Reassessing the Summer 2012 season midway through
I feel like writing something here and while I have any number of entry ideas circling through my head I can't manage to get enough spare time, energy, and enthusiasm to write them. A midseason review of Summer 2012, however, I can bang together pretty easily so you get it.
(The short summary is that I have added two new shows, Joshiraku and Nobuna, and effectively dropped two of my initial ones, one because it's bad and one because it's not good enough.)
- Moyashimon Returns: I would like more microbes and fermentation
than it is currently providing, but this is doing a reasonable job of
delivering the fun of the first season.
- Dog Days': This continues not going anywhere.
I'm a bit sad but I'm still watching it for the same reason Author
it's something I can watch without having to invest too much in it.
I can just sit back and quietly enjoy it.
(Dog Days' is ideal for this because I know there it's extremely unlikely for there to be any significant sudden angst, dark drama, or whatever. It'll probably keep on being cheerful light action all the way through, maybe with a little tinge of more serious stuff towards the end.)
- Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita: I sometimes feel
like Jinrui is beating me over the head, but when it's on
it's often really on and it's on fairly often. I continue to
really like how the show is willing to be quiet when it's clever (instead of
the all too common habit of making something obvious just to make sure
that you get it).
Jinrui has had all of the best awesome moments of any show this season so far.
It's quite possible (and even likely) that Jinrui is my kind of show but not yours, much like UN-GO.
- Sword Art Online: This was always nice looking but has now shaped
up to be a competently executed and reasonably engaging show. It's
not really going anywhere right now but I'm willing to give it a pass
while it explores the scenery.
(I believe SAO is currently adopting side stories from the light novels; if so, it shows.)
SAO has so far avoided beating us over the head with character death and the whole 'stuck in a game' situation while also not ignoring the issue, which is more than I expected. The various character reactions to the situation seem reasonably realistic.
- Oda Nobuna no Yabou: This was a late fill-in, but so far it's
been pretty entertaining in a straightforward way and the protagonist
amuses me. It's good that the show isn't really taking itself too
seriously. It's not flawless; in particular it's doing the common anime
thing of not letting the nominally competent and dangerous female
character actually do much more than acting semi-tsundere while the
male protagonist gets to magically solve all (or at least most) of
(I was persuaded to give Nobuna a try due to various chatter in my section of the Twitter-sphere, possibly especially including Jinx's work.)
- Joshiraku: This is entertaining and amusing. I wish I found it
more consistently funny, because then it would be a must-watch
instead of something that I'm working through slowly.
(I know I'm not getting all of the jokes here, even with explanations from the translators, but I find even the jokes that I don't get to be interesting for reasons that don't fit in this margin.)
Entertaining but still hovering on the edge:
- Campione: Some bits of this are tiresomely ordinary but it
continues to be decently executed and thus decently watchable.
I'm enjoying it partly for Erica Blandelli, who is a character type
that we don't get to see very often.
- Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon II: This continues to deliver a
good amount of crazy wackiness and decent action, which is what
keeps it watchable for me. The ninja is my current favorite
(As far as I'm concerned, the less Toori and Horizon talk the better.)
- Hagure Yuusha no Estetica: The more I actually think about this show
the more I feel conflicted and a bit disturbed. On the one hand the
action and plot are decent. On the other hand it spends a lot of
its time on serious (and sometimes extreme) fanservice and the male
protagonist's behavior is objectively decidedly skeevy. If I tune out
the fanservice (which is my usual reflex) and don't think too much
about the protagonist's behavior it's an enjoyable show, but I'm not
sure I should be doing that.
(Writing this entry may have persuaded me to more or less put it on suspension. I'll see. Certainly I have enough to watch this season without watching any more of it, and it's not so interesting that I'll miss it if I don't watch any more.)
Now declared as misses:
- Muv-Luv Alternative - Total Eclipse (#4): I watched about three episodes
too many of this; in the future I hope that I'm smart enough to drop
shows that waste my time for the first two episodes. There's just
nothing interesting in this show for me and plenty that's boring,
irritating, or cliched (or all of the above).
(Everything I've read about subsequent episodes has confirmed my decision to drop it.)
- Rinne no Lagrange season 2 (#2): There's nothing wrong with it but it's apparently not interesting enough to make me sufficiently enthused to watch more.
In ongoing shows, Eureka Seven AO continues to rock while honesty compels me to admit that I haven't watched Accel World for several weeks; it's possible that the charm has worn off and I've gotten bored without realizing it.
(On the other hand, writing this may cause me to start with AW again.)
The problem with Dog Days' second season
The problem with this season of Dog Days is that we're just hanging around; unlike the first season, we're not going anywhere.
I feel like expanding on this a bit more than fits in 140 characters.
Right from the start of the first season there were things actively happening and the characters had a problem to deal with. The major reason (or at least excuse) that Princess Millefiori had for summoning Cinque at the start of the show was that Biscotti was in a big pinch, with Galette and Leonmichelle relentlessly attacking, winning, and taking more and more territory. By the time this was fully dealt with, the problem shifted to returning Cinque back home. Certainly things were light-hearted, but the characters were always working on and towards something; I always had the sense that things were going somewhere.
There is nothing like this in Dog Days' so far. This season we've been doing nothing more than hanging around with the characters and taking in the spectacle; what was in service to something in the first season is simply empty this time around. This is enjoyable and amusing (Dog Days' is competent and even well done) but it doesn't really feel like the show is necessary.
(You can argue that the show needs quiet in order to set up the characters and get us immersed in them. My reply is that the first season managed to do this just fine without having to stop and wander off sideways.)
Even if the second season starts going somewhere soon, it will have wasted at least a quarter of its run on fluff (I'm being charitable and spotting it a couple of establishing episodes). If the second season doesn't go anywhere, well, I'm going to wind up kind of wishing that they hadn't bothered to make it.
(But I'm sure the Blu-rays and DVDs will sell well to the fans who wanted to see more of their favorite characters.)