Winter 2012 Anime – Final Thoughts (Part 1)

There will be more of these daily posts to come, assuming I still have the energy to type by then, but rest assured I’ll be back to my usual, more relaxed schedule soon! Today, it’s time for my final thoughts on the series which finished over the last few weeks.

You may remember I stalled a few series halfway through the season – I ended up either resuming them weekly after a short break, or marathoning their final episodes near the end, as I predicted I would. 😛 The only series still stalled are Toriko and Mouretsu Pirates, both of which are ongoing, so they wouldn’t have been included in this post anyway. So starting with the lowest:

15: Shakugan no Shana III (Down two places)

I didn’t have a clue what was going on by the end… while I may have understood it if I went back and reminded myself of characters and events from earlier series, I could think of much better ways to use my time. Considering it aired four years after the second series and six years after the original, you’d think they’d throw in a flashback or two to jog the memory, but no. Instead, this final series ended up as a badly paced mess, not bothering to develop any of the seemingly 100s of new characters. Fantastic music and battle animation made for enjoyable viewing so long as you don’t try to follow the plot, which is the main reason I didn’t rate the show lower.

Rating: 2.5/5

 

14: Amagami SS+ (Down two places)

My mid season comments still apply – if you’ve seen one of the arcs, you’ve seen them all. Two episodes per girlfriend simply wasn’t long enough, and it soon became repetitive. Sae’s arc was saved somewhat by the return of the epic narration (by Jouji Nakata), but that too was only for two episodes. I remained hopeful for the final episode, however – what would they chose to do with it, now that they weren’t forced to focus on any one specific character? Unfortunately, they went with a hotsprings episode. One which didn’t even have much fanservice, relying instead on comedy… which didn’t make me laugh, at all.

Rating: 2.5/5

 

13: Guilty Crown (Up two places)

Guilty Crown’s increase in my rankings comes more from the failures of Shana and Amagami than from any actual improvement in the series itself, but at the same time I think I was a bit harsh on it initially. Guilty Crown actually had its entertaining moments, moreso than Amagami. It was all over the place plot-wise and character-wise, but it was easier to follow than Shana (beat it in terms of animation and music too). In summary, Guilty Crown will always stick out in my mind as a series with potential, that simply failed to deliver.

Rating: 3/5

 

12: Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle (Up two places)

Another series I was a bit harsh on first time around – if it was that bad, I wouldn’t be watching the sequel, would I? 😛 I guess I was expecting a little more from it, because it’s not every day you get a series revolving around puzzles, brain teasers and games of logic. But beneath this gimmick, it played out like a particularly lacklustre shonen series, which disappointed me. The side characters could have done with a little more development too, but I liked Ana anyway. 😛 Its only now that its finished that I realize how much I liked the OP and ED though, I miss hearing them each week!

Rating: 3/5

 

11:  Papa no Iu Koto o Kikinasai! (Non-mover)

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the season, four months ago I didn’t expect I’d even be picking this up, let alone rating it just outside my top 10! And it’s really just those early pacing issues and the occasional dodgy fanservice moments that hold it back from an even higher rating, because everything else was great! It had some seriously good character development; Hina had to be one of the cutest characters of the season, closely followed by Miu. The ending theme WAS the best of the season. Overall, I stand by my comments that it’s not quite Usagi Drop, but it’s not a bad show either. 🙂

Rating: 3.5/5

 

10: Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou (Down five places)

This low ranking might be a little controversial, but I can only conclude that Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou wasn’t my cup of tea. The gags that appealed to me most were all crammed into two or three early episodes, while the other 3/4 of the series ranged from mildly amusing to dire. 😕 Didn’t help that I’ve seen some of those same gags quite recently in other shows – one skit saw the characters bouncing a sausage around, almost identical to (but not as good as) a sketch in Kyo Ani’s Nichijou, while the main character’s disappearance as the series went on was also a running gag in Yuruyuri. Still, worth checking out if you like comedy, you may get more out of it than I did. 🙂

Rating: 3.5/5

 

9: Senki Zesshou Symphogear (Non-mover)

My continued high ratings for Symphogear will no doubt also raise a few eyebrows… but I don’t care. I’m aware of its flaws, and they are endless: QUALITY animation in places and Engrish, poor pacing and character development just to name a few. BUT IT WAS FUN! It had training montages, decent battle music and (for the most part) animation, and a side character after my own heart who wouldn’t shut up about anime. If Guilty Crown was a disappointing train-wreck, Symphogear was an entertaining one, far more so than I predicted it would be.

Rating: 3.5/5

 

8: Rinne no Lagrange (Up two places)

Now I have to admit I’m being a bit generous here, increasing Rinne’s ranking when if anything the series’ second half was weaker, marred by pacing issues. I like to see that as my way of apologizing to the show for dropping it – Rinne no Lagrange was one of the first things I resumed watching weekly, I just couldn’t go through with it in the end! What can I say, I loved the setting (can’t have done the real life city of Kamogawa any harm), the bright colours, the spectacular backgrounds, the upbeat OP, and most of all the characters. Only, it’s another series best enjoyed when you’re not trying too hard to follow the plot. 😛 Looking forward to the sequel!

Rating: 3.5/5

That’s it for now; the top seven should be posted in a day or two. 🙂

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