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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Winter Anime 2012: First Impressions

Inu x Boku SS hasn't come out yet, but I'm tired of waiting. It's time to give a first impression of every new series that came out this winter anime session:

Aquarion Evol: This series is incredibly confusing. It uses all sorts of 'fake' terms that only the sci fi world in question knows about, leaving the viewers clueless. In addition, none of the reasoning behind the characters beliefs or actions make sense. The whole world doesn't make any sense, either. The main character senselessly dislikes his ability to fly, the military senselessly dislikes robot fusions, and so on. Nothing makes sense, nothing is explained. A senseless anime like this should just fly away.

Ano Natsu: None of the characters have any personality or depth. They are completely forgettable. I couldn't tell you any of their names. A boy without parents has a mansion to himself (where have I seen this before?) when he meets an alien who has fallen from the sky (where have I seen this before?), who just happens to like the shallow, perverted, boring main character for no reason (where have I seen this before?). Skip.

Another: A horror story that makes no sense, because no one has explained the strange paranormal world our hero has gotten himself involved in. Horror stories are supposed to be scary and suspenseful, so I'll give this one a pass. My only problem is that I don't like scary stories in general. P.A. Works animates this show very well, though, they have great quality standards as far as that goes. Is this anime genuinely good? Good at scaring people only? Or just bad? I guess time will tell.

Daily Lives of High School Boys: Crude and stupid. Poorly drawn/animated. Some comedy is gold, but you have to wade through slime to get to it. Skip.

Papa no Iu: This anime impresses me. In terms of shamelessness, it really has figured out a new and brilliant formula. There's an older sister and a younger brother, not related by blood. The sister marries a twice-divorced father, who has one kid each from each of his previous wives, and the two have a kid of their own to make a third. So now this unrelated by blood brother is the uncle to three unrelated by blood daughters who are each completely different from each other. Following yet? It gets better. One of the nieces has a crush on her uncle, while the other just seems to want to seduce every man who approaches within a 50 meter radius. A niece harem is well on its way. But don't worry, there's also a strange woman he goes to college with who dresses up in sexy outfits at all times and seems to like him, maybe, or maybe she's just strange and doesn't do anything for any particular reason. The uncle of course protests his innocence and says he'd never do anything with his nieces, and just wants to be with the college girl, but the entire anime revolves around throwing him into risque situations with said nieces and watching everyone squirm. Japan, Japan, Japan.

Recorder and Satchell: A spiritual successor to Morita-san, it's a short comedy where the guy looks much older than he actually is, and is therefore always taken for a child molester. We always needed a comedy about child molestation. Go, Japan!

New Prince of Tennis: An excellent start to the new season. Brilliant art and animation, better than Prince of Tennis ever got, featuring all the characters we've grown to love showing off like cocks on a walk. Does it get any better than this?

Baby, Please Kill Me: Terrible art and animation comedy, where the girls act idiosyncratically, which is funny. It is kind of funny, sadly. But still, skip.

Amagami SS+: Typical filler, the characters don't act like they really would. Still, the art and animation and music are all so good, and Amagami is such a great nostalgic world, that I'll continue watching anyway.

High School DxD: Porn, skip.

Senhime Zesshou: This story is good. It's very confusing, and throws you into a strange world with no explanation, but whatever. What instantly stood out were the characters. A story's quality is the characters, nothing else really matters. The genre, setting, even the plot is meaningless. If the characters are interesting, the story is interesting. If you fall in love with the characters, you fall in love with the story.

At the very beginning, a magical girl sacrifices herself on the battlefield to save a young girl's life. That girl goes on to value her life deeply, and when her life, and that of a child's, are menaced later on, she goes to every extreme to save herself and the child, just like the girl who sacrificed her life for her. It was extremely touching. It felt real. At the last moment, refusing to give up, she transforms into a magical girl herself. Everyone knows the most important trait of a magical girl is Heart, and thus she qualified for a powerup by simply fighting with all her heart as a normal person.

Meanwhile the magical girl partner to the one who died has become cold and mechanical. She no longer has Heart, because she lost her Heart when she lost her friend. But she does have skill, and power, and goes on fighting without any real feelings about fighting anymore, as a sort of habit, a memory of a memory. An echo on the shadow of a lake of her original self.

Can the two together become the strongest combi? I really, really hope so!!! I hope this story delivers up to the potential of its first episode. After all this praise, it had better deliver on the subsequent eps.

The Knight Area: I love soccer, so it's high time they made an anime about soccer. I totally understand the protagonist's problem of living under the shadow of greatness and thinking you can never do anything like that. It's a problem everyone has to face as we realize just how many talented and skilled people there are in every field ready to outpace and outcompete you. This series will hopefully provide an answer to that question, and many others, all the while reminding everyone why we love the sport of soccer, and why it's the world's game, the pinnacle of sports which is more popular than all the others combined.

Zero no Tsukaima F: Terrible first episode. It has everything I hated about season 3 just continuing as before. The future developments are so obvious. It will turn out that the pope is really a villain behind 'everything' and, bleh, I don't even want to bother writing out the rest of the story for them. I'll watch it out of loyalty to its previous greatness but it actually sucks with every fiber of its being.

Nisemonogatari: Alternatively, this series rocks with every fiber of its being. Bakemonogatari and Ef are the only two modern art, avant garde animes I'll admit are artistically great. ((Unless you want to count Madoka, in which case I disagree, it wasn't avant garde, it was Magical Girl at its finest)) Nisemonogatari picks up right where Bakemonogatari leaves off and immediately gets into a series of humorous, deep, insightful conversations between genuinely interesting and brilliant people who genuinely care for each other. The amount of love vibes between everyone is only matched by the amount of sexiness vibes. The art is incredible. Nisemonogatari is breathtaking. I can't wait until it plunges into the real meat of the plot in the eps to come.

My only complaint is that it's too short, and won't be animating the entire novel series upon which it is based. But there's hints that someday a third season will take care of that issue, only after, of course, this one sells well.

Mouretsu Pirates: This series is good. It has a really likable heroine, an interesting world, a great sense of humor, good art. . . it's exciting and happy. How good is it? That really depends on where the series goes from here. For now it's a must-see.

Brave 10: Enter the reluctant hero iteration #190340. Reluctant hero is thrown into a situation against his will, he grumbles about it, while still somehow being dragged along by everyone else. He keeps saying he isn't a do-gooder but always ends up doing good anyway. Ugh. And the girl is genuinely likable too. The combat in the series is completely haphazard. Expect no deep struggles like Naruto or Flame of Recca delivers. Skip? Sure, why not. Skip.

Rinne Lagrange: A great first episode that personifies the main character in a flash, and makes us like her almost instantly in doing so. A girl who is so overflowing with energy that she feels the need to spontaneously help everyone else she meets is suddenly tasked with saving the world (or something similar.) She treats the task just like any other errand she does as a good neighbor and citizen and plunges in headfirst. You gotta love her. She's great, and so is her new straight-faced emotionless alien friend ((Total ripoff of Nagato Yuki but we'll ignore that)).

Now if only Inu x Boku SS would air. . .

Also, of course, there's still Bleach, Chihayafuru, Naruto, Guilty Crown, Shakugan no Shana, Fairy Tail, Bakuman, Suite Precure, Hunter x Hunter, Gundam AGE, One Piece and Mirai Nikki.

But in any case, we have just from shaky first impressions tiers that look like this:


Fairy Tail
Suite Precure
Hunter x Hunter
One Piece

Should See:

Bleach, Naruto, Shana, Mirai Nikki, Rinne Lagrange, Mouretsu Pirates, Senhime Zesshou, and New Prince of Tennis.

No Harm in Seeing:

Chihayafuru, The Knight Area, Guilty Crown, Gundam AGE, Amagami SS+, Another.

If you Really Have to:

Recorder and Satchell, Papa no Iu, Zero no Tsukaima.


Everything else.

That gives us 20 series, or 23 series if we're pushing it. Not bad, really. Better than I expected. But I doubt any of these series, even though they're watchable, will break into my rankings, that aren't already ranked. A very solid but forgettable winter.

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