Posted by psgels on 6 August 2012 with categories: Summer 2012 Kaleidoscope

Okay, today I finally had a bit of time to fiddle around a bit with episode ratings. I’ve used the current star system for a few years now, and it’s time for something new. I’ve wanted to go back to numerical ratings, although using ratings out of ten proved to be too similar to the ratings I use for full series, and I don’t want to confuse those. So instead I’m going for the following:

1/8: These are the worst types of episodes: uninspired, full of clichés, incredibly boring to watch, badly animated, etc.
2/8: These are the boring or really annoying types of episodes that leave me wanting things to end, or the kinds of episodes of an established series that completely go against what the series is about.
3/8: This is a rating for mediocrity: I guess the episode was there… but nothing really caught my attention, or what did catch my attention was drowned out by too many annoyances. Most episodes would fall between 3/8 and 4/8
4/8: This would be the rating for a standard episode: nice things happened, it caught my attention, and I enjoyed it, but it’s not really special.
5/8: I like these episodes a lot, either through outstanding visuals, interesting subject material, well written scenarios or sympathetic characters. Most episodes from the series I watch would fall between 4/8 and 5/8.
6/8: These are the episodes that really do something to stand out. Incredibly fun, engaging and interesting to watch.
7/8: The types of mind-blowing episodes that only come here once a month if you’re lucky. I guess that this would be the equivalent of the ****-rating that I used to use.
8/8: This is reserved for the best episodes of the best: the types of episodes that only come once a year if you’re lucky, and I really want to be able to highlight those kinds of episodes.

This seems to be nice enough. I’m probably also going to use ratings of half numbers (5.5, 3.5, etc). Why a rating out of 8? Why not? That’s what experiments are for. I think I’m also going to ditch the “good”- and “excellent”-labels. They were getting a bit old and they started to lose their meaning. I’m not sure whether this will be the definitive explanations, because I really noticed that thinking of a rating system and actually using this in practice is something completely different. I remember how with the ratings I use for full series, my original intention was to have the median around 60/100, but that also changed over time.

#1: Hunter X Hunter – 41: Oh my god, finally!! The Spider Troupe has made its appearance! And they actually nailed them! These are by far the best villains I have seen in any shounen series, period. Because of this I had been really afraid what this series would do with them. But the way in which they were portrayed i this episode: they can really make it work! Finally I’m getting excited about this series again! – 5.5/8 (Excellent)

#2: Kokoro Connect – 04: The script of this series is excellent, but that is probably because of the source material. But what really surprised me about this series is how good the voice acting is for a Silver Link-series. Where usually the characters in their series sound flat and one-dimensional, they here have a wide range of voices that shape their personalities, and I really wonder where that sudden change came from. Could that really be the influence of Shinya Kawamo or did something different go on? – 5.5/8 (Excellent)

#3: Polar Bear Cafe – 18: Oh my god, those ghost stories were perfect for the deadpan humour of this show. In particular Polar Bear’s story was absolutely priceless. On top of that, this episode tried to subtly slip past a lot of details that really make you wonder about the characters once you start thinking about them. Why on earth is a Lama working overtime in a zoo? What is Penguin going to do at that Buddhist memorial service? Oh, and the new ED is awesome. – 5.5/8 (Excellent)

#4: Tari Tari – 05: This episode showed me something: that blond girl isn’t really the best main character for this series. This episode finally took her to the background in favor of the other characters, and suddenly this show got a lot better. There still are the cliches like the dead mother, but they were all really well done and heart-warming. – 5/8 (Great)

#5: Saint Seiya Omega – 17: Ow, this episode had some outsourcing issues. Other than that, it was incredibly cheesy during the big fight, but it had its charms. That Kiki guy probably is another member of the old Saint Seiya cast, and his cameo was handled pretty well here. – 4/8 (Good)

#6: Phi Brain – 41: Finally this series returns again to the actual Orpheus Order. It was a bit of a cheesy episode, but with the nature of those rings that’s no surprise, really. And really: this was actually pretty good and it finally started to resolve things. On a side-note: when is Nonoha going to take her hair down…? – 4/8 (Good)

#7: Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – 16: Obligatory boring fanservice episode. Also, I do hope that they’re not going to drag out that festival arc. – 3/8 (Mediocre)

#8: Total Eclipse – 05: The sheer nationalism indeed is starting to get annoying now. On top of that, does this show really need a cowgirl who is just there for the fanservice? In fact, why are we even following a bunch of test pilots anyway when the rest of the world is about to be destroyed? – 3/8 (Mediocre)

#9: Tanken Drilland – 04: I think that this is the point where I’m going to drop this series. The stupidity of the characters is just too annoying, and watching this episode only served to remind me that Saint Seiya is currently doing what this series is doing, while also taking itself seriously. And after all of the criticism I have for that series, that has to say something. – 3/8 (Mediocre)

22 Responses

  1. UltimateReaper says:

    Kokoro Connect turned out to be one of my favorite anime of this season. I friggen love it, I suppose its simplistic for some, but I suppose this is one of the shows I personally resonate with. We all have that, so I’m sure everyone knows the feeling.

    As for hunter I’m about to watch that, it’s been good lately, I’m surprised I watched this many episodes

  2. nrad says:

    Watching KC eps 4, feels like an arrow piercing thru my heart. Is it because I fell in love with this series? Or is it because of just their bittersweet moments. somehow attracted to Inaba’s voice acting which felt very natural and emotional.

    next episode preview gives me a little shock. Cant wait to see if it really happens or maybe some kind of twists occurs.

  3. Cholisose says:

    Ep 4 of Kokoro Connect really blew me away. Had to watch it twice in one night. Can’t wait to see where the series goes from here.

  4. Cytl says:

    I think the better voice acting also comes from the more interesting and better done dialogues of the original script. Also, Miyuki Sawashiro is pretty much synonym of quality.

  5. WT says:

    Kokoro Connect: I’m really enjoying this series. This episode barely has any body-switching, but it’s equally fun to watch. I’d like to know the initial cause/trigger of Inaba’s problem. What MADE her to not trust anyone? The male lead is bland by comparison to other characters. Also, I really like the preview sequence with the music leading to the ED.

    • Cytl says:

      Inaba said that there wasn’t any “reason” or “trauma” for her distrust, that’s why she was so disgusted with herself.

      • Scruffy says:

        I really liked Inaba’s background. It looks at the whole ‘nature’ versus ‘nurture’ debate, ie .. are we born with the personality we have or does our environment form it? It’s a still ongoing debate with no clear answer. So often personality defects are portreyed as due to ‘nurture’ .. ie the trauma or caring we have been exposed to, so it is nice to see this idea of ‘inherant personality’ considered.

  6. WT says:

    @psgels: I would like to know how much of an awesomeness an episode needs to be to get a 8/8. Can you give us an example?

  7. boo says:

    Now that they added the french waitress to the cast they really need to ditch the original plot of Muv-Luv and make it a parody ala Hetalia. At least this episode both Yuuya and Yui just went straight at each others throats. I wonder if in the end this will be the case of Yuuya discovering the Japanese awesomeness that is obviously locked inside him and becoming a great pilot and Yui acknowledging that in the end Yuuya is not that bad _for an American_ *rolls eyes*. It certainly went toward that near the end of this episode.

    On the bright side, they did played it safe as far the animation went with few slips here and there, but at least it wasn’t the complete mess the previous episode was.

    I think for now I’m just going to follow the Kaleidoscope on this one, unless there will be some major changes in the plot and direction.

  8. Terry says:

    @psgels

    Total Eclipse’s narrative is simply a cautionary reminder: sometimes the story the author thinks he is telling is more of a mirror image of his own soul, rather than a window into his subjects (in this case, Americans, Russians, French, etc).

    The author of Total Eclipse believes he is writing a “teaching moment” about racism, particularly about the American military strain.

    In fact, he’s simply describing a mirror image of his own (Japanese) racism.

    I’ve served in Yokosuka aboard the USS Fitzgerald for several years, and being called a racist by the Japanese is akin to being called a racist by a Nazi. I’m not making an emotional insult, it’s a factual statement.

    Living and bunking on the USS Fitzgerald (Or any Command in my career) and relocating from the bridge to the Quarterdeck to Aft Steering, you’ll see any number of Americans of different races and mixed race. Neither I nor anybody else gave it much thought because race is about as important as the color of your T-shirt on Liberty weekend in the US Military.

    I have shipmates and civilian co-workers who have relatives with different ethnic backgrounds and mixed heritage so convoluted they don’t even bother with it and often don’t care. One of my friend’s uncle and aunt has a pair of adopted kids of Korean extract. They both go to our self-defense lessons, come to Command events and attend school just as any American children with loving parents in the Military would.

    It’s perfectly normal for us.

    Of course, the above situations are completely alien to the Japanese…and there’s the rub:

    The author thinks he is describing a mixed raced person’s alienation and racial discrimination in a typical US Military and American family setting. But in reality, he’s describing what would happen if a mixed race person was placed in a typical JSDF or Japanese family setting.

    In that light, it’s forgiveable.

    Have you worked with or even SEEN the JSDF? Do you know what would happen if a mixed race person was exposed to a Military service that to this day prides itself on its racial purity? They still talk about the Yamato Master race, which was the equivalent of Nazi Germany’s Aryan Master race in WWII. The Japanese sailors, while our conversations are cordial, are not exactly shy about their racism. For that matter, take a walk down a Japanese street and let me know if you ever run across a white or dark-skinned Japanese citizen. You’ll be walking for a long, long time.

    There are horror stories of Japanese ostracization of mixed-race children, some involving sympathetic parents who literally beg the DODEA (it’s our Japan-based school system for military brats) and American institutes in Japan to accept their children (which is easier if you’re in our employment and there’s enough room). If you know anything about the extreme Japanese form of “begging”, then you know that this really puts our superintendants into awkward moments.

    But who can blame them? Would YOU send your mixed-race child to a “pure” Japanese school with all the ideological baggage that racial “puriy” and “uniqueness” entails?

    In the end, the narrative of Total Eclipse is about Japanese projection more than anything else.

    Once you get past that point, you might be able to enjoy the series – maybe even laugh at it a little.

    After all, once you’ve lived in Japan for a while, US servicemen generally come to an “understanding” about Japanese racial attitudes, and they’re kinda fun to be around (trust me, they’re not as “reserved” or as stoic as their popular culture makes them out to be).

    It could be worse. You could be working in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia or Karachi and dealing with Muslim religious attitudes- and they’re not nearly as much fun, trust me on this.

  9. wicked says:

    I gotta say, you came a long way in 4 episodes from calling Kokoro connect’s voice acting awful to actually praising the voice acting now. Especially for a cast that’s consider pretty experienced with the exception of Yui’s voice actor

  10. KaZuHiRo says:

    Did anybody see Pusuke as one of Neon’s cellphone strap?

  11. Andmeuths says:

    Muv Luv Eclipse is riddled with Japanese Xenophobia. I think the general consensus is that the Race, Culture and Identity Angle is really key to understanding and appreciating what’s going on in Eclipse. Everything else is window dressing on these themes.

    As for Kokoro Connect, I think it’s a textbook example of how the Source Material makes the anime. If the Source Material is awful, the anime is going to be worst, unless somehow, some genius director managed to turn things round.

  12. HunterWulf says:

    Kokoro Connect is definitely the BEST anime this season, enjoying it a lot (and just saying episode 5 is a blast), isn’t it worth it’s own entry in the BLog here Psgels.

    As for Tari Tari, ep5 for me was the worst episode of the show, specially after the previous 4 episodes which were enjoyable and fun .. and it isn’t about Sawa’s dead mother .. it’s Sawa herself acting in the most unreasonable, bratty and illogical way ever .. not only the young Sawa (who treated her nice mother horribly for no clear reason whatsoever), but also the older -present day- Sawa started acting weird .. not only did she suddenly throw away everything related to her mother’s memory (even if the Piano is excusable .. you know .. making room in her house, why did she throw away the plushie too !!!).

    I really felt like slapping Sawa on her face for the amount of stupidity she showed in this episode of Tari Tari (specially young Sawa), and saying “i’m sorry” in the end didn’t really help at all .. not after that barrage of stupid moments .. no wonder even her own cat escaped from her XD

    Just hope the next episode redeems the show.

  13. RABUJOI says:

    - Kokoro Connect had a slow start, but it’s really making up for lost ground with some superb characterization, drama more moving than we expected, and – as you said – great voice acting.

    One of the reasons it took us a little while to engage with the characters is that we had to learn their names (always helpful) and then be able to recognize who is in who’s body by the changes in their voices.

    Now that we have, Kokoro is now tied in our Summer rankings with Tari Tari, and it has all the momentum. In fact, it’s the only series on an upward climb in ratings (other than Natsuyuki Rendezvous, which we’ve given top marks in its five episodes so far).

    – We’re also glad Tari Tari is giving Konatsu a break – her vague and flaky aspirations aren’t as compelling as Wakana’s pain, and the flashbacks do a good job showing us the spoiled brat she was and how much she regrets taking her mother’s love for granted. We were also amused how quickly Taichi’s badminton match ended in defeat – it reminded us of those episodes of Chihayafuru in which the match wasn’t the focus.

    – Total Eclipse would be good if it concentrated on the war with the Beta as it unfolds around Yui, Yuuka & Co. Instead, the war has been sidelined in favor of training and interpersonal relationships with some cosplay mixed in. It’s high time this series stopped goofing off and putting the characters in a real battle. It needs to return to the urgency and peril of the first episodes.

  14. DuelEX says:

    Kiki’s appearance in Omega caused a bigger splash than Andromeda Shun’s in ep12. In the original anime Kiki was only a little kid (basically the same as Raki now) so seeing him grown up was one of the things old fans wanted the most out of Omega (there is one more thing, but I’ll keep it to myself because it’s a potential spoiler).

    In the animation department… I heard that this was done by the people responsible for ep6… Enough said.

  15. wicked says:

    This season of Horizon is a major Tenzo romance arc. I’d not say that the episode is crucial, but the development would probably feel a bit sudden with what Tenzo is about to go through and say

  16. Chiri says:

    You are anoying to PSGELS, very anoying with you short thoughts are bad argument

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  • Bam
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 03:46 AM)
    And yet again at the end of the day Akane failed to do what’s the most important ethical thing to do and left people to possibly die instead of judging Sybil herself. I think the reason her psycho pass is clear might be out of stupidity.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 03:43 AM)
    @Emma: The plot was not only a mess but also incredibly flawed and contrived. Why would Sybil need to have to delete seemingly random brains considering that the are all supposedly asympttmatic to begin with? And if so then they should’ve done this a long time ago.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 03:40 AM)
    *This was
  • Emma
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 03:37 AM)
    One thing I forgot to say regarding earlier complaints about the second psychopass season is that you have people who were getting lost in regards to what was going on in the plot due to what a mess it was.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 03:35 AM)
    The was a pretty awful, although expected turn in the latest two brynhildr chapters regarding Hatsuna and the tonal jump in the latest chapter was terrible.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 03:34 AM)
    Yup Psycho Pass 2 finale was just as underwhelming as you lot say, so now I share the sentiment. Even the 1st season’s wrap up wasn’t all that satisfying so they kinda suck at that, but this just felt like they gave up trying tho.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 02:57 AM)
    I have heard of directors admitting bullshit before, Von Trier is said to have done so and I love the ground that man walks on.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 02:56 AM)
    @Emma: yeah, he mentioned that many elements of NGE where simply for visual flair or to elicit a response from the viewer, which to me is fine.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 02:55 AM)
    And both of you have a point about the power fantasy thing. Would also like to add here that a writer, writing is essentially a power fantasy to an extent as he or she essentially is elevated to the position of a God that has full control over their own world and characters.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 02:52 AM)
    Has Anno mentioned himself that he knows when he’s just messing around?
    Also I like his wife’s works a fair bit and more.

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