Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Good, The Average, and The Ugly: Summer Edition

Real life has a way of making it hard to write an anime blog, but this afternoon though I might as well arise from a Cthulu-like slumber to spew out some thoughts on the summer season, since it's better than working on TPS reports:

The Good

Tari Tari - What can I say, I've been completely sucked in, helped by the fact I like the whole cast.  It's not the most dramatic story ever, the guys in particular seem pretty underused (more like side characters than main characters almost), but it's still probably what I look forward to the most each week.  Sawa's story is interesting because it's something that happens to everyone - what happens when you reach the point in your life where your dreams come crashing into the brick wall of reality.  She can't make herself any shorter, so how she deals with the reality in front of her will be interesting to watch.  Wakana's story you could argue had a easy built-in tearjerker factor because of her mom, but it was handled really well, I thought - now just curious to see what they do with Konatsu and the guys between now and the end of the season.

Oda Nobuna no Yabou - I've seen enough Sengoku series now that my knowledge of the Warring States Period is getting to Ph.D. level, but Sengoku Otome and Sengoku Collection didn't impress me all that much, so I had low expectations for this.  Surprisingly though, I've been sucked in by what's really a pretty good cast - Sagara is a solid male lead, not your typical anime weakling, he actually has balls when he needs them, and Nobuna is on the tsundere side but her concern for her people and her close friends makes her hard not to root for.  The supporting cast from Dousan on down is solid too, and the drama's been decent so far.  It'll be interesting to see if Nobuna can pull off her alternate history, making Japan into a modern state far earlier than in our history - if Japan had opened up instead of turning inward for two centuries, what would have happened?  I doubt they'll show much into the future, but just Sagara and Nobuna's relationship is enough to keep me watching, the historical background and drama is a bonus.  Looking like the surprise hit for me this season, given expected nothing going in.

Yuru Yuri - Not every episode has been great, but when it's good, Yuru Yuri is really, really funny, for me anyway.  It's just a great cast, and getting to see them all again has been a lot of fun to watch.  I'm glad Minami-ke is getting another season, but I think I like Yuri Yuri's cast better.  Needs more "Toshino Kyoko!" exclamations this season, but the first episode with Akarin's fantasy world is one of the funniest things I've seen in a while.

The Average

Sword Art Online - I expect this to vault into the Good category as the cour goes on, the only reason I'd group it as just average is Asuna hasn't had nearly enough screentime yet.  The first episode was...slow, and then we get into side stories that didn't have much impact for me.  Now that everyone says we're getting into the main storyline from the light novels, I'm hoping things will pick up, especially Asuna and Kirito getting more screentime together.

Koi to Senkyou to Chocolate - I liked the first episode, but since then there's been a little too much election mechanics for me - I hate politics and don't watch C-SPAN, so seeing the thrill of election returns and worrying about splitting the anti-faction vote really doesn't do a lot for me.  Having said that, I do like the cast, and I'm hoping when we get into the Chocolate part and why Chiasto doesn't like it, there'll be a little more drama and character development.

Binbougami ga! - Gives me my Gintama fix while Gintama is off the air.  Like Gintama, not always great, but when it's funny it's pretty damn funny.  I never know what to write about comedy anime though - it's kind of impossible to review because everyone has a different sense of humor, so you're either going to like it or not, you have to see it to know.

Hyouka - I really, really want to love Hyouka.  It has great animation, a good cast...but the problem is it's more like slice of life than mystery, and episode 18 in particular was like watching paint drying in slow motion.  When the mystery of the week is why Hotarou's middle school teacher paid attention to a helicopter three years ago - maybe Chitanda is curious, but frankly I couldn't care less.  Here's hoping Kyoani's Chuu-ni next season is a lot faster paced, from the PV it sure looks like it will be.

The Ugly

Kokoro Connect - I was really looking forward to each episode at first but between the alien's constant trolling and Taishi's confession about beating his meat...I just couldn't bring myself to keep watching.  Maybe later I'll marathon it, but I think this might just stay on the back burner.

Imo Naka Wants to Jump Onii-chan - I give this props for awesome character designs, but aside from that...let's just say if I made a list of "anime I'd never, ever show my daughter when she's older, or even acknowledge that I knew existed" this would definitely be on it.  Konoe and Miyabi decide to take their tops off to sleep with the male lead because it's warm out...seriously?  This also makes the "worst anime to show your girlfriend/spouse/family anime isn't just guns and boobs" list.

Campione - Looked like a typical harem series - by episode two I was watching the clock more than the actual content, and dropped it.