Anime Season Begins – Summer 2013 Week 1 Impressions

Watamote - Watashi ga Motenai no wa dō Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!For the first time I’ve watched over 10 episodes at a season’s start, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the multitude of shows I’ve been watching. I will most likely not post in this format weekly, and the next such post will come around week 5-6 of the season, as I believe many series take about five weeks to really get going and show us what they are worth. I might also drop some shows, hold off on some shows till week 5, or pick up new series after 5 weeks based on what people are saying.

I’ll break the shows down by how much I’ve cared for them, and also their nature. I will include first episode spoilers. I consider these things to be part of the premise, though.
Shows covered: Watamote, Kamisama no Inai, Uchoten Kazoku, Danganronpa, Stella Jogakuin c3-bu, Blood Lad, Gen’ei o Kakeru Taiyo, Makai Ouji, Rozen Maiden 2013, Genshiken Nidaime, The World God Only Knows S3. Will also mention Monogatari 2nd Season, Shingeki no Kyojin and Railgun S.

New Shows:

Got Me Hooked:
These are the shows that I’m definitely picking up, at least until they fail to deliver for several weeks in a row.

Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui (It’s your fault I’m not popular) – known as WataMote; This show follows an unpopular girl as she enters high school where she is sure she will be more popular. It doesn’t happen. This is a comedy, and sort of a cringe-comedy, which often make watchers uncomfortable. I laughed all along the first episode, I didn’t find it cringe-worthy, and it wasn’t due to sympathizing or empathizing with the main character. I am eagerly awaiting new episodes.
The casting of Nakamura Yuichi was played Kousaka Kyousuke in OreImo for a very similar role is very fitting. Also, super kick-ass metal opening.

Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi / Sunday Without God – God had left the world, so people cannot die. The main character is a small kid who is the Gravedigger of her village after her mother’s death, because only Gravediggers can lay people to rest so they will not be zombies. The show has a lot of questions it raises in the first episode, but unlike many anime which just throw things out there, and have plot-holes and questions just hanging with things seemingly not making sense, this show takes care in the first episode to show that some of the holes are acknowledged as holes, and some answers are actually given.
This show can fall flat on its face in the future, but it raises issues and seems like it’s going to actually follow internal logic, so for now I’m following with an avid interest.

Uchoten Kazoku – A modern day fairy tail of sorts, in some ways it reminds me of Charles de Lint‘s stories. In Kyoto alongside humans live raccoon-dogs who can shapeshift to human-form, and Tengu, which are raven-kin human-shaped beings who can take flight. The artistic direction of the show was impressive, and it had left us with many questions we’d like to watch the show to see answered. Show seems to be an action-drama, as far as I can tell.

Solid Start:
This is what you expect from series’ first few episodes. You expect them to if not outright blow you out of the gate, then to make you feel they’re a worthwhile investment of your time. These are solid-seeming shows that people will likely watch and remember after the season ends, and most of what we watch.

Danganronpa  the Animation – This is based on a PSP visual novel, which is getting a PS-Vita version later this year, as well as a a western release, which is exciting. This show gave me a distinct “The Saw 2” vibes – a group of super-talented kids and one randomly drawn boy enter a prestigious school, only to find out they are locked within, and only by killing one of their classmates will they be able to leave. I like the “push them as far as you can, and then keep pushing” shows, and this is one of those.
The girls are mostly drawn as cute, and in the style of normal anime girls, but the boys for the most part look ridiculous, as the butt-of-jokes, which makes it a tad harder to take the show seriously.

Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C³-buStella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C3  – Another club show, another club-show that has girls celebrating guns and weaponry. This show feels a lot more like K-On! thus far than Girls und Panzer, the artistic direction of pastel colours definitely drives home a feeling of nostalgia, as if the main character is reminiscing of her time in school. I am still somewhat bothered by the glorification of combat, and statements such as “This is what combat feels like!” said with a smile when it’s more like a fantasy of combat. I have issues with the music of the show, but what can you do?
Watched 2 episodes.

Try Harder Please:
These aren’t shows I’m not fond of, and they will likely pick up steam, but a first episode has a role, the role is to get you hooked, to get you to watch the 2nd episode. This season has a ridiculously high amount of interesting shows, so if your first episode has a good expository/a lot of action in its first 10 minutes, but the latter half of the episode just sort of sits there and looks to be more part of the 2nd episode, then you’ve got issues. A first episode has to come with a “Bang!” and these shows had some issues delivering.

Blood Lad – The Demon-world exists, we meet a vampire who’s in control of a territory of Hell. He’s a big otaku, and likes everything related to Japan, and when a Japanese girl ends up in Hell he has to meet her and then ventures to the real world with her. I’ve decided to watch this show entirely based on the Disgaea-like premise.
The main actor is Ryota Osaka who played a very similar role/personality as Satan in Hataraku Maou-Sama. The show bills itself as a comedy but had nothing funny going for it, and the second half of the anime had a beyond terrible pacing. Episode 2 should have our characters enter the human world, so I hope they manage to pick it up there.

Gen’ei o Kakeru Taiyo / Day Break Illusion – A Magical Girl show which utilizes tarot cards. Girls turn into the major arcana and fight other such girls. Our protagonist is also a tarot-reader, daughter of another tarot-reader. Show has some dark overtones from the get-go, with her cousin with whom she lives is jealous of her and things end badly. Very badly. The show seems like it wants to be Mahou Shojo Madoka Magica, but it made me think much more of Nanoha – both in terms of artistic style, where the show was going, character interaction – it didn’t feel mature-adult, but more like a Disney level of “dark”, which wants to be more mature but fails.
Show is teetering for its place on the to-watch list and might be put on hold till it reaches episode 5.

Just Bad:
This show had a terrible showing for its first episode, and is given one more episode to save its spot on the to-watch list, we’re not even talking let it wait till episode 5, but just flat-out forget about it.

Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist – Rich boy is a descendent of King Solomon, ends up penny-less and must strike a deal with a devil who wants to be the stand-in for when Lucifer is AWOL. Problem is, he’s a realist, so he doesn’t believe in devils (even when he sees the evidence right in front of him). Show makes next to no sense, isn’t at all funny, and is just wandering around like a headless chicken. I’m giving it one more episode.

Returning Shows – New Seasons:

Well, not all the shows are new shows, some are new seasons of returning shows, to one degree or another. I will clearly say where each show falls under its description.

Rozen Maiden (2013) – This show opens on the right note – with an Ali Project opening, which made me quite nostalgic. The first episode is a super rushed synopsis of the original Rozen Maiden’s manga-run, which means it’s quite different from the anime adaptation most of us are familiar with. The second episode is where we get to the good part – an alternate universe where Jun is a college student that hadn’t received Shinku and didn’t participate in the Alice Game – the dolls’ war. The second episode had been spectacular, with a directorial touch that reminded me of movies, not anime series, with good characterization and light touches to set us to the theme of Jun’s life, his personality, the world. The incorporation of music in this episode had also been very deftly handled.
I’ve watched 2 episodes, and I can’t wait for more.

Genshiken Nidaime / Genshiken 2nd Generation – The first Genshiken is one of my favourite shows, it’s a great slice-of-life show, and a great show to introduce anime to people who aren’t used to it. The second series follows the club after most of its old members had graduated, with “Otaku-hating-Ogiue” being the new president. The show seems to reference more contemporary anime than its predecessor, and seems to be more of the slice-of-life show we’re used to. Some voice actors being replaced had left me with a weird taste, such as hearing Misaka Mikoto’s voice actress portray Saki.

The World God Only Knows 3rd Season – I’ve recently had the pleasure of watching all of The World God Only Knows, and know a blog post on it will come at some point. This seems to be more of the same, or so it began but perhaps Keima will have to be put on the spot as a result of his past deeds this season. This being more of the same makes me very happy.
The anime skipped a lot of material, about 60 manga chapters are condensed into roughly 5 minutes at the beginning of the episode. I think I, and other TWGOK lovers will have to make time and read the manga.

Still Airing – Still Watching:

These shows are still airing from the Spring season.

Toaraku Kagaku no Railgun S/A Certain Scientific Railgun 2nd Season – Railgun is a very good show. A much more focused show than the series it had sprung from, A Certain Magical Index/Toaru Majutsu no Index. Currently we’re watching the series arc which had been shown in Index S1 from Misaka’s point of view. I enjoy most of every episode, nothing too cerebral, just a nice very well done show.

Shingeki no Kyojin/Attack on Titan – The coolest series of last season. Still the coolest, but definitely not the best. Suffers from pacing issues, and much of the acting is way over-the-top. Armin’s speeches make me facepalm, as a good speech is about messages and true emotions, not spittle flying out of one’s mouth. I’ve discussed this at more length in the Maoyu blog-post earlier this week.
BTW, this might blow your minds, but the voice actress of Armin is Inoue Marina, who played Yoko Littner in the definitive shonen anime Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.

One sentence about Monogatari 2nd Season (following two seasons and a movie..) due to the amount of plot per episode previously in the show, I’m holding off on this show and will watch each arc after it ends.
I am also awaiting Fate/Kaleid Prisma Ilya to begin airing, which I plan to watch as well.

So, readers, what are you watching this season, and what are you thinking about it?

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6 comments on “Anime Season Begins – Summer 2013 Week 1 Impressions

  1. Artemis says:

    I’m also watching a ton of shows this season – although it’s likely I’ll be dropping a few of them based on completely average first episodes. I was disappointed by Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi and really underwhelmed by Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist and Servant x Service. On the other hand, Love Lab and WataMote turned out to be pleasantly surprising, and I adored the first episode of Gin no Saji..

    • Guy says:

      The “Average” shows are the mainstay, they’re most of what we watch, but as one of my friends put it – “Until I finish watching all the shows who score 8-10, the shows with the score of 6 may as well be scored 1.”

      This season is just too busy, and as someone who works full time, and also needs to find time to do other things, it’s hard to justify so many shows… I usually begin watching seasons at episode 5, which gives a better indication of where things are, but then it’s harder to drop them either :3
      Kotoura-San was splendid till episode 5, then began faltering. Red Data Girl was never great, but in those two seasons I have watched 4-8 series, so watching something slow was more acceptable.

      Well, I’ll sacrifice another of my weeks, I’ll give these shows a 2nd week.

      Kamisama no Inai gave me what I expect from a first episode – an intriguing opening with a good pacing, that makes me want to keep on watching to find out more. It’s the show with the highest potential this season, but also a huge potential to fall flat in no-time.

      Sadly, this weekend I need to work on a paper, so I’ll likely not get to watch much anime or comment much on the blogosphere till Monday/Tuesday, unless I falter in my resolve.

  2. Kai says:

    Not watching a lot as of yet. I’m planning to watch WataMote as suggested by a “certain” someone. I was actually planning to watch Danganronpa but since it’s original source is from a PSP visual novel (and what’s more, it’s already translated), I thought, why not just play the original? Since I already have access to it and all. Blood Lad’s the other one I’m planning to watch, doesn’t seem promising from your description but we’ll see again after a few episodes more. As for the returning shows, I’m definitely watching Rozen Maiden and The World God Only Knows as well.

    • Guy says:

      Is Danganronpa officially translated? I know it’s getting an official western release of the first section soon and also a Japanese edition collecting both parts.

      Blood Lad episode 2 had been really poor (here are my thoughts on it). I’ve put it on hold till episode 5 and then I’ll decide finally, but I suspect I’ll have to force myself to go through the upcoming episodes so it’s quite likely I’ll give up in the middle.

      The returning shows have been for the most part splendid. Rozen Maiden episode 2 was film quality of awesome. You should really watch Genshiken as well, a true slice-of-life, rather than a comedy that calls itself one. Dealing with issues anime deal with, but more seriously and with some maturity. In case you hadn’t watched the original show then you really should, it’s probably the best slice of life anime ever released.

      • Kai says:

        I think the first part of Danganronpa is already out, localized by NIS America if I’m not wrong. According to vndb, looks like it’s already finished translating, and I remembered my friend was talking about the game sometime ago too, so chances are, it’s pretty much available to play. Translations for the second one is still in progress though.

        Did you read Blood Lad’s manga? If it’s that considerably bad, then I might just read the manga instead. I actually only found out about it through manga first, but decided to hold it off first since the anime for it was just announced by the time I found out about it.

        Do you think I should read Rozen Maiden’s manga as well? Since according to your description, it seems like it uses the manga as a basis instead of the previous two anime seasons. Right, I haven’t watch the first Genshiken so another one to add into my backlog I suppose.

      • Guy says:

        Ok, I just checked.

        NISA announced two weeks ago, with the other games, Danganronpa 1 for USA/Europe. Only the first game.
        A couple of days later for Japan a Vita port which has 1 and 2 together had been announced.

        I hadn’t read the Blood Lad manga. Also, trusting by that reddit thread, the people who liked it are in the majority, most people saying negative things got quite downvoted. I can only tell you what I think, after all.

        You don’t have to read the Rozen Maiden manga, all of it is sort of a prelude. The “fight” that existed in one world. But in the end, our show is about an alternate universe, so it just gives some setting.
        You could read it for fun, but it’s probably not necessary for the sake of the current show.

        And Genshiken is amazing. You definitely should watch it.

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