Thursday, November 14, 2013

Three-Episode Test

Luckily, there's a lot of anime this season

I usually drop shows whenever I feel like it, since I don't have time to watch too many shows. This season I decided to try watching three episodes of each show that piqued my interest before dropping any of them. So here's my thoughts on each one-eleven shows in all.


I'm covering Little Busters this season, and so far it's been great. Everything that the first season built up is starting to pay off, and now that we're entering the final act I imagine the biggest loops of the emotional roller-coaster await.

Favorite moment: A hard choice, but I'll go with Riki and Rin's little cell phone text conversation in the latest episode; that was really adorable. For some runners up, I'll note Kurugaya's final conversation with Riki, as well as when the boys were all frantically trying to figure out who Riki's supposed love was ("Why Kyousuke?! What about me?! I love you too, Riki!!!").VALVRAVE THE LIBERATOR

This show is likely the least predictable anime I've ever enjoyed, and what makes it work for me is just how well everything falls into place when looking back. The story takes "dramatic" and turns it up to 11, as just about every episode manages to find some new way to pull off the most grandiose of anime-style theatrics.

Favorite moment: I was probably the only one hoping for Satomi (the school's student president) to get a chance in the spotlight, and as luck would have it we already got a whole episode for him and Akira. But if I need to pick a single moment from that episodeWell, in what other show are you going to get a hikikomori sneaking around in a cardboard box in zero G?SAMURAI FLAMENCO

I wasn't too intrigued by the plot description for this one, but the first episode was quite promising. The second episode was even better, and the third episode has made it perfectly clear that this was a keeper. The characters are all engaging, and the humor stems almost entirely from their personalities and interactions with one another. A very well-written series so far-I've quite liked how the events of the first two episodes tied together so well to bring about all that transpired in the third, and I've also been pleased with just how well each episode has ended in a way that leaves me anxious for the next installment.

Favorite moment: After Hazama (as Samurai Flamenco) retrieved Goto's umbrella from the thief and sternly deplored the man's decision (i.e. taking someone's umbrella after his own had been taken), Hazama immediately says "Now let's go find your umbrella!" It's one of those lines that practically define his character, and manages to be both heartwarming and hilarious at the same time.LOG HORIZON

Actually wasn't even planning to try this one, given how the subject matter has been handled in other anime in recent years, but I ended up watching it and liking it quite a bit. I've noticed the complaint that it's basically just watching some other people play a video game, but I feel like you can say that about any anime that entails characters playing a game (be it a sport, board, or children's card game). What works in Log Horizon's favor are its characters, who are easy to like but still flawed-i.e. they have all needed each other's help in every episode so far, and overall the tone has been fun, largely thanks to the chemistry of the main cast. It's possible the story can turn boring in the future, but for now I'm enjoying it.

Favorite moment: I'd just say "the swashbuckling cat," but that's not really a moment. (The cat is more a forceof nature.) So I'll go with the end of the second episode, when the three leads take to the skies on griffons. It was nice to see the show take the time to show an actual sense of wonder in the fact they're in a magical virtual reality where anything is possible.GOLDEN TIME

This show has been good in terms of romantic comedy, but perhaps more surprisingly is how the drama has been handled. It's been a pretty wild ride in the span of just four episodes, and we can already begin to see a rather intricate web of character relations being formed. The possibilities seem limitless, to say the least! I also quite like how Koko's character has been developed, or rather how she has been portrayed as a (very) flawed individual-but one who is struggling to overcome her (dramatic) faults and figure out what she is to do at this crossroads in her life.

Favorite moment: I couldn't help but laugh the whole time Mitsuo was giving his frantic discourse to Banri regarding Koko, and all the while you could see that someone was sitting behind them-and that someone just had to be none other than Koko herself. The anime showed just enough to make this apparent, but without directly revealing it until several minutes of this had passed.ARPEGGIO OF BLUE STEEL

This was an anime that piqued my interest from the trailers and premise, but the first episode didn't leave much of an impact on me to be honest. Luckily, the second and third episodes were great. I realize nobody really likes the CG much, but I haven't had much problem with that. My main concern was in regards to the story, but there's now been a few developments that have left me wondering just what will happen next. The rather plain characters were also a concern, but I've taken a liking to Captain Chihaya, and the main cast on the bridge has a bit of an anime-style "Star Trek" dynamic to it.

Favorite moment: The third episode had some rather amusing moments, surprisingly enough. My favorite had to be when the curiously masked crew member explained his unusual helmet with a simple "Don't worry, this is just for my allergies."BLAZBLUE

This is the last of the shows I'm going to keep watching, though if I'm short on time I might just put it on-hold to marathon later. How do I explain the appeal of such a poorly-animated adaptation of a fighting video game? I suppose I just find myself intrigued with the unique setting, the colorful cast of characters, and the twenty or so mysterious plot developments of each episode. Chances are nothing will make much sense by the end of the series, but despite my expectations to drop the series at the end of each episode, I've been quite quick to go back to the show each week. Perhaps there will come a point when I find myself exasperated rather than curious, and I won't have to worry about it anymore.

Favorite moment: Fore some context, I've played Blazblue at a friend's house a fair amount but don't know anything about the story. My favorite character to play as is Rachel Alucard, who specializes in attacking people by launching cats that turn into electric rods. ("Don't come near me. Don't come near me. Don't come near me. SWORD IRIS.") Anyways, there comes a point in the anime when, for no reason that is made apparent to the viewerRachel flies off to fight a satellite orbiting the planet. It's made out to be a truly world-devastating weapon of some sort, but she beats it in half a minute with seemingly no effort, andthat's the end of it. Isn't it cool though? I feel like this scene represents the series as a whole so far.



I was looking forward to this one, and admittedly there are some good points to this series. I like the concept, particularly how the world of magic is an accepted and normal part of the world, and how intertwined it is with all the mystical elements of Shinto and Japanese folklore. I also really liked some of the plot twists the series threw out. But the characters are really bland; I just can't care for any of them. And though I appreciated the surprises, the general plot still felt by-the-book somehow. I think the story could get better from this point on, but I don't have time for too many shows all at once. I'll also note that in this case, the CG was *very* noticeable, and really detracted from the experience in general. What could have been a really exciting showdown in the third episode ended up just looking bad, unfortunately.


This show also piqued my interest because-well, it's at a shrine, there's yokai, it's got beautiful Japanese scenery, and so forth. I like shows of this sort, and on top of all that it seemed this would have heartwarming slice-of-life vibes to it. At first it indeed felt like a sort of blend between Natsume Yuujinchou and Kamisama Hajimemashita, but by the second and third episodes I was really just bored. With the exception of Gintaro the fox spirit, none of the characters stand out at all in this one. And perhaps more unfortunately, the heartwarming bits have been lacking-admittedly this probably ties into not caring for the characters much.


Every now and then it seems I have to end up really disappointed because I have high expectations for a show, and then the show ends up utterly boring me. Last season that show was Gatchaman Crowds, and this time it's sadly Kyousogiga. In this case, I was excited for Kyousogiga finally getting a TV series because I loved the OVA and web episodes so much. The OVA in particular was a true tour de force, an amazingly colorful, vibrant, exciting, unpredictable world full of zany characters and a plot that went twenty directions all at once. The mini ONAs were also fun, where each segment was completely different from the last. But now that we finally have the full-fledged TV seriesWell, it's just not that engaging for me anymore. So far it's been three episodes of bland world-building, largely guided by a narrator telling the viewer step by step the history of the setting and all these details about various characters, and it's just as insipid as can be. I guess it's like watching a magic show after someone has described how each of the tricks actually works? I just don't care for anything happening on the screen anymore. Perhaps what I liked most about the OVA was how it left me dizzy with wonderment? There hasn't been a single moment that has excited me in the TV series, in comparison.


I wasn't planning on watching this show at all, but seeing how Samurai Flamenco turned out so well, perhaps I thought Noitamina could manage two home runs in one inning? The first episode waswell, it was a thing that happened. But I didn't hate it, so I decided to follow through with the next two episodes. I'd have to say Galilei Donna has some great ideas, but the execution in general is quite lacking. The characters are all rather bland and don't have any sort of engaging chemistry with each other. The sisters in particular are very dull, which is unfortunate since they're the main characters. The third episode was likely the best since it actually made the middle sister feel somewhat human (i.e. having her react to the situation in a way that made some actual sense), but everything else about the plot feels slapped together so listlessly. It all feels like a bad spin-off of National Treasure?

And that's all the shows that looked interesting to me. The only other show I suppose I really considered trying was the one by PA Works (with the sea people?), since I usually find myself trying every anime they make. But I feel I've got enough on my plate as it is, so maybe I'll look at it some time later. Ohand then there was Pupa too. Whatever happened to our incest-themed monster spectacle? I knew something important was missing this season.

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