NOTICE:
Check out my awesome new project over at www.zettai.moe!

July 1, 2013

Spring 2013 anime season review [v.P]

Now that the Spring anime season is over, let me review which ones I felt were hits and misses. (*disclaimer: Each individual's tastes may vary.)
Pumpkin's top 5 must watch list:
  1. Devil Survivor 2 - The Animation
  2. Shigeki no Kyojin
  3. Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru.
  4. Hataraku Maou-sama!
  5. Suisei no Gargantia

Hits

Aku no Hana

A very creepy and retarded psycological anime. The concept of the story is interesting; It's about a boy infatuated with Baudelaire's book Les Fleurs du Mal, who is in love with a girl called Nanako. One day he commits a terrible sin, stealing Nanako's gym clothes. Unfortunately, he was caught in the act by a mentally retarded girl, Nakamura, by mentally retarded I mean this girl is crazy and wants to bring out the "inner hentai" out of everyone. The rest of the story revolves around this (tragic?) love triangle.
Let me first recommend to you to go and read the manga, it's really good, both storyline and artwork. The anime artwork was done via rotoscoping and I thought it was something unique in the anime industry. The artwork caused a lot of hate and controversy on anime forums, but I think the art style was a hit given the mentally gruesome story.

Danchi Tomoo

I'm actually quite sad that this one did not get any attention from English fansub groups; I watched the Chinese sub version. I enjoyed this comedic slice of life anime about a primary school boy and his daily adventures. It's kind of like the classic anime Chibi Maruko-chan, but with slightly less crude humour.

Devil Survivor 2 The Animation

This anime is definitely a big hit on my list. The art and sound were excellent. The story is rather typical shounen battle; the problem here being that there is a supernatural being ("god") that wants to "test" humans by sending a monster per day, for a total of seven days, to Earth (in particular Japan) and see if the humans can defeat these monsters - If they can do it, then they pass and god won't destroy the world, otherwise god will eliminate all humanity. The main character gains super powers, friends, enemies and allies in order to battle these monsters.
While there is no complicated plot, I believe that this point is a bonus for the anime because it makes the audience be able to easily jump into the fictional world and enjoy the flow of the story. There's not much thinking needed to understand what's going on, just sit back and enjoy the amazing graphics and sound.
The only complaint I have about this game-anime adaptation is that in the anime they make the boss battles look so easy, but in fact it's insanely hard in the game; I'm still stuck on day 3. (Also, you can really tell that I love this anime considering the amount of fan-products I've created for this series lol.)

Hataraku Maou-sama!

I think this is the hit comedy of the season, it's not as good as last season's Ixion Saga DT, but it still gives me good vibes after watching it. The setting of the story is that in some other parallel world to Earth, an intense battle is in place between the "Devil King" and the "Hero". However, suddenly both main characters magically got teleported to Earth, specifically Japan. The story then revolves around how these beings from another world adapts to our world. For the male, female and neet audiences, adequate amounts of fanservice will be provided. I guarantee that there will be many times where you'll be literally rofl-ing.

Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko.

This isn't the best harem comedy that I've seen, but I'll rate it above average. The only part I liked was Kaji's voice acting skills. If you're looking for (male) fanservice then you've got it all here. 
The story goes, a perverted main character [MC] (male) finds a cat statue that grants wishes but at the same time takes away something that you don't want. He then meets female MC#1 at the place where the cat statue is placed, who was making a wish. Later he meets female MC#2, who turns out to be female MC#1's older sister, and female MC#3. The three girls ends up being love rivals and drama ensues.

Kakumeiki Valvrave

Simply put this anime is about vampires piloting Gundams. I think many people had high expectations of this anime since it was an original Sunrise production (aka Code Geass, Accel World), but I think Sunrise let us down a bit with the plot. Similar to the first season of Code Geass, we're thrown with a large amount of characters, most possessing the typical anime character traits, unfortunately it feels like the plot isn't moving forward with the amount of characters involved. You can definitely feel that this is a random mash-up of all your favourite anime genres and characters. Sometimes this trick can work well, this time I don't think it quite hit the spot. While the plot isn't amazing, they do provide plenty of plot twists and suspense, which tends to hold your attention at the end of each weekly episode. I would note though that the bgm and the OP and ED songs are really good. The mecha fighting graphics/effects are also really cool and flashy. If anything, I would watch this show just for the effects.
[Season 2 confirmed to release in October 2013 - Looks like they're aiming for a Code Geass feel.]

Karneval

I was tossing up whether to put this in the miss section or the hit one. I've complained about this series many times already, the plot is terrible, very cliche shounen battle with fanservice, and the only thing worth giving credit to is the sound and art department which I rate 9/10! Both the people and the backgrounds are drawn extremely beautifully and vibrantly, and almost every character is voiced by famous seiyuus.

Ketsuekigata-kun!

A short 2 minute comedy about anthropomorphized blood types.

Shingeki no Kyojin (Still airing)

To be honest, this anime series is overhyped by the fandom. It's good, but not as great as everyone makes it to be, and it certainly can be made better. I read the manga ages before the anime was even announced and I was amazed and enchanted by the manga, it's definitely worth a read. I found the story concept and character designs intriguing. It's a nice thriller fantasy world to sink yourselves into. However, as many anime-manga adaptations tend to do, they drag out the plot, and sometimes switches events around, and SnK is no exception. This minor factor didn't bother me too much though.
The story is about how humanity have been terrorized by humongous monsters called 'titans', which eat humans and destroy their living territory, and the plot revolves around a group of friends who vow to destroy these monsters. Excellent points about this anime is that: there are plenty of cliffhangers, making you wish that every week would pass by faster so you can watch a new episode; the background art is very detailed: animation is drawn using interesting angles, so movement looks very realistic; voice acting is really good, especially the males; and the music is definitely first class, with Sawano Hiroyuki as composer (aka Ao no exorcist, guilty crown), and the OP music is full of impact. 

Suisei no Gargantia

Another mecha based anime. The story is set in some really distant future where the humans live in space, on spaceships, and humans are constantly at war with creatures called "Hideauze". The MC is part of the battle troop, but one day loses control of his gundam machine and is somehow teleported to Earth. The MC discovers that other humans are also living on Earth, but they live on ships because all the land is covered by water. The MC now has to adapt to his new surroundings, understand new cultures and change old habits.
The art is pretty good for Production I.G. standards; it's very vibrant and the character designs are cute.
Although the music is not outstanding, I would rate it 7/10. This series gave me a "different" feel but it also gave off a "been there done that" feeling. The artwork is good, 8/10, and the story is interesting. But I feel that something is missing to make it a big hit.

Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji Love 2000%

If you want a reverse harem with fanservice, then bingo! we've got a winner. This otome anime is the sequel to Uta no Prince-sama Maji Love 1000%. It's about a group of boys aspiring to be idols and the female lead (you) are the composer for this group of singers, and you are their centre of attention 24/7. In 2000% we get more hip thrusting, catchy songs, stalkers and rivals. And of course... there isn't really a plot, it's all about making fangirls' dreams come true.

Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru.

I don't usually like slice-of-life + romcoms, but this one on the rare occasion spits out some pretty good lines. The story follows the typical storyline of a loner at school being forced to join a club from which he starts to make some comrades/friends, and revelations about life. The art and voice acting are fairly average.

Misses

Arata Kangatari

This is so typical shoujo that it makes me spew. It's about a teenager male that gets thrown into an alternate universe, gets given insane special powers but gets involved in that world's problems (in particular, a world war) and has to resolve it. It has the cliche "friendship and betrayal" plot development. The artwork is really poor. Only the sound department is worthy of mentioning, and is the only reason why I watched this anime to the end, because many of the hotshot seiyuus participated.

Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge

Apparently this one has good reviews but I just couldn't stand the "harem" involved in this anime. Even in the first ep things got pretty "ecchi" in terms of the dialogue, and then it got graphically ecchi around ep 3. I mean the base storyline is pretty stupid. It's about a boy with hair cutting fetish who meets a girl whose hair cannot be cut. There's probably more involved in the plot but I stopped watching after ep 3.

RDG: Red Data Girl

This anime was a total miss. The story was a total mess. After watching 12 episodes I still had no idea what was going on, and many others on forums agree with me. The art was average and I didn't notice the BGM. Since this is an adaptation from a series of novels, perhaps this story would make more sense if you read the novels first? - but as far as I know these novels have not been translated into English.

Photokano

Note that I dropped this anime after watching the first 2 minutes. As the title suggests this anime is about a boy who is in the school photography club and goes around to take photos of various girls. In a nutshell: 1 boy + many girls + camera = graphic harem. If you're into romance harem stories, or rather (male) fanservice without plot then this one is for you.