Spring 2012 Mid Season Impressions Pt. 1

Here we go again… I’ll start with the least impressive of the series I’m watching and work up from there, concluding with my top 8 in a later post. Since I’m not planning on dropping anything, the format will be slightly different to last time in that I’ll be bringing back the Main Strength and Weakness again. 🙂

17 – Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan

Well, I’m following this anime on my blog, which is proof enough that I don’t hate Shining Hearts. It’s actually hilarious at times, whether it was intended to be or not. However, it’s just so lackluster and generic that it’d feel wrong to rate it higher than any series that put effort into… well, anything. Most of the characters lack depth, and with few exceptions (e.g. Neris’ love for money making, or Hank’s stubbornness), their only emotions seem to be an uncontrollable love for bread.

Main strength: Tony Taka’s character designs; Production I.G’s cloud designs.

Main weakness: Not a lot behind the pretty character designs, sadly.

 

16 – Queen’s Blade: Rebellion

Most of my issues with Rebellion are also related to the characters – they’re just not as fun as those from plain old Queen’s Blade… I miss the likes of Melona, Nanael, Menace etc. Likable characters in Rebellion? Well, Yuit is starting to grow on me, but the only one I’d say I actually liked is Ymir, who seems to be having a great time in her new role as the Queen’s Iron Strategist (even if she does seem to have had a personality transplant since the original).

Main strength: The *plot* is just starting to kick off, and it actually seems interesting. Moreso than Shining Hearts’, at least.

Main weakness: I’ve talked enough about the lack of standout characters, but IMO the animation doesn’t seem as good in Rebellion either.

 

15 – Zetman

Zetman really should be higher up on my list – it has action, a fair bit of gore, and more developed characters and plot than the above two series. What it really doesn’t have is good pacing. It jumps around frequently from time to place, making it difficult to follow what’s going on. I’m hoping now that Jin and Kouga are adults and have functioning super powers/suits, there won’t be any need for further time skips.

Main strength: It raises some interesting questions about what ‘justice’ actually means.

Main weakness: Aside from the pacing, the animation is pretty bad in places.

 

14 – Saki: Achiga-hen – Episode of Side-A

Similar story to Queen’s Blade: Rebellion – it takes a series I like, replaces all the characters with far less interesting ones, and expects me to like it as much? I want my Tacos back! Having said that, I am warming (LOL) to Yuu… her constantly feeling cold is something I can sympathize with! This series has placed lower and lower in my weekly rankings as weeks have gone by, and will need to develop its characters more if it doesn’t want to end up in last place at the end of the season!

Main strength: Can’t really fault the animation or music.

Main weakness: The mahjong games were more interesting in the original, as were the girls’ mahjong related super powers.

 

13 – Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle 2

It’s getting to the point where I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have an episode of Phi Brain to watch every week! 😛 It helps that this guilty pleasure has actually upped its game (puzzle?) for season two, introducing major villains much earlier, and making an effort to explain the puzzles to the viewer using diagrams etc. Still, the formulaic ‘puzzle of the week’ format hasn’t changed, so Phi Brain remains average at best.

Main strength: Ana Gram.

Main weakness: The theme songs are catchy… but I preferred those from the first series.

 

12 – Acchi Kocchi

Acchi Kocchi placed low in my rankings quite a lot in the early weeks, but it seems to have stabilized at this higher position now. This may be partly because I’ve gradually gotten used to its slow paced style of humour, but I’d say the biggest reason would be all the competitive sports/games the characters have played since episode three, ranging from snowball fights to epic kick the can! The characters really seem to shine in these segments. 🙂

Main strength: It’ll probably be the cutest series of 2012.

Main weakness: Slow pacing means that there aren’t as many laugh out loud moments per episode as in other comedy series.

 

11 – Nazo no Kanojo X

How do you go about rating something as weird and unique as this!? While the whole drool thing was disgusting at first, I fortunately seem to have become desensitized to it over the weeks. Aside from that, the power to transfer your feelings to another person in that way is an interesting concept – I imagine it would solve a lot of the relationship issues in Sakamichi no Apollon… that, or it’d just freak the characters out. 😛

Main strength: Urabe Mikoto’s character, as well as the concept itself.

Main weakness: Now that I’m used to drool power and its effects, will they be able to prevent the series from becoming repetitive?

 

10 – Upotte!!

Upotte!! is… inconsistent. More of a guilty pleasure than anything. Some episodes are firmly in ecchi comedy territory, in particular the first and third eps, but when the series does choose to focus on guns over girls it’s pretty good in my opinion. It’s clear the creators are huge gun freaks, or have at least done their research – I’d say Jormungand (while still being the better show) could learn a thing or two from Upotte!!

Main strength: L85A1 – possibly one of my favorite characters of the season, actually.

Main weakness: The fanservice (when not relating in some comical way to a feature of the gun the character is based on) is a bit excessive.

 

9 – Kore wa Zombie desu ka? Of the Dead

Lastly for today, Kore wa Zombie desu ka? holds onto the mid table ranking it has had for most of the season. The first six episodes have all been hugely comedy focused, with little or no plot development… and if the first series is anything to go by, I hope it stays this way, as that went a bit downhill after the plot kicked in. Still, if Of the Dead can come up with a better plot while maintaining the comic feel that the series does best, maybe it’ll rank a lot higher next time. 🙂

Main strength: It has probably made me laugh harder than anything else this season.

Main weakness: Doesn’t have a huge amount going for it besides the comedy, however.

Part 2 should be out within a few days, and will hopefully show you why I think that this season has been one of the best seasons for anime in years!

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