Spring 2012 Mid Season Impressions Pt. 2

And now, we get to the series I really, really like. Part 1 is here for anyone who missed it. 🙂

8 – Uchuu Kyoudai

Uchuu Kyoudai was the first anime of the spring season to air – a great start IMO. It may also end up being the longest of the season, I hear it’s been given at least 48 episodes to play with. The downside to this is that Uchuu Kyoudai is much slower paced than the shows that only have 11 – 26 eps to wrap things up, and while there have been some great episodes (e.g. the JAXA interviews), a lot of the others have just seen Mutta repetitively put himself down and complain that he’s supposed to be the older brother.

Main strength: No need to worry about lack of character development in this series, they have all the time in the world to focus on it!

Main weakness: Recent episodes have been a bit repetitive… the wait for the plot to move on is almost as painful as waiting to hear back from my own RL job applications!

 

7 – Tasogare Otome x Amnesia

Once again, I find myself to be in the minority of people who quite like this series, at least on the site I frequent. It isn’t particularly original, doesn’t have the best animation of the season, and so far is highly episodic. However, I like what the series does with its (presumably limited) animation budget – fantastic use of colours, and different styles of animation where appropriate (e.g. when telling ghost stories). I like Yuuko’s playful teasing, and look forward to learning more about her past. 🙂

Main strength: Pretty colours~

Main weakness: It’s playing out a bit like a generic harem, albeit with a supernatural twist.

 

6 – Jormungand

Despite the rather different setting, number of characters and the personalities of those characters, I can’t help but get the same vibes from the show as I did from Black Lagoon (and I know I’m not the only one to make that comparison). So far, Jormungand has yet to reach the same level of epicness, but episodes five and six have been a definite improvement on earlier episodes, focusing on developing characters aside from Koko.

Main strength: While the action scenes pale in comparison to those of Fate/Zero so far, at least they’re more frequent.

Main weakness: Can’t put my finger on the exact reason(s), but it does feel like a poor man’s Black Lagoon. :/

 

5 – Sankarea

I’m not a huge fan of Studio DEEN, so when I saw they were producing another zombie series in addition to Kore wa Zombie, and that the original manga it was based on received average reviews at best, I wasn’t very enthusiastic. But Sankarea has exceeded many people’s expectations, with strong starting episodes, likable characters, and animation/direction that looks more like something I’d expect from SHAFT than DEEN. Here’s hoping it remains as good until the end, and doesn’t spawn lacklustre sequels!

Main strength: I like the plot so far – living with a zombie won’t be easy for Chihiro, especially if that zombie’s overly protective father gets involved…

Main weakness: I’m not a huge fan of the childhood friend/cousin romance trope. But Sankarea even does that well, so it’s more personal preference than a real weakness.

 

4 – Eureka Seven AO

Eureka Seven’s sequel arguably has even more to live up to than Last Exile’s did a season or two ago, and so far I’d say it’s doing a good job. The fact that it only places fourth says more about the strengths of my top three than it does about Astral Ocean’s weaknesses. Action, explosions, surfing mechs and turquoise hair are all back, and I look forward to seeing where the plot will take us this time!

Main strength: Production values – Bones have gone all out to make this series one of (if not THE) best looking shows this season.

Main weakness: I found the original Eureka Seven a little confusing and difficult to follow (but awesome nonetheless). I hope I can follow everything this time around!

 

3 – Tsuritama

If Tsuritama had aired a season earlier, it would likely have been my favorite show of the season. Unfortunately, in this season it’s up against some tough competition, in particular a certain other noitaminA slot show with a similar opening episode. But while overshadowed, there’s no denying Tsuritama is fantastic. The pacing is near perfect, the weird cast are all likable, and with the plot just beginning to get going in episode six, surely it can only get better from now on.

Main strength: Best first episode of the season, it’s fast pacing and bright colours leaving more of an impact early on than Apollon, which took more time to develop.

Main weakness: Choosing to make the characters crazy instead of deep works well for the show, but limits its chances of competing with my top two.

 

2 – Fate/Zero S2

NOTHING irritates me more about these weekly rankings than the fact Fate/Zero has yet to claim 1st place. Every week some other selfish show (usually Apollon) has to ruin its chances by having a more entertaining episode. 😛 I think it’s mostly due to pacing – Fate/Zero is much slower than the rest of my top four. Aside from that, Fate/Zero remains as flawless as it did during its first half, so there’s not much more to be said.

Main strength: ufotable’s production values are up there with Bones’, Fate/Zero looks gorgeous.

Main weakness: In terms of my rankings, it’d have to be the pacing.

 

1 – Sakamichi no Apollon

My ‘overlooked and underrated’ mentality nearly resulted in my not picking up Sakamichi no Apollon, as the hype about the staff involved meant it was guaranteed to be popular. Thankfully, curiosity got the better of me, and the series more than lived up to expectations. Apollon is popular for a reason. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a romance/love triangle handled as well as in this show so far, and all that with good animation and a spectacular soundtrack too. What’s not to like?

Main strength: Flawless so far.

Main weakness: Having just 11 episodes to wrap everything up has ruined many a noitaminA series in the past… here’s hoping Apollon won’t join the list.

And that’s everything I’ve picked up this season. I realize I’ve missed out on a few series that might also have made my top 8 (Kuroko no Basuke, HyoukaMine Fujiko), but they’re not going anywhere – I have to leave something worth watching each season to come back to and marathon at a later date. Besides, the last thing I need is more good shows to make my weekly rankings harder! 😛

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4 Responses to Spring 2012 Mid Season Impressions Pt. 2

  1. GoodbyeNavi says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels that Space Brothers needs to speed up a bit and avoid repetitiveness. Mutta’s lamentations are annoying me and the sibling rivalry, though realistic, is becoming wearing. I’m glad with the most recent episode, Mutta was able to get a bit of push to have some confidence. You’re definitely not alone with Jormungand. It is so Black Lagoon to me, its uncanny. Evening the OP is similar. I’m still enjoying the show despite the similarities. In fact, it might be due to the similarities. I am having some issues with Sakamichi no Apollon. I am not understanding where they are trying to go with the show. The lack of jazz still bugs me and I’m not liking the focus on the romantic angle. Kaoru is acting like an idiot and keeps trying to push Sentaro and no-name girl (I call her that because she is the most boring character in the show) together. He’s doing it in the name of love but it comes across rather stupid to me.

    • I’m usually a week behind on Space Brothers, as it makes my weekly rankings much easier if I’m basing them on episodes of the same number (i.e last week’s rankings were for all the 6th episodes, even though ep 7 came out early the same week). If Mutta’s depression does end with episode 8, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it a whole lot more. 🙂

      I think you may have a point with Jormungand – for all that I feel it isn’t up to the same level as Black Lagoon, I enjoy it for mostly the same reasons, and maybe rate it higher than I should because I’m EXPECTING it to become as good as Black Lagoon eventually? 😛

      The lack of Jazz in recent eps of Apollon is a shame, but considering what the characters are going through, it’s understandable, and I’m sure they’ll resume their sessions before the end. I guess the fact it only has 11 eps to play with means that some things have to take a back seat for the sake of the plot/romance, and the music seems to be one of those things. As for the romance itself, I still think it’s being done better than any other anime I remember. Kaoru is being a bit silly, but I find his actions understandable – he’s not the most socially adept of characters, and only wants everyone else to be happy (even if it means he ends up unhappy as a result).

      • GoodbyeNavi says:

        When I lament upon the lack of jazz, I don’t mean the characters playing it together. I know I wasn’t very clear about it! I meant just as a backdrop. The characters don’t have to completely focus on solely playing jazz but there should be at least some of it playing in the background. I don’t think Jormungand will be as good as Black Lagoon but if it does get there, that would be great. So far, I’m liking the boy soldier. Weirdly enough, working for an arms dealer is making him more human.

        • Ah, jazz is largely missing from the BGM, I agree there. I guess it could be argued that this makes the character’s jamming sessions all the more enjoyable when they do happen?

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