Winter 2012 Mid Season Impressions Pt. 1

I’m not lying this time! Over the past couple of weeks I’ve finally formed an opinion of the series I’m watching, so it’s time to rank them, starting with the… less impressive ones. And this time, my completionist nature isn’t going to stop the weaker ones from being dropped!

18 – Toriko

Ah, Toriko. One of the lowest forms of entertainment – the titular protagonist punches things, eats them, then punches more things in the most manly way possible. Occasionally a stereotypical shonen-style villain shows up, trying to beat him to whatever food ingredient he’s currently after, but then he punches them. If that isn’t enough, he can always learn a new move mid-battle. But despite the painful pacing and repetitive nature, it IS still entertaining. Always leaves me feeling hungry, though.

Status: DROPPED

Reason: I prefer to marathon shows like this. Very little happens each episode, arcs stretch on for weeks… Also, I’ve experienced Toriko filler. It was not fun.

17 – Guilty Crown

I continued to defend this show long after other people had already written it off as a trainwreck. Okay, so it’s basically Code Geass minus Lelouche and any other interesting characters. At least it has pretty animation, good music, and the plot might develop into something awesome later, right? That’s what I hoped, but we’re passed the halfway point now and it still hasn’t gripped me. It beats Toriko mostly on account of its high production values.

Status: DROPPED

Reason: One minute the plot is completely predictable, then a plot twist occurs… then it goes back to being predictable. Feels like they’re making it up as they go along!

16 – Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle

Another anime which underneath its puzzle gimmick is still a repetitive trope-filled shonen series – the puzzles are fun, but once the novelty value fades away there’s not much differentiating it from Toriko aside from better pacing and the fact they’re using brains instead of brawn. The main character is invincible due to the powers of his bracelet, the side characters are similarly clad in thick plot armour… the lack of any sense of danger is for me its biggest flaw.

Status: DROPPED

Reason: Right from the start it was more of a guilty pleasure than anything, but even among my guilty pleasures there are better series than this.

15 – Shakugan no Shana III

I started the third series with little idea of what was going on – it’s been years since the second series, and the fast pace and lack of recap didn’t help matters. Then an epic war full of nicely animated battles and interesting tactics started, and for several weeks this was one of my most eagerly anticipated shows. Then the epic war stopped… and while I now understand most of what’s going on plot-wise, I suddenly realized I don’t find it (or many of the characters for that matter) interesting.

Status: DROPPED

Reason: While it has much more of an idea of where it’s going plot-wise than Guilty Crown does, the fact it hasn’t gripped me after 18 episodes says it all.

14 – Amagami SS+ (NEW)

Remember when I said last season’s shows either soared above or sank below this season’s? As you can see, that’s still the case. 😛 I thought I was going to love this sequel… then I found out that it would be half as long as the first series. While the arcs are still enjoyable, two episodes is not long enough for any real ‘plot’ development, so instead they seem to be going for a repetitive ‘episode 1 – dilemma arises, episode 2 – problem is solved, relationship between girl and protagonist deepens’ formula.

Status: DROPPED

Reason: It is too predictable, I feel as though I don’t have to watch the other girl’s arcs to know how they’ll end up.

13 – Papa no Iu Koto o Kikinasai! (NEW)

It has inappropriate fanservice and some of the weirdest pacing ever… yet it maintains its relatively high A-P rating, and so many people I know continue to watch it. That of course includes me, up to this point. I don’t know what manner of subliminal hypnotism Studio Feel have integrated into this series, but it has this strange appeal that allows you to look past its obvious flaws. Also, it easily has the cutest characters of this season, and one of the best ED themes.

Status: SAFE

Reason: On paper, it’s one of the most obvious shows to drop. I just can’t bring myself to do it. At least it provides some variation in an otherwise action-packed season!

12 – Rinne no Lagrange (NEW)

This series makes me feel happy. Its bright, upbeat OP sequence (by far the best of the season) instantly cheers me up, and Madoka’s positive energy keeps me happy right up until the ED, which is also great. Plot-wise… there is one, but they’ve spent so little time focusing on it or explaining it so far that I sometimes forget it’s even a mech show. 😛 It’s this uncertainty over whether I’m meant to take the show seriously or not that leaves me worried about what’s to come in the second half.

Status: DROPPED

Reason: The plot has hardly even started, so I won’t miss much by stalling it. Of course, I’ll keep listening to the OP whenever I’m feeling down!

11 – Mouretsu Pirates (NEW)

I was expecting a group of high school girls playing pirate games in space, lighthearted and fun. Which is pretty much what I got. What I wasn’t expecting was detailed technobabble about navigating space ships and hacking enemy ships through electronic warfare. This surprising technical side along with Satelight’s usual great animation made the last few episodes very enjoyable, despite its slow start. If however it intends to develop a serious plot at some stage, it’s doing a good job of hiding it so far.

Status: DROPPED

Reason: Virtually zero character development in these early episodes – they’re just very intelligent, nicely animated empty shells with no personality.

10 – Senki Zesshou Symphogear (NEW)

Completing the sci-fi girls Winter trilogy, Symphogear is the perfect guilty pleasure. It has decent music, action and likable enough characters, even if the plot isn’t fantastic and the animation (outside of the battles) is rubbish. It would be pretty generic if it weren’t for its insistence on throwing in things like Hibiki’s berserker mode, shocking scenes with copious amounts of blood, and a training montage… I might be a fool for falling for its tricks, but I just want to see what crazy thing will happen next!

Status: SAFE

Reason: This show tries to be Macross, Madoka and Gurren Lagann all at once. It fails, but does so in such a spectacularly fun way that I could never drop it.

So there’s the bottom half of my ongoing anime series. Unsurprisingly, seven of the eight shows I said I’d be dropping are among the above, but I’ve kept a couple onboard despite their obvious flaws. Meaning that I’ve still got one series to lose, from the stronger half. Which series will that be? You’ll have to wait until part 2 to find out! I’m not sure whether my next post will be that or Mirai Nikki episode 19, but either way I aim to have both up by the end of the week. 🙂

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2 Responses to Winter 2012 Mid Season Impressions Pt. 1

  1. Annalyn says:

    I liked Mouretsu Pirates, and even blogged positively about it, but the lack of character development had definitely brought my opinion down. I was dazzled enough at first, especially when the battle was electronic instead of blasting things, but the dazzle left by the sixth or seventh episode. Still haven’t dropped it, though.

    I’m only following one other anime listed in this post, and I haven’t even listed it in my “watching” list on Anime-Planet. I don’t watch/like/support shows like Papa no Iu Koto o Kikinasai, so why haven’t I dropped it? I’m thinking your idea of “subliminal hypnotism” might be right.

    • Mouretsu Pirates has a lot of strong points, but memorable characters isn’t one of them in my opinion. If they’d made them just a bit more interesting, I’d have probably continued watching it weekly. 😦

      I know a fair few people who’re watching Papa Kiki without knowing quite why. 😛 Only the most critical viewers (and those who didn’t watch the first episode to begin with) seem immune to its charms!

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