Fall 2012 Impressions – “Lacklustre” is the Word

An obligatory, if late, Halloween anime picture. In this case, the group of girls from Hidamari Sketch.

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?

All Posts
Fall 2012 Previews – The Best Season of All Time
Fall 2012 Previews – Operation: Overkill
Fall 2012 Impressions – “Lacklustre” is the Word

The Bad

#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.

This picture is better than the entire series.

#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.


#11 K

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.

Remember when Sword Art Online was good?

#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.

The Mediocre


#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.


#8 Robotics;Notes

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.

The Good


#6 Psycho-Pass

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.

The Great


#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.

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31 thoughts on “Fall 2012 Impressions – “Lacklustre” is the Word

  1. kevo says:

    I recommend Girls und Panzer. It is honestly my favorite show this season. I think OniiAi is worth a gander, but probably only because the depraved fanservice feeds my power levels.

    I’m also waiting for Robotics;Notes to live up to its expectations

    • Marow says:

      I have seriously no idea why people find Girls und Panzer so fascinating. It looks so… boring from what I’ve seen. Then again, I watched Who Is Imouto with a smile on my face, so it’s probably me being weird again.

  2. theconfusedmuse says:

    lol K

    Anyway, I completely agree with you on Little Busters. I’m pretty disappointed so far. We got our first big Key drama moment in the last episode, and I just didn’t care. I’m still interested in the Refrain bit I keep hearing about, but now that rumors are floating around that it might not even show up this season like with Clannad After Story, I’m really close to dropping it.

    • Marow says:

      Little Busters makes me really confused. As I said in the post, I’ve always heard people call it one of the best VNs by Key. Lately, however, I’ve seen people say it’s not. The only good thing is supposed to be the “main” route and Refrain.

      I think it would be a good idea to stick around even if there will be a second season. Otherwise the possible payoff might be lost, right? Imagine dropping Clannad and then watch After Story!

      • theconfusedmuse says:

        Yeah, my thoughts exactly. Key adaptations are all about the payoff, so I don’t want to miss that. I’m just not sure what caused it to get so much praise yet.

  3. eanwulf says:

    “Remember when Sword Art Online was good?”

    no.

  4. shiizumi says:

    Umm. Why dont you try Tonari no Kaibitsu-kun? It is my favorite of this season so far.

    • Marow says:

      It could certainly be fun to watch, but the Twitter drama created from the first episode kinda turned me off. The fact it does seems to just be another shoujo doesn’t help either ^^’

  5. Yerocha says:

    I may never be able to watch Robotics;Notes without thinking of that crossover now.

    I should probably catch up on Shinsekai Yori pretty soon, but the way people talk about the current material has me wondering if I should wait. It doesn’t sound at all like the same show it appeared to be in episode 1, and I can’t tell if that’s good or bad.

    • Marow says:

      I have no idea if it’s good or bad either. But at this moment, I think you should wait until it’s finished or at least about to. To me, it feels like it would work well to marathon.

  6. Hurvilo says:

    There is a disturbing lack of Kaibutsu-kun, Jojo, Magi and Girls und Panzer in this list!

    And Dekomori is awesome. Desu.

  7. MisaoFan says:

    I’m enjoying Medaka Box Abnormal (despite being a radical shounen mess), Hiiro no Kakera II, K, OniAi, Sakurasou and Psycho-Pass. I especially enjoy the fourth and the last, and I want Psycho-Pass to advance its story and Akane’s character.

  8. Overlord-G says:

    So to sum up your rant: You wanted Hurricane Sandy quality stuff and for the most part got “Cat in the Hat: Starring Mike Myers.” Fair enough. Let’s see: I was told Medaka Box would become another X-Men, just not as glorious as Gakuen Alice, so hopefully the preaching and sexiness will remain as awesome.

    I still have no interest in picking up SAO.

    As long as Little Busters eventually makes my face leak like other KEY shows have, I can wait. Besides, not one KEY show started off as being life-changing until the 1st obligatory death. Then again, I haven’t played LB so I don’t know who will obligatorily die first, or if anyone will die at all.

    Robotics;Notes. It’ll either end up being Scott;Steiner (Steins;Gate) or Garrett Bischoff (Chaos;Head). That is all.

    At least you’re enjoying the good shows (That Other Show with Eyepatch girl, Hidamari 4 and Not Looney Tunes)

    Never watched HxH in my life so I don’t know of its epicness unless it’s eventually aired on TV. I refuse to watch it online.

    I have to get used to your tastes before I can officially learn how you define “Wham”.

    • Marow says:

      You have a wonderful way of phrasing yourself, do you know that?

      (That Other Show with Eyepatch girl, Hidamari 4 and Not Looney Tunes)

      Chu2Koi, Hidamari and… what?

      Never watched HxH in my life so I don’t know of its epicness unless it’s eventually aired on TV. I refuse to watch it online

      How come?

      I have to get used to your tastes before I can officially learn how you define “Wham”.

      Every episode of Gurren Lagann.

      Or simply something that hooks me directly. It can be anything, really.

  9. ZakuAbumi says:

    >No Mädchen and Tanks
    >No JOOOOOJOOOOOOO’S

    Christ, what the hell is wrong with you?

  10. You Should watch Zetsuen no Tempest. It’s pretty interesting.

  11. Hayama-Mizuki says:

    For me, the most powerful anime from this season are Zetsuen no tempest, Magi, Shinsekai yori and Kamisama hajimemashita. I will put one of them on my top 5 favorite list ;);)

  12. No love for Magi?

    Also: I”ve tried to watch the first season of hidamari sketch and had an weird feeling like I’m dying… But if the 4th season is this good, I should continue watching it, should I?

    I think this season top tier is:
    Chuu2byou, HxH, magi and medaka 2. (althrough I can understand why some people just don’t like it)

    An besides:
    “talking nonsense for hours”
    Isn’t Hidamari Sketch the same?

    • Marow says:

      Watching Hunter x Hunter is enough long-running anime for me! If Magi had a limited set of episodes I wouldn’t mind watching it (I think).

      I”ve tried to watch the first season of hidamari sketch and had an weird feeling like I’m dying… But if the 4th season is this good, I should continue watching it, should I?

      A feeling like you’re… dying? What? O_o
      And if you didn’t like the first season there is no point in continuing watching it, since every season is basically more of the same.

      “talking nonsense for hours”
      Isn’t Hidamari Sketch the same?

      For Medaka Box I meant it more in the sense of there neing so much talking that it ruins the flow of the series. One thing happens, long dialogue, another thing happens and so on. The fact it’s rather boring when it comes to art direction doesn’t help either.

      In Hidamari Sketch there are a lot of cuts to different angles and such, which doesn’t make the talking boring! And besides, since it’s all fluffy slice-of-life, the talking doesn’t get in the way of the plot because the talking is the plot!

      • “Watching Hunter x Hunter is enough long-running anime for me! If Magi had a limited set of episodes I wouldn’t mind watching it (I think).”
        I think they just cover the first arc of the manga, so it would be a one cour. Just looks like that at the moment. so no problem in watching it.

        Also: HxH is great and the best shounen that’s airing, but so many people just don’t want to watch it, because it’s made “for kids” (<- You just can't say that, my hunter x hunter series isn't for kids).
        The same Problem with kyoukai senjou no horizon. great series, no one is watching.

        "A feeling like you’re… dying? What? O_o"
        … I just don't like the first season. And if I have to describe the feeling I had, this would be it.

        "since every season is basically more of the same."
        Then I start watching the fourth season, even if it don't feels.. right.

        "so much talking that it ruins the flow of the series."
        just like bakemonogatari and katanagatari… i love it. But yeah, the most people don't like something like talking in anime (I think, this just looks wrong) and they don't have to like that, so it's okay. For me Medaka is a dreat series, a lot of abnormal characters and nonsense, that makes sense (in the one or another way) and fighting and for other it's just a bad anime series.

        • Marow says:

          The same Problem with kyoukai senjou no horizon. great series, no one is watching.

          I have to admit, the reason I didn’t watch Horizon was because of the girls. But I’ve heard great words about it, so maybe one day…

          Then I start watching the fourth season, even if it don’t feels.. right.

          No! Don’t watch the fourth season before the rest. There are some development you might miss. And this fourth season seems to… be the emotional payoff. So, nope, don’t watch!

          just like bakemonogatari and katanagatari

          Only seen Bakemonogatari, but it was all about its talking, don’t you agree? And as with Hidamari Sketch, it never got boring thanks to studio Shaft (plus well-written dialogue in general).

          It’s not that I dislike talking (far from), but Medaka Box has a boring visual direction along with not that interesting dialogue. It doesn’t go well together for me.

  13. Dark_Sage says:

    K goes from bad to mediocre about an episode or two past the point you’re at, IMO. Other than that I can see what you’re going for. While we may have more severe disagreements on a few of the series, they’re generally where I’d expect them to be.

    Fucking Litchi was terrible, but I almost lol’d at the “bass” joke.

    Not such a bad ranking.

    • Marow says:

      True, K did get some kind of plot and my head started to hurt less. Not sure if I would call it mediocre, though. It’s still pretty bad in my opinion.

      Also, this post is kinda old by now, so I would switch stuff around a little if it was done today.

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