I’m not going to recap the manga I read this month due to a lack of screenshots that I have for them, but rest assured that I am planning a sort-of compilation post at the end of the season, including my highlights and overall impressions. In the meantime we go further with the Summer season, which really showed itself as a season of creativity. I’m watching a bit less than usual with only 17 series at the same time, but seriously, with the exception of Tari Tari, Saint Seiya and perhaps Rinne no Lagrange, all these series here stand out with their imagination and that’s a much, much higher share than usual. Especially considering how next season will be incredibly different: Fall 2012 will really be about quantity, with a lot of series that look similar to each other instead.
#17 (14) – Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – (7.9/10) – Horizon’s selling point still is its boundless creativity, combined with bizarre politics with strange premises. That part is still rock-solid. I have a few issues with the cast though: at this point in the story they should be getting more interesting and lively with development… but I’m still not really noticing anything here, and to be honest this drags the show down a bit for me.
#16 (15) – Tari Tari – (8/10) – Tari Tari is a well done drama series. It’s nothing special, and a bit forced in the way that it jumps from character to character to show their development and story, but these stories do their job to flesh them out.
#15 (20) – Phi Brain – (8/10) – After having my suspense of disbelief broken for a few months, I’m back to enjoying Phi Brain again as it heads into its conclusion as it finally brings in some good character-development and the themes of saving the villains finally get somewhere. The sequel definitely had some balancing issues, but I’m glad that it managed to come together.
#14 (18) – Saint Seiya Omega – (8.1/10) – Whoa, this show has become much better this month! After long string sof rather boring fights, they are getting much more exciting now that the sakes are getting higher. I alos like how this show keeps track of its characters, and how it’s willing to go against “the party must stick together”-syndrome that a lot of adventure series have.
#13 (16) – Sword Art Online – (8.1/10) – Ah, Sword Art Online: brilliant setting, great acting from the main cast… but the main cast definitely needs some better writing to make them more interesting because at the moment this show screams a bit of wasted potential for focusing too much on Kirito meeting cute girls. Show some variety dammit!
#12 (10) – Moyashimon – (8.25/10)
Moyashimon had a string of episodes in which it lost its magic. The school festival arc was dull and for a while I just missed the chemistry between the characters that made me originally like the show. Thankfully this has returned again in the recent episodes, in which the characters were really enjoyable to watch again.
#11 (12) – Uta Koi – (8.25/10)
If I had one criticism for Uta Koi, then it is the animation. I get that it’s really hard to animate character-designs of this scale, and the budget for this series definitely is low, but the still frames do stand out a little too much and interfere a bit with bringing the characters to life. It’s a good thing that the stories it tells are still just wonderful. There is a ton of historical background and detail in this series, and the balance is just perfect: no character is overexposed, yet there are a few characters who get a bit of extra time to show how they changed over the years. And yes, episode 06 was awesome.
#10 (11) – Rinne no Lagrange – (8.25/10)
This show is building up to something, I can feel it. In the meantime there is random comic relief and time to flesh out the characters some more. At this point the cast of Rinne no Lagrange has definitely matured and changed. Now all that’s left is to use this.
#9 (13) – Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita – (8.25/10)
Jinrui has improved nicely, in the way that the cast has become much more likable and the stories more interesting. This month also showed that the order of the arcs is completely random, which makes it also a challenge to puzzle together the real sequence of events. The setting with the fairies also is as strong as last month.
#8 (8) – Kokoro Connect – (8.4/10)
Kokoro Connect’s biggest flaw is that it sometimes focuses a bit too much on its drama, making it a bit one-sided. Said drama however, is really, really good and really aims to delve deep into the different characters. The characters clash wonderfully together.
#7 (6) – Shirokuma Cafe – (8.4/10)
While hilarious, this wasn’t the best month for Shirokuma Cafe. It had a few episodes which were too much about panda trolling, and the best moments weren’t as utterly hilarious as some of the earlier episodes. Still, there was enough to like, ranging from Polar Bear’s antics to the whole affair around Penko.
#6 (7) – Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki – (8.5/10)
It’s unbelievable, but I’m only liking this series more as it goes on. It’s already in its third season, and it still feels fresh despite all of the content it puts in, and the jokes that keep coming are all new and original. I hardly see anyone mention or talk about this series, but I really look forward to watch it every week.
#5 (5) – Hunter X Hunter – (8.6/10)
Oh yes! With this month, Hunter X Hunter has really set itself apart from the rest of the shounen series. The Yorkshin arc has finally fully started and it’s great to see Kurapika in the spotlight. It’s great to see people actually working on jobs and acting that way.
#4 (4) – Hyouka – (8.6/10)
This month featured the conclusion for the school festival arc, and I have to say that Hyouka surpassed itself there, making the best with its focus on mundane mysteries. The stories that followed were also really good, making great use of the character-development that has been established at this point.
#3 (3) – Eureka Seven Ao – (8.75/10)
This show is confusing, to the point where I often find myself forgetting important plot points of episodes ago, but I kindof like that about this series and how it doesn’t want to hold your hand along the way. It also still has the best action of the season and the characters still keep this one going really strong.
#2 (1) – Uchuu Kyoudai – (9.1/10)
The only fault of this show is that sometimes, it is paced a bit too slowly. But heck, with how incredible the cast of characters has become, I really don’t mind that at all. The conclusion of the third round worked incredibly well and managed to bring the entire cast together, only ending with the message that we haven’t even started yet.
#1 (2) – Natsuyuki Rendezvous – (9.1/10)
This show knows what it is. This month really showed that it makes perfect use of its length of only 11 episodes with how much focus it puts on just one plot twist. This was wonderfully acted once again, and it already had some amazing pay-off as of episode 09. Heck, at this point I’m pretty certain that this will be somewhere in my top 2 of 2012.