Winter 2013 Initial Impressions (+Nekomonogatari initial/final impressions)

I still don’t have a chart for this season (cowboybibimbop didn’t do one), but let’s get rolling on this. It’ll be a little brief.

Minami-ke Tadaima – Fourth season of the series.

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I’m pretty impressed with this season so far. Two episodes in and I’m feeling a lot of that same magic I felt with the first season. The second season was awful and the third season stumbled a bit trying to catch itself after that little fall, but this season is great so far. I’m hoping it continues this level of quality.

Senran Kagura – A group of young shinobi-in-training aim to become full-fledged shinobi under the guidance of a ninja instructor, but a war with a dark faction of shinobi threatens their daily lives.

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This is a show I’d probably consider “slice-of-ninja” so far. Not really sure how else to describe it. It’s pretty fun, though. The girls are interesting and the voice talent is top-notch. Bonus points for the series for using Yuu Kobayashi for Katsuragi. She’s my favorite seiyuu. Anyway, enjoyable so far, but I don’t know what I’m in for, really. The games never made it outside Japan, after all. I’m hoping Mr. Takaki can “wrap the world in happy boobs” sooner rather than later. That Vita game in particular looks pretty good.

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT – Second season.

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I’m not sure what I’m getting myself into with a second season of this. So far it’s looking better at the start than the first season did by the end, but I don’t know what kind of direction they’re trying to take it. I’m also not quite sure I like the shift in art yet. Of course, being the series that it is, it’s certainly in no danger of being dropped. I don’t think anything is this season, honestly.

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai – I… I don’t know what this is about.

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I really have no idea. I know it’s a Shaft show, but it’s really gone into Gainax-levels of insanity. I just don’t even know. I’m gonna need some time to figure out what the hell is going on here. At the very least, it’s quite pretty. Looks like a moving Hidari illustration, and that’s a very good thing.

Mondai-Ji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo? – Three children with special abilities from different worlds are brought to a special world where they can compete by betting anything from their abilities to their possessions to their lives.

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This is neat, but I don’t quite know how to describe it yet. It feels a bit like Dog Days, but also a bit of… Rio? I hate to say Rio because I hated Rio, but that’s just the impression I’m getting. It’s great, though. Or at least the first episode was. This is definitely one of the stronger shows this season. It’s interesting but also very laid back. I look forward to seeing where it goes from here and how seriously it takes itself.

Tamako Market – A young girl who lives and works in a local mochi shop finds herself involved with a strange, talking bird who claims to be looking for a bride for his master.

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Err… I know I said there wasn’t anything at risk of being dropped, but allow me to take that back. I’m not really feeling it with this show. Usually, I eat up anything KyoAni throws at me. This? I dunno… And that bird… He’s amusing sometimes, but he’s mostly annoying. This show needs to go somewhere. I don’t think I can take a slice of life with these characters. It just won’t happen. It’ll be the first KyoAni show in recent memory (at all?) that I’ve dropped. I hope it turns my opinion around somehow.

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha – A young hero in the midst of a war with demons invades the demon king’s castle, only to find that the demon king is a young woman who, instead of wishing to fight, wants to come together with the hero (in a rather romantic fashion) to bring a resolution to the war that will not cause the economic downfall of either region.

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Economics. Lots of ’em. Farming methods and how war stimulates the economy. I’M LEARNING. OH GOD, I’M LEARNING. I’m okay with it. This is a pretty solid series so far. It’s a little silly how everyone is simply named by their position (Hero, Demon King, Head Maid, Prince, Merchant, whatever), but it’s also kind of charming. One of the better shows this season, simply because it’s not the same old dreck we’re dealt every season.

Yama no Susume – A long forgotton promise with an old friend to climb a mountain is brought back to a young girl’s mind after a rowdy run-in with the old friend happens out of the blue.

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This is one of those short shows, but I’m okay with it. It feels like it has some substance to it and the art isn’t the usual garbage barely-past-your-typical-internet-flash-enthusiast quality. The characters are fun and the premise is interesting. I look forward to seeing how this one ends up, despite usually not caring for these short series.

Love Live! School idol project – When their school is marked for closure due to a low application rate, a group of young girls bands together with an idea: Become “School Idols” in order to boost the popularity of the school and save it!

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This series began after a series of music videos featuring this cast, and being a fan of the videos, I was pretty excited to hear it was getting a full-fledged series. I’ve determined that I’m definitely one for these kinds of shows with cute girls, a lighthearted plot, and a ton of songs and music. The first episode was great, if you ask me. I think a lot of people were expecting something else from this show, but I don’t know what they could have been expecting. I’d say it delivered on everything it claimed to be. I look forward to the rest of it, as I had a great time with just the single half-hour episode I got. The newest episode aired today, but we probably won’t be seeing subs until Crunchyroll releases on Tuesday.

Puchimas! Petit iDOLM@STER – Based on the comic, the girls of 765Pro find themselves living with tiny creatures who are more than a handful.

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It’s no secret that I love me some iM@S, so clearly I’m enthusiastic about this one. It airs daily Monday through Friday, so I’m thrilled that I get to see so much of it even if the episodes are so short. Not having to wait that full week for a fix and being guaranteed more than sixty of these suckers is plenty to keep me happy for a few months. Also, in a surprise move by Funimation, it’s been licensed for streaming. I’m hoping it gets licensed for a home release, too. I’d buy it up in an instant. But if it’s Funimation, that means we’d get a dub… I’m curious how that’d work out.

And lastly, because it all aired on the same day and is already done, I’ll give full opinions on…

Nekomonogatari: Kuro – Adaptation of the sixth novel in the Monogatari series.

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So by this point, you’ve either had exposure to this series or you haven’t. If you haven’t, this isn’t for you. You don’t just jump into the sixth volume of a novel series and expect to know what’s going on, especially in a dinky two-hour anime. They know you know what’s going on, so they spare you the details. If you are familiar with the series, you either know you’ll like it or you won’t. It’s really more of the same. Now, for me, that’s a huge plus. The Monogatari series is one of my favorite anime series of all time. It’s fantastic. The Shaft/Shinbou combination is marvelous when thrown together with Nisio’s writings. It’s something I look forward to every time it’s announced. And speaking of, a new season was announced at the end of this broadcast. It’s been confirmed for summer and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It quickly jumped up to the top of my most anticipated shows of the year list. This particular entry is great, though. It’s the prequel to the Tsubasa Cat arc of the first series and it carries all the charm of its predecessors. Bottom line: If you’re into the series, don’t skip it. I don’t know why you would. It’s marvelous.

That’s it for me for now. I don’t think I’ll be posting anything else here until the season is over, or the White House surprises me by doing something along the lines of quoting the cost of making a Death Star again.

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