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[Featurama] Fall 2012 Initial Thoughts

You spin me right round, baby right round~

Hello again and welcome to this very late first thoughts on the Fall 2012 anime season. I’ve been very, very busy and unable to properly write up my feelings on the shows I just barely found time to watch. The season is shaping up to be a busy one as there are way too many shows I want to watch that I don’t have time for. Chris is handling mostly action stuff but also his usual serving of at least one harem anime, I’ll hopefully be writing about even more shows come our mid-season thoughts, and Rex is off doing whatever it is that he usually does. Without further adieu, here are our very first thoughts on some shows this season.


Serious mage stuff

Zetsuen no Tempest

This could potentially be one of the better shows of the season. What we are given is a world caught in the midst of a mage war. One organization is summoning monstrous creations to bring down the world while a single mage isolated on a deserted island stands to stop them. Caught in the middle are two friends.

It’s interesting in that there are quite a few threads running along with this first episode. Lost love drama with a dash of murder mystery and some supernatural action gives you something a bit different from the norm. Plus Bones did a great job animating the first episode.

Blast of Tempest right now is too chaotic to judge on how it will do in the long run, but so far it looks like it can be something great. Director Masahiro Ando has been around many of the best anime produced and I have high hopes for this project. It’s also very pretty. So very very pretty.

 

Her love is...complicated

Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankeinai yo ne

Here’s a fun one for the season. A harem dormitory comedy like Love Hina with an incest twist. The harem is established with all the girls vying for the attention of our simple minded main protagonist. It just so happens that his sister wants to jump his bones and he’s just not in to that.

While this episode didn’t really establish a lot of what the shows going to be pushing towards, it still carries the director’s penchant for focusing on character animation. It’s a good looking ecchi anime for this season and since it’s a comedy, I doubt it’s going to be exceptionally deep. I’m honestly not sure this brother complex theme will carry it throughout.

If it were to push more to the extremes of being a pure gag comedy or playing it more straightforward as a romance, maybe it would be easier to gauge. Right now it’s just focused mostly on the twisted relationship our sister wants from her brother and how easily he rejects her. I’m not sure how much they can build on this with out it growing tiresome. Especially with such a small harem of only 4 girls.

Maybe it’ll expand in to something more over the next few episodes. Right now it’s just a decent comedy with a really quirky twist.

Totally not a criminal burning pyromaniac

Code:Breaker

Code: Breaker is going to be the supernatural shounen battle anime of the season hopefully. The first episode was a nice introduction to the high school life of the male and female protagonists. That is to say until the male protagonist killed the female protagonist (off camera to build suspense for episode 2). For he is a man who is a cold blooded killer, only subscribing to Hammurabi’s Code.

I’m not sure what to make of Code: Breaker as the first episode was pretty good. That kind of early shakeup however might not be very beneficial to the show in the long run. You have a great set up with a surprisingly interesting presentation of the characters, but to maintain that level of intrigue with this supernatural theme will be hard. Obviously they didn’t kill the female lead off, but the pursuit of this girl to stop this murderer has a lot of variables. This could be the next Death Note for all I know.

The director’s only big success was Full Metal Alchemist, so hopefully he’ll be able to follow up with a second hit. There is a good comedic rhythm balance so far and you can tell his experience with FMA is showing through.

Definitely a show to try out. It looked a bit too shounen for my usual tastes, but the first episode is certainly satisfying enough.

 

How chivalrous?

K

Not really sure how I feel about K after the first episode. Its first episode was a jumbled mess of unrealized plot points. From what I can garner, it’s going to turn in to a battle anime with people aligned to primary color powered bishies. It takes place in futuristic squeaky clean Japan and the main protagonist is a popular class clown with no friends.

At some point a naked invisible cat girl shows up.

K is going to be one of those shows that lives and dies on how they build out the arc. Opening with a mistaken identity case for a character that we don’t know isn’t the strongest way to start, but with the output that was put in to this, we have a potential Durarara!! style anime this season. I don’t know if this show can live up to that, but anything really goes until these loose plot threads start ironing themselves out.

The color coded power system seems cool with it’s focus on gang warfare. I don’t know enough about this anime to even begin to guess if it will be good. I guess that’s the intrigue. The art and animation however are pretty solid. Lots of scenes are wasted on making the shot pretty just to be pretty, but if you like that chaotic big cast style that Durarara!! brought, this will probably be a good show for you this season.

Can you spot what's weird in this picture? Answer: He's not wearing his shoes properly

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun

You know the old story: Boy gets suspended for putting upperclassmen in the hospital, girl takes schoolwork to suspended boy, boy jumps out window to avoid girl, and so on until they kiss at the end of the first episode.

Without a doubt, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, like last season’s Jintai, is a spectacular surprise. On paper, the concept (a studious girl meets a socially incompetent ruffian with a heart of gold) doesn’t seem to be anything special at all, but in action, it’s magnificent. Not only is the shoujo romance hilarious, but it actually has a surprising amount of heart. While the comedy is excellent, the show succeeds because of its characters- studious Shizuku quickly shows that she has human depth behind her bookish exterior and clueless Haru does, in fact, have genuine emotions and anxieties.

One of the most notable aspects of Tonari is its pacing- by the end of the first episode, Haru kisses Shizuku, and by the end of the second, she says she loves him. To call this speed breakneck is an understatement- in two episodes, they’ve accomplished something that often takes an entire series. One of the best effects of this is in the drama- with such speedy developments, there’s no time for wallowing or angst. I doubt it’ll last- such speed would be impossible to keep up for long. Still, I’m looking forward to the rest of the show- Haru and Shizuku have a fantastic dynamic that I’m going to love to see develop.

 

I like the way you think girl

Robotics;Notes

The third entry in the Science Adventures VN series, Robotics;Notes has some large shoes to fill. Namely, those of Steins;Gate, shoes so large that a clown would balk.

Sadly (though it isn’t much of a surprise), while R;N looks to be an entertaining show, there will be plenty of space left over in those loafers; it’s not the fault of Robotics;Notes, but of Steins;Gate– it would be impossible to follow up such an amazing series without looking inadequate.

Contrary to Steins;Gate, Robotics;Notes seems to be a fairly lighthearted affair, following a two-person robotics (what else?) club as they attempt to secure funding and members in order to create a life-sized and functional version of Gunvarrel, a famous anime mech. However, it would be wise not to judge the story or even overall quality from the initial episode, especially given the intense midway twist of Steins;Gate.

Obviously, they must succeed, as Gunvarrel’s activation occupies the (almost) very beginning of the series. The show itself seems to be a (likely deceptively) lighthearted and entertaining affair, but it is the very first second of Robotics;Notes that excites me the most: the shifting numbers of a divergence meter. At some point, for some reason, Robotics;Notes will cross over with Steins;Gate, and this notion, the notion of more Steins;Gate, excites me more than Robotics;Notes ever could.

Don’t take it the wrong way, Notes. You’re pretty great, and the last scene of episode 1 featuring a strange(alien?) girl foreshadows interesting plot twists, but there’s nothing that can beat Steins;Gate.

 

Es ist ein maedchen und ein panzer

Girls und Panzer

… HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Girls und Panzer is my joke show of the season. The premise- girls driving tanks- is such a silly one that I couldn’t do anything but watch it.

My verdict?

It’s about girls who drive tanks, wrapped up in an inoffensive high school setting in which tanks are a sport intrinsically tied to the concept of womanly beauty. It’s nothing special, but if you’re down for something mindless, you could do much, much worse.

More of her please~

Jormungand: Perfect Order

The last season of Jormungand was absolutely amazing! High pumping adrenaline and all that military industrial complex goodness that you just don’t find nowadays. The second season is bent on continuing the balancing act of long dialogue and heavy action and I have no problems with that. The first episode established a lot of different plot points that I’m sure will more or less come together by the end of the series. The opening itself hinted at a lot of possible story arcs that all seem really interesting were they to play out.

Point is, if you enjoyed the second show, military action thrillers by Ridley Scott, and Black Lagoon, then obviously you’ll need to watch the second season.

 

You know how f**** hard it was looking for a SFW picture for this show?

Btooom!

I didn’t actually think Btooom! was going to be a series I was really going to care about. It’s a mature action thriller but with an emphasis on nihilistic violence that I usually don’t get behind. It’s very Battle Royale/Lord of the Flies/Cage of Eden which are all essentially the same thing except one is political commentary, the other is societal commentary, and the last one has dinosaurs. Btooom! can be added to that list except this one has grenades so I guess that’s always a plus.

The first episode sets up the whole, serious business kill or be killed, stakes are high thing, but eventually as we get to know more and more about the people participating, we’ll move into psychological territory. But action is action and I would be lying if Btoom! wasn’t gripping and I enjoyed what I saw so I guess I’ll be following where this goes.

 

*Cute noises*

Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai!

Asperger’s Girl show is really, really funny. It’s also incredibly awkward to watch as it brings to mind my own childhood experiences…experiences that I will never share with the world. In all honesty though, the show is amazingly hilarious and really well animated. I can’t help but think the show is catered to the ADD impaired as I swear that opening is the most pandering to those with short attention spans. It’s like: “Hey look at this girl! Did you pay attention? Cause here she is again and again!”. I really enjoyed the first several episodes and the main character is indeed very, very adorable.

I have no problem with this.

Now the real question is: Is it wrong of me to call this Asperger’s Girl Show?

 

New character is new

Seitokai no Ichizon Hekiyoh Gakuen Seitokai Gijiroku

Oh man was I excited to learn there was a second season for this show. It was one of my favorites when it first aired and whether that was due to great characters, great jokes, or all around great material it didn’t change the fact that the series never really had a conclusive ending…or a proper story arc for that matter. I mean we know why the main character did what he did and why he joined the student council, but those were just details introduced and then left hanging.

The surprisingly emotional, often hilarious, always interesting anime seemed to always be a favorite for those who watched the show the first time around. Can it replicate the magic from its first season? No matter, the point is there is a second season and all is right with the world.

 

I swear a cat is integral to the plot of this show...I think

Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo

Other series step aside for I probably found my slice-of-life anime for the season cause JC Staff always has my back when it comes to this. Sakurasou had me at boarding house full of eccentric individuals because that is my preferred setting for situational ensemble shows. Get a bunch of endearing characters and have them live with each other. We follow a boy, a cat he found, a girl he’s gonna fall in love with, and his crazy awesome friends. Really, I don’t need to say much more.

One thing though is that this main character looks like he might mope around a bit. He mentions not having any talents or traits (especially when his school is a feeder for crazy awesome artists) even though it’s his obvious kindness that is his best trait and will get him the girl (yeah I’m just skipping exposition here). So if he starts to spiral into some angst I may back away just because I don’t like those types of main characters. Oh and fanservice.

Now when am I getting my last three episodes of Joshiraku >:(

                         

Well there you have it, our first thoughts on the first few episodes of the fall season. Join us again in about three weeks when we expand upon these and perhaps add or drop a few depending on the outcome~

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