Spring 2012 Anime – Final Thoughts (Part 1)

As usual, my thoughts on all the series that finished over the past couple of weeks, split into two parts and starting with those I’d rate the lowest. People who’ve been following my weekly rankings should find these results fairly predictable, but I don’t go into much detail about the reasons behind my rankings in those posts, so I feel there’s still a need for these final summaries. 🙂

I have provided links to the synopses in the titles of each series, and next to those in brackets is an indicator of how much the series has risen or fallen in my rankings (if at all) since my mid-season posts.

15: Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan (Non-mover)

Bringing up the rear once again is Shining Hearts, but with one major difference: at the mid-season point I still liked this series, thinking of it as the ultimate guilty pleasure. It was fun watching shallow (if pretty) characters whose lives revolved around bread going about doing mundane things, even if everything else I was watching had more merit one way or another. But then it started getting depressing, existential, and worst of all boring. The ‘plot development’ that I spent most of the series anticipating, if only because I though a bit of action would liven things up, managed to disappoint even my already low expectations. I will post about those final two episodes… sometime…

Rating: 1.5/5

14: Queen’s Blade: Rebellion (Non-mover)

Despite a weak start, Queen’s Blade: Rebellion picked up half way through. The boring new characters became more likable as they formed a party/harem, and the ‘plot’ seemed to have found direction at last. Then, it suddenly ended. The ending might not have been so bad if I knew a sequel was coming, but judging by the very rushed and confusing epilogue, it’s not likely to get one. Overall, this spin-off/sequel was nowhere near as good as the original series were, and fails on almost every level… except that it was more entertaining than Shining Hearts. 😛

Rating: 2/5

13: Saki: Achiga-hen – Episode of Side-A (Down one place)

I predicted mid season that Saki: Achiga-hen was on its way down. Its promising start and my nostalgia for the original propped it up in early weeks, but it soon became clear that (again) the new cast just wasn’t as fun as the original. But after an abysmal 8th episode, Saki began to recover, and the final four episodes of the series were actually very entertaining. Then, it suddenly ended. I hear there’s going to be another three episodes released in some form or another, probably webstreams or on BD/DVD, but even then I can’t see them bringing the series to a satisfying close in so few episodes. It needs a proper sequel… but even if it got one, would I actually bother watching it?

Rating: 2.5/5

12: Zetman (Up one place)

Zetman was flawed, but fun. It suffered in my early rankings due to its erratic pacing and dodgy animation, but after a while I stopped caring about that, and instead just sat back and enjoyed the strangely directed action scenes, creepy players and gallons of gore. I also loved Jirou’s mind games with Kouga, and Haitani’s with Jin – both ‘villains’ constant attempts to corrupt the ‘heroes’ made for fantastic viewing. And for the first time in this post so far, I can say that the ending wasn’t all that bad either (though it was a bit open-ended). Lastly, you’ve got to love that OP~

Rating: 3/5

11:  Acchi Kocchi (Non-mover)

Acchi Kocchi was slow-paced, which isn’t always good in a comedy series. I prefer quick-firing gags, and lots of them – Acchi Kocchi certainly made me laugh, but not as often as I’d hoped, and in some episodes more than others. On the other hand, this slow pacing helped make the romantic parts all the more cute, so it’s swings and roundabouts. Can’t fault the series in terms of animation or music, and the characters were likable… I feel Acchi Kocchi would have placed higher if it wasn’t for my preference for strong, plot-driven series.

Rating: 3.5/5

10: Upotte!! (Down one place)

Another series, another disappointing ending… all the more so because I didn’t see it coming. I assumed the introduction of numerous new enemies in the 9th episode was building up towards a promising final 3-4 episode arc, but no – turns out the 10th episode that followed was also the last, and had to rush the conclusion to these fights. 😕 Overall, Upotte!! had some very good episodes, and some pretty boring ones too. It can’t be faulted for its attention to detail when it comes to guns, and the gunfights were better than those in most high budget action series. Educational, too! So by no means a masterpiece, but a bit unfairly hated upon in my opinion.

Rating: 3.5/5

9: Nazo no Kanojo X (Up one place)

Nazo no Kanojo X moves up more as a result of Upotte!!’s disappointing ending than any improvement of its own – in fact, the series didn’t get any better or worse as it went along… it didn’t really go anywhere. The drool exchanging lost its novelty value as I predicted it would at the series’ mid point, and if you take that away, all you have left is a particularly slow moving romance with a generic male lead and anything-but-generic girlfriend. In summary, it was fun to watch, but failed to leave an impression in a season full of much more memorable series.

Rating: 3.5/5

8: Mouretsu Pirates (!?!)

After stalling this series back in February, I decided to resume and marathon it once the final episode came out, and saw no reason not to include it here. My problem with the series was that I felt no attachment towards any of the characters – I liked the setting, and the production values were fantastic, but when most of the focus is on a group of characters I don’t care about, I soon lose interest (see the series ranked 13 – 15th). I found myself enjoying the second half a lot more than the first, however; that might be in part due to the faster pace that inevitably results from watching eps back to back, but I also felt the plot lines were far more interesting in the last two or three arcs.

Rating: 3.5/5

That’s it for now, but my top seven should be posted in a day or two. 🙂

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