It took a while but I’ve finally settled into my summer 2013 anime picks..and it’s seven series, more than I usually pick, especially for summer. But I’m enjoying them all, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be sticking with them the entire way. Here are my thoughts on the first three episodes of each…
Monogatari Second Season
One of two sequels I’m watching this summer. I was never as big on the Bake/Nise/Nekomonogatari series as others are, but I still find it strangely interesting to watch nonetheless. Like I’ve probably said before in other posts, watching the Monogatari series is like watching someone’s stylistic (wet) dream, with the rather unrealistic conversations the characters have, the titillating ways the female characters are portrayed, and the very dream-like background setting designs courtesy of Shaft. This second season is looking to be more of the same so far, though hopefully it won’t make me feel as uncomfortable as many scenes in Nisemonogatari did. It’s kinda hard to tell now since the first two episodes were basically just “Senjougahara and Hanekawa talking,” and the third episode adds the Fire Sisters and Shinobu into the mix. Like Nekomonogatari, there’s a lot of focus on Hanekawa, at least in these beginning episodes, which is fine though I would like to see the other characters get focus too. I think this season is going to be two-cour, so there’s plenty of time left for other characters to have story arcs. If this season is more focused on the characters and plot like Bake was, rather than having all those weird sexual-innuendo scenes that Nise had, I’ll probably like it. All the Monogatari series weird me out somewhat, but hopefully this one won’t be that weird XD
I was on the fence about this one for a while, but at some point I wanted to add one more (moe) series to my watch-list and marathoned the first two episodes…and thought it was adorable ^^,,, I always enjoy anime that deal with Japanese culture versus Western culture (like Ikoko Meiro and certain episodes of Hetalia), whether it’s in a cute and humorous way or a serious one. This series is the former, which is fine with me XD It’s definitely not a show for everyone, but if you love “cute girls” anime, it’s one to check out. What stands out about Kiniro Mosaic from similar shows like K-ON or Hidamari Sketch is that a lot of the humor and situations come from the whole “Japan vs England” theme, since Shinobu is a Japanese girl who loves Western culture and Alice is an English girl going to school in Japan (and is it just me or are there waaay too many anime that use the name “Alice” for foreign characters? I think it has something to do with Japan’s love of the Alice in Wonderland story). And once we see more of their friends, Aya and Youko, as well as second main English girl Karen in the third episode, there’s even more cuteness and humor to be had. But seriously though, besides all the cuteness, there was some genuinely good humor in the episodes that had me chuckling. I also liked how the whole first episode just focused on Shinobu’s home stay with Alice, so we really get to know all the moments they shared before moving onto the main high school setting. And it looks like the next episode will focus on Aya, which I like because it shows that the series wants to give the characters development rather than just being total cute fluff. Actually, episode 3′s story about Alice being jealous of Karen was good too. So yeah, Kiniro Mosaic has good things going for it – good humor, a refreshing theme for the “cute girls” genre with having some of the girls from England, and of course, it’s super cute. If you like this type of anime, I think it’ll be a good one =)
Due to this series starting a bit late, only two episodes have aired as of my posting this. I wasn’t originally going to watch it, but when the first episode aired and I saw people talking about it, I decided to look it up. And when I read the synopsis and saw it’s by famed Fullmetal Alchemist creator Hiromu Arakawa, I wanted to check it out. For those who don’t know, my other big interest besides anime/animation is animals, particularly animal welfare. So I’m always interested in seeing anime that focus on animals, in this case, animals in an agricultural college. I’m also intrigued by what goes into life on a farm, just as I liked seeing how the manga industry works in Bakuman and how people become astronauts in Space Brothers. So I can imagine Silver Spoon being boring for someone who isn’t interested in agriculture or already knows what farm life is like.
Unlike the very dramatic and often horrifying FMA, Silver Spoon, a.k.a. Gin no Saji, seems to be a much lighter work. So if you go into Silver Spoon looking for the same kind of emotional, epic story as FMA, it seems like you’re gonna be disappointed unless the show takes a sudden dramatic turn later on. But it’s only going to be 11 episodes (why so short?) so I doubt that. Anyway, the cast of characters as a whole are portrayed as fun and comedic, and the majority of these first two episodes are about the humorous situations of Hachiken being totally turned off by farm life. So again, it looks like it’s gonna be a light show, even treating something like decapitating a chicken as part of the humor rather than something truly horrible. Like I said, I’m very interested in animal welfare, including how it’s depicted in media works such as an anime like Silver Spoon. Obviously the first two episodes of Silver Spoon don’t give much sympathy to the animals. But even so, I’m still interested in seeing how the concept is treated until the end. Considering all the big life and death themes in FMA, I can’t imagine Arakaway not bringing a little of her heavy themes into Silver Spoon.
Much has already been said about the buzz Free! caused even before it started airing, so I’m not gonna go into that here. I went into Free! with an open (free!) mind, and after three episodes, I can honestly say that I like it =D Like most KyoAni shows, its main emphasis is the characters and their relationships rather than having a big, grand plot and complex setting. I’m quite liking the characters so far. Nagisa, Makoto, and Gou are very likable (I have to laugh whenever Gou ogles the guys. It’s like the opposite of guys getting nosebleeds at big breasted girls that we’re used to seeing XD), and while I don’t really like the one-track-minded competitive guys, I find Haru and Rin kind of interesting too even though I have trouble relating to that stiff rivalry they have. KyoAni’s impressive animation always makes their series more enjoyable, and they did just that with Free!. Water is a hard thing to depict well with 2D animation, but whatever techniques KyoAni used for it in Free!, it looks very good. I don’t really have much else to say about the show at this point. It’s kind of funny but not very, it’s kind of whimsical and dramatic but not very…it’s just enjoyable if you want to see a nice slice-of-life show with guys as the main characters instead of girls. The characters are likable, and because I like them, I care about seeing what happens in terms of their relationships and the swimming club. Here’s hoping the show will keep making a splash for me XD
I’m not sure why I decided to watch Blood Lad. I think I just liked the synopsis and wanted to check it out. Three episodes in and I’m finding it amusing. Nothing great, but fun enough to keep me invested. I will say that it’s not what I thought it was though. I was expecting it to be a serious, dramatic shonen series with some humor here and there, like they all have, but mostly the fantasy-laden and angst-driven stuff I’m used to seeing in shonen titles. But like Silver Spoon, Blood Lad is light and much more humor-centric than dramatic. Lots of jokes and gags with surprisingly few serious moments. Even the part in episode 1 where Staz discovers that Fuyumi had been killed was treated very lightly (oh my god, her skull was the funniest/cutest skull I’ve ever seen. I was cracking up XD) Is this bad? Well, it wasn’t what I was expecting, but the show was able to suck me into its world anyway, so it must be doing something right. The characters don’t seem to be the most memorable bunch and the setting of the demon world is kind of vague (it’s just one big mafia?) Chances are we won’t see much, if any, major character or setting development because it’s not that type of show (and only 10 episodes? Why are they getting shorter and shorter?) But for what it is – a light and comedic fantasy adventure with shonen elements – I think it’s doing alright.
The World God Only Knows – Goddess Arc
Also referred to as season 3 of the series, this is the second sequel I’ve picked up for the season. It’s funny because I watched the first and second seasons of TWGOK back when they aired, but somehow missed the four OVA episodes that came out after season 2. So when I watched the first episode of this new season, I was confused about who Tenri was and all the talk about goddesses and Weiss. So I stopped the episode a few minutes in, looked up the episode listing on Wiki, realized I should have watched the OVA episodes, and then went back and watched those before I continued with this new season. And now that I’m all caught up, I’m so far liking this season more than the previous one, and possibly even more than the first =) While the thing with demons and loose souls was the plot of the first two seasons, what I like about this one is that the show’s universe is expanded in an interesting way with the inclusion of the Jupiter Sisters, goddesses, Vintage, etc,. These new fantasy elements, together with the usual antics of dating game-obsessed Keima having to “conquer” real girls in both comedic and dramatic ways, really makes the show feel more complete now. I also like how the new plot with the goddesses and Vintage makes the series a bit darker than it was before – I mean, I was shocked when Apollo/Kanon got stabbed in the first episode. Wasn’t expecting something like that in this kind of show! But despite that, it still has the good humor I liked in the previous seasons. For example, Keima’s back-and-forth writing with Shiori in episode 3 was hilarious XD One thing I would have liked to see though is episodes of how Keima conquered Tsukiyou and Yui, whether in an OVA or in the actual series. Since they’re important characters in this season, their stories should have been part of the OVA. But besides that, the third season of TWGOK is off to a great start =D
The full name of this show, Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!, is ridiculously long (never thought AnoHana would find a contender for “longest full title” XD) so everyone is calling it Watamote. It’s certainly a unique series in many ways. First of all, as of three episodes anyway, there’s just one character that gets all the focus, which is the rather pathetic Tomoko. And she’s pretty unique among anime characters in this type of show too. She kinda reminds me of a “dark” version of Konata from Lucky Star, like if Konata had gone overboard with her otaku habits to the point where it made her a psychological mess. And Tomoko is just that – extremely anti-social to the point where she can barely stutter a few words to anyone she doesn’t know, has a lot of resentment and anger towards her more sociable peers, and can only find solace in anime, games, and her other otaku hobbies. The tone of the whole series itself is again unique, because you don’t know whether to laugh or cry when you see Tomoko in these situations. In one way it’s funny because she’s such an emotional wreck and reacts in laughable ways to many situations that wouldn’t affect normal people, but then it’s sad because you can’t help but feel sorry for her and wish she could get help (and seriously, her mom seems to have no idea that her daughter is such an anti-social and inarticulate mess?) To me, Watamote is both a comedy and a tragedy, and both sides are well written, which is where a lot of its appeal comes from. Along with Free! and season 3 of TWGOK, it’s my favorite of the summer shows I’m watching =)
Additionally, I watched the first episode of Stella Jougakuin when I was deciding between watching it or Kiniro Mosaic. But the first episode didn’t do much for me. I couldn’t get excited about the war games, which is obviously the main theme of the show, and nothing about the characters stood out to me at all. But I might pick it up again if I end up hearing great things about it. I was also originally going to watch the new Rozen Maiden series, but decided against that one too because, although I watched the first series, it was years ago, back in 2005, and I barely remember anything about it. I know this new Rozen Maiden series isn’t a sequel or anything, but I feel like if I’m going to watch Rozen Maiden again, it should be the first series again since it’s so faded from my memory. There were a couple more shows I was considering too, like Dog and Scissors and Sunday Without God, but couldn’t squeeze them in.
Anyway, hope you’re all enjoying your summer anime picks too =)