Winter 2013 Anime Mini Reviews – A Season Full of Meh and GJ-bu

YamanoSusume5

I will be trying out a new and shorter format for my future seasonal posts, so it would be nice if you could tell if you like it or not. The reason for this is that I do not want to spend hours writing them. Because even if I love doing these posts, the time it takes to write them could be spent on more fun things such as editorials!

As for the season itself, it turned out rather bad. Well, to be perfectly honest, it is to be expected when one watches over 20 series! There were a few good ones, but ironically they were the ones I did not have much expectations of in the first place!


All Posts
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


CuticleDetectiveInaba3#21 Cuticle Detective Inaba2/10 Dropped
8/12 Episodes | Action, Comedy | Manga | Zecxs | Winter 2013

It is not comedy if it is not funny. Lame jokes, bad timing and chibis every second. It had its moments, but I never wanted to watch the next episode. I cannot understand how I survived this long.

AnimeFall2012RoboticNotes#20 Robotics;Notes2/10
22 episodes | Sci-Fi | Visual Novel | Production I.G, noitaminA | 2012

Robotics;Notes is stupid, really stupid. The whole finale was a rocking party where every cliché and deus ex machina was invited. Nothing made sense, the characters were as flat and annoying as ever and the actual action did not exist. Why was this anime even created? And put in the noitaminA slot, of all things?

IshidaToAsakura#19 Ishida to Asakura3/10
12 Episodes | Comedy | Manga | Hotline | Winter 2013

The only reason I watched this was because the promotional pictures had a guy in an afro with a pencil up his nose. As for the anime itself, it did not have jokes as much as randomness. Kill the beaver guy with really long teeth? Cross-dressing? Sure, crazy things, but there is no punch line.

Mangirl2#18 Mangirl!3/10
13 Episodes | Comedy | Manga | Dogakobo | Winter 2013

If anime openings could kill, the one featured in Mangirl! would be a decent murderer. I cannot stand it at all. The voices are so… so… grating on my ears. But hey, at least this anime was somewhat educational when it comes to creating manga magazines. Or at least that is what I want to believe. Too bad everything else was tiresome and lacked charm.

MaoyuuMaouYuusha3#17 Maoyuu Maou Yuusha3/10
12 Episodes | Adventure, Fantasy, Romance | Light Novel | Arms | Winter 2013

When reaching the final episodes I asked myself: “Was it worth sticking with Maou for this long? Did it actually get better as the lovers of the manga proclaimed?”.

My answer was a resounding: “Hell no! Nothing has happened, the characters are not worth caring about, the presentation of the world is horribly boring and I end up doing things other than watching the actual series!”.

My tip: watch episode one since it was not too shabby. Then skip the rest. The anime ends in the middle of nowhere with nothing having happened.

KotourasanWhat#16 Kotoura-san4/10
12 Episodes | Comedy, Romance, School | Manga | AIC | Winter 2013

Hey, you know what, Kotoura-san? I forgive you for ignoring the heavy drama you introduced in the first episode only to become a comedy. The comedy was alright and had its moments, even if the rather disturbingly perverted jokes became tedious after a while. The “happy moments” defined you and made me feel all gooey inside.

So why the hell did you have to go back to the drama later on, only to focus on extremely stupid drama? “It is all my fault!” made Kotoura herself one of the worst anime characters of the year. Why would you do that to your titular character, Kotoura-san? Why would you make her suffer so? Why did you not end after the fourth episode?

At least you still had some happy moments later on. That saved you from an utter disaster.

PsychoPassQuality#15 Psycho-Pass4/10
22 episodes | Action, Sci-Fi | Anime Original, Production I.G, noitaminA | Fall 2012

I do not get Psycho Pass. With the exception of the first episode the overall production was weak. Tons of still frames, a plot that went nowhere and characters that spouted deep quotes by famous people every time they were on screen. There was nothing thought-provoking, not any more than Kotoura-san or Maoyuu Maou Yuusha.

Why is this so liked anyway? Personally I was interested in seeing if the story would actually get moving, which took half the series, but that was mostly it. It was not a waste of time, but it would be hard to say it was worth it.

TamakoMarket6#14 Tamako Market5/10
12 Episodes | Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life | Original | Kyoto Animation | Winter 2013

Twelve episodes of nothing. Tons of ideas, nothing used. Girls doing cute things? Barely. A shopping district? Barely. Romance? Barely. Some bird searching after a bride for a prince? Uhm… barely. Episodic episodes with totally different atmospheres? Sure!

With the exception of a few episodes and moment, Tamako Market lacked identity. It had no idea what it wanted to be. Personally I would have wanted it to be about cute girls doing cute things in a shopping district, while showing off each character’s unique identity and backstory. Why? Because the few moments Tamako Market does just that it becomes interesting and really good. Episode nine in particular wiped the floor with most other anime airing this season!

How to sum this up? KyoAni cannot create original anime.

Bakuman4#13 Bakuman 35/10
25 episodes | Comedy, Drama, Romance, Shounen | Manga | J.C. Staff | Fall 2012

At first this was the best season of Bakuman. It was fast-paced and went back to actually creating manga! But then something happened. After a while the joyous feeling of “YEAH WE MADE IT!” became non-existent since everything went so smoothly. The appeal of the series was lost since it did not have strong characters to fall back on.

Plus it became shamefully obvious towards the end that the original creator’s personal beliefs and values had taken over Bakuman. The characters made a drastic 180° and went against their previous ideals for no reason. There was a moral lesson on that manga should only be created in an archaic way. And of course the sexism which has been featured throughout every season. And more.

This bogged down the final season of Bakuman a lot and made it the worst. There was barely anything to enjoy by the end of it.

LittleBusters5#12 Little Busters!5/10
26 episodes | Comedy, Drama, School | Visual Novel | J.C. Staff, Key | Fall 2012

Believe it or not, but Little Busters! decided to step up its game in its final third. The pacing was better, the jokes were funny and well-timed and generally everything had a really great execution. Even the most Kud’s arc, the most magical of the bunch, managed to make me interested in what was going on. Plus, the real story, learning the world’s “truth”, became more frequent and got me really curious about the future of the series.

Other than that, this whole season of Little Busters! felt like an obligatory set-up for the things to come. The oh so tragic stories were the worst I have seen in a Key anime and the lack of a sarcastic male lead made it even harder to endure them. Luckily we had silly “friendship” episodes were our main characters did silly things such as chasing ghosts, helping each other studying or having Riki sneak into the girl’s dorm which were quite charming.

Perhaps the friendship episodes were the best due to originally having been written by Jun Maeda? If that is the case I am really looking forward to Little Busters! Refrain which has more stories written by him, because this first season was mediocre at best.

 Sasamisan4#11 Sasami-san@Ganbaranai5/10
12 Episodes | Comedy, Romance | Light Novel | Shaft | Winter 2013

With the exception of the fantastic directing signed Shinbo there is not much to find here. The story is non-existent, the characters are flat and a lot of the craziness comes from toying with Japanese mythology, something I know squat about. But being the Shaftard I am, I still had a great time with Sasami-san. But those of you who are not should stay away from this unless you want to become familiar with said studio.

HaganaiEhNandatte#10 Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Next6/10
12 Episodes | Comedy, Harem, Romance | Light Novel | AIC Build | Winter 2013

The first half of Haganai Next was exactly like the first season with the only difference it being a better production overall. This meant fan service, mostly dull hijinks and characters that I had a love-hate relationship with. But then came the second half and pulled Haganai in a whole new direction I never expected it to go. Actual character development! An overarching story!

This lead this second season being quite enjoyable compared to the first. The final episodes had me hooked and after the odd, yet amusing, finale I need a third season. Shame this will take a few years considering how the anime has covered every released light novel.

As a side-note, I really liked how Yozora’s bad behavior was toned down. She even barely had any screen-time at all! Instead the winners this season were Rika and Sena, which is totally fine by me.

Oh, and Haganai Next has the anime line of the year: “Eh? Nandatte?”.

OreShuraChiwaWins#9 Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru6/10
13 Episodes | Comedy, Harem, Romance, | Light Novel | A-1 Pictures | Winter 2013

This is a harem. A well-made one, at that! The comedy is funny, the characters are distinct and charming in their own way and the male lead has some hints of personality in him (at least compared to others in the genre). Every episode was enjoyable and ended way too quickly.

But in the end of the day this is still a typical harem. The best girl never wins and the new characters removed the best ones from the spotlight. Although this did not hinder it from being a pleasant surprise.

Senyuu#8 Senyuu6/10
13 Episodes | Comedy, Fantasy | Original | Ordet, Liden Films | Winter 2013

It took a while, but Yamakan finally managed to save anime. It was not thanks to a convoluted disaster called Fractale, but to a wacky comedy named Senyuu. For those of you who have seen either Teekyuu or Plastic Nee-san this is basically a lite version of those two. For the rest of you my simple tip is: go watch it. You know if it is your thing after the first two-minute episode.

If that is not enough, here is a short description: fun shit. What is stopping you anyway?

InfernoCop

#7 Inferno Cop7/10
13 Episodes | Action, Comedy | Anime Original | Studio Trigger | Winter 2013

In Studio Trigger we trust.

SakurasouNoPetNaKanojo

#6 Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo7/10
24 episodes | Comedy, Drama, Romance, School | Light Novel | J.C. Staff | Fall 2012

Sakurasou is a frustrating anime. But I love it. It got tons of problems and things I would improve. The pacing is off at the beginning, switching mood from happy and sad with every episode, the characters could be more developed and it was a little bit too predictable with tropes at times.

Yet I cannot help but like it as much as I do. Whenever my frustration is nearing critical levels Sakurasou embraces me and gives me a great payoff. This is also a rare instance of a light novel series being ambitious and following a proper story, much like my favorite Toradora, instead of ending up in random hijinks.

This is far from a perfect anime. It has plenty of faults. But I would lie if I said I disliked it.

Mondaijitachi3#5 Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo?7/10
10 Episodes | Action, Fantasy, Supernatural | Light Novel | Diomedea | Winter 2013

Have you heard of the word “fun” before? That is Mondaiji-tachi in a nutshell. It is an anime that came out of nowhere, did its own awesome thing in only ten episodes, and disappeared. It does not take itself seriously, with one of the main characters being overpowered as heck, yet it never ends up as a mindless and illogical mess. Everything is well thought-out. Add a competent production and voila, you have fun.

ShinSekaiYori3#4 Shin Sekai Yori7/10
25 Episodes | Drama, Sci-Fi, Supernatural | Novel | A-1 Pictures | Fall 2012

I have mixed feelings regarding Shin Sekai Yori. Yes, it definitely sticks out as one of the more unique anime in recent years. That alone, however wonderful it may be, does not mean it is the best thing ever.

Divided into three parts, Shin Sekai Yori attempts to tell an ambitious story where we follow our main characters as they grow from children to adults. Sadly the story is often poorly told, with a numerous use of fade-outs to jump between scenes that may only be a minute in length. The first two parts of the series also suffered from more experimental animation, with some episodes looking completely different than the rest, which instead of enhancing the story only helped make it more fragmented and confusing. Often it feels like this story is far too complex to be told in a visual medium, for the lack of a better explanation on my part.

Despite being a thrilling ride, I was only left with a feeling of “I want to read the actual novel” at the end of it. This anime is a great alternative, but I feel that the novel itself is the complete experience in this case.

Garupan3#3 Girls und Panzer7/10
12 Episodes | Action, Comedy, TANKS | Original | Actas | Fall 2012

When the two final and delayed episodes were released I finally decided to give the praised Girls und Panzer a shot. Color me happy when I found out that this was extremely satisfying, despite my initial beliefs that there was no way it could be as good as people said. In less than one day I finished the whole series and the two recap episodes. This was a first for me.

So what makes Girls und Panzer so good, you ask? How it does what it wants to do and accomplishes it effortlessly! Plus the creators have put into so much detail creating the tanks the girls are riding I cannot help but think they had  tons of fun making Girls und Panzer. The passion is overflowing and really shows when watching. I would like to give them some serious praise, because Girls und Panzer gives me hope for the future of the anime industry.

The reason I am not giving it a higher score is because I am not a fan of tanks, even if they were created in gorgeous CGI (most likely the best I have seen in anime). It simply… makes it a bit meh to watch at times, even if I have lots of fun. The tank battles became a bit of a chore in the middle of the series.

Then the final battle came and I cheered like fool. Love Girls und Panzer.

YamanoSusume7#2 Yama no Susume8/10
12 Episodes | Comedy, Slice of Life | Manga | 8bit | Winter 2013

How I wish Yama no Susume could have been longer. It uses its short running time fantastically, but I loved it so much I always craved for more. Without a doubt this is the best short anime created. Every week has been a small dose of happiness that brightened my day.

Second season, please?

GJbu6#1 GJ-bu9/10
12 Episodes | Comedy, School, Slice of Life | Light Novel | Dogakobo | Winter 2013

To me, GJ-bu is amazing. Go read that post. After having seen the finale I cannot utter any more words about it. No, I only have a melancholic and empty feeling left.

I will never be able to watch GJ-bu for the first time ever again.

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16 thoughts on “Winter 2013 Anime Mini Reviews – A Season Full of Meh and GJ-bu

  1. PP says:

    GJ-bu ? didn’t even know that existed ! at least now i can watch this in one shot ;3

  2. du5kdu5k says:

    How many episodes do I need to start enjoying GJ-bu? I dropped it after three, and I’ll take Tamako over that any day. i do think that many people had misplaced expectations from Tamako.

    • ImperialX says:

      If you didn’t like the first three episodes, you’re probably not going to like the series. It’s not for everyone, like most of these kind of shows.

    • Marow says:

      As ImperialX said, if you didn’t like it at all, then don’t pick it up. Personally I fell in love with it instantly.

      As for Tamako Market, I didn’t really have any expectations at all. Or rather, I expected it to be a typical “girls doing cute things”, but I secretly hoped for it being something else. Which it kinda was! And then I longed back to “girls doing cute thing”.

  3. ninetybeats says:

    I’m not familiar with your reviewing system, so I base my opinion on what you’ve written here.
    Robotics;Notes, wasn’t that bad. What it missed, was the fact that I didn’t see the direct link to Steins;Gate.
    Psycho-Pass: it did a good job in packaging cliché topics into something watchable.
    Tamako Market: I still believe the power of this show was, that it actually didn’t do anything. Truth be told, that it would be more fun if we just got a glimpse of the daily lives of the main cast.
    Bakuman 3: too sweet and too rushed, but not less in concept than the previous seasons.
    Ore no Kanojo: this wasn’t my cup of tea. Most of the credits go to the animation, which was pretty pleasant to look at.
    Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo: I found the first half actually pretty good, the second half became more of a drag.
    Shin Sekai Yori: it did a really good job in depicting a different reality with a different society with rules and morals.

    I liked the take on the series in your post, straightforward.

    • Marow says:

      Well, I tried to be more concise and to the point… although I kinda went against that as I continued writing this post. Or at least so I feel.
      But judging from you, I guess it was somewhat of a success! 🙂

      I found the first half actually pretty good, the second half became more of a drag.

      Many seem to feel the same way. And while that is true if you compare it to the first half, I believe this slower pace was what the series needed. It didn’t make the focus on drama come out of nowhere.

      What it missed, was the fact that I didn’t see the direct link to Steins;Gate.

      Reminds me that I haven’t seen Steins;Gate!

  4. Nopy says:

    I’m kinda glad that I didn’t follow Kotoura-san. I loved the first episode, but the second episode seemed to hint that there would be no more serious drama. I didn’t watch GJ-bu, Yama no Susume, or Girls and Panzer, but I agree with having Shin Sekai Yori and Mondaiji up there, I loved both of those series.

    • Marow says:

      Yeah, the drama was tossed out the window. Drama came back during the final episodes, but it was only stupid. Really stupid. Extremely stupid. It was so bad, really.

      I’m not really sure what your preferences are, but seeing as you’re not watching Aiura, recommending Yama no Susume might be a bit wrong (although it’s better). Maybe Girls und Panzer?

  5. mcnagah says:

    Not a bad list Marow. Of course our opinions seem to always differ from one another, but i believe that a lot of your rankings were correct this winter. Mostly the only good shows that aired during the winter were the ones that started in Fall. The worst show for this winter for me would be Kotoura-san. I felt that a lot of the drama like you said was blown directly at your face. The comedy elements didn’t work for me either. I felt like the same running gag happened all the time. If I had to pick a best of this winter it would probably be Shin Sekai Yori.

    • Marow says:

      So which was your favorite that wasn’t from fall? 😮

      I felt like the same running gag happened all the time.

      But it’s so fun to joke about a sexualized Kotoura!

      … yeah.

  6. Kai says:

    More than half with 5/10 ratings and below, meh season indeed. Most of the better anime were the 20+ ones from Fall, like Shinsekai Yori and Sakurasou. An extremely mediocre season indeed, I didn’t watch much of the Winter season anyway, lol.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Pretty nice reviews.

  8. […] Tamako Love Story – especially the latter, which is a sequel to the mediocre and lifeless series Tamako Market. The premise to tell a love story sounds so impossible with the boring cast it has, but instead it […]

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