Judge Book by Cover: Winter 2011 Edition

Another year, another season, another activity under the sun. Three-ep test time, right?

Danshi Koukosei no Nichijou – Nichibros is great fun. But I am not compelled. I think Nichijou was more compelling, despite significantly less gut-busting fun. Maybe it will grow on me. Maybe not. It’s still a lot of fun though.

Symphogear – Only if Polyphonica was like this. That said I ought to drop it. Wake me up when Minami Takayama shows up again. What is up with Nana Mizuki and crap anime anyways? At any rate, the weird feeling that I should go suffer through Blood-C first before this prompts me to do that first before watching any more Symphogear. Which is probably unlikely.

Kill Me Baby – It’ll probably be fun to watch at 2x speed. But not for me.

Ano Natsu de Matteru – Probably my most anticipated anime coming out of the first 3 episodes. There is a warmth to the characters and the animation radiates love. Kind of like how iM@S was. And believe it or not, Ichigo Morino (kind of wondering what would go with Umino) takes the spot of the first fixed pose PVC moe girl figure I ever owned. But actually, even if none of what I said just now is true, I would’ve put AnoNatsu in the #1 spot on the strength of episode 3 alone. It’s just a terrific piece of witty rom-com in the span of 23 minutes. It’s this kind of stuff that elevates late-night otaku fantasy into the realm of something that can be taken seriously as entertainment.

Mouretsu Pirates – Definitely my most anticipated anime going into this season. Does not disappoint. I am fine with the slow pace.

Rinne no Lagrange – This and Aquarion fight a bitter fight to see if it can fit into my even more restricted anime viewing time. It has an edge because it is on Hulu.

Aquarion EVOL – Just like the old series. But unfortunately I didn’t like the old show that much. I get the feeling it will be a mid-season call for this one, or will it have more staying power than Gundam AGE? One weird thing I noticed is how watching the OP and ED without any subtitles drastically improved my viewing experience. It’s like there is a saturation point in terms of what happens on every cut at any given time. The credits actually reduces the load on my sensory organs, but the subtitles (especially my favorite Karaoke subs) pushes it way over the edge and you missout that immersive experience as your eyes begin to ignore the stuff the subs breaks out from one moving frame to the other. Or at least it was for me.

High School DxD – Boobs are great, aren’t they?

Nisemonogatari – I wish I could just say “Boobs are great, aren’t they?” Definitely will finish it, simply because despite how much I find Nisioisin’s tricks worthless, they are quite entertaining. Also, at this point how can anyone take this show beyond pure fanservice? I have a hard time taking it seriously at all, maybe at the most as a funny word problem.

Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai! – Better known as Papakiki or “Listen to Me Girls, I Am Your Father!” it is more like, well, a planewreck than a train wreck. The first two episodes does a great job making a serious matter serious in this heavily saturated genre of man meets loli. The only question left is will the man meats loli? Also, the sempai character is kind of interesting.

Knight in the Area – Sums up why I have a hard time embracing shows like Cross Game, which I further contemplate if it has to do with why sports manga will never fly in America. Also, carwreck lol.

Another – I generally dislike horror as a genre, but this show is so gorgeous I don’t know if I can drop it. Also, Chihiro vibes where? Episode 3 ends with a very nice punch. Too bad she was my favorite moe character in the show; also makes a great first target.

Amagami SS+ – Glad it only has 2-ep arcs. First arc was kind of dreadful actually. But at this point I might as well finish. Good thing about 2-ep arcs is that any bad stuff only lasts for so long before another two reroll. Rihoko arc has proved to capture a bit more of the charm from the first series already!

Inu x Boku SS – I’m blogging it over at Jtor, and so far it is a deviation from what we typically expect out of David Pro. While I’m not holding my breath on it I expect it to be actually entertaining enough along the lines of, say, Maid-sama. Except instead of the annoying feminist blunders, it’ll have a lot of fujoshi baits. Or I hope. Ending is a great little nod.

Thermae Romae – It’s short and sweet. Being educational is a bonus. Also I’m really happy that it is only 6 eps long, because I’m not sure how much more of this I can handle.

Poyopoyo – It’s short and sweet and I can handle cats like this.

Recorder and Randsell – It’s short. Watching this on CR makes me wonder why am I not watching Morita-san or GDGT Fairies instead? But being on CR and being short means I can watch it on the commute.

17 Responses to “Judge Book by Cover: Winter 2011 Edition”

  • Taka

    What is Jtor?

    Also…I pretty much agree. Besides 1 or 2 things I’m not really thrilled.
    My favorite shows atm at Chihayafuru and Natsume 3.
    I dig Rinne no Lagrange somewhat.

  • Fencedude

    At any rate, the weird feeling that I should go suffer through Blood-C first before this prompts me to do that first before watching any more Symphogear.

    More stuff happens in the first episode of Symphogear than in the ENTIRETY of Blood-C.

    I don’t think Symphogear is “good”, in an objective sort of way, but its delightfully trashy in a way that isn’t seen much anymore.

    This is very much a throwback season.

    Rinne throws back to Stellvia
    AnoNatsu throws back to OneTi/Twi
    Aquarion throws back to…Aquarion
    Symphogear throws back to Iczer

    Also, don’t watch Blood-C. Just…don’t.

  • omo

    Jtor is some website I freelance at.

    Did you actually watch Blood-C? All of it?

  • super rats

    I’m pretty high on both Another and Bodacious. Both shows take their sweet time getting you anywhere, but the episodes for both feel very short. There’s understanding being doled out in the slow trickle, which keeps me interested. Another has so far set up a nice “question” at the end of each episode.

  • Fencedude

    Did you actually watch Blood-C? All of it?

    Yes, I did.

    And I regret it, horribly.

  • Taka

    I didn’t know you freelanced at japanator. I really liked your episodic Xam’d posts so I’ll be sure to follow your Inu x Boku coverage.

    I watched all of Blood-C and dug it decently. I don’t think it deserved the hateful remarks it got. As far as I can tell it’s one of those anime that fiercely divide fans. It made me want to watch the upcoming movie so I guess it did its job. In my opinion the strength of the show comes from contrasting the initial downright boring episodes with the final few episodes. In addition, I think the show nails the unsettling horror atmosphere that Another is going for this season.

  • Fencedude

    Another is creepy and disturbing, Blood-C was boring and pornographic.

  • Taka

    Another is tryhard and as a result boring. OOOoooooh look that guy drew a screaming lemon. NO DUDE it’s the WORLD that’s screaming!? Did I just blow your mind? Are you scared yet? How bout if I show a random shot of a creepy looking doll? I’ll admit that towards the end of the episode the doll store was somewhat creepy and Mei herself but 10 bucks says what’s under the eyepatch is nothing of consequence.

    For Blood-C my reaction is as follows…ZZZZZZZZ…fight….ZZZ….fight….Z- wait what just happened there?….seriously?….holy shit. When I look back on the show as a whole I think yes it does have a weak beginning but for me the end helps lessen the blow to my attention span I took from the first few relatively vapid episodes. Also I don’t think anyone was meant to get sexually aroused from the level of violence used in the show. It was meant to be brutal and visceral to contrast the mundanity of the early episodes.

  • Fencedude

    Also I don’t think anyone was meant to get sexually aroused from the level of violence used in the show.

    Blood-C is the SAW of anime.

    I have no problem with shows being graphically violent, and even the first few times in Blood-C it was shocking, and are among the few good points of the series, but by the end it turned into a comical exercise violence for violence sake, and the events of the final episode are completely inexcusable from a storytelling standpoint.

    This is not a new thing for anime, there are plenty of OVAs from the 80s and 90s that are just as bad, and basically all of them are terrible.

    Its the same as the difference between fanservice (even to such explicitness as Queen’s Blade or Qwaser) and outright pornography.

  • jpmeyer

    Maybe I’m being unfair here because Symphogear is SO BAD, but it made me realize that Nana Mizuki needs a new song :(

  • Taka

    I might be willing to agree that the gore of the final episode does not serve the story much except to provide a transition from the “false” Saya to the “true” Saya. From a directorial standpoint of the series as a whole it serves for a visceral and thrilling climax. Also again I reiterate that the contrast with the initial episodes merits inclusion just by itself. I don’t think it necessarily has to advance a theme, though I’m sure if someone thought about it a little they could create one out of Saya’s character development. Granted there is no denoument to the story but its meant to serve as a precursor to the upcoming movie. Which I personally don’t have a problem with. I know some people like their stories to be insular but I’m cool with waiting for a movie or a new season to find out what happens. The disadvantage for those movies though is that it will be judged based partially on the events of he series.

    Also you don’t highlight a difference so I’m not sure what you mean by your last statement. Especially after you called Blood-C pornography. Do you consider Blood-C more pornographic-like than Qwaser or Queens Blade?

  • Fencedude

    Violence can be “pornographic” the same way sex can.

    By and large Blood-C’s violence level for the first 10 episodes was fine, it was certainly among the most bloody and violent I’ve seen in a TV Anime in a long time, but it was like the sexuality in Qwaser, it was what the show was for, and within those bounds, it was fine.

    But the final episode was like if the last episode of Qwaser was an explicitly pornographic orgy. No one would defend that, and it would never be made. There is a line, the line can be pushed really far, but going over it fundamentally transforms the work in question.

  • omo

    Yeah, she does. It’s gotten to a point where between her and Minori Chihara it’s all the same elements garden sound. At least when it comes to anime works. Whatever that get the wota to work out really hard with them glowsticks, etc.

    My coverage over there is not like how I did my Xam’d stuff. There’s a format I have to stick to. But please do check it out.

    And uh, too much spoilers about blood-c :c

  • Taka

    I’d defend Qwaser’s final episode. It was off the wall insanity and it was funny.
    Blood-C’s was much the same way.

    Pornography directly alludes to something sexually explicit. I’ve heard the old argument about pathos porn of the key series but I think the term pornography when applied to anything that is not sexually explicit is just sensationalism.

    Qwaser in that sense is far closer to actual pornography than Blood-C. I personally would argue that Qwaser’s goal was not necessarily to sexually titillate, a fair amount of it was supposed to be comically absurd. Certain gore scenes in Blood-C are the same way. When a random NPC gets killed by a falling shard of glass that is comically absurd. Maybe it doesn’t balance the comically absurd and the truly unsettling well enough in some cases, but I still maintain that it’s not necessarily bad or “too much”. I do not think Blood-C crossed that line. I argue that the perception that the line is crossed arises from dislike of the way the show forces you to sit through half the series in a stupor. Are you saying you thought the show was going well up UNTIL the last episode and it fundamentally changed your opinion of it? Because my reaction was the exact opposite. I nearly dropped it almost 6 episodes in before it took a turn for the interesting and finally ended in a visceral and exciting bloodbath. I almost couldn’t believe it myself as I shook my head and changed my rating on MAL from 4 to 5 to 6 and finally ending with a solid 7. All within the final six episodes.

    I enjoy the particular MAL review that opens with “Blood-c is one giant troll of an anime. Unfortunately, it proved so good at the gimmick it used that it chased away most of the audience before the good times started rolling.”

    They however are far less forgiving of the initial episodes than I am.

  • Taka

    @Omo sorry. I wasn’t trying to get into an argument on your blog. I was just trying to voice a 2nd opinion. I did say it was one of the shows I felt fiercely divide fans but I guess that still invites argument.

    I understand Fencedude though. I feel the the same way every time someone ranks Nichijou among the best comedies they’ve ever seen.

  • Fencedude

    No, I thought the show was pretty crappy throughout, I was actually shocked that the final episode managed to lower my impression of the show even further.

    Blood-C commits a number of crimes against narrative, character development and good taste, and doesn’t even have the decency to be FUN in the process.

  • omo

    Hey man, we already know what you think. No need to repeat yourself now.

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