The summer season is fully upon us. And as a new feature, we’ll be doing weekly round-up’s and recaps. Each week, and different author will pick up the mantel, and walk you through the shows they’ve watched. So, let’s get this started!
Sunday is my lazy anime day. There’s typically nothing spectacular that comes out, especially after a frantic Saturday. But, it did bring two interesting paranormal shows in Uchouten Kazoku and Blood Lad. Uchouten Kazoku (or Eccentric Family), brings us the story of a spirit world mixed in with our modern society. This first episode was interesting, in it’s introduction to the story and the characters. And, It probably had the first trap character I actually enjoyed watching in an anime.
Blood Lad on the other hand didn’t impress. While being more comical than drama in comparison to Uchouten Kazoku, it just wasn’t that funny. A vampire, from a demon dimension who’s infatuated with the human world, comes in contact with a real human girl, and comedy is supposed to ensue. A joke here or there was good, but it overall just fell flat.
Monday started us off with the first episodes of Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui! (No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular!) and Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami Hen (The World God Only Knows: Goddesses Arc). Both come from popular manga, with TWGOK making it’s third season debut. This two share a similarity, in that their main characters play countless dating sims, but that’s where the similarities end.
Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui! is supposed to be a “dark comedy” of sorts. Watamote attempts jokes about how social inept separated the female lead is, but the story comes across as sad and depressing. It really isn’t that funny. I picked up Watamote some time ago, and read around the first 10 chapters. I knew what to expect, which didn’t leave me with much anticipation. And while it was well animated and paced, it just wasn’t all that good. It’s dropped for the same reasons I dropped the manga.
TWGOK is looking to make a splash this season with one of the most popular arcs in the manga. Unfortunately, the episode starts by taking a mere 5 minutes rehashing important plot elements that happen in between Season 2, and the beginning of this arc. While unfortunate, at least they managed to get that information out so that people unfamiliar with the manga wouldn’t be left in the dark. Once that was over, the episode hit full stride, and was everything a fan would have wanted. It’s unfortunate that we may only get to experience one of the most lovable characters, Kanon, for just this one episode.
I’m going to skip right through Tuesday, because quite frankly, nothing great comes out on Tuesdays.
Wednesday brings us to what has to be the most hyped show of the season, Free!. While I was a huge skeptic of this show, I’ve watched both episodes. And honestly, it’s not that bad. This week continued where it left off, with our characters coming to grips with their need to swim, and the eventual formation of a swim team at their school. While enjoyable, this show feels like a typical KyoAni production. The characters are just gender-swapped of previous endeavors. It’s a formula that works for them. It reminds me a lot of the shows on CW (an American TV channel), who programming is focused on the 10-18 female crowd.
Thursday. Thursday is arguably still the greatest day in anime. The lineup features: Majestic Prince, Silver Spoon, Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-Bu, Danganronpa, Rozen Maiden, Love Lab, Symphogear G, and Servant x Service.
Majestic Prince, in it’s unappreciated glory, continues to provide a meaningful story, with fantastically animated space mecha fights. It’s a shame more people don’t watch it. This week showed just just how capable our team leader is, but at what cost does this come to him, and his team?
Silver Spoon makes in Noitamina debut this week. The story follows a bright young high school student from the city, that in an effort to get away from it all, enrolls in a rural agriculture high school. Needless to say, watching the shocked look on his face as comes to grips with what farming and husbandry is, was quite amusing. Even the joke of “anal eggs” managed to get a smile out of me. As I understand it, it kept true to the manga, which could bode well for this anime going forward.
This week’s episode of C3 formally introduced us to the last member of the club, and our MC’s roommate. More airsoft action ensues, as the scenario is VIP, with our MC defending her right to not join. As this episode ends in a predictable way, it’s hard to imagine why this show get’s so much hate. People whining and moaning that is set’s a poor example through it’s mock battles, and jokes about scenarios involving other students. To me, if feels like people are impressing their own fear of guns on this show, without giving it the proper review.
Danganronpa was almost dropped after it’s first episode. It came across as a terrible game adaptation. And this week was only marginally better. We finally get our first student death, and the reveal of the other half of the rule. This forces our MC-kun into a frantic search for evidence to clear his name before the deadly trial ahead. I’m still not sold on this show.
Rozen Maiden finally starts it’s main story line, after last week’s previous incarnation recap. We find that we are in an alternate universe. Our main character receives strange packages and just engrossed himself in the effort of doll making. The whole episode feels forced, and the pacing was terrible. Next week may spell the doom for my continuing to watch it.
Love Lab continues the quest to get a boyfriend, while introducing us to three more characters. But even with that, the episode feels a lot like last weeks. The originality and novelty are wearing off, and this show needs new gimmick. It really can’t keep going with the same jokes, and think it’s going to get anywhere.
Symphogear G was not a show that was high on my list. As it’s been pointed out, I said I wouldn’t watch it. But, I gave it a chance, and have watched this first intro arc. While well animated with enjoyable music, our main character still gets on my nerves. Much like Naruto, I hate the “if we’d all be friends, the world would be better” heroes. I’m more of the, “Lets settle this with our fists” kind of hero. But, in general, not a bad start.
As a government subcontractor, and employee of a large corporation, I complete get Servant x Service.These first two episodes have been great. And with this week’s dive into the personal lives of the employees, it got better. From the (secret) cosplay life, to an over protective younger sister, this week’s episode was a good laugh. Hopefully, there’s plenty of content to keep it going.
Friday brought me the show I was most hyped for: Gatchaman Crowds. I like my hero shows, but as I mentioned in my Symphogear comment, I’m picky about my heroes. Tiger and Bunny represents for me how well this can be done, and nothing has quite matched up since. Gatchaman’s mix of eccentric characters, contrasting colors, and beautiful transformation sequences make for potential “must-watch”. This show had my attention from the first moment it started. But can the writing, and budget, keep it up?
In addition to Gatchaman on Friday’s, Railgun continues this summer with it’s second cour. And we’re to a point where it has crossed over with the Index franchise, much to it’s fan’s dismay. Many people don’t like Touma, and for good reason. But, there will be no getting away from him until the Sister’s arc is over. Which, with 8 episodes left, makes me wonder how they’re going to stretch this out, and if not, what comes after?
While Saturday may have as many releases as Thursdays, it lacks (in my humble opinion) the same quality, with only Monogatari Series: Second Season, Genshiken Nidaime, Shingeki no Kyojin, Kami-sama no Inai Nichiyoubi, and (as chill goes up my spine) Kimi no Iru Machi.
Monogatari is not for the faint at heart. The shear amount of dialogue could make a politician fall asleep. But, this week mixes in some interesting scenes to help ease our suffering. And wow, what scenes there are. I’m sure you’ll have no trouble finding them. But is the show better with, or without, Araragi?
Genshiken continues is unabashed dive into the intricacies of being a cross dresser. This mission complete overwhelms the other subtle plot elements going on, and is starting to be tiresome. Yes, the dude dresses as a chick, and looks 1000 times better than you. Get over it. Not having read the manga, and not knowing what is next, I hope we get so follow a little more of the manga release, and less on the rotten girl club.
I’m on the fence in regards to Shingeki no Kyojin. While I enjoy the manga, I find the anime to drag. This week kicks off the new story, separating us from the battles inside the walls, to exploration of the human-titan phenomenon , and battles outside the walls. This is where the manga got good, and hopefully the anime as well.
I watched a pre-air episode of Kami-sama no Inai Nichiyoubi initally, and wasn’t impressed. This episode picks it up a bit. We get some history into our characters, and a purpose to their actions. While it still feels like a medieval zombie story, it has gotten a little better. But it’s going to have to settle down a bit and pick a story.
Kimi no Iru Machi continues the long quest of terrible male leads in romantic dramas, as in similar series like Good Ending and Ichigo 100%. It’s appalling how long you can drag out a story about a bland male, who manages to attract the attention of every beautiful female within 100 miles. But, this manga has done it, and it’s now an anime. Enjoy watching this train wreck, and get to know it’s more affectionate name “Kimi no Rage Machi”.
And with that, our week ends. What stood out? Gatchaman Crowds and Uchouten Kazoku put on quite a good first episode. They put just enough out there to tease, while leaving the story open for exploration. Definitely my recommendations for the season. A number of other’s could be good, but I can’t say I’m getting my hopes up. Watch Blood Lad and Danganronpa at your own discretion, as these shows look to be falling fast. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be watching TWGOK, Symphogear or Monogatari, especially if you’ve seen previous seasons. And, if you haven’t already, give Free! a try. And at all costs, avoid romantic dramas.