Watamote: Tomoko has an extremely bad life, and it's all her own fault, so there doesn't seem to be any way to make it any better. I don't think she will ever change throughout the entire course of the series, because she lacks the personality tools necessary to change for the better in the first place, so we're just going to watch a long parade of her suffering from start to finish. It is comical how many problems she causes herself (Seinfeld also did this a lot). It's certainly an interesting and unique storyline, that no other anime has ever dared to touch. But somehow I feel like this story is so shocking, so dark, that it really shouldn't even be told. If people think ecchi scenes are shocking, they have no idea how bad Watamote is. If people think violence should be censored, then what about a girl who's only hope in life is suicide? An ugly, unpopular girl may be the most pitiable existence in the universe. Can anyone really say she's better off alive than dead? She herself doesn't believe it, so how can we as the audience continue to cheer her on? For what? So she can continue to suffer on and on and on? For how much longer? When is she allowed to give up hope and just extinguish herself already? Wasn't high school already her last hope to begin with?
I'll go on watching this series, because it really is a good story. I just don't think anyone should watch this unless they're mentally prepared to go through hell alongside the main character. It's tough to say the benefits outweigh the costs.
Gin no Saji: This story about farming isn't exactly bad, but it isn't good either. It relies on physical humor jokes that are beneath any intelligent person to enjoy. For a story trying to be extremely realistic and informative about agriculture, its stupid, unrealistic scenes about fat girls flying around in the wind like they're kites is just abysmally immersion-breaking. On that note, no story should ever have a fat girl as a main character because it bespeaks such moral degradation that there's no way I'd ever want to interact with her or know anything about her for the rest of my life. I'd rather hang out with a heroin addict than a fat girl. Yes, they're both addicted to physical stimuli, making them basically no longer sentient either way, but at least one on the exterior still preserves a human form and is attractive to look at, while the other has simply transformed into a full-on monster of eye-cancer that hurts everyone who approaches her just from having to see her disgusting body. A fat girl is even more disgusting than a fat guy, because girls' specialty is their beauty, so if they degrade that there's nothing left they could ever be proud about. In Watamote Tomoko is pitiable because she's ugly against her will. A girl who makes herself fat by overeating is just disgusting. They should just be stomped on like slugs, squished into splatters on sidewalks, washed down gutters and drained down sewers into the oceans where fish can feed upon their enormous bloated blubber.
But it isn't just the obnoxious presence of a ridiculously obese girl (who, by the way, is a teenager, so has no excuses about the metabolism problems of menopause or childbirth.) The insistence on making everything ugly is everywhere. The huge fit he throws about eggs coming from a chicken's 'anus' is so childish. All food is cleaned before it is eaten, so what's the big deal? There's no way a school would require students, right off the bat, to run 20 km. That's 12.4 miles. For people who are unprepared and untrained for that kind of distance, it's a physical impossibility. If they tried to run that whole way they would drop dead. To subject all students to that kind of Olympic distance on their first day when all they had come here for was to be farmers is insane. It's child abuse. On that note, making these children work without pay is also child abuse of another sort, but I guess nobody cares about mistreating children so whatever.
But all of this just obfuscates the major problem with Silver Spoon -- farming is one of the most low IQ, boring, dull activities in life. Historically, even the most low IQ people on Earth managed to scrape out a living by harvesting crops, milking cows and collecting chicken eggs. With the help of automation, even this has become far easier than before. Farming nowadays is so automatic, so easy, so effortless, that simply owning land and the water rights sufficient to irrigate said land turns into instant easy profit. Take a flight on an air plane, look down on a circle of green crops watered by an enormous sprinkler at the middle, and ask yourself if a human being had any hand in making any part of said crop? Everything is planted, tended, and harvested by machine. Farmers are just landlords collecting rent. In one case, you extract money from people, and in the other, you extract it from plants and animals, but in any case you're just a parasite. There's nothing noble about your job, and a lot that's shameful (like animal cruelty.) A story about farming is automatically doomed to failure because it simply isn't an interesting subject anyone could say anything intelligent about in the first place. As such, this series is dropped.
Gatchaman Crowds: This series is awful in so many ways. Let's start with the main character, who's either insane or retarded. She constantly talks to herself, is never fazed by anything no matter how weird it is, and finds everything exciting no matter how unexciting it should be. She's so shallow it's clear she's had a lobotomy and there simply is no 'there' there anymore. The ridiculous setting she is thrown into is even less appealing than she is. Magically, and for no good reason, she's chosen to join a galactic police force, that uses overwhelming power to catch helpless alien criminals who are no match for the gatchaman. This activity is so routine and easy that it's a continuous job the 'heroes' have done now for seven planets and counting. Nothing could be more mind-numbingly stupid as a plot than giving your heroes the 'overdog' status instead of the 'underdog.' If all they are doing is bullying the weak, obviously I'll have no interest in their story. In fact, I'll immediately start cheering for the aliens to kill the gatchaman simply because then it would be more fair. Further reason to kill all the gatchaman is that I hate all of them. One wears practically nothing at all times for no reason, which is ridiculously unprofessional, immodest as a girl, distracting and rude in public. Another is a male transvestite who wears lipstick and high heels while trying to sound as gay as possible with all his speech patterns. It's so disgusting to listen to a male voice acting like a girl you just want to shoot him through the head. Does he realize how ugly he is? Again, it's rude to the public and a public nuisance to be so deliberately ugly. Just like people aren't allowed to be nude in public because of public indecency, ugly transvestites should be against the law because it's simply eye pollution. Now, if you're a cute boy and can pull of dressing and talking like a girl perfectly, I have no problem with you. Go ahead and have a ball. But being ugly is a sin and it should be a crime, there's simply no reason why everyone else should have to put up with your aggressive eye-infecting and ear-infecting behavior. I don't care if it makes you feel better, because it makes everyone else feel worse. Rape and murder makes people feel better too but no one thinks that should be a reason to make it legal. Plus the art of Gatchaman is horrid, their robot costumes look awful, the fight scenes are stupid, and everything about this series is pure shit. Free's gay porn looks like a masterpiece in comparison. As such, this series is dropped.
Hyperdimension Neptune: This series starts off really bad. Girls wearing practically nothing are shown walking with gigantic bouncing breasts while speaking pretentiously about some nonsensical topic. It's enough to make you want to turn off the show right there. But if you persevere for just a bit, these ugly flesh-monsters transform into beautiful, petite, moe girls with great outfits and start acting like fun-loving innocent children instead of arrogant slutty adults. From here on the series tacks in the right direction. The girls stay cute and silly while trying to make friends and be popular with the masses. The fight scenes are genuinely engaging, and you quickly get used to all the new jargon being thrown around. Most of all though, the character designs and outfits are just so gorgeous it's hard to look away. The entire first episode is a feast for the eyes. The show reminds me a lot of Dog Days, with both its advantages and pitfalls. Dog Days is watchable, but I eventually gave up on it because life was just so overwhelmingly easy for everyone involved in the story. Will Hyperdimension Neptune make the same mistake? Pretty is a good start, but it isn't enough to sustain viewer interest. I hope the story comes up with a plot eventually that can keep viewer attention engaged for the long haul.
Kimi no Iru Machi: As expected, Kimi no Iru Machi has all the signs of a bad shoujo romance series. It has the 'good but misunderstood' girl that the female viewer is meant to sympathize with, and the 'evil, manipulative, but somehow attractive to boys' girl that every female viewer is supposed to hate. Then it throws in randomly overly-pretty boys who are randomly way overly touchy-feely with each other, in a dominant submissive way to make it even more sexual than before, to get the girls' hearts racing. Though I do think the voice actors expertly firing off their various country accents was really cool of both their talent and the story, it isn't enough to make up for all the cliched elements. Why do girls always fall for the same stupid things? Boys have a certain bubble of comfort that no one is meant to enter. Anyone entering that comfort zone is an aggressor and will be violently punished, if not at least reprimanded. But in the fantasy world of girls' imagination, there's no zone of exclusion whatsoever and pretty boys stick their faces so near each other they're about to kiss at all times, and the attacked boy acts like nothing has happened and goes on about his business. Ugh. I really wish that girls would be attracted to straight guy on girl action instead of only guy on guy gays. As things stand, it's impossible for both boys and girls to enjoy the same show because guys find gays repulsive, whereas girls think they're the hottest subject imaginable. Whether it's Free or Kimi no Iru Machi, there's way too many boys clinging to each other in shoujo anime. It makes the entire genre unwatchable, more's the shame.
With the summer season premieres all in the books, it's finally time to rate the entire summer season against each other. To be fair, this seasonal competition is not a head to head competition of 'total worth.' Some series have 600 episodes to their name and it's hard for a series with 3 episodes to keep up with such a titan. Therefore seasonal rankings only ask one question, "which series' next episode am I most looking forward to each week?" Anticipation for that episode all on its own helps us highlight the particular strength of a particular airing season of anime, instead of just the quality of the anime airing in general. Every series listed I have deemed watchable so far. I tend to cut a lot of series later, after I've seen more of them and gotten tired of them, but for now every series listed is worth investigating. Even if you rank dead last, you're still better than the discarded series that aren't listed at all, so it isn't such a bad achievement.
2. The World God Only Knows
3. Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Ilya
4. Monogatari Series: Second Season
5. Kitakubo Katsudou Kiroku
6. Kiniro Mosaic
7. Tamayura ~More Aggressive ~
8. Ro Kyu Bu
9. Hunter x Hunter
10. Watamote (Watashi ga Motenai no wa dō Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui)
11. Doki Doki Pretty Cure
12. Blood Lad
13. Shingeki no Kyojin
15. Danganronpa - The Animation
16. Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C3-bu
17. One Piece
18. Servant x Service
19. Hyperdimension Neptune
20. Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi
Twenty titles is a great list, better than last spring as expected. At the end of the spring, only 15 series were left standing, and two of them were short series that didn't even air a full 30 minutes a week. So 20 series for the summer would be a huge 33% improvement over last spring. Lurking in the background are some potential additions to the list -- Oreimo, which renews this August, Gundam Seed Destiny, whenever the subbers choose to sub it, and a plethora of new OAV's and movies that should at least count for something. But there's also the chance many of these series will be cut later, so the summer may yet bottom out beneath the spring season. It's too early to celebrate with only what we know so far. Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi got such a low rank because the first episode really told me nothing about the series, so I have very little to be excited about, but it may well get better with time. First impressions are very subject to change.
One thing I'd like to point out is that, having watched the second episode of Kiniro Mosaic and Kitakubo, they both were fantastic and gave me a lot of confidence that they would maintain their quality throughout the season. They were so good, in fact, that now I'm considering them for my top 140 rankings. Technically, I can't expand to the top 140 rankings until I've seen three episodes of these summer season series, but if I publish them a little early and then fulfill that requirement a week later, I don't think God would get too angry with me about such a little fib. As such, with these initial impressions out of the way, my next post will be about the 'next 10' added to my list of seriously good anime which traverses all time, as opposed to these seasonal lists which includes every mediocre series in a particular season.