Cherry picking the best remaining anime series for the last first impressions post means there’s not much quality left for this post. Then again it’s a very rare season where the 17th through 21st series reviewed were actually good and this season will not be remembered for being that type of season. (Instead, it will be remembered for the handful of great and infamous series that aired.)
This post should conclude my spring 2013 season of first impressions. There were 2 more series that I wanted to watch – Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 and Danchi Tomoo – but no one seems interested in working on either. (Yamato 2199 has previously been shown in a spliced together movie format, which is a less desired format to me then as a weekly TV series, and I’ll have to settle for that one once I’m sure the TV series version won’t be a late pick-up by somebody.)
Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Bride
I decided I’m not wasting any more time on this series. I finished the first season in part because the alternative history setting was so intriguing and I convinced myself that it would play a big enough role in the series that I could suffer through the fan service. It really didn’t in the end, however, I have spent a fair amount of time since pondering if a small group of super-powered individuals could have swung WWII into Japan’s favor. I think in the end they wouldn’t have. This series has also gotten me to spend time thinking about how it has helped proved, at least for anime, an assertion I read as a teenager in Piers Anthony’s Xanth book series that actual nudity, like in this anime, is boring when compared to seeing someone in their knickers. As a teenager I couldn’t bring myself to agree with this conjecture but, what do teenagers know 🙂 ? For the second season I needed this anime to add some reason to watch it and there was nothing in either episode I watched; so, it gets sent to the curb, where it belongs.
Rating for episodes 1 and 2 – 3/12 D (Dropped)
I actually had some hope for Photo Kano. I wasn’t expecting Shakespeare but a nice fluffy, relaxing fan service series can be used as a counterbalance to all the dark, serious anime series running this season. Alas, even this low bar was too high of a hurdle for Photo Kano to meet. The source material came from the people who created Amagami SS and this show provides a good comparison as to why Photo Kano has failed. Firstly, the female characters in Photo Kano have zero personality when compared to the female characters in Amagami SS. Secondly, the low-budget animation of Photo Kano works against it’s primary purpose and is painfully obvious when compared to Amagami SS. I might have stuck it out but I realized that Mushibugyou did a better job of what I wanted Photo Kano to do and it has the added perks of being better animated and it has a more interesting setting and it has actual action scenes and the pièce de résistance – a likeable main character.
Rating for episodes 1 and 3 – 3/12 D (Dropped)
Devil Survivor 2 The Animation
Devil Survivor 2 The Animation is better then Persona 4 (another recent anime adaptation of a video game also directed by Seiji Kishi) but saying that is tantamount to damning with faint praise. About a group of teenage kids that have traded their lives (or souls?) for the ability to summon demons who can defeat the demons/monsters that have started showing up and causing havoc. Our heroes have the world to save and the clock is ticking; there’s only 7 days left until Armageddon and each day brings newer and stronger challenges. Like I said, Devil Survivor 2 The Animation is better then Persona 4 but that fact isn’t enough for me to keep watching it. With Persona 4, I kept expecting it to get better soon until the final episode aired and I realized it wasn’t; the lackluster characters and uninteresting story just didn’t have the ability to raise the level of the series. I’ve noticed a similar pattern start to form with Devil Survivor 2 The Animation – the characters are lackluster and the story is uninteresting (when it should be very interesting). So, while it’s better, it’s not a big enough improvement that I’m overlooking the signals it’s giving off and I’m also dropping this.
Rating for episodes 1 and 3 – 5/12 C+ (Dropped)
Ore no Imouto 2
The thing with sequels is that pretty much everyone already has their opinion in place as to the perceived quality of the franchise and the only question to answer is how well the sequel compares to the original. The first season of Ore no Imouto was rather polarizing but I found enough good parts to it that I ended up slightly liking it. Ever the optimist, I thought the second season would build on the good parts because surely everyone involved knew by now which parts were the good parts. It’s like when Pixar made Cars 2 and tried to put as much Mater into it as possible because he is the sole good character after the passing of Paul Newman who voiced Doc Hudson. Sadly, I don’t think Ore no Imouto 2 is going to improve upon the first season; in fact, the first four episodes have been distinctly inferior to the first season. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say there was a director change but that wasn’t the case. Both the writer and director are back with the only change being a switch in animation companies, from AIC Build to A-1 Pictures, and I don’t think that change would impact this anime like that. At the end of the day, I’m probably not going to drop it now, since I’ve watched so much of it, but Ore no Imouto 2 is going to become a chore to watch.
Rating for episodes 1 and 4 – 6/12 B-
Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru
There was a time when the name Brains Base would definitely get me to watch a new series of theirs but, after a string of series that did not interest me and/or impress me, that time has passed. I didn’t particularly feel drawn to this anime so the reason why I gave this series a chance was because I’d picked it as part of my team for the Fantasy Anime League contest on MyAnimeList and I decided to try to help myself out a little bit. With four episodes watched I’m glad that it’s turned out better than I thought it would; I’m definitely going to keep watching. To match the recent Japanese trend of summarizing a series by using an extremely long title, the English translation of the title also summarizes the series pretty well – My Teenage RomCom SNAFU. I don’t think this series was given a huge budget but the animation style chosen for this anime looks good and helps paste over the lower budget. Another facet I like to this anime was the voice acting, the high quality work has been doing some of the heavy lifting in developing the characters. It hasn’t been a total success, however. So far, it feels like there is a piece missing to the anime – I’m not exactly sure what piece – and I think it’s this missing piece that is holding back SNAFU (that’s quality localization there) from being a really good anime series. The piece might just be needing a little more time and a couple more episodes under it’s belt or the addition of one more character so I remain optimist that this series will finish strong.
Rating for episodes 1 and 4 – 7/12 B