You may be aware of this, but I’m currently a NEET. I’ve kinda been one since May, but only now am I Not Employed, being Educated, nor in Training, nor plan to be in the near future. My “job” is to keep my house clean and, more importantly, to take care of my mom while she’s at home between hospital stays, which she is as of today (WOOHOO!!!). Being a NEET is all like…
And now I’ve been doing more Stuff than I ever thought probable. I finally understand how my friend watched thousands of anime and played shitloads of videogames in his years as a hikkikomori. Time just sort of prostrates itself before me, and I rape it with anime, writing about anime, writing in general, recording albums, performing in (a) live show(s), playing Dark Souls, and internet bullshittery.
What I hope this means is: perfect chance to keep up with an entire anime season! I actually did pretty well with the summer season: I think Usagi Drop and Nekogami Yaoyorozu get credit for the first shows that I’ve kept up with throughout their run, and watched the final episode within days of its arrival. Ever.
This season, I’m doing something I’ve never done before and giving shows a second chance. This won’t count for shows that I have no interest in watching; but shows that make me go “eeeeh” will be given several episodes to sway me. My excessive free time isn’t the only reason for this; the cause is Ro-Kyu-Bu, a show that I dropped after one episode last season, confident that I wasn’t missing anything as reinforced by everyone who finished it seeming to go “why did I watch this.” Then, I was slightly buzzed and Taka showed me this ridiculously adorable video, so I decided to watch ep 2 streamed just because drinking and watching bad anime sounded like a great idea. Turns out, episode two was quite good, and the next two episodes were still fun, and now I’ve actually downloaded the show. So, from now on, I’m gonna be a nice guy and watch a few eps before dropping.
Anyway, this is starting to read like a post on an ISSS, so I’ll get to the anime now.
Shows I’m Psyched About
Fate-Zero: I knew this was going to own the Fall season ever since it was announced way the hell back in like April or whatever, so I’m not surprised that it does. It’s no secret that I fucking love Kara no Kyoukai, and this show is the second coming of that. I’d thought with KnK that we probably wouldn’t see its like again in terms of how far it went to tell its story perfectly; instead, it feels like anime wants to move even more in that direction. (See, for instance, the six-part Break Blade and Towa no Quon movie series.) Here we not only got a 45-minute premier episode to a 26-episode show, but the BD releases are to contain extra deleted scenes. UFOTable will go the fucking distance to animate all of this god damn story. Hopefully, the first BD box release will be timed to come out during the interval between the show’s two seasons (it will be breaking in December and returning for the Spring season).
How is the show itself? Mostly terrifying. Credit will probably go to Urobuchi Gen for this show, perhaps rightly, and he’ll have written two of the best anime of the year. We may have Aniplex and Iwakami Atsuhiro (who owns my soul) to thank for them, but it comes down to Gen to lay that wonderful foundation.
Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!: One hell of an opening episode! Some shows go the “fight first, then exposition” route. Some go the “exposition, then fight” route. This show? Whole fucking first episode is one gigantic battle. It introduces a giant cast; some would say that none of them has time to be interesting, but if you’re like me, hearing their seiyuu is enough to make them interesting immediately. I’m not going to get into that because there’s too many names and plenty of time to say something more than “OMG SHE’S IN THIS SHOW!” later on.
Most of the fighting wasn’t well-animated or interesting to look at, but it was made an interesting experience through the facade of tactics and lots of badass introduction moments. It wasn’t left at that though, and the last combat scene was quite interesting. Still not the best animation, but the concept of the fight made it awesome: the strongest girl taking on the next three strongest—one a friend, one a total stranger, one an enemy. Everything about it was pretty awesome, and every character in the show feels likable by way of coolness.
The director has a pretty diverse portfolio of mostly stuff I don’t like, but he was also involved with the Crest/Banner of the Stars franchise. The writer did the script for Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu, which was pretty tactical at times, too. I hope this means we’ll see even more awesome tactical battles!
Hunter X Hunter: My best friend is a fan of this franchise, and he has great taste in shounen anime, so I’ve been mildly interested. I saw an ep of the original show dubbed in Tagalog while I was in the Philippines and it looked almost exactly like Yu Yu Hakusho (which is from the same manga-ka). This show looks nothing like it—the visuals are extremely solid, especially considering that this is a shounen manga adaption. Yes, Madhouse are badasses, but they’re known to slack a little on shows like this—not this time. Visually, it reminded me of Trigun, which I guess is owed to their sharing a chief animation director/character designer.
Besides looking great, the episode was solidly put-together in a big way, containing a large portion of adventure (apparently very abridged from the original show/manga) and lots of exciting events, while maintaining a perfect pace. This almost never happens in anime. Just for bonus points, two of the main characters are voiced by Sawashiro Miyuki (playing a boy!) and Fujiwara Keiji, which is a godly combo. And just because I’ve already seen one person complaining about the ED, I’ll state the fact that I like it. I instantly looked up the band after hearing it. They’re okay.
Chihayafuru: Between this and Hunter X Hunter, Madhouse has finally put themselves back on top in my eyes. It’s been a rough year with only a couple of sequels buffering the stream of crappy comic book adaptions, but those are finally over and we’ve got this show, which I think stands to walk away as the most favored show of the season for the kind of people I talk to. One thing I’ve learned about sports/game anime is that most of them are awesome, and you can’t go wrong with one this good-looking, well-made, and focused on characters. I only just found out it’s directed by Asaka Morio, IMO one of the best directors alive.
What grabbed me the most in this episode was simply how gorgeous the character designs are, especially leading lady Ayase Chihaya. It bothers me a lot in anime how characters that are said to be “beautiful” are usually no more spectacular than the characters around them. Here’s a show wherein the leading lady is a shining beacon of majesty, very believably beautiful in-universe and out. If that’s not enough, before I could pick up my jaw, they dedicated half of the episode to her as an insanely adorable little girl performing perfectly animated roundhouse kicks. I died.
Shows I Didn’t Drop
Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle: Unlike most sports/game anime, I think the mileage any viewer gets out of this show will have a lot to do with whether they find the puzzles interesting, since it seems to take a more, I dunno, Yu-Gi-Oh! approach to gaming than a Chihayafuru one. In any case, Sunrise are being no slouches about making it look nice. The character designs are weird in an interesting way. The main girl is pretty cool, and Shimizu Kaori is great playing her. I can’t really tell if this is something I should recommend to people, because I think my enjoyment was greatly enhanced by my obsession with labyrinths, especially moving labyrinths with
minotaurs in them. And then, puzzle geass!
Mashiro-iro Symphony: Love is Pure White: I didn’t expect to like this at all, since eroge adaptions are about the most boring thing on earth to me, but this was pleasantly surprising. It felt carefully paced and the character artwork was really consistent and solid. “What gives?” I thought, and then noticed it was done by Manglobe.
Everyone who knows about Manglobe has their own ideas about the studio; whether they’re now a bunch of sellouts or if they’re still doing interesting work in stale genres. I happened to adore Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai and completely detest Deadman Wonderland, so I’m on the fence. All I know is, I saw a good episode of anime here, and I hope that I’ll be seeing more. If I don’t, oh well, I’ve hated Manglobe since long before it was cool.
What I liked so much: the very lengthy opening scene. I feel like it took the time to come into its own as a scene and not just be some throw-away event on the way through game material, like what you’ll see in Persona 4. That, and OMFG Sakuno is HOT. My body could barely take it. I can’t remember any instance before where I’ve heard Gotou Mai’s voice, but here, with this character, b(￣ー￣)b.
Working’!!: I finished season one with my brother just before the regular airing of the first episode, and I never found myself getting into it. The opening episode of season two showed more of the same, but with some noteworthy tone changes. Will the show continue to experiment? If not, I don’t think I can make it through another season of the same god damn rehashed jokes carted out over and over episode after episode, regardless of how much I love Poplar and Yamada.
Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere: This show is complete fucking chaos, and I’m not sure how to feel about it. Episode one was a blur of characters and locations and terms and other shit flying around, and I didn’t know if it was the kind of show where I could kick back and enjoy the fun like Majikoi, or if I needed to be taking notes if I want to keep up with what looks to be a very complex plot. The fact that the official site apparently contains some kind of terms glossary for each episode leads me to believe the later, which scares me.
Maybe all that really matters is having a shitload of awesome seiyuu getting to play characters that clearly have a lot of personality (though they only got to show glimpses of it). Fukuyama Jun’s lead character has an outstanding level of presence, showing up at the end of the episode and clearly dwarfing everyone else, including the teacher who just had a whole episode dedicated to how badass she is. This has to be worth something. So does lots and lots of fighting. Even if I have no idea what’s going on, it looks like fun.
Persona 4 The Animation: I’ve already said my piece here, and animekritik has said some similar stuff from the perspective of someone who’s played the game. I really just hope that this adaption grows its wings pretty soon instead of trying so hard to be a game that it can’t be.
C3: If one show deserves the “boring generic crap” stamp this season, this is it, and I’m sure it will be stamped all over by people all too ready to stomp on shows like this. It’s not very good. Oonuma Shin’s directing does nothing to help it. The jokes are stale old bullshit, the dialog is “GRR YOUR TITS ARE TOO BIG, I’LL CURSE YOU!” and all that old rigmarole. It deserves special mention how fugly the male lead is. He occupies that special hell of generic designs where the designer gave no shits about the male characters whatsoever. The main girl is cute, but not nearly cute enough to buy this show a pass. After Mashiroiro and Chihayafuru, I hardly even remember this girl, save her first appearance naked (the standard way for a girl to first appear in all visual novels).
Ordinarily, I’d have dropped this like it was Denpa Onna, but in the end, it wasn’t that bad. I’m a retarded for heartwarming friendship crap and the girl thoroughly thrashing the entire house was at least a little fun. I’m willing to give it the three-episode test, if nothing else.
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai: This episode did nothing for me. I’m kind of over this whole “light novel that’s meta about light novels” thing. It worked for Seitokai no Ichizon because it had energy, and it worked for Ore no Imouto because it had passion. But this… it’s kinda dry. I do like that it feels as though the author wrote this after seriously analyzing the reasons he had no friends in high school. Also, of course, the character designs are fantastic because Buriki is amazing, but the two main girls are the ones I like the least out of the cast. I’m hoping that the supporting cast will save the show, if not all the great seiyuu in it.
Shows I Dropped
Tamayura: See here.
Kimi to Boku: The exact same reason as Tamayura, only doubly because I’m not as big on watching cute boys do cute things as I am on cute girls doing said things.
And there you have week one! I doubt I’ll do this every week all season, but hey, crazier things have happened. That I even managed to write this whole thing today when I was actually genuinely busy says to me that I have That Much God Damned Time.