Brief impressions of the anime of the Winter 2013 season

January 28, 2013

As before it's time for my impressions of the new season's crop of shows, or at least the ones that I've bothered to try watching. I can't really call this 'early' any more since I've been kind of slow and unenthused about this and in fact a number of shows in the season. As a result I'm probably grading more harshly than usual.

(I'm not current on most of these shows; for some I've only seen one episode.)


  • Yama no Susume: It's only a few minutes an episode, it's fun, and it's surprisingly geeky about mountaineering. How could I not keep watching? Three minutes an episode is perfect for this, partly because it keeps the show tightly focused without room for meandering.

  • Sasami-san@Ganbaranai: This is a questionable choice. The first three episodes were a fast moving example of SHAFT being SHAFT (which I'm fine with), but I have no idea where the show is going to go from here because the initial big question and conflict has now been resolved. If it can sustain the energy and interesting bits of the first few episodes I'll wind up really loving it. I do like that the show didn't drag the initial mystery out but instead went through it at a nice brisk pace (and did explain everything).

    (Okay, by 'interesting bits' I partly mean 'nicely done fight sequences'.)

Staying for now:

  • Vividred Operation: First up, it's impossible to ignore the fact that this show is shoving teen girl rear ends in the viewer's face. VO is about butts in the same way that Strike Witches was about underwear and it's not going to let you forget that (if you had any doubt, the opening sequence is there to pointedly remind you).

    (This should not surprise anyone who paid attention to the promo materials (hint: butts, butts, and more butts) but is a little bit disappointing. I kind of hoped that the show would mostly get it out of the way after the first episode; I should have known better.)

    Ignoring the fanservice, VO ought to be a show that I quite like (after all, I fondly enjoyed Sky Girls). In practice I'm finding it kind of bland and lacking some vital spark of life for no particular reason that I can put my finger on. Maybe it's the cliched absurdity of the situation; maybe it's the generally paint by numbers nature of the characters. Maybe it's the fanservice getting to me. Despite this VO is technically good, its execution is competent, and it has some bits that are genuinely nice (eg, that the conventional military forces are actually important at one point).

    (In part VO feels like someone awkwardly stuffed a bunch of things into a blender and hit 'frappe'; various elements remind me of other shows, often pointedly and not to VO's benefit.)

  • Bakumatsu Gijinden Roman: A perfectly competent execution of a reasonably interesting premise. Still, the whole thing feels a bit bland and fails to entirely fill me with enthusiasm; right now it's partly staying based on charm and charm often wears off fast.

  • Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo: I am a sucker for shows with competent, reasonably powerful protagonists (as opposed to your usual collection of spuds). The actual setting and premise are kind of goofy; I just like watching people who know what they're doing. I may well get bored of this as the novelty wears off since it kind of smells like your typical shonen fighting anime in a nifty getup.

On the edge:

  • Hakkenden Touhou Hakken Ibun: The first two episodes were actually interesting if sometimes cliched but the fight in the third episode kind of went downhill. I'm planning to watch another episode but this may be losing my interest soon.

  • Senran Kagura: If you ignore the boatloads of fanservice this is a decently competent but generally bland show that's not doing anything we haven't seen many times before. Two years ago I would have found it perfectly good mindless entertainment. These days I'd kind of like to stop spending my time on stuff this ordinary, but we'll see.

    (The difference between this and Vividred Operation is partly the density of annoying fanservice and partly the quality of execution.)


  • Maoyuu Maou Yuusha: After one episode I see no reason not to just keep on reading the manga instead. Most of the (manga) story is either lectures or cheering on people as they cleverly use stuff they learned from the lectures to win, both of which go better and faster in the manga. I see why the anime did what it did in the first episode, but I'm afraid that it just showed the weakness of a straight adaptation; we spent most of an episode getting an unconvincing summary of what the manga covered in more convincing detail in a few pages. Also, the whole name thing is charming in the manga but irritating in the anime for some reason.

    (I'm glad for all of the people who were enthused about MMY before the show aired because they convinced me to read the manga. The manga is worth my time.)

    In short: if you want a well done, affecting anime about romance and economics, watch Spice and Wolf. If you find MMY's basic premise charming and don't mind manga, read the manga.

    (I may watch the second episode at some point to see if it changes my mind but the commentary I've seen suggests that it's not going to.)

  • The Unlimited - Hyobu Kyosuke: After two episodes I decided that I had no interest in watching the titular villain slaughter people, even if they mostly didn't show the deaths directly and even if we're supposed to either sympathize with his cause or find him cool.

    If you have the spare time to watch this, watch Zettai Karen Children instead. Hyobu Kyosuke even appears in it every so often (and he might actually be cooler and creepier in ZKC than in this show).

  • AMNESIA: I couldn't even make myself watch more than a few minutes of the first episode. I should have remembered my otome game rule.

  • Senyuu: I'm not really enthused about being beaten over the head with a rapidfire barrage of RPG jokes, even for only three minutes at a time.

Not for me (probably, subject to revision):

  • Tamako Market: I want to watch this to see if (against all odds) I turn out to like it and be charmed by the bird and so on, but I need to face facts; I've had the first episode for weeks and still haven't gotten around to watching it.

Things I have no opinion on because I haven't watched the first season (yet):

  • Chihayafuru second season: I actually watched the first episode of the first season recently. It didn't set me on fire but it was good enough to make me queue up the second episode, which I just haven't gotten to in my general backlog.

  • AKB0048 second season: everything I hear about AKB0048 sounds good (and gonzo in a good way) but I'd have to watch the first thirteen episodes and see if it works out in practice. Still, I'm getting more and more tempted.

    (Really I should just give the first episode a spin to see.)

Regretfully dropped from the Fall season:

  • Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: I've concluded that this is just not for me on the grounds that after watching three episode (10-12) I just feel no real interest in watching the next one. I could watch it, I would probably enjoy it decently, but if I'm not enthused about the idea the smart thing to do is spend my limited time on something else.

I'm carrying on with the remaining continuing shows from the end of the fall season, although Robotics;Notes is sliding closer and closer to the edge. I'll note that contrary to my concerns, Zetsuen no Tempest has not missed a beat in its post episode 12 changes.

Written on 28 January 2013.
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Last modified: Mon Jan 28 21:39:46 2013
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