Winter 2012 series roundup

Throughout this week, the vast majority of the anime series I’ve followed this season will be finishing. As such, I’ll offer my opinions on them as a whole.

90+ – No series

80+
Shakugan no Shana III -Final-: 87

Shana truly surprised me when I first watched it last year. It had a very depressing opening with Hikari fading from everyone’s mind, but moved into a pretty good story. The first season was better than average while the second season had parts that I couldn’t stand. The OVAs were nice side stories, but nothing important overall. But when Final started, it was another tempo. The addition of Yuji to the Tomogara, and with their leader as well, was a fantastic bait-and-switch. As the series came to an end (and I’m sure it’ll be viewed more favorably by those who marathon it), the tie-in and tie-up of the loose cords was very well executed. As it should be, the final episode truly captured the “final” aspect of the series. I enjoyed it immensely.

Chihayafuru: 85

A complete surprise not only to myself, but a huge amount of fans. Chihaya continued to be amazing in animation and story for 26 weeks, even making a recap episode hilarious. It got me interested in the 100 poems as well as the card game itself. Like everyone else, a second season would be very much appreciated.

70+
Amagami SS+: 76

After a series that had many mediocre arcs, I wasn’t looking forward that much to most of SS+. While there were three arcs that were good, there were three arcs that couldn’t stand with the others. I didn’t care for the Ayatsuji, Rihoko, and Kaoru arcs, but the Nanasaki and Haruka arcs were fantastic. I was truly impressed at how they were able to follow up with Haruka to make a “lovely” finish to the series. I’m sure the Miya arc will be interesting, but it’s a side-story at best. If I have to give arc scores: 71, 63, 83, 67, 77,and 85 in that order.

Another: 74

First, the strong points. P.A. Works did a fantastic job animating this series and, combined with the music, keeping the “creepy” feeling through the run. Everything else was mediocre at best. The story itself would have been better served to be compressed into 10 or fewer episodes. Instead of bringing suspense like in a novel format, the lengthening just kept adding to the stupidity of the situation. “We can’t say anything” “I didn’t think of it” got to be so annoying. I felt little to no connection to any of the characters (besides imagining Mochizuki as Hideyoshi from BakaTest) and I couldn’t care about their situation. The climax of “killing the extra” was very anti-climatic and wasn’t worth the build-up. I’m just glad my hopes weren’t raised for this series. Poor Ito.

Nisemonogatari: 72

For a series that focused on the “fake” aspects of life, it certainly captured being a “fake” of it’s prequel. It’s somewhat interesting how the same group of characters can feel so different in another series. I’m not a huge fan of Shaft and their productions, but I felt Bakemonogatari had an interesting story behind it and enjoyed it in 2009-2010. Unfortunately, the focus on the intimacy between Koyomi and his sisters couldn’t capture that same enjoyment. The final two episodes were amazingly strong and felt like they were part of the original story, but everything else was relatively weak.

60+

Zero no Tsukaima f: 61

Barely prevented from being my first score in the 50s only due to the use of First Kiss in the finale, which reminded me how good the series could be at times. Ignoring how Saito could return to the world without magic, his return was very well-handled. The finale itself was good, but the rest of the series (minus episode 3) ranged from “I can’t believe I’m watching this” to “How did this series get so bad?” Outside of jealousy, Louise was an entirely different character in this series compared to the seasons before. Siesta was non-existant and Tabitha had little to no reason for being around other than to appease fans. The third episode truly felt like it should have been the finale for the rest of the series. I’m just thankful no more episodes will come.

Now onto Spring. I’ll be following Hyouka, Saki Achiga, Natsuiro Kiseki, and Fate/Zero‘s second half. My expectations go from “should be great”, “love the source material”, “eh, I’ll give a shot”, and “Let’s see how this finishes.” Nothing else interests me at the moment, so hopefully I’ll get the desire to work on translating a lot instead. The current projects shouldn’t take much longer to complete, so look for the new ones shortly.

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6 thoughts on “Winter 2012 series roundup

  1. I’ve had more fun watching Shana than any other TV anime since ARIA. (Haruhi movie is an exception but its a movie so I dont count it).

    Very excited about Saki as well, should be fun

  2. I think we have similar rating systems judging by some of the scores, but I noticed on your ZnT entry that you haven’t given a score in the 50s. I’d agree that the show itself has been a disappointment since the first season, but it took a whole 35 episodes for it to remember what was good rather than smut. But if you really don’t like something, you shouldn’t be afraid to give scores in the 40s, 30s or 20s.

    • Oh, I’m not afraid to give scores that low. If you check the tab above called “MAL ratings explanation”, you see I grade on an academic scale. Zero no Tsukaima f would barely pass on my scale due to how the final episode was. I just haven’t seen anything that would go down into the 50s (that I haven’t dropped prior).

  3. Dead on in everything. Shana kicked ass (I marathoned it, and yes, it was awesome….though I am completely bias when it comes to Rie Kugimiya anime….usually).

    Another was very solid……but there were a lot of stupid things. For example, the entire problem could be avoided if the school just didn’t assign anyone to class C-3. Like, you can keep the classroom, but just don’t roster anyone to it. Bingo Bango Bongo. Or, if you are registered for C-3, GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE. MOVE YOUR ASS UNTIL THE SEMESTER IS OVER! I did still enjoy the series as a whole (girl with eye-patch? Hell yes.)

    Then we come to the final season of Zero no Tsukaima….I told you before that I have extreme bias toward Rie Kugimiya. This season sucked. SUCKED.

    Sucked.

    Anyway, you’ve got my vote thanks to this perfectly accurate post.

    • Thank you for your vote and your kind words. Shana III was so amazing that I’m importing it without having purchased the first two series, movie, or OVAs. It’s just that good. Another had promise, but the series composition left much to be desired. I agree that your solution would also be very valid and should have been implemented. The less said about Zero no Tesukaima f, the better.

  4. I will go ahead and say that there are not enough good things that I can say about Shana III. The only thing that sort of is troublesome is that you have to marathon the series, otherwise it loses its momentum in the episodic viewing. Another negative point is that a lot of the characters that were in III should have probably had a little bit of screen time from I and II.

    I personally liked both Shana and Shana II. Even the anime original stuff. I always consider it sort of like an alternate telling (hence why it is an adaptation). I think JC Staff (regardless of some recent complaints) is quite capable of doing good work and adaptations. That said, perhaps a little less original work would have made for a better shana anime overall. I still want to read the LN’s

    I also have a few things to say about Zero no Tsukaima F. I have not read the light novels, so I can’t comment on them but there is one thing that became apparent to me during all the seasons. It was the focus on the Harem comedy aspect of it. In my opinion a Harem is funny if, and only if

    1. The characters are well developed (debatable for every girl, and as much as I like Louise, they really did not do her justice in F)

    2. Each girl in the harem actually has a legitimate (or in the case of a non wanted harem,no) shot of capturing the affection of the harem owner.

    Tsukaima became tiresome because they tried to play up the harem antics, when since pretty much season 1, Louise and Saito had been saying they loved each other. Unrequited love is one thing, but meh…

    F actually had some pretty brilliant moments (such as using First Kiss for the fight with the ancient dragon), though it was always fun to play the game of “replace Saito with X and this would be a better show.” Another point to mention is that the girls who didn’t like Saito were way more interesting.

    The other thing that bothers me is that there was so much potential and other interesting things that were going on in the Tsukaima universe. I always wondered what would happen if those things had gotten focus… like the elves.. It is the same problem that I have with Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? (which I actually liked).. You have the potential to expand on some pretty interesting and deep backstory, in addition to have brilliantly executed serious moments (like why the Eucliwood doesn’t speak very often). And yet, we continue to use already worn comedy.

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