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[Featurama] Summer 2012 Initial Thoughts

Art by 計算

I’m so sorry for the lateness! So, so sorry!!!!

You see, I’m on vacation currently in Korea and I had lots of work (lol) to do. Mainly a little traveling but mostly just walking around. I was actually also planning a big backpacking trip down to Busan (The southern tip of S. Korea) and from there taking the ferry to Fukuoka, Japan and spend a weekend there to do stuff. Sadly it was more expensive than my budget allows, though if I pull some strings I may still have the chance to do it.


Welcome to Summer 2012, a season with lots of surprises (for me at least). We have harem anime enthusiast Chris in heaven, our budding anime fan Rex unable to catch a break, and my summer is filled with yuri, realpolitik, and breasts. Hit the jump to read what the weabros at Twinfinite have to say about the hot season.

Something, something, chocolate!

Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate

Approaching Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate was supposed to be simple. It’s a harem eroge turned manga turned anime from the guys that brought us Ore no Imoto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai (OreImo) and Bokuwa Tomodachiga Sukunai (Haganai). It is supposed to be a bit fluff about a school club full of possible romantic candidates with an understanding that this wasn’t going to get too much more complicated than eating chocolate and having a carefree lifestyle.

Oh how woefully wrong I was. This is an intense political drama with a light-hearted cast and crew to break it all up. The show opens with political spying gone wrong as the spy is run over by a mysterious female assailant.

What could follow potential murder you ask? How about some fanservice and ridiculous comedy? A little bump and grind in the morning with a dash of outlandish random theater. It opened so dark and turned into the complete opposite so quickly that I had no idea what I was watching. Just as I started getting comfortable understanding these confectionery aficionados, it jumped again.

Here I sat looking at a campus senate hearing. Back and forth these students debated inefficiency in the wake of their president. With faction infighting running for a few minutes, we finally get to the crux of the point. The Food Research Club is to be disbanded and our protagonist must run to save these merit less clubs.

Then the episode ends with a shot of the spy lying in bed comatose with her Councillor brother standing over her.

This is by far the most bizarre first episode I have ever seen for a harem anime. It has promise, it has intrigue, it has cute characters. That’s not what the highlight of the first episode is. The harem is presented and then their goal is pushed. We’ve made a giant leap with a group of people that I’m not really grounded with.

AIC did a bang up job in design and animation, but I have no idea whether this show will be any good from this viewing. The girls are all archetypes and not exactly good ones. It is as if they fill that role for the purpose of rounding everything out. They aren’t goals but background to our two leads. Even as fanservice I can’t vouch for it as all we got was a massive white block during the real servicey scenes.

I don’t know what to make of this first episode, I really don’t.

Something tells me this will be the sexiest show of the season. (It's because Chris chose it)

Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai

Let’s put some English to this title. Crunchyroll is localizing this as “So, I Can’t Play H!” I prefer the more natural translation of “That’s Why I Can’t Have Sex,” but these titles will set the ground work on what demographics should be watching this show.

Being a fan of the harem, fan service filled genre, I’m intrigued by this show. It is from Yosuga no Sora studio feel, so I’m sure they will load this with as much fanservice as they can. Judging from the preliminary trailer, I’m not going to be wrong.

The premise however is something interesting. Nice guy pervert Koga Ryosuke has made a pact with the god of death Lisara where he exchanges his essence to save her. A foolish move, however instead of shaving off some of his life essence, she steals his perversion. His ability to enjoy sensuality.

His hopes of ever enjoying pleasure all hinges on the whims of this god he now follows.

Thus we have an interesting erotic plot with a studio known for giving plenty of fan service. This could be great or it could be garbage depending on how they present the characters and situations. The production values of the animation seem to be solid so I have no reason to think the studio will skrimp anywhere else. I have high hopes after watching Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai! that they can develop these characters into something interesting.

Worse comes to worse, it’ll contain some eye candy and that should keep a few of us watching until the mid season review.

Yeah! Excitement and stuff!

Tari Tari

When I heard the studio that did True Tears and Angel Beats was putting together another school drama, I was pretty excited. PA Works makes beautiful and interesting programs and by golly that’s what we see here with Tari Tari. I’m glad for that, really.

I just don’t know if this show is going to be able to keep my interest.

What the show presents is a gathering of five people brought together by one girl’s goal. Her goal is to sing and her school won’t let her. So she starts a extra curricular music club and tasks herself with getting five members to bring the club into reality. She then works her way down the list of potential candidates. First with friends, then with people that no longer sing, then she branches out to the only member of another club, finally ending with the new kid.

Thus the club is formed and we have a social circle of friends to work off of. Tari Tari needs to task itself with figuring out where it is going to go in the next few episodes. K-ON and other anime and manga have made the music club an all too familiar setting. It needs something to break it away from everything that has come before it. I’m glad the Angel Beats guys are on this, as that show was filled with terrible generic stereotypes turned into a wildly interesting story. With the amount of drama they have hinted at behind these characters, there is a good chance that can be achieved.

Tari Tari is a good show to watch out for this season. It has much more potential than some of the other shows.

It was either this or the one with the drunk ladies. I think I chose wrong.

Moyashimon Returns

Moyashimon was a good show. Nothing particularly great about it, but it was quirky and funny. Everything you could want in a show and then it kicked itself up a notch with towards the end.

It was a show about a boy who can see microbes and the people that he brings around him while at his agriculture university.

The show never threw you into the drama and unfortunately, that’s exactly what we start off with in Moyashimon Returns. As if needing to explain away some of the more open plot threads in one episode, we wrap up many fun threads that just could have been expanded upon in a stronger way.

I can’t judge the show right now on if it will live up to its predecessor, but I’m not very impressed by what I’ve seen. The characters and their interactions feel thrown together right now. To end the first episode with Haruka outright confronting our protagonist Sawaki about his secret really removes the dynamic the characters built up. In the first episode mind you. It is almost as if they simply want to rush forward through the chapters of the manga to get to a conclusion.

Hopefully, the show will simply build upon itself instead of squandering the potential the original built.

😀

Joshiraku

Never in such a short amount of time have my expectations for a show been so low, then so high, then back to low.

Joshiraku centers around five girls, and the main concept of the show, the entirety of the show in fact, is backstage banter between them. That’s it. I love silly and stupid conversation, but no matter how cute the show may claim the girls involved are. Personally I’ve seen much better character design compared to here where “cute girls” is half of the selling point. It’s impossible to just watch them talk for a half hour.

Right after the OP, there was a glimmer of hope when the girls were having an extremely self-conscious and surprisingly funny talk about whether their manga was even suited for an anime adaptation, in which one even called out most of the audience for “watching for free.” However, the brilliance soon passed. I can only imagine how much better Joshiraku would be as a short-format show instead of the half-hour beast it is. I was unable to finish even this first episode.

Now you don't know which one you're ogling at~

KOKORO CONNECT

Going into this season, Kokoro Connect was without a doubt my most anticipated show. At first glance, it may seem like a regular High School Slice of Life show, right down to the eclectic group of outcasts that form the Student Cultural Committee, but it’s not long before members begin spontaneously switching bodies. I have to commend the show for not only making the actual moment of the switch somewhat understated yet still visceral and believable, but also for making the switches.

carry their unique traits and quirks over to every aspect of their new bodies, from movement to vocal patterns. Why does it happen? How does it happen? Hell if I know. They haven’t the slightest clue, either.

What I do know is that Kokoro Connect is a show to watch this season. Due to multiple clues within this episode, I sense possibility for interesting directions with character development/backstory. Even moreso, I await the possibility of mystery investigation centered around the body swappings with open arms. As a few final notes, let me just draw attention to the eclectic soundtrack and some pretty good humor, and let me forewarn those put off by a slight tendency towards fanservice. All in all, Kokoro Connect is not to be missed!

Wooo! Dual persona!

Sword Art Online

SAO is probably the safest bet for any anime fan looking for an action-centered show this season. The world of this show is a full-immersion MMORPG in which all 10,000 players are trapped until death or completion. It’s an interesting conflict which was my initial draw towards SAO.

Going in, I knew that the show’s success would hinge mostly upon the believability and “cool factor” of the in-game world. Suffice to say, both are achieved easily. The implementation of in-game mechanics such as menus and special attacks is not just visually appealing, but they look to function excellently from a gameplay perspective.

While my expectations for this show are high, I just have one worry: too much focus on explanation and exposition. Given that this was the very first episode, I will give SAO a pass for now, but if it continues, it will doubtlessly harm the show.

Probably because you're all so cute~

Yuru Yuri S2

So I took this show despite never having seen the first season because my picks were quite small this season. I went in with the general knowledge that it’s a 4-girl ensemble comedy with yuri undertones, and what I came out of the first episode was…exactly that.

I can’t quite put into words my feelings for the show at the moment. I don’t usually watch the 4-girl comedies (which is a genre all on its own now apparently) but Yuru Yuri is definitely funny, charming, and fairly quick paced.

There’s a lot here for me to enjoy but we’ll just have to see if it can keep me invested in the characters enough for me to stick with it. So far though I haven’t found much to criticize.

Can't decide whether to make a Zetsubou Sensei joke here or not :/

Binbougami Ga!

I was first introduced to this series when I bought volumes 1-4 at a book store. I fell in love with it immediately.

Hilarious, reference-filled, a good portion of fan service, and amazing artwork had me coming back for more (I recently picked up volumes 5-8).

The story follows Sakura Ichiko who has been blessed with an exorbitant amount of good fortune. So much good fortune, that she seems to draining the fortune from those around her as well. This sort of crazy amount of awesome has unfortunately tilted the balance of good and bad fortune in the world. Now it is up to lazy goddess of misfortune (binbougami) Momiji to take some of that fortune (read: all of that fortune) and save the world. Yeah I know, the role of villain and protagonist is sort of screwed up in my opinion.

The interesting thing is I’m not really in it for the main character but for the goddess of misfortune (who is probably going to be competing for “best character this season” against the heroine of my next show).

But enough about that and more about the anime.

Well there isn’t much to say. I love the manga and I love the anime which does a great job in bringing over the quick reference-a-minute pace to the screen while having some great scenes that could only look as such in motion.

I already know I’m going to love this, but if you enjoy references to popular anime, witty dialogue, great characters, and some wacky nonesense, then Binbougami is one of your best bets for comedy this season.

Best Character Summer 2012

Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita

I came to this show having read just the title and a short description so I had no idea what I was getting into. And then I saw a loaf of bread mutilate himself and skinned chickens falling from the heavens to Ave Maria. Throw in a deadpan heroine named Watashi (whom I’ve decided to call Realpolitik-san), some random beats of black comedy, and a color palette that can rival Monet. I somehow found myself watching the most original show this summer.

It’s like a wonderfully delirious post-apocalyptic world by Walt Disney had he somehow found a copy of Welcome to the NHK. A seemingly post-apocalyptic world that’s trying to rebuild itself in some manner. There are fairies that do things, a large corporation, a government, a new world order, etc. What can I say? I’m in love with everything about this show. A drugged up universe that runs on a morbidly dark energy converted into bright color coated candy. If you want a unique experience this summer (and an insanely catchy opening), then I have a feeling that Jinrui has you covered.

Joshiraku

Now I don’t know what show Rex was watching but it couldn’t have been the really enjoyable, relaxed show about nothing I saw. From the author of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei comes the show about four girls who are traditional Japanese comedians (rakugo) by day, weird people with silly conversations by later in the day. Great dialogue, some hilarious puns, a few “what the hell is going on?” moments here and there and I have a small little slice-of-life anime for the season to enjoy.

I am disappointed too

Notable Absence: Rinne no Lagrange 2

I’m really sorry, but I’m still working my way through the first season and haven’t been able to see the new episodes yet. It’s really amazing how with three eccentric leads, some great animation, a catchphrase or two, and some drama, a show that could have been very mediocre instead becomes one of the most anticipated shows of the season. Now to get back to those episodes.

 

So here’s our take on the Summer season so far. Check back in a couple weeks when we’ll have our mid-season review ready~!

Header Artist’s Pixiv

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