Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Fall Season 2013 Mid-Impressions

Obligatory season post.

Manly edition even.

Eh, the usual stuff. You know the deal by now. Shows are listed in an order from good to bad although some of them might change tiers a mere week later. This is your chance to grab a thing or two to upgrade your list or not. Do whatever you want with it. Will 3 to 5 lines of me blabbering about whatever comes to my mind regarding a show (usually very, very little and fairly generalized output) actually suffice to tell you all the meaningful things about the anime listed here? No. No in-depth shit for you. Take my word for what I'm saying or don't.

In case anyone is surprised that I might actually come across as too positive for once, just keep in mind that I've already dropped most of the bad stuff and am not particularly fond of watching too much crap forwhatever reasons there could be. Just get your Golden Times, Unbreakable Machine-Dolls and Arpeggios out of my sight. Especially the Kyoukai no Kanatas. Also, since this season has a lot more TV anime than usual with more than 50 of them around, there's also a whole lot more of decent stuff to be found, a positive side effect like no other. It's actually quite an accomplishment not to watch a bunch of decent shit this season. Of course, now that I've said this, I've probably jinxed something and everything is bound to go down the shitter like usually but hey, it's been a nice ride so far. Anyway, it's a relatively good season.

I'm behind on Space Bros (who isn't?), so I excluded that one. That Russia arc is just so gratingly boring and predictable. Will catch up with it some day though.


Hunter x Hunter 2011 [105/???]: Let me keep this brief - I've sung its praises so many times by now, I have absolutely no clue what to say here without ending up about as redundant as I can get. If you're still not watching this, you're doing something wrong.

Hajime no Ippo: Rising [7/25]: The reason no one ever seems to mention this is that I'm one of three people watching it and compared to its former seasons, it's fairly underwhelming. Still good, mind you, and far better than most anime could ever dream to be but cutting a lot of the build-ups for the fights isn't exactly what I'd call a good way of setting priorities. The build-ups are pretty much the best parts of Ippo. With that said, it still gets most things right, it has dicks, grown men pissing at each other (literally), the greatest characters and the greatest interactions between them ever and Aoki's title match is about the best thing I've watched this season. Your loss on missing out on this.


Kuroko no Basuke 2 [7/26]: It's still about barely super-powered basketball with its most important characters being a tad too much on the gimmickry side but fuck, this is doing so many things right. Like the basic character drama. Nothing all too complex or astounding but it works, draws you in and gets you interested. The matches have some neat direction, good background music and cool plot twists and combined with all of that, can get intense as fuck. If you've already watched the first season, then you pretty much know what you're in for and this one doesn't disappoint either. Giving a shit about Teppei though or Seirin playing against established teams AGAINeh, that's not quite the apex of entertainment?

Yowamushi Pedal [7/38]: Fun! You actually get to learn a thing or two from bicycling too! I just wish they would shut up about how AMAZING the protagonist is and gosh, you would have never guessed! All the while being disadvantaged by circumstances even! Good grief. Subtlety, Japan. It couldn't hurt to make things a bit less black and white. I don't have all too many complaints for this thing though. It accomplished to make a sport that basically only has the range of twists of "Accidents happen - That guy just passed the other guy" actually intense unlike a certain thing that was less about swimming than anything else. It fully knows how to play the variety card with different courses and stuff racers have to pay attention to during those and whatnot and the characters mostly work too, so when it doesn't get overdramatic or stupid, it pretty much gets stuff right.

Samurai Flamenco [6/22]: Is there actually anyone who dislikes this? Not me. Mostly decent character interactions in a somewhat unused premise that actually plays out its strengths and goes with both the superhero as well as personal sides of the characters. It's interesting to see what daily hurdles good ol' Flamenco has to deal with as well as the reactions evoked from the population/media. Gets the basic stuff right and all. It's a shame though that Flamenco Girl sucks and she's one of the reasons why the show is not quite as grounded as I want it to be, something it's best at. You can't just go "SERIOUS DRAMA!" and then introduce some nut-kicking idol superhero trio or technical gimmicks that make you safely jump off buildings. Let's go for realism instead, shall we?

Outbreak Company [7/12]: Now this is a toughie, sometimes surfing between ham-handed attempts at drama and world building and generally pleasing character interactions with a bunch of unobtrusive references. I'm not the biggest fan of references out there but at least they aren't all that frequent, not shoehorned-in and references to things I actually like? Sign me up! Other than that, the characters are its strong side (like, it actually has characters. And witty character interactions) and are what mostly makes and rarely breaks the show and let's just say that cool sakuga bits do their job as well. Both the comedy and energy are sound as well, so that's a pass.

Kill la Kill [7/25]: I'm trying to love this, really. It's just not working though despite its several merits. The comedy? The comedy's great. I sometimes wish this was a comedy and not just an action-something with comedy elements. The animation? Above average. The art? Fucking gorgeous. This is about as artistic and referential with its art as it can get. Combined with some cool direction, you're in for a treat. The writing can actually get good at times, see parts of the Mako or Sanageyama episode. Its greatest problem, though, is the bigger picture. While the setting is potentially interesting, they aren't making any progress or doing anything with it apart from repeating a few plot points hard to give anything about. Yes, the uniforms are mysterious. Yes, Ryuuko's father is still dead. Yes, Nudist Beach exists. There's also Satsuki beinguh, Satsuki. And that's about it. Stellar, I know.

Kyousougiga [5/10]: It's actually far less chaotic than people say it is but alas, has also far less complexity. Once you figure out what's going on, something that should happen around episode 1 or so, there's nothing new or ground-breaking in it for you. Just a bunch of characters getting their weekly spotlights and how they cope with their situation. The plot is centered so much around the past that it doesn't care about moving on in the slightest. The Koto plot hasn't really progressed an inch so far. For what it's worth though, despite how the characters aren't exactly the most interesting ones, it's doing a decent job at giving them backgrounds and keeping my interest up somewhat. It also looks fairly good.

Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle - Shukuteki! R tsel-hen [7/??]: First of all, it gets its puzzles right. It totally does. Combine that with the return of an OST I like a lot and you're in for a whole lot of tense fun. I kid you not, one of the puzzles was pretty much a flying, rotating maze and if there's one thing I can claim with no doubt, then it's that EVERYONE LOVES THOSE. But since this is Phi Brain, there's also a needlessly large focus on the antagonist, R tsel, and all she has ever contributed to the show so far has been yelling "My childhood memories are truer than yours! You liar! Jin actually hates puzzles!". It doesn't really help that it's hard to give a fuck about Jin in the first place. So, as far as the entire "Plot! Points! Of! The! Past!" stuff is concerned, color me unimpressed. The rest is the same good ol' fun though, so that's a pass.


Teekyuu 3 [7/??]: More of the same, except a tad worse. Next one!

Daiya no A [7/??]: It's solid. I'd actually rank this higher and call it decent if it wasn't so terribly childish. Yes, it's aimed at kids but no, I don't like being screamed at as a part of slapstick comedy so frequent it makes me want to gouge out things. Two minutes without the MC screaming at the top of his lungs, supported by bad direction and generally killing the tone they were going for before they had to cram in a "joke" would be too much to ask for, no? Other than that, it works and can get quite tense and has the "sports anime are engaging!" part working for it. Now let's just get the protagonist out of the way. If only.

Log Horizon [7/25]: It's become a lot better since its uninteresting, hookless start. Of course, it still has several of its flaws. I guess the battles aren't all that bad although they mostly consist of exposition making up new abilities, strategies and so on on the spot so the good guys can win and look super-clever while doing it and while the effects animation is commendable, the rest isnot so much.

And yet, it gets its characters right and actively (although way too exposition-laden) explores its world. It's about as MMORPG-ish as it can get I guess - in a good way.

Yuusha ni Narenakatta Ore wa Shibushibu Shuushoku wo Ketsui Shimashita [7/12]: Ah, well. I guess this gave off a bit of a wrong impression at the beginning with the sheer masses of fanservice. Not that has completely gotten rid of those but it's certainly not the next Queen's Blade or anything. I guess there are obvious parallels to be drawn here, namely to Maou-sama, albeit in this case, there's less males around and they are working at a magic item stop instead of Not-McDonald's. Character interactions are fairly pleasant and Fino's energetic and all but that's also about it. As for their "Big stores are eeeviiiilll because they don't care about their customers and enslave monsters for their work, making them die in the process!" nonsenseeh, let's better not talk about that. Here's hope though we'll get to see some more of Takeuchi's animation in the future!

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Love Comedy wo Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru [6/10]: Now that I've found a new term to abuse, "gimmickry", this is exactly it. The characters are as gimmickry as its premise, something that gets abused to no ends. This literally has the plot forcing the protagonist to do weird things and wow, does that get stale after a few times. Not exactly stale enough to be not entertaining since hey, jokes actually keep happening and at least it gets me half-curious about what's going to happen next but that's also where my praise ends for it and it's not nearly as witty or humorous as it thinks it is.

Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta [7/13]: Yes, it is the most well-animated thing this season but that's also where I'm running out of my praise. Animation alone cannot carry something that is basically nothing at all. It admittedly does look gorgeous but what exactly is this supposed to hook me on? A bunch of uninteresting, one-dimensional characters? The lack of a plot? Its generic filler episodes with nothing but a few explanations on its dull setting and a villain popping up to grin and leave again? It could potentially be interesting but stubbornly refuses to do so. It's also one of the most boring things I'm still following whenever action isn't taking place. It can be watchable at times but at otherseh, not so much.

Tokyo Ravens [7/25]: And here's that one show I'm still bothering with because it airs on a day little to nothing else tends to air. Not much of a fierce competition with only that BlazBlue something and perhaps others I've already forgotten about. With that said, I guess this is a minimally better version of Strike The Blood, so yes, dire states. I'm not even sure what the plot is about. Clear direction, focus or the likes are totally non-existent with this one. Sometimes, someone pops up and they fight. That's literally it. Some hijinks inbetween. Next to no world-building or anything of the sorts whatsoever. Also, Natsume is yet ANOTHER UNLIKABLE KANA HANAZAWA CHARACTER(tm) and eats up about 50% of the screentime. Screentime Touji or Kon would deserve in her stead but alas, it's just not meant to happen.


Coppelion [7/13]: Alright. I'll give it the bonus of being interesting when it isn't being boring. Not to mention how Ibara is BEST GIRL despite being the protagonist, an achievement like no other, I am sure. It also actually does explore its setting a bit and brings some aspects to the table. Not in a particularly great way but hey, that's at least something.

Opposed to that is a whole lot of nonsense. Horrid nonsense. You can't stress how realistic and serious everything is when it's actually about as realistic as not like the girls misidentifying an army plane for a "BIG CROW", actual crows flying as fast as that one and them following it with a jeep and shooting it down with a rocket launcher so they can talk to its crew with the intention of not causing any harm. Help. This thing just boggles the mind.

Galilei Donna [6/11]: And here's the noitaminA thing that sucks and just makes me want to slap whoever thought ruining the block with "revolutionary high-concept original anime" was a good idea. While it actually is entertaining and does get a few things right (the character interactions come to mind), it's basically about as ham-handed and stupid as it can get. This one basically spews out so many coincidences, plot conveniences and atrociously stupid things, often paired with absurd drama segments, it's hardly watchable. It's admittedly not quite as dumb as, say, Coppelion or Valvrave but we're talking about low, very low standards here.

So much for all of this. You don't like this season? Do yourself a favor and take a quick glance at the upcoming one. This one ain't so bad after all, huh?

Also, I guess the season preview will be up by next week, I've already written large portions of that.
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