Coming in, I thought this season is a weak season. But after looking around, it’s probably not that bad; maybe even slightly over average. It’s not as great as last season for sure, but looking around I see a lot of bloggers thinking this season is weak. I don’t know. If we throw all these shows on the wall and see which sticks, there might be an average amount of winners in that bunch. Wish times like this I have a magical power that summons empirical studies of whatever at my command. Like, “Magical makeup! Summon science!” [Of course, if you are one of those people who think Fujiko was the best anime last season and only one worth watching, you can save us some time and just go die in a fire.]
I’m ordering this by no order, and shows I don’t list are either ongoing, dropped before I get to 3, or in a couple cases, I didn’t even try them. Hopefully I didn’t miss anything [edit: now that I added Joshiraku].
- Jinrui wa Suitaishimashita: Thumb up. Solid satire with some bite, and easy to go down like all good satire. So good, I can do episodic, and tempted to do so!
- Total Eclipse: Thumbs missing. My initial impression of Muv-luv Alternative: Total Eclipse was actually this “pervy” figure of Cryska, followed by Yui with a SMG. You can tentacle some armada if you are interested in more details, plus some backdrop to the Total Eclipse story. I got my first real piece of the action at AX where we got backed-to-back episodes one and two right after a Kurinoko/ayami performance. I think I liked that more. But to be fair, the first episode after the two set-up episodes felt like kind of like this, where it’s trying to “throw back” to a Top Gun-ish narrative. I’m going to wait to episode 5 before really risking for a call since to me the story didn’t quite begin until ep3.
- Tari-Tari: Thumb up. It paves its own path, which is reason enough to watch if you are interested in the subject matter at all. Looks sharp and entertaining for the most part; just waiting for the story to gel and the CDs to come out.
- Oda Nobuna no Yabou: Thumb up. Probably the one dark horse anime this season. It’s surprising competent, production-wise. Studio Gokumi x Madhouse = woah. Kanae’s performance props the show up as much as the good pace things are going. Its only drawback is that some prerequisite knowledge about history through the games really helps your enjoyment.
- Campione: Thumb down. The only things going for it are the delicious fanservice and voice cast. The concept could be interesting but it’s executed in a very dull way.
- Kokoro Connect: Thumb up. Character drama needs good acting and we have it. I feared Hisako Kanemoto would be the weakest link but with the Yui episode come and gone, she actually did a pretty good job. The animation seems like that knock-off Kyoani style but there’s nothing offensive about it.
- Sword Art Online: Thumb down. I don’t like it but it’s a compelling watch. The production value is nice and I can empathize with the grief…as in, oh hey you just got trained sort of grief. Or in episode 3′s case, some one in their guild went Leeroy. I suspect though at the end of the series that might become true for actual viewers of this anime, at least the griefing part. The best strategy is to enjoy what little kernels of joy each episode provide you now, rather than later.
- Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru: Thumb down. Nakaimo is a trash show you can drop but it’s definitely the one good trash show out of the rest of the trash show this season. Main credit for being interesting in terms of plot and presentation. Conceptually it is way worse than most shows this season…if not THE worse. Which also is a credit to its favor if you look at it the other way.
- Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate: Thumb down. I like this show’s approach to politics and elections but it’s not going to cut it. Only for harem/visual novel types (eg., this is kind of trashy). Not thrilled about the art style, but it does the job. I’ll probably end up watching it LOL.
- Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai: Thumb down. Sorry to say, Aya Endo fans, but this is worse than QB season 3 I think.
- Natsuyuki Rendezvous: Thumb up. Why? Because I like the persistent take from the NTR angle. It really juices up this otherwise kind of boring josei fantasy. I’m also impressed how it can fit both manservice and womanservice in that tidy package. Kou Matsuo and his crew aside, it’s back to the basics of noitaminA, which is usually worth at least a look.
- Binbougami ga: Thumb up. Another show with a potentially downward outlook, the opening episodes have a big impact but it’s the kind of show that often will settle into a pattern and it’ll get repetitive quick. I won’t be surprised if I end up dropping this show in a few weeks. It’s good to hear Hanazawa in an unusual role but I’m not a big fan of this performance. Toilet-level slapstick comedy, however, scratches my itch. It’s like the companion piece of Jintai.
- Hagure Yuusha no AESTHETICA: Thumb down. Speaking of toilet humor, this one reached bottom first. I think I probably would enjoy this show if it can crank up the level of ridiculous over time, but that also means this show is not for most people. Perhaps if it looked better, a few of the more voracious viewers would give it a chance and get as far as the Kanatan-voiced, stoic-dere loli character….which is to say, yeah, you’re not missing much. If you’re on the Kana Ueda yuri-kei train of thought, though, consider Hagure Yuusha that bullet train from Yuriseijin taking you to heaven. If you like the populist nonsense in this show…well don’t get too serious.
- Utakoi: Thumb up. Because it’s kind of the dirty josei/shoujo stuff some of you like, but also it’s better than average for its category (edutainment). I probably should drop it, but given how all the shows I want to watch airs between Thursday and Sunday, it fits into those empty Tuesday-Wednesday slots.
- Joshiraku: Thumb up. I have a soft spot for the stuff that goes on in the ED, but that aside, the jokes tend to come at a good clip and enough of them hit. And sure, I like the girls enough, but more as people than as cute girls. (Are they even cute? Even Kigu?) I realized I can enjoy enough of the jokes raw (which is to say, not very many at all) but the tedious buildup to the punchline makes the whole thing not fun when you’re mired with the not-funny stuff. So I guess dropping this show would be the thing to do if the fansubs stop.
I think that’s it. Other shows of note:
- Eureka 7 Ao: Episode 12-13 kicks things up a gear, which is sooner than the first series. The setting plays a bigger role than ever, which is nice for long-time fans. I wonder if they can actually tie this in with Xam’d setting-wise wwwwww.
- Rinne no Lagrange: In Stellvia we have the group-cry episode. Now we have the group-yuri episode. Thanks, Tatsuo Sato. At least you are consistent!
- Space Brothers: Yawn.
- Yuru Yuri: Yawn♪♪
- Sengoku Collection: At least I have no idea what the next episode is going to be about! But it’s getting kind of boring, at least in the past month; they need to spice stuff up.
- Moyashimon Returns: Put me in the camp of people who think season 1 was special and season 2 is missing that special something. Nonetheless it is still a decent watch.
- Dog Days: Hopefully season 2 will way surpass season 1. So far it has. But I’m not watching this show~
- Accel World: I was hoping to see this plot concept earlier, but I guess it’s okay to have this story now.
- Hyouka: Still really dull, even if the school festival episodes have been really a treat.
- Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere 2: The barometer is, “will I doze off during any of their long exposition/tirades?” If yes, it’s a so-so episode; if no, it is a good episode. So far the count is about 1 to 2 and I suspect by the end of season 2 it’ll come close to even.
And I’m still watching Sket Dance. It’s still my type of humor.
PS. What is amazing (again) is that other than Hyouka and Joshiraku, every show on this list is getting a North American “stream.” (Funi’s 2 new shows aside, which I presume they will play catch up at some point in the very near future.) I wonder why…
PPS. I’m actually keeping up with over 20 shows at the moment. And I thought it would get better after last season….time to cutcutcutcut. I guess I did with AKB0048 already…
PPPPS. I went back and watched Joshiraku 3 and slotted it in. And removed Ebiten because, well, it’s just clutter at this point. So yeah. By the way, Ebiten HP is LOLs.