Anime Season Midterms – First Impressions – Summer 2013 (Saturday)

Time for the 2nd entry, covering Saturday’s shows. This seems like a simple day, but due to the way the Japanese release schedule works it mostly all piles onto the Friday shows, making Friday hella busy. Still the simplest day to cover in terms of this post.

Part 1 (Monday-Thursday): Blood Lad, Makai Ouji – Devils and Realist, WataMote, The World God Only Knows Season 3, Free!
Part 2 (Friday): Gin no Saji, Rozen Maiden (2013), Stella Jogakuin Kotou-ka C3-bu, Danganronpa, Servant x Service, Love Lab, Toaru Karaku no Railgun S (continues from Spring season).
Part 3 (Saturday): Gatchaman Crowds, Kiniro Mosaic, Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya, Genei wo Kakekru Taiyo
Part 4 (Sunday): Monogatari 2nd Season, Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi, Uchoten Kazoku, Genshiken Nidaime, Shingeki no Kyojin (continues from Spring season).

While many people seem to really like the Gatchaman Crowds opening, I prefer the ending much more:

Gatchaman CrowdsGatchaman Crowds – If I had to tell you what this show is about then I wouldn’t have an easy time of it. This show covers a world where people are given powers and perform as sort of a local branch of an intergalactic peace corps. But that’s only the first layer. The second layer is more like an onion discussing social and societal issues such as the diffusion of responsibility, diffusion of leadership, leaders versus followers, heroes versus regular people, singular people versus the power of the crowd.
I actually appreciate it that the characters are not author-mouthpieces, they contradict themselves, and the show is aware of it.

I wonder how this show feels when marathoned, someone should find a friend to find out. I, for one, think that this show is much better if you sit down and think about every episode after watching it, or even pause mid-action to think. There’s just so much to chew on, but I’m somewhat biased due to having a degree in Sociology, perhaps. If you need aid, I suggest looking at reddit/bloggers to see their thoughts on the show, it might help move you along.
Watched: 6/12.
Current Grade: A+. I think you need to watch it. I think this show is better when you think about it, so I don’t suggest waiting for it to end in order to marathon it.
Also, I wasn’t sold on this show after episode 1, so give it at least two – you might like one and not the other. Episode 2 is more indicative of this show.

Kiniro MosaicKiniro Mosaic – Of the shows I’ve sampled this season, this is definitely the top contender for “Moe-brigade show of the season” – cute girls doing cute stuff, and nothing but. There’s no real drama, no real comedy. Just cute girls being cute together. If there’s any conflict and character growth, then it happened after the episodes I’ve watched. I need something more in my shows, to keep my attention as I watch them. I think this is a fine episode to watch weekly, but any attempt to marathon it on my part might result in a fatal “hnnnng! Cuteness overload!” reaction.

The show follows an English student who moves to Japan to stay with her Japanese friend. While the Engrish is rather well done in comparison, it’s still distracting whenever the supposedly English character speaks and sounds anything but.
Watched: 2/12 episodes.
Current Grade: B. If you’re looking for cute girls just being cute together, then this is the show for you. If you’re looking for anything else (aside from maybe Engrish), then it’s not.

Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma☆Illya – Take the Fate/ universe and fill it with magical girls. That’s the premise of the show. I find this show quite interesting for all the different layers and ways you can watch it as – you can watch it as a straight magical girl show, you can watch it as a parody of magical girl shows, you can watch it as the Fate universe being taken in a different direction.
This show is very cute, the character designs are very well done, with everything being drawn in a sharp and attractive manner, the show is even replete with an annoying and silly mascot character. Now, this is how I like my moe in shows, when it’s joined by a show with an actual plot, though I usually like my moe slightly more as a side dish than the way it’s presented here. The fan-service in this show feels a bit like a parody, as I say the show can be seen above – perhaps even a parody on the sexual aspect of most magical girl shows (especially with their risque transformation sequences), as we have a character speaking and then we slowly pan from her knees up, or we have characters running around/speechifying and we focus on their bouncing breasts, or on their pelvis and then their chest, or their cat-ears, taking care to not show their faces.

Were you to watch this show in public you might very well be deemed a creeper, and considering the age of the characters, it is a tad creepy. The fan-service is really pushed in our faces now and then, and I wonder if it’s delivered straight, or as a parody/commentary. I think it might be a little of both.
Now, given the above it might surprise you, but considering the very high production values of the show it shouldn’t, but this show has really well done combat scenes (and even episodes), with the action being both well-scripted and very well animated.
Watched: 6/10 (wow, only 10 episodes?)
Current Grade: B+. I wonder how a pre-teen would treat this show, I really do. There’s something here for everyone, including some stuff to dislike, for most people.

Gen'ei o Kakeru Taiyou - Day Break IllusionGen’ei O Kakeru Taiyo / Day Break Illusion – I don’t feel comfortable saying too much about this show, since I’ve only watched episode 1, due to being busy. I’ve seen people be quite conflicted on what they think of the show, or rather different people have different opinions (who’d have thought?!). I see people who expected a Madoka-like show be more disappointed, in general, but I always got much more Nanoha vibes from the show, especially due to the filial conflict, which is much of what drives Nanoha forward in its first two seasons.

Art and setting didn’t attract me too much, but I don’t really judge shows based on that, so it’s more of an aside.
Watched: 1/13.
Current Grade: I’d give episode 1 a B? I’m curious what you guys think of the show, actually.

So, are you guys watching Gatchaman Crowds? If not, what are you waiting for? Also, what can you guys tell me of Genei/Day Break Illusion?

11 comments on “Anime Season Midterms – First Impressions – Summer 2013 (Saturday)

  1. Artemis says:

    I know plenty of people who like Day Break Illusion, but I’m not one of them. I can see that there are some genuinely good aspects to the show and I certainly don’t hate it, but there are still more negative factors than positive for me – I don’t like the artwork, the production values seem rather cheap as a whole, and the story quickly settles into a monster-of-the-week format that does absolutely nothing for me. The big difference between Madoka and something like Day Break Illusion is that the former shocks people by its sudden and dramatic shift in tone, whereas the latter is constantly threatening the viewer by it – meaning that every time something dark and freaky does actually happen, I’m never surprised. That takes a lot of the power away from the story as far as I’m concerned.

    • Guy says:

      TBH, I never felt Day Break Illusion was like Madoka, as I outlined above, I felt it was more like Nanoha. Nanoha also had that early-late 90s feel, which is quite cheap, and is shared with shows such as Shakugan no Shana – what with the brutalistic buildings, the lifeless backgrounds and crowds, and the models not popping either.

      I saw you just dropped the show yourself, from your MAL. Hm.

      Well, if it’s monster-of-the-week, does it even try to surprise?

      • Artemis says:

        I’m not sure if it’s trying to surprise at the moment, but it’s definitely hunting at a darkly dramatic plot twist. The only problem with that is, if there’s going to be a plot twist I think it’s only particularly effective if a) the viewer isn’t already looking out for it and b) said plot twist is actually surprising. I have a fairly good idea what might happen but no patience now to wait for it, so yeah, I ended up dropping the show entirely.

      • Guy says:

        I’m not sure I agree with you about plot twists only being effective if you’re not looking for them. Plot twists, rather than just “gotcha!” moments are powerful because they reverse the narrative. Plot twists can be really impactful even the third or fourth time we watch them.

        I’m saying third or fourth time on purpose, the 2nd time we often watch everything in light of the plot twist, and look for all of its early signs, and such.

        But if you don’t care to wait for it, I guess that’s that :)

  2. We must be very different. Gatchaman Crowds is one of the very rare anime shows in my life that I did not even consider watching the second episode of. And I’ve been enjoying Servant x Service, which you destroyed, quite a lot.

    I don’t know if there’s deep meaning somewhere, but I think it’s too deep buried in the repulsive-looking character transformations (Seriously, weird robot-like armours? What’s next? Giant humanoid robots pew-pewing lasers in space?), apparent superiority and invulnerability of characters (Monster? Poof, no monster now.), literally annoying character personalities to start off with and, MOST OF ALL, cheesy lines, some of which are even SUNG.

    If I had been 7 years old, perhaps I would have tolerated (certainly not appreciated) “gatchamaaaaan~” sung by an annoying low voice. But I’m 22, and seriously, it left me with an impression of utter disgust.

    Ever since I was convinced to watch like 20 episodes of One Piece “because it gets better later” only to give up completely baffled by the shallowness and lack of interest in the battles (as compared to the overwhelming popularity of the show), I haven’t been giving shows a chance once they give me that shocked, disgusted facial expression.

    • Guy says:

      Well, I’ll break this into points, since it’s always easier and more orderly :)

      1. I agree on having to have cut-off points for shows, such as people often pointing episode 8 of Gurren Lagann, or episode ~6 of Neon Genesis Evangelion. As for Gatchaman Crowds, I’ll say I didn’t enjoy the first episode and actually had to force myself to watch the 2nd episode. So I’ll say this: Watch the 2nd episode, if it doesn’t catch you – then you were probably right to drop the show. But, it’s just one more episode, see how it works out for you.

      2. I didn’t actually describe Servant x Service much, but aside from my judgement, did you disagree with my description of the show? I know that many of the things I find fault with the show for are the exact reason others appreciate it.

      Also, did you marathon it or watch it weekly? I think it’s a lot more manageable/tolerable if you watch it weekly rather than try to marathon it. I also noticed the “plot” or at least a consistent story was slowly emerging, which is why this show is on my “indefinite on hold” list rather than the “dropped, never to be touched again”, where Makai Ouji will remain forever.

      3. We might be very different, and I don’t have a problem with that :)

      4. As an aside, I don’t know what I think of your usage of the word “disgust”. It doesn’t feel appropriate here, to me. Repulsive-looking might be a bit of a stretch, but ok – but disgusting more than borders on value-judgement and I find that specific word-choice so.. odd.

      • Hmmmm… Honestly not sure why, but I’m not able to describe why I like Servant x Service very well… Just, it makes me laugh a lot. I just can’t say for sure. Maybe it’s the mental tsukkomi that cracks me up. The fact that there is almost no point in the story at all but the characters (Except the stuffed manager. The stuffed manager is annoying.) and interactions are still funny and attractive enough to make up an interesting series by themselves is pretty impressive.

        Conrary to something like Kin-iro Mosaic that has no story or goal or action or humour or drama or interest at all. Apart from lolicon people who aren’t tipped off by high school students who look (and act) like they’re 12 maximum. (Sorry, I just had to hit that show a little. I actually watched it until the second English girl arrived, because surely there was gonna be something remotely interesting at some point, but there never was. I felt betrayed.)

        As for Gatchaman Crowds… Maybe I’ll try episode 2. Maybe. But honestly not only did the show “not appeal to me much” with the first, but it almost scared me of the awfulness it was possible to achieve in anime, and completely convinced me that the anime had to be strictly targeting boys younger than 12. It’s gonna take a LOT of willpower to watch that.

        Also, disgust describes my facial expression more than what I felt. You know, when a character closes one eye halfway, blue lines appear underneath it, the eyelids twitch and the mouth is open in a square shape. How I felt was just… wrongness. Utter wrongness and repulsion. The very essence of “kimochi warui”. After the awful costumes, they went as far as add THAT. It’s the same feeling that a metal fan would have when forced to listen to Britney Spears or Justin Bieber. I think it’s the best I can describe it.

        PS: Actually it’s far from my favourite show, but I do enjoy Makai Ouji, haha.

      • Guy says:

        1. Well, funny is a deeply personal thing, and you hardly need anything more than finding something funny than to like a show. I just really didn’t find it funny :(

        2. Gatchaman sure is stylized, but art aside? I doubt 12 year olds will be able to appreciate, relate, or understand to even a quarter of the show’s themes. It was impressive, but it only truly begins showing its true colours around episode 2.

  3. Oh, I forgot. Watching it weekly. Unless I discover a series a long time after it’s started, or after it’s over, I always watch weekly. There’s a few exceptions when there’s just way too many shows to watch all the time and some of them don’t catch my interest enough, where I’ll wait until I’m bored and watch them later, more than one at a time. It’s the case for Gin no Saji, Fantasista Doll (hey, once you get past the awful opening song, it’s actually slightly interesting), Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Ilya and Stella Jougakuin Koutouka C3-bu, right now.

  4. Ariane says:

    Guy :
    2. Gatchaman sure is stylized, but art aside? I doubt 12 year olds will be able to appreciate, relate, or understand to even a quarter of the show’s themes. It was impressive, but it only truly begins showing its true colours around episode 2.

    Well you know what, it’s the mid-term break right now, so I’ll actually go and watch the second episode. I’ll tell you about it.

    One thing I’d like to note though is that probably half the stuff I watched as a child was how you appear to describe Gatchaman Crowds: there was deeper stuff, and a lot of it, but I didn’t see nearly a quarter of it. But I still enjoyed it. Actually, I think it’s common in children’s-but-not-only-children’s shows to have a lot more than the core target audience requires.

    • Guy says:

      BTW, I always suggest people do not marathon Gatchaman CROWDS, but read the online discussion about it to see what they might have missed, so I’ll link you to the Gatchaman CROWDS episode 2 discussion, and my post on it. Note, as the episodes kept going, my writeups grew in length. The last few episodes they were over 1,500 words per episode.

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