January Overview – My Favourite Shows Of The Season So Far
February 10, 2012 Leave a comment
This is a little later that I would have liked, but being busy means I don’t have much time to write blog posts. So far this winter season has been a rather good one for me, having ignored all the woeful cries of how rubbish this season was and jumped right in there to see for myself. Obviously each person has their own specific views on what makes a good anime series, but for me there have been a couple of shows this season that are both interesting and have really pulled me in. Arguably there are not any ‘massive hits’ like previous seasons, however I feel that this season has so far been incredibly solid and with enough series that keep me entertained for it to have been successful.
While writing this post I had thought about making it my ‘top 10 for the season’, unfortunately I could not keep it at 10 and instead there will be 12. A large number of the series involve romance, as that is one particular genre that I adore – evidence of a caring and wonderful soul no doubt – along with a few that I find incredibly entertaining to watch, but are lacking a little something extra. One thing that has surprised me so far has been the lack of truly terrible shows and that I have yet to drop any show – except for kill me baby, but I only watched 10 minutes, so I don’t count that – as a season it has been far more solid compared to the last two. Also this is not a conclusive list and in many areas some shows rank higher than others, but
Senki Zesshou Symphogear:
This show is incredibly entertaining, and yet it has not grabbed me in any meaningful way. I feel that the plot is a little on the weak side, with a foreshadowing, that while is quite interesting also has yet to fully kick in and comes across as a bit of a gimmick. We also have surprisingly weak animation and characters designs that I don’t necessarily care for – fight scenes are rather limited, with a certain number of moves and movements being used consistently. I cant quite get behind the main characters either, with Hibiki coming across as too much of a ‘Genki Girl’ and Tsubasa constantly wallowing in her own self pity and perceived uselessness. I do quite like the soundtrack though, and while the animation is a little on the limited side there are some brilliantly stylised attacks with classic, comic-book artwork announcing their names. Throw in a beautiful and sexy blonde with a penchant for sadism, torture and electrocuting her ‘sex toys’, while walking around what appears to be a big mansion, naked, as the shows final boss and we have a winner. It is one of those shows that is potentially so bad it’s actually rather good, and while I have issues with it, I’m still enjoying watching the madness unfold.
High School DxD:
I am quite fond of ecchi/fanservice shows, they are my guilty pleasure and I many of the most enjoyable anime that I have watched in recent years have at least include such elements in some small way. High School DxD is another such show and doesn’t shy away from that fact with loads of gratuitous fanservice, mostly courtesy of Rias Gemory. It is a relatively simplistic show, with the male protagonist dying, being resurrected and finding out that he has the potential of killing god – all in a days work it appears. The story is nothing new, being essentially about angels fighting demons for some unknown, and probably world changing reason of course, but it works. It’s been great fun to watch so far, and while I have a few issues with certain scenes getting fanservice when they shouldn’t have, there not much of any anime yet, with the girls all pole dancing – not entirely sure how I feel about that. It’s a fanservice show, unoriginal, but fun to watch.
I really enjoyed the first show; it was a nice little twist on the classic harem genre, having an omnibus format where Junichi has a romantic relationship with each heroine – except for Rihoko, for some unknown reason. I was looking forward to the direct sequel, and while I am enjoying it there are a few issues as well. My main problem is the lack of length; having each arc only running for two episodes isn’t enough for me. We have the arcs start, and then a lot of ‘stuff’ crammed in since they finish in the next episode; this means that there is very little time for any meaningful development and parts of the three arcs so far have felt rushed. Apart from a few other small issues it is a good series though, showing, in its limited time format nice character progression and showing us how each relationship has developed since the confession in the first series.
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Nisemonogatari, it is both a great series, but also a pointless one with more word cabbage than your typical forum post. The dialogue, while great in places, also feels rather superfluous in others and I have not been grabbed by the series in any meaningful way. Also, the lack of Senjougahara will forever annoy and frustrate me, much like Bakemonogatari, the show is better with her. It is however a brilliant, yet crazy show to watch, with things that only Shaft would ever put into an anime – such as a bathroom that is about as big as your average cathedral in a normal sized house. It is ok, but not one of my favourites, and I do get bored of Shaft doing what they always seem to do, only really works for me in comedies such as Maria Holic.
Oh Aquarion Evol, what a silly, stupid, brilliant anime you are. The plot is ridiculous, the characters are about as human as a custard tart, and there is more innuendo and stupid jokes than I can shake a stick at, and I love it. It pays homage to every mecha show ever made with brilliant yet ridiculously overblown finishing moves like the ‘Infinity Punch’ that seems to circle the earth at least twice before connecting with anything. The innuendo is great and plays to the central plot point of the interactions between the two genders, which apparently powers up the Aquarion mecha – queue orgasmic Gattai combinations. It is stupid, but fun and I am enjoying its overblown melodrama immensely, it does need a bit more in the innuendo department though.
Papa no Iukoto no Kikinasai:
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this series, having read the manga adpataiton of the light novel upon which the anime is also based, I feared that I might be watching another version of Kodomo no Jikan. I quite enjoyed Kodomo no Jikan, but had an immense number of issues with the ideas of love and sexuality there, especially when it was to do with grade-schoolers. Papa no Iukoto no Kikinasai however has delivered something more akin to Usagi Drop with a brilliant, yet heartbreaking depiction of how college student Yuta Segawa must not only deal with the sudden loss of the sister that has raised him since their parents died, but also care for his three nieces who no longer have their parents. There is some romance and the odd ecchi scene, but at its hear Papakiki as it is called is a sweet story about loss and the importance of family. I am curious to see how it will end, whether the parents sudden return or if Yuta must become their true parent.
The madness of Mirai Nikki has continued into another season introducing us to yet more of Yuno’s godly Yandere qualities. Yuno’s psychotic spells are great, showing how she is always meandering along that thin line between genius and insanity, mostly on the insanity side. Her possessive nature and willingness to do anything for her precious ‘Yuuuukiiiii’ are both scary but incredibly compelling to watch. It is made all the more brilliant when you conside that Yuno is both beautiful and rather sexy. The entire concept is mad, and every one of Yukiteru’s opponents – including Yuno – are unhinged in one way or another, which leads to some truly memorable confrontations. I have already read the manga that this series is based upon and at first was a little worried that this would spoil the show for me. I was however wrong, if anything its been a delight to see how the story that I have already read has been animated, which adds a new dimension to it and especially to Yuno’s possessive nature and ultimate twisted goal.
Inu x Boku:
This has been a surprise series for me, and one that I nearly did not pick up. Ririchiyo is the cutest little foul-mouthed, complicated, half-Youkai girl ever to appear in an anime series. So far I’ve been impressed at the lack of supernatural in a series about people who are part Youkai, and one of Rirchiyo’s ‘friends’ happens to be a cloth monster. Instead we have had a delightful romantic comedy with Ririchiyo attempting to be herself through adversity. It’s fun to watch and incredibly entertaining, I am curious to see how it continues.
Rinne no Lagrange:
Rinne no Lagrange has been another surprise this season for me, at first I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. It is a great series being both serious while maintaining an excellent comic streak which makes sure the show never quite goes into the realms of teen angst and melodrama. Madoka is a fascinating character, who on the surface is always energetic and carefree, but anger her and you get an altogether more intense beast. Lagrange is set out into two series, with the second one airing during the summer season, so the pace has been a bit slower than a 12 or 13 episode show, however we have been provided with a plot that is intriguing and has room for a lot of drama to unfold. I am more interested to see who the bad guys are since the ones we have seen so far have lacked a certain ‘bad guy’ quality, mostly because none of them seem to have a manic laugh or smile all the time.
A brilliant piece of Space Opera, with excellent character and story progression, along with stunning visuals and a story that has a lot of potential. Marika is a fascinating character, who is both air-headed, while having the instinct of someone born to be in space as captain of a pirate ship. The last first few episodes served as a prologue introducing all the main characters, along with some indication as to how important Marika being the captain of the Bentenmaru really is. It is hard to tell exactly where the story will go from here, but if the first episodes are anything to go by it will be great.
Ano Natsu de Matteru:
Onegai Teacher is one of my favourite anime of all time, and since Ano Natsu de Matteru has been written by the same person it was almost guaranteed that I would enjoy it. So far it has been a brilliant blend of romance, drama and comedy, balancing each other out so that the show has not fallen prey to the classic problem of many high school romance anime – melodrama. There is however a sad undertone to the entire series, and especially the budding romance between Kaito and Ichika, namely that Ichika is an alien and will evidently leave the earth at some point in the not to distant future. I am looking forward to seeing how all the characters interact and how their feelings are exposed. While I am enjoying all the shows mentioned I feel that if I were to choose my favourite for this season it has to be this one, I must be a sucker for Red-headed, glasses wearing aliens it seems.