Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The season that was

I watched a few shows that ended recently, namely Another, Black Rock Shooter, Chihayafuru, Nisemonogatari, Persona 4 and Rinne no Lagrange.

Another was pretty enjoyable, even though it didn't quite end up as I thought it would from watching the first few episodes. It sold itself as a horror anime, revolving around a curse that was causing students in a particular class to die rather gruesome deaths. It got a bit cheesy in parts, with things like cliche horror music playing before something bad happens, and I'm not entirely sure whether that was intentionally cheesy or not. The characters were a bit underdeveloped, particularly the side-characters, but the story of the curse was told quite well and I enjoyed the ride. 

Mei >>> Twintails. Not to say twintails was bad at all, but eyepatch wins out.

Just when you thought teen angst was bad, Black Rock Shooter introduces you to the wonderful world of pre-teen angst. Girls with ridiculous problems deal with them in the worst possible ways, then we find out it's all because of magic. And possibly rainbow birds. In its defence I did quite like the otherworld CGI animation. A lot of people dislike CGI on principle, but it can look good and this is a reasonable example of that. 

I do think it's time to lay the BRS franchise to rest though. It's come pretty far considering it's all based on some illustrations, but I'm not sure how much further it can go considering the lack of underlying story. Having said that, the characters and setting is very visually appealing and I'd quite like to see an OVA that just completely abandons story for some fight-scene eyecandy.

I really liked Chihayafuru. I'd never even heard of karuta before watching it, but I do like game/sports anime in general and this one was certainly presented in an interesting way. The shoujoesque parts (i.e. the Taichi-Chihaya-Arata love triangle) don't get a lot of attention with the anime squarely focusing on the game itself, which to me is a good thing. I also quite like the way that the protagonists don't win all their games, and while I've seen some complaints about the fact that they seem to lose more often than not, you can still look back and see how far they've come over the course of the show.

The characters are all very likeable (except for Taichi being a little brat as a kid), and I really enjoyed the show as a whole. I hope it gets a second season.

I didn't like Nisemonogatari as much as I liked Bakemonogatari. The clever dialogue was still there but the plot felt very pointless compared to Bake and the fanservice was really ramped up to compensate. My memory is probably playing down the amount of fanservice in Bake, but I remember feeling like there was an underlying story and that it was pretty important, whereas I really don't get that feeling with Nise. The character designs are still great, but I wouldn't be eager to watch it again. I'll still probably watch future adaptations in this series as I hear that the plot picks back up again.

Persona 4 was alright. As an adaptation it was pretty good, especially considering the scope of the game and the limited number of episodes, though it did feel a bit rushed leading up to the ending. The fight scenes were also fairly short, and it's a bit annoying that the final episode/OVA won't be out until October. It was a good watch if you've played the game (which was obviously the target audience for the show), but I'm not sure how much you'd enjoy it otherwise.

Rinne no Lagrange was my mecha show for the season, although I'm considering watching Aquarion at some time as well, since it seems to have been fairly well received. Rinne was a good show from the visual aspect, as to be expected from Production I.G., and I really liked the three main girls - Lan is damn cute, Madoka pulls off being relentlessly positive without it just getting irritating, and Muginami is fine too. 

From a story perspective it's less impressive, with the whole mecha thing being largely sidelined for slice-of-life school activities. This creates a jarring contrast on the few occasions where shit suddenly gets real, since afterwards the characters invariably cheer right back up and move on like nothing ever happened.

The OP was the best of the season. I liked the show and will watch the next season, but you may be disappointed if you're watching it only for the mecha.

As for the coming season, I really haven't looked at what's coming up. I know I'll at least be watching Fate/Zero but I'll play it by ear for the rest. What do you think looks interesting?


  1. I'd wanted to watch all of these, but backlog keeps growing...

    >i hope i can afford my figure preorders
    Are you having money trouble?

  2. I've only watched BRS out of all these (the other series off the season that I watched would be Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou - currently running on backlogs on older series). Haven't looked at the next season's list, alas.

    Kinda wondering about the labels you put up there, hmhm.

  3. I'd agree with you on the series I did watch. Choosing Mei and twintails is a really hard choice. But Mei wins since she is the cutest.

    >i hope i can afford my figure preorders

    I wonder this all the time. Impulse buying is so dangerous.