It’s Autumn! The last season of 2013, which on the whole has been a great year for anime! Will anything this season leave as much of an impression as Attack on Titan? Only time will tell…
Narrowing down so many new series to just sixteen (plus the ever-present Space Brothers and Hunter x Hunter) was difficult, and the list I present to you here bears almost no resemblance to the ones I scribbled down pre-season with only synopses and trailers to go by, but hopefully none of them will disappoint. And if they do, I’ll just drop them mid-season, maybe in favour of Pupa (if it eventually airs). 😛
2 – NouCome ep 1
7 – Coppelion ep 1
10 – Phi Brain S3 ep 1
11 – Golden Time ep 1
14 – Non Non Biyori ep 1
15 – Kyousougiga TV ep 0
16 – Nagi no Asukara ep 1
18 – Meganebu! ep 1
Starting as ever with the shiny, new, non-sequel series: Kill la Kill is certainly off to a good start! The plot is ridiculous, but the breakneck pacing doesn’t leave you enough time to question the small details. Love the animation style and wacky character designs! In close second, we have Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Love Comedy o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru. Or NouCome, as I’ll be calling it from this point onwards. That opening, showing the historic importance of decision making… I’d have happily watched an entire episode of that! However, the hilarity continued once the main character and his forced multiple choice decision making curse were introduced. 😀 I’m an indecisive person, and I do wonder whether having options forced on me like that would make me more productive… but not the kind of decisions that poor guy had to make! 😯
Both noitaminA shows made my list, no surprises there. Samurai Flamenco in particular impressed me – I’ve never been a particularly huge fan of super heroes; the recent hype around the big Marvel and DC movie adaptations hasn’t done anything for me, and while I’ve given shows featuring heroes plenty of chances in the past (Zetman, Tiger and Bunny, X-Men), I’ve always found them disappointing or overrated. Samumenco, on the other hand, focuses on a hero without super powers, hi-tech gadgets, or even any real villain to fight. Instead, he stands up for justice by taking on drunkards and loitering school kids… and gets beaten up by them. I admire his ambition and determination to stick to his hobby, though hopefully he won’t cause our protagonist (a policeman, who somehow ends up bailing him out each time) too many problems. 😛
The other noitaminA show, Galilei Donna, is a bit of a mystery at this point. All that really happened in the first episode was character introduction, attempted abduction, and then suddenly goldfish mech! It was more than interesting enough to deserve a chance, but exactly why the antagonists are after the three sisters (who happen to be descendants of Galileo Galilei) remains to be seen. Kyousougiga TV also made my list via the ‘I don’t know what just happened, but I liked it’ route, though it ranks lower – Galilei Donna was at least coherent, but Kyousougiga was all over the place! I guess that a certain level of absurdity should be expected from a series inspired by Alice in Wonderland, though, and as long as it remains amusing and visually striking I’m sure it’ll grow on me.
Just missing out on a Top 5 debut is Yowamushi Pedal, another sport-themed series that has managed to win over this extremely non-athletic anime fan. I can’t even ride a bike – though it’s not like the fact I can’t swim stopped me from loving Free! to death. 😛 The main character isn’t overly athletic either, he’s just a die hard otaku who wants to save money on travel to Akihabara… even if it means cycling several kilometres over some ridiculously steep hills, singing anime themes along the way! 😀 I admire his spirit. I’m guessing that his goal of resurrecting the school anime club won’t come to pass, as he’ll inevitably be recruited by the cycling club instead, but they seem like an interesting bunch of characters. 🙂
One series that I can relate a bit more to is Non Non Biyori. Living in remote North Wales, I envy these girls and their two-hourly buses. We had regular services like that a few years ago. 😦 At least my school was big enough to warrant multiple classrooms, though my year had a similar (but opposite) gender imbalance, being made up of six boys. 😛 The first episode did manage to get some laughs out of me, though not as many as the shows I’ve ranked above it – more than anything, I picked up Non Non Biyori for a relaxing change of pace in a season full of high-octane action and rapid-fire gags. 🙂
Ranking lower, we have Nagi no Asukara. Once again, I have fallen for P. A. Works, and their pretty animation and interesting premises… will this series impress me where Red Data Girl and Uchouten Kazoku failed? Well, it isn’t off to the greatest of starts. 😕 I didn’t think much of the characters based on the introduction we’ve had so far, though as mentioned, the basic premise of people from the sea living alongside people from dry land shows promise. The farting fish pimple was also hilarious, glad us landlubbers don’t have to deal with such things! Then, right at the bottom of my rankings, is Meganebu! With Pupa in limbo, I decided to give it a chance over all the other shows I dropped. Meh, I’m a guy who wears glasses too, and I’m hoping it’ll fill the non-sport-related side of the gap left by Free! 😛
Sequels next! And we have to start with Phi Brain S3. I’ve had a real love-hate relationship with this franchise. I initially dropped the first series after just one episode, resuming it after another show didn’t air (as I did with Meganebu! this season). Phi Brain grew on me, but then grew overly repetitive, and I dropped it again. Except I couldn’t stick to my decision, and within a couple of weeks I’d resumed it. When the first series finally finished, I acknowledged it as a guilty pleasure, but said I’d probably skip the sequel. I didn’t skip the sequel, as it got off to a really strong start, injecting new life into the tired format… and though it did eventually start to feel repetitive again, it somehow didn’t matter at that point. And then I spent most of 2013 looking forward to the third series, my most anticipated show of the Autumn season. My thoughts on the episode? Meh, it was okay. 😛
Kakumeiki Valvrave‘s return was also met with a ‘meh’ reaction from me, a big surprise considering how much time it spent in my Top 5 back in the Spring! Stuff happened, but nothing that crazy compared with some of the eps from its first series, or other first eps from this season. Magi: The Kingdom of Magic was worse, and I worry that it won’t ever be the same if the party of Aladdin, Alibaba, Morgianna and Hakuryu go their separate ways, but several people have told me the Magnostadt arc of the manga (which this series will apparently adapt) is awesome, so I’ll trust them on that. On a more positive (but equally unexpected) note, Little Busters! Refrain came 3rd in my rankings with a re-introductory episode which wasted no time in taking up a darker tone. We know Key can do drama, all I hope is that it doesn’t end up feeling like Air/Kanon/Clannad all over again.
Overall, a promising start to the season, though I somehow doubt my Top 50 anime will come under threat by anything here. I’ve been wrong in the past, however… Check back next week, by which point I may have bothered to commit some of the new character’s names to memory!