Weekly Anime Impressions – Summer 2013 Week 2.5 Impressions

Gatchaman Crowds Summer 2013 anime

Gatchaman!

Last week I’ve covered the first week of episodes. I am not sure if this will be a weekly thing or not, but I was quite busy with school-obligations in the beginning of the week, and I’ve watched 16(!) episodes from the Summer 2013 anime season, so I’ve decided to spend at least another post describing these episodes. Not all shows air at the same time, so for some shows I’ll cover episode 2, and for others episodes 2-3.

Also, I’m definitely going to be cutting/putting on hold some shows, including shows that are “solid”. I’ve had 15 currently airing shows on my watch list this week, and with me working full time, wanting to read books (I’ve read Steven Brust‘s To Reign in Hell this week), and wanting to enjoy all the games I purchased during Steam’s Summer Sale, 15 shows is just not sustainable.

I’ll break the shows down by how much I’ve cared for them, and also their nature. I will include second-third episode spoilers. I consider these things to be part of the premise, though.
Shows covered: Watamote, Kamisama no Inai, Danganronpa, Stella Jogakuin c3-bu, Blood Lad, Makai Ouji, Rozen Maiden 2013, Genshiken Nidaime, The World God Only Knows S3, Gatchaman Crowds, Fate/Kaleid Prisma Illya, Shingeki no Kyojin, Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S (A Certain Scientific Railgun). I didn’t watch  Gen’ei o Kakeru Taiyo (Day Break Illusion) and Uchoten Kazoku this week, but will catch up on them tomorrow, due to time constraints, and actually picking up two extra shows.

New Shows:

Have Me Hooked:
Shows that were impressive, I am highly intrigued and will keep on watching:

Gatchaman Crowds – I’ve watched both episode 1 and episode 2 this week, meaning this is a new show I’ve picked up. I’ve actually watched a few episodes of the original Gatchaman in a convention and have some faint memories of it. Anyway, this is sort of a Power Rangers show, but if anything it reminds one of a buddy cop show. The main female character is a happy go lucky super energetic girl, who doesn’t obey authority because it’s authority (she’s not rebel, she’s just oblivious to the power plays), and the main male character is a by-the-numbers, annihilate the alien scum kind of guy. The show also deals with the nature of leadership and power, and diffuse responsibility.
I’m not super crazy about the artistic direction, but it definitely is interesting.
Watched Episodes 1-2.
To Watch? Super interesting, hope they’ll keep with the endless energy displayed in episode 2. Don’t judge it by episode 1.

Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui (It’s your fault I’m not popular) – known as WataMote; Episode 2 had a lot more heart than the first. Tomoko was much more relatable. Sadly, for me at least, while this episode had a few funny moments, I didn’t come close to laughing as hard as I did in the first episode.
The character has the right heart, she has the right ideas – but she lacks any sort of basic understanding of the world in order to translate her ideas into reality. Her plans on becoming popular in High School are more akin to the fantasies a second grader might weave.
She is quite similar to Hiki from OreGairu, in that they say others are worthless as a form of self-defense, but Hiki knows it’s a defense mechanism and his insights are much superior to Tomoko’s.
Watched episode 2.
To Watch? Oh yes, please do. I enjoy this show immensely, go comedies that are actual comedies rather than ones that rely on having “funny” moments no one will ever laugh at just because they can’t decide their proper genre.

Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi / Sunday Without God – This show is still the biggest wild card of the season, it can fall very flat, and it can succeed very well. The backgrounds are drawn magnificently in the show, and it continues to raise questions and then address them and answer them. It’s kind of sad that to have a show address the “holes” and questions it raises be something refreshing. The symbolism and question of origin of Humpney Humpbert’s name are also refreshing, to me.
It’s not surprising, but there is a lot of symbolism, and quite a few issues of moralism raised in this show. We’ll have to see where it goes.
Watched episode 2.
To Watch? Only if you’re willing to take a risk, the pacing of actual story is quite slow, but it seems we’re still not done with setting the ground – in terms of not only the world, but philosophically as well.

Solid Stuff:
These are the shows that make up the vast majority of the shows we watch and enjoy – most of us will give them between 6 and 8 out of 10. They’re solid, they give you what you expect, and unlikely to give you more. They are highly enjoyable. In a regular season, you’d watch many of these, the ones that fit your taste, between seasons these are probably the shows you catch up on. This season however is just too busy, so I will have to cut down on some of these.

Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C³-bu / Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C3  – We continue living with the newbie, going to her first outside tournament, as often is the case with sports-club shows, they get defeated, a difference of resolve, etc. There are themes of monomania here; to be one of the best at any field, you have to spend a lot of time on it, and think of it constantly. The people in the club are charming and crazy in the usual club-show way, and I’m still somewhat bothered by the way they treat their chosen game.
Also, this episode we got to really see hero-worship at work.
Watched episode 3.
To Watch? It’s a really solid show, but it’s a sports-club-show, which had never been my favourite type of show, and the way they deal with real world wars also makes me frown. I’m going to put it on hold, but if you like club-shows and moe, then you should definitely watch this show. It probably faces a lot of stiff competition from other moe-club shows I’m not watching this season, I think there are at least 4 others :3

Danganronpa  the Animation – Well, we finally had the psychological screws begin to turn in episode 2, where they fully realize that they are locked in, must kill someone to leave, and are given a reason to kill someone. And then someone dies. The trial felt rushed, even though a full episode was devoted to the trial, part of the problem was that the prior episode did not have enough time to really go over all of the evidence from the game, and the stakes – why they want to live, their characters, couldn’t be properly explored before the trial, where such issues were shuttled to the background.
It feels like Mirai Nikki-lite, there are some serious messed up people in the show, but due to the way the trials are handled it doesn’t seem they have time to truly explore the effects on their psyches.
Watched Episodes 2-3.
To Watch? This show fully spoils the game, if you plan to play the game, which many people say is superior, then don’t watch the show. I am going to give the show one more cycle (murder and trial) before deciding whether I’d just rather play the game. If you like this sort of show and aren’t going to worry about the PSP game, then watch the show, but understand some of the parts that are the reason we watch these shows (psychological trauma of the characters) will feel rushed.

Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma☆Illya – This show is so sweet. Is it a straight magical girl show aimed at little kids? Is this a beautiful show with characters whom you know aimed at fans of the slightly darker Fate/ universe? Is this a parody-deconstruction of magical girl shows aimed at cynical people who’ve watched many of them? Is this a super-moe show aimed at those who want to see cute girls in cute sequences on screen?
The answer currently seems to be all of the above. Kids can watch the show and not notice the elements parodying their shows, or the fan-service that is peppered around everywhere. It still remains to be seen how dark the show’s undertones or even overtones will end up being, it still is a Type-Moon show when all is said and done.
Watched episodes 1-2.
To Watch? There is probably something here for everyone, but also something for everyone to dislike. If you really want a cute show, this definitely’s the show for you. Some characters are quite annoying in this show, the darker one, that is also the zaniest. I’m probably going to keep on watching, I might put it on hold till week 5 just to see how much they actually do with it.

Falling Off:
These shows just are a waste of time – they may be bad, or just average and worse than the other shows around. Better look elsewhere on the list when looking for stuff to watch.

Blood Lad – The first episode was a mess. The second episode was a mess as well. Going into the real world did not lead to any pick up in pace, there were several sequences where the artistic direction tried way too hard, seemed they were trying to emulate Shaft studio, or just had several artistic flavours going around without any consistency amongst them. The episode was gloss-only, with no real content, no real character for the characters either.
The opening and the last five minutes had a distinctive shonen flair, reminiscent of Gintama, would’ve been better if they kept it at that. Next episode seems to be more directed at fighting, but I assume it’ll be mostly so-called witty posturing instead.
Watched episode 2.
To Watch? I’m putting it on hold, indefinitely. If it were funny, if it had more shonen, if the characters actually had soul… too many “ifs”, it’s not the worst show ever, but it lacks any real content or heart. It’s a wannabe show.

Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist – The pacing was better than the first episode, and it was consistent, at least. The show really is unclear on what type of show it tries to be – Slice-of-life? Not really. Comedy? I think it wants to be a comedy show, but it doesn’t really have things that make you laugh, not even gag jokes. Actually many so-called “Comedy shows” or movies suffer from this syndrome. It certainly isn’t a drama show.
There was some poor fore-shadowing that I dislike on principle, and “London Bridge is Falling Down” playing which made me think of the show I find it most similar to, and which I wasn’t that fond of either – Kuroshitsuji. This show just doesn’t know what sort of show it wants to be, unless it’s a show that’s “atmospheric”, where the atmosphere is just to watch a bunch of boys fighting/hanging around one another. I’ll pass.
Watched epiode 2.
To Watch? Not really, no, unless you’ve watched every other show you’ve ever had on your “To-watch list.” – is it absolutely the worst? No, but it’s below average.

Returning Shows – New Seasons:

Rozen Maiden (2013) – Episode 2 was amazing. Episode 3 shares the same deft directorial hand and high production quality, but didn’t wow me as much – but if you keep looking at it as a movie, after the amazing first 20 minutes, it’s time for reality to set in somewhat. There are definitely things I have to say about the experience of being bullied, the story-book sequence, and the issue of the dream-world’s symbolism. Click the links (reddit thread) to see some of the thoughts.
Watched episode 3.
To Watch? It feels like a movie, the pacing is a tad slower, but the directorial direction is very much worth it. I’ll say yes.

Genshiken Nidaime / Genshiken 2nd Generation – This show, just wow. The issue of a “trap”, a male character who appears as a female is often used as a joke in comedy/slice-of-life shows, often he will keep reminding everyone he’s a boy while everyone treats him as a girl. Not with Genshiken, the maturity level of actually exploring how characters feel about this, and not using it to make silly jokes (while still making some jokes, but often regarding things we can find believeable) make this the hallmark of a great show.
Watched episode 2.
To Watch? YES, and if you hadn’t watched the original show, do it now as well. This is the best slice-of-life anime ever released, and one of the better shows out there, regardless of genre.

The World God Only Knows 3rd Season – I really liked this season – Keima’s over-the-top Lelouch impersonations never felt more fitting, the way he held his glasses was just perfect. We also see someone trying to conquer Keima rather than him conquering them. The whole issue of teleology and causal narrative are both very important in this episode, and are both things that interest me deeply (see Terry Pratchett’s The Science of Discworld and the Witches’ sub-series, specifically). You can read more of my thoughts here (reddit thread).
Some important characters were manga-only happening, so definitely need to find time to read the manga…
Watched episode 2.
To Watch? Yes. You might also want to read the manga while you’re at it.

Still Airing – Still Watching:

These shows are still airing from the Spring season.

Toaraku Kagaku no Railgun S/A Certain Scientific Railgun 2nd Season – We’re still reliving the “Sisters’ Experiment” arc that had originally aired in Toaru Majutsu no Index, but with a MUCH higher production quality, and we get to see Misaka’s feelings. While the proceedings are slow, too slow, especially as all of this is story-content we’ve already experienced, I can’t fault the show too much. I enjoy it, and it’s like your favourite dingy movie just got a $200 million budget and used it well.
Watched episodes 14-15.
To Watch?  If you got this far, of course. If you like some well-made shows with good friendship, good fight scenes, and awesome art, you could do much worse than Railgun in general.

Shingeki no Kyojin/Attack on Titan – This show is becoming more and more average as the weeks roll by. We’ve finally gone past the defense of Trost, had us a jaunt to a trial about Eren’s future, and soon we’ll finally be free to go to the wilds and fight us some titans. It’s not a bad show, and I can hardly be accused of disliking shonen shows, but as the weeks roll by, this show is losing its position. The production is still top-notch, but it’d be nice if we didn’t spend so much time on recapping every episode or dragging everything out. I’d expect this from a never-ending shonen show, not from a 25 episode show.
Watched episode 14.
To Watch? It’d certainly help you understand all the memes and fan-art this season, and last season. It’s definitely not the worst shonen show there is, but if you hadn’t watched any of it yet, you might want to wait until it ends in order to combat some of the slow pacing issues.

Shows I didn’t watch this week due to time constraints: Day Break Illusion/Ge’nei o Kakeru Taiyo, I will watch them, but I suspect it’d be put on hold until the end of the season, just because it doesn’t feel it can stand well enough compared to the other shows this season, but is probably solid. Await next week’s post.
Uchoten Kazoku‘s first episode was definitely interesting, I suspect it’d be an 8/10 show, with interesting elements being the characters, the background, the setting, and the artistic direction – I just didn’t get to it this week.

So, what are you guys watching, what are you guys dropping, this season? Also, isn’t there way too much anime worth watching coming out this season? :O
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6 comments on “Weekly Anime Impressions – Summer 2013 Week 2.5 Impressions

  1. Artemis says:

    Sadly, I’m on the verge of dropping Shingeki no Kyojin. Like you, I think there are some serious problems with the pacing, and I think they’ve actually gotten worse rather than better. I’m also getting tired of the constant in-your-face drama, which probably has a lot to do with the really theatrical scripting and the fact that everyone seems to be yelling their lines about 80% of the time. There’s absolutely no subtlety there, which would be fine if those sorts of scenes came and went instead of making up the bulk of nearly every episode.

    • Guy says:

      I probably won’t drop it, we’re actually lacking in pure shonen shows currently, and I don’t have the time to commit to Hunter x Hunter, or pick up Naruto Shippuuden currently.

      I am very much in agreement about your usage of the terms “Theatrical” and “Shouting their lines.” – in a theatre it might be necessary for things to be over-the-top, because some of the crowd is far away and it is hard to make out facial expressions. But in a show, especially one that’s animated, and they even make use of the “shifting camera angles”…

      You know, it really shows the distance between yourself and a show, when the moment that’s built up to be “great” is the one you find poorest of all, such as Armin’s head-bobbing spittle-flying speech to save Eren. Every time I think of that speech I feel the need to watch the Maoyu “I am human!” speech again.

      I was going to suggest Genshiken to you, but then I’ve found out you’ve dropped the original season 4 episodes in. I think I died a little. </3

      • Artemis says:

        I didn’t mind Genshiken, but I just didn’t like it quite enough to keep watching. Slow pacing combined with fairly lack-luster artwork and animation made me impatient to try out other titles that were on my to-watch list.

      • Guy says:

        I’ll agree that the animation wasn’t astounding (man, the days when not all 480p even felt like 480p!), but it’s slice-of-life, a true slice-of-life, without manufacturing forced laughter and such to help the pacing along artificially but only for you to feel empty afterwards.

        BTW, episode 5 has one of the greatest moments of Genshiken, and when Saki really steps up to the plate.

        Well, if you ever look for something to watch, I think Genshiken is probably the best slice of life anime you can find, and one of the best shows to introduce people who don’t watch anime to. Now, I’m not going to shove it down your throat, but consider giving it another whirl at some point :)

  2. fareesq says:

    Railgun S is gaining pace. Might even edge out SNK as the best anime in Spring 2013.

    • Guy says:

      I like RailGun S a far bit better than Shinjeki, but I don’t think it’s fair to determine “Best Spring 2013 show” based on developments happening in Spring. I still liked Oreimo far better than both of these in Spring :3

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