[In which I review] New anime, Summer 2012

Scholar and a Brutalman

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A commenter on Animsuki who seems to have read the LNs said this about the episode order in Jinrui:

ok, i got the ep list
ep 1,2 the fairies' secret factory (vol 4)
ep 3,4 the fairies' subculture (vol 6)
ep 5,6 the fairies go back home (vol 3)
ep 7,8 the fairies' time management (vol 2)
ep 9 the fairies' drifting life (vol 4)
ep 10 the fairies' earth (vol 1)
ep 11,12 the fairies' secret tea party (vol 5)

very strange arrangement
I don't know what to expect
I don't know if the original novels are in chronological order, but the order of the stories seems about right.

Later the commenter added this, which I'll spoiler block though it's unspecific:

Spoiler: Show
I figure it out
it is arranged by the complexity and seriousness of the story
the light-heart and simple stories in the front (ep 1-6)
and the hardcore at the back (ep 7-10)
and a flashback epilogue (ep 11-12)
 

Jhiday

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Episode 9 was the best episode of Humanity Has Declined since the first two.
I agree ; the protagonist letting her influence over fairies go to her head was an amusing exercise in waiting for the other shoe to drop.

(Also, it didn't have a utterly painful pun as a punchline.)

I was amused to see Kokoro Connect somehow channeling Gakkatsu in its latest episode. Absolutely hilarious.

And Miyuki Sawashiro's character finally showed up in Moyashimon Returns ! And her French accent's so mangled I can barely make out some words. (Did she get a Canadian French coach or something ?)
 

Jhiday

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There are already a few shows that have concluded over the last few days, so I thought it'd be better to start a retrospective look at the season before the Fall shows start flooding in.

Moyashimon Returns has been a bit of a disappointment, hasn't it ? Not because it's been bad, of course, but it felt a lot like re-treading over ground that the first season had already covered very well. It doesn't help that the warmed-over "Hasegawa is in danger of getting married" subplot that took over the whole second half of the season was very boring from the word go. Still, the show has kept over its perfect comedic timing and its unique mix of comedy and edutainment, and that's what really matters. If the teased third season actually happens, I'm in.

Natsuyuki Rendezvous showed that it's possible to make a good romantic comedy with a proper conclusion in 11 episodes without it feeling rushed. (Indeed, the endless random "Hazuki in fairytale world" scenes felt more than a bit like padding.) Not outstanding, but very well worth watching if you're into this genre (especially in the rare anime niche that stars adults).

Humanity has Declined unfortunately ends with yet another arc that doesn't quite work. There are lots of great bits here, but the bizarre happy ending ("... and all the psychos suddenly became best friends with our asshole protagonists and lived happily ever after...") makes no sense whatsoever. Would the series make more sense and hold together better watched in chronological order ? I'm not sure, honestly. Still, it's been great fun, and I feel the good outweights the bad.

Hyouka won't stay in memories as KyoAni's best or most notable series, but it was a perfect execution of a premise that would have been very boring in other hands. Admittedly, the last couple of one-shot mysteries have been beyond lame, but then they were mere backdrops for the relationships between the main cast to reach their climax. (Or not, in one predictable but no less satisfying case.)


Kokoro Connect has far from ended ; indeed, it's now getting deeper and deeper into each character. I recall somebody getting turned off when it looked like Yui's deep-seeted issues got resolved instantly in episode 3 ; it's now obvious there was a lot more to it. Heck, even the long build up to Inaban getting over her low self-esteem looks like it hasn't solved everything. I'm a bit concerned about how much the plot is now revolving around the very bland Taichi, but considering that this last episode has managed to give new depth to the previously very boring Aoki, I'm still holding out some hope. And the new gimmick is a lot of fun.
 

Ikselam

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Hyouka won't stay in memories as KyoAni's best or most notable series, but it was a perfect execution of a premise that would have been very boring in other hands. Admittedly, the last couple of one-shot mysteries have been beyond lame, but then they were mere backdrops for the relationships between the main cast to reach their climax. (Or not, in one predictable but no less satisfying case.)
And the whole middle bit with the film club and school festival was fantastic.

edit: The show also had great color design throughout.
 
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MadMac

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In the end, the only show this season I stuck with was Humanity has Declined. It was a great ride all the way through, so my only complaint is how abrupt the ending feels. I would definitely like to see a continuation, but I have no idea how it's selling or how much source material is left.

I might eventually go back and finish Natsuyuki Rendezvous but otherwise I think I'll just write this season off as a loss and hope Fall is better.
 

Jhiday

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More series that just ended !

To the end I've been underwhelmed by Tari Tari. I'm still not entirely sure why. Maybe I just didn't find the main characters very interesting and had a hard time rooting for them ? (It doesn't help that Kokoro Connect is currently getting much more mileage and depth out of the "three girls and two guys randomly thrown together in a club" setup.) Also, the climactic conflict felt forced and cliché, and the resolution didn't quite work. (Seriously, no epilogue for the principal ? Dude put his job on the line for our "heroes", and he completely disappears from the story after that.) It's not a bad series, mind you ; just very average and with little to recommend it for.

Also underwhelming was Binbougami ga!. Sure, a lot of the jokes were quite good, but the repeated bids for emotion and depth were so much of a gear change that they didn't quite work. It fear the writers went too far while trying to humanize Ichiko, making the whole "Disappearance of Binboda Momiji" final arc very predictable and trite. Also, the less said about the masochist dog running gag, the better.

The Basketball which Kuroko Plays ended like a lot of sports series based on an ongoing manga : with no climax whatsoever. (They're presumably hoping to get a second season down the road, although none has been confirmed yet to my knowledge.) Still, I enjoyed it ; sure, it's ridiculous, but the gravity-defying basketball stunts were well animated, and the gung-ho score was key to keeping the pace going. I'm going to miss this weekly injection of testosterone...

There's been a lot in Rinne no Lagrange that reminds me of Stellvia of the Universe. Flat characters ? Check. An emphasis on them getting into mundane hijinks instead of the galaxy-threatening main plot hanging around them in the background ? Check. Good production values, verging on scenery porn ? Check. The overall shallowness of it all ? Check. (Also, it's a blatant advert from the Kamogawa Tourism Committee.) And still, the series has just enough energy and momentum to overcome its blandness and be watchable.

The big question about Phi Brain is : did this second season add anything new ? Well, there was enough new material not to feel like a retread, the new puzzles were fun, and the show had enough energy to disguise the gaping plot holes. (The introduction of a completely forgotten childhood friend who was never mentioned before as the core to the new plot felt more than a bit contrived, and I have no clue what the point of Melancholy was.) Still, I enjoyed it enough, and I'll be along for the ride in the just-announced third season in 2013.


... And that's basically it for the series I have been watching, as Joshiraku is stuck in fansub hell, Kokoro Connect has a while to go yet, and I have nothing to say about Yurumates 3D+.
 

Ikselam

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Rinne no Lagrange [...] has just enough energy and momentum to overcome its blandness and be watchable.
It wasn't quite an Angel-Beats-level waste of my time, but it was close. Felt like there might have been an okay (not great, just okay) 12-episode series in there. It didn't even succeed very well at making Kamogawa look like a place I might like to visit. I think the "cool" color palette ended up working against it.
 
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