Looking back at the Summer 2012 anime season

November 12, 2012

As before it's time I got around to taking an honest look back at the Summer 2012 season, to go with my early impressions and my midway update.

Shows that I actively watched (and finished where applicable), in descending order:

  • Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita: My favorite show of the summer, which I've written a chunk about.

  • Eureka Seven AO: My second most enjoyable show of the summer, only a little bit behind Jinrui. I don't have an overall opinion on the series yet since we're still waiting for the last two episodes.

    (I wrote some stuff about it at the end of here.)

  • Moyashimon Returns: I take back my grumpyness from my midway update. The best way I can put it is that the final plotline of Returns shows the series growing up and maturing, shifting from a bunch of ultimately lightweight stuff to something more nuanced. I liked this tone shift but I understand not everyone did. Also, I enjoyed a seiyuu overlap.

    (It's not just that Returns got serious, although it did in a way. It's that things became more complex and nuanced and felt more real as a result. There were no easy answers or one-dimensional characters.)

  • Campione!: I'm sure people are going to laugh at me, but I quite enjoyed this all through. Part of this I can attribute simply to its execution, but I argue that it's less recycled and cliched than it might look on the surface. I mentioned Erica Blandelli in my midway update and another example (per a tweet) is that victory in fights was about gaining knowledge and solving mysteries, not more power. All of this made it fun to watch, for all that it doesn't particularly aspire to be deep.

    (This sort of calls for an entire entry that I'll probably never have the time and energy to write.)

  • Sword Art Online: My views turned out not to fit in a paragraph, so I put them in an entry of their own. Short version: I don't think it can really be called good but it was clearly watchable because I did and do. I attribute this more to good production values than anything else.

  • Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon II: I wound up watching this all the way through, purely for the absurd spectacle. The advantage of Horizon as compared to, say, Aquarion EVOL is that the non-spectacle bits made so little sense and I cared so little about them that it was easy to tune them out. Also, there weren't that many of them since Horizon packed most of its exposition into the first season.

    If I'm a smart person, I will not watch any future seasons this gets.

  • Dog Days': as I expected, nothing really happened in this season; it never went anywhere. The show wasn't boring exactly and it was idly enjoyable throughout, but I did wind up kind of feeling that watching it was wasted time. Light entertainment is not quite what I want out of my limited time. In retrospect I stuck with this mostly out of nostalgia for the first season (and the inability to let that nostalgia go).

    The thought of another season doesn't fill me with enthusiasm.

  • Oda Nobuna no Yabou: In the end most of this was merely ordinarily entertaining and the show's complete inability to let Nobuna do anything got rather irritating. In retrospect I should have skipped it, but I got captured by my initial enthusiasm and it was never quite bad enough to push me to stop watching it.

    (It's not that this was bad; it was acceptably entertaining. It's just that I'm trying to do better than merely 'acceptably entertaining' these days.)

Watching slowly:

  • Joshiraku: my views haven't changed: it's entertaining and amusing but I don't find it funny enough to watch very fast.

Declared as misses:

  • Hagure Yuusha no Estetica: I dropped this right after I wrote my midway update, as I mused about in the update. I have no regrets, especially since apparently its ending is basically 'continued in the light novels'.

Overall there were four shows that I unapologetically enjoyed, one show that I found compulsively watchable but seriously flawed (SAO), one show that a smarter person might not have bothered with, and two shows that I probably should have dropped. Oh, and in retrospect I stuck with Hagure much longer than I should have; I could have bailed out in the second episode when it made its taste for excessive fanservice clear.

(In general I was, as usual, far too optimistic and willing to stick with shows.)

This season makes me happy in one specific way, after last season: my favorite show wasn't an action show. On the flipside, most of the rest are (I count Dog Days' as an action show, despite how little real action it had; it was more of an adventure show, but that's close enough).

(I could be happy that my third most favorite show is also not an action show, but not really; there's a big gap between my feelings for AO and my feelings for Return. Return was nice, AO was very good to great.)

Written on 12 November 2012.
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Last modified: Mon Nov 12 21:24:58 2012
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