Anime nerd, occasional gamer and Japanese figure collector. Recently I've been digging into visual novels, and using that as an excuse to blog. I will read and blog English language visual novels for my feature on request; hit me up on theglorioblog.com(or here on Jtor) if you have something you think I should read.
Part 1 Here Ozma Space Bros Scarlet Fragment Zetman Accel World Kickoff to the Galaxy!! Queen's Blade Rebellion Saint Seiya Omega Kore wa Zombie desu ka? Of the Dead Medaka Box Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna Sengoku Collection Natsuiro Kiseki Sankarea
Part 2 Here Acchi Kocchi Fate/Zero Second Part Moe Moe Assault Rifles!! Kuroko's Basket Ball Mysterious Girlfriend X Saki: Side-A Dusk Maiden of Amnesia Moe Moe Nyarlathotep Jormungand Tsuritama Eureka Seven AO Kids on the Slope Shining Hearts: Bread of Happiness
Part 3 Hyouka: You Can(not) Escape AKB0048
Hyouka: You Can(not) Escape
Premise A kid who wants to keep his life boring and low key winds up in a club solving mysteries for an enchanting young girl.
Jel's Thoughts This pushed a lot of the right buttons for me. Meshing the gorgeous animation and subtle beauty KyoAni is known for with dreamy, surreal moments of realization is an easy way to get my attention. You could argue not too much actually happens and I'm very tired of the "low energy" Kyon-clone protagonist, but the pace was good, the dialogue crisp, and the rest of the cast looks poised to pick up the slack. And while the "mysteries" they encountered seemed pretty mundane, I think the twist at the end was a pretty clever way of showing us the type of wit we will be treated to as the series goes on.
Jel's Verdict?More Haruhi Than K-ON! There are a lot of directions Hyouka could go from this initial set-up episode and I think most of them are good. That will depend greatly on whether they actually uncover any real mysteries or simply keep stumbling through accidentally locked doors. Given the series' description and Eru's mysterious motives for joining the club, I think things will be fine. If it does reach its full potential, I could easily see this being my favorite show of the season.
Timmy's Thoughts Boring guy wants nothing but a boring high school life but thanks to his sister forcing him to join a club is looks like that isn't going to happen. First impressions are good as the characters are interesting and Kyoani's art is stellar as usual.
Timmy's Verdict?Haruhi Without Haruhi Exactly what it says. I would imagine Haruhi would be something like this if it didn't have Haruhi and all the bullshit that comes with her. If you like Haruhi but hate Haruhi then you would probably like this. Hell you are probably going to like this anyways so give it a watch. This one is pressing all the right buttons and I can't wait for more.
Lifesong's Thoughts By all means this show should have bored me to tears and put me to sleep but something about grabbed my attention and kept my interest.. at least for the first episode. KyoAni's attention to detail really is amazing. One of those bits of detail that I noticed is that everyone but the main character has an incredibly rare eye color and his eye color is still pretty much impossible for someone Japanese I think. The MC is green the heroine is purple the best friend is amber and the chick who doesn't show in episode 1 is red. For a show with an otherwise down to earth style that really sticks out to me.
Lifesong's Verdict?Kyon Without Haruhi For better or worse that is what this show feels like. I'm neither blown away or turned off. I'll keep watching for now if only for the studio pedigree at work.
Irothtin's Thoughts Bored unambitious anime protagonist starts off by meeting pretty girl with really huge and unnatural eyes. They solve mysteries that aren't really mysteries (it's like Anime Scooby Doo) with his peppy best friend and some other girl who shows up in the OP and the next episode preview. She's probably a tomboy.
Irothtin's Verdict?Everyone Else Is Probably Right It looks nice, but everything by Kyoto Animation does. I feel like the protagonist is too obviously trying to connect with that bored student type of person, and in general nothing much of note happened in the entire episode. I think people will enjoy it, though. Hell, I'll probably enjoy it since I'm right in the center of the target audience.
Marlin's Thoughts I’m still not sure exactly what the plot is going to be for this show, but I enjoyed the first episode. I will admit that the “mysteries” were things I solved the second I saw that they were positing it as a mystery. The animation was beautiful as KyoAni is wont in doing. The main girl is at bit akin to a hyperactive Mio, but Mio’s cute and her hair is super gorgeously animated, so I guess there’s no real problem there. The main character is the laziest motherfucker ever but I can’t blame that attitude sometimes, and he always has room to grow.
Marlin's Verdict?Trial Basis While I’m sure KyoAni knows what they’re doing here, and I would encourage anyone to watch it, I would put this show on the list of ones that need to impress soon or get dropped. I think that is a task easily accomplishable for this show, but there’s always a risk. Still, I’d say give it at least three episodes.
Dragonzigg's Thoughts Like many other people I was intrigued to see how KyoAni would handle a return to slightly moree serious territory, and on the evidence of this first episode it's pretty well. It can be a little hard to shake K-ON! out of your minds eye when you look at the characters, but the rest of the show feels a very different beast. Protagonist Houtarou is a disaffected, almost cynical character and while his bouncy best friend Satoshi is cut from more traditional slice-of-life cloth, mysterious girl Chitanda is a little more difficult to place. There's an undercurrent of darkness in this episode that I didn't expect at all, a moodiness that I really enjoyed. The actual mysteries they solved were pretty rubbish to be honest, but hopefully that's something that can be stepped up. And as ever from KyoAni the animation is superb, with Houtarou's flower filled dream sequences wonderful touches of eye candy
Dragonzigg's Verdict?Waiting To Be Solved It's something enjoyably different from the moeblob masters. Light on plot but heavy on visuals and atmosphere, let's hope it can develop into a strong all rounder.
AKB0048 Anime original animated by Satelight
Premise In a future where being an idol has become illegal 4 young girls aspire to join AKB0048 an underground Idol group.
Lifesong's Thoughts Lots of voice talent here, enough to make me want to like this. The Idol scene in the first portion of the episode was kind of neat. The girls keep singing even when they are being fired at by a riot squad. They also have mecha and stuff it's not hard to see why the cops are after them. Then we get to the new girls and they throw all kinds of drama at us. Girls being sad and dramatic might be a sure selling point but I much prefer to know the characters and then be asked to care about them in that order.
Lifesong's Verdict?More Hardcore Than Macross Which may or may not be a good thing. I liked this better than Natsuiro at least, but at the same time in a season with plenty of great stuff for me to watch I don't know how long I'll want to stick with this. I'll give it a few more episodes at least if only to see more bullet dogging idol's with light sabers and magical girl stun rods. The Touhou girls would like this line of work quite a bit I think.
Jel's Thoughts Jel's thoughts: While this season's other Idol vehicle (Natsuiro Kiseki) has taken a more laid back approach in showcasing the group's talents, it seems AKB0048 is taking the most grand, preposterous, over the top angle possible to mask their lack thereof. That might not change my mind about their real life counterparts but it does make for a much better anime. I'll admit I was not expecting mech battles and light sabers and stun wands, in a way it kind of feels like a tween edition of Macross. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing, but it sure is… something? And that's already more than I was expecting from this.
Jel's Verdict?Macross Frontier Without The Aliens… or Yoko Kanno… or decades of anime history supporting it… or… OK look, if you have no tolerance for idol groups or music this does not have nearly enough streaming missiles to change your mind. But it does accomplish it's purpose in presenting a real life idol group in a way that is much more palatable in anime form. I don't think that will be enough for me to keep watching, but I'm sure there will be an audience for it.
Irothtin's Thoughts Girls are auditioning to be space idols, which are banned. The military has rockets that say "No Idols" on them. The idols have turned their idol props into weapons to fight the military. I'm cheering for the military.
Irothtin's Verdict?This Shit Is Bananas If you have to choose between this and Natsuiro Kiseki, watch this one. Ideally, you won't be watching either, but...this one at least has the WTF factor.
Timmy's Thoughts Idoling is illegal so its up to a group of underground Idols that go by the name of AKB0048 to entertain everyone and kick the asses of anyone who tries to interfere while they make their grand escape. Guerrilla Concerts are what they do and they are recruiting! Yaaaayyy!
Timmy's Verdict?Not So Fabulous Max I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this show yet somehow I still felt a little disappointed after watching it. Maybe it was the lack of character development, maybe the lack of an explanation of why entertainment is illegal, I dunno. I just didn't enjoy this one as much as I would have liked. I really do hope I am wrong but I get the feeling this is going to be an anime just so AKB can say they had an anime. This show did have some serious potential given the setting and I don't feel it was fully utilized in this first ep. I may stick around for a couple more but the main reason for doing so is to find out where the blue haired girl went. Half way through the episode you realize there were not three girls but four in the beginning. Where the hell did she go?
Jel's Closing Thoughts If I may get up on my soapbox for a moment, I feel like this season of anime has galvanized a change in attitude that's been building over the past couple of seasons. I'm not going to make any lame, pointless statements like MOE IS DEAD or whatever, but whether it's adding heavy doses of surrealism, embracing an old school art style, or actually making a show about boys, anime feels just a little bit different these days. Is that a result of studios realizing the otaku money won't last forever and they need to adjust, or is it BECAUSE they have all that otaku money and can make shows more to their liking? I really couldn't say. But I CAN say I'm all for it, and while this season may not end up with any sure-fire hits or instant classics it is at the very least going to be interesting to watch.
Jel's Top 3 Seasonal Picks
1. Hyouka - Stunning KyoAni production values with source material that is more substantial than girls eating cake, so yeah, I'm all over this. With only one episode out at the time of writing I don't have much to add here, so scroll back on up for my reasons why.
2. Kids on the Slope - We all knew the soundtrack was going to be fantastic, but beyond that this is shaping up to be a tidy and effective drama. It's pretty straightforward and this could have just as easily been a live-action JDrama, but the setting is so unique and it uses its hook (the music) so well I can't help but love it.
3. Tsuritama - I love the art style of Atsuya Uki and seeing it fully realized with all it's bright colors, quirky expressions, and surreal vignettes has been a treat. The actual plot has been down right bizarre and almost a non-sequitur in itself, but with a glimpse of more serious, relatable issues looming beneath the surface I think Tsuritama has tremendous potential to be something special.
Lifesong's Closing Thoughts What can I say? This season is full of lovely dead girls and I am sure there are a few people who will never let me forget that I picked 3 shows with heavy dead girl themes even if one of them is technically a necromancer and not actually dead herself. So yeah It's a great season to be dead, actually it's a pretty good season all around but the theme of undeath is coming on heavy this season and doing so with great success. A top three doesn't quite cut it for giving credit to all the fun shows this season. Accel World, Ao and even show of the season Moe Gun's Upotte!! all deserve mention this season. That said I bet a few of you can guess my top 3 without even reading them.
There is one other thing I would like to point out and it's how much fun I had and I think we all had putting this beast together. I hope it's been even half as fun to read as it was to make.
Lifesong's Top 3 Seasonal Picks
1. Sankarea - Most demented father figure in anime? Rea's father might not win the all time award but I bet he makes the list. The character dynamics all play together in a great way that really pulls you in and helps get you over the fact that well the main character is a necrophiliac who created a potion of resurrection. This show feels surprisingly down to earth for all the crazy that's going on when you stop and think about it. The way everything here plays together so well has made this into my favorite thing going into this season.
2. Kore wa Zombie desu ka? Of the Dead - I admit I feel a bit crazy for this but 2 out of 3 of my top picks for the season are from Studio DEEN! I would have been happy with more of the same but this season of Zombie has turned out to be even funnier that the last round. The plot is a bit slow going but things are obviously in motion. For now we are saddled with crazy antics as Ayumu deals with the fact that everyone in his school knows about his cross dressing hobby. The tsundere maid cafe about killed me with laughter. I can't wait to see how this all plays out.
3. Dusk Maiden of Amnesia - I am equal parts sold on Dusk Maiden's character dynamics and the directing at work. Yuuko's so what If I'm dead personality puts an intriguing spin on something you would expect to be creepy, all the while keeping the mystery interesting by throwing other characters at us who take up an interest in learning more about Yuuko's past. Maybe I'm just a sucker for the whole tragic past thing.. actually scratch that I definitely am but I'll still throw my recommendation out. If you haven't given this show a shot yet and can take a little bit more undeath in your anime season give this a go!
Irothtin's Closing Thoughts A bunch of good shows that I'm not watching.
A bunch of bad shows that I'm also not watching.
Irothtin's Top 3 Seasonal Picks
1 Fate/Zero - I'm the resident Type-Moon fan in the GLORIO chat, which means I get to hear everyone assure me they like the show while they simultaneously talk about how shitty it is. I was looking forward to Fate/Zero since before the anime was even announced, so it has all my hype. I just have to pretend to not enjoy it.
I still don't get why everyone seems to like Homura but hates Kiritsugu - they are pretty much the exact same character. I guess anime lesbianism is a truly powerful force.
2 Mysterious Girlfriend X - I pretty much like everything in this show apart from the spewing and the fact that their saliva is the consistency of maple syrup. It has a cool 90s vibe to the art style and it just gives off the vibe of being an old-school kind of anime.
Except for the spewing. That shit's kind of nasty.
3 *Insert Your Favorite From This Season Here* - Whatever show you like is probably adequate. I am validating your opinion. It has the Irothtin Seal of Approval. Whatever show you want. I'm sure you're enjoying it by now and probably think I'm a massive jerk anyway for hating on half the shows this season.
Marlin's Closing Thoughts If the eleven new shows I’m watching this season is any indicator, I’m quite pleased as to how this year is turning out. There are only two or three shows I have any thoughts of dropping with, there are just so many enthralling stories. What I love most about this season is, despite a slight undead theme with three shows, there is an overall great heterogeneity within this season’s genres. Gritty theft and war dramas, slice of life shows that take romance seriously and those that don’t, , from the strange and surreal to the straight and serious I’d say it would take a cold heart (or Iro) to not at least pick up four new shows this season.
Marlin's Top 3 Seasonal Picks
1 Kids on the Slope - I have to announce a bias here first, I’ve always been a big lover of jazz, and the fact that this troupe appears to include a trumpet, my instrument of choice, instead of the standard sax really won points with me. However, it’s still a great show outside of this. I’ve really enjoyed the character interactions. These people actually seem real unlike a lot of shows I’ve seen over the years. It’s still early, but from what I saw in episode 3 I have real high hopes for how this show will turn out in the future.
2 Sankarea - Ever the sucker for a story that adds a different kind of romance, I love Sankarea’s spin on the old boy-meets-girl. Chihiro has to be hands down the most morbid protagonist of this entire season, and I find it hilarious. This is a real feat considering he’s in the company of a crazed arms dealer and the actual undead. Rea is incredibly cute, and the show really makes you feel for her situation, locked up in a prison of her father’s making. There’s still a lot to find out about what exactly is going on, and I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen next.
3 Accel World - I came into Accel World’s first episode loving the world concept, but being let down by its final reveal, that it all seemed to really just be a veil for a standard shonen fighting show. However, when I gave it the three episode chance, it really blew me away. It didn’t just abandon the characters and their issues, it addresses them. While the relationship between Arita and Kuroyukihime (man is that a mouthful) is still a bit of a stretch, I really liked that Arita’s reaction to it seemed to reflect that strangeness and insecurity. I don’t want to give anything away, but let me just say the third and fourth episodes really had some powerful moments that are guaranteed to keep me watching for a long while.
Dragonzigg's Closing Thoughts It's looking to be a good, strong season of shows, but perhaps more importantly, a fantastically diverse season as well. We've got an excellent spread through drama, fantasy, slice of life and more, and there looks to be something to accommodate almost everyone's taste. With the bold stylings of Lupin, the playful surrealism of Tsuritama and the studied period look of Kids on the Slope, it's refreshing to see shows with strong independent art resurface, and even the stuff that didn't quite work this season generally had something worth praising. It's telling that for once I have to parse down the number of shows I want to watch rather than scaling up.
Dragonzigg's Top 3 Seasonal Picks
1 Tsuritama - Gorgeous skies, beautiful seascapes and a healthy dose of surrealism, what more could you want? Tsuritama packs all the quirky characters, wonderful art and terrific silliness that I like in my shows and bundles them into a sharp looking and highly appealing package. Essential.
2 Lupin III - If Tsuritama is all blue skies, this is all smoky clubs, cigarette burns and glasses of scotch. Looks wonderful, like a lot of things this season, but its's in the unashamedly throwback narrative style that Lupin really finds his chops. It's grittier, darker and more violent, but never loses the goofy, playful heart of the character, resulting in a rip-roaring adventure. Not for the kids mind you.
3 Eureka SeveN AO - It's not yet the glorious free-flowing fantasy that its forebear eventaully grew into, but I've always admired Bones' determination to do different things with the franchise, and AO paints its own compelling world, full of drama, intrigue and mysteries to uncover. Helped in no small part by its stunningly beautiful animation, it has the potential to climb to great heights.
Timmy's Closing Thoughts I find myself watching a lot of anime this season. It may mean this season is better then others but the more likely cause is the simple fact that I actually have to watch all this stuff to write about it instead of sitting back and seeing what shows people talk about and picking up the popular ones. Sadly there is a lot of stuff I at the very least like this season but not a whole lot of time to watch it. That puts a lot of honorable mentions on this list including Shining Hearts, Hyouka, and even Nyarko-san and Upottle! to name a few. There is a lot of good anime this season and sadly it seems I am watching only about half of it.
Timmy's Top 3 Seasonal Picks
It was really tough picking favorites but here they are as follows in no particular order:
Lupin - A great art style, gratuitous gun-play, an awesome heroine, and glorious boobs to top it all off. And that doesn't even take Lupin into account. Lupin is a great watch every week and I sure as hell can't wait for more.
Accel World - Every time I worry Accel World is going to revert into generic shonen crap the show either plays with this Brain Burst idea a little more, throws out something completely unexpected, or both. I mean confessions in both the third and forth episodes? This show does not mess around.
Mysterious Girlfriend X - Man, this show has me hooked to it like I was bonded to a girl via her s... The show keeps throwing out fresh new ideas with this spit thing every episode and I am gobbling them right u... Guh! Urabe continues to be great with all her odd quirkiness and all the mystery the show is surrounding her is making me droo... Fuck it, I quit.
Aqua's Closing Thoughts The spring season of 2012 will be one you will not quickly forget. Blessed with a line-up that provides a seemingly endless source of entertainment, you will have to try your worst in order to not care about any of the shows gracing the screen this spring. Unless your name is Irothtin.
With a healthy mix of sequels to popular franchises (Lupin III: A Woman Named Fujiko Mine, Saki: Achiga-hen Episode of Side-A, Fate/Zero II, …), cult classics in the making (Kids on the Slope, Tsuritama, …), sleeper hits (Polar Bear Café, …) and shows that are just plain old fun (Hyouka, Jormungand, …), this season has one of the strongest line-ups in recent history. However, it remains to be seen if any of these shows will stand the test of time. Even the biggest and best can plummet straight into the abyss of mediocrity after a well-timed leap over a conveniently placed shark.
So far for the obligatory backhanded aside directed at AnoHana.
Anyways, in the world of anime nothing is certain. Except for the fact that 50% of the lineup will always consist of shows about cute/obnoxious/supposedly sexy teenage girls doing cute things/falling in love/becoming magical girls/turning out to be guys/having their tops ripped off. Be creative and choose your generic anime plot. There are no incorrect answers.
Aqua's Top 3 Seasonal Picks
1 The Legend Of Korra - No, you piss off. The Legend of Korra looks like an anime, sounds like an anime, and has more anime tropes in it than your average episode of Shakugan No Shana. Of course it totally counts as anime.
Yeah, looks like that comment section will finally be used now. Hehe.
2 Tsuritama - A psychedelic slice-of-life anime about fishing, aliens and Indian secret services with ducks? This anime couldn’t be any more noitaminA if it tried. Which Tsuritama doesn’t. Everything in Tsuritama comes naturally. It slowly drifts on the quirky waves it creates. Who knows where this ship will take up? Wherever that is, it will be amazing nonetheless. Tsuritama is original, yet accessible. Familiar, yet alienating. Quirky, yet creepingly dramatic. It looks like a clown exploded all over the screen and sounds like a surfer van having taken the wrong ferry, but most of all does it feel as warm as the sunlight raining down on the Enoshima coast. Watch it and regain your will to live.
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