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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lost World Anime Second Look: (Part One)

In order for a series to qualify as 'watchable' in my books, I have to be willing to watch at least three episodes of the series.  My first impressions articles only got me through episode one.  A second look is the actual critical moment, because if I have a positive experience on episode 2, I'm bound to watch episode 3 as well, and then even if I hate it, it's too late, I've already crossed the critical 3 episode threshold and it automatically joins my list as a worthwhile show.

So how has my second look on the "Lost World" of anime gone so far?  It was a lot of series to look at, so I'm not nearly done, but I can say my impressions on a good many shows.

First, the series that I on second look decided to cut (so far), Angel Tales, Suzuka, Bokura ga Ita, and E's Otherwise.  They were pretty iffy includes in the first place, and by the second episode it was clear that the faults in the series outweighed their virtues.  E's Otherwise, for instance, is just too chuunibyou, and I hate the naive main character going on and on about how he doesn't want to hurt people even though that's his job.  Bokura ga Ita's heroine is way too self-involved, to the point that she can't see anything else except herself and who is useful to herself.  I thought it was charming how much time the heroine spent thinking in her own head but now I see that's actually a fatal flaw, she's so busy thinking about herself she never bothers to think about anyone else, which makes her extremely rude around everyone.  Angel Tales' premise spun out of control when suddenly instead of three revived pets they were trying to force 12 down our throats at once, as though three retards weren't bad enough.  Suzuka's romance is just too simplistic and boring, to the point that I wondered why there was even a show about it.

I'm sure there's a lot of bad series yet to come on my second look, but the promising series far outweigh these mistakes.

Daa! Daa! Daa!, for instance, was fantastic in its second outing.  Kaori Nazuka's voice is just beautiful as the main character, Miyu Kouzuki.  At this level of quality and the series' enormous length, it's easy to believe it can reach my rankings.

Maria-sama ga Miteru's main heroine, Yumi Fukuzawa, put on such a great performance revealing her inferiority complex towards her sempai on her second episode that I suspect this show will join my rankings too.

The blushing girl in D.N. Angel after her sudden kiss from last episode was absolutely adorable.  I hope she wins the boy in the end.

Futakoi is so good, so fun, and so pure that it just puts a smile on your face the whole episode long.

Aishiteru ze Baby is looking even better than Usagi Drop.  Since it's also longer than Usagi Drop, I have high hopes for it entering the rankings.

Binbou Shimai Monogatari managed a great episode to follow up on what I considered an impossible hurdle to follow up after that first episode.  Due to the main heroine being played so well, I decided to add Maaya Sakamoto to my great anime voices list.  She's also the seiyuu for Shinobu Oshino, who's currently kicking ass in Monogatari Second Series as we speak, so this was a pretty easy decision to make.  In addition, she's already one of my favorite singers, so it only makes sense to trumpet her voice acting abilities as well.  Now I respect her just as much as I do Nana Mizuki, another great singer and seiyuu.

Speaking of great voice acting, I just noticed Final Approach sports two of them, Yukari Tamura and Yuko Minaguchi.  The series continues to deliver as expected.

I mentioned this before, but the kansai-speaking lead heroine of Gakuen Alice is just wonderful to listen to.  I should have already made this change, but now I'm ready to acknowledge it.  The seiyuu for Mikan Sakura, the heroine of Gakuen Alice, is Kana Ueda.  She's a native-born Osaka-jin, so her kansai accent is the real deal.  In addition, she's been allowed to use that accent to great effect in many other wonderful roles as well -- Hayate Yagami in Nanoha A's and Sakuya Aizawa in Hayate no Gotoku.  She's also the seiyuu for Yumi from Maria-sama, Saki Miyanaga from Saki, Rin Tohsaka from Fate/etc, and many other good roles.  I added her to the list of my great voices without hesitation this time around.  In Gakuen Alice, her counterpart is none other than the great Rie Kugimiya playing Hotaru, plus she's got support from Akira Ishida as the teacher Narumi, and Chiwa Saito as Sumire Shoda.  Just looking at Gakuen Alice's great art and listening to the voices is good enough, the plot hardly even matters at this point.

I've also watched and generally liked, to a modest level, the second episodes of Figure 17, Black Cat, Prism Ark, Myself;Yourself, Spiral, Star Ocean EX, and Hanaukyo Maid-tai le Verite.  These will be the shows that can up my 'series watched' count that will allow the other lost world shows to join my rankings as the top 1/3 thereof.  They're playing a very important role as backups so that I can show the better series in the limelight above them.

In addition, I've fully watched Tayutama, Tsuyokiss, Tsukuyomi Moon Phase, Hani Hani Operation Sanctuary, and the first season of Detective Conan.  These series can all be described as mediocre watchable shows, where you don't really gain or lose anything by watching them.  I will say this though, the opening and closing songs to Tayutama, Tsuyokiss, and Tsukuyomi are exceptionally good.  Sort of like Canvas 2, even if you ignore the anime, the music is something worth pursuing.

It's assured that I'll eventually watch a third episode of all these remaining lost world series, but I technically haven't done so yet, so none of them can show up on my rankings yet.  With the fall 2013 anime season just around the corner, I'll probably be adding lost world series to the rankings around the same time as I'm adding new series just minted from the newest fall batch.  They'll be competing head to head with each other for those additional spots, so the struggle is going to get pretty fierce.  By the end of October, I'll have watched the requisite three episodes from the best of Fall's 2013 anime, so they too will be able to join the list.  So basically, by the end of this October, I should be ready with a top 150 anime rankings, but whether it's composed of golden oldies or fresh minted modern marvels is entirely up to the quality of this Fall's lineup.

For now, I'll just have to keep at these 29 remaining lost world second looks, and 26 Fall 2013 anime first impressions.  It's a lot of anime to review but someone has to do it.

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