I don’t give three episode tests. The concept is that either A. one gives every show they watch a three-episode chance to impress them, or B. they give the shows they’re unsure about three episodes before deciding to drop. This revolves around a system of watching that tries its hardest not to drop anything. I drop shows the precise moment they cease to be interesting to me, which could be halfway through the first episode or nine episodes into an eleven-episode show (Fractale).
Nevertheless, it feels appropriate to use the term because the third episodes of these shows piled up on my desktop, and I watched them all with the intent to drop anything that didn’t hold my attention. This means a show like Yuruyuri, which I might’ve put on hold for eternity or half-heartedly marathoned after it ended, got the cut. I’m stricter these days, what with my on-hold list barely shrinking thanks to my inability to finish current shows.
These shows didn’t pass the three episode test: Blood-C (1 ep), Mayo Chiki (1 ep), Itsuka Tenma no Kuro-Usagi (1 ep), Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel (half of 1 ep), Morita-san wa Mukuchi (barely remember watching ep1), Yuruyuri (3 eps), Ro-Kyu-Bu! (1 ep), Kami-sama no Memo-chou (1 ep)
Natsume Yuujinchou San and Dantalian no Shoka are on hold until they end because I think they’d be easier to watch marathon-style. Ikoku Meiro no Croisee joins a host of other Sato Junichi shows that sit on my back-burner for all time because they’re good, but hard as shit to watch. I might check out R-15 when the BDs come out.
Anything I didn’t list here and don’t talk about below, I have no intent to try. The below series are listed by how much I like them.
Mawaru Penguindrum (3 eps)
I mean, obviously. This show is freebased excellence. I’ve heard that everyone and their grandma is blogging it, but most importantly, so is animekritik. I might blog it one day, but I don’t have the time and energy right now. I’m already blogging Lain and several Bee Train shows—Mawaru would require watching each episode three times and writing seven million words.
Let’s talk about a shocker whose impact didn’t really hit me until the third episode (spent the first two being knocked on my ass by everything going on). Himari’s seiyuu, Arakawa Miho, is in her first role. And she sounds like it: often in anime, young girls are played by children or inexperienced actresses to play up the innocence factor. Then she screamed SURVIVAL STRATEGY! and became this deep-voiced, cruel, hot, crazy babe in a dress that just won’t stay on. And then-and then– she was dressed as a cow!!
This show can do whatever it wants to me. I just hope my body can take it.
(safest image I could find)
Manyuu Hikenchou (2 eps)
Two seasons of Qwaser, and the team at Hoods Entertainment hasn’t had enough. As a matter of fact, they’ve taken it to a new level! Okay, to be fair, both of these anime are manga adaptions, but there’s no denying that Hoods Entertainment are owning this style of batshit borderline porn.
Seikon no Qwaser is one of my favorite anime for its kitchen sink style of cramming every B-movie and porn cliche that it can fit into a show, simultaneously presented with tongue-in-cheek and totally taking itself seriously. The difference between this and Manyuu Hikenchou—it’s strength and reason it’s worthwhile in the face of almighty Qwaser—is that it contains the batshit insanity of Qwaser, honed and reigned in-to a more accessible, cohesive plot.
The reason I like Qwaser over other crazy action porn shows is that Qwaser goes so far and does so much, whereas other shows hit the brakes at a certain point. I never expected to see a show that would contain all of Qwaser’s insanity without the chaos that sometimes makes it hard to watch.
Episodes of this show get released three different ways: first, there’s a censored release, which, like with Qwaser, isn’t worth touching. A lot of the censorship is taken out of the AT-X broadcasts, which I’m watching, but it still doesn’t feel like the full experience. Whereas Qwaser’s fully unedited episodes were released online in shitty 360p a week after they aired, this show does the same thing *two* weeks after the episode airs. I don’t want to be stuck with 360p again, when I can have decent-enough 720p versions, so I’m watching the AT-X broadcast. I recommend this. It’s worth it—the show is that good.
The Idolm@ster (3 eps)
As a guest in one of ghostlightning’s posts on THAT Anime Blog, I once wrote about how the Black Rock Shooter OVA by A-1 Pictures and Studio Ordet was a very “safe” anime. The idea is that, because Black Rock Shooter was a character with no canon personality, it was imperative that the OVA not give her too much of one, lest it defile the expectations of otaku fanboys clinging to their hundred-dollar figures (like myself).
The Idolm@ster also feels like a ‘safe’ anime, but benefits from the source material actually, like, existing. The show quietly lets the characters do their thing while holding it together with godly directing and great production values. This works because the characters are already fun, and there’s so many of them that the flat ones get balanced by everyone else.
I love Schneider’s Weekly Character Ratings, because that’s how we should be thinking about this show. Thus far, Hoshii Miki has dominated my love, and she hasn’t even done anything but sleep and eat. God she’s hot. I won’t marry her, though, because I know she’ll be fat in five years if she doesn’t start exercising. I’ll spoil you, Miki, but you have to keep up your end.
Nekogami Yaoyorozu (3 eps)
I have an unnatural love for this show, and I still can’t put it into words beyond “yukkuri Touhou anime.” Frankly, that’s a good enough explanation for me. I want to draw fanart of Shamo and Yuzu.
Before I make it sound too perfect, though, I’ll admit that the second episode sucked. It was poorly directed and needlessly stretched out, which irks me to no end. However, the third episode completely restored my love. Unless this show were to have like four shitty episodes in a row, I don’t see myself dropping it.
Usagi Drop (3 eps)
A passer of the three-episode test. While I recognized the show as good from the first episode, I simply wasn’t intrigued by the second one. That all changed after the spectacular third episode which featured interesting and well-written family dynamics and started to make me care about Daikichi.
To me, Daikichi is probably the most believable sudden-father character in anime. Some people will say that he’s way too good at this to be real, but the thing is, honestly, if you were thirty years old, financially secure, and confident in the idea of raising a child whose at an age already where she doesn’t need constant attention, I think you could handle it. I think I could handle it, or that’s what I want to believe. I just don’t think this situation is as magical as we (especially we who aren’t parents, and not parents of kids this age) might make it out to be.
Kamisama Dolls (4 eps)
This reminds me of those shows that would get licensed in the glory days of anime DVDs which weren’t amazing, but had enough intrigue and style to get a fanbase. I imagine that if I watched it in 2003/4, it would’ve been one of my favorite anime.
The key to enjoying a show like this is resigning to the fact that the plot isn’t a good reason to watch. It’s based on a manga that isn’t great, and clearly doesn’t intend to adapt the entire thing. The plot is pure cliche with only a couple of characters that stand out juuuust enough to be likable. The thing worth enjoying is the style.
The team behind this show seems to be having fun with it, which is worth something to me. While a tad inconsistent, there are cool animation moments that often harken back to great moments in other anime, most especially Neon Genesis Evangelion, which also must’ve influenced the facial animation, since every time someone gets mad I feel like I’m having a flashback. Facial animation is, in fact, my favorite thing about this show. They’ve found more faces for Utao to make than I could ever imagine, and I love them all.
Sacred Seven (4 eps)
Big stupid fun is all this show is. I don’t know if I’ll make it to the end unless it gives me better reasons to care about it, which is a chance I think it deserves, being so much in the vein of Mai-HiME and other tongue-in-cheek Sunrise shows that have been good.
I like the attention to detail from the first episode that still showed some presence in the third, I love the big, slick battles, and I adore the rampant silliness… they just don’t quite hold my attention enough to care about the show. We’ll see how it goes.
No. 6 (3 eps)
The funny thing about this show is that it got off to a phenomenal start, and while I don’t think it’s turned to shit already as some do, it definitely chose to go in a direction that I wasn’t hoping for. The best parts of the opening episode were the strange characters and fascinating dialog. The second episode was a good get-the-ball-rolling ep and still felt pretty nice. But episode three degraded into constant plot detailing and conversation that, while not terrible, doesn’t hold a candle to the uniqueness of the first episode’s genius.
Also, while the backgrounds were gorgeous, the character art jumped off a fucking cliff in the third episode.
That covers my summer season. I’m still watching Tiger and Bunny from Spring, which has been absolutely phenomenal, and caught up to Pokemon Best Wishes. I hope to catch up on Steins;Gate and Suite Precure after Otakon.
So, tell me about your summer season so far, and how it compares to mine~