What first seemed to be an exciting anime season turned out to be a fairly lacklustre one. So far even the best series have yet to bring out any “wham” episode. While it may be sort of early into the season, there is no excuse for any of the series to not have some kind of hook that grabs me. Sure, I am interested in them, but I would not call myself excited.
How do you feel about the fall 2012 anime season?
#13 Litchi DE Hikari Club
6/? episodes | “Comedy” | Manga | Kachidoki Studio | 2012
It turned out to be a series full of comedic shorts after all. Somehow they forgot the actual comedy, though.
#12 Medaka Box Abnormal
4/12 episodes | Action, Comedy, Shounen | Manga | Gainax | 2012
It did not get better after all. Watching Medaka Box is painful due to how boring of an adaptation it actually is. Some mouths talking nonsense for hours, some lame action scenes (Medaka Box has shifted genre to typical shounen fights), some more talking and utterly bland direction overall. Hell, even the One Piece anime is more exciting to watch and that is saying something.
5/13 episodes | Action, Comedy, Supernatural | Anime Original | Starchild Records | 2012
It is blue and makes my head hurt. Now it is also a comedy.
#10 Sword Art Online
18/25 episodes | Action, Adventure, Fantasy, “Romance” | Light Novel | A-1 Pictures | 2012
If this list had been created when Sword Art Online was reaching the finale in its first arc, the series would have been at the very bottom. Ever since the Alfheim Online arc started it has been somewhat fresh and interesting. It will never fully bloom, but the ideas it presents are still entertaining in their own right. With a better author, however, everything could be a million times better.
#9 Bakuman 3
5/25 episodes | Comedy, Drama, Romance, Shounen | Manga | J.C. Staff | 2012
Typical Bakuman, which means it is good when focusing on manga and bad when it does not. It also means there is shit-ton of the latter and none of the former, because that is how Bakuman works by now. This new arc will certainly not be pleasant, seeing how it might be filled with drama about Takagi writing another manga.
4/22 episodes | Sci-Fi | Visual Novel | Production I.G, noitaminA | 2012
If it were not for robots and how Steins;Gate also started in a slow manner, my interest in this would be down to zero by now. We have some sort of story about building a big robot, but I am not feeling any of it. There is no energy to it and every character besides Akiho (one of the better cheerful characters I have seen in anime) comes off as apathetic, which does not help.
A real pity, because I can see what Robotics;Notes is trying to do: “Robots! Energy! Youth!”. Maybe it will kick it up a gear in a few episodes.
#7 Little Busters!
5/26 episodes | Comedy, Drama, Romance, School | Visual Novel | J.C. Staff, Key | 2012
I am confused. Was not Little Busters! supposed to be one of the best visual novels by Key? Then why is it so boring? Having no experience with any of their visual novels or adaptations outside of Kyoto Animation (well, we have that horrible Clannad movie…), I have no clue if it is right to blame J.C. Staff for this. Calling it poorly crafted is wrong, because they have put effort into this, looking much better than many series by the studio in recent years.
It is just that… Little Busters! misses every chance at being good. It tries to be funny, but the timing and execution are simply not good enough. In addition, the dramatic scenes lack any kind of intensity. These are such sad mistakes. The worst part is that Kyoto Animation would have fixed all of this. It would be much more enjoyable if they had handled this series.
But they would only be able to fix those mistakes, not the actual source material. So far, every girl has been really, really, really annoying. No other Key characters have been nearly this annoying. Nor have they actually been this boring either. In fact, our protagonist Riki is the typical passive and bland male lead we see so often in anime. Gone is the sarcastic and vibrant male lead we had in, for instance, Clannad.
At the moment, there is some standard Key-drama going on with a lost brother. Add a “mysterious other world” and this is what you could expect from Key. Let us all wait for tragic deaths, drama and the world actually being fake or something else we have seen in other Key series. Only better executed.
4/22 episodes | Action, Sci-Fi | Anime Original, Production I.G, noitaminA | 2012
Besides lovely world-building, there is not much here I fall for. The characters are so-so, with our main lead Akane being horrible to watch because of her inexperience. The rest? Eh… continue to develop your world, Psycho-Pass, but please do a little more than that. You are fine to watch, but I am not really thrilled.
#5 Shin Sekai Yori
6/25 episodes | Sci-Fi, Supernatural | Novel | A-1 Pictures | 2012
I cannot say I like where the story is heading at the moment. The queerat war is simply not interesting enough compared to how the human society and all that have changed over the years. If we are lucky, the queerats might tie into this, but if that is the case, the journey there has been slow.
What I really do like about Shin Sekai Yori, though, is that I have no clue what will happen. There is no way to predict what will happen in the coming episodes, which makes me genuinely interested. An inevitable time-skip will probably happen soon, however, since the narrator in earlier episodes basically spoiled it for us. Jeez.
#4 Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo
4/24 episodes | Comedy, Drama, Romance, School | Light Novel | J.C. Staff | 2012
This is the surprise of the season. Unlike Little Busters!, J.C. Staff have nailed it with this series. Sakurasou is well-produced through and through with no real faults and might even become one of their better series.
The first two episodes seemed to indicate that this would be yet a typical harem comedy with slight ecchi, something which was proven to be completely wrong in the episodes after. Sakurasou now instead appears to be a coming-of-age story with romance, drama and comedy. In a way, it somewhat reminds me of Toradora, another series by J.C. Staff I hold very dear.
Now, the characters may not have shown as much depth, but there are signs of development ahead. Since Sakurasou is 24 episodes long it will most likely cover all of the light novels, which is another thing I find fascinating. Does this truly mean it will be different from your everyday light novel? With Mari Okada, known for loving overblown drama, doing the script composition, this may be the case. Time will tell whether it will be good or bad and I am looking forward to it.
#3 Hunter x Hunter (2011)
54/? episodes | Action, Adventure, Shounen | Manga | Madhouse | 2011
Ever since Hunter x Hunter reached the Heaven’s Arena arc it has been on a roll. Every important moment is executed almost perfectly and everything in-between is far from shabby. The horrible usage of music is back, though, and it hurts me every time. How are they able to use such inappropriate music in certain scenes?! The few moments of complete silence can be counted on one hand.
#2 Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!
5/12 episodes | Comedy, Romance, School | Light Novel | Kyoto Animation | 2012
The hair-girl, Dekomori, may be the worst character that nearly ruins the series for me (she and Kumin are not even in the original light novel!), but aside from her, I love everything in Chu2Koi. As usual, you can expect high quality from Kyoto Animation. If only they had not added Dekomori…
#1 Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb
5/12-13? Episodes | Comedy, Slice of Life | Manga | Shaft | 2012
Do I have to repeat how wonderful Hidamari Sketch is?
One particular thing I like in this fourth season is that the youngest residents of Hidamari Apartments, Nazuna and Nori, have finally gotten more screen-time. Ever since they were first introduced in the third season they have been the weakest link because they barely had any development. Fortunately, this appears to be changing in this season.
Hidamari Sketch warms my heart once again.