Thursday, July 11, 2013

Summer 2013 Anime Round-Up

First things first, Gatchaman Crowds doesn't air until tomorrow so I'll be updating this post for that tomorrow, heck I would have had this up earlier except apparently crunchyroll doesn't let you use multiple guest passes in a one week period which threw a wrench into my plans. Second, normally I talk about the shows that carried over for me from last season but I actually wrote a rather rambly write-up of the spring season over on my tumblr which covered those shows. TL;DR, still following Space Bros and Doki Doki Precure but other than that I'm starting with a clean slate, let's get started then! oh one more thing, each of these impression is made after seeing just one episode of the show, some of these shows do have a second episode out by now but I just didn't have time to get to them.

Blood Lad
Vampire boy is obsessed with Japanese stuff.
This is an aggressively shonen show from the way the visuals are designed (lots of sound effects on screen, word bubbles at times, things you usually see only in either a 4-koma or shonen based adaptation, I'm trying to figure out why Brains Base has pushed this show back by an entire year since it certainly wasn't because of the art!) to the humor (look at this girl! she has boobs! and not much else on!). Heck even the character designs are a bit more shonen-y than usual now that I think about it and it's been so long since I've watched a show like this I had forgotten, this isn't really my type of show (and yes, this is technically based off of a senien manga, knowing that doesn't make it feel any less shonen plus sometimes you do get weird overlaps with those categories). I'm going to give it a couple more episodes to see if I warm up to it, the entire Manga Bookshelf seems to really like the manga and their tastes often line up with mine and it's certainly a a different take on vampires (but let's face it, by now almost every story with vampires is "a different take!") but at this point I don't see myself following it's entire 10 episode run.

Blood Lad has been licensed by Viz Media and is streaming on their site and on hulu so Canadian viewers are sadly out of luck this time.

Danganronpa the Animation
Super highschoolers trapped in murderous school.
Initially I thought "oh I'll give this a shot since I'd rather watch this than read the summaries/translations and don't have a PSP to download the game/patch (plus, these games never get licensed in the US)" and then NISA licensed the game (and someone else got Steins;Gate in the same day which had previously been my basis for "these games that super popular anime are based on don't get licensed"). Well then, don't have much reason to check out the show then (even if I don't have a PSP Vita to play the actual game on) and I'm a bit relieved, this just didn't flow well for me. It's odd but I dislike books and tv shows with this kind of setting, murder-mystery with the player character having warped morals by the end, but I do like games with it (I adored 9 hours 9 persons 9 doors which is a bit similar, I joked to friends that the setting and some of the characters kept giving me flashbacks). There it's fun to play as an asshole-ish character and see how much you can screw everything up, it's less fun to watch other people do it (although I know that mountains of Let's Play videos out there contradict me on this point). So with all of that in mind, I wasn't able to take anything seriously enough to enjoy it, and you're clearly not supposed to take a lot of this story seriously to start with, and hopefully someday I'll be able to give the game a try and enjoy it much more.

Danganronpa the Animation has been licensed for streaming by Funimation but the first episode won't be up until this Friday the 12th.

Eccentric Family (Uchoten Kazoku)
Humans, Tanuki, and Tengu live in Kyoto.
Based on a novel written by the same man who wrote the original The Tatami Galaxy novel this first episode didn't grab me as much as it seemed to grab some other people which was actually what I expected, Tatami didn't grab me until I tried watching it again about two years later after all. Although I suspect it won't take me nearly as long to get around to the second episode, while this first episode might not have grabbed me and taken me for a ride like other shows have done it was still interesting enough to make me curious about the rest of it. This was an introductory episode, we see a lot of the main cast, get a sense of the different factions in Kyoto, possible conflicts and mysteries are mentioned but nothing super exciting has happened yet, it's all set-up. But I am curious what this show is setting up and I like Kyoto quite a bit so I'm not going to turn down a chance to see it as a setting. So, unless the next few episodes are deadly boring I'm going to stick with this one and see just what it develops into.

Eccentric Family is streaming on crunchyroll.

Gatchaman Crowds
Super-powered humans fight rubix cube aliens.
While it didn't start out that way this ended up being my most anticipated summer show and it's not perfect but so far it's pretty fun. Well, fun if you consider being on a rainbow colored roller coaster for 30 minute fun (although strangely enough the episode was just 22 minutes long, not 25) and it's already clear that this series is a shorter one since the pacing is frenzied and feels even faster with how bouncy lead character Hajime is. I really do hope the next few episodes slow down a bit since there was a lot to take in here, it's the complete opposite of tsuritama (which shares a good chunk of it's important staff) and I can easily see how the fast pace and Hajime are putting people off, although it seems to have no connection to the original Gatchaman so newcomers like myself don't have that to worry about. Regardless, I'm in this one for the long run since I'm just in the mood for a super-colorful, fighting aliens show with a female lead, fingers crossed that it ends well!

Crowds is streaming on crunchyroll and currently unlicensed, however considering that Sentai recently licensed the original series many suspect they'll license this series as well. 

Kinmoza! (Kin-iro Mozaic)
Cute girls have intercontinental friendship
Not initially on my to watch list but after hearing so many people call it adorable I had to check it out and yep, that was a pretty adorable show. I liked it so far, this first episode is a flashback to how the main characters (a Japanese girl and a British one) met and became friends (in a rather romanticized Great Britain) and yep, not much happened but it was adorable none the less. I want to give the second episode a try but I have to ask, what is it going to do now? Are these girls with their friends going to form a club about Great Britain things? (since forming a club is all the rage now in anime-schools) Just do slice of life daily cute things with some culture shock? I'm okay with either of them but would like to know what they're going to do since I am worried about getting bored quickly, this isn't my normal type of show for a reason after all.

Kinmoza! has been licensed by Sentai and is streaming on Crunchyroll.

Free! Iwatobi Swim Club
Boys strip and swim.
I almost feel like this series needs no introduction considering how much the PV for it was being bandied about across the internet with various cries of "YES!" and "OMG IT'S OBJECTIFYING US [men]!" being thrown around. So to make things clear, no this anime was NOT made because tumblr wanted it (guys just look at it, you think that you can animate something with that much detail in the amount of time that passed between tumblr flipping out and the premiere? Hell no) and it doesn't really objectify men either, Zac of ANN articulates quite well why not so I'm just going to link to his review (it was his first so scroll of the bottom if you don't see it immediately). So, my thoughts? Well, fanservice in general isn't my thing (neither is swimming, I like the gymnastics part of the summer olympics much better) but I'm glad that they made the show so campy since that made it pretty fun to watch regardless. I doubt I'll continue it since there's so much else out there I want to watch right now but if I want to watch a mindless, well-animated show with a sense of humor then this one is at the top of my list.

Free! has not been licensed yet however it is streaming on Crunchyroll.

Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist
William doesn't believe in demons, oh-well.
So a few months back when this anime was announced I went off, read the manga, and started worrying. I've seen a lot of people compare this one to Black Butler and Pandora Hearts for thematic reasons (they both have the Victorian England inspired setting with gothic elements) but structurally they're the similar as well, they're all shows whose manga took a heck of a time to get to the meat of the plot (I gave up on Black Butler before finding out if it ever got there actually). So, judging from what I know, the pacing of this episode, and what was shown in the OP and ED (which by the way has a heck of a spoiler for one of the characters) this one is probably going to have a fast pace and either an original ending or an inconclusive one (which I think is more likely) since I can't really think of a place to end it as the manga currently stands AND the story is bland enough that I doubt it's going to sell well enough for a sequel. Which is rather sad since I tried out since I liked the premise, demons trying to become the new king of hell by bothering a British kid, and while the manga did grow on me it really wasn't because the characters or the plot turned out to be super interesting, the style just got a bit better and I liked the eye-candy. At this point I'm willing to give the show another episode or two for the eye candy reason (even though I'm not that happy with some of the voices in here, it's been a while since the voices have been the complete opposite of what I've imagined), the character designs really do look great in full color I'm most likely going to end up dropping it by the end of July.

Devils and Realist is unlicensed but streaming on crunchyroll. Seven Seas manga also picked up the manga recently and plans to release the first volume in early 2014.

Servant x Service
Civil workers work.
Hmm, this series didn't grab me as much as I had hoped a series about working adults would which makes me a little sad. Of course, one of the most common comments I've seen on this show is "Working!! but less zany" so perhaps that's what I should be watching instead, heck I have much more experience with weird food-industry work than weird office/government work (the libraries I've worked at have been fairly tame comparatively speaking). In any case, this looks to be a straight-forward, slice of life (in the really literal sense) story of a few different civil workers and for the moment I'm going to give it a few more episodes to see if the characters click with me but I feel that if the characters don't click with me then there's going to be no point in watching the show.

Servant x Service is streaming on crunchyroll and unlicensed.

Silver Spoon (Gin no Saji)
Boy enrolls in agricultural school, hijinks.
The lone noitaminA show of the season (since now it's AnoHana's time to do reruns) and a bit more anticipated than most noitaminA shows since it's based off of a manga by the creator of FullMetal Alchemist. I read a bit of the manga a few years back and while it wasn't bad I just wasn't really grabbed by it either which was the same reaction I had here. We've only had one episode to meet the characters and see the setting so not much has actually happened, although the egg gag got old really fast (guys, I'm a girl, I know EXACTLY where eggs come from), although that did end in some really excellently animated food which really makes me wish there was a food anime with that kind of animation out there. However, since it's not bad by a long shot, noitaminA, and could certainly get more interesting once the characters start developing and such I plan on following this one for the long run (literally, it's split cour so 11 episodes now and another 11 next January) and I'm really hoping that the show ends up growing on me (it is set at a farming school after all....).

Silver Spoon remains unlicensed but it is streaming on crunchyroll.

Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C3
Cute girls form war games club.
Wow I have seen mixed reactions on it, I honestly tried out the show because I at first saw some people saying it was fun and then others saying that, as a result of the gun culture in the US, it made them uncomfortable and I wanted to form an opinion on my own. And I have to say, even though I'm not a big fan of guns I can easily see the appeal of running around shooting each other with fake guns (probably because a lot of my friends in high school did just that) but this show still came off as a bit odd. It's trying too hard to emphasize the juxtaposition of  "they're cute girls! And they like imitating Rambo movies!", honestly it wouldn't have felt as weird if it hadn't done that. Which puts me in an odd position of being interested in watching another episode but probably not sticking with the show for the long run, this is just turning out to be an odd season for me.

C3 has been licensed by Sentai and is streaming on Crunchyroll.

High school girl has delusions of popularity
Yet another show that wasn't initially on my to-watch list but decided to give it a shot after seeing a number of other people mention it. And, ehhhhh, I don't think I'll be continuing with it after all. As many other people have commented, so far this is a dark comedy with only one joke, oh look how Tomoke has no friends/no social skills/doesn't even know it! Sure I've seen people like that in my years of high school and college, although usually the painfully socially awkward nerds I saw instead of not talking at all had no idea when was a good time to talk or that they weren't actually funny (and most started getting better at it after a few years!) and I was never like that, so I'm not getting that much kick out of the "oh ha-ha, it's like someone you know!" humor which I think I should be feeling just a bit. However I did think it got one point especially spot on, when Tomoke is mocking all the girls in her class who hang out with guys and look cute, calling them bimbos and sluts, and yet you get the feeling that she really wants that in her own life. That I think a lot of people of all genders go through, I know that on some parts of the internet there's a lot of "oh I'm better than other girls because I am/do_____ instead!" (my first thought actually was of this meme but apparently this was actually a parody of the situation, still gets across what I meant however) which also feeds into a lot of other assumptions about what's feminine, what's not, stereotypes (both as a result of media and as a reaction to said media) and all kinds of nasty stuff. I have no doubt that giving Tomoke that viewpoint was quite deliberate but that's not enough to keep me interested in what happens next sadly.

Watamote has both it's anime and manga licensed in the US, by Sentai and Yen Press respectively, and the anime is currently streaming on crunchyroll.

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