is what storytelling should be about: telling real stories about real people, all with their own problems that need to be overcome. And this show does that time and time again in just one episode. I still can’t believe how authentic this series is. The thing is, when I […]

Latest Reviews

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]