Fall 2011 Anime Impressions

December 28, 2011 at 5:55 am 2 comments

I didn’t chew it, Zen did!

If you ask me about the fall season, the only thing that will really pop into mind is Fate Zero. I’m dropping more series every season and it’s not stopping. Is this all you have to offer me now, Japan? Oh well, anime and gaming backlogs are getting cleared up pretty well recently at the very least! But as usual, less series for me to watch, the more time I’ll have for other things! Maybe I’ll finish off my visual novel backlog too now :3

As usual a busy winter season full of anime to drop and discard. Of course this post comes extremely late, largely due to Skyrim soaking up most of my free time like some kind of digital sponge, so for that I apologize as for once the delay was my fault. Thankfully this season is one with a few series I actually enjoy watching and will continue to watch, I suppose once you have enough shows in a season everyone is bound to like something.

Here’s a chart from Zana and a detailed preview by Random Curiosity.

Shinryaku!? Ika Musume (09/26 Mon)

I often find myself not having much to say when it comes to covering second seasons of anime. When it comes to comedy and slice of life, you’re only getting more pieces of the same cake. Although that is not necessarily bad as I am enjoying this anime! As in the first season, we get the cute antics of an inept invader and watch what other cute things she gets into each week. However, not much changes and episodes are pretty much standalone when they’re not introducing new characters. They could definitely use more wan wan service though.

WATCHING INVADED AGAIN

C3 (10/01 Sat)

This anime definitely felt similar to Kore wa Zombie Desuka from the plot summary and it doesn’t feel too different after looking through a few episodes. For a guy with a supernatural harem, the main protagonist Haruaki is sure bland compared to zombie mahou shounen Ayumu. Our cute, flat-chested Fear may be trying her best to carry the show, but the rest of the characters just aren’t interesting enough to sit through episodes of battling or redeeming new cursed objects. I apologize, my moe moe cursed object, I’ll have to drop you until someone tells me otherwise :(

DROPPED – But Fear is still cute!

A show that follows the Hidan no Aria format, give viewers a cute loli to fawn over, and to hell with the rest. Well that is, it still manages to avoid being anywhere near the realm of how unbelievably horrible Hidan no Aria was, so it does have that much going for it! Oh yeah and apparently this time it is about redeeming possessed objects from their own curses or something, honestly  I found myself not even caring about this show, takes more than loli moe to make a show worth watching after all.

DROPPED – BDSM girl is far cuter than fear.

Working!! (10/01 Sat)

Just like Ika Musume, this is another stress relieving series that offers nothing new to the plate. However, sometimes my feelings are mixed regarding this series as I hate the androphobic Inami. I never found her funny nor has she charmed me at all with her personality. It’s really all about Popura and Yamada in this show :3 But I guess I’ll continue to watch this series as long as Takanashi thinks of Inami as a dog! The less we focus on her as a romantic interest for Takanashi, the better, but unfortunately it is inevitable.

WATCHING for now

Unfortunately while I love the humor in Working, and I enjoy all of the cast save one character, that one character consistently manages to ruin this entire series. With a second season I found myself hoping for redemption from the absolutely terrible second half of the first season, alas after a good start this series ended up just as bad if not worse. When a good comedy series forgoes their comedy for a really badly done romance story with terrible characters there is something seriously wrong with whatever the creators are smoking. If some kind soul with too much time on their hands edits Inami out of this series it would be a comedic winner, combining entertaining characters in a rare setting with enough comedy to make working start to almost look fun.

DROPPED

Fate Zero (10/01 Sat)

Broskander~

It’s no real surprise that Fate Zero is the best anime show of this season or perhaps this year. It’s amazing to see how a real holy grail war plays out when the masters aren’t populated by teenagers. Instead of putting a huge focus on the main protagonist, we see the war fought from the perspectives of the different masters. Unlike the next war, we have knowledge of the servant/master identities this time around. Seeing all these different characters fight for their various reasons, we get a lot more depth in this war versus the FSN holy grail war. In the original, the situations were more black and white and we could easily classify the good guys from the bad. However, things are a lot more grey and aren’t as clear as this is more of a free for all. 

In Fate Stay Night, the battles were mainly done by the servants, but with larger roster of mage masters, we get a lot of satisfying master vs master magic battles. If a character like Shirou were to join this battle, he would have been brutally slaughtered before getting a grasp of his projection abilities. I’m still just blown away by how much more awesome the series is in terms of the story and the action, and it doesn’t help that UFOTABLE is able to once again demonstrating the same skills they used in animating the visually beautiful Kara no Kyoukai. (I actually didn’t like it as much as I thought, but it was at least pretty ^_^) Sadly enough, the only negative thing I can really mention is the fact that they’ll have to take a break before finishing off the series as the studio wants to maintain the quality of the series. But even with that, Fate Zero will end up conquering the 2011-2012 seasons of anime. I mean look at this list here, there’s no competition whatsoever!

WATCHING

Fate Zero is predictably my favorite series this anime season. As a fan of the original I was actually looking forward to this show, a refreshing change for me. Seeing old combined with new and centered around a cast willing to get their hands dirty results in a show that so far is actually good. Given this has been a surprisingly faithful adaptation thus far I will refrain from commenting about flaws in the characters and story and focus on just the translation into anime. At the cost of being a tad repetitive first I want to commend them for following the actual story and not just using it for the basis and then making up stuff as they go aside from the characters and setting. It is far too rare a sight for an anime to be a faithful rendition of the source material, see MajiKoi for a bad example. With this series in good hands there is just one tiny itsy bitsy flaw to blemish the shiny new luster of this series, the filler. Now I have to admit they did at least remove it from the story so it has no direct impact, thank god for that, good call whoever decided it so. Still the filler is just so unnecessary, did they actually need to waste money on something that amounts to little more than shameless character promotion for the sake of merchandising? Obviously there is a market there but I highly doubt that the inclusion or exclusion would affect their corporate whoring. Complaints about some poor choices that create a lull in the excitement of watching each new episode aside though this has and hopefully will continue to be a good anime.

WATCHING

Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai (10/01 Sat)

Just taking a Wanko out for a walk~

So we have martial arts, battles, and fanservice all mixed into one with this eroge anime adaptation. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a harem anime with a cast that’s already in love with the main character. This series tries way too hard to get my attention, and I think I’m better off watching Maken Ki for more flashy effects. I also want to note that it’s horrible to devote half an episode to a girl talking to her toy horse. Sadly, the only redeeming feature here is a fellow Wanko.

DROPPED

Sadly Majikoi has failed to capture the same appeal it had in game form with the anime, instead of focusing on the characters, the comedy, and hijinks that ensue they tried far too hard to bring in the serious story. This is definitely NOT the type of show to be taken seriously. Towards the latter half the story involving the jealous girls power struggle was far more entertaining and comedic than some half baked action story. Would have been nice to give more background on characters who are given no reason to like Yamato, nor any real background at all for that matter. It is as though this anime assumes that anyone watching will have played the game first and simply proceeds from there. Which brings me to the last real gripe I have here, why they did not just follow the game and chose to go off on an after story tangent is beyond me. Yes it has some connection with the game stories in certain routes but considering that the Momoko route appears to have been chosen, none of that shows up in her route. Of course new additions help keep the anime fresh, even though often there is little need as direct animation turns the old new again, but I digress. Without following the guidelines set by the game there is too much danger of whoever wrote the anime turning it into some tasteless horror film involving characters you like being used and abused. I honestly wanted to like this series a lot, the game is fun and was defined by enjoyable character development and interaction leading into plenty of comedy, the anime however failed from the start by throwing away what made the game so good.

DROPPED

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon (10/01 Sat)

I spent many episodes wondering what the hell was going on with the back story. We get random episodes of fanservice, and the main character proposing to some Horizon. I actually thought at one point that he was confessing to a Horizon in the figurative sense but I can’t remember if that was due to me misinterpreting it or a shoddy translation. But eventually after a few episodes, I finally get the gist of what’s going on and then by episode 6 or 7, an actual story arc begins! It’s still hard to say if this is worth a watch since the story is now actually beginning, but seeing that it took half the series to do something, and something serious at that, it’ll probably end up as a train wreck or have a disappointing cliffhanger in order to setup the next season. Got to love that angel duo though <3.

ON HOLD OR DROPPED I DON’T EVEN KNOW

From what I understand, at least for the five or six episodes of Horizon I have seen it appears the series revolves around the build up for a single day viewed from multiple perspectives. The problem is I have an extremely hard time caring about what happens because honestly the setting is absurd and nonsensical, the characters are boring and built around appealing to horny teens, and the story does precious little to grab me. I find this series especially annoying as I tend to not pay much attention to names, and almost every sentence used carries a dozen different names of remotely affiliated characters we have witnessed only once before and very briefly at that. Horizon feels as though it was conceived as an acid trip while reading a book about Shinto gods, on a train traveling through a city while planes fly low overhead landing at an airport and the creator was trying hard to molest some of the high school girls they shared the train with. Honestly I would be fine with the setting, the characters, even the annoying protagonist were the story actually well written and developed, but sadly I find myself simply being unable to care about what happens next in this series. Next time the writer needs to build a clearer image of their story before developing it and wandering all over.

DROPPED

Hunter x Hunter (10/02 Sun)

I would have probably enjoyed this anime adaptation lot more if I was younger, and well, I did somewhat enjoy the manga when I first read it. But just going through the anime so far, I don’t think I can stand seeing little boys in short shorts fight psycho clowns. Animating it made this painful to watch, and I don’t think I want to go through this sausagefest all over again.

DROPPED

Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle (10/02 Sun)

I can get into Go, Karuta, and even sports (I hate sports) in anime shows, but I just found this show involving puzzles to be downright boring. Maybe it helps that I never liked doing puzzles much in the first place, but I couldn’t really get interested in any of the puzzles that the main character had to solve throughout the show. Seeing the protagonist blaze through these situations instantly with a game genie bracelet just adds more fuel to the fire here. Sure we can give Goku 4 Super Saiyajin levels to battle all these universe destroying aliens, but do we really have to power up a so called puzzle genius from the get go? I should have dumped this at episode 1 >_O.

DROPPED

Phi Brain is one of those series that takes something completely mundane and finds some way of giving it world ending significance. Every once in a while these stories find a unique subject that turns into a diamond in the rough. The majority of these series however end up falling by the wayside as poorly thought out attempts at creating a new gimmick or acting as an advertisement for a specific product be it cards or in this case puzzles. All of this leads into what I want to sum up about Phi brain, the story is bland and far too exaggerated in scope to retain a grounded feeling that allows the viewer to empathize with the characters and events in play. Instead we get a focus on absurdly important puzzles that both have zero bearing or relevance to their own nature, and manage to be terribly simple and common puzzles. Personally I highly doubt that a “Godly puzzle” would involve simple children’s games, even Indiana Jones came up with better and far more relevant puzzles for god and his minions. Unfortunately I cannot imagine even avid puzzle game fans finding much of interest with a series that does little to whet their appetite for a brain cramping challenge. Even children would have a hard time finding difficulty or interest in puzzles that are either far too easy, or solved with some random nonsensical deus ex machina solution that requires more dumb luck than logical out of the box thinking. Bringing the aspect of using the titles created from the names of widely acknowledged contributors to the scientific and artistic progression of the human race only further compounds the feeling of sheer absurdity to this series. On top of all of this they saw fit to add in an arm band to give them a deus ex machina to write their way out of difficult situations with ease. When it comes right down to it, this series suffers from a terrible story, terrible setting, terrible characters, and terrible writing. Perhaps this gets my vote as the sheer worst series this season from an objective and non taste based perspective. I don’t think that creators who can fail so badly at putting together the puzzle of a successful anime can possibly be trusted to design a series about solving them.

As I stated in my preview, Phi Brain feels as though some incompetent writer watched the movie Pi, and decided to reuse the themes there in some kind of marketable children’s anime because their family owns a puzzle making factory.

DROPPED

Tamayura Hitose (10/03 Mon)

What a fluffy and adorable slice of life series this is! Yet…. so slow and arduous to watch if you plan on seeing these episodes one after the other. If you are interested, I highly recommend watching these weekly so you won’t fall asleep. So continuing on, this is a slice of life show involving 4 girls (the magical number!) developing their friendships and doing similar things that do not at all differentiate them from any other female slice of life groups! Although photography is the theme here, this anime is pretty normal compared to the rest of the anime on the list. As a matter of fact, it feels too normal! As relaxing as it is with the nice small town atmosphere, it may be too boring for most people to actually watch. On another note, twintails make everything better… twintail Fu looked so cute… I will never approve of your hairstyle change!

DROPPED

Kimi to Boku (10/03)

The first thing I did before writing this part up was looking up the mangaka’s gender. As expected a female wrote up this slice of life. Honestly, there is no real difference between this and the many slice of life series involving girls. I was kind of expecting something different and more, since we’re looking at boys. You can probably genderbend this series and not even notice a thing. I have to admit however that at least this show isn’t as slow as Tamayura, but in the long run I might actually prefer seeing more cute girls in my shows if I’m going to see the same thing in these type of shows.

DROPPED

I am sure everyone has seen at least one female based slice of life show filled with random comedy and eccentric characters. And as long as you have seen one of these shows you have seen Kimi to Boku, it is for all intents and purposes the same exact thing only with a sex change. Unfortunately I mean this in the most literal way possible, they did not change the jokes, the characters, or even the dialogue much to suit a male cast, they simply changed the physical traits of the characters to be male instead of female and left the rest of the traditional elements intact. This leads to an anime nearly devoid of anything interesting or unique that can stand against others of the genre save the whole male gimmick. Which wouldn’t be so bad honestly, were it not for the way our male cast is so unbelievably effeminate I cannot help but be rendered speechless each time they break into some melancholy and or dramatic soliloquy about life, relationships, or the falling of leaves on the sidewalk. I am sorry but while these moments have a place in such shows, the frequency, the moodiness they create and the subject matters they relate to have little to no business being anywhere near a straight male cast. Actually the way it was done in this series would have no place being anywhere near a female cast, given that all of those “Insightful” monologues have little to no real relevance to anything going on in the story or setting at the time of their enactment. It is as though the writer suddenly decided to wax poetic as they had convinced themselves they were the reincarnation of Shakespeare. In between these ruinous moments of babbling egotistical nonsense there is some comedy to be found, indeed there was enough to make me crack a smile and chuckle every now and again. Sadly though I feel these moments are too few and far between to aid in justifying this series. When it comes right down to it I would simply prefer to watch a series that understands its place, regardless of a cliché cast of all females or repeated jokes. At least with those series I don’t have to wait for all the fun I just had watching the hijinks of the cast crumble under the impact of a fiery meteor of dramatic inner monologue and wistful imagery. Kimi to Boku is a male slice of life without making fun of the accepted stereotypical definitions of what it means to be male. Without capitalizing on its sole unique feature only to deliver sub par performance in every other area this is yet another failed series best ignored till someone competent decides to try this idea again.

DROPPED

Chihayafuru (10/04 Tue)

As Zen mentioned in the preview, this isn’t too different from Hikaru no Go. But luckily for me, I like learning new things! I was quite intrigued with how Karuta was played and seeing Chihaya’s progress in developing her abilities. In addition, the drama between the three main characters were built up quite well in the first few episodes, although I do wonder how far this will go before running out of steam. I do normally get into series that goes into games and sports but as this is a shoujo I can’t tell how the story development will go. In shounen series I always expect a rival for a main character to defeat, and fierce battles to keep up the intensity. So with only 1/4 of the episodes viewed, it’s still too early to tell.

WATCHING

Maken-ki (10/04 Tue)

Nyanservice~ And when do kitties wear shower caps?

I’ll be brutally honest here… Maken Ki is stupid fanservice. That’s it. It’s not as weird or sexually suggestive as Majikoi, but either way this was created for all those young horny boys out there. So if you really like ogling at huge breasts and excessive fanservice, this isn’t too bad. At least it has what I can barely call a story stringing things together.

DROPPED

Mashiro-Iro Symphony (10/04 Tue)

Who wants to take her home?

Sakuno, you’re too cute <3 For an anime adaptation, I’m actually surprised to find myself not dropping this. I guess it helps that this isn’t as crazy and all over the place like say Majikoi from this season. Overall, I find that it slightly reminds me of Clannad with its feel and level of development. The plot may still be ordinary and generic, but at least it’s executed well enough to soothe the rage that built up from the third episode of Majikoi. Anime adaptations of eroge are either hit or miss :3 And of course we can’t forget about Pannya, that cute hopping cat head… I don’t even… well it’s still cute right?

WATCHING

When you take a boring eroge devoid of anything interesting or unique and turn it into an anime you wind up with… Something even worse. Granted this was never my type of game to begin with, but the problems I have with this series are not related to taste but rather the overall quality of it. Rather than being pure white this series feels pure grey, there is no real plot to speak of, no carefully sculpted character interaction and development, all laid atop a setting that is little more than an obvious setup for a lazy writer to use in order to avoid a proper sequence of events and introductions. Of course even the characters themselves are nothing special, while I am aware people may like these characters who lack even some miniscule defining trait that binds them to this particular series. I am not saying every character needs to be completely unique in every way, but rather than changing props or terms characters do still need something to bring them into two dimensions. To give an example even Angie is one dimensional, simply combining “Maid-moe” with the wants to help everyone character design. Hook line and sinker is a term made for people who fall for such traps either in the game or anime world just because they find a character or characters “Moe”, and are the reason most games and animes suck anymore, why bother putting effort in when trite, repetitive  garbage sells just as well if not better.

Although even I have to agree that Pangya is cute.

DROPPED

Persona 4 The Animation (10/06 Thu)

At this point I can say that they should really stick to making games and not adapting any of their works. As a game I can see the story working well, but as an anime it doesn’t feel too different from what’s out there. Each episode so far, they defeat a monster, gain a new ally/persona and try to track down the guy throwing people into that dimension. More or less this was built to serve the fan of the games, and even though I have played some of the Persona games, I don’t really enjoy this as much as I should. I felt time is better spent playing out the story yourself with your own copy of the game.

DROPPED

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (10/06 Thu)

It’s no exaggeration to consider this anime one of the top comedy picks for the season. As a comedy moe series, it ends up parodying a lot of recognizable game series and anime. I was definitely psyched up when I finally saw the animated monster hunter parody in one of the episodes, and even more delighted to see the Sacred Blacksmith eroge parody. As these characters have their own interests and personality quirks, the interactions between these characters are the highlight of this series. Funny as it is, this show is so moe and cute that when you’re not laughing, you’ll be wanting to take Kobato home. A fun series overall that directly targets the audience and show some of the trends of Otaku culture.

WATCHING

While I personally enjoy Boku wa Tomodachi I cannot say it is a great series by any means. More of the by now common romance comedy / harem anime that we have at least one of each and every season. In the series defense it is better than most of these shows, but still suffers from lack of character development and predictability as the same jokes we have seen hundreds of times before are repeated yet again. Not to say there are no funny moments during the comedy often centered around various parodies, but it never manages to feel fresh and new. Of course that is because other than the slightly less common traits the characters display nothing really is new here. The lack of friends is little more than a means to bring the group together over and over, which I am not really against it’s just that they never go anywhere with it, the series is simply spinning its wheels without moving. I know better than to expect a real resolution, but aside from character introductions the rest is simple group comedy based around misunderstanding the nature of friendships. Which mind you is not a bad thing but eventually without some meaning behind it the comedy begins to dry up, this is not a 4koma after all. Ah well  certainly not a bad series if you want some lighthearted fun and are not looking for any real development of characters and story along the way, which is saying a lot these days especially for this genre.

WATCHING

Shakugan no Shana Season 3 (10/07 Fri)

I can barely remember what happened in the previous seasons, but from what I can gather from my memories and seeing the first episode itself, I did not expect the story to turn toward this sudden direction. I’m actually a bit impressed to see that it did something very unexpected with Sakai Yuji’s development. With 24 episodes to finish off this series, I can only hope that it’ll end as decently as it started. This time around there’s more of a focus on everyone else other than Shana and Yuji, and the first 6 episodes demonstrated that the situation is far beyond what they faced in the previous seasons. However, without the school segment breathers we had in the previous seasons, I’m really interested in seeing how the 24 episodes will fill out. The plot has already advanced pretty quickly even at the beginning of episode one, so I can’t wait to see how it’ll go. But I’m glad that this season has more of a plot this time around and is developing Yuji in this new direction.

WATCHING

Ben-to (10/08 Sat)

A unique idea no doubt, Ben-to has that much going for it no matter what. Entertaining at times, for the most part though I feel this series is a little too bland to make use of the story or characters properly. In a way it is like watching a faster paced DBZ about fighting over food, reveal a new better antagonist each time for the protagonist to overcome, repeat. Throw in a light sprinkling of the standard love comedy misunderstandings and sexual tension and aside from the fighting over food there isn’t much to Ben-to worth mention. Whether or not you like the characters the best of this series is in the first few episodes, after that it turns into a typical shounen harem battle anime. Still to give credit where it is due, this series is at least better than Maken Ki, not that it is saying much…

DROPPED – Needs more Ume Ume.

Mobile Suit Gundam Age (10/09 Sun)

I came in thinking this was going to be too kiddy, but this show is definitely working its way up by being different from the other Gundam series. Although our villains are aliens and this feels more like a Macross/Martian Successor Nadesico fusion, I guess I don’t really mind not seeing the same political battles being waged as in every other Gundam series. It’s also interesting to see a protagonist get involved with the war effort early in his childhood versus being drafted into battle after having his town get caught in a Gundam capturing operation that you often see in the beginning of most Gundam series. But what I’m most excited about is the fact that we’re going to have a war that will involve the protagonist’s own son and grandson. It’s going to feel just like Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure with the succession of heroes. I really underestimated Level 5’s abilities and didn’t expect anything during the fall preview, but I guess I’ll be expecting more out of it now since they did create the Professor Layton games. But for those who actually wanted something more Gundam-ish, it’ll be easier to take in if you consider this another mecha show instead of the Gundam you grew up on and loved.

WATCHING

Mirai Nikki (10/09 Sun)

There are only a few series I can recommend to people who aren’t into slice of life, gundam, or moe moe love. Mirai Nikki is definitely one of them, as its dark and twisted storyline can keep you heavily glued onto the screen. I actually brought it over to a couple of friends, a week ago, and well they loved the hell out of this series. With stuff  like Cowboy Bebop and Big O still resounding in their minds, it was a nice relief for them to be able to watch something that reminded them of why they loved anime. Although, the protagonist in this anime is a weak-minded individual, seeing how he reacts to everything around him is a horrifyingly delightful experience. Sometimes you want capable protagonists, but other times you want to see how these nightmares play out. Besides, it makes it hilarious to see how he handles his psycho, yandere girlfriend. Thankfully, this renews my confidence that we’ll once in awhile see a decent psychological thriller pop out.

STALKING

Mirai Nikki is one of those shows where the concept is interesting, and they made one good character to follow but then everything else is mires you in a toxic sewage of complete failure. I will admit I really like Yuno’s character, they did a great job with her obsessive personality and blatant stalking. I found myself constantly rooting for her above every other poor excuse for a character in the cast. However that is all there is to it. The show tries so hard to have cunning adversaries in interesting situations but without her present it falls apart. I am not talking about how her character supports the protagonist either, most of the situations are incredibly absurd for a series meant to make you think. If you were to take Yuno out, aside from the protagonist dying, all you have left is some writers make believe story about a worthless kid playing a deadly game. When conflict is created by writing in elements that just do not fit the selected setting the psychological aspect of identifying with the characters trials and fears simply evaporates into a mist of apathy. I am beginning to feel like a broken record so I was hesitant to say this but frankly this series relies entirely on controlling the setting rather than the characters for every single situation to be created or resolved. Lets give a quick example from very early on, a certain character had placed insane amounts of explosives all over a school building, explosives that lets assume they could even get their hands on in the first place would have been nigh impossible to place that many of in a school. Not to mention the detonation sequences were more precise and detailed than any demolition or military system. Furthermore if all the character wanted was to kill the protagonist it would have been simple to blow up the entire building at once and problem solved. But no, we had to sit through an overly complex scheme to allow our protagonist a chance to thwart his attacker and somehow survive, survive even an explosion in the room he was in itself. Sadly this series held a lot of promise almost none of which was realized, a shame really. 

DROPPED

Un-Go (10/13 Thu)

No worries, they’re legal. Robo lolis are always legal!

One thing you should never really bring into my detective stories…. magic! I can accept using magic to replay events over and over so you can eventually solve the crime, but giving you cheat codes with an ability to force people to answer one question using some mystical power is simply unacceptable. That completely makes the anime so anti-climatic and not to mention our cases don’t even get resolved in a proper way. They end up getting covered up and our hero maintains a ‘defeated detective’ title which sounds lame for an actual detective. The only thing good to come out of this are robo lolis!

DROPPED

I have to disagree with Wanko on this, supernatural elements are found in almost every mystery, even more so when the medium is anime. I have a hard time thinking of a single series that falls under the mystery category and does not have some sort of supernatural element. Even this season we have something like Mirai Nikki which may not strictly be a mystery but does attempt to provoke much of the viewers thought towards unraveling the meaning behind the series and setting, which is of fundamental importance to any mystery. The use of the supernatural allows for changing the rules which govern the setting, therefore allowing the author a broader variety of potential plot developments, and the viewer a more entertaining time trying to figure out what is going on. Of course therein lies the most common pitfall for most mysteries, I won’t deny that. As many tend to rely on a supernatural deus ex machina and allow their writing and suspense to fall apart, a good example would be GoSick, terrible series further ruined by supernatural elements. I feel the same at least up to this point has not been done with Un Go, as they have managed to while perhaps being a little too predictable and easy to see through, allowed the viewer to understand what was going on before revealing things. Furthermore while the detective character at the center of the series does rely on the question that he can force the people to answer, it is never used as a means to solve but more as a means to confirm, elaborate on the events, and give the viewer one final chance to figure things out before he explains in detail. Instead of the use of supernatural being the crux of solving every situation, the emphasis was put on the protagonist knowing the right question to ask, meaning he already knew what answer to expect, and needed only confirm to be sure of his deductions. This subtle difference in presentation along with a carefully scripted plot that allows the viewer to understand the rules of the world early, and then never changing them to give perceptive viewers the chance to solve things on their own. Right or wrong this is the main selling point of a mystery, the entertainment of deciphering it or finding out where you went astray while making the attempt. I think Un Go is one of the best series this season simply because the plot is better prepared and while the writer tries to lead you astray they don’t just make up random changes to the rules  in order to do it. Of course there are the further elements such as the war with islam resonating with the setting for the cities of Un Go, along with the existence of a big brother who is always watching. When a series includes predictions about the future our present leads to that feel extremely plausible it further compounds the allure of the setting and characters. This has ended up being one of my favorite series this season and I hope it retains the same level of quality throughout the entire series.

WATCHING

Guilty Crown (10/13 Thu)

So imagine a bit of Macross crossed with Code Geass and well this is the end result. We have music in every episode and a young protagonist who suddenly gains incredible powers and meets his love interest who drags him into guerrilla warfare against the government. Despite all that, it’s nothing really new and not as good as I would thought it be. Although it’s trying to do a lot with its music and style, you just can’t cover up the flaws of the annoying protagonist and the simple progression that the story is going through. Not to mention, it’s a bit fanservicey with how nice the characters look. I mean look at Inori, especially her main singing/battle outfit! I don’t understand how that dress does not fall off her body! However, I think I’ll continue to watch a bit of it as it’s not too bad compared to what I dropped so far.

WATCHING

Guilty Crown is flat out terrible. It includes elements of many other series with an overly shounen filter thrown on top, which by itself wouldn’t instantly make the series this bad. Instead what makes the series this bad is really just the protagonist and female lead, those two characters essentially ruin the entire show. To start with the protagonist himself suffers from Shinji syndrome, turning him into a whiny useless pile of emo rubbish who through sheer happenstance happens to end up with the world revolving around him no matter how much of a childish tantrum he throws. Then on the other side we have the female lead whose character is little more than a faceless doll meant to appeal to the male audience as they can see whatever traits they desire in her since she has little to no real personality of her own, a color by numbers heroine kit left blank if you will. While surely the story itself is far from an award winner, however sub par it may be, when you have background characters almost all of whom without exception outshine your primary pair there is a huge gaping unfillable hole in your story.

DROPPED

Entry filed under: Anime. Tags: , , , .

Ku~zu~mu~shi~♥ Remember to Stay Warm During the Winter

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kgptzac  |  December 29, 2011 at 1:57 am

    Hi. Happy holidays!

    Looks like this post is really late, lol, as many of the listed anime have ended. I’m surprised that you guys didn’t like Ben-to. I find that anime is a really nice hybrid between seriousness and hilariousness. Yep it’s shounen, but it’s just funny to me watching them fighting over half-priced food :p

    Reply
  • 2. Metaler  |  December 29, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    I agree, this season in general was awful, I’m glad I managed to not watch most of the series.

    I gotta say, though, I liked Working S2 much better than its previous season, for the sole reason that they focused much less on Mahiru, whom I have a certain dislike for. But still, Working is one of the few series that genuinely made me laugh, and I have to admit I don’t laugh easily. Not even Nichijou managed to entertain me this much.

    Now, I thought C3 was pretty good too. Not AWESOME or anything like (probably overshadowed by Fate/Zero), but it was good. I actually think the characters are pretty interesting save for the sword-chick with big boobs and glasses, who’s practically a Fetish Fuel Station Attendant. My favorite is still Kirika, though. I love how kuudere she is~

    Boku wa was another series that surprised me. I thought it was going to be just another generic harem anime with a tsundere female lead, but instead I was greeted with a parody which reminded me of Seitokai no Ichizon, which is awesome. I have two major complaints with it, though: first, the animation is downright terrible at times. The characters seemed to be constantly Off-model and ugly as hell. And second, Hanazawa Kana’s acting was somewhat… Off. She just didn’t play Kobato very well, and I was severly disappointed, considering the fact that she’s an excellent voice actress.

    Guilty Crown is one of those series that attempts to introduce a ton of hype before it airs, in order to make up for a crappy storyline. The only good thing about this series is the visuals. Everything else is a blatant rip-off of Evangelion and Code Geass.
    And Nitro+ will release a VN based on it. What the hell are they thinking?

    Now with Un-Go… I managed to watch 2 episodes before dropping it down a cliff. That’s the second time in a row I’m disappointed by a detective anime (the first was with Kami-sama no Memochou), and it only serves to prove that mystery writers should stick to VNs and conventional novels. You can’t create a good mystery in 20 minutes. It feels too damn rushed, I can barely keep up with what’s being said. It’s like the Umineko anime all over again.
    So far, the only mystery anime that didn’t disappoint me was Gosick… Sort of. I dunno what the light novel is like, but some of the mysteries in the series felt like they suffered from Clueless Mystery syndrome. But at least it managed to have an epic story to back it up.

    Ok, now Tamayura. Simply put, it’s boring as shit. There’s a difference between making a relaxing anime and a boring-as-fuck one. The creator should watch/read Sketchbook or Hidamari Sketch, then try again… or rather, don’t try again, because it’ll probably be a piece of shit again.

    The second season of Ika-musume was…. Okay. It’s a good series, but the first season was infinetely better in execution. The biggest problem with Ika is that it reuses the same formula over and over again for every episode, which gets pretty tiresome after a certain point. It’s sad, but I’m not hoping for a 3rd season, and if they make one, I don’t think I’ll watch it.

    Mirai Nikki. I’m just following the manga, and I gotta say I’m impressed. While the series has some ups and downs (like Yukki being a complete tool), it does manage to keep me at the edge of my seat. Every chapter I finish just makes me want more, and that’s, needless to say, a very positive thing for me.

    Ok, I’m done now. Excuse the wall of text. D:

    Reply

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