Winter 2013: Played Out

I think we’re at the point of the season where new shows are either cleaning up from their explosive and intriguing pilots, or holding on to its cards until the final stage of the game. I feel the lull.


I think this is where a lackluster anime can really fly its colors and get people’s attention, now that the TV anime mix has stratified from sedimentation; the unforgiving centrifuge of short attention span will float those Senren Kaguras on top and hard campers like Shinsekai Yori and Psycho-pass on the bottom. Not that either is particularly value-assigned good or bad, mind you, and certainly that means the Jojos of this world is probably somewhere in between. Man, what a show that is.

But is there anything really outstanding? It’s kind of like how all this people who harp on Magi, either way? I mean, yea, I see animation mistakes and the like, but I wouldn’t call it bad. Or else nobody would watch anything SHAFT makes (at least on first pass). At least there has to be that proverbial cabbage, and it wasn’t there anywhere this season. But anyways, why do people chime after Magi, besides that it ended a story arc in the middle of the season? Maybe that was it. At least it didn’t do what Chiyomaru’s Robotic;Notes (almost) did, which is grow a little too long in the tooth. No matter how moe Frau is, we want to know what happens next.

It reminded me of that show with flying panties a few years back. I mean, all you need is just a little bit of whack. Maybe Kyoto Animation can make Tamako Midori burst into a tango duet with Dera? Or in Magi’s case, a cute Haruka Tomatsu character doing a gap moe dance routine (and unlike Frau, that clip is spoiler-free and context-free). Or maybe what it takes is Urobuchi killing some more people gruesomely in his Psycho-Pass (surely that is tired). Maybe it has to do with gothloli maid character bouncing around in a dance routine with a bunny sharing the same rack size with Kurokami Medaka (complete with hair color change)? I’m looking forward to that. (And I hope someone tells me Medaka’s are larger, because they may be.)

That said, if there’s anything reassuring in Winter 2013, it is that boobies only get you so far. Who’s still watching Senren Kagura again? Maoyu’s sacs of fat is a somber reminder that boobs are really no big deal in the real world–we all have them, it’s more about how you use it. It’s much like how SHAFT, try as they might, can only do so much in Sasami-san episode 5 because that material is so Haruhi in this post-Haruhi environment, that the Based God herself (CV: Asumi Kana) goes meta over her own desires, in which becomes the plot driver. At least now we can claim that the combination of Haruhi anime with incest is actually a thing, or Haruhi with untranslatable puns is a thing. Plus the only booby character is the loli (who is fully clothed at all times, God willing). On the other hand, adding the right amount of boin (and it could be in all forms, from Kanade “Boin-chan” Oue to the cast of Da Capo III–Da Capo Sakura Drift) does give your show a little bonus juice. It’s about time we’ve gotten that formula right. (Is calling Kana-chan “boin-chan” the, uh, the 1000AD version of “Titty-ko”?)

On the other hand maybe this is why Aniplex is going for butts in Vividred and Lantis & ASCII Media Works are putting money on the surging idol trend. It is free market at work, folks; the industry is growing to meet your ever finicky and ephemeral demands. The only question is which people group are they taking feedback from? Surely not from people not paying any money into that exorbitantly problematic financing model. Maybe the final hook from Vividred would be the “OMG my body is an elite combat machine from the future and I’m just a plucky 14yo girl who wants to make friends using world-destroying weapons, but now I can’t do anything because I’m a zombie like Grandpa and I will never get married.” That would be such a cop-out. A more direct way to make sales is to just give us some bonus throw-ins, like how they deal with those rednecks from Osaka.

Or if you’re like me, you’re still glued to this show called Hyoubu Kyousuke, because it’s actually the most anime-y and best anime-y anime on the air. Why hello there Aya Hirano. If I had any regrets, it would be that shipping Hyoubu and Hinomiya is probably the canon thing to do, even if one (or both) of them is a real lolicon. I almost regret to be able to introduce the show for those “oh why are anime full of teenagers” crowd, but Hyoubu Kyousuke does work for them.

What is up with all these lolicons, anyway? I think there are probably a couple more than usual this season. Not that I actually keep track–it just feels weirder. It’s just like how Oreshura takes that oddish turn as it continues to introduce the girls in a mid-flight attempt to boost its solid if lackluster drama, borrowing from both Haganai (which continues to be problematic, for better or worse) and maybe even Chu2koi? I don’t know and I don’t even. It’s probably way too hopeful to expect it to be like Sakurasou, since I think a lot of us were expecting Sakurasou to be like Tora Dora, which is already way too hopeful. Does that mean Hocchan > Asumiss > Yukarin? It feels that way certainly when it comes to luck of the casting draw.

I’m starting to think Asumiss is the Morgan Freeman of the otaku anime world. でんがなまんがな! Or maybe more appropriately, PUCHIM@S!

8 Responses to “Winter 2013: Played Out”

  • Steven Den Beste

    I’m still watching Senran Kagura, but it’s mostly because I’ve been blogging about it and I don’t want to stop. It surely isn’t distinguishing itself even as a fan service show, which is pretty much all it has to offer.

    Seems like most seasons have a show which turns out to be surprisingly good. In the fall it was Girls und Panzer. This season I think it’s Mondaijitachi. I’m really getting into it. The characters are more interesting than I expected them to be, and it’s a very intriguing situation they find themselves in. Plus Satomi Arai is in it as a lesbian loli demon lord, which is a nice bonus.

    • omo

      Mondaiji is definitely a fun show to watch, although I’m not sure if I would put it on a pedestal. It is an iterative improvement on a formula that has been slowly getting better over the years.

  • NegativeZero

    I’m still watching Senran Kagura and I’m not entirely sure why.

    Also I agree on Hyobu Kyosuke. I actually went back and started watching Zettai Karen Children again – previously gave up around an episode or two in, thought it was crap. This time around I’m really enjoying it and liking the extra context it gives for the spinoff a lot as well.

  • praestlin

    Upon your advice I’ve started Ixion Saga to find out what that “DT” means. Lasted about 10 minutes before I switched to rerunning AKB0048’s Makoto episode, since the way they play Boku dake Value while Grumbly falls into the Death Star is priceless.

    Besides Maoyu and R;N it’s like all I watch are the shows dismissed by the critic types as fanservice trash, so maybe I’ll add Mondaiji to the diet.

    • omo

      Mondaiji is fun fanservice trash. Probably less guilty of a watch than Dog Days but not much better than.

    • DarkFireBlade25

      Mondaiji is surely the “guilty pleasure” type of anime that critics would dismiss as trash. The existence of one of the most chuunibyou-deus-ex-machina-waiting-to-happen character is an indication. It is an anime that you can see the ending clearly but the only mystery is what’s on the journey to get there. More loli demon lords perhaps?

  • DarkFireBlade25

    Sasami-san’s formula is dead in more than 1 way. It is like sasami is trying copy 1 aspect of Haruhi’s success and covering the rest of the appeal with nyaruko/lucky star-esque shenanigans but with less comedy. Too soon, I’d think.

    • omo

      I’m not sure where Sasami-san is going honestly, and that’s fine. Shinbo & co are well-aware of the challenges that lies ahead so I’ll let them worry about that!

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