(」・ω・)」あおー！ (／・ω・)／ こっ！
[ Hyouka ] For people who didn’t like this… What’s wrong with you?! I still remember wondering about this and asking around on twitter, if I should check it out and got into some interesting conversations, one of them led to a post by Martin even. Hyouka is slow-paced but atmospheric with indulgence over character development. The mysterious are not deep neither hard to figure out but the way of reveal is what set this series apart. Houtarou’s processing of every piece of information and data was brilliantly portrayed and down the line of finding clues over mini-mysteries, we got to know about the characters as well. Everyone came alive for me and I adored all four of them, even when all of them minus Houtarou annoyed me at one point or another. This was a good moe for me, when I categorize most as meh.
[ Natsuyuki Rendezvous ] This was the highlight of Summer season for me. Definitely a worthwhile addition to my favourite Josei list because it dealt with some painful realities but still managed to be a heartfelt love story. You really don’t find such stories in this day and age because somehow simplicity of emotions is not trending anymore; though, Natsuyuki did it brilliantly. Of course, supernatural element of a ghost and possession added complexity but everything worked out and you really end up rooting for everyone rather than taking side (I just couldn’t take sides because all three of them had their reasons). This was a beautiful story with its quirky fun and highly-charged emotional moments at unexpected turns.
[ Phi Brain S2 ] Everyone should be DOWN WITH PUZZLES because they have FEELINGS, LOVE and FRIENDSHIP… No seriously. I would never see puzzles in the same light again because \watching Phi Brain has made me appreciate them even more. The intricacy of how it’s devised to its execution, all have become a new formula under this series setting. I’ve come to love the Phi Brain children with their cohorts so even when a beach episode chimed in, I kept on watching. I’m pretty sure the capable staff can chug out another season or two of same awesomeness. If they do, I’m sure the puzzle-loving crowd of Metanorn would again crown them under our top 5 seasonal series. :3
[ Eureka Seven AO ] I forget how excited I was whenever this series was originally announced, but I think I remember saying something like “OH MY GOD MORE EUREKA SEVEN!? HELL YES!” after hearing that news I really had no idea what the series was going to follow for a story; however after the first few episodes everything slowly pointed towards Ao being the son of Eureka and Renton? Then again Bones had me hook line and sinker with mecha because I just finished watching Aquarion EVOL. Reviewing this series was interesting because it got a great conversation going over twitter with JoeAnimated, illegenes, Wendeego, Vuc, Donkangoljones, and Otou-san. I always had fun doing those mini talk “podcasts” every week with Jrow, so yeah I have to give him a shout out for helping me out with those recordings and our special guests JoeAnimated and Amuro! More Show ▼
[ Rinne no Lagrange ] YES!! Rinne no Lagrange was so much fun to watch and blog, but it had plenty of ups and downs in terms of overall plot because they never really explained a whole lot at the start of the series. Then again that added an extra wow factor for those surprise reveals. I remember at the start most people out there on twitter simply wrote Rinne no lagrange off as another “mecha-fan-service -yuri-ish-anime” and yes I agree with them for the most part because they did have several fan-service shots at the start that they always seemed to imply that the three main girls had a yuri-like relationship on screen; however after you get through those random moments you get pulled in by the characters! Like Madoka? Who could seriously hate someone as enthusiastic as her? Yes I know at the start she did get very annoying to most of us, but that is what I loved about her because I have a similar attitude with everyday life. Overall, I would easily recommend Rinne no Lagrange to anyone that likes hyper main characters, random fan service, giant mecha battles or amazing soundtracks! Did I mention the OST? Because DAMN I loveeeeed it! Anyway Rinne no Lagrange might not be ver “maru” to quote Madoka, but I had a lot of fun with it and I need to give a shout to Kara for being an awesome tag team partner! WE ROCK!
[ Yuru Yuri S2 ] AKAARIINNN! That phrase started my extreme love of Yuru Yuri back in July 2011. That was a great year because it introduced us to Chinatasu, Akarin, Yui and the best character of all time Kyouko? Err I mean TOSHINOOOU KYOUKOOOO! I loved how over the top that girl got. I mean one minute she is quietly reading and the next minute she explodes with hyper energy. Yuru Yuri obviously has “Yuri” in the title so I bet it is a constant yuri-fest right? I can say yes and no to that fact, but it doesn’t completely avoid the subject. When you have characters like Kyouko, Chinatasu, Ayano and Chitose who always have yuri on their minds, but nothing to hardcore most of it seems playful and comedic like the famous kiss scene from season one? Who could forget that crazy kiss with Chinatasu and Akarin? IT WAS HILARIOUS. More Show ▼
Summer ’12 was not a strong season for anime, something to be expected after a pretty solid Spring season with lots of interesting series. The only Summer-debuting series I had any real interest towards was Binbougami Ga; having Dakara in my top 3 is almost by default had I not kept up with Campione. Sword Art Online is an alright one, but we’ll be talking about that plenty by Fall’s end.
Fall ’12 has a pretty good list of shows. I’ll be watching plenty, but blogging no more than I did in Summer. I’ll be covering Sakurasou’s Pet for a very nerfed version of MetaFap this season (sunbeam-chan being a bitch) and I’ll be joining Fosh for weekly podcast discussions of Robotics;Notes.
[ Eureka Seven AO ] The end is near yet so far away. I can still give credit to 22 episodes of some really engaging anime that marks, in my opinion, a return to form for Bones studio. Such impressive art and animation, the story leaves me thinking about the show’s universe as a whole and Fukai Ao has actually been an alright lead in Astral Ocean. It’s been fun talking w/ Fosh and the others on the “mini-talk” podcasts and surely we’ll have bunches to say in November when the series officially concludes.
[ Binbougami Ga! ] Amongst a pile of crap, the one debuting anime I enjoyed from this season actually had a shit god in it. Comedies are difficult with me because I’m not too high on them in anime form and few can break me into laughter, and Binbougami was able to crack me up and have a decent story hold it up just enough. The way Binbougami does parody is a little different in that it does something of its own with it, such as how the Fist of the North Star reference became a class trend rather than just a typical shoutout to old timey anime. You can’t just pop shit up or say a line and I laugh going, “haha they referenced something!” Sakura & Momoji were the funnest part of the Summer anime season for me and more of them in the future would be welcome.
[ Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai ] Can’t believe I’m actually putting this in my top 3. Good god, Summer anime sucked balls.
[ Phi Brain 2 ] Calloused fingers run through the practiced motions, turning the rubix cube around in an almost instinctual twisting motion. He barely even needs to look at what his hands are doing – the colours just seem to line up like soldiers as a sheer result of time passing by. However, his fingers slow down a fraction of a second from their task as the gravity of the situation begins to sink in. Instead of focusing on the cube in his hands, his thoughts wander to the huge stakes of the puzzle. It’s never just a puzzle – there’s always a life at stake. Every Saturday morning crossword and 5th grade math equation could mean life or death for Kaito and anyone close to him. He breaks out into a cold sweat, his heart now pounding faster than the rhythm of his nimble fingers across the cube. He’s going to lose it all if he doesn’t make it. 5 more seconds. Then 4. Then 3. 2. Before the timer buzzes, Kaito finishes the puzzle and cries out in triumph. Or in agony. No one understands what torment this high school drop-out feels from his life-consuming puzzle addiction. As if he were underwater, he can hear a distorted voice from far away. “You did it! You solved it Kaito!” Suddenly, he’s catapulted back to reality and he realizes what’s going on. Kaito is surrounded by his horny, homosexual harem who are so hot and bothered by his puzzle skills that they can’t refrain themselves from his charm any longer. Kaito accepts the challenge with a curt nod, entering Phi Brain mode to calculate just how their bodies should all fit together in his bed to make their jigsaw “puzzle time” truly perfect. Let’s…play up.
[ Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita ] I like shows that get you to think. Jintai failed to be a convincing comedy after the first 2 episodes (I don’t think I actually laughed or smirked after that point) but it always had a fun “message of the day” that could be interpreted multiple ways. In fact, my favourite part of Jintai was probably reading the posts after since different people would glean different intended meanings from each episode. It was a clever show – really clever! – although the execution wasn’t always as sharp as I’d have liked. Some points flew over my head while others were so broad that the diffuse statements made me unsure if the topic really mattered to me. Still, Jintai had an amazingly cynical yet comedic tone that made it stand out this season. Best character of the season? The fairies. No contest!
[ Kuroko no Basuke ] My expectations for this show were very low when it started. Kuroko no Basuke is a typical shounen sports manga with flashy moves that regularly make Physics professors cry, gorgeous bishounen, and tons of spirited catchphrases about being the best at (insertsporthere) in the world! However, it’s a particularly good and exciting typical shounen sports manga. The characters are loveable, the action is great, and the special moves are so over-the-top that it makes it so that literally anything can happen on the court. There are no limits to what can happen, and what kind of opponents can appear. However, the number one reason this show is such a winner is most likely the sheer volume of bishounen (who seem just as interested in other hot guys as I am). The amount of fujoshi-pandering keeps fangirls like me hooked, but at least I don’t have to feel too ashamed since there’s some actual depth behind all the locker room flirting.
[ Kuroko no Basuke ] You might think that it’s just my bias kicking, but that’s not true. I truly enjoyed Kuroko no Basuke. The basketball styles are exaggerated like crazy, but that’s what makes the whole thing interesting. It was able to pump my adrenaline just by watching it, and every cliffhanger left me in despair, making me crave for next week’s episode. Look, I’m exaggerating right now. Look at what this anime did to me. The story might be shallow and dramatic at times, but who cares about that when the anime is exciting already? Not to mention the bishies and the homosexual tension among the characters. The viewer can literally ship every character with each other. Whoops, I guess I do have some bias after all.
[ Hyouka ] “Whoa, I wasted half an hour of my life by watching it,” was my first reaction to Hyouka. The main character’s dull personality was disappointing at first, and the whole idea of a Classic Club was just silly. Now it’s time for me to apologize because I was wrong about Hyouka. Though it started weak, the characters grew in me, and their weak points became their plusses. The stories are somewhere between ordinary and exceptional, and that’s what makes Hyouka more enjoyable. Let’s not forget the thin line between friendship and romance some of the characters have with each other, making this anime more appealing for romance lovers like me. And them pwetty animation!
[ Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon 2 ] I’m probably the only Horizon fan in METANORN, but I’m a proud Horizon fan. The world in Horizon and its complexity never cease to amaze me. It astonishes me how some of the most complex system and unwritten rules are created out of the simplest things in this world (such as flower!). While it might not have the best character design in the anime world, I take my hat off to the author and his rich imagination. Ono Daisuke did a great job voicing a talking hat- er, ninja too. (bias revealed)
[ Hyouka ] What can I say about this show that I haven’t already? The plot was extremely slow, mundane and nothing ever happened. …Though eventually that became the best part about it since it let the characters shine through. The stereotypical characters became more than just that and all of the four main characters had some pretty intricate (yet believable) personalities. Not only that, but since KyoAni paid a huge amount of attention to details, the scenery of the place just came alive (…plus the fact that KyoAni is like the god of anime quality). Overall though, I really liked blogging this since there was just so much to talk about and analyse each episode. It was more than just Houtarou solving a mystery, there was always something deeper there. Sure, I was severely disappointed at the beginning, but sticking with Hyouka really paid off in the end. …Points for also having an ending that I actually liked as well.
[ Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita ] – This was endlessly entertaining. I can’t say that I pondered each episode deeply like I’ve seen other people do, but I did enjoy it on a satirical level. It went into the morbid notion of humanity ending and then got away with addressing topics like the fall of civilization while making things… less… morbid since those fairies were just the most adorable things ever. It addressed some really complex issues in such simple terms. I can see where people were unhappy with how vaguely this anime addressed each topic (and even I have some questions as to what some things meant), but it went far enough for my satisfaction. The fact that the story wasn’t chronological helped with that too. The messages were vague, when the story actually took place was vague and somehow and in the end the vagueness just kind of… worked together.
[ Phi Brain 2 ] There’s just something magical about a show that can make solving a Rubik’s cube THE most badass and death defying feat ever. On top of that though, Phi Brain took things even further this season and added in one of the weirdest (yet strangely shippable) character relationships that I’ve seen. Phi Brain was pretty great to begin with, but that finale was just the right amount of drama and epic puzzle action. I guess what I liked about the show was that it had all of the elements of your generic shounen anime, but it replaced all of the physical fighting with a battle of wits. Puzzles can be just as badass as punching through brick walls (…and apparently if you’re good enough at puzzles, you can do both). Season 3 is going to be fabulous.
[ Hyouka ] I already wrote quite a bit with Kara about my love for this show. Hyouka was a wonderful coming of age tale that was outstanding at building its characters, better than pretty much any other show out there. Kyoto Animation flexed its production muscles, using its best-in-the-business animation to try some more abstract art than its usual, resulting in quite possibly the most beautiful TV anime ever. Tanaka Kouhei‘s poignant – at times magnificent – soundtrack was fitting accompaniment to the best anime of 2012.
[ Joshiraku ] As a huge Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei fan, I was caught off guard by Joshiraku. A comedy series based on another comic written by Kouji Kumeta with character designs by Masayoshi Tanaka of Toradora/AnoHana/NatsuMachi fame? How had I not heard of this before? And it delivered, providing the same sort of meta/political/wordplay humor that had made Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei so funny. I looked forward to new laughs every week, and it never let me down. It also had the best opening and ending of the season, and the art was surprisingly good, with comically fluid animation and plenty of variety in the girls’ costumes. Joshiraku is one of the best anime comedies I’ve seen.
[ Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita ] Humanity Has Declined built up a lot of hype with an unforgettable first episode, only to slowly waste its goodwill, failing to deliver more than some groans and chuckles with each episode. It was in the final arc that it finally gave us a reason to care, telling the cliche story about the abused loner at school about as well as it can be told. It was a beautiful sendoff to a show that didn’t fully make good on its promise, and it was enough to push it to my top 3 of the season.
[ Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita ] By far the most intriguing show to watch this season. Every episode presented some extremely peculiar scenarios and even now I’m trying to piece together the timeline of events. Jintai is one of those rare shows that leaves me curious and questioning long after the episode ends. “What’s the significance of this character’s name, or that ambiguous dialogue?” It led me searching for answers on blogs and various websites, and for me that’s a very entertaining thing to do. And anyway, who could resist those adorable fairies?
[ Hyouka ] I never planned on watching Hyouka, and in fact was waiting for it to end first, but a sudden urge led me to start the show and I regret nothing! I loved the lighthearted mysteries, but of course the main pleasure came from watching the relationships between the main cast grow. I can’t find a single weak point in the cast, as they all grew on me over time. The production quality was spectacular as well!
[ Joshiraku ] Although I’m still only about ⅔ of the way through Joshiraku (the subs take some time to be released, which is something I shouldn’t complain about!) this comedy anime has been one of the most downright hilarious I’ve seen this year. Give it a try if you haven’t already!
[ Kokoro Connect ] stole my heart. This show has been surprising at every turn, and not a week goes by that it doesn’t take my breath away. The characters are complex and interesting and really show arcs of growth throughout the series. The strongest aspect of the show is the way it uses its supernatural elements to enhance the drama, and not be the focus of it. Whether it be body switching, desire unleashing, or time shifting, this is a story about children trying to deal with a confusing world. It serves as a strong metaphor for adolescence in general. As a passageway from childhood to adulthood, we begin to question our decisions of the past and wonder what their ramifications will be going forward. Our identities become the focus of exploration and how those decisions are branches of our persona. If anything Kokoro Connect is show with the human element imbued into its dialogue, characters and narrative. It’s made out of the very fabric of our collective youth. I don’t know if this is just the show of the summer… it’s the show of the year for me.
[ Natsuyuki Rendezvous ] made me remember the relationships of my past. Every scene whispered memories that I had long tucked away. It shared my secrets with me like an old friend that I hadn’t seen for a while. The success of this series lies in its strong characters that drive the plot forward. Very close attention was paid to subtle aspects of the three leads to make them very relatable. Leaving this series felt like I was saying goodbye to some very old friends.
[ Uta Koi ] isn’t exactly perfect. There were flaws with the pacing, and the art and music quickly became tiring. What Uta Koi is a great homage to the past and the history of poetry. If you have even the smallest fetish for the written verse then this show is right up your alley. The fantastic characters are just icing on the cake.