Summer 2012 Initial Impressions

I honestly expected my other import to come in before Ebiten subs came out, but I guess that just ended up not being the case. That’s fine, of course, just not expected. Anyway, away we go.

Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate – With their club at risk of being abolished and no hope of convincing anyone of their worth (since they’re completely worthless), the members of the Food Research Club hatch a brilliant plan to save their club: Put one of their own into the student council as the president.

I’m not really sure this one knows what it’s trying to be yet. It’s based on a VN, so the source material is already there to guide it, and I have no idea how much what I’ve seen is an indication of that source material, but there are a lot of mismatched elements here. However, it’s still fairly enjoyable, and the cast alone is more than worth the price of admission. I’m actually most surprised by the dynamic between the lead male and lead female. It’s fairly atypical in today’s world of tsunderes that beat up male leads over the tiniest things that might threaten their precious maiden values. Hell, the lead female here frequently messes with the lead male in a flirty sexual manner and when he wakes up one morning with her in his bed and accidentally cops a feel, it’s her that gets pushed off the bed into the floor. Quite refreshing, honestly, and I’m in it for the long haul just so I can get more of that. But the rest of the cast is good, too. I rather like the little mad scientist loli and the guy who teases so much that you can’t quite be sure if he’s actually gay or not. Not a super strong showing so far, but definitely something I’ll keep up with.

Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru! – After the death of his father, a young man meets a mysterious girl claiming to be his little sister, but she disappears before he can even find the source of her voice. After undergoing training to take over his father’s business, he enters a new school. He’s been tasked with finding a wife to create a future and support the company with, but it turns out that the mysterious girl from before is also at this school, and states that she’d like to marry him. Can he find out who this girl is and avoid marrying her while still seeking companionship?

This one is pretty good so far. It’s kind of a typical harem, but the lead is actually not awful. And the girls have all been great so far, with even the tsundere being different than the norm these days and being quite awesome (and fairly aggressive in her advances).

dat Miyabi

Great so far, and definitely one I’m going to keep up with, but I don’t see it becoming Show of the Season or anything unless it finds a way to blow me away later.

Hagure Yuusha no Estetica – In a world where children occassionally disappear only to return with special powers and overwhelming strength, a young man returns from an alternate fantasy dimension where he has become a hero and defeated the demon king. However, he’s not quite the hero that most people would expect, and he’s managed to bring the demon king’s daughter back with him…

This is quite the interesting series. We seem to be breaking a lot of norms here. If you remember a few seasons back when Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou was airing, everyone was going nuts over the main character and how much of a badass he was (when he wanted to be). Well this guy? He’s not just a badass sometimes. He’s a badass all the time, in everything he does. Even when he’s asleep, he seduces women while he sleepwalks. He picks fights on his first day of school with the pain-in-the-ass bully everyone hates. When he and three other girls are locked in a storage room and one has to go so bad that she can’t even stand, he makes it more comfortable for her by making the other two have to go (via plot powers). Also, the shows has a blatant lesbian who very visually makes out with and fondles another girl on screen. It’s… different than the usual stuff. But it’s awesome. Really, really, awesome. This is the kind of show that people who don’t know what anime is think anime is. Sex and violence and stuff. If it pulls off some good stuff and keeps up the pace, it could be a contender for Show of the Season, but either way I’m watching it and heck, if Funi moves from a simulcast license to a dubbing/distribution licensed, then I’m probably buying it.

Rinne no Lagrange 2 – Continuation of Rinne no Lagrange from the Winter season.

I’m not really sure why they’re calling it “Season 2” since it’s just the second half of a split season. We knew it was planned from before the first part aired. Anyway, gripes about labels aside, this one started off with a very different tone from the first part. It was much sadder, much heavier, and filled with a lot of political drama between the now warring factions in space. Madoka spends most of her time wondering how her friends are doing, only to find them again and all they want to do is fight each other and then run away. And then comes the end of the second episode, where THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP (and some forced yuri smooches by Madoka) brings everyone together again as friends. Hopefully now we’ll start seeing a slightly lighter side as we approach the answers to the questions raised by the first part. I don’t want the conflict to go away entirely. I just don’t want this series to try and be Gundam when it’s clearly not. Anyway, great stuff and since this is the second half, you’ll see my overall impressions of the series by the end of the season.

Sword Art Online – At the release of a new online game with full sensual immersion, all players get trapped in the game by the rogue creator. Any attempts at removing their gaming headsets will immediately kill them. Resurrection has also been disabled and the player character’s death in game means the player’s death in the real world. The only way out is to clear the game by defeating the boss at the highest floor of the tower in the center of the game world. However, after a month, over two thousand players are dead and even the first floor hasn’t been cleared. We follow Kirito, a loner and previous beta player, as he forges friendships in his new world and struggles to survive.

Well it’s not like it’s been terrible or anything yet, but I’m just not seeing the hype it’s getting. This came out very close to the same time that the .hack franchise started, and the premises are very, very similar. Maybe it’s just because I feel like I’m treading familiar ground that I’m not as interested. I’m not sure yet. I have read a very… special chapter of the novel after hearing so much about it. It was actually almost funny how poorly it was written. I certainly hope it’s not indicative of the rest of the series’ writing, because we’re in for a bad series if so. However, people have been hyping this series up pretty highly since it was announced to have an anime. The light novel readers seem to love it. I guess we’ll see how it goes. I’m certainly not going to be one of those people declaring “Show of the Season” after the first or second episode. It’ll have to work to impress me that much.

Dog Days’ – Second season.

The second season is starting strong here. Just two episodes in I’m already enjoying it more than the first season. The new characters are a fun bunch and we’ve got all the old favorites back. Becky got a transformation in the second episode that was one of the coolest (and also creepiest) magical girl transformations that I’ve seen in a long time. Anyway, it’s still a blast. Dunno if it’ll be Show of the Season (I don’t know if it’s really that kind of series, honestly), but it’s defintely going to be a fun ride and I’ll enjoy it the whole season through.

Ebiten: Kouritsu Ebisugawa Koukou Tenmon-bu – A young boy aims to join the school’s astronomy club, but ends up in a club full of fujoshi.

It took a while for this one to show up. I guess no one wants to do a web-release series at low resolution (288p). Unfortunately, it was Staircase that picked it up, and their translator’s a complete d-bag. He’s also not good at translating. Well, either way, it was watchable. And I certainly got what I was looking for. Poor kid. They’re treating the new kid as a girl in the first episode. I assume, based on the synopsis, that we’ll get a trap reveal next episode or something. Shame that this is only being done as a low-quality web release, but I’ll take what I can get.

Joshiraku – A group of female rakugo performers discuss various topics in a series written by the creator of Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei with a similar style.

There’s not really a good way to describe this series, but if you like Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei, you’ll probably like this, too. I’ve seen one sketch in particular in the second episode that could have very well been ripped right from the pages of SZS itself. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this. I knew who the writer was and I knew that the artist for the series was the artist for Toradora. I was pretty excited, but that was all I had to go on. Now, though, I’ve realized that this show is absolutely hysterical and the characters are awesome. I won’t say “Show of the Season”, but it could be if it was entertaining enough through the whole season. The potential is certainly there. Definitely one of the shows I’m enjoying the most right now.

Oda Nobuna no Yabou – A high school boy gets transported to the past of an alternate universe, where many conquerers of the Sengoku period were women. He meets Oda Nobuna, the alternate version of Oda Nobunaga, and, using his historical knowledge and enthusiasm for the period, attempts to make positive changes in the history of this land while trying to find a way back home.

I’m actually seriously impressed with this series. Despite the far-fetched premise, it actually takes itself fairly seriously when it comes to the historical references and happenings. Everything isn’t completely accurate, but it’s accurate enough. And it’s fun. And the characters are good. And feel real. And are close to their actual personalities and roles. I have no idea why it worked out so well. This could be Show of the Season if it’s careful. Really, really good stuff.

TARI TARI – A girl attempts to fulfill her dream of singing by creating her own club after being refused an opportunity in her current club due to a nervous mistake the year before. She drags her friends along and their bonds begin to deepen.

There’s no way I can come up with a good description for this one. It’s an original anime slice-of-life series and it’s awesome. Major contender for Show of the Season. There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about it, but it’s entertaining, the characters are great, believable, and realistic, and everything is just put together so damn well. And the music and insert songs are great. This show does a LOT right and shows that you don’t always need an outlandish premise to be interesting. Keep a close eye on this one. It’s gonna be good.

Kokoro Connect – A group of friends who came together in a club created by their individual reasons for not joining a normal club begin to experience a strange phenomenon where they randomly switch bodies with another member of the group.

This is the other show to keep an eye on. The other contender for best of the season. It’s so much damn fun. And the characters are all great. I present to you, Iori.

mai waifu

Best girl this season. Hands down. Sexy, playful, cute, flirty, wears shorts under her skirt, says she’ll charge 150 yen per peak, claims she learned to pee standing up… WHAT CAN’T THIS WOMAN DO? Seriously, though, it’s a good show. And Iori’s a good character. Can’t wait for more of this.

Chitose Get You!! – A little girl has a romantic obsession with an older gentleman. Her teacher happens to like him just as much.

This is another one of those 4koma series adapted into three minute episodes. I don’t particularly care for it and I never have really cared for more than… two of these kinds of shows. And only one of those two was even based on a 4koma. I picked it up on a whim because episodes were short and there’s a 50/50 chance of me dropping it before the season is over. We’ll see how it goes. At least it’s better than Morita-san. God, I hated that show.

Yuru Yuri ♪♪ – Second season.

So far I’m liking this season a lot more than the first. The first season was decent, but overall fairly average. Nothing special. This one has been pretty funny and pretty endearing. Maybe it’s because I already know the characters and by this point they’ve been established better. I don’t know. I don’t care. It’s good. I like it. We had an episode about Sakurako. She is moé as hell. I will continue watching this.

Pretty good showing so far this season. I’ve got that last import coming in and once it does I’ll have another post. After that, I probably won’t have anything left to share until the end of the season.

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