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

The final part, Sunday. Quite a few shows, some of them even air on Sunday, or late enough at night that I can’t watch them before I get back from work. Definitely a strong day in terms of the shows it contains, probably the strongest day. I work on Sundays, alas, making it not as pleasurable as it could’ve otherwise been.

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).

Genshiken Nidaime - Genshiken 2nd GenerationGenshiken Nidaime / Genshiken 2nd Generation – Genshiken Nidaime is one of my two favourite shows of the season. Most slice of life shows either have no conflicts (unlike real life) or are just a catch-all term for anime-sitcoms. Genshiken Nidaime returns us to the college club of the past where the characters discuss anime, manga, and video games, but as most of the old cast had graduated we have an influx of BL (Boy Love)-loving girls, and Hato-kun, a cross-dresser.
If you ask me, most so-called comedies aren’t really funny, and when they’re funny it relies on visual gags. Genshiken isn’t a comedy, but when it is funny it is funny because these moments are set up and resonate with the characters’ personalities.

This is a show that feels like someone took literal slices out of someone’s life and had decided to give them to you for you to taste and savor. The way the show deals with issues of gender-identity and sexuality is also relatively mature, certainly more mature than what you usually come across in modern media in general and anime in particular.

The cast is mostly quite likeable, and even if you don’t like all of them, then you can either relate to them or think of real people they remind you of, or just come off as real people, to one degree or another. This is definitely the show we need, even if it’s not the show we asked for, and dealing (maturely) with issues of sexuality and gender-identity will not help its sales, which is very sad.
Watched: 7/13
Current Grade: A+. You should watch it if you’ve watched the original Genshiken. You should watch it if you hadn’t watched the original Genshiken, and then you should watch the original show.

Uchouten Kazoku - The Eccentric FamilyUchouten Kazoku / The Eccentric Family – I don’t really know how to explain this show, or describe it, let alone its themes – aside from the themes of growing up, being in-love, the desire to lead an interesting life and leave a mark, and family. And yes, most of these themes are related if not the same themes but with a slight colour repaint.
I think I’d have been happier marathoning this show, as much as I am unable to discuss this show’s theme in-depth, I don’t really have a desire to. There are things that come up in the episodes as I watch them, and I’m perfectly fine discussing these, but I’d rather just watch the show, and experience it, as I go with its flow.

The show definitely has a rich backstory, and you feel the world you are watching is not only vibrant, but alive even without you looking into it. Many groups run around at the same time, each with their own goals and motivations, and sometimes they intersect, making for an intriguing mosaic of life. Definitely worth watching, but I’d rather not talk about why just yet.
Watched: 6/13.
Current Grade: 8/10. I’ve said this is an 8/10 show from the get-go – not one of my absolute favourites, but it will be for many. This is the grade where people remember and talk of the show in years to come.

Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi - Sunday Without GodKamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi / Sunday Without God – God left the world, and now people can’t die, so as his last gift to mankind (though we later find out there are a few more related to wish-granting people’s most desired things.) he provided “Gravekeepers”, beings that can bring people to their final rest. The premise is really interesting, and that it reminds me of a short story by Ted Chiang whom I enjoy reading certainly doesn’t hurt.

The world-building and answer-providing in this show are really well-done, issues get brought up and then they are addressed in a logical manner. The show doesn’t have that interesting of a character cast, nor are there many stand-out moments in the episodes as you watch them, but since this show is more concerned with world-building and plot-building, it’s not surprising.

Episodes 1-3 and 4-6 both tell complete stories, as arcs. The first arc is much stronger, and filled me with thoughts regarding the nature of Hero’s Journey, and how the same action both closed a circle and set Ai on her journey. The second arc was slower and weaker, I think in part because it relied heavily on the protagonist’s personality, which isn’t that interesting just yet.
Watched: 6/13.
Current Grade: A-. I think the first 3 episodes are definitely worth your time. I am enjoying this show thus far, even if I’m not wowed every step of the way, I think that this is a show to be appreciated as a whole and not moment-to-moment, sort of like Shinsekai Yori, even if thus far it’s not shaping up to be as good – though I gave that show a 10, so it’s understandable.

Shingeki no Kyojin / Attack on Titan – Ah, Shingeki no Kyojin, I remember when I gave you an A+ on my Spring 2013 mid-season post. How the mighty have fallen. The show has serious pacing issues, aside from things that should take one episode taking three, we also have something I didn’t really expect in a 25 episode show that isn’t a never-ending shounen – the 4 minute recaps. I expect and tolerate that sort of thing when they’re always on the edge of the manga, but when you make a limited-run show you should plan so it wouldn’t happen. This shows an interesting phenomenon – you try and stretch things as much as you can in order for the show and its money-making to last as long as possible, but if you treat your customers that way they might just end up jumping ship and then you lose more than you’ve gained.

Another issue of the show is that the direction is so overblown – we get to see horses and horse-riders drawn in an extremely dramatic manner, we get to zoom on someone giving a speech from various angles, and see spittle flying from their lips… aside from the lines being shouted, and over-exaggerated body motion to convince us of the emotions – a classic case of telling us visually rather than convincing us emotionally. That’s not a good speech, that’s melodrama of the sort you see in soap operas.

There’s definitely a solid shounen under all these things, but these things hurt the show. I am really curious if the pacing is better or worse when marathoned – on one hand you have to sit there while nothing happens for quite some time, on the other you get past it in an hour or two rather than over a month. They definitely picked up again recently, with solid exposition and action appearing once more.
Watched: 18/25.
Current Grade: B-. If you’re watching, or managed to nearly get to the end of the Defense of Trost arc, keep watching, it gets better. If you hadn’t watched any episodes, then I’m not sure you should start – wait and see how they end this season, they can still falter once more. There’s a good show here, which is being buried under production and direction decisions.

Also, it’s the first half of the show’s opening, but I like it better than the new one, and any opportunity to share this song is worthwhile.

Monogatari 2nd SeasonMonogatari 2nd Season – While it’s called “2nd season”, it follows Bakemonogatari, Nisemonogatari, and Nekomonogatari: Kuro which is a 4-episode OVA. It seems we’re going to have an arc for each of the characters from the first season of the show (Bake-), but a new story. The fan-service quotient is still high, the words-per-minute count is still ridiculously high, and the show still hammers us with information on multiple channels – visual, textual, and the half-second screens which contain so much text and sub-text that the effort to pause and watch them make watching episodes of this show take quite a bit longer than is usually the case.

I don’t watch episodes of this show as they air, because I feel not enough happens/I’ll be too annoyed being left on a cliffhanger waiting for the next episode, so I watch this show in arcs, waiting for an arc to conclude before watching it. The first arc deals with Hanekawa. Didn’t have much mood lately, so still got an episode to go.
Watched: 4/26 (but with a recap show after each arc).
Current Grade: I don’t really like grading this show. Watch if you’ve watched and enjoy previous seasons, avoid if you didn’t enjoy them.

So again, which of these shows did you watch, or which Sunday shows I haven’t watched did you watch, and what are your thoughts on them?

2 comments on “Anime Season Midterms – First Impressions – Summer 2013 (Sunday)

  1. Kai says:

    Haven’t started watching any of these anime except for Attack on Titan, but even for Attack on Titan, I stopped it since the Trost arc concludes. I would rather marathon that show towards the end in one go.

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