Winter 2013 Final Impressions (+Lots of stuff from Fall)

We’ll be keeping this rather brief since there’s a lot to cover. Apologies for anyone that actually cares enough to read what I think and wanted more in-depth stuff.

So we’ll start off with the Fall shows. There were a ton of them that carried over.

Shin Sekai Yori – This show was absolutely incredible. It was amazing. I don’t know if I can sing enough of its praises in this lifetime. It really was just an incredibly well-done show with a fantastic story to tell. It can’t possibly be praised enough. Bottom line: I don’t know what else to say other than you’d be doing yourself a disservice to pass this one over.

Bakuman S3 – The finale to the series. It was a little weird to see the conclusion to the last two and a half years I’d spent following this anime, but it all felt worth it. I love that the series ended with the strong rivalry continuing between Ashirogi and Eiji. That was the best part of the series, after all. It would have ruined it if it stopped, even at the end. Bottom line: More of the same from the first two seasons, but overall, the anime was definitely worth my time.

Little Busters – This one actually just ended a couple of hours prior to writing this (in subs, anyway). It was a fun ride. I heard a lot of negativity, but I’m not sure who it came from. People who don’t normally like VN-type content? People who were upset at the adaptation of the VN? I dunno. I didn’t get a chance to read the VN, but I thought the anime was a fun ride. I kept hearing about pacing issues or cut content, but it never felt like I was really missing out on something. I’ll give JC Staff credit on that one for certainly knowing how to address an audience unfamiliar with the source material. Bottom line: I really enjoyed it, and can’t wait for Refrain to start so I can see the rest of it.

Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo – Eh. Awful. Started out with some promise, but got worse and worse. By the end, it was an absolute trainwreck. The show went out of its way to make things awful and unnecessarily dramatic. They especially went out of their way to ruin the life of my favorite girl. Anything that could have went wrong for her did. She became the walking example of Murphy’s Law. Screw this show. Bottom line: Utter garbage. Skip it. I don’t know why I forced my way to the end of it.

Girls und Panzer – I didn’t like this nearly as much as a lot of other people did. To me, it was always that show that wanted to be Saki so badly but couldn’t measure up. The plot was damn near a carbon copy of Saki’s. All you had to do was replaced mahjong matches with tank matches and everything was the same, but never as good. It did have some good moments, though. And I did enjoy the uhh… “diverse” cast. (Everyone was Japanese, but the different schools represented various countries in their tank line-ups and general campus culture.) Bottom line: Entertaining and worth a watch, but not as good as Saki for the same plot.

Psycho-Pass – Oh, man. This show. It had the slowest damn start. Then it finally started to put some pieces together. And then once those were put together, we just had a villain to look at. We could have skipped all of that. Then it picked up by the middle. Then the end hit. Ending was disappointing. Honestly, this is the weakest of all of Urobuchi’s works. I’m very disappointed with it. Bottom line: Worth a watch if you don’t have any expectations, I guess. If you’re watching it because it’s Urobuchi, don’t get your hopes up.

Robotics;Notes – A lot of people seemed disappointed in this. Sure, it wasn’t as good as Steins;Gate. Few shows are. I thought it was fun, though. My only problem with it is that a lot of the character development (especially in the romance department) felt really forced. There were so many things happening that would give you an idea of where the plot was going and then something completely different would happen with absolutely no lead-in. It was a pretty show, though, and had some great characters I certainly won’t be forgetting any time soon. Frau will forever live on in my heart. Bottom line: Certainly worth a watch. Not as good as Steins;Gate, but definitely a show that will (should) leave a good impression.

And now we wrap up last year.

Pick for Fall 2012 Show of the Season: Shin Sekai Yori. This was undeniably the best show from Fall. It was incredible. Few shows are ever as good as this one was.

And for 2012’s Show of the Year, the nominees are:

Winter 2012: Nisemonogatari
Spring 2012: Saki: Achiga-hen
Summer 2012: Tari Tari
Fall 2012: Shin Sekai Yori

And the winner is…

Tari Tari

You know, it feels weird to gush so much about Shin Sekai Yori and then not pick it. To be fair, though, I gushed just as much (if not more) about Tari Tari in my Summer final impressions. The show was damn good. It’s one of those rare shows that comes along and changes your perspective on things. Not just anime, but life itself. Are you really living how you want to? Are you happy? Do you have any regrets? There were so many things in this show that are easy to find in your own life. It’s very approachable. Very relatable. It was easy for me to form an emotional bond to the characters. I can’t wait for another show of its caliber to come along. I don’t normally buy subpar anime releases, but I’ve already pre-ordered Tari Tari, despite it being sub-only and DVD only. It’s something that I absolutely have to have in my collection.

Oddly enough, I have no carryovers this season. Everything I was watching ended, so we’ll start with a clean slate for Spring. In the mean time, I’ll wrap up with final impressions of Winter’s shows (since that’s the title and all).

Minami-ke Taidaima – This was great. It was easily the best season since the first and probably my favorite of all four (though I can’t back that up without watching the first again). It was just so good. This season had everything that made the show great up until this point and it also did a lot to get the art back to a level that feels right for the series while still looking good. Bottom line: If you’ve seen any of the other seasons (hopefully in order) then watch this one. It’s great. A real return to form.

Senran Kagura – You kinda had to know what you were getting into to enjoy this one. I saw a lot of disappointed people. I’ve never played any of the games for this series (though I have my eye on Shinovi Versus, so I’ll import it if a year goes by after release without seeing any hint of global localization of any game in the series, which the series creator wants), but I did look into it enough to know what to expect. Knowing what to expect, I felt that it fulfilled those expectations well. All in all, I really liked the cast and throwing in some ninja shenanigans with all of the girls and boobs was fun, if nothing else. Bottom line: Try not to set any expectations and you’ll probably enjoy it, assuming it’s your kind of series in the first place.

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT – This season was really disappointing. There was so much I just didn’t like about it. There were some great parts, but the parts I didn’t like weighed down on it a lot. It was really hit or miss and not very consistent. I hated the last episode, too, up until the very end of it. The ending made up for any gripes I had about the season as a whole, really ❤ Bottom line: Worth it if you liked the first season. I mean, you shouldn’t be watching it otherwise, I guess.

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai – Woo boy. I love me some Shaft, but this was disappointing. The most disappointing show of the season, honestly. The only redeeming quality was one character. Everything else fell flat constantly. Shaft and Hidari art weren’t enough to save this for me. Bottom line: I’m not even going to drag this one out. Skip it.

Mondai-Ji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo? (Problem Children Are Coming From Another World, Aren’t They?) – This show was incredible. It was absolutely nothing like I expected and I mean that in the best way possible. It was just awesome. It did everything right and the only legitimate complaint I have is that it was only 10 episodes. Bottom line: Don’t skip this one. Definitely give it your time.

Tamako Market – I had a really hard time getting into this show. I almost dropped it. It got a little better with the bird shut up some. By the end, it was honestly pretty fun. I ended up really liking a lot of the characters. Bottom line: The first few episodes are make or break for some people, but powering through them should reward your with a good watch.

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha – “Spice and Demon” as some have called it. Economics, demons, and boobs. It was an interesting watch, for sure. I never really took any classes that delved too deep into this kind of thing, so it was really interesting to see how the ideas we take for granted these days were implemented to solve major world problems like famine and disease. I really appreciate this kind of show rolling around every now and then. I feel like I actually learned a few things. Bottom line: Certainly won’t be for everyone, but there’s a neat premise here. Apparently Spice and Wolf is better, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. I got the blu-ray series collection a few weeks back.

Yama no Susume – This is easily the best short show I’ve ever seen. It was a simple what? 2 minutes per episode? But it showed that even a show like that can pass for a real show. The animation looked great, the voice talent was great, and even though I barely got to spend any time with them, I was able to develop an understanding of and attachment to the characters. There’s another “episode” coming along later, but I guess we probably won’t ever see any more of this, which does honestly upset me some. Bottom line: If you like slice-of-life stuff and/or short anime series, this is a good one.

Love Live! School idol project – I was excited going in, because I had been following the music videos for this for a while, but this show completely blew my expectations away. It was really good. It’s a shame it didn’t have more music than it did, and it suffered from some series mood whiplash in the penultimate episode, but it was a great watch with a fun cast. They also implemented scenes from the original music videos into a few of the episodes. They reanimated them or animated them from different perspectives and such. It was a really nice touch and some fun service for the fans who had been following the series. Bottom line: If you like series with singing, idols, dancing, FUN, cute girls, good music, or FUN, pick this one up. Easily one of my favorite shows this season.

Puchimas! Petit iDOLM@STER – This silly little thing was made up of two minute episodes that aired five days per week for a total of 64 episodes. It was also glorious. It probably won’t do anything for you if you’re not an iM@S fan, but if you are, then there are a lot of laughs to be had. Bottom line: Watch it if you’re an iM@S fan. If not, cautiously give it a try and see what you think.

I didn’t drop anything this season, so off we go to my pick for Show of the Season…

Pick for Show of the Season: And the winner is… Problem Children/Mondai-Ji-tachi! This was such a surprise. I can’t believe how good it was. It’s a shame it sold so underwhelmingly in Japan. It did give the source novels a nice boost in sales, though, so maybe we’ll see more if it sufficiently served its purpose. I really hope we do. That was an incredibly pleasant surprise. It’s worth noting, though, that it was a really close race for the longest time between this and Love Live. Ultimately, though, I feel that Love Live’s weird shift in tone in the next to last episode and then right back to normal again for the final episodes hurt it by comparison. It’s certainly worth giving both series a try.

Well, that takes care of that. I don’t know what’s up next for this blog. I have more Japanese stuff coming in soonish and I’m also getting close to wrapping up Neptunia V so expect a review on that. I’m not sure which of those, if either, will come before my initial impressions for the Spring season. For anyone who cares about anything I write, stay tuned!

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