Spring 2013 Final Thoughts

With the Spring season finally complete, these are the shows that survived my attention span and my overall thoughts on them. Ranked by my evaluation of their quality.

Note: For the record, the titles that I dropped are:
  • Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai.
  • Photokano
  • Mushibugyou
  • Hayate no Gotoku! Cuties
  • Devil Survivor 2 The Animation

7. Aku no Hana

Studio: Zexcs

[gg]_Aku_no_Hana_-_03_[1591D8CE].mkv_00:23:20_07-05-13

Refer to this write-up. In short, it’s not the art style that warrants the most criticism but the pretentious plot.

Score: Awful (3/10)

6. Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S

Studio: JC Staff

[UTW-Mazui]_Toaru_Kagaku_no_Railgun_S_-_12v0v1_[720p][727573A0].mkv_00:02:59_07-05-13

This season of Railgun—while still running for another cour—has proceeded exactly as I expected it to be. The plot remains as hackneyed as ever, the characters are lifeless puppets, and the occasional episode extorts too much pressured dorama. If it weren’t for my anime list OCD and if I hadn’t watched the rest of the Toaru Majutsu franchise, I would drop this faster than the next “Onee-sama!!!” cry. Still, I do enjoy Mikoto’s adventures around the city (far more than Railgun’s stupider parent series), and the cameo appearances and action scenes have kept me marginally entertained.

Score: Bad (4/10)

5. Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko.

Studio: JC Staff

[gg]_Hentai_Ouji_to_Warawanai_Neko_-_12_[B175184C].mkv_00:08:10_07-05-13

I must say that I’ve been relatively impressed with HenNeko. The comedy has its golden moments, and Yokodera cleverly manages to reel out outrageous lines while forcing the tsukkomi role onto others. The alliterations within the cast’s names are also an added bonus, e.g., Yokodera Youto, Tsutsukakushi Tsukiko. However, aside from the occasional amusement, the praises end there. The drama pulls off deus ex machina solutions while spurring more haphazard conflicts, and the plot holes are innumerable. Moreover, none of the characters, even Yokodera, are all that memorable. I’ve enjoyed how he wriggles his way out of different contexts (for example, the twin brother gag with Tsukushi) but I’ve found the majority of his running jokes to quickly be repetitive.

Score: Bad (4/10)

4. Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru.

Studio: Brains Base

[Commie] Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru - My Teenage RomCom SNAFU - 13 [CF1873BA].mkv_00:03:18_07-05-13

Hachiman’s antics are the only reason I watch this show. As a bit of a depraved human being, his monologues are absurd yet funny, and they’ve even been remarkably accurate at times. He’s usually self-aware and manages to lampshade otherwise tiresome events. While he makes for a lesser (and more pessimistic) Kyon, he has made the series a thrill to watch. The other two in the main cast trio (Yukino and Yui) have been fine but carry less interesting personalities. Yet what really ties down the series has been everything else, ranging from the most inane supporting cast, weak conflicts, and an incohesive storyline. Poor 8man. He deserves to be in a better show.

Score: Bad (4/10)

3. Shingeki no Kyojin

Studio: Wit Studio

[gg]_Shingeki_no_Kyojin_-_13_[D7CF2624].mkv_00:13:07_06-30-13

Easily the most bombastic and over the top work of this year, Shingeki just doesn’t know when to quit shouting emotions at you. The worldbuilding is practically bare, and the CGI has not been as great as everyone raves it to be; it’s so distinctive I would even say it’s occasionally jarring in implementation. What’s also disappointing is how their society, with hints of social stratification, is never elaborated upon; the most we ever learn is the bare necessities for a “tower defense” game. The culture is also non-existent, and the architecture has been bland and uninspired. As for the cast, the character development hasn’t gone anywhere (despite stagnant growth or lack of focus on many cast members) but it hasn’t been all that bad. I do still look forward to how the story progresses, particularly in how Shingeki handles its large cast to its advantage. This is what stops me from calling it the next Kotoura-san or Kokoro Connect. However, I don’t see it toning down its obnoxiousness any time soon, and so I have meager prospects for the overall series.

Score: Bad (4/10)

2. Suisei no Gargantia

Studio: Production IG

[UTW-Vivid]_Suisei_no_Gargantia_-_01_[h264-720p][FA28D2FD].mkv_snapshot_08.38_[2013.04.07_20.57.52]

After spending a good half of its length doing basically nothing, Gargantia takes an old adage and tries to make it mean something more. Of course, the resultant Urobuchi plot devices have left the work in utter failure at times. Moreover, some of those previous “nothing” episodes were also the best parts of the series! Save for the occasional atrocious writing, the screenplay has been top-notch. The cinematic music and richer colors in particular complement the simplistic plot well. However, the work is largely incomplete in most of its realms, leaving a mediocre and subpar taste to a lot of the story progression. Several characters’ backstories, as well as hidden secrets (either Ledo’s or Gargantia’s), remain unsolved and partially touched upon, and many characters receive flimsy (and banal) development. In fewer words, Gargantia overall has been an underwhelming and mediocre experience. Production IG may have spent most of its budget on the premiere’s first 10 minutes (see above picture), and then they couldn’t cough up enough money to send Ledo back into outer space.

Score: Okay (5/10)

1. Hataraku Maou-sama!

Studio: White Fox

[Commie] Hataraku Maou-sama! - 13 [A79F8ED2].mkv_00:07:28_07-05-13

As the most charming show of the season, Maou-sama manages to take a gimmicky premise and spin it into something far more genial. Its comedy feels natural at most times, and the cast seamlessly match each other line for line. The beginning episodes also conjure a surprisingly realistic emulation of pink collar jobs, despite stereotyping fantasy archetypes half of the time. Nothing is as dissonant a pairing as the Devil working part-time at a MgRonald’s, and yet Maou-sama manages to squeeze by all of its plot holes with few complaints. Unfortunately, the numerous harem elements have dumbed down much of Maou-sama’s content, and it’s been the fantasy storylines that have really had the weakest plots. The work just doesn’t always manage to mix comedy and drama very well. Sure, it’s a fun satire once in a while, but surely not as often as the rabid fanbase will make it seem.

Score: Okay (5/10)

Overall

This has been a pretty poor season. None of the titles, whether popular or obscure, have held much merit or even shown to have much dedicated content. It’s been a pandering season for sure, and the more serious titles such as Suisei no Gargantia, Shingeki no Kyojin, and Aku no Hana, admit considerable flaws in their writing. I even took an anime hiatus halfway through the season because of its tediousness. It’s good to see this season finally close its book and be forgotten about.

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2 comments

  1. drgonzo7 · · Reply

    By far the most entertaining season I’ve experienced yet. Maou-sama, HenNeko, and Gargantia being the best ones out of the bunch. I understand you don’t take into account great entertainment as highly as me, but I think a 4 or 5 is a bit much.

    1. Perhaps. I occasionally question how stingy I am with my ratings now compared to the past. Above all though, I use them for comparing one work to another (not that appropriate comparisons can always be made), and I think shows I’ve rated a 6 deserve better than these. Then again, I am an old miserly man sometimes. :)

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