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Anime Roundup: Spring 2012

I have to admit, this is the first season in a while where I’ve actually got shows I genuinely get a “must watch” feel for. Most shows get a certain “this looks like it’ll be good” vibe to them but rarely do I get a show which I feel that I will watch regardless. Next season will be even bigger by the looks of things but we’ll deal with that when we get there. But first, lets take a look back at what has just finished.

Best Show

Another

Despite knowing roughly what the show was going to be about, I didn’t really know what to expect. But what I got was a really great dark show with a good deal of mystery to it and kept making you guess what was going to happen next. Pacing was really good too and it didn’t show it’s hand to often. My only gripe was that it wasn’t a type of mystery show which allows you to play along by providing clues and whatnot along the way but the structure of the story would make that pretty difficult to do effectively so it played its cards close to its chest and revealed next to nothing, which I was OK with!

Rinne no Lagrange almost made it as it was many times better than I had expected (which was quite low) but it lost out due to the really abrupt and unsatisfactory “wait till season 2″ ending…

[runners up: Rinne no Lagrange]

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Worst Show

Kill Me Baby

Some 4Koma mangas work well as an anime (Azumanga (naturally), Seitokai Yakuindomo and a handful of others) while others don’t at all. (most of the others).

I had some serious misgivings about the show going into it but I gave it a chance because the 4koma can be entertaining in small doses. But the anime adaptation fell foul to one of the worst crimes any show can commit. It was just plain BORING!! In fact the best thing to come out of it was this youtube video of 2 guys performing the end sequence “dance” in FULL!! Right down to the one handed handstands! There are quite a lot of “attempts” at doing the ending dance which basically means the person lazily does a couple of poses in the likeness of the show and posting a video but these 2 guys ROCKED!!

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Biggest Surprise

Zenki Sesshou Symphogear

There were lots of contenders for this title. There was the aforementioned Rinne no Lagrange, High School DxD which, while not particularly good on its own, made me want to read the novels from which it was based really badly, Mouretsu pirates and the daily lives of high school boys. But in the end, symphogear won it because of one simple fact. It’s essentially a freaking mahou shoujo show. A traditional one at that but somehow, I was able to sit through the whole thing. And I HATE Mahou Shoujo shows. I can’t watch them at all! Nanoha and Madoka are exceptions because they’re not really traditional Mahou Shoujo shows, not by a long shot.

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Biggest Disappointment

Guilty Crown

Well this was a collapse of epic proportions! At the half way mark for the show, it became painfully apparent what the show wanted to be… It wanted to be the next Code Geass and it wasn’t even trying to hide the fact!!! There’s just one problem. Geass lived (and died) on the strength of its characters and the cast of Guilty Crown had no strength to begin with. They are the most apathetic cast I have seen in any show for a long while and it’s almost impossible to like any of them or feel any kind of sympathy towards them. The few who were likeable were killed off for character “growth” and plot advancement (poor haru…).
Most of the cast were ones who lament over their own situation while ignoring the fact that it was they themselves who put them in that situation in the first place ( The Kuhoin sexual favours thing comes to mind!) and even the ending was nonsensical and bullshit, just like Geass!! With such a massive handicap, there was no way that GC was going to reach the heights of the best of Geass, but at the same time, it never plumbed to the same depths either, but it wasn’t able to fall the same distance in the first place…

The rest

  • Gundam Age seems to just be going through the motions now, pretty much like myself!
  • I wasn’t a fan of the original but sat through it regardless. Aquarion Evol looks like it’ll be the same story, though I’m really looking forward to the inevitable release of the DX Chogokin toy so I can pose it next to my original Aquarion. It should be fully transformable too!
  • Only half of the mini-arcs in amagami SS+  actually added anything to their stories. The Tsukasa, Ai and Sae arcs were nothing but filler. Still YAY Rihoko, YAY Kaoru and WOW Haruka!!!
  • I still can’t believe that Shakugan no Shana is finally over!! Just wish that VIZ released more of the books instead of just the first 2. I want to know how much the anime changed. The first arc was completely different! (though the movie followed it more closely)
  • On the other hand, I’m glad that Zero no Tsukaima is over. That show overstayed its welcome!
  • Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam had a similar problem as Guilty crown by having antagonists who they wanted you to sympathise with but ended up getting nothing but my disdain. They all got off far too lightly.
  • I should like Chie more than the others in Persona 4 due to her being voiced by Hocchan!! But I’m a Rise fan all the way! And this was a good adaptation. The makers of the Valkyria Chronicles anime should take notes regarding this and Tales of the Abyss.
  • I really want to read the novels of High School DxD  now!
  • What the hell was that ending to Mirai Nikki?  They couldn’t be bothered to animate a few more pages worth? Admittedly, the ending to the manga kinda sucked, but still!!
  • Papa no iukoto wo kikinasai  was really meh
  • There were some seriously funny moments in the daily lives of high school boys.
  • Ano Natsu de matteru  wanted to be the next Onegai Teacher so badly!!! But none of the characters could come close to the greatness that is Kazami Mizuho! Lemon was still brilliant though, just like Ichigo in Onegai Twins. ufufufufufufu.
  • I’m still surprised by how entertained I am by mouretsu pirates!
  • I have no idea why I watched Inu x Boku SS
  • Maybe it’s because I’ve been Nisio Isin’d out after Bakemonogatari and Katanagatari but I didn’t really enjoy the prose heavy nisemonogatari as much as I though I would.

That’s it for last season. Here’s what I’m looking forward to this season. But before that, DAMN YOU NAGANO!! Why the hell are you working on a damn movie? Your stories are much better suited to a longer TV series or at least several OVA episodes. Why did you have to make GothicMade into a movie?? Did the Five Star Stories not teach you anything?

Must watch!!

AKB0048

Dare I try to do the same joke in 2 successive preview posts? Nah…

For real this time!

Accel World

If there’s just one show I have to watch this season, this would be it. Admittedly, I only picked up on it when the figmas for Silver crow and Kuroyukihime were shown (first time in ages I thought a figma was good for something). I was curious about the designs, especially the battle form for Kuroyukihime and ended up reading some of the translated manga and then that went on to the partially translated 1st volume of the light novel and the completed 2nd volume. After that, I was pretty much hooked, though I have to admit that I’m looking forward to the adaptation of the authors other work, Sword Art Online even more!!

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia

I picked up the manga on a whim ages ago but quickly fell for the quirky story and I think it’ll work well as an anime so I’m looking forward to seeing how this one does.

Saint Seiya Omega

Saint Seiya is one of the classics which I really enjoyed reading so I’m definitely checking this new show out. Still, there are a few things which bug me, like Seiya seeming to be a proper gold knight. What the heck? Oh well, if I can shout PEGASUS RYUSEIKEN!! then I’ll be happy!

Saki: Achiga-hen episode of side A

Who the hell thought up that title?? Anyway, this is a sidestory involving a completely different mahjong team from the main story so sadly, we won’t get to see much of Saki, Nodoka or the others which means no Rinshan Kaihou (which isn’t actually worth that much in terms of points but is cool for dramatic effect!). Still, can’t say no to more Saki!!

Fate\zero

Continuing straight from where the first season ended, this is more of a part 2 than a full second season so it gets in by default.

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Interesting but Meh

Medaka Box

An adaptation of a Shonen Jump manga written by Nisio Isin of the -gatari books fame… This is a 4th wall breaking self parody manga which basically lampoons any and every shonen trapping you can think of. And that’s part of the problem. The manga starts off as a rather entertaining comedy gag manga and then changes to a rather poor battle manga. The most recently completed arc turned it into a high school romance manga, all the while the characters do their utmost to explain away all the cliches of the shonen mangas and uses them in the story.
The 2 biggest worries I have about the show are that it’s a manga adaptation from Gainax (who generally suck at adapting works to anime. Mahoromatic, anyone?) and that, even in manga form, Nisio Isin really REALLY loves prose and monologues. We can get pages where over 2/3rds of it is covered with speech bubbles in this manga and sometimes, it just goes on and on. Luckily, there’s a lot more movement in here than, say, nisemonogatari so at least things will happen in an episode beyond 2 or more characters sitting around and talking for 20 minutes. Still, I’m wary of this show. It has a good base, but there’s plenty to go wrong with it.

Eureka Seven AO

Mecha shows usually go straight into the “must watch” category. But here’s the thing, I really REALLY didn’t like Eureka Seven. The TV series collapsed into a pit of nonsensical ramblings late into its run and the less said about the movie the better. Being a sequel to that show actually hurts this one more than it helps. It’s only the mecha element which is making me watch it.

Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? of the dead

Can’t say that the first season left a memorable impression, or any impression at all for that matter. But who cares, MORE EUCLIWOOD HELLSCYTHE!!!!

Sankarea

I’m more curious about how this adaptation will work more than anything else. The source manga is a little disturbing afterall. A girl coming back to life as a zombie and craving human flesh gets taken in by a buy who fancied her when she was alive? There’s more to it, of course, but if I had to choose, I prefer Tasogare Otome x Amnesia over this.

Acchi Kochi

After reading a little of the translated manga, I found it rather funny and entertaining so the anime is at least worth a look!

Lupin III Fujiko Mine to iu Onna

Another classic anime given another series. While I’ve never gotten into the original TV series of Lupin 3rd, I’ve enjoyed  the secret of Mamo and Castle of Cagliostro so being given a chance to watch a modern Lupin series is something I’m going to take!

Ozuma

I’ve never bothered to sit down and take the time to appreciate a Matsumoto Leiji work. Gotta start somewhere!

Jormungand

This show (and the manga) gives me a real dark, Black lagoon vibe to it so that alone makes it worth checking out. And it’s not often you get to see an anime about arms dealers. I bet there’ll be plenty of “gun porn” in here. How accurate they are to the real life weapons is another matter though!

Mysterious Girlfriend X

Oh boy, where to start on this one? A story about a relationship between a buy and girl where they exchange their feelings by the boy swallowing some of the girls drool… I’m not making that up!! The manga itself is actually pretty decent but I just don’t know if it’ll survive the transition to an anime…

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san

A gag anime involving a moe-fied Cthulhu god? I bet there’s going to be some fanservice in there too. Yup, worth checking out!

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Why am I watching this?

Zetman

You have no idea how painful it is for me to put this title here. I’m a huge fan of Katsura Masakazu and his previous works. He also draws some of the best girls in the industry, right up there with Fujishima Kousuke (Oh! My Goddess) and Obata Takeshi (Bakuman & Deathnote). DNA^2 is one of my fave mangas, I loved I’s and Video girl Ai and even Shadow Lady was pretty fun but zetman… I’m still reading it but the problem I have with it is that it lacks structure and the plot doesn’t seem to really be going anywhere! It’s also way darker and more violent than any of his previous works (and that kinda says something). It often feels like Katsura is a completely different person from his previous works and there’s not even a love side story, which was kinda the staple of his other titles.

It also doesn’t help that it looks like the art direction for the anime has completely failed to grab the original art. But I’ll watch it because of the mangaka.

Queens Blade Rebellion

OK, the first 2 seasons weren’t bad, they just weren’t good either. But there was a strong-ish plot behind the mass of tits so it might be worth checking Rebellion out. It’s not like I’ll lose anything other than a little time with this one afterall. But Hyakka Ryouran was way better!

Upotte!

The only reason I’m watching this is because the premise is too stupid for words. A school about girls who are actually guns? WTF????

Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan

An anime adaptation of a PSP RPG game where the main selling point seemed to be the fact that the characters were designed by Taka Tony… Well, after being bombarded with a ridiculous number of figures from this game and the previous games, shining tears and Wind and a next to zero chance of localisation, I’m checking this show out just to try and find out what the hell the game is about…

That’s pretty much it from me. I might pick up Hyouka but I doubt I’ll take on Phi Brain 2. seems too much of an investment to put in for 52 eps total and I didn’t think the first season was all that great.

What are you guys all planning to watch?

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  • http://quentinlau.blogspot.com Q

    Shana ended finally :o Though I can feel that there’s a lot of background content that has been deliberately skipped out in order to fit in as much actions and cream into the last twenty-something episodes of the final season. Even though I am a slow reader, I may have to pick up on the novels again eventually.

    As for Gundam AGE, Asemu’s saga seems more interesting than Flit’s, and while there are still places where there are some nonsense elements involved, they are fewer in between than Flit’s. It could have been expanded more, but the way the last episode ended just feels a little abrupt before Kio comes in this week.

    Apart from Fate/Zero, I’m not sure what else I’ll watch yet. There are a lot of series on air this season. Well, if I can really follow up with so many series at once then I may consider picking up things that I’m not familiar with.

  • http://lookingglass.kokidokom.net gundamjehutykai

    From what I’ve read, not that much has been removed but things have been changed for dramatic impact. For example, at the end of the first book, which chronicled the first fight against Friagne and ended with Yuji learning he had the Reiji Maigo, the series ended it with a large but otherwise fairly bog standard battle, while in the book (and movie), Shana had to use Tenpa Jyousai, her final move which summoned Alastor into the world and was supposed to end with her death as no other flame haze has survived it before, including her predecessor. Obviously she did manage to somehow but she hasn’t used it for the bulk of the series. The 1st season had it so she did the spell at the end of the series, which is at least 4 books in.

    As for AGE, it’s become one of those shows where I don’t think too much about it. It got better by putting in standard devices we have seen time and time again, as if its using them as crutches. It’s hard to recover from something like that.

    As for new shows, For action, I’d definitely recommend Accel World. Love the show. Just wish that Baka Tsuki translated more of it! For comedy, I’d definitly say Haiyore Nyaruko-san and probably Acchi Kocchi. Nyaruko-san is definitely a contender for show of the season, and it’s barely started!!