Monday, April 8, 2013

2013 Spring Season - First Impression Summary Post

I don't even know why I'm doing this when I'm not an episodic blogger..>.<..and I also don't plan to keep up on a weekly basis, marathon is a better way for me to get the most out of anime. I hate having my momentum disrupted. But ahh, I just felt like ranting, so that's what I did.

Shingeki no Kyojin 
As the most anticipated show of the season, it's no surprise that it gave us the most powerful premiere out of all those that aired. I rather like how the episode was set up – throwing us into the middle of the chaos straight away, then in reverse chronology showing us the fragile peace before the calamity and the events leading up to the Titan's attack. Anime in our day and age has an inclination to humanize antagonists, often lending them a sympathetic quality that the audience can relate to, but with the Titans, we are offered a different kind of antagonist who are no more than monsters wearing human anatomy. They are savage and apathetic. They inspire a kind of raw fear that doesn't just tease your psyche, but paralyzes your mind. For our hero, there is no despair more real than watching his mother crunched up and devoured by creatures who completely overpower him. The whole experience is quite visceral. Melodrama and hero syndrome are not my favorite things in anime, but in the case of Shingeki no Kyojin, I think both exist for a good reason and need to be judged through sympathetic lenses given the extremity of the circumstances.  Anyways, it's an excellent opening that set the right tone for a story that will surely shock and surprise us as it builds up. I can't wait to see how humans, as puny as we are, overcome the situation through intelligence and will power, which seem like the only thing that can save us right now. The pedigree involved with the production is nothing short of stellar, we have many Madhouse veterans on board and with Production I.G "assisting" the work, there is just so much potential that can be capitalized on.

Verdict: watching

Suisei no Gargantia 
Speaking of Production I.G, they really attract some amazing talents. With Murata and Urobuchi steering the ship, we have yet another show from I.G that seems to have all the potential in the world to be great and the premiere shows for it. I admit, the sci-fi jargons didn't do well to excite me, but it's one of those things we have to get used to when it comes to sci-fi series in general. Thankfully, after our main character, who seems to be a pretty sensible guy, falls through the crack in space and lands himself on earth, things get much more interesting. This entire first episode actually doesn't give us much other than expanding on the premise we are already familiar with, but it was an effective and straight forward way to introduce the characters and the situation. A thoroughly enjoyable premiere enhanced by fluid animation for the most part. I'm not digging the style of the galactic battle, usually Bones' way of doing things is more up my alley, but even then it's not quite up to I.G's usual visual standard. A small thing to nitpick about though with the other elements of the episode well delivered. 

verdict: watching

Aku no Hana
Oh boy, I'm still trying to wrap my head around this show. As far as perverseness goes, I don't think Aku no Hana has a competitor this season. I've read a decent amount of the the manga to know where things would go, so the plot is not the shock here, it's the animation style (rotoscoping) that really got me under the skin. I don't hate it like many seem to; it's certainly not something we are accustomed to with bishonen and bishojo dominating the screen much of the time, but I think there it's not completely without merit. For one thing, the body and facial expressions are rendered with a hyperrealistic quality that I find unsettling but strangely fascinating. It's almost like watching an anime-nized real life camera footage, for lack of a better description. Let's face it, with a show that evolves around exploiting and manipulating the darkness of human mind to this extent, it will generate controversy whichever direction it took, but I guess if you are going for that effect you might as you maximize the impact, which is done through an artistic choice in this case. I'm not sure if I want to stick with it to the end for my own sanity and even if I do, it would be more for the execution than the narrative. 

verdict: tentative 

It's all a bit of a jumbled mystery with Karneval's first episode. It's quite intense but didn't leave much impression on me despite so. It's not bad, actually scratch that, I would call it pretty solid on all fronts. The characters are intriguing with their personal background shrouded in secrets that no doubt connect to the grand picture in one way or another. The crime fighting organization Circus also has a lot to show for with the abilities they possess and I'll take a woman who can kick ass any day. I think I became kind of detached half way through the episode when it continued to bombard us with one event after another with no sign of slowing down. Sometimes confusion is not a good way to draw attention. Now, I don't think it would be a problem if the story is given the proper length to flesh things out, character and plot. The animation is pretty, not particularly innovative, but very pleasant on the eyes. All in all, it's here to stay in my watch list and I look forward to see how the story unwrap.

verdict: watching 

Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge 
There are times when ideas sound completely ridiculous that I have a hard time suspend my disbelief, and now is such a time. But despite having all the ingredients for disaster, the premiere actually turned out better than I thought. It's not spectacular but it didn't fall completely flat either. Our main dude has a obsession with hair, which I thought was just a strange fetish and nothing more, but how horribly wrong I was – the impulse to cut and dismember....something.. is apparently in his lineage. As if that's not outlandish enough, the people who kidnapped our moe moe female lead also seem to have some connection with this psychotic ancestor of his. I suspect even with her hair cut, it won't be the end of the chase and she must have more meaning to the central conflict than the story let on so far. Hero syndrom and damsel in distress are still elements that don't exactly bode well and I won't be surprised if the plot takes a dive in the near future, but for now, I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt as a show of appreciation for the well executed first episode. 

verdict: tentative

Devil Survivor 2
I haven't really seen that many game adaptions, so I can't comment on how well the show might turn out on the basis of its source material. The first episode is dramatic, almost too dramatic to inspire any real emotion. If there is one thing I know about fantasy games in general is that they don't rely on strong internal logic to work – people are playing for the purpose of exerting control over the outcome of the story, elaborate explanation is simply not a necessity. But an anime narrative functions differently, it is bound by a need for internal logic to come across as believable and without it, we get something like this, where the main characters just get random power ups for the sake of it. Yeah, I realize I'm probably being too's just that sci-fi and magic don't particularly mesh well unless the story can really find a good intersection point to draw out the strength of both. That's not to say the premiere is horrible, I think the intrigue is there, but it will have to give rise to some seriously amazing plot twists to keep me going all the way to the end. 

verdict: tentative 

Well, this is about as far as my rant will go. I still need to watch Arata, and besides RDG, I think these are the ones I'll stick with for now.

And...I will watch Valvrave lol...thanks for the reminder. xD 


  1. No Hataraku Maou-sama? Haha. That premiere was hilarious.

    Anyway, these are pretty solid, I'm sure there's something you'll end up liking in there. Suisei and Shigeki are probably at my top right now, and there's still Kakumeiki Valvrave to look forward to on the sci-fi end.

    1. Kairi, slap me (gently) for forgetting Valvrave, I swear it's the tongue-biting name....Hah. It's unforgivable since I loved CG a great deal. Yesh, I shall re-edit.
      Shigeki and Suisei are my top two too, and I'm sure it's a lot of people's top two. I.G is really on a roll here these days eh

    2. And is it really? Haha, I wasn't sure if Hataraku Maou-Sama would be something for me, but I guess I won't know until I try it out. Okay, I'll do that after catching up on Brit History......

    3. Nah, haha, it's airing so late it's hard to remember. xD Code Geass was really good, I'm just hoping they'll keep the CGI down a bit here. Akito wasn't nearly as nice to look at as CG because of it. It is, but Bones is still my favorite, haha.

      It's just really hilarious, haha. I dunno if the rest will be good, but the first episode is worth watching. I just finished NO so it will be up momentarily.

    4. Oh yeah...the CGI is definitely cause for concern, I prefer 2D mechs much more than 3Ds, but I never thought Sunrise would be the one to latch on to the style, given their experience with Gundam. It's part of the reason why Bones is so great, the people there endorse 2D as part of their philosophy and while it's labour intensive, they never strayed from it even after all these years. I've read a number of interviews with Bones staff where they always say it's important to recruit artists with the same passion for traditional hand drawing as they do. They really pride themselves on it. So it's a little sad to see the parent studio Sunrise going a different route.

      I watched Maou and I begrudgingly agree that it's actually one of the best premieres this season lol. Nah, I mean it, it's really good, hilarious throughout.