Winter 2012 Initial Impressions

Apparently I completely forgot to do this last season. Weird. Well I’ve already done my final impression on most of those shows, so I won’t be bothering to go back. We’ll just move forward with this season. I apologize for the delay. I had a lot of pick-ups I didn’t plan for and there have been some weird delays in a lot of the shows I’m watching.

Amagami SS+ plus – Original-content continuation of the first Amagami series.

This is a little bit of an oddball compared to the first season. It’s all original (as far as I know) so no one really knows what to expect. It also all takes place after the arcs in the first season. The first episode had me worried when it felt like it was playing into tired cliches and I was starting to question the writing. The second episode brushed that worry aside, though, but I still feel like it’s not quite up to the standards set by the original series. I guess it’ll be a fun ride, but it’s going to be a short one for sure.

Ano Natsu de Matteru – Original series about… Well, I’m not sure what it’s about. I haven’t really been following the information about it prior to release. I guess it’s about an alien girl who gets involved with some students at a school.

I kinda hate this one. Some of the characters seem okay, but the design, reminiscent of Toradora and AnoHana, kinda makes everyone feel like an expy. Heck, the main guy (cast is so boring that I don’t remember names) is pretty much Jinta from AnoHana with glasses. Looks just like him. Friendzone (the girl who has a crush on the main guy but gets friendzoned right from the start of the series) looks a lot like Ami from Toradora when she’s in her swimsuit and swim cap. The little snarky loli looks kinda like Taiga depending on the angle.

Another – A mystery surrounds the student body of a small town school. A girl who should be dead still walks among them and the new transfer student seems to be the only one that notices.

Hate it. Absolutely hate it. First episode was such garbage. I’m hoping it’ll get better by the second or third episode, but I’m not getting my hopes up. It was seriously disappointing. I was just so damn bored. And it was just so up in your face about everything. OH LOOK. SOME DOLLS. HOW CREEPY AND COMPLETELY OUT OF PLACE. JARRING, ISN’T IT? OH LOOK. EVERYONE’S AFRAID OF THIS GIRL. CREEPY. SOMETHING’S WRONG. And then the girl just flat out tells you everything that’s wrong at the end of the episode. No build up. No suspense. Nothing. Garbage.

High School DxD – A teenager finally manages to score a date, the first among his friends to do so, but it ends in tragedy as he is killed that night. Resurrected by a demon, he becomes a demon slave, but he carries within him a unique power that has many different forces after him.

You know what? I like this. I’m not ashamed to admit it. Boobs everywhere, but that’s not why I like it. It’s actually pretty interesting for your typical shounen brawl show. Also, the ED is, for whatever reason, not only the best animated of the season but one of the best animated I’ve ever seen. It almost feels like a shame that it’s filled with… that particular brand of content. Almost. Because it’s really damn well done. And awesome. Dat Koneko. Good lord. Honestly, my favorite thing about this show is the main character. He’s just so upfront about being a horny teenage boy. It’s hysterical. Can’t wait for more.

Inu x Boku SS – A young girl moves into a building where tenants are granted the service of a personal servant/bodyguard if they choose. The girl has intended to be alone here, but finds that there is a servant who is already assigned to her. Unable to get rid of him, she does her best to distance herself from him and create a new life for herself. But there’s something different about the tenants of the building, including her…

I was actually surprised by this. The art style is good. So is the cute style. There are a couple of styles that play out here off and on and they’re both very likable. The main character, despite trying to be as mean and condescending to those around her as she possibly can (through what she calls a bad habit), really just comes off as quite adorable. The whole series, which involves half-human half-monsters, kind of feels like a modern day Otome Youkai Zakuro, which is by no means a bad thing since I liked that series. I’m not sure how similar it’s going to be down the line, though. I can only imagine it won’t be very similar at all aside from the premise. Either way, really looking forward to how this one goes. It’s quite a relaxing watch and I really love the characters. I just hope they don’t go too overboard with battles because they briefer they are, the more I get to enjoy the parts of the series I’m liking so far.

Kill Me Baby – High school 4koma comedy series about a girl and her best friend who just happens to be a trained assassin.

You know, there has been a lot of lackluster response to this show, but I rather like it. It’s not like it tries particularly hard to do anything special. It just takes the premise and runs with it. There’s also a ninja who bounces back and forth between actually being a ninja and just screwing with the main character by using simple tricks and labeling them as ninjutsu. It’s great. The ED is also probably the second best this season.

Moretsu Pirates – A young girl with an enthusiasm for flight learns that her father used to be a space pirate. He has passed away and only a direct descendent of a pirate can become the new captain of their ship, so the crew attempts to recruit her as captain.

I’m still not super sure what I think of this one. It’s quite the oddball. On the one hand, it’s playing itself pretty straight. On the other, it’s fairly a fairly silly concept that’s hard to take seriously. A lot of people are saying that it feels like a throwback to a lot of 90s series, and I can see that. I’m seeing a lot of comparisons to stuff like Outlaw Star. Honestly, regardless of how I feel about the series, it’s definitely a refreshing change of pace from what I’ve become used to in the anime market these days. At the very lease I don’t hate it and I’m very excited to see how it develops from here.

Nisemonogatari – Sequel to Bakemonogatari.

Man, I love this show. It’s really just that I love Shinbo and Shaft. The art direction here is absolutely incredible and I could watch nothing but pointless conversations in this style all day. Which is good, because that’s pretty much all it has been so far, but it’s at least been entertaining. The series has so far only really caught up with the cast from Bakemonogatari and involved itself in all of that amazing wordplay. I’m going to pre-emptively choose this one as Show of the Season. The courage to be the best show airing!

Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai! – A young man in college, through various circumstances, comes to be the guardian of three girls who are part of his extended family.

Not sure exactly what to think about this one yet, but it’s decent. I felt like everything that didn’t involve the girls was boring, so when it picks up next episode I expect it’ll be better. All I really know about the series is that it’s adding in a lot of stuff that wasn’t in the main series but was in some of the spin-off series to set up the plot. I guess we’ll see how it turns out.

Recorder to Randoseru – A high school girl who looks like an elementary schooler and her little brother, an elementary schooler who looks like a grown man, learn to deal with their differences in comedic scenarios.

I say comedic scenarios, but this is really boring. Same team as Morita-san and I’ve seen people call it Morita-san S3, but I’m really starting to feel like it is, if only because I’m not laughing. It’s another show where I’m really only watching it because 3 minutes isn’t too much time to waste if it’s bad. I may end up just dropping this one, though. I feel like I’m pretty much just watching it for the Kugimiya loli.

Rinne no Lagrange – Original series about a young girl who has a mysterious bond with a transforming robot and gets roped into piloting it to protect the Earth.

Holy crap, I almost passed this one over. I only watched it because the pre-air was out and I felt like I had some time to kill (which is almost never the case and it actually wasn’t here, I always have something to do). I’m really glad I picked it up. I’m very excited for this show every week. After watching the pre-air, I was even excited to watch episode 1 again in higher quality. The main character, Madoka, is pretty quirky and I feel like I’m watching it almost entirely for her, but I know that’s not the case. There are some other good characters and the animation and music is great. The plot has yet to really set itself up, so we’ll see where that goes, but it’s still be very entertaining. I can’t really pinpoint what it is that I like about it. It’s just fun. And I’m okay with that.

Senki Zesshou Symphogear – In a future where creatures called Noise can appear at any time to threaten humanity, only the Valkyries, warriors clad in armor and weapons powered by songs, can stop them and save the world.

I picked this one up just because of the hype surrounding it and in all honesty, the first episode was great. Unfortunately, come the second episode, everything got kinda boring. They even ignored the absolutely amazing cliffhanger at the end of the first episode and pretended like it never happened. Very disappointing. That said, I’m still enjoying the show. It’s got an interesting style with the freeze-frame attack cut-ins and it has a lot of insert music that pretty fun. I’m also pretty sure that the “singing in the middle of a fight” aspect hasn’t been done before, or at least not on anything noteworthy. I’ll stick with it to see how it goes, but I’ve heard that it ended up like Angel Beats, cut down to only half of the length it was originally intended to be. I’m going to have to be patient and see if it can salvage itself.

Tantei Opera Milky Holmes 2 – Sequel to the first Milky Holmes series.

No one seems to want to sub this. I’m a little disappointed with it anyway. The cliffhanger in the first season ending introduced a new character. We barely saw them in the OVA. Now she’s being completely ignored at the start of the second season. At least we’re still getting our fill of the usual cast, namely Kokoro and Twenty (all of Genius Four, really). I’m hoping it doesn’t take too long for the new character to show up. I really want to see how the plot goes once she comes in.

Thermae Romae – A Roman architect who is displeased with the bathing culture of ancient Rome finds himself, on several occasions, in modern Japan, where he is so impressed by their baths and traditions that he attempts to recreate them in his homeland.

I really only picked this one up because people were talking about how it was actually pretty entertaining. And you know what? It’s not too bad. Not super great, but it comes in half-length episodes and I have to admit that it’s funny to see modern Japanese baths recreated in ancient Rome. There’s a lot of creativity in recreating things like chilled milk after the bath using, what I can only assume are, actual ancient Roman techniques. Cool stuff. At the very least, it’s holding me over until Black Rock Shooter takes its place.

That’s it for now. The only show I’ll be picking up later is Black Rock Shooter when it starts after Thermae Romae ends, but I’m not going to bother coming back weeks later just to write an addendum to this. Just look forward to my final impressions if you want to hear my thoughts on it. Ah, who am I kidding? No one’ll see this.

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