With school soon over, there will be plenty of time for good weekly scheduling for blog posts. As the situation stands today, I cannot say I am very proud over the results, with tons of posts one month and barely any in another. The following summer will be a lot of fun in return, I can assure you!
But now, it is time for my impressions of the spring 2012 season! Hope you enjoy it!
Spring 2012 Previews – What I Will Watch
Spring 2012 Impressions – Halfway There
7/? episodes | Comedy | Manga | Seven | 2012
Take a guess on the age of the characters in the picture above. How old is he? 17? And what about her? Probably goes all the way up to 11.
But nope! It is the opposite and that is the main draw of Recorder to Randoseru: the kid looks like an adult and the adult looks like a kid. This has been the only joke throughout the whole franchise and it is surprising that it even managed to get a second (Re) season. With a joke that has grown stale too long ago, the only reason I am watching this is that each episode is three minutes long. It is a small bite per week that works just well and, quite unexpected, I have grown attached to this little silly series without any remarkable features. Only so I can hear Aya Hirano‘s voice again.
On another note, the first season came to be known as “Do”, while this one is “Re”. If you know your solfège, you are aware of there being seven syllables: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La and Ti. Will this series reach Ti? Will that be the final season? Will there be any new jokes by then?! Only the future will tell!
#8 Medaka Box
7/12 episodes | Action, Comedy, Ecchi, School, Shounen | Manga | Gainax | 2012
Okay, so this was not as thrilling as I had hoped, being Nisio Isin and all that. Perhaps he just cannot do anything outside the Monogatari series. Although, Nisemonogatari was pretty boring in comparison to Bakemonogatari, so maybe he just is not that great after all. There, I said it.
Regarding Medaka, it is a fun watch, but except the Godess of Kindness Medaka herself, there is not that much to it. A lot of people have constantly mentioned that it will not get good unless it gets a second season, which is a real shame if it is true, because from what I have read in the manga, it actually gets pretty wacky (in a good way) later on.
Another disappointment is that Gainax is dead and literally gone forever. It really shows that a lot of big names have left the studio, because visually it does not impress at all. It is bland, unimaginative and simply not really fitting for an odd series like this.
7/? episodes | Comedy | Manga | Studio Pierrot | 2012
I am quite surprised that Studio Pierrot, the studio behind Naruto, Bleach and other poor shounen adaptations, managed to get this one right. This is most likely due to Shirokuma Cafe’s slow nature, with its gimmick being… realistic animals doing weird stuff. And not to mention hearing these animals voiced by some big seiyuu names.
Told in a very laid-back fashion, we witness Panda, Penguin and Polar Bear buying smartphones, working at the zoo or at the cafe, driving cars or whatever it may be. Thanks to a varied and charming cast, Shirokuma Cafe has so far elegantly avoided growing stale. However, if it turns out to be more than a 2-cour series, which is possible since it is done by Studio Pierrot, there is a risk of that happening. Hopefully this is not the case.
6/24 episodes | Action, Drama, Mecha, Sci-Fi | Anime Original | Bones | 2012
There are a lot of things I could write about Eureka Seven AO here, probably enough content for at least one bigger post. Speaking of which, that is a good idea. Keep an eye out; there might be one later (but no guarantees)! So, in favor of that, let us keep this short.
AO is not bad. It good some great production values, with better-than-average visuals, characters that are not too stereotypical, a plot of a grand scale and, most importantly for the Eureka Seven franchise, outstanding music. It is very easy to get into AO and make time flow away quickly, making it a fun and interesting series.
But six episodes in and I am starting to get slightly bothered by a few minor, but still important, details. First of all, there is no characterization. We have been introduced to a big bunch, but none have had any focus. Heck, we barely know our main character’s, Ao, motivation or mindset! In addition to this, there are a whole load of terms and politics that lack proper explanation. There is no feeling to it all. I do not care the slightest about the characters or the setting, except when speculating about how this series ties into the original.
And that is another problem with all this: so far, there is no real justification for AO to exist. It was only created to make money. And now it seems like a typical villain, or something along those lines, will be introduced. It does not work as a sequel and it does not work as a stand-alone piece. Fix this, please.
5/21 episodes | Mystery | Light Novel | Kyoto Animation | 2012
Hyouka is the newest creation by Kyoto Animation, the studio which once created series of big magnitude such as The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi and Lucky Star, only to recently having brought life to the floptastic Nichijou. It sadly turned out that Japanese people did not like crazy over-the-top comedy, not even if it was accompanied by stunning animation. Despite poor sales with their latest creation, KyoAni is back in the game with Hyouka, a series that is all about gorgeous visuals.
Okay, scrap that last part, although it is not entirely untrue. In these five episodes, everything from the characters to the plot has just… “been”. Not much has been fleshed out and the story progresses in a slow manner, tackling trivial mysteries (“who locked me in the classroom?!”) like it was nothing out if the ordinary routine. This is the type of series that just “is”. As a result, there is not much to say about it, since it has barely started. Visually though, this is movie quality, which almost is enough of a reason to watch it. Not to mention the top-notch direction and presentation, with playful angles and color choices. It is a shame that there is so much focus on the Japanese language, something that is not possible for us non-speakers to grasp.
One thing I like to bring up is the picture featured above. It shows the main character, Houtarou, feeling awkward in a social situation. He does not know how to interact with other people in a casual manner and therefore does not feel too comfortable with it, neither is he good at showing his feelings. I can relate to this, so for me, Houtarou has become my favorite character of the spring 2012 season so far. Actually, every character have beautiful eyes is enjoyable to some degree. We have the aforementioned Houtarou, Fukube the cheery, Mayaka the stingy and Chitanda th-
6/? episodes | Sci-Fi, Slice of Life | Anime Original | A-1 Pictures, noitaminA | 2012
Who could have thought a series about fishing could be this great? But, truth to be told, I really disliked Tsuritama at first. If this list had been done a couple of weeks ago, it would have been at the bottom along with Medaka Box. So I find it quite surprising that I suddenly like it. It most likely comes down to the characters, which were extremely annoying in the beginning, being socially inept, raging mad and all that. However, now with all this gone, what is left is an intriguing series about fishing, character development and friendship. But not all is happy-go-lucky if the sixth episode is to be used as measurement… whatever the future has in store for us, I am looking forward to it!
Do not miss Mira’s great posts on the series over at Hachimitsu. Give them a read!
32/? episodes | Action, Adventure, Shounen | Manga | Madhouse | 2011
This is what I wrote way back in November 2011 after five episodes:
“This remake (there is a ten year old version too) is very faithful to the manga in terms of story and execution, but not so much when it comes to the atmosphere. The gruesome reality has been toned down a lot and it features a very bombastic soundtrack, giving it a way too adventurous feel. It is still too early to judge if things will stay this way, as the last two episodes featured some well-directed scenes that were not so “yay yay adventure”.”
Today, 27 episodes later including two recaps, this is not an issue anymore. The poor music choices are mostly gone and the more gruesome reality is slowly growing with each episode, hopefully culminating in the amazingly upcoming arc.
In many ways, Hunter x Hunter is a great example of how to do a proper adaptation of a shounen manga. The pacing is great and it never feels as if it is dragging its feet, it is visually impressive for a long-running series (and in some cases even better than 1-cours) and most importantly: no fillers or drastic changes to the story. These three points I just brought up are usually the biggest problems when it comes to shounen series, for example Naruto or One Piece. And in terms of plot, Hunter x Hunter is not too shabby either, avoiding common traps such as ridiculous power-ups or repetition.
In a way, Hunter x Hunter is a dream come true for me. Yoshihiro Togashi’s story has a near perfect execution which should be near impossible to adapt, but Madhouse is doing a pretty good job. If you decided not to watch this series because it was shounen, then all I can say is that it is your loss.
7/13 episodes | Comedy, Romance, School, Slice of Life | Manga | J.C. Staff | 2012
Kimi to Boku is not an ordinary “cute people doing cute things”-series. It is something much greater. It features romance. And not any kind of romance, but romance as it can be in real life. What if the person you love is moving? What if you love someone who has a crush on your best friend? And so on. It tackles these issues without heading into the annoying zone of “omgidontdarewaaaadragthisoutawholeseasonbaaaaawsosaaaaaad” that many other romantic series tend to do.
In fact, the latest episode of this second season made me fangasm like I have never done before. I just could not stop cheering, feeling excited and being completely… crazy over what happened. It actually dared to do that?! MADNESS I SAY!
J.C. Staff is back in the game, people.
6/? episodes | Drama, Romance, Slice of Life, Josei | Manga | Tezuka Productions, noitaminA | 2012
No words can do this series justice. Just watch these clips and then the real thing. This is a rare gem.
If there is anything to mention, it is the fact that it might be rushed if it turns out it will only be eleven episodes (which is highly likely, considering noitaminA and the already fast pacing) and decides to cover the whole manga. Because if it continues in the same fashion as now, there will only be enough source material for a couple of OVAs, not a whole season. This means they will have to increase the pacing even more. Or maybe they decide to skip animating the real ending Who knows. Good stuff at least.