Autumn 2012 Mid-season Checkpoint

I voted for more shows dropped and more time shooting aliens this November, but I got wet from Konya wa Hurricane. The net total is this post about random observations. If I didn’t mention a show here I probably dropped it, or on hold until whenever like E7Ao.

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – It’s less mentally offensive than Hyouka because it doesn’t try to engage me on higher level of analysis and thought, so it is much easier to watch. But in a lot of ways it’s definitely inferior. I suppose this is why Dekomori and Kumin exist. I said most of what I wanted last post.

Teekyuu – What I watched: Teekyuu. What I expected: Sofuteni. What I got: Zero Punctuation. Also, this is Mappa? Good on them. About 3000 yen for all of it on Amazon! [Side note: man, pagerank for CR on this keyword is horrible.]

Seitokai no Ichizon & Ebiten – I lump the two together because clearly both are being screened on Nico first (how about that US merger huh) and then picked up by a TV station the season after. HOPEFULLY this means CR will stream it starting in Jan 2013. As far as Seitokai no Ichizon goes I’m pretty okay with the new season, once I got used to the new Akaba voice. It was easier to deal with Mafuyu’s voice because it’s a very neutral tone, although I miss the very subtle tonal acting that was present before, that gave it an extra edge of melancholy. Oh, I probably should mention Seizon Lv.2 Episode 0 was AWESOME, because man, I miss Houko.

Oniai – On the merits, it’s probably worse than NakaImo, and it is more or less the same schtick–crazy girls tries to get into main guy’s pants, entertain mostly with OTT antics and not with so much fanservice, hides its plot/character chops. Takeaways are the two underage seiyuus in Ibuki Kido (as the main sister girl) and Sumire Morohoshi (the 12-yo manager genius). Kido is actually a year younger than Akiko, and Morohoshi a year older than Arisa. My favorite gag has to be the T-shirts. It’s like “Primary schoolgirls are great” but even better. Because I can wear something like Che Akiko and not get arrested.

Zetsuen no Tempest – I’m fascinated by this show, but it’s not the most engaging thing. All the characters are mysterious and hard to read, and you don’t really know what’s going on. How can they build a compelling plot on that? Just turn a bunch of people into metal and have giant eyes float out from the ground, I guess. Oh, add a romantic triangle involving some really messed-up interpersonal relationships. What’s the best about all of this is that it’s done with the precision of a Shakespearean play, instead of something more, well, relatable and visceral. What’s the worst is that it’s all posturing and TL;DRs, with the reasons and rhymes in thoughtful dialogues and monologues. Yeah, it can be kind of dull. It’s no surprise that I like Tempest; I’ve always liked shows like this. Having Bones behind it just make it a lot easier and makes it possible that I can talk to some people who may be drawn in for those superficial reasons. Book of Bantorra, anyone?

Hidamari Sketch S4 – Really digging it so far. Although, as others pointed out, unless they do something with the new first years in a major way, this is going to be pretty much more of the same for another 13 episodes. What they did in episode 6 is exactly what has to happen for Nazuna and … the girl with the PC.

Jormungand S2 – Eh, it’ll do. A lot of the suspense is gone with the second season. Maybe I should write a blog post about sequels like this. And Hidasketch.

Space Bros – It’s gotten to the point where the anime just has to make one more mistake before I drop it (for the manga). Invariably it makes a mistake and I’m like, man, I don’t want to read manga, because I just don’t have that mode of consumption handy in the way my routine is. But invariably, also, Space Bros redeem itself in some minor way for me to keep putting up with it.

Psycho-Pass – I can put up with this. At least it rewards with some pretty cool ideas. And a strangled Ayanyan.

Robotics;Notes – This anime is my Yoshino Nanjou coming-out-of event. Granted at this point it’s all kept in the dark, plot-wise, so I can’t really say anything about this anime besides that it’s already seeding important details, as all non-linear narratives invariably do. I’m not sure it has given me enough to go on but I’m just blindly rolling along with Tall Robot Nerd Poplar. And is Kai a jerk? Who cares?

Magi – I think this is my top show this season. But it’s one of those “watch but don’t buy” kind of thing since the show itself is just excellent, but not something I’d obsess over. Maybe it will change and upgrade into something worth owning.

Busou Shinki – This is pretty lame. Limp, even. Especially when it’s less like Strike Witches and more like… Infinite Stratos? At least that’s how I’m watching it–for the mecha battles. The animation is what I like best, along with the tech/setting. But I’m not sure how else it appeals to the cute-girls-do-cute-things demographic. Maybe I’ll punt it after all?

K – The music is so pimp that I feel like playing Persona 4 Golden. Might punt it. And yes, this show works great as a comedy…and that’s it.

JoJo – OMG. On the other hand it’s just as I expected from David Pro.

Girls und Panzer – This show is brilliant. Not only it capitalizes on what is obvious as the concept became a thing, it did enough of a twist to make the whole venture seeming worth the while. Its ensemble-cast style organization yet focusing on a handful is a gamble ultimately, not because they’re doing that, but they better be focused on the best five girls out of that lot of dozens.

Medaka Box S2 – I guess this anime took the Negima turn? Not that I mind; Medaka makes a good protagonist, although it’s really just a 2-person show between her and Zenkichi vs. the world at this point. Not that I mind that, either.

Shin Sekai Yori – It’s the “different” anime this season, although how it’s different is unclear. I think it’s at least something interesting for a more “mainstream” audience (because it isn’t really mainstream) but this is definitely overrated. If I had to criticize it, two things–the pace is horrid and the direction and scripting is clumsy. Usually these two things cause me to drop shows, but the setting sort of redeems it. Or the underage sex, I’m not sure. I predict at least one commentator at the end of this cour will complain how it does not fully utilize its setting.

Muv-luv Alternative: Total Eclipse – Lots of BETA action in the first half. Second half is more about Total Eclipse of the Heart amirite.

Little Busters – It’s the sort of moment when you recall every Key/VA anime event you’ve personally experienced since the beginning and you go, “we’ve came a long way.” It isn’t to say the visual novel to anime mechanism has improved to the degree that those products are something worth while–maybe it has. But Little Busters was originally the concept, and now it has arrived; perhaps its only flaw was this anime existed starting after Angel Beats. None of that, however, heals its deadly pangs of boredom.

Initial D Fifth Stage – I guess no one sleeps in Tokyo in the night of fire about love and money. And I still would like to test out a FR-S/BRZ sometime.

Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo – The Pet Girl of Sakura House? Inn? Guilty Crown? I enjoy the roomful-of-lunatic approach to the series and it is very much got everyone looking at the characters as characters, and that is already a win for the anime. As usual I have a harder time buying in, but the array of otaku references makes the low production-value pill easy to swallow. [LOL I forgot about this show srsly…now it is included!]

I really want to keep watching Kamisama Kiss, but I have to drop something in exchange. I might.

At a glance you can tell Funimation is pushing a lot of new titles this season. It’s a promising thing because in the past 18 months they are major slacking on new acquisitions in my opinion, given the share of home video releases they put out. On the other hand, while I have been test driving their premium account across my phone and PC (mostly on the PC), their quality of service is still rather lacking. It’s better than just embedded Hulu streams that TAN is doing, but that’s like comparing your current self with yourself in 2002. At least I can get things to work after enough experience “jiggling” the various nobs and switches. Like how in Chrome when you change resolution to 720 it autoplays, and half the time it tries to play 2 streams in the same player if you hit the wrong buttons in the wrong in sequences.

At times like this I wish I was the kind of otaku who only watched anime off the tube, so I can cut it loose and just stick to this sort of services, paid or not.

There are three fronting shoujo series this season. Two go to CR, one to Funi and AN gets one of the two from CR. Not sure which one wins but that sounds at least fair.

Overall a pretty mild season without a smash hit, unless that boring Urobuchi show turns out to be a gem or Sakurasou becomes the second coming of Toradora. The various continuing series are all pretty strong and they will entertain, where as new series will have to flounder a bit before they find their footing. We’re at the half way point now, but I think shows like Garupan and Oniai have no real grasp on the audience at this point. Maybe that’s okay for those kinds of shows.

PS. I feel like putting Joshiraku here because it’s a great show from last season that I didn’t really write about (which will happen after I write up Sencolle…yeah), but also it got done subbing not too long ago. Actually I just want to share these two translated radio dramas from Joshiraku with you, if you haven’t seen them already.

PPS. TAN…doesn’t do any page rank SEO stuff do they.

12 Responses to “Autumn 2012 Mid-season Checkpoint”

  • schneider

    “Nazuna and … the girl with the PC.”

    You’re terrible! :(

  • praestlin

    Re: Busou Shinki
    You are literally the 2nd animu bloggar I know of that actually watches the show (or rather, bothers to comment on it via a reasonably popular public channel). The other dude was Josh on Japantor, and he kinda gets it in the “you gotta drum up your own meaning” kinda way. The cute girls do cute things demographic lines up with the OMG how do these cute girls do these cute things, actually. Same way you appreciate a joke about the M16 speaking Kansai-ben you appreciate how Terrorist Arnval is different from Ann.

    I think Busou Shinki isn’t so much lame as initially misleading (Unless you believe OP sequences are obliged to represent their shows accurately). Most came in for the Strike Witches but were instead treated to Toy Story. The unlucky ones forgot to watch GaruPan as well and were thus left unfulfilled.

    They’re more than half done and not a single mecha battle of consequence has occurred. I’d bet that barring an injection of plot (something about the Strarf true purpose is my wager), it’ll never happen. I’m OK with that, though they have to keep pushing the “this world of men and Shinkis is kah-ray-zee” angle.

    Re: GaruPan
    Man, I remember when the ANN jerks were giving it their 2/5s and 1/5s based on ep 1 during their preview, and they were so goddamn wrong it isn’t even funny. Actually it is funny, because you shouldn’t add scores to recaps.

    • omo

      Josh and I have similar tastes in these kind of things…

      You’re kind of right, there’s a first impression problem with Busou Shinki and what every episode feels like is it’s on standalone deal. I’m sure there’s a big multi-episode arc set up towards the end and Straf might have to kick even more butts than she does now, but that is likely relatively irrelevant to the enjoyment of the series as a whole. It’s not like Strike Witches or Infinite Stratos. More like… Teekyuu.

      …But the issue with that is you can get tired of little moe dolls moving around and cosplaying flight attendants or gundam girls after so long, if nary a punchline is in sight. I love Mamegu’s Lene but she’s such a piece character in this ever-expanding cast of self-propelled toys. I really enjoyed the terrorist episode too, because it had all these Asumin clones. But I enjoy that about many other anime lol.

      GaruPan is precisely the sort of thing ANN can’t handle. I believe it 100% when they say they don’t hate moe per se, however it’s pretty obvious that they are incapable of handling it. I don’t think anything else they’ve done is particularly problematic. Review scores are good ideas to add because some people enjoy seeing it for whatever reasons, and it’s a good troll.

    • praestlin

      Finding a “punchline” for Busou Shinki is gonna be tough, because it literally has no fiction. It’s all completely arbitrary because Konami hires whatever artist feels like making a moe mecha girl. Sometimes not even mecha, what with the mermaid shinki and the octopus shinki and the cat/dog shinkis. So there’s no Mass Effect codex or Forerunners or First Civilization to make up a backbone for the plot the way global warming and weird science are doing for stuff like Steins;Gate. It’s like Black Rock Shooter, except even that had the advantage because the song lyrics established an actual tone for the character to be built around.

      The last time Shinki had a plot was with the PSN show and that was kiddie stuff about shinki tech going military. Guess what, in this thing the army is buying goddamn Arnvals off the shelf and handing them cute little kevlar vests. What was that when they said Solid Snake’s radar is made from existing tech?

      Then again, they managed to end Upotte in two eps from near zero momentum. But on the other hand Infinite Stratos had a crap “ending” (though that’s not necessarily 8-bit’s fault but the LNs).

      And yeah, ANN can’t handle talking about moe because they’re too proud to pronounce anything that’s not a giant robo show as “dumb fun”.

    • omo

      If they can produce Sengoku Collection, there’s no excuse.

    • praestlin

      I want you to keep your promise and write about that show. Only after you do will I watch it, even though I already want to because you seemed so taken by it at the time. My edification is in your hands!

    • omo

      Really now? I guess my laziness is your loss. Joking aside, my hopes are that I will get to write about it in earnest, and to do it justice. Just don’t know when it’ll come true.

    • Fencedude

      While I may not blog Busou Shinki, I flood twitter about it whenever I watch the newest episode.

      The show is both simultaneously completely horrible, and a great amount of fun.

      That being said, I wouldn’t mind a serious look at the Shinki concept…

    • omo

      Aside: I wish you’d flood your twitter less. Get a blog or something!

  • paranda

    They actually told us straight out at the early-screening event in Japan that the entire series was only meant to be peaceful nichijou-type stuff, so I already knew Busou Shinki would go in this direction. But for me, even while I was expecting and wanting that, the series was kind of a disappointment.

    Even as a moe show, I think they really missed their chance to leverage the main charm which was scale – small 15cm people doing things and interacting with oversized objects in a big person world. A sort of reverse Gulliver’s Travels if you will. But, the way they implemented it was too inconsistent. The later episodes are full of missed opportunities as the whole environment also tended to scale down with them, so you just had boring situations with occasional reminders to pay lip-service to them being miniatures.

    The real problem I guess is consistency. If they had actually gone with the ever so slightly battle route like episode 1, or stuck to their guns and made everything more like episode 2 (cooking with Shinki), the whole series would have been a lot more enjoyable.

    • omo

      I really liked episode 1 because the animation even looked different as a result of size differences. They had funky camera angles to show it off and what not, which was all gone after episode 2.

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