Life’s been pretty busy lately with labwork, schoolwork, translations, and reviews, so I’m taking it easy and simply posting my midway impressions now that I’ve finished half of the current season for everything I’m watching. Each show has finished at least 6/12-13 or 18/24-26 episodes, so I feel confident commenting on them.
90+: Nothing from the current season.
Shana III – Final –: 85
After marathoning the first 12 episodes of the series, I was greatly looking forward to the final half of the Shana franchise. Unfortuantely, what I discovered is that the show works better as a marathon. It’s still an amazing show, but the week-long breaks are a big problem. The break stops the flow from each episode, which leads to a very disjointed feeling unless they are seen together. Each episode is fine individually, but they work much better when seen consecutively. I’m not a big fan of the second ED, but the OP is amazing. I’m very curious how they’ll fit the rest of volume 22 (the final volume) into 5 episodes.
Conversely, Chihayafuru seems to work better with a week between episodes. As it’s another beautifully drawn series, it’s great to see the quality remain consistent even while sales are under expectations. The current arc focusing on Chihaya’s weaknesses feels like it would work great in a manga format, but the focus has gone on too long to not highlight how great of a player she really is. It somewhat undermines her character. Kana-chan is slowly stealing the show away from her, but all of the 5 club members have been great in recent weeks. I look forward to every Tuesday.
While it got off to a rough start, Another is slowly improving week-by-week as we find out more about the mystery. Having the series focus on one story highlights the weakness of the premise: it’s very difficult to extend a story to fit 12 episodes. Even one of my favorites from last year, Moshidora, only took 10 episodes and that felt too long at parts. The first four episodes would have been condensed in a longer series and felt more natural. As to be expected, the animation quality is superb from P.A. Works.
Mirai Nikki: 77
Why yes, I’m certainly a fan of 7th. Their introduction and demise helped boost the show out of its stuttering and towards a direction, but the second half is weaker than the first, as was the original material. I’m mostly watching to see how asread animates the insane ending, but Yuno’s insanity is always interesting to see.
Nise is living up to its name. Coming off of the heels of 5 fantastic stories in Bake, the current arc feels flat and more filler than substance at this point. With only 11 episodes, having 7 of them be devoted to one of the two books feels like a failure in planning. Right now my score is a 75 given the potential from Hanekawa and Shinobu, but the final score could be anything. I’m also not a fan of the Shaft architecture/animation style, so it’s based solely on story for me
Amagami SS +: 73
After marathoning the first series on Christmas Eve, I was looking forward to another series going into an After Story aspect. Unfortunately, the best arc from the first season left nothing afterwards to focus on for this sequel. Ayatsuji was a great character as she slowly become more like her outside personality. That conflict helped improve the arc, but now that she’s mostly over it, her character feels somewhat flat. I’m not a fan of Rihoko, so no comment there. Nakasaki has the best arc thus far, but we’ll see how things go for future stories.
Zero no Tsukaima f:63
If I had not watched the three previous seasons, I would have dropped this show already. There’s no development into the characters beyond the 4th episode’s first half. I skipped half the latest episode because I got sick of the fanservice. The instant attraction to Saito by 99% of the population that has a XX chromosome constantly bugs me and how it continually plays out the same in every single situation is testing my limits. The only saving grace was that the third episode was really good. Episodes 2, 4, 5,and 6 do not make a decent show. I still stand by my suggestion that Jessica would be a better lead than Saito, even without any of the yuri pairings that would bring about.
And so there’s my thoughts on the current shows. I tried Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou but the humor was falling flat and the other aspects didn’t appeal to me at all. I’ve only got Saki: Achiga Hen and Hyouka scheduled for Spring, so I’ll be revisiting Fate/Zero and the Full Metal Panic! series during that season. There’s also some more translations to achieve, so I’ll keep busy.