A mid-winter stance

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.

80+:


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.

Chihayafuru: 83
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.

70+:


Another: 78
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.

Nisemonogatari: 75
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.

60+:

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.

2 thoughts on “A mid-winter stance

  1. Winter has been somewhat busy in what I have been watching. I have been following five series this season: Ano Natsu de Matteru, Another, Area no Kishi, Inu X Boku SS and Mouretsu Pirates. That was certainly an increase over Fall where I only watched Fate/Zero(although I am got Mashiro-iro Symphony in my backlog to finish).

    I guess I’ll mention my impressions of Another since it’s the only series that both of us are watching. Another does a great job in keeping up its atmosphere through music and the sound choices that the series makes, and I also appriciate the character designs that Noizi Itou brought to this. Mei looks quite moe, especially when you see her without the eyepatch. Even when they were teasing us with the possibility of her being a ghost, she still managed to have a aura of moe. Akazawa looks a little like Haruhi too. Although Akazawa is an interesting character in her own right. The only complains I really have is that I think that the OP Kyoumu Densen or “Nightmare Contagion” doesn’t quite fit the series. I love the ED though, it’s wonderfully sad.

    I am a little surprised that you haven’t checked out Ano Natsu. Same director as Toradora and Ano Hana. And somehow the series keeps getting better despite how much I dislike the male lead Kaito.

    The series that I am enjoying the most(although writing-wise I’d say Another is the best of what I’m watching) is Mouretsu Pirates. I guess it’s because I’m a sucker for good sci-fi (one of the many reasons why Haruhi remains my all-time favorite anime) and I like the way it’s slowly telling a story. It doesn’t hurt that I really like astronomy and space.

    Spring could be another busy season for me as i plan on sticking with Mouretsu Pirates and watching the continuation of Fate/Zero. I think I also might stick with Area no Kishi despite how frustrating it can be at times. Some of the BGM used in that is really cheesy, but I like the male and female leads of that series a lot and the soccer scenes are well-animated. I am definitely interested in Uchuu Kyoudai, Sakamichi no Apollon(Watanabe and Kanno working together again will be awesome. And I can’t wait to see what kind of jazz music Yoko Kanno puts into this), Tasogare Otome X Amnesia and a few other ones. Saki is on my to-watch list, so I will probably watch the new Saki sidestory at some point. Hyouka OTOH I am not sure about. I love KyoAni. But given Kadokawa’s ties with Nico Nico, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is only on Nico Nico and I refuse to give any support to them(I am a Crunchyroll subscriber, so I do watch legal streams, just not Nico Nico). That and I am rather annoyed at the lack of any new Haruhi. I just hope that maybe good news on that front will come later this year.

    • Yes, Winter has been busy indeed (not to mention I marathoned the previous seasons for Amagami SS + and Zero no Tsukaima f prior to this season, so it really was a lot. I’m making up for it next season though.

      Another succeeds in everything but pacing and OP/EDs. The atmosphere feels very creepy (even in the beach episode), the characters are understandable, and the plot itself is not bad. I feel that the story was simply not long enough to perform in 12 episodes without having that “dragging” feeling. I’ve not even paid attention to the OP after the first episode, but it certainly doesn’t fit. I’ve not been a fan of how P.A. does EDs (Hazy was the only one I’ve really liked), so Another keeps that trend. I think the series might have been better if they were able to put the episode 0 into the main run and have only 11 to speed the pacing.

      Ano Natsu has the staff that I would love, but I didn’t find the concept interesting enough to follow. It just turned me off for some reason.

      I’ve been a fan of sci-fi in the past, but I’m not a fan of space settings in anime. I suppose it’s the general type of fan who watches those shows and degrades ones that I like that turns me off from enjoying them. I might check out Pirates next season.

      Saki is simply fun. It’s certainly reminiscent of K-On! in tone, but there’s a lot of crazy mahjong at the same time. I still joke that I watched it for the slice-of-life aspects, stuck around for the yuri, and got a crazy sports-related show instead. There’s so many loveable characters. I wouldn’t fear about Kadokawa/Crunchy. Their big show of the season, Another, was on Crunchy this season and Funico didn’t give the views that Crunchy did for their past catalog. There’s a lot more subscribers, and thus money, from Crunchy. It also helps that the other licensors are somewhat backing Crunchy as well.

      I’ll say one thing. I’m giving heavy consideration to translating the new Koizumi manga and there’s a few more Haruhi projects I’ve got in mind. We may also see some news this year as well. They’re likely in year 2/3 of a new plan for the show. We don’t know how long it may take to plan out said season, so keep hoping.

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