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Archive for the ‘First Impressions’ Category

Nearly late, but not quite!

Probable Must Watches

Monogatari (III)

2013JUL-Mongatari

Well, naturally this is the top of my list. It was teaser’ed at the end of the Nekomonogatari movie earlier in the year. I’m a little concerned that its covering more books than its predecessor series, but I also haven’t read those, so maybe it’ll all be ok. Anyway, it’ll involve Mr. Shinbo’s psychotic direction again no doubt; but thats ok, its real strength lies with its unconventional approach and its philosophy. The action, cute girls, and Araragi being an awesome lead male character are just icing on its cake. Of course, Nisemonogatari has us wondering about how he’s going to keep the harem maintained. Sengoku is especially a powder keg waiting to explode.

However, I am kinda annoyed they STILL HAVE NOT DONE the Kizumonogatari movie, which we were waiting for back when they released Nisemonogatari, never mind a year later for this. The prequel backstory on Araragi becoming a Vampire and the backdrop for his relationship with Shinobu is kind of important. Fortunately, the book is translated HERE, thanks to Baka-Tsuki, so go read it if you haven’t already.

Fate/Prisma Illya

2013JUL-Ilya

A gaiden/side story for FSN that naturally focuses on the sillier aspects! This an alternate universe where Iris and Kiritsugu (from Fate/Zero) are living like a (vaguely) normal family with their children Illya and Shirou. At least, until Rin and Luvia, who are magical girls in this setting, are abandoned my their magical sticks (of Zeltretch!) because they’re always fighting each other rather than doing their jobs properly. Naturally, one of the sticks chooses Illya as its new master, and tutored by Rin, she is thrown into a quest to retrieve the escaped Servant Cards, which like in Cardcaptor Sakura, give her various powers later.

I’m a little concerned that the preview focused entirely on the moe element though. You shouldn’t expect deepness of Illya, but it’ll be a nice, lighthearted romp paying homage to every standard magical girl trope in the book, just with FSN characters and settings. A guilty pleasure, if you will.

Cautiously Optimistic About

The Neptunia Anime

2013JUL-Nep

Everyone’s favourite niche console-wars piss-take PS3 game is finally getting itself an anime. All of the main girls in the foreground above are goddesses of the video-games industry and represent consoles and handhelds, including the never-released Sega Neptune and Nepgear.

Frankly, the first game was pretty freaking terrible with comatose inducing battles and plenty of grinding barely buoyed by an average plot, but the second was a nice reboot of the franchise, and Victory (recently released) has continued the trend of being decent. It’s been basically confirmed that this is an original story though, rather than an anime adaptation of one of the games.

Kami Sama no Inai Nichiyoubi

2013JUL-Kamisamaaka. “And so god abandoned this world on Sunday”. Follows a loli-gravekeeper (!) in a world where no one new is born. She has prepared 47 graves for her village just in time for a serial killer to come around and slaughter them all. It also just so happens this man may well be her father.

Err… yeah… talk about morbid descriptions of an anime, eh? In any case, its based on an award winning novel, so perhaps it could be interesting.

Uchouten Kazoku
2013JUL-UchoutenPA Works doing an anime in a world where humans and Tanuki live side by side? That could be marginally interesting. Though they’ve been a little less inspiring lately; TariTari was merely solid rather than excellent.

Well, in any case, I’ll be giving it a look.

Maybe worth a look

Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui
aka. “It’s not my fault I’m Unpopular”. Apparently it has /a/ on 4chan to thank for its popularity. That isn’t exactly… comforting; though the concept has potential.

Kin’iro Mosaic
Oh my: “The Japanese/British girls’ mixed comedy follows the lives of Shinobu, Alice, and other girls from both Japan and Great Britain.” Mainly this is here because I’m interested in how much fail they can pack in their representation of Britain. It may shoot up my listings if it can handle the UK in a way that is funny without being hamfisted, since, being a brit, I love taking the piss out of my own country…

Servant x Service
A 4koma-ish anime about the civil service in Japan. Because that sounds SO BORING, who knows… it may actually work!

NO! Just NO!!!

Free!
Sparkling Bishounen go swimming…

Inu to Hasami wa Tsukiyou
A dog… and girl wielding scissors… (sigh)…

Kimi no Iru Machi
I’ve heard too much horror about the manga…

Fantasista DollRozen Maidens play Yi-Gi-Oh…

Quite a spread from bad to good I guess. There is more, but if I’ve not mentioned it, it’s probably so generic as not be worthy a mention, I’ve missed it, or it has very little information at this stage.

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LAAAAAATTTTEEEE!!! I know. No excuses. Just laziness this time. There’s alot of sequels and sci-fi this season; not that this is neccessarily a bad thing.

Probable Must Watches

Shingeki no Kyojin (aka. Attack on Titan)
2013APR-GiantsThe Manga of this is ludicrously popular; mostly for being dark, bloody, visceral and heavy. Crapsack future world where humans have been mostly eliminated by giants who eat people for lolz. The few survivors managed to do so by building a city with a huge wall that giants couldn’t see behind (apparently they’re pretty dumb). Of course, eventually, one of them happens to be taller than the wall, and goes on a rampage, eating the protagonists mother. He goes on a vengeance quest afterwards, vowing to elimate the giants from the world.

First attempt of a new studio too, so here’s hoping they can pull it off. I imagine it could end up a massive flop if they even think about rose-tinting it, though. Any censoring or plot alterations to remove the excessive violence will kill it dead. It needs to be at least as violent as Claymore and Muv-Luv Alternative to work.

Suisui no Gargantia
2013APR-Suisei
The protagonist has spent his life as part of the galactic human alliance fighting against an alien race called the Hideous (REALLY?!?) when in one battle he is suddenly sucked into a time-space wibble and thrown across the dimensions to land on Earth. Which was apparently mostly forgotten about long ago; and is now an oceanic lost world after the polar caps melted. He now has to learn to live in a suspiciously peaceful place along with a genki thing called Amy.

So, this is what happens if you put Waterworld and Urobuchi Gen together? Though I have to say Psycho-Pass was a bit of let-down from Gen considering his previous good works. As a result, I’m a little more suspicious of him now, rather than instantly paying attention. I also don’t believe for a minute (go on, surprise me, Gen) that this is going to stay peaceful. Ah well, it has some good potential, so…

Railgun Season II
2013APR-RailgunIIWell yeah, this is of course going to be here, I’m a raving Index and Railgun fanboy for reasons I can’t quite discern sometimes. Though mostly I like Kuroko more than Misaka. Gotta love her raving lesbianism. Ahem, in any case, this season is covering the Sisters arc from Misaka’s perspective, which could be REALLY good, since it was arguably the best arc of the original Index. Besides, we get to see the point where our railgun starts crushing on Touma heavily from her point of view. And of course, Accelerator being a dick makes everything better.

Devil Survivor II The Animation2013APR-DevilSurvivorIIOh Really? I actually wasn’t aware that there ~was~ a second Devil Survivor game (goes to check~ OH right its usual thing of Europe being horribly screwed over with releases… apparently we’re getting it THIS MAY, over 14 months after America… and holy s**t we’re finally getting Overclocked as well, at the same time. Jeez, there might be a reason to dust off my 3ds, what with Fire Emblem 13 finally coming out as well).

Anyway, rants about nonsensical release dates aside I can say that anything Shin Megami Tensei related is usually at least decent. Although, I do wonder how they can present the multiple options in any given game and push them into an anime. Part of the appeal of the games (besides collecting and fusing demons) is making moralistic choices that are quite often selections between bad and worse. So anyway, I think it could turn out very well, but it could also flop.


Cautiously Optimistic About

Hataraku Maou Sama
2013APR-Maou-SamaJapan loves shows about demon kings at the moment. This one is another exile; just prior to him conquering the world, of course. And now his admin, strategic and logistical skills from that event are now entirely useless, apparently, and he has to start a new conquering spree of earth by working in a family resturant… huh… Well anyway its a rather idiotic concept, but worse concepts have turned out better and I have a good feeling about it, so we shall see.

Nyaruko Season II2013APR-NyarukoIIThe return of the cutest lovecraftian horrors to grace this earth. If the show had maintained its early season power; I’d be throwing this up in the Must Watches, actually, because gods alive the first episodes of the first season were comedic genius. Sadly it lost its momentum as it went along and nearly fell into generic harem territory by the end. Not that I don’t like Cthuga and Hastur; they were actually funny characters (especially Kuuko/Cthuga) but somehow I got the idea the show was trying too hard. Anyway; it still has good enough potential, so lets see.

Photo Kano
2013APR-PhotoKano#Considering the entire premise is “boy gets a camera, boy uses camera to get girls”, I ~really~ should slap this straight into the NO category. However, it is working off the rather excellent pedigree from Amagami; which was one of the few decent romance shows to grace our screens in recent years. We can only hope that it can follow up that act; and to do so, I do hope they use the same omnibus format with resets every few episodes, each block telling a different story. It was part of the reason its predecessor worked as well as it did.

Zettai Bouei Leviathan
2013APR-LeviathanI know, I should stop deluding myself into believing Mobile Games can be made into successful anime’s; so far I’ve been burnt by every similar prediction so far, but I can’t help it. And it’s Gonzo, so yeah. But… but dragon girls! It stars the personification of Bahamut, Jormungand and Leviathan out to stop evil aliens invading their world using meteors. I mean seriously, that concept is so idiotic I can’t help but chuckle at it. Go on, surpise me, be a sleeper hit on me, Zettai.


May Possibly Look into

Red Data Girl
Can’t say the first teaser episode really inspired much of… well… anything in me. I know I’m supposed to feel sorry for her, but I think they’re playing that card too soon.

Aku no Hana
Could be interesting; but it sounds rather dark, which is not typically my cup of tea. Can’t say I’ve actually read the Flowers of Evil either so for once I don’t have much of a grounding on the literary side of things.

Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince
Seems a rather generic mecha show. Since that’s not my thing, the only reason its really in this category is because it has the director of Katanagatari.

Karneval
Fabulous guys everywhere; and the circus. Oh deaar… Still; the premise is mildly entertaining and I’m willing to give it a chance, at the very least.

Samurai Girls Season II
Though it had style, it had no substance. But who knows, maybe the second season will redeem it.

Ore no Imouto Kawaii Season II
Honestly, the adaptation of the first season was pretty dubious, especially with its direction choices. If I recall, the novels also become ponderous rather than light-hearted too as they go on, so I can’t place this season any higher, really.

Azazel-San Season II
Its short episodes and frankly disgusting sense of humour were marginally amusing, but I honestly don’t see myself tuning in for a second season.

Date A Live
Even though its based on a light novel; it just totally screams generic harem at the top of its lungs, so I’m afraid I can’t rank it any higher. I heard it starts funny and then loses it though, so I’ll at least look at it.


No, Just NO!

Dansei Bunri no Crime Edge
What is the current trend with hair fetishes in Japan? Eeesh. Magical scissors too…

Mushibugyou
The Shinsengumi fight giant bugs… wait what?

Aiyura & Yuyushiki
I just don’t have any faith left in 4koma adaptations. That is all.


Well, at least there’s not as much obviously suspicious stuff this season, but there’s also alot in the ‘meh’ category too, so whatever.

As always, my viewpoints are biased and have about a 15% chance of being totally wrong. I’ve also probably missed some things.

Well, even when you’ve been watching anime for as long as I have, things still surprise and dissapoint you; though my sensor for junk and jewels is more accurate than most.

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And here’s my thoughts of what’s going on with the current anime season, compiled into a handy table once more: Anime2013-Spring-Table

As I noted in the initial preview, there’s a lot of shows I wasn’t even going to attempt to bother watching with more than a cursory glance to see if I’d underestimated them. Fortunately, for the most part, I didn’t. From the frankly spastic tonal changes of Koutoura-san to the moe equivalent of cheap sausage-meat that is Love Live, I’m not going to even give these shows a space on the table. I somehow managed to get through GJ-Bu’s first episode though, so that’s on there, though I’m not going to follow it.

The only one truly underestimated was OsaShura; primarily because our main hero seems stronger spined than most, and Masuzu seems pretty awesome, though it’s setting many flags that I often recognise as death-flags for a show already, so I’m suspicious of it, but its got enough to keep my attention for now.

The surprisingly good dark horse was Mondaiji. I’m glad I didn’t instantly dismiss it; highly competent (even overpowered) leads who immediately come to an understanding with one another is a rare and beautiful sight. There’s hints of a bigger story being seeded too, and subtle touches, like the suggestion that our heroes are from different era’s/times.

Yama no Suzume kinda sabotages itself with its own shortness. Three minutes is really too short. But I suppose if you want a saccharine shot, go for it.

Tamako Market does indeed look like its generic KyoAni. Shame, as Hyouka was good; but all this really has going for it is the talking bird, which is relatively bemusing.

Season II of Boku wa Tomadachi ga Sukunai continues without missing a beat, as if it was never off-air at all, which is commendable. It’s still got a good sense of the absurd; though I have to say the first episode wasn’t one of its funnier ones.

Hair Detective Inaba has absolutely no sense of comedic timing, sadly. It seems to think a joke minute == a laugh a minute, which is not really the case. It is impressively derp-worthy that you can fast-scan to any point in the episode and have a good chance of going “Wut?” though; and it doesn’t take itself seriously at least.

Be Mine Hero… well it’s solid adaptation; and the director was at least conscious when they made it; since some good choices were made in explaining the material with various shots, rather than keeping the hardcore exposition. But the character art has indeed ended up as suspicious as I originally feared; and Maou’s ‘useless meat’ was given centre stage, whereas it was a side note in the original. That’s not unexpected, I guess, but its still a little dissapointing.

Finally, Sasami-san. Shinbo’s still on form, though he’s actually restrained himself for this one, I think (perhaps I wasn’t paying attention, but no over shoulder head-tilts were spotted!). Its also completely different to what was advertised, which is pretty surprising. After all, I completely didn’t expect the entire world to turn to chocolate and the sister trio having to fight off a hydra made of fudge in the first episode. Sasami herself is a bit odd too. Clearly a wielder of the ‘Significant Brother Lover’ and yet tsundere about it. Go figure.

And a reminder: this summary is just my opinion so far. A +0 tends to mean “you’ve got one more episode to prove yourself”, whereas a +1 means I’m interested, and +2 means I’m already bemused. -1 or worse tends to mean dropped. They rarely show up if I’m doing my initial impressions correctly though,  since I tend to have a decent sense of what is going to instantly be a bad idea, and what has some vague potential.

That’s about all for now. Hope you find this handy if you haven’t yet decided on a schedule for the new season.

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Probable Must Watches

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha
(aka. ‘Be Mine, Hero!’ ‘I Refuse!’) 2013JAN-Maou-YuushaI briefly mentioned this in the last post. The Manga is rather good; but I’m rather peeved that the art style for the anime adaptation looks pretty terrible. Its about the hero who goes to fight the final boss (the demon queen), only to find she’s not interested; and in fact carefully argues several lucid points to him that if he kills her, the world’s economy will collapse. So they decide to make up a story that they were both seriously wounded in a fight, and go off together to try and improve the economy and technology of the world in secret.

It has Spice and Wolf vibes to it; but is a little bit more action-oriented. However, if you don’t like discussions about medieval economics on a national level, you’ll probably be bored senseless. I like the fact that none of the characters actually have names in it (he is constantly referred to as ‘hero’, she as ‘demon queen’ or the ‘crimson scholar’; there’s ‘big maid’ and ‘little maid’, and his old compatriot is just called ‘female knight’ etc.). Also, our hero is stupendously powerful (like in Hagure Yuusha, he’s definately epic-level), as he demonstates later by single-handedly taking over a fortress, harrying an army, and soundly beating everyone in duals.

Anyway, if they pull it off right, it’ll be good. At least the background art in the PV’s seems ok.

Sasami-san at Ganbaranai
2013JAN-HikikomoriAbout a hikikomori girl who is utterly unmotivated; but is taken care of by her brother. She hates his attitude, but uses him as a window into the world she doesn’t want to step into with her patent program ‘Brother Surviellance Tool’. With this she discovers the sot is in a love square with three lovely sisters, and hijinks ensue.

Actually, normally I would have this lower on the list were it not for the magic words of “Akiyuki Shinbo”. They’ve let the crazy sod out of his cage again to head this project up, and thinking about it does have some similarities to Denpa Onna, doesn’t it? I expect it to be considerably like that; and as a result, it shifts way up into my must watch list.

Cautiously Optimistic About

Cuticle Tantei Inaba
2013JAN-WeredobermansAdventures of a were-doberman who arrests a mafia don who just so happens to be a goat, and then fights with that mafia’s henchmen.

No I’m not smoking anything, that is indeed the plot summary of this anime. It’s so obscenely ludicrous it just might work.

Frankly I really don’t have anything else relevant to say about it; so yeah….

Tamako Market
2013JAN-MarketAn unusual anime original from KyoAni. At the very least, you’re assured of some vague quality from them under most circumstances (K-ON, Hyouka, etc.) so this one can stay in the cautiously optimistic area of the list.

It’s naturally about a Market Street’s inhabitants. I like the chicken’s daft design.

Hmm, I appear to be strapped for words today on this section, go figure.

Boku wa Tomadachi ga Sukunai NEXT
(aka. I still don’t have any friends… just a harem)
2013JAN-StillNoFriends

Yeah, I know, I don’t normally post sequels, blah, blah. I really needed something to buff up this section, go figure. But if you didn’t experience the lunacy of the first season, you should go back and check it out. It’s decent. Here’s hoping season 2 will keep the same energy, and give us more UNIVERSE!!!! AND delicious MEAT!!!

May Possibly Look Into

Yama no Susume: Loli’s go mountain climbing. I want to put this in the No category, but for some reason I can’t dismiss it. Though frankly I don’t see how they can make mountain climbing interesting to watch (it’s something you do, not watch); a perverse masochistic part of me want’s to see them try, and that saves the show from instant grill.

Mondai-Ji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo?: Guy is summoned into an alternate world by a bunny-girl who wants to overthrow the devil along with a pair of girls. Sure; whatever. Sounds like a fap-fest to me, but things with weak plots like this can occassionally be entertaining, and its based on a light novel, so I’m not instantly dismissing it.

Vivired Operation: Loli’s in hotpants delivering newspapers on a hoverbike. Wait what? Actually, there is very little information on this, so this entry is purely here because the bike in the promo-image looks cool. Call me shallow if you like, its entirely true. Made by somebody associated with Strike Witches. It will therefore likely be a meaningless fap-fest, but oh well.

No, Just NO!

Amnesia: “The boy’s name is Orion, and calls himself a fairy.” What he does in his own time is up to him, BUT NEED I SAY MORE?

Mangirl: You killed me dead with “Japan’s cutest manga editors”. Please leave and collect your bounty. Let’s not even go near that Engrish title.

Ai Mai Mii: Not Strawberry eggs. Is that an octopus in your pot or are you just pleased to see me?

Love Live!!: Idols saving the world again. Merely an excuse for moe. Page me when you get to the point.

Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru: Harem. Generic. I’ll be reading the dictionary over here; I’ll get more jollies out of it, KTHXBYE.

Koutoura-San: I’m a psychic, hear me roar.

GJ-Bu: Another 4-koma chibi nonsense show without a plot. Please.

Senran Kaguya: Tits and Ninjas? You’ve met each other before right? Lets get along again this time!

!!EIGHT!! SHOWS IN THIS CATEGORY IS CRIMINAL.

What’s going on, Japan? Especially after such an exemplary Winter season, I think they must have assumed the apocalypse was really hitting yesterday night and not put any effort in.

Yeah, I have to say, it’s looking a bit grim this season. But at least we’ll still have at least Robotics;Notes, Psycho-Pass, and I think possibly Zetsuen no Tempest carrying on with us. That’s all for now. Tune in again soon.

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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.

The GREAT

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.

The GOOD

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.

The MEH

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.

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Whew, its time for the winter season already? How time seems to fly this year…

I’ll keep up the style I did last time for now. All the usual rules apply, that I’ll rank things by how much stick and faith I’m putting into them based on the promotional materials and pitches we’ve seen. There are in fact 32 new shows that I can see this season, which is pretty ridiculous. Naturally, as I’ve stated before, I tend to want to kill myself after writing up a preview for such a huge volume, so I won’t. You can visit Random Curiosity for a good rundown of everything if you like. The links on the titles of each show will also send you winging off to the AniDB entry for that show, from where you can follow other links and read more synopsises and such.

Probable Must Watches

PSYCHO PASS
In the future, they can accurately tell your state of mind and potential neuroses in an instant, and compare it to a standard personality, the titular PSYCHO PASS. Of course, with this level of advanced profiling comes a whole new form of policing and investigation. We follow such a cop, Shinya, and his trusty dominator pistol, in their cases.

Now this wouldn’t normally get this high, but oh look, Urobuchi Gen wrote the screenplay. If he or Shinbo get involved in anything I immediately pay attention and so should you. It will interesting to see what spin he can put on the cyberpunk-ish cop genre after his triumphs with Madoka and Fate/Zero. I’m sure that, one day, he’s going to slip, but at the moment he still seems in his prime, making this a must watch for now.

Robotics;Notes
Kaito and Akiho are the only members of the High School Robot research club of Chuuoutanegashima High, Date 2019, Divergence Ratio 1.048596. Together they strive to construct a working battle robot amidst a conspiracy in order to restore their clubs good name and honour.

If the needless semi colon didn’t instantly give it away, this is based on a Nitroplus VN (like Steins;Gate and Chaos;Head). Whilst the Chaos anime adaptation was pretty poor compared to the VN, Steins managed to be pretty decent, and the novels and concepts themselves are always fairly strong, so I have high hopes for this, despite the handover of the reigns to Production IG.


Cautiously Optimistic About…

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun
Shizuku, a girl whose only interests include grades, studying, and worth is one day forced to deliver class notes to the ever absent and delinquent Haru. This encounter makes Haru conclude she is his friend, much to her irritation. But perhaps this will be the event that thaws out her otherwise frozen grey life?

Somewhat generic, but it reminds me partially of one of the old classics, His and Her Circumstances, so it’s got at least a chance before I dismiss it, since the potential seems to be there.

Suki-tte Ii na yo
We focus on Mei, a reclusive girl who has spent her life without anyone who she felt she could a friend until one day she roundhouse kicks the most popular guy in the school over a percieved prank. Who would have thought this event would lead her to all those things she’d never previously had?

My romance sense is tingling, waiting for its fix, and this has the notions of that, so I’m interested in it.

K
Presumably continuing the fad of single letter titles (after C, and X), nobody has any clue what the heck this show is about, and the producers are keeping it that way, by providing only rather random PV’s. They seem to be trying to cater for a massive demographic though, since we’ve got a loli, a catgirl, some yaoi bishies, a swordwielding girl, cool guys, mysterious waif guys, and a boatload of other tropes.

Still, if they consistently demonstate the frankly AMAZING scenery porn seen in this preview video on YouTube, I’m in. 😀

BTOOM!
Ryouta is a NEET 22-year old whose only claim to fame is his skill in the online demolitions focused game ‘BTOOM’. One day though, he awakens on a tropical island thrown into a real life Battle-Royale esq. version of his old favourite game. How will he survive?!?

The onomatopoeia for a grenade explosion as the title… isn’t exactly an inspired choice, but oh well. This will provide Explosions, probable gore and fanservice for your visceral fix of the season I guess.


May Possibly Look Into…

Sakuraso no Pet na Kanojo
Boy adopts a starving kitten… and is promptly thrown out of his no pets school dorm. Banished to the dorm for problem children as a result (harsh!) he has to deal with a bunch of lunatics. Its troperiffic, and we’ve heard all this before so many times. But for some reason I can’t bring myself to kill it off instantly. Maybe its artstyle or the fanservice, or the cats. Don’t know. Call it a moment of madness.

Girls und Panzer
In this world, one of the accepted, required arts for being a lady, alongside of tea ceremony and flower arrangement, is Sensha-do. Literally, you know, Tank Operation. Yep, the military vehicles. Looks to be full of military otaku-ism bundled with cute girls driving devastating combat vehicles. Which, in standard anime fashion, is so retarded it might just work.

Code: Breaker
A shounen show par standard. Blue flames, martial arts happy girl, ridiculous powers. Arbitrary dispensation of justice, etc. But again I can’t bring myself to instantly dismiss it. Could be amusing fun since it seems in the vein of Ao no Exorcist. Of course, the instant it takes more than 52 episodes to finish its story, I’ll be gone, but maybe it’ll work.

Zetsuen no Tempest: The Civilization Blaster
A year on after his families murder, a boy forges a link with an exiled sorcerer to help investigate what killed them in exchange for his help in preventing the growth of a magical tree that may end in the worlds destruction. A pair of guys, magic, and a mildly interesting if unspired sounding fantasy series. Still, it could be something… and has it actually got any relation to The Tempest? Probably not.

Magi
A crazy anime adaptation of Arabian Nights and the tales of Aladdin, Ali Baba, and the Genie. No really. How everybody manages to be pale skinned when living in the desert is frankly astonishing. Oh, and Aladdin looks like Cinque from Dog Days wielding a Black Claymore (at least make it a scimitar!). Go figure. Still, its again in the ‘so obscene it just might work’ category.


No, just NO!

Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankeinai yo ne!
Onii-chan! I’m a woman now, so maybe we should… <shot> Seriously, theres a show like this EVERY season!

Actually, thats the only one this season that screams oh god no. Makes a nice change. Though perhaps its because I’m feeling charitable today. Certainly there are things that could go here, and probably will after the initial flurry.


Anything else, well… as per usual its just not even caught my radar.

No, I haven’t forgetten Little Busters, but frankly I’ve never been much of a fan of the Key visual novels, so its in the ‘meh’ box.

I think thats about it. So stay tuned and good hunting.

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And here’s my thoughts of what’s going on with the current anime season, compiled into a handy table for no reason whatsoever.

Well, I have to say, my predictions from before seemed somewhat inaccurate this time.

The BAD

First and foremost, Arcana Famiglia has completely let me down… its director needs to be shot for such poor choices, because its been an utter hash so far. I’m going to endure it until episode 3 in the vague off chance of a sudden heel-face-turn, but frankly things aren’t looking good; mostly in their terrible use of telling rather than showing, and then pulling a recap in episode 2 just in case you’d switched off. Yikes.

The GREAT

Sword Art is as decent as hoped, and much like I’d wanted, they’ve decided to do things chronologically, by switching to one of the later side stories straight away for episode 2, since normally, in the first book, it time-skips 2 years after the introduction, and the author then released the gaps in later novels. They did indeed animate the first Kobold Lord boss battle quite nicely and handled his first proper meeting with Asuna well (even if that meeting is changed slightly, I prefer this version). I will admit a degree of bias, though, since I did like the books.

Then we have the surprise hits… both Utakoi and Chocolate slipped under my radar in the first impressions, but have both impressed themselves upon me.

Utakoi appeals to my literary grounding with its short stories interpreting classic japanese poetry in a rather nice art style. Its well framed and directed, and handles its exposition in a refined manner. Lots of terrible anime directors could learn from this (especially the nut that did Arcana Famiglia). And its mostly love stories, which appeals to my romantic side. Still… why were the snakes censored…?

Koi Senkyou to Chocolate has very nice chemistry (a rarity) between its main characters and if it actually ditched the harem, it might even qualify for being an actual romance. The fact it grabbed my attention immediately by killing some random girl off in the first few minutes and hinting to a deeper plot was also well played. And finally, decent direction too… mainly in the fact that they’ve handled the comedic timing well.

So, thats the excellent out of the way. There’s also a surprising amount of good this season, which is always nice.

The GOOD

The surprise at this level is the new gender bending sengoku anime, Oda Nobuna. It manages to nod alot to historical accuracy (though I’m sure there are mistakes, as my knowledge of the history is only moderate), especially with how they got the main character to replace Toyotomi Hideyoshi (and Nobuna calls him monkey/saru, much as the real Nobunaga did to the real Hideyoshi). Also, the scene with the lead using his i-phone to terrify the samurai… only to run out of batteries (yep, sounds like an i-phone) was hilarious. Second episode continued to improve on the first, which is nice, as our lead works to (and successfully averts) the events of the Owari rebellion. Nobuna is clearly already in love with him and he with her, but I guess they need to retain sexual tension in a show like this. Even so, its still pretty good.

Hagure Yuusha no Ecstatica somehow manages to add plenty of tits (mostly courtesy of Myu) without impeding its own plot. The male lead is basically the work-safe version of Rance, which is great, since he’s a wonderful bastard of a character. You know the type, utterly arrogant pervert, but has the strength to back it up, and seems to power up around beautiful girls (and in his case, has the ability to teleport girls underwear into his hands). Utterly silly, but surprisingly awesome so far.

Now, Jinrai wa Suita Shimashita I’ve decided to rename it Pastel Apocalypse Fairies. This is a throughly fucked up anime. If you don’t shout “WTF?!” at least twice an episode you’re doing it wrong. Its the utter dissonance between the colourful world and its subject matter that renders it so powerful, so the artists and screenwriters are clearly playing nice with each other, always a good thing. And the best part, IMHO, is the main girls sarcastic narration and monologue of whats going on as it happens. And lets not forget Ave Maria playing to roast chickens smashing through a stained glass window among streaming light into the midst of starved orphans. Yep.

Tari Tari… actually only barely rates as good at the moment. It has an erratic pace and puzzling ups and downs. Hopefully they’re trying to make a point with this by the third episode, so I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, mainly because its P.A. works and its pretty. Very pretty. I also laughed when the school choir sung the OP from True Tears.

Campione, well it started off at a breakneck pace, and actually managed a decent first couple of episodes… though this one is clearly setting up the usual terrible harem flags, and has had some questionable direction choices. I can see it falling into disrepute if continues down this dark road and runs out of the energy it started with, but for now, well… we shall see…

The MEH

Tanken Driland really needs to make something less generic of itself. It almost seems like a kids show at the moment, which can’t be true since it airs nearly at midnight. It had a nice enough random first boss battle, but thats about it. Again, shame it had such a generic first showing, because it really needs to start good in order to distract people from its SD style (which is cute, but rarely liked by many people).

Muv Luv… well, I heard the game its based on is great, but so far, I can’t help laughing at the aliens… and then laughing at the inconsistancy… and then at the fact that incompetant girls are given multi-billion dollar mecha to fight in only to die in the first 9 minutes of battle. At least all the annoying girls were killed brutally in episode 2 (though rival-girl didn’t really deserve that…). The only thing, so far, that really seemed good about it was the poignancy of a mother being distressed birthing her child into this crapsack world at the end of episode 2. That actually had some impact on me.


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, all the better. Cya soon.

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