As a way to get into the groove of blogging we will now take a look at the winter anime season.
I find it funny that I in the preview post said I would not end up watching a lot and instead spend my time plowing through my anime backlog. By now I should know that I will never be able to not pick up one or two more series than initially planned, but considering how calm this season has been… it baffles me that I picked up so much. Very surprising indeed.
Do you readers also usually end up watching more than planned?
Winter 2013 Anime Previews – A Calm Season
Winter 2013 Anime Impressions – I Watch Too Much Anime
Winter 2013 Anime Mini Reviews – A Season Full of Meh and GJ-bu
#19 Cuticle Detective Inaba
7/12 Episodes | Action, Comedy | Manga | Zecxs | Winter 2013
Lesson learned: never trust story synopses. Despite being about a wolf detective with a hair fetish this is horribly unfunny. Cuticle Detective Inaba does everything wrong when it comes to comedy. The timing is off, the jokes are plain and are always explained. To make it worse, the characters turn into extremely annoying chibi-forms whenever the series tries to be funny.
There are moments when it shines, however. The episode where they went to some hot springs actually managed to nail it for the most part. Furthermore, it feels like the studio is getting slightly better overall when it comes to the comedic execution. Or that is just a sign of the source material becoming better.
7/13 Episodes | Comedy | Manga | Dogakobo | Winter 2013
Sadly, this is not about traps, but girls trying to create a manga magazine. Too bad it is not funny. But hey, at least it is somewhat educational!
17/22 episodes | Sci-Fi | Visual Novel | Production I.G, noitaminA | 2012
It has become painfully obvious that Robotics;Notes does not know what it wants to be. A slice of life anime about youth and building giant robots? No, it skips most of the actual building. A sci-fi anime about the sun destroying the solar system and cool conspiracy theories? No, it completely drops that aspect the one second it gets any focus.
What the heck is Robotics;Notes trying to be? It does everything and nothing while not being particularly good at anything! Personally I, despite never having read one, am having strong visual novel vibes when watching. The whole idea of completing tasks and slowly unravel the truth is a perfect fit for that format. But it does not work as an anime. It becomes a chore.
#16 Ishida to Asakura
7/? Episodes | Comedy | Manga | Hotline | Winter 2013
“Ishida, I have a… request.”
“Very well, Asakura. I shall listen to your request.”
“To be a funny anime I’m told you need to actually be… funny. In order to be funny I must have… jokes. So, please help me create… jokes.”
“I can’t do that, Asakura. Because this anime cannot entertain.”
*catchy opening plays*
#15 Little Busters!
19/26 episodes | Comedy, Drama, School | Visual Novel | J.C. Staff, Key | Fall 2012
Watch episode 15 and you are good to go.
Not Boring, Not Amusing
#14 Maoyuu Maou Yuusha
7/12 Episodes | Adventure, Fantasy, Romance | Light Novel | Arms | Winter 2013
As with Robotics;Notes, Maoyuu Maou Yuusha tries to do a little bit of everything but ends up failing at most of them. For most of the time we are watching Maou inventing things such as soda, compasses or even corn. It is not particularly exciting since it does absolutely nothing with that. We never really see the political or economic aspect that the series is trying to push.
Then we have Yuusha who is out on his own little adventure that is bound to be more fun than what we viewers are stuck with. We never see much of him. That may be for the best, considering how Maoyuu Maou Yuusha has decided to introduce a love triangle because clichés that do not benefit the series are totally rad, making already shallow characters even shallower.
Yet, despite all this, I have hope that I one day will be surprised. The setting is too good to be wasted like this.
6/12 Episodes | Comedy, Romance, School | Manga | AIC | Winter 2013
It ended after the fourth episode. The series said that itself. Everything else is just bonus stories.
At least I wish.
Kotoura-san was the big talk after the first episode, which started rather moody and showed us how horrible it can be to read minds. But of course, this being based on a 4-koma, it eventually brushed away the tragic parts and settled with perverted comedy.
Charming for most part (Kotoura herself is adorable), but not too great.
#12 Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Next
6/12 Episodes | Comedy, Harem, Romance | Light Novel | AIC Build | Winter 2013
Did you like the first season of Haganai? Then this is more of the same (characters sitting in a room doing boring things), except only much, MUCH better executed. It has also gotten a huge improvement in the visual department, making Buriki’s character designs justice (which makes me happy).
Yozora’s really bad behavior has been toned down this season and it seems that Haganai Next might actually advance on the romance front. This pleases me.
17/22 episodes | Action, Sci-Fi | Anime Original, Production I.G, noitaminA | Fall 2012
I do not get Psycho-Pass. I do not get what is so amazing. I do not get what is so deep, meaningful and thoughtful about it. All I see is an anime that has since long overstayed its welcome.
The setting has not really developed beyond “the Sybil System is bad” which is something the series keeps repeating every bloody episode. The characters may be more of ideals than anything as some have put it, but they do not amount to much at all. They are just… there. Despite this Psycho-Pass did try to develop some of its characters around halfway through, with one flashback episode standing out like a sore thumb. It confuses me.
Exactly what has the series done so far? Not much, except repeating the same message over and over again. This is not fun or even that interesting to watch.
It is hard to say what intentions the staff had when they decided to create Psycho-Pass. The world itself is not overly morally ambiguous or anything, with “the heroic cops” fighting evil with action music playing. The “villains” kills people and are therefore bad. Why… why did Psycho-Pass settle with this, when it got a perfect setting for raising such thought-provoking questions?
In the first episode we saw how a victim was so stressed that her “hue” became clouded, thus being a bad person in the Sybil System’s eyes. With the exception of a few unimportant occurrences, this idea has been completely thrown out the window. For what? A crazy artist making statues out of real people and other dull stuff that only has violence in mind?
Why, Psycho-Pass? Why?
#10 Tamako Market
6/12 Episodes | Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life | Original | Kyoto Animation | Winter 2013
Yet another series with an identity crisis. What is with this season anyway?
For a series that may at first seem like a typical “cute girls doing cute things!” (now with a bird!) by Kyoto Animation, it is a pleasant surprise to find out that it is not the case. Or, at least, not entirely.
So far, Tamako Market has actually had a big focus on romance. We have this talking bird (which I am warming up to after the initial annoyance) looking for a bride for his owner and, surprisingly, both a boy and girl being in love with our main character Tamako! Each episode, with the exception of episode six, has tackled romance in one way or another.
Sadly, this does not fully work. Tamako Market also wants to have cute girls doing cute things, a weird subplot about the bird’s owner, a market in need of change and more! As a result, many of these aspects clash with each other resulting in a somewhat unsatisfying series.
The romance will never be a big deal due to the characters being the common airheads we often find in anime. The market has mostly been a setting rather than something that could tell a story. And the bird’s owner will come into play in the very next episode.
You see, nothing in Tamako Market really develops. We have these very different ideas, but they end up being too different from each other. The whole idea of the bird’s owner living on a tropical island says a lot in itself. I wonder if Kyoto Animation cannot create fully original anime.
#9 Bakuman 3
20/25 episodes | Comedy, Drama, Romance, Shounen | Manga | J.C. Staff | Fall 2012
Believe it or not, but Bakuman 3 is pretty fun to watch. What started out really slow and cringeworthy has now turned into what is probably the best season of Bakuman. And all it had to do was to focus on actually creating manga.
There is one problem that has bothered me a little, however: I think the author’s own values have infected Bakuman. Early in the season traditional methods to create manga were glorified while more modern methods were made to seem really bad due to exaggeration.
This is also an issue in what seems to be the final arc. The main characters ideals take a drastic turn from the previous arc for no good reason, something that may mirror how Bakuman ended.
But this is only me speculating. I may be completely wrong. But it is making such a fun experience worse.
#8 Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru
7/13 Episodes | Comedy, Romance, School | Light Novel | A-1 Pictures | Winter 2013
If K had a blue filter of doom, then OreShura has a white filter from heaven. The visual style used in OreShura is really beautiful and I like how there are no black lines. Along with some charming characters, wonderful voice actors and an overall great production, OreShura is enjoyable for more reasons than just the story.
This may be for the best, because the fun times when only three characters existed are long gone. We now have two additional girls and although one of them is a pleasure to watch, they do not really add anything of worth. The chuunibyou girl’s only reason to exist is to be annoying.
These two new characters have also taken the spotlight from our original trio and their bantering, which saddens me. Luckily, as long as the chuunibyou girl is away OreShura is almost the good old fun it used to be. This means likable characters, occasionally funny moments and just some weird charming feeling I have.
#7 Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo
19/24 episodes | Comedy, Drama, Romance, School | Light Novel | J.C. Staff | Fall 2012
My love for Sakurasou has since long faded, but I still harbor certain unexplained feelings for it.
What Sakurasou has done badly is the pacing, especially in the beginning of the series. It usually follows a happy>drama>happy>drama routine, but lately it has lessened the out-of-nowhere overblown drama. This is good, because when it focuses on being a happy series, it is wonderful to watch.
The characters all have great chemistry with each other and seeing them do stuff like working together on a certain project is a lot of fun. I can also personally relate to the “not being special” aspect it uses from time to time. It feels like Sakurasou has wasted the potential of creating a wonderful coming-of-age story in favor of heavy drama, but it works fine anyway.
Now I just wish the love triangle gets solved so there can be even more happy times!
6/12 Episodes | Comedy, Romance | Light Novel | Shaft | Winter 2013
I have already written a post on why I find anime by Shaft such great fun to watch, so go read that and apply it to Sasami-san.
Something that confuses me is that Shaft said this would be something we had never seen before (or at least so the internet say), yet it is nothing too special. It got crazy amazing directing by Shaft as usual, but in terms of story it is lacklustre to say the least.
It is about a girl having godly powers and these three gods being close to her and… that is about it. There is not much substance to it, even if I find it entertaining. If you dislike the first episode you might as well drop it.
#5 Inferno Cop
9/? Episodes | Action, Comedy | Anime Original | Studio Trigger | Winter 2013
#4 Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo?
6/10 Episodes | Action, Fantasy, Supernatural | Light Novel | Diomedea | Winter 2013
I just like this.
Trying to explain why would be impossible.
#3 Yama no Susume
7/12 Episodes | Comedy, Slice of Life | Manga | 8bit | Winter 2013
The only negative thing I can say about Yama no Susume is that it should have been longer. Yes, the shorter format works splendidly, but extending it to five or ten minutes would be much more satisfying. Now it is like having a really tasty cake but only being able to eat half of it.
Mountain climbing has never been this charming. It even makes me want to go out and try it for myself!
#2 Shin Sekai Yori
20/25 Episodes | Drama, Sci-Fi, Supernatural | Novel | A-1 Pictures | Fall 2012
Shin Sekai Yori is divided into three parts. Part I was an okay start, but ended up doing boring things. Part II fleshes out the horror and world of the series, but was too slow at times. Part III, where we are now, is only full of awesome.
At the moment the story is progressing at a great pace and is very grim at times. Part III is very different from the rest in tone and that is perfect for a finale. I need more episodes. Now!
#1 Hunter x Hunter (2011)
67/? Episodes | Action, Adventure, Shounen | Manga | Madhouse | Fall 2011
As Mira from the blog Hachimitsu once said: “putting Hunter x Hunter at the top of a list is like using a cheat code”.
It feels like I am repeating myself, but Madhouse is doing a superb job with the series. The execution is wonderful and the pacing is spot-on for most part (at the moment it is almost too fast). Heck, finally the music is used well!
Greed Island may not work as well as an anime overall, but Madhouse is actually improving certain minor parts of it. That is what I call a great adaptation.