A little late with my first impressions post this season…but better late than never ;) Here’s my opinion of the five winter 2013 anime I’m currently watching after seeing the first 2-3 episodes…
Episodes 1-2 so far
After reading a bit about this series and seeing that it’s a Shaft anime with Shinbou as the director, I went into the first episode expecting something weird…and that’s just what I got. The first part reminded me of Bakemonogatari with a hapless guy getting into strange, borderline surreal, conversations and relationships with the oddball girls around him. Then the show went from weird to bizarre with the whole chocolate apocalypse thing. But strangely, while I usually can’t get very into shows that don’t ground themselves in realism enough for me to make sense of how their world works (like Penguindrum was for me), I found the whole chocolate thing kind of funny and clever. Then when episode 2 tried to build some semblance of a narrative with how the spirit of Amaterasu is in Sasami’s brother and that’s why all this weird stuff happens, I started to enjoy it more. I was cracking up at the part where the Yagami sisters were unwittingly trampling all over Sasami’s sterile otaku items and she was freaking out about it XD Well, as long as the show doesn’t push weirdness too far, I think I’ll like it.
And I know episode 3 is out already but I won’t have time to watch it until tomorrow.
Maoyuu Maou Yuusha
Episodes 1-3 so far
To put it bluntly, Maoyu is a Spice and Wolf clone and it doesn’t try to hide that fact. It has the same director, a very similar story, an extremely similar main two protagonists, and they even share the exact same seiyuu as our main duo from Spice and Wolf (as well as a similar relationship and personalities). If you want to think of Maou and Yuusha as Horo and Lawrence reincarnated in a parallel world, I don’t think anything in this show will give you evidence against that XD But seeing as how Spice and Wolf is a good series, being like it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Three episodes in and I think Maoyu is a fairly good anime. Like Sasami-san, I don’t think it’ll become a favorite of mine or anything, but I’m enjoying it more than not. The fantasy/medieval world it takes place in is fascinating and, much like the economics theme in Spice and Wolf, the different facets of how “war is good” that the series explores (a rather disturbing idea but I’m willing to roll with it) are interesting. Our main couple are likable enough, but kind of bland compared to Horo and Lawrence…at least for now. And besides them we have the maids who are introduced in episode 2, with the Head Maid who seemed nice at first until she totally berated those runaway kids…I was like, “Geez lady, lighten up!” XD But anyway, now that we’re introduced to Yuusha’s past companions in episode 3, things look like they’ll get more interesting. I think this show will have the advantage of pleasing Spice and Wolf fans with all its similarities, but also the disadvantage of being forever compared to and cast in the former’s shadow. But we shall see. And what’s up with not giving the characters names? All I can think of is that it’s something unique to mention about the show =P
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Next
Episodes 1-3 so far
If you liked the first season of Haganai, I can certainly recommend this sequel. And if you didn’t, well, all I can say is that this second season seems to be lighter on the fan service than the first, at least there was little of it in the first three episodes. Being the utterly plot-less school comedy that it is, the enjoyability of Haganai depends strictly on whether you like the characters and watching them interact with each other. And I for one find them to be tons of fun :3 Rika’s fujoshi obsession is especially hilarious, as is Kobato and Maria’s “vampire vs church” rivalry and Sena’s naivety about a lot of things and her constant bickering with Yozora. Actually, I was reminded in these episodes of how much I like Sena. No matter how mean Yozora is to her and how obsessed Sena is with the grudge she has against her, it seems like she still wants to be Yozora’s friend and rarely acts as mean to her as she should, which is both funny and interesting. Anyway, the thing that mostly bothered me in the first season was the amount of fan service, but now that this sequel is looking to lighten the fan service load, I may end up liking it better. All I can say is that Haganai is simply the type of show where it’s hard to find any logical reason for liking it – you either do or you don’t.
Episodes 1-3 so far
Out of all the shows I’m watching this season, including the continuing ones from the fall season, I think Kotoura-san has the most potential to be one of my favorites of the year. I’ve heard people denounce the first half of episode 1 as being ridiculously tragic to the point of tragedy porn, but I didn’t get that feeling. I thought it did a great job of subtlety showing us Kotoura’s ability as a child before we’re told exactly what her problem is later on. And yes, it was tragic, but I didn’t think it was that over-the-top and sometimes stories are very sad like that to serve a certain purpose, which I think the show made quite clear in the middle of episode 1 when the gloomy darkness of the first half suddenly burst into hopeful colors when Kotoura met Manabe. The lighter second half of the episode, while contrasting to the sad first half, didn’t feel out of place at all and was very sweet and funny. Then I was a bit hesitant to check out episode 2 because I thought it wouldn’t be able to hold up to the quality of episode 1…but to my pleasant surprise, it was very good too. It introduces more characters and what I think the show has going for it is making its characters multidimensional; in just one episode we see different sides of Mifune’s character, from wanting to use Kotoura for her own motives but also feeling conflicted about it. We get to see the previously air-headed, cheerful Manabe man up and defend Kotoura against the bullying girls. Even Muroto, whose design suggests that he’s a comic relief seems to have layers to him too as far as his relationship with Mifune in episode 3. It’s a rare series that can show different sides of its characters and make me care about them so early on. While I can pinpoint some things about the show I feel are contrived for drama’s sake, especially in episode 3, the good certainly outweighs the bad here. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Kotoura-san continues to deliver! =)
Episodes 1-3 so far
The latest work by KyoAni and their first completely original series not based on any manga or novel. And while I don’t like to categorize this way, it’s hard to deny that Tamako Market does, well, follow the style typical of KyoAni’s latest works in that it’s an extremely “moe” slice of life show. Everything is cute, light, meandering, funny, and of course, very well animated. Like other KyoAni shows such as Hyouka and certain episodes of K-ON, Tamako Market is more about building an atmosphere that’s both soothing and immersive rather than telling a standard, dramatic story. Likewise, the characters are meant to be fun and pleasant to be with rather than dynamic. And as far as meeting those goals, I think the show is doing well. But so far nothing about it really stands out (except for our fine feathered friend, who I’ll get to in a bit). Maybe it’s just me but I can’t stop seeing KyoAni stereotypes in all the characters; Tamako seems to be the typical overly nice, cheerful, genki girl who looks similar to Mio from K-ON with Yui’s personality and a bit of Eru from Hyouka. The newly introduced Shiori reminds me of Alt.Yuki from Disappearance of Haruhi, and I also can’t help but see some Azusa in Anko. Most of the other characters, like the various shop owners, while likable, feel like they’re part of the setting and atmosphere rather than characters that carry weight on their own…with the shining exception of the enigmatic Dera Mochimazzi. I would say 80% of the show’s entertainment value comes from him, and since he’s the only character I haven’t seen anything quite like in a previous KyoAni show, I’m certainly okay with him hogging the spotlight ;)
Unfortunately one thing about the show bothers me: I can’t understand the characters’ reactions to Dera. It’s made clear in the first episode that a talking bird is a very abnormal occurrence judging by Tamako’s initial reaction to him, and yet few of the other characters seem to treat it as anything more unusual than finding five bucks on the ground while walking down the street. Even when he turns into a FREAKING PROJECTOR, nobody seems perturbed by it or looks into it further. With the exception of maybe Nichijou, KyoAni shows are fairly grounded in realism, and everything else about this show is realistic slice of life events, so I can’t figure out why people aren’t shocked at a talking, projecting bird that Tamako and her family should advertise as the shop’s mascot, having millions of patrons coming to their shop to see something so rare and they make big bucks from it…but ah well XD AJTheFourther offers a very interesting interpretation of Dera’s function in the series that, despite my misgivings, I’ll try to subscribe to =P Regardless, I think Tamako Market will be an okay addition to the KyoAni lineup. And I’ll try not to be too angry with KyoAni for taking time to work on an original anime when Haruhi has just been sitting around for three years begging for a sequel.
Other than these five I might add one more winter show to my watch list if I have the time (not likely). If so, I’m debating between Oreshura and Mondaiji. But anyway, I hope you guys are enjoying whatever winter ’13 anime you decided to watch :3