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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.