Posted on 30 November 2012 with categories: Monthly Summaries

The best thing about this month was potential. Yes, there were so many good series. But the best part is that all of those series were just building up for later. There are so many shows that are already a joy to watch, yet haven’t even started. The promise here is amazing.

#22 (16) – Gintama – (5/10) – What the hell man? I love being trolled by anime, but Gintama. Did you seriously mean that you were just going to air a bunch of new episodes in front of a recap season? I really do not like that in the slightest, as I was finally enjoying this show again. This one got dropped really hard.
#21 (25) – Sword Art Online – (7.25/10) – I have not seen the latest episode yet, but I do have a very clear opinion on what happened during the past month: people freaking out over nothing does not work with this series. And don’t get me wrong, I often really like it when a series focuses on a small conflict or when something small is made really huge instead of just putting the world or country at stake, but when I see everyone making such a big deal over dying in an mmorpg… this show just completely loses me. Perhaps I lack the gamers mentality or something, but any conflict just feels meaningless to me. And it’s not like it’s impossible to do this with me: the way in which .Hack//Sign dealt with player deaths, I found that beautiful. This… is just a bunch of idiots getting worked up over nothing.
#20 (23) – Medaka Box – (7.4/10) – I’m still waiting for this show to get interesting. At this point it’s still too formulaic, and the only way in which this show stands out is how it tells about its different characters, without really showing much. It puts so much effort into explaining why all of these people are abnormal and all, that it forgets to do just about anything else. The action is dull, the comedy is dull the characters are boring. This is really what irks me so much about nishiOisin: he puts so much focus on one thing that he forgets everything else.
#19 (21) – Little Busters – (7.6/10) – It is such a shame that Little Busters was based on a dating sim. Because of that, it is obliged to follow all of the girls, and they are BAD. Badly acted, boring, not very interesting and quite often annoying. The guys in this series are much better. They are interesting to watch, have great personalities and have much more down to earth stories, like always failing, insomnia, etc. Focus on them, for christ’s sake. But no, we need to have sad girls for the moe.
#18 (20) – Teekyu – (7.75/10) – The thing with this show… it’s so accessible. I can just turn off my brains for two minutes and it’s over again. It’s completely non-sensical, but the animation, jokes and energy are actually quite enjoyable.
#17 (18) – K – (7.75/10) – K so far has been the biggest disappointment of the season. It’s not that it’s bad or something. The problem more is that it isn’t really anything at all. The major conflict turned out to be something incredibly simple that just isn’t interesting at all. The setting? Yeah, it’s a city that is well drawn (or photoshopped), that’s all there is to say about it. The characters? They’re fun. Again, that’s it: nobody stands out. Come on guys, be ambitious. Animation isn’t the only thing you can base your series on.
#16 (6) – Saint Seiya Omega – (7.75/10) – Saint Seiya… has gotten too dramatic right now. With the second half the characters are fighting this group of eleven golden saints who are so ridiculously overpowered that the creators are going to have to pull major power-ups out of their asses in order to get the characters to land even a single punch on them. I mean, I know that this is not realistic fighting and all, but the tension rather drops when a character first has all bones in his body broken, only to stand up and walk away like nothing happened. There is a limit to that kind of suspense of disbelief…
#15 (9) – Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki – (8/10) – And now, we’ve reached the dreaded part of any comedy: the conclusion! Especially for a long running comedy, you want something that is not incredibly formulaic, and I guess the timetrip back could have been worse… but it still is a big step down compared to what this show was like a month ago.
#14 (13) – Shirokuma Cafe – (8/10) – Shirokuma Cafe continues its trend of corny deadpan humour, and again this wasn’t its best month, but it did make me laugh like usual. There are some skits that just don’t work (the coffee ones, for example), and other running jokes just keep getting better (how the lama is useless for example). I’m not as excited about this show as what I used to be though.
#13 (14) – Btooom! – (8.1/10) – Btooom, let me ask one thing of you: please don’t make the female lead the girl that the male lead met in the past. I know you’re heavily hinting at it, but that would destroy her entire character. Aside from that, I really like the old man for some strange reason, and how helpless he is in most of the series. He’s definitely so far away from your usual sidekick, yet he is not overly exaggerated like the rest of the cast in this series. Btooom is playing out nicely, yet uneventful, but I fear that that climax is not going to be anything worthwhile.
#12 (17) – Sukitte Ii na Yo – (8.25/10)

This really was surprisingly good. At first this show seemed to go in the direction of smut, but that was entirely un-justified. This is just incredibly genuine, about a shy girl trying to find herself in her own romance, and getting the courage to talk about her feelings. This pretty much is what Kimi ni Todoke should have been because stuff actually happens, and the conflicts are meaningful in bringing out emotions, rather than forced.

#11 (15) – Magi – (8.25/10)

The angst feels like it’s missing something, but overall Magi has been incredibly solid as an adventure series: lovable characters with interesting growth, and a very consistent animation budget that really brings out their emotions. Add a solid plot and backdrop, and yeah: I’m enjoying this a lot.

#10 (12) – Robotics;Notes – (8.4/10)

Robotics;Notes slowly builds up its mystery, and what interesting mystery it is! The realism and supernatural combine quite well with each other and the characters living their lives is surprisingly interesting, albeit uneventful so far. The characters are far from as out there and recognizable as what they were in Steins;Gate, and they could definitely use some growth and development, but this month made a good start for that.

#9 (11) – Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo – (8.4/10)

Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo had one bad episode this month. In that it introduced the godawful clingy sister who failed to stand out from her stereotype in any way. That really needs to be fixed as soon as possible. Aside from that however, this series has been delightful: finally a shounen romantic comedy that has some actual good chemistry and interesting characters who really play off each other. The past episodes have been particularly good at combining drama and comedy with each other, and I love how it’s full of those tiny details that bring extra life to the characters. They may seem annoying stereotypes at first, but aside from the horrible, horrible sister, they’re all more and deeper than that, and the tension between them is actually really nice to watch.

#8 (8) – Jormungand – (8.4/10)

I’m still surprised at how much better Jormungand’s second season is. The key? Characterization. The way it explores its characters is much more interesting and varied. Characters are still snarky, but rather than their defining traits, it just becomes a smaller part of them. The additions to the characters make them much more varied than what they were in the first season.

#7 (5) – Kamisama Hajimemashita – (8.4/10)

Kamisama Hajimemashita’s endings are always awesome to watch, no exception. It’s a very solidly executed series with a lot of heart in it. I do get the feeling that it could have been a bit more than what it currently is though, especially since it just has 13 episodes. The strength of this show is how well it combines its comedy, drama, romance and plot together, but at its current pacing it feels like it’s trying to do too much at once, sacrificing that part.

#6 (4) – Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – (8.4/10)

This month is not particularly better than the first month of Jojo, but nevertheless it’s still really enjoyable to watch how ridiculously over the top, and how it consistently pulls these elaborate powers out of the tiniest things. This story was its time far ahead.

#5 (10) – Zetsuen no Tempest – (8.5/10)

The pacing for this show is definitely interesting: the past month really has been dedicated to a lot of building up, background and character building, and what it’s building up is most definitely interesting. The characters have this unique bond between them that makes the build-up worth watching. Plus, the soundtrack still is fantastic.

#4 (7) – Psycho Pass – (8.6/10)

Psycho Pass is consistently improving. After two months its setting is really starting to come together with its themes. In every arc it takes a certain setting, and explores what would happen if a psychopath were to enter it, and given the tools for murder. Its focus is not so much on mystery, but rather on exploring the mindsets of the people involved with very good use of symbolism and classical references.

#3 (3) – From the New World – (8.75/10)

The animation for this series definitely caused a bit of controversy, but I personally love that this show pretty much said “screw it” to consistent animation, and instead focused on delivering interesting visuals with unconventional camera work. This series really takes nothing for granted, and with the single best story, character development and original setting of the series to debut this Autumn season, and yeah: this is still my favorite series of the bunch.

#2 (1) – Hunter X Hunter – (8.9/10)

December will be AWESOME. This month took care of the build-up, and we’ve finally gotten to my favorite part of Hunter X Hunter. And really: already this show has set itself miles apart from all other shounen shows with so many cunning characters being thrown at the same spot. Kurapika and his mindset in particular were just amazing this month. I don’t even care anymore which version is better, the 1999 version or the 2011: they both rock!

#1 (2) – Uchuu Kyoudai – (9/10)

It’s still amazing how much this series is able to do with its slow pacing. Mutta still is absolutely hilarious with his antics, but above that: this show put in so much detail on what all goes on for a launch to the moon. This month was full with defining moments for a ton of different characters. At this point I think that there is no character in this show that I don’t like: everyone here is just lovable.

Posted on with categories: Kamisama Hajimemashita

The current episode… I think it was a bit weaker than the others. And don’t get me wrong, it had an awesome climax again, and this made me laugh harder than any other episode this week, but it was a tad too short for my liking. The rest of this episode, it wasn’t that it was bad or anything in that direction, but after watching an episode of Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo that just kept switching back and forth between comedy and drama, something that THIS show was supposed to be good at, I feel like it could have been a bit more.

But that’s not to say that aside from the climax there wasn’t anything noteworthy in this episode. Tomoe’s past rocked, and how his feelings completely changed. Nanami refusing to steal something that could save the life of that woman whose name I can’t find. It didn’t even cross her mind, she just didn’t want to solve her problems over the backs of others, and I can really appreciate that.

I just missed the same chemistry for a large part of the episode that made me originally like this show so much. The ending made up for a lot, but not everything in this case. Ah well, better luck next week.
Rating: 4/8 (Nice)

Posted on 29 November 2012 with categories: Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo

And as if nothing happened, this show returns back to its usual level of good writing and character chemistry. This episode thankfully reminded me again why this show is so special for its kind: the characters and their chemistry just are incredibly addictive. Where the fanservice in the previous episode was terrible, here it was back to being good again. It wasn’t there for the sake of “hey, let’s show panties!”, but instead they were all about creating tension between the characters. Without it, this episode would have been completely different and actually less entertaining. That’s my definition of good fanservice, and I rarely see a series that uses it as well as Sakurasou.

The previous episode did create a bunch of really big problems though, which really need to be fixed. First of all, the sister in this episode did not return, however she will come back. Being such an inherently wrong character in every single way, the writers really need to do something if they want to be able to make something out of her character. Also, Nanami. Her character still revolves around Sorata. Granted though, she at least started to redeem herself with the help of Sorata and Shiina with how her crush developed over this episode.

Meanwhile, Sorata’s feelings through this episode were wonderful, being rejected for something he worked really hard on. And it’s also interesting how the creators found a way to keep the angst from getting too out of control with their anti-climaxes. There also was a lot of play on symbolism (you should start running forward… if you don’t want that guy to catch you!).

Also, there is one thing I’m wondering: why are so many series centered around school? Don’t get me wrong, Sakurasou avoids this wonderfully: the characters go to school, but instead of that we see the interesting parts of their lives. But what I mean is that since these series are supposedly aimed at teenagers, why pick school as the setting so often? Don’t most teenagers that age hate school?
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

Posted on with categories: Uchuu Kyoudai

DAMN YOU SPACE BROTHERS AND YOUR CLIFF-HANGERS!#$#$!%&

You just had to do it, waste this episode’s time with damned toilet paper. You just had to build up and drag on this episode long enough with mundane stuff for there to be no time left for the actual phone calls of JAXA. You just had to time it right at when Kenji got his answer. You just had to tease us like that. AaAaargh!!

Seriously, not since Giant Killing have I gotten so worked up over a simple cliff-hanger. I mean this episode was just so good. It was wonderful to see the astronauts relax on the moon and chit-chat, Mutta’s adventure in the supermarket had me in stitches (and besides, how often do you see characters just do groceries in anime? It’s such a good way to flesh them out). I already was in an incredibly good mood with this series when suddenly out of nowhere it skipped five days to the JAXA phone calls. I Yelled at my screen when I realized how the creators were in that evil mood again to stop right at the worst possible time.

With this, I also realized that this episode had some quiet moments that were quite peculiar. Moments in which nobody just said anything for a few seconds, but their expressions said so much about what they felt.
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

Posted on 28 November 2012 with categories: From the New World

So this definitely is a week of plot twists. The thing that this episode implied though definitely took the cake. They made Shun look like such an important character, central to the plot of this series. He grew up to be brilliant, so there seemed no doubt that he was supposed to be a very big player in the upcoming story arc. And then the creators actually did THAT with him.

So, he’s either dead, or an animal. Knowing this show, it will actually go through with it: Shun’s gone, or at least he’s an animal now that’s not going to return back. The intrigue is just getting better and better with this show.

The whole air of mystery around this series and the stuff that the adults try to hide from the children is awesome. The characters really seem on the verge of stepping into something huge, that can so easily ruin the lives of so many people that the children have to be kept constantly unknowing. This story of a bunch of curious children that happened to find out about the truth about all that. It can only go bad ways because those rules weren’t set up for nothing…
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Magi

This show has one very misleading ED. I really thought that it would be a happy cheerful adventure featuring the three lead characters having fun. This episode showed that the atmosphere in this series is in reality muh darker. With the slavery themes this already was to be expected, but this episode really took the cake.

Alibaba’s past was… gloomy. The creators really tried to show how poverty can drive people to do strange things, and the whole story about Alibaba’s friend growing up to be the leader of a bunch of thieves is definitely a great one. This episode lso loved to use its facial expressions for that with a much more exaggerated look than normal, which also did quite some wonders in bringing up emotions.

The tension is mostly between Alibaba and Morgiana, the latter of whom will probably have a lot of trouble accepting what’s going on. I really liked how she just dragged Alibaba over the rooftops to Aladdin for a talk. The big danger right now is for this show to devolve into too much angst: making it too one-sided in a way. I’m not sure what it exactly is, but it feels weird, like something is missing from it or the show is trying too hard to get to this angst.
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

Posted on with categories: Zetsuen no Tempest

This season is delightful in how many long series there are, and it really shows in the progression of the series: lots of shows are still in their building up stage. There are so many shows who actually have the time to set things up correctly. And the thing is that the build-up of these series is really good. Tempest is probably the purest in build-up, having the slowest pacing so far in terms of stuff happening, but this episode delivered one heck of a cliff-hanger.

There were the hints: that skeleton should have come from somewhere. It’s still a bit hard to believe that a body would decay entirely within just two years, but nevertheless, I love this time travel twist when it appears that not only has Hakaze spoken to the future, she will die shortly as well. On top of that, it’s looking more and more like the main characters in this series are the villains, set up by the Tree of Genesis who is really hinted to have orchestrated Aika’s murder. It also makes this quite an impressive series in which half the main cast is already dead at the start of the series. You don’t see that often.

Meanwhile the background of this series is getting more and more interesting, combining a lot of fiction together. Destroying the world in order to recreate it without flaws is turning into a cliche right now, but this show uses it well with its back-story. After the incredibly fast-paced Eureka Seven Ao and Un-Go, it’s also interesting to see Bones do another really slow-paced series again and making it work.
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

Posted on with categories: Robotics;Notes

What I love about this show: the slow build-up. Every episode it slowly builds up tension and raises the stakes in the midst of all the slice of life. You could really see this in Steins;Gate as well, even though the characters there turned it into a completely different anime. It’s pretty much how a slow pacing should be done: this series feels slow because it’s building up, not because i’ts padding for time.

This episode brought in a lot of mystery by also involving a murder plot involving an anime production staff, in which Fraukojiro’s mother was the main suspect. The whole episode being overlaid with that children’s song that is very often used to create a creepy atmosphere. It worked really well at the climax of this episode. It’s also not like the tension of each cliff-hanger is completely useless: it carries on over the next episode, as shown with how much Subaru changed here now that his father got into the picture.

The dialogues in this show by the way are quite down to earth, and I like that a lot about it: it fleshes them out really well. This episode was just one string of dialogues between different people, and it was actually quite well balanced: it didn’t go on and on around one particular couple, and yet the dialogues were long enough to give some extra character to the ones involved.
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

Posted on 26 November 2012 with categories: Psycho Pass

I have been waiting for this kind of series for so long. Especially this episode, which just leaves the action for what it is, and instead creates tension through both art and dialogue. This episode was nothing but long dialogues between people about the current case of dismembered schoolgirls in a disturbed Maria-Sama ga Miteru setting.

This is a kind of storytelling style that I really love, but doesn’t happen often. It’s hard to balance because there is so much dialogue, making it hard to add in other stuff, but this episode balanced it out wonderfully in the way that it turned these murders in this weird kind of art, while at the same time exploring what goes through the mind of its creators, from the perspectives of different people.

On top of that, the way in which this case is loosely connected to Kogari’s reasons for becoming an enforcer is quite interesting, especially the backdrop of this series in which his friend was the victim of this deranged artist. Also for this friend to be a complete womanizer that he dfound interesting, rather than some perfect human being.
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

Posted on with categories: Jojo's Bizarre Adventure

I love what this show does to its hencmen: it only shows the battles against three of them in detail. Apart from that, all of them are instantly just slaughtered by Jojo as he refuses to waste any more time on this. The result was that this episode showed yet another incredibly over the top battle with Dio and Jojo.

And again, the adrenaline between those two. The incredibly crazy gore that this show has is just amazing. Usually when people with over the top powers and strengths fight, it just doesn’t have the impact as when the fights were done realistically. And yet here this show comes with such extreme details in its gore. I mean, did Dio really just pull out a bunch of arteries from Jojo’s neck? And then there are bizarre contraptioons that were supposed to be zombies. Seriously, the author of this thing had one sick mind.

But yeah, the past episodes have pretty much been Jojo punching zombies to death in a ridiculously elaborate fashion. If the rest of the series wil have this as well, it will get old fast, although I’ve heard enough times that the second arc will be completely different, and actually better on each level. Can’t wait!
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

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