Brief early impressions of the Fall 2013 anime season

October 16, 2013

As before, so again. Every season I do an early impressions post to organize my thoughts on what I'm watching and also so I can laugh sadly at my naive views later in retrospect.

Clear winners (so far):

  • Kyousougiga (aka Capital Craze, sometimes Kyousogiga): I loved this when I saw the low-resolution webrip in 2011 and I love it even more now that it looks good and I can follow the action. The second episode is a start on making the story coherent even as it tones down the madness a bit (not totally, which is good).

    (I'm aware of the on-web OVA series from earlier this year but I found the available webrips to be unwatchable so I never did.)

  • Kill la Kill: This has its problems but for me they don't matter in the face of its frenzied energy and relentless, over the top absurdities. Kill la Kill turns everything up to eleven (including the potentially objectionable bits, but that may make them less bad). This is BURNING ANIME.

    (I mean, it has the mysterious teacher casually doing an over the top imitation of Utena's Akio Ohtori just as background scenery.)

    Update: see this commentary too. What it says.

  • Valvrave: It's Valvrave all right. Episode 13 was a little bit tame for the show but it has to start somewhere (not drawing out the cliffhanger fight was a good move). Note that the fact that their government is entirely composed of high schoolers is causing them problems (in fact, it seems to be getting them run over).

Things I am reasonably enthused about so far:

  • Galilei Donna: The first episode was great and pushed a lot of my buttons but it was all setup. Now it's up to the rest of the show to deliver on that initial promise.

    (For example: in the OP, when the machine Hozuki is working on explodes in her face she doesn't look panicked or even worried, just maybe a bit peeved.)

  • Kyoukai no Kanata: What I'm hoping for is KyoAni-quality action scenes with the appealing character interactions of, say, Hyouka. The show has done reasonably well at delivering that so far although there are problematic aspects (I don't like artificially clumsy moeblobs). I'll give it points for being clever enough to have the character that uses her own blood as a weapon say 'well of course I'm anemic after a fight'.

    However shallow it is of me, my interest in KnK is directly related to how much action it has. I suspect that the character interaction will not keep me watching if the show shifts to just that.

    (At this point in my anime watching a show has to offer something pretty exceptional to keep me watching N teenagers talking to each other. It can be done (cf Toradora), but it takes work.)

  • Arpeggio of Blue Steel - Ars Nova: Some people have violent reactions to the character CG. I'm apparently less selective; characters could be better animated, but it's not bad enough to bounce me out of the show. With that said I don't expect any great depths to the show, just well done ship to ship action (which I'm getting so far). If that flags, I'm out.

At least a bit marginal already:

  • Yozakura Quartet - Hana no Uta: I could do without the fanservice but otherwise this is a serviceable and technically nicely done action show involving characters that I have fond memories of.

    (I suspect that the charm will wear off at some point.)

  • Log Horizon: This is already more enjoyable than Sword Art Online, although that's not exactly a high barrier to clear. It's not deep but it is willing to be amusing (which is more than the grimly serious SAO ever did). I consider it a definite plus that it's lighthearted and people are not at risk of dying.

  • Yowamushi Pedal: I have no idea how interesting this is to non-cyclists and I have no idea how long it'll sustain my interest. But right now I'm enjoying all of the little things that they get right about one of my things and I can't not watch it.

    (For example, I was absurdly happy that they put in the click of a clipless pedal clipping in in episode two. Yes, I know that sentence makes no sense if you're not a cyclist.)

    Some tweets about the cycling bits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Overall I'm pretty clearly watching too many things at the moment. Some shows are going to fall by the wayside, probably a bunch of them; at some point I'll get tired of spending time on stuff that's merely blandly entertaining. On the positive side the only show continuing from last season is Yamato 2199.

(Oh wait, I forgot Monogatari Series Second Season. That may not stay on the schedule for long.)


  • Tokyo Ravens: This is simply too generic, bland, and slow. In short, nothing like the OP made it look. It's possible it will turn into the K-like show that the OP suggested but if so, it did so too late for me. It's an extruded Light Novel product despite initial appearances.

  • Coppelion: I don't like cliched melodrama at the best of times. When you combine it with various setting stupidities (and questionable art, regardless of how pretty the backgrounds are) it's far too much. I especially dislike how the characters seem so unprepared to wander around the ruined Tokyo, both physically and emotionally, despite the fact that this is apparently what they've been preparing for all their lives.

    You could do an affecting, interesting drama with this basic setting and premise. This show is not it.

Not for me:

  • Gingitsune: There's nothing wrong with this but there's also nothing exceptional about it either, and it's not really my kind of thing. I'm sure that it's going to be heartwarming and nice, sort of like a more bland version of Natsume Yuujinchou (which I've already basically burned out on anyways).

  • Samurai Flamenco: This is apparently a realistic drama about someone who wants to be a superhero in an ordinary world. This is not a story I'm interested in.

    (To the extent that I want realistic superhero stories, what Gatchaman Crowds did is much more my thing.)

Not even tried and I feel like saying something about them:

  • Infinite Stratos S2: Gets utterly terrible reviews even from people who quite liked the first season. I have no interest in yet another set of allegedly comedic harem hijinks.

  • Unbreakable Machine Doll, Strike the Blood: Apparently your generic extruded Light Novel product.

  • Golden Time: Apparently not the mature, university-based story with mature characters that was vaguely advertised.

PS: I link to my tweets partly so that I can find them again. Besides, it sometimes saves me from repeating myself.

(Since someone is going to ask someday, I generally go with whatever name for a show that the fansubbers are using and they usually use the Japanese names instead of the English translations. This is simply me being lazy since I keep track of what I've watched using the fansub names.)

Written on 16 October 2013.
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Last modified: Wed Oct 16 20:20:07 2013
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