Winter roundup

When I started this blog, I expected to post typical episode-to-episode reviews like many other blogs, I just didn’t want to start it at the middle of the season. But here is the end of the season, and I’m starting to figure out, that I’m not very good at writing full reviews. There might be one specific issue that I notice about a show, and that’s still the better case. In the worse case, all I can think of is something like “wow, that was boring” or “that was good”.  But in either case, I just can’t throughly describe every show’s production values, every character, every OP, every plot point, with hundreds of words over and over again.

So this blog will stay focusing on the random “themes that I noticed in anime” and “attitudes that I project onto the whole fandom after disagreeing with them in a noname forum’s noname thread” themes, just like until now, instead of bothering too much with any such reviews.

But at least I will post a very short preview, fist impressions, and overview of all seasons. Let’s start this with an overview of the past winter season:

Another

After the first few episodes, I wanted to protect this by claiming that it’s not really a horror show, but a mixed-genre show, so it’s OK that it doesn’t have effective scary scenes, because it’s all just one subplot in the story anyways. And I was certainly right about that, in a way. The writer treated some of the deaths with an obvious lack of attempt to horrify us. Non-characters were constantly introduced, just to be killed in a minute, and not even an amazingly creative way, but by car accidents, lighting strikes,  and falling objects. It was far closer to a police procedural’s serial killer arc, where one of the background policemen picks up a ringing phone, and says “…ah, I see. Lieutenant, they found another dead hooker.”, than to a horror. It was just a plot device to keep the story going, to remind us that the protagonists still need to do something with the killings.

The problem is, that Another wasn’t a deep mystery either. It used the most childish ways to withold information, and it didn’t even answer all questions. It wasn’t anything.

Bakuman 2

I already wrote about the one theme that Bakuman appears to have an interesting stance on. Popularity, as an indicator of quality. Since I wrote that post, there was an even more explicit discussion in it about that subject, with one strictly pragmatic “Jack is a business, it needs to make money” stance against “Manga is high art, self-expresssion is the only goal”. Mashiro’s third option is closest to what I called the “nihilist” option: It entirely avoids the issue of quality, and only adresses that self-expression and business are both fine, as long as the artists are doing the best they can.

Chihayafuru

It was a nice story, my two problems with it are that now I have to wait for the manga translations catching up before I can finish the story, and that even if I finish it, I fear the inevitable Arata ending. I HATE love triangles with friend zone resolutions.

Also, if you liked the Hundred Poems, look out for Utakoi in the Summer Season, that will be a historical romance story reinterpretation of the poems.

Daily Lives of High School Boys

While I already wrote about that one, it ended up sounding rather negative. I can’t sufficiently emphasise, that Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou is still a great comedy. Perfect writing, and a perfect cast with everyone being consistently used in the right gags.

Guilty Crown

While I think that it was overhated, I have no intention of protecting it’s writing. It was an incredibly dumb show, and I never like dumb shows, not even ironically. It’s only redeeming quality is that at least it was dumb in an unpredictable way, unlike certain shows with the word “generic” in front of their genre designations. Also, I still love Supercell.

Nisemonogatari

I’m going to have to rewatch Bakemonogatari to decide what’s the deal with it. There are way too many conflicting opinions about how they are different from each other, and I can’t remember correctly.

PapaKiki

While I was pondering about this show a few weeks abo, whether it’s art style should look more classy, and avoid accusations of otaku-pandering that way, I’m glad that it didn’t. It wouldn’t be a very valuable as the dumber little brother of Usagi Drop, but I can appreciate it for demonstrating that even a “cheap” and “generic” show, with occasional lolicon panty shots, and bathroom accidents, can be emotional in a reasonably serious format. Of course, if you have a problem with lolicon panty shots, then you were probably not watching this to begin with, so it’s not like it convinced anyone of that.

Rinne no Lagrange

If it would have had 1-2 slice of life episodes, and 10 episodes of epic sci-fi plot, I would have liked it a lot more. It had all the potential, a reasonably intelligent story with a plausible background, and so far everything that we saw from galactic politics looks interesting, but nooooo…..

Zero no Tsukaima F

While most of the series was lingering around the level of the second and third seasons, it managed to have a classy ending, with a nostalgic replaying of the first season OP, and a romantic closure.

I just wish the last arc would have had something to do with that 6000 year old epic backstory, with Brimir/Gandalfr/Void magic, and deciding the world’s fate, that was referenced all along, instead of just some “GIANT DRAGON OUT OF NOWHERE!”.

Overall,  this was a very balanced season. The bad shows had redeeming values, and the good ones had faults. Nothing was overhyped, and most of the overhating came from professional haters, not from public opinion. We didn’t have any excessively “generic” shows, but what we had were not very innovative either, most of them were just original enough that we couldn’t easily pick them apart as “x meets y”, or “this season’s x”.  Even in terms of disc sales, nothing was excessively successful, or a surprising failure.

It was fine.

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