Spring 2013 Check-in – and Spring 2012 Retrospective

Suisei no Gargantia - 03-4 Dansai Bunri - 03-38 Hataraku - 03-16
Red Data Girl - 06-31 Shingeki - 03-24 Tsuritama - 01

Three weeks in, Spring 2013 looks pretty good.

My take going into this season was that it looked solid – much better than Winter, but not as loaded with intriguing series as Spring of 2012* (the best season in five years, probably).  At this point that’s still where I stand, pretty much, though on-balance there have been enough series that have surprised on the upside that I’d call the season a little better than I expected.

One thing we knew going in is that if you were a fan of sci-fi, mecha and fantasy this was going to be a  banner season.  While the strength of 2012 was character drama, this season is heavy on the sprawling epic – the sort of timeless series we saw a lot of back in the 90’s but not as much of since. Some of them have obviously been better than others but on the whole, the quality of the mecha/SF offerings has been notable, and however you want to classify Shingeki no Kyojin (fantasy is probably the closest to being a good fit) it’s mostly delivered on what it seemed to promise.

Outside of those genres, Spring 2013 has been bolstered by a couple of surprisingly good comedies and the emergence of Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge as the one truly excellent “alternative” series – dark, moody, character-driven and gorgeous to look at.  But it still pales compared to the best seasons on that side of the spectrum, and that’s where the absence of NoitaminA is most keenly felt – though the glut of good popcorn series softens the blow.  The continued spread of Light Novel Disease continues, and this season has its share of terminal cases – though a couple of the LN adaptations have proved watchable at the very least.

On, then, to Spring 2013:

The Elite

Suisei no Gargantia
Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: A
Comments: This series was high on everyone’s radar screen coming in, and with good reason – Urobuchi Gen taking on mecha anime for the first time.  Gargantia has been even better than I expected – top-line in terms of production, tightly written, with a gripping story and seemingly better character dynamics than we’re used to with Gen.  Gen has commented that he wanted this to be a more hopeful show than he’s typically delivered, and so far it’s delivered on that – but it also has a difficult and complex premise than obviously alludes to today’s global political and military situation.  This is one of two Spring shows I’d say has a real chance to be remembered as a classic, and after three episodes I like it better than any Gen series to date.

Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge
Episodes Watched: 4
Grade: A
Comments: This was one of the shows I tagged as a potential sleeper, but my expectations have been exceeded.  Studio Gokumi and director Yamaguchi Yuuji are delivering a visual feast with the help of a big chunk of the TTGL animation team.  Crime Edge is the best-looking show of the season but it’s also beautifully written, without a scrap of anime cliche anywhere in the premise or character interaction.  The main pairing is one of the strangest and most authentic in any recent anime, and the cast is full of odd and disturbing supporting characters.  The biggest surprise of the season.


Hataraku no Maou-sama
Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: A-
Comments: White Fox is compiling quite an impressive record, following on the heels of Steins;Gate and Jormungand with this whip-smart and edgy comedy.  The animation has leveled off a bit, but the first couple of episodes were the best the studio has ever delivered in that department.  Ohsaka Ryouta is in the midst of another knockout performance as Sadao, the incarnation of Satan living a life in exile as a part-timer at MacRonald’s in present-day Tokyo.  Supporting cast is strong as well, especially Ono Yuuki as Satan’s devoted “house-husband” Ashiya.  I missed the boat on this one going in, but it might end up as one of the best comedies of 2013.

RDG: Red Data Girl
Episodes Watched: 6
Grade: A-
Comments: RDG has never really recovered from having an odd release schedule (Niconico is two weeks early with its usual crappy quality) and a so-so premiere.  It’s too bad, because people are missing a very good series indeed.  It has the usual P.A. Works eye candy, a complex Shugendou/Shinto plot, the season’s best ED and the character dynamics are getting better and better every week.  It’s remarkable how much the show is able to accomplish every week without seeming rushed, though I do worry about the 12-episode schedule.  If you were turned off by the early releases and gave up after an ep or two, this would be a great series to give a second chance in HD form.  The 6th episode is the best of the series, full of wit and beauty and a sense of unease about what’s to come.

Very Good

Shingeki no Kyojin
Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: B+
Comments: This was the most anticipated show of the season – both for me and for the anime community as a whole – and it’s mostly delivered.  I haven’t found any of the characters especially compelling and I dislike a couple of the stylistic choices Production I.G. has made in terms of the art, but the action is excellent, and the premise is one of the most interesting we’ve seen in a long time –  a rousing story of the struggle to survive with a boatload of intriguing mysteries.  Gargantia has certainly been better so far, but Attack on Titan is a great watch – and it has two cours to develop things on the character side of the ledger.

Oreimo 2 - 01-21 Arata Kangatari - 01 - Large 39[3] Valvrave - 02-27


Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai 2
Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: B
Comments: Oreimo remains the one series of its type that I can’t get out of my system.  The first three eps of the second season haven’t been stellar, and some things still drive me nuts (Kirino and her friends, for starters) but Oreimo retains an authenticity that most LN-based shows simply don’t possess.  I hope this will climb in the rankings as the season progresses and it digs deeper for emotional clarity, of the type we saw in the first season that it’s capable of.

Arata Kangatari
Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: B
Comments: There’s nothing fancy about Arata Kangatari, which thus far is a very straightforward adaptation of what amounts to a straightforward shounen action fantasy (albeit one with a bit of shoujo style).  But it’s entertaining in the same way the manga is, and the anime has done a nice job of setting the table – the problem is there’s only three minutes for dinner, as the manga is 170+ chapters and counting and the anime is 12 episodes.

Kakumeiki Valvrave
Episodes Watched: 2
Grade: B
Comments: This has probably split the audience more sharply than any series I’ve blogged past the premiere this season.  What you get out of Valvrave seems pretty much dependent on what you bring into it, and for me as someone who’s neither a hater or a diehard fan of Sunrise and their tendencies, I find this to be a rousingly entertaining if admittedly very silly show.  I believe there’s an element of self-parody in the way Valvrave is using its own tropes against itself, and I think part of the aim of the series is to subvert expectations – but that’s largely a matter of opinion and waiting for further developments.  If you hate it, yo hate it – for me, Valvrave is working pretty well so far.

Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san
Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: B-
Comments: It’s undoubtedly pretty light and fluffy, but I like this show a lot.  It’s old-school, high-spirited anime comedy that doesn’t take itself at all seriously and doesn’t talk down to the audience.  As expected as a half-length series Namiuchigiwa doesn’t deliver a lot of profundity or depth but what it does, it does very well.

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W
Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: B-
Comments: Very little has changed since the first season with Haiyore!, and there was really no reason to expect it would.  It’s usually quite funny and occasionally brilliant, with enough insider humor to keep any otaku satisfied.  None of the first three episodes have been among the series’ best, but it’s worth noting that the animation has taken a significant step up in quality.

Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: B-
Comments: Another one that was nowhere on my watch list coming into the season but has turned out pretty well.  I always enjoy a good story in this setting, and Mushibugyou has an interesting premise and characters to go along with a fine cast and terrific music.  The animation is solid as well.  While this series is hardly great, I find it to be good fun and not a series you have to work too hard to enjoy.

Majestic Prince - 03-11 Yahari - 02-7 Karneval - 01 -12

Still Watching

Ginga Kikotai Majestic Prince
Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: C+
Comments: This is certainly the red-headed stepchild among the crowd of mecha anime this season, with its modest animation and silly-putty character designs.  I was pretty convinced that GKMP was going the straight-up parody route, but while there’s still a lot of comedy the third episode introduced some surprisingly dark themes regarding the exploitation of its young cast.  In some ways this show reminds me of Symphogear – a modest and sometimes even amateurish production that’s clearly the product of people who have a great deal of affection for the genre they’re commenting on.  I’m still on the fence – the fourth episode is going to be very telling as to whether this series has the chops to pull off what it’s trying to do.

Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru
Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: C+
Comments: I really want to like this one.  It’s Brains Base, I think there’s a good heart inside it, and it’s got a decent message it’s trying to get across.  But Yahari is so steeped in LN cliche that I don’t know if those elements will be strong enough to survive.  I enjoy the fact that it’s a show that’s actually about something, though I wish it wasn’t so consumed with pushing the right buttons along the way.  It’s also the least impressive Brains Base show I can remember in terms of visuals.  Another one that’s on the bubble.

Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko
Episodes Watched: 2
Grade: C+
Comments: Here’s a series that probably shouldn’t be as good as it is.  We have a LN adaptation with Kaji Yuuki as the male lead, and one that’s steeped in shameless moe pandering.  But it’s actually pretty good, because the humor has a sharper edge than most of its compatriots and the entire show has a relentless energy to it that’s rather appealing.  And while he doesn’t add anything much to the mix, this is the sort of role in which the damage Kaji can do is pretty limited.

Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: C
Comments: Another series I want to like – it’s a popular manga, has a great cast, not much moe and comes from Manglobe.  But it’s not doing much for me so far – everything is so foppish and over the top that I can’t really take it seriously, and not in a good way.  And Hiro Shimono is living out one of the worst casting choices in recent memory, whether he played the role in the CD dramas or not.


Photo Kano, Aku no Hana, Date-a-Live, Devil Survivor 2

The “probably blogging” and “digest” categories are back after a season off, what with the large number of shows in the middle of the quality range.  I’m also giving serious consideration to picking up Kingdom again when it returns in June.  Here’s the blogging schedule as it stands:

Definitely Blogging: Arata Kangatari, Game of Thrones
Probably Blogging in Digest: Mushibugyou

Definitely Blogging: None
Probably Blogging in Digest: Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W

Definitely Blogging: RDG: Red Data Girl (pre-air), Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge

Definitely Blogging: Hataraku Maou-sama
Probably Blogging: Kakumeiki Valvrave
On the Bubble: Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Price, Yahari

Definitely Blogging: Chihayafuru 2

Definitely Blogging: Uchuu Kyoudai, Oreimo, Shingeki no Kyojin

Definitely Blogging: Hunter X Hunter 2011, Suisei no Gargantia, Doctor Who

Watching for now: Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san, Hentai Ouji, Karneval

Wild Card: Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199.  This is one of the tougher calls I’ve had to make.  The first 15 episodes (last I checked) have been subbed from their Blu-ray releases.  No legal streaming site or subber has picked up the TV releases.  This is one of anime’s most important series re-imagined in splendid fashion, but it seems questionable to blog it when so few English-language viewers will be watching it as it airs weekly.

Spring 2012

Tsuritama - 02 Nazo - 01 Ginga - 01
Eureka AO - 01 Hyouka - 01 Jorm - 01

*Writing this post put me in mind of Spring 2012, naturally, and I wondered if I was looking back on that season with rose-colored nostalgia.  Was it really as great as I remember it?

In a word: yes.  As a reminder, here’s a partial list of shows from that season:

Uchuu Kyoudai
Nazo no Kanojo X
Eureka Seven AO
Ginga e Kickoff
Sakamichi no Apollon
Fate/Zero Season 2
Shirokuma Cafe

In addition, there were a number of other good series like Haiyore and Zetman, and a number of series that were very popular irrespective of how you feel about their quality – KuroBas, Accel World, Tasogare, Lupin III Fujiko Mine…  For my money there’s no doubt that Spring 2012 lived up to the hype and really was the best season since the peerless Spring of 2007, with great series at the top, depth, commercial appeal and a wide range of genres represented with superb shows.  Seasons like that really do seem to be once or twice a decade phenomena, in today’s environment anyway.



  1. K

    You've made me sad. I find Aku no hana to be the best show of the season :'(

  2. G

    Aku is terrible. I can't think of a single reason to watch it. Its just an ugly series. Hell even all the characters are ugly. I watched 3 episodes and dropped it.

  3. k

    I think the Aku no Hana anime manages to capture the tone and creepiness of the manga, so props up for that,and the voice acting is quite good too,it's mostly the graphics that turned of people, however I must say that it really hits of in episode 3 where the rotoscoping was put to good use!

  4. i

    Spring looks nice, though I guess some of the better shows didn't stick with me and a bunch of LNs did. Maybe I'm in moe withdrawal and needed some badly.

    Also I remember once telling you that I liked Initial D over Capeta but now that opinion is reversed, ah my early days of anime were rife with foolishness. Just the beginning with a lego ferrari f1 car was enough to put me back, considering how much I miss my lego back home. And since you were right on that I'll probably give Dansai and RDG another go

  5. l

    I'm surprised at how (relatively) low Shingeki no Kyojin is, but I'm aghast at how high Dansai Bunri Crime Edge is. The first (and maybe a half) episode(s) was definitely eye-catching, but it has very much so declined in value. Last week's episode with the escaped convict conflict was lackluster. This week's episode brought in a fresh batch of characters, which I slightly welcomed only because I thought the ones we already had were melodramatic and unappealing, but the new characters seem just about the same. Particularly, thought the explanation of the Judge's Killing Good was really corny.

  6. S

    Yeah, I can't really understand the interest for Crime Edge either. I watched only the first episode, but I found the writing to indulge in sins that I just can't forgive – mostly the random convenient infodumping, as well as the even more convenient fact that the MC doesn't use his scissors to try cut the cursed hair the first time. In general, it felt all very rushed and awkward. I could have liked an entire movie based only around the concept of a guy with a hair fetish (albeit possibly more reserved about it and less straightforwardly stalker-y) going on a quest to find magic scissors to cut the hair of a cursed girl. It would have given time to build a relationship between the two; it would have been original; and I wouldn't mind the erotic subtext which comes with the hair scenes (though not even close to these levels, I am a bit of a hair fan too, and hair is one of the first things I watch/am attracted to in a girl, so I can relate :D). But this? Rushed, creepy, and promising to go into yet another fighting show with MAGIC POWERS. I couldn't bring myself to like it in any way.

  7. S

    @Simone, your movie concept sounds terrible. But we all have different tastes, eh? ^^ I quite like Crime Edge and can't name any show this season that is indisputably better. Except ChihayaFuru, though.

    @Enzo, is there a reason why second seasons aren't rated in this post? I mean it would have been interesting to see what you thought of those so far, even if they weren't new.

  8. I've never covered continuing series in season previews or check-ins – I think those should be about the shows that premiere that season. There's always series reviews and if the show is good enough, the year-end posts.

  9. Z

    I didn't find Spring 2012 to be that great to be honest. Fate Zero part 2 was disappointing, Sakamichi ultimately went nowhere, Tsuritama was competent and consistent but unexciting overall (in my opinion). I probably enjoyed Lupin the most, yet some episodes were better than others.

    I actually think Spring 2013 is stronger, but we will have to wait and see how things fare.

  10. M

    Are we the same person?

    Last year had heaps of great looking shows that fizzled, this year possibly more surprises – always a healthy sign.

  11. l

    Just go pick up Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 to watch. I dare say that you'll enjoy it. If you rate Suisei no Gargantia highly, this, in my view, would rate higher.

    Last I checked (and have watched), there are 14 episodes out so far.

  12. Oh, I have watched – that's how I know how good it is. I just don't know about blogging it.

    As for this vs. Gargantia, it's hard to say with Gargantia only being three episodes in. Gargantia is clearly heavily influenced by Matsumoto Leiji, but that's like saying an epic fantasy trilogy is influenced by Tolkien. It's an homage, but doing some things quite differently as well.

  13. l

    Blog it to give it the attention that a good show like it deserves.

    The ED of the 4th movie (and used for Episodes 11-14 of the BD release), 記憶の光 (Light of Memory) by KOKIA, is fantastic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ub-JZJ6gWwQ

    p.s. I received my Eva 3.33 DVD (yes, DVD =P) earlier today from Amazon Japan. Watching it shortly =D.

  14. Yeah, I'll be blogging Eva Q in the next week, as I've only covered the raw.

  15. l

    I'll wait for your blog entry for Eva 3.33 to comment on it. Just finished watching the DVD.

  16. l

    What do you mean "irrespective of how you feel about their quality", Enzo??
    Mine Fujiko was the best show of last year!!

    Anyways, since I have a few minutes to spare, here's my take on this season.

    Suisei no Gartantia
    Eps watched: 3
    Grade: B
    Surprisingly good. As long as UroFapper doesn't start behaving like a butt-hurt rioting chav at a human psyche rally (like he usually does), it should remain watchable. Quality took a slight dive in the third ep (lame-ass pirate stooges), but I expected that.

    Shingeki no Kyoujin
    Eps watched: 3
    Grade: B
    Presentation wise, it's been decent for the most part. I'm still a bit apprehensive of committing to it, simply because I've read the source material and feel that it's gone a bit downhill. Will stick to it as long as it entertains. Not a fan of some of the voice acting, though, but there's been much, much worse this season.

    Aku no Hana
    Eps watched: 1
    Grade: D
    Pretentious drivel. I already find the manga petulant and repulsive, so the only way I'll continue this is if I get word that the director has totally diverged from the source material.

    Hataraku Maou Sama
    Eps watched: 3
    Grade C+
    Never expected to enjoy this, but it's been a nice ride so far. It's one of those titles that strikes a good balance between serious and comedic, as long as you don't take it too seriously.

    Dansai Barber Shop Crime
    Eps watched: 1
    Grade: E
    Protagonist has the most annoying voice this side of Karneval (which I'll get to later). It doesn't help that he got into pedophile-like palpitations the moment he saw the little girl with long hair. Even without that, the method of storytelling isn't for me. Was a drag.

    Red Data Girl
    Eps watched: 2
    Grade: D+
    They should have renamed this to RDG: Really Dull Grind, because that's what it felt like watching the 2 eps. Utterly insipid characters. I know Enzo's going on an on about how good it (supposedly) gets in later eps, but that's like telling children they'll get ice cream after after downing caster oil. Damage has been done.

    Yahari I Don't Give a F*ck What it's Called
    Eps watched: 1
    Grade: E-
    Fanboys can say what they want, all I saw was a first-world teen moping at his (self-inflicted) annoying reflection. Supporting chick wasn't all that fun either. It's like watching the children of failed politicians practicing the failed gerrymandering techniques their parents employed in their failed careers.

    Majestic Prince
    Eps watched: 1
    Grade: D+
    At first, it just seemed like a light hearted mecha parody of sorts, which would have made it bearable. But then the "leader" guy let his hero-complex surface, and everything went from corny to totally cheesy sh*t.

    Eps watched: 1
    Grade: D-
    They should rename this to Boy Speaks Through Vagina. It might have actually had a decent plot, I dunno. I sensed severe detriment to my health the moment the tranny-boy spoke, so I stopped. I doubt I'd be like Baccano anyway (the only zillion-character anime I like). Manglobe died after House of 5 Leaves, imho. Actually they probably truly died after Michiko & Hatchin. 5 Leaves was probably just a final last breath.

    Still Watching
    Gargantia, Shingeki no Kyoujin and Hataraku Maou, along with Chihayafuru from last season…. and Dr. Who obviously, though I'm a few eps behind.

    Everything else.

  17. If shark-jumping were an Olympic event, I think Mine Fujiko would have soared to the Gold. it started off pretty well and ended up a self-indulgent disaster.

  18. k

    I dropped it after two eps, good to know my hunch was right…

  19. v

    The biggest surprise for me this season is Oregaira. I just about expected a harem like Haganai with character tropes and just roll with it. While this anime has tropes like rich girl type (Miura) and genki girl (Yuigahama), this time, I can tolerate it because the character interaction is actually good and very snappy. It doesn't overly rely on pandering or silly melodrama thanks to the main character who is actually cynical and sure of what he wants. By watching it further, there's certain hinted history between a few characters, it is very interesting.

    As for the other anime they seem to be about what I thought it would be. Suisei No Gargantia will no doubt be running as the top anime as long as Gen Urobuchi is heavily involved. As for Dansai bunri no crime edge is weird and entertaining in an odd way, feels like watching Tim Burton's movie if he ever made an anime just because it has scissors as a main plot device. It will really probably be dark horse of the season. The only anime I really looked forward to was Devil Survivor: the animation, right now I can't really tell where it's going. It certainly is possible to hit the bottom or do something really unexpected.

    I can't really take Shingeki no kyojin seriously. Right now visual flair is all it can offer and the director Tetsurou Araki has a tendency to direct the anime with theatrics and various nifty angles. I hope it addresses some of the issues with foreshadowing and buildup than going for blockbuster anime. I find that pretty unlikely.

  20. e

    If the issue with Yamato 2199 is viewership&timing you can always make a belated first impressions/first half of the series post and/or blog the rest in episode clusters according to when and how they're split on the remaining disc releases :P.
    RDG has a 'weird' official release schedule but that has not stopped you from picking it for regular blogging.
    TL;DR if you like it and you have time blog it. You know you want to. And it's quite lacking in aniblog exposure it seems to me. It would be your blogging good deed matching your passionate DBNCE advocacy :p.

    The mere presence of GeK and SC is enough to secure my eternal and loving gratitude to Spring 2012 list, as quirky series go Nazo No Kanojo X is another favourite of mine, Tsuritama was really really good and full of energy and colour (I was first hooked by the visuals and the color palette is still the first thing I recall whenver Tsuritama pops up followed by Yuki's grannie and the dance of course XD) and Hyouka a charming grower.
    Jormungand and Ao gave me conflicting feelings but they had some memorable and riveting moments.
    Last but not least Mutta and Apo looove XD. Among the other Spring titles I watched
    A Woman Named Fujiko Mine was a mess but I really really liked the graphics, the OP and the OST :,).
    Yep, it was overall a very strong season even if I didnt watched or enjoyed as many series as you did. I'm a frigging elitist ohohoho my average excluding eventual carryovers is between 1 and 3 anime series per season. That Spring I was desperate to keep up with so many more episodes per week than usual X,DDD.
    This current season by comparison is well within my comfort zone :p. The new series that made the cut are Hataraku Mao-sama (B+), SnK (B+ <—- the speculah is fun but I consider it a potentially solid blockbuster rather than a masterpiece in the making), Suisei no Gargantia (could be an A by the end).
    RDG and Crime Edge are on hold unless your reviews for the complete series are spectacular XD. For the former is more a case of not being a fan of P.A. Works outside of scenery porn.
    I think I can see why you're so enthusiastic about CE (although the anime cliches are there buddy :p. The two sisters themselves are quite a big intruding example). A few scenes and details are really well done but something is rubbing me off the wrong way and increasing with every episode I watch. Maybe while I like some of the onscreen execution most of the source material itself might simply be not enough up my alley. Pity because I like hair for starters :,)

  21. I think there's a pretty big difference between RDG and 2199, in that RDG – whichever timeframe I use to blog it – is reaching new viewers. With Yamato, there's no reason to expect anyone who doesn't speak Japanese is watching it for the first time now – if they wanted to see it they'll already have watched it. If someone were streaming or subbing it, the BD releases wouldn't be a decisive argument against covering it. But since no one is…

    As for Crime Edge, I'm intrigued by the reactions to that show. I think the experience of watching it is so right-brained that it's just one of those series that either connects with you or it doesn't – in the same way we like or dislike food or wine based on our unique taste receptors. For me it's a total win – a breath of fresh air that's beautiful to watch and listen to and very smart to boot.

  22. e

    B-b-b-b-but… Yamato is still ongoing and you never know your persuasive power can persuade both anime newbies and veterans to either pick up the series for the first time or rather give it a second chance after reading about it on your blog :D. There will always be late comers Enzo. But with little to no buzz they might simply miss a good series. Whatever the reason Yamato 2199 is pretty underexposed and is so far a gem. It's a bit of a pity really.
    Well, if you do decide to blog about it I'll try my best pestering you with loooooooong comments. Such an incentive for you I'm sure *wink wink*.

    Ahah, whenever we have kink festival (or rather fetishes checklist) is onscreen it's pretty much a case by case thing for me, in anime form or otherwise. Examples: with Kanojo X I was pretty much onboard, Secretary (the movie) was a bit of a BDSM manifesto but I really liked it, while with Crime Edge I tend to rise an eyebrow way too often. I quite enjoy the bond between the two central characters – Iwai's loli design and apparent defenselessness nothwithsatnding – it has and endearing quality that remnids me a bit of Manabe and Kotoura and I don't mind the darkness potential between the two.
    That hair touching bit has even a bit of a personal connection as I still remember very clearly when suddenly and out of nowhere a stranger's hand went through my hair in a crowded place during a school trip. It can be a pleasant experience up to a totally creepy one (the above was the latter unfortunately. Huge rough palms and thick lingering fingers… I have a big head but the [I think it was a ] man managed to encase the whole back of my skull XD) because of how intimate the gesture can be.
    Back on Crime Edge, I like Kiri and Iwai's interaction but I'm finding myself annoyed at the rest :,). Now that I think about it I might have bought into the series as a slice-of-life with darker undercurrents + romnace /friendship rather than action and whatever conspiracy bits are looming at the horizon… those parts the way they were presented have made me zone out quite spectacularly(!).
    I'll keep an eye on your posts to see if on balance there is enough for me to enjoy down the road ^^.

  23. R

    Enzo, you should tack on a Spring 2007 list!

  24. H

    For me, A's would be Dansai Bunri, Red Data Girl, and Maou-sama.

    By itself at a B+ is Zettai Bouei Leviathan, which while disappointing on the visuals front is just out and out entertaining and amusing. No show makes me laugh like that show.

    B's include Gargantia (close to B+), OregaIru, OreImo, Titan, and Date-a-Live (because I love Marina Inoue's character, so this could fall off if she gets shuffled into the background).

    B- has Aku no Hana, Yuyushiki, DeSu2, PhotoKano, Muromi-san, Hentai Ouji, and Nyarlko.

    C is Samurai Brides, Aiura, Sparrow's Hotel, and Valvrave. That last is one that I'm just not on board with at this point, even though a lot of people who usually have similar tastes to mine really like it.

    So far the only show I really dislike this season that I've tried is Karneval. If it was more about Circus, and not at all about Nai, I'd probably like it quite a bit more, but Nai's just awful.

  25. B

    I feel like if this were a summer season I'd like it a heck of a lot, but as a spring season it just feels a little flat. It doesn't have the depth that we have come to expect from spring. Also it has TOO MUCH Kaji Yuuki, man have I ever had more than my fill of that chump.

  26. A

    I've went into some detail on twitter about this, but I'm not really surprised to see that our top 3 early picks of the season ended up matching up. To be honest, I still think that by the end Crime Edge will be the one that ends up being the show I love more, but for the time being it still positioned on a respectable #2

    For the rest, Majestic Prince and Hentai Ouji still tie for a solid fourth in my book. I still like the light hearted nature of both, and the visual appeal in the latter (and style of the former) add a bit to my enjoyment and appreciation for the work put into them. That and I don't really share the disdain that Yuki Kaji seems to attract (I don't hate him, nor do I particularly like him, but I do think he has his moments).

    RDG I fell behind at the moment, but I plan to catch up with. Aku Hana as well, considering how fascinating of a show it is.

    Not surprised to see you drop Photo Kano like a rock in a pond. My heart still aches from the disappointment :(

    As for Valvrave, personally as someone who tends to be a fan of most Sunrise productions, I honestly thought that the show was just okay. There is a lot of interesting elements there that could be explored (and probably will be) in the future, but as it is I don't really have strong feelings regarding it in either direction. I guess I should be happy Sunrise is is getting out another classical mecha show after the long wait, but with two (three?) other offerings this season, I hope it starts to bring out the big guns to have me stick around with it.

    All in all, I'm fairly pleased with this season so far. It got off to a very strong start, there is a lot of variety, and many high quality shows are on display. The only problem is that it's that time of the year where I find myself sucked in by academia's demands, so I simply lack the time at the moment to follow with the things I want to keep up with.

  27. q

    You mentioned in your Gargantia section that it is one of two series that has the potential to be a classic. Do you think that Shingeki no Kyoujin is that other series?

  28. No, thought it was self-evident that it was Crime Edge as it's my other top-rated show. I worry about Shingeki to be honest – the nightmare scenario that flashes through my mind is that it ends up as another SAO, a series where I was fascinated by the setting but ultimately turned off by the way the characters inside it were written. I don't think that's likely – it seems clear the source material has significantly better writing – but I'm dubious that it could ever make the climb to masterpiece status based on the character dynamics thus far. I'd love to be wrong.

  29. V

    Crime Edge as a classic, hahaha, you crack me up.

  30. Thanks for the thoughtful contribution.

  31. V

    You mad, dog? I read almost all of your posts, and find your analysis to be great most of the time, but I can't even reach a half-understanding of your infatuation with Crime Edge.

  32. It's just hard to muster any will to respond to a comment like that first one. If you have a substantive rebuttal, great – but I've stated my case for Crime Edge in what, 30 paragraphs over 4+ posts? If all I see in response to that is effectively "You're an idiot for disagreeing with me" it doesn't really do much to add to the discussion.

  33. V

    I reread your Crime Edge posts. More than anything it was in effort to build a substantial response for you – for in no way do I regard you as an idiot. In fact I find the tenacity with which you blog anime to be inspiring. Sadly, I still don't see your perspective of the shows greatness. Largely, I think, the thing that puts me off about the show is how the main character's motivations and emotional attachments seem effortless and without grounded logic.

    With that in mind, and aiming as to not drag this out, would you mind imparting on me how you manage to relate to Haimura, Kiri?
    (I'm legitimately curious – as it paramount to understand all audience perspectives.)

  34. Vin, I just don't know how I can communicate it to you here if it didn't come across in those volumes of text. You're asking a fair question, but if my answers so far don't satisfy you I'm not sure this isn't just an agree to disagree scenario.

    In short, I don't see Kiri as behaving in a groundless fashion at all. He has a fetish for hair, which apparently has a magical component to it (the curse). He was fascinated by Iwai, whose hair was unlike anyone's he'd ever seen (indeed, we've already seen it has a hypnotic effect on other characters as well). He then became romantically attracted to Iwai (these are pubescent kids, let's not forget). Finally, he became outraged at the life she'd been forced to lead and vowed to become her "Knight" if you will – because he's fundamentally a good person with a sense of justice.

    For me, if you accept the logic of the series in the same way you have to accept the basic premise of any fantasy/SF/horror series for it to work, Kiri is highly relatable and his behavior makes perfect sense. If you don't feel that way that's fine – I would say it most likely means the basic premise of Crime Edge doesn't float your boat. That doesn't make either of us right or wrong, but I'm certainly not going to distrust my own reactions to a series based on another viewer's contrary ones.

  35. V

    Appreciate the reply, and I see your point. I think my mistake is in not having bought into the rules of the world before passing judgement on the character's believability. Clearly I've still got a lot to learn about building objective analysis.

    Word, Enzo! Word.

  36. s

    Of all the shows this season Im enjoying RDG (A) the most; next comes gargantia (A-), then Dansai(B+), then Aku no Hana (B+), and then Maou (B). About Aku no Hana; Enzo i know you dropped it due to the depravity of the story but the ability for a story to make it's audience feel extremely uncomfortable can be an art in and of itself. Maybe when the series is complete you should try giving it one more shot.

  37. Sonic, that isn't the reason I dropped AnH at all. Having read the manga I know what to expect from the anime story-wise, and the stunt visuals haven't grown on me. Yes, it takes talent to make people feel uncomfortable, and there's talent on display in the manga. But unless there's some purpose behind it, it's meaningless provocation. That's why it's so fitting that Baudelaire is the MC's favorite writer, because that was basically his game too.

    I could go into lengthy detail on why I don't care for the manga but TBH I'd rather not, because every place the series has been discussed (including this one) has degenerated quickly due to certain people use it basically as an excuse to heap insults on anyone who disagrees with them and I really don't want to deal with all that again.

  38. s

    fair enough because i do see what you mean by the idea that the show making people feel uncomfortable doesnt seem to have a grander purpose other than making its audience feel uncomfortable with bat shit insane characters; although why people would start insulting others for someone having a different opinion about a form of entertainment is beyond me. It's entertainment; everyone is going to have their own opinion of it. Sigh, but yeah my top 3 are RDG, Gargantia, and Dansai. RDG for its subtle story telling, Gargantia for its intriguing character designs, studio ghibli feel, and sci-fi element, and Dansai for its dark quirkiness and unconventionality.

  39. although why people would start insulting others for someone having a different opinion about a form of entertainment is beyond me.

    You and me both, but the evidence speaks for itself.

    That's not far off my top three either, since RDG is climbing fast. In some ways it's on an upward arc that reminds me of Zetsuen, and that turns out to be a stellar series.

  40. d

    well after the freakout that people had over Nazo no Kanojo X and the sharing of drool, I can see why so many folks find AnH completely beyond the pale. There's nary a redeeming value or character to be found (doesn't mean that the story and observations aren't valid) so I can understand why folks don't tune in but it's the type of story that needs to be executed properly and I'm simply not sure that this one is accomplishing that.

  41. M

    Back up Enzo. You've delivered a share of insult on those who do enjoy Aku no Hana. Apparently they "are falling over themselves to sound edgy". Some people really don't mind anime that views life from a darker perspective. It helps frame some of the most fascinating places into the psyche. The execution of the narrative works seamlessly in regards to this. The visuals aren't always endearing but again this isn't romanticism fluff by PA Works.

  42. Z

    Maou-sama is closer to a B – B+. It's not as funny as it could be and certain elements (i.e Emilia) drag it down a bit.

  43. m

    i think dansai is given too much credit… (but it's strictly my take). episode 1's awkward pacing with revealing the existence of the crime edge scissors… and episodes still somewhat start rather awkwardly and randomly… though i think it's really good at setting up the atmosphere i would admit. i guess you find it stylistic, but climatic scenes switching to the grayish red tone made it look bland and unfocused for me, it was too mono-coloured

  44. i

    This is a weird season for me, because I'm watching way more shows than usual (8 newbies + Chihayafuru), but I'm also excited about fewer of them than usual. I think the only ones I get giddy about when I see new episodes in my queue are Gargantia and Maou-sama (and Chihayafuru, obviously). The others all have enough good points that I want to keep watching, but some weakness that keeps me from really loving them, at least so far. Although, in Arata's case, my lack of excitement may just come from having read the manga and already knowing the story.

    I will say, though, that I'm watching RDG on Funimation, which is only up to episode four, and the series is quickly growing on me. I could see that one building itself into a favorite.

    So I guess I would describe the season as "heavy in B material, light in A material." But then I would have done the same thing for Fall 2012 at the beginning, and a bunch of those shows ended up as some of my very favorites in recent years (SSY, ZnT, TnK), so we'll see how the season progresses.

    Thanks as always for your blogs, Enzo! They've basically become my guidebook for worthwhile series. :)

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