And here’s my thoughts of what’s going on with the current anime season, compiled into a handy table again:
Its been a surprisingly decent spread of shows across the board this time, and nothing from my initial impressions has totally let me down, but after our first episodes, Tempest is the only one that I’m actually truly excited about. What is kind of surprising is that there were very few first episodes that really stood out, and everything is vaguely content with just a steady pace, rather than a showy first trick. Now, actually, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because huge openers tend to lead to big disappointments further down the line. On the other hand, a good opener can also keep you watching through a short slew of mediocre follow-ups whilst waiting for the next upturn of awesome, so it’s a double edged blade.
Zetsuen no Tempest is a fairly surprising hit, jumping up from ‘may look at’ straight to my top pick (and only ‘GREAT’ rating) so far of the season. It has an interesting plot development, it feels well directed, and all of the so far small cast of characters has been somewhat distinct and very well developed. There’s been alot more show rather than tell, which is positive, and the combat scenes have been exciting, with decent chereography.
They have barely developed Samon, the apparent villian, at all, however, and at the moment his masterplan to exile his sister, revive the tree and all that is just a ‘huh?’. However, I’m willing to forgive this right now since the buildup has been well done.
Interestingly enough, my throwaway comment about it being related to The Tempest was actually vaguely on the mark, since there have been several Hamlet references thrown in so far. Sometimes it does feel like they’re trying too hard to make them relevant, but nonetheless its a nice touch.
Furthermore, its managed quite a hard feat: making good use of flashbacks. This is a difficult one to pull off; and poorly handled flashbacks nearly always injure a narrative. But here, everything feels in place, so again kudos the direction and scripting for that.
This is a surprisingly chocoblock level this season, so I won’t go into huge details for everything.
Tonari no Kaibatsu isn’t bad, though its terrible budget is showing through in a few notable places (some of that anatomy is as bad as my early works :D). Even so, the show survives its initial episodes by being quite charming and inducing a few giggles. Basically, its a romance plot between a Manzai Bokke and Tsukomi, which is a fun idea. It does in fact feel like His and Her Circumstances updated to this decade, with a replaced more insane male lead.
Magi is… well, actually the first somewhat generic starter episode is actually made quite interesting entirely due to Aladdin being such an off-kilter character. This young boy used his wish from the lamp in this case to simply ask for a friend (daww!) and then decides to randomly impose on
Gilgamesh Ali Baba, free a save, eat an entire caravan of food, oh and he believes in equal oppertunity breast groping and has a turban that turns into a Magic Carpet. Go figure. I’m still puzzled by everyone being so pale when they live in the desert though.
Jo’s Jo’s Bizarre Adventure is summed up with one thing: “DIOOOOOOOO!”. I actually ignored it in the original preview, but its an adaptation of a very long running (and old) manga. Therefore, its a nostalgic insight into the older days of Shounen, when boys of 12 are muscular and angular like you wouldn’t believe. Dio is truly a rather great villian, who starts his career by snap kicking a friendly dog in the neck and only gets worse, educating Jojo in how being good really sucks (eventually said dog is burnt alive in an incinerator, he steals Jojo’s girlfriends first kiss, and so on). If you can deal with the old art style (dem eyebrows!) its vaguely worth you time.
Sakurasou no Pet no Kanojo… well I really want to hate it, but so far I can’t, because frankly its been surprisingly solid for a harem show of its type. Primarily due to the fact that despite his shouting and lack of balls, our main hero is actually shown to be kind and sensitive. This is (badly) just assumed or we’re just told this is case without any evidence in many shows like this, so its really refreshing to see it done this way, because you can actually begin to understand WHY the heroines MAY see something there, rather than them arbitrarily falling for him. As an aside, the scenario of the loony bin has been seen before, but so far this one is actually quite well developed.
Now about Psycho Pass… this is inverse to Sakurasou, since I really wanted to love it (due to its scriptwriter), but its first episode just wasn’t strong enough to warrant it being put in the great category. Certainly it oozed a bit of style, and nicely put forward its basic groundwork. Certainly it WAS solid, without a doubt. But it wasn’t awe-inspiring, and in fact felt a bit sporadic. There was alot there that reminded me of Minority Report (the Tom Cruise film, and one of his best, actually) if it met Cyberpunk and maybe a bit of Judge Dredd, so thats always good.
And Robotics;Notes. Well, this certainly doesn’t seem to be in a rush, but NitroPlus plots rarely are. Much like Psychopass, it had a solid episode where it laid alot of the groundwork, and also inserted a cold-opening. Our genki+ main heroine is quite refreshing, since the passionate mecha lover is rarely a female part. Our male protagonist also reminds of Keima from God Only Knows, though less insular, more trusting, and generally quite a nice guy in this case. Its got potential.
K. Ok, sure its down right BEAUTIFUL. The scenery porn is in full flow, and the action has alot of budget. But… what the hell is going on? Though the animators are clearly working their balls off, they’re backed up by very dubious scriptwriting and mediocre directing. A shame, but its still worth giving it a little bit of time just in case it finds itself.
BTOOM is brutal, visceral, and cruel. This is actually a good thing for an anime of its type. However, it falls a bit flat on the directing. I can see our main protagonist has been smacked in the head and has limited amnesia. Fine. It warrants a couple of his silly questions and his panic, BUT this should NOT make him an idiot, which he is. Our female leads episode showed she was a little better on the smarts, but utterly lacking in perception. This makes them a facepalm worthy team which can easily kill the premise, so I’m wary of this right now.
Code:Breaker barely crawls its way into meh territory with its stack of puzzling direction choices. It feels jumpy as a result. Though a reverse harem shounen is a rare thing, and I currently like our female lead, I get the suspicion this isn’t going to last. Well, if you want more blue flame fights, I’m sure this is worth your time, but to me, its got to suddenly do alot more in the next couple of episodes to grab me.
Girls Und Panzer is a show of generic hash with a couple of rough gems in there. It is, after all, just another example of “Moe Girls do surprising thing X!”, and they’re really trying to shove the cute down your throat. Its only staying in meh because of a few choice moments, like the propaganda film, that awesome carrier at the end, and the nattering girls in the cafe being hilarious.
And lastly, Suki-tte Ii no yo felt like it was using a generic template for its romance setup. I like the female leads attitude and wise understanding of how life can suck, but nearly everything else reeked of ‘seen it before, got the t-shirt’. Perhaps it can improve, and I hope it will, but right now, its pretty meh.
Well, that’s about it. If I still haven’t mentioned it, I’m not even bothering to follow it any further and its probably generic as heck. Or not. I’m not infalliable. But whatever. If you found it informative in making your selections, then great. Cya soon.