Spring 2013 Mid-Season Anime Report – Part 1: #25 to #17, The Bottom Nine

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Much like the cycle of memorization and forgetting that plays such an important role in Karuta, the ability to catch, hold, then release anime series as the seasonal cycle of anime rotates is an important one. No one is perfect at this ability. At the beginning of the season, one has to struggle with forgetting the prior season’s anime so as to not trample on the tender new anime. At the end of the season, one has to struggle with letting one’s attention stray to the upcoming season and all the awesome series it must surely contain. It’s only at this, the mid-point of the season, that the echoes from the past and future can be silenced and our focus fall solely on the present.

Which makes the halfway point a good place to rest for a moment and examine the season’s anime series.

This is also a good time to re-examine the various new anime series because it’s been long enough that the slow-starting series have had time to find their own rhythm and long enough to see if those anime series that promised the moon in episode 1 have had the stuff to deliver.

Since it’s me, I’ve going to rank the various series in worse-to-best order to provide another method of evaluation to augment the grades I’ll award each anime. Also, to provide a complete picture of this season, I’ll also cover those anime series that are carry-overs from the previous season.

(25) – Sparrow`s Hotel

Rating for episode 1 – 1/12  Epic Fail (Dropped)

I have not watched any further episodes of this anime after writing it’s first impressions post but I’m going to use what will probably be the last time I mention this anime to update my thoughts about Sparrow’s Hotel. I first have to apologize to all the artistically talented high-schoolers out there. I initially said this anime could have been done by high school students and upon reflection I realize this is wrong; this anime could only be considered good if it had been done by a bunch of elementary school or younger kids. This further reflection on how badly Sparrow’s Hotel failed also pushed me to lower my score to the absolute minimum score I can give. If Sparrow’s Hotel isn’t the very definition of “Epic Fail” then I don’t know what is.

(24) – Hyakka Ryouran: Samurai Bride

Rating for episodes 1 to 2 – 3/12  D (Dropped)

After a few weeks of separation I look back and wonder why I ever thought to give this series a chance in the first place. Beyond the unoriginal insipid fan service, this anime greatest’s sin is that it takes what could be an interesting set-up and setting and does absolutely nothing good with it. I think next time I will have to put my completionist side on a shorter leash so I don’t waste my time on anime such as this.

(23) – Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san Z

Rating for episodes 1 to 6 – 3/12  D (Dropped)

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When I last talked about this series it was for it’s first impressions post and I had given it a slightly above-average score of 7/12 B on the expectation of being another season of being moderately funny and slightly frustrating, due to it’s short run time. Since then it’s become apparent that this season just does not contain the quality of comedy (moderate though it was) that the first season of Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san displayed. As a result, this series has become a real chore to sit through and I don’t want to waste anymore time watching it. Even the reappearance of Yuu Kobayashi’s character isn’t enough to save it, so I’m adding this to list of dropped anime series of this season.

(22) – Photo Kano

Rating for episodes 1 to 3 – 3/12  D (Dropped)

Sometimes I will follow an anime series I dropped in the blogosphere to make sure I didn’t make a bad decision and, occasionally, I will find myself being drawn back by what I read or see from the screenshots. Photo Kano will not be one of those anime series that I get drawn back into. Even the people that supposedly like Photo Kano seem to have trouble sounding sincere in their praise and finding a screenshot that makes it look convincingly good appears to be an impossible task. I’m glad I only spent three episodes on it.

(21) – Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai 2

Rating for episodes 1 to 6 – 4/12  C

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At it’s best, the first season of Ore no Imouto found success even as it was dragged down by the twin albatrosses around it’s neck – a very annoying main character and her less-then-savory kink. The danger, therefore, for this anime was always that a small amount of additional weight would be added and it would completely collapse upon itself. Something in this second season added that small amount of additional weight – maybe it was the studio change or the higher amount of story compression this season has or something else, it matters not – and suddenly there’s nothing good left to Ore no Imouto. If I wasn’t one and half seasons into this anime I’d drop it now but my desire to see what happens to my favorite characters will guarantee that I finish this season.

(20) – Devil Survivor 2: The Animation

Rating for episodes 1 to 3 – 5/12  C+ (Dropped)

Much like Photo Kano, I’ve followed this anime a bit and I’ve read nothing to convince me that my initial impression of this being completely forgettable wasn’t the correct one. I wish I could say something else about this anime but I’m fast forgetting what few details about this anime I initially remembered.

(19) – Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru

Rating for episodes 1 to 7 – 5/12  C+

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I don’t really want to sound too negative about SNAFU  since it’s on my Fantasy Anime League team over at MAL but I won’t lie – this anime is meh. Comparing it to last season’s Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Next is useful because both have a very similar set-up and the result is that, in just about every way, SNAFU is an inferior knock-off. (SNAFU does lack an annoying little girl dressed as a nun which is a plus for it.) This anime’s biggest problem is the main and minor characters; if only they were more interesting or likeable.

(18) – Aiura

Rating for episodes 1 to 6 – 6/12  B-

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That Aiura ranks this high is a testament to the continued enjoyment that is derived from watching that crabtastic opening. Maybe it’s only me but I watch shows like Aiura to relax/de-stress and four minutes is not a long enough time to accomplish any real relaxing or de-stressing. Much like how poor animation quality does not mix well with fan service series, short episode lengths do not mix well with series like Aiura.

(17) – Arata Kangatari

Rating for episodes 1 to 6 – 6/12  B-

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When I was setting up my grading scale I made the decision that I wanted what I consider the average anime to get the middle score. That middle score was going to have a higher letter grade then a “C” attached to it because the professional nature of animators should skew the distribution higher. The result has been, for my grading scale, a 6/12 B- is what I consider an average anime and that does a very good job at summarizing my feelings about Arata Kangatari. It’s average. There’s nothing glaringly wrong with it nor is there anything outstanding about it. I was disappointed that having the animation studio Satelight attached to this anime did not mean that it would have a similar quality in animation as AKB0048 or Aquarion Evol but I’m not going to knock it down based on my expectations when the animation is, in fact, totally serviceable.

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5 thoughts on “Spring 2013 Mid-Season Anime Report – Part 1: #25 to #17, The Bottom Nine”

  1. “This anime’s biggest problem is the main and minor characters; if only they were more interesting or likeable.”

    They don’t clone usual character archetypes and are thus more real than fantastical. This is why they are likeable to me, because they are less characters with designed personalities and more like real life humans I’ve observed.

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  2. I agree with ymarsakar. It’s not really fair to compare Oregairu with Tomodachi since they are actually two very different animals. I don’t know why people insist on calling them identical and saying that Oregairu is just a second-rate knock-off of Tomodachi. I won’t rant on and on about it but probably the biggest reason behind this other than the fact that in Tomodachi the characters are /actively/ seeking human companionship while the characters in Oregairu are in fact doing anything they can to maintain an anti-social status quo is the EXTREMELY life-like, realistic quality about it. Tomodachi is very anime-like with anime-like characters and tropes and feels very much like other harem anime. Oregairu of course does have some of that but the characters don’t feel too over-board and have a very next-door feel to them. Plus it makes a lot of very accurate observations about mankind.
    I don’t know…everyone’s entitled to their opinions but it’s not fair to call Oregairu a Tomodachi knock-off when it’s not at all, not even trying to say the same thing, really, when it comes down to it…

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  3. When the internet denizens are able to read human expressions at the speed of professional intel and prisoner interrogators, that’ll be the time I start listening to them talk about anime that is about the real world, rather than the fantasy world.

    Until then, I’ll presume that the great majority of humans on the net have no idea what social or anti-social values are, or even why it should matter.

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  4. So, yes, I do expect popular opinion to be what it is concerning Yahari Ore. And I expect people’s opinion who read public opinion, to be the same or similar. Since like attracts like and human peer pressure conforms to the lowest common denominator.

    None of that affects me either way.

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  5. Guh. I had a lot I wanted to say in repsnose to your post but it all went out the window when I read the comments, so I’ll just cover the last part:I am interested in the interplay between moe archetypes and the genre as a whole. And I think it has implications for Kirino as a tsundere. Here’s the short version:Anime these days is painfully aware of the context in which it airs. Shows like Seitokaicho Yakudomo and Panty & Stocking indicate that the genre knows that characters and situations in each show reference and are in dialog with other shows that have aired recently or are airing at the same time. In this model, kirino’s behavior (while complex and nuanced as a regular younger sibling) still exhibits tendencies toward tsundere that the fanbase is EXPECTED to notice (her condescending date invitation during Xmas shopping, the tendency to physically abuse Kyousuke, the constant protesting). While she might not reach full-on denial and therefore fail as a tsundere character in the strictest sense, it’s clear that she’s in a tsundereque category.And I wonder if these characters are actually tsundere in dialog with other shows. Another example would be Azu-nyan, who is definitely NOT, but given the array of moe characters hanging around her, to claim that she is MEANT to be perceived as such. I feel this holds double-true for a show like OreImo where the otaku culture is front-and center. Since the whole thing has got eroge undertones (thanks to Kyosuke’s impressionable nature), I would argue that Kirino is intended to be seen (and played) as if she WERE tsundere. At least that’s how I feel Keima would approach her.

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