So, as mentioned previously, I'm making an effort this year, for the first time, to follow new and current anime. To that end, I've already picked up a handful of shows on the Fall lineup, and been keeping with them as they're released. My initial thoughts and impressions are briefly outlined below. I won't get into any detail, or give away any of the stories. In no particular order:
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai -
On the surface, this looks like just another slice-of-life dramedy. The main characters are all loners, social outcasts, inept at making friends, etc, etc, and form a club with the primary purpose of finding friends, basically to practice and get over their social stigma. It sounds like a pretty weak premise, and yeah, there's not much in the way of action or plot so far. Where the series excels, though, is in the character traits and interactions; these are quite well done, with just the right blend of cluelessness, comedy, emotion, and cuteness to keep me coming back. The animation style appeals to me, as well. I'm three episodes in, and looking forward to the next.
C3: CubexCursedxCurious -
This show started off well. Its biggest draw is definitely the animation: bright, vivid, dazzling, colorful, and done in a style I love. The setup was a bit rushed and sloppy, but it made enough sense: human emotion can be embedded into the tools we use regularly, turning them into personified representations of our will, capable of cursing, killing, healing, helping, you name it. The girl is a cursed tool with a history of violence but an innocent personality, and the boy is supposed to redeem her and show her a softer side of humanity. Unfortunately, it all goes to hell from there. The interpersonal relations and emotional growth are far too rushed and condensed, the philosophical and ethical implications are quickly forgotten in favor of flashy action when some evil organization appears, and the plot quickly gets confused, then ridiculous, then non-existent. I don't know why I even bothered watching past the second episode (probably for the pretty animation), but after four I've dropped it like an enraged badger.
Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle -
A whole fictional world where people are obsessed with puzzles and puzzle solving, with (OMG this never happens in anime) high school students at a prestigious academy. Each episode features our heroes solving different types of dangerous puzzles, which have been developed by some shadowy organization bent on finding and solving the ancient Puzzle of the Gods and gaining god-like powers as the reward. The concept is pretty unique, and the execution is well done so far. Typical Sunrise animation and character design make the visuals both familiar and enjoyable. I don't know how long the one-trick-pony plots can keep holding my interest, but so far after 4 eps I'm going strong.
Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon -
This show is just ridiculous right from the get-go. Take Warring States period Japan, complete with classical samurai, throw it into conflict with Medieval Europe (there's even a Pope-Emperor), and give them ultra-futuristic technology. Then make the characters high school students who are training to be the saviors of mankind. Now, give those teens a variety of skills straight out of the Final Fantasy universe (mage, monk, fighter, ninja, paladin, archer, even a succubus-like demon). You're already at complete overload; there's no way all those anime and video game elements can be reconciled with each other and consolidated into a coherent story, and so far, I haven't seen any signs that it'll get any more coherent. The plot is slow to develop; the character interactions and personal struggles are bland. The animation is pretty enough, but done in a overly-exaggerated Shonen style that doesn't really appeal to me (breasts the size of soccer balls, swords twice as long and thick as their wielders, and so forth). I'm still on the fence and giving it more time to smooth out, but honestly don't know if I see myself sticking it out with this one.
Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing -
An all-new adventure set in the Last Exile world, with new characters and events. Of course, the ever-annoying Guild is still overseeing things, and if you're a Dio fan, he's the only character thus far to carry over from the original series. The animation style is different, a little more rounded and 'kiddy' but at the same time more polished and refined - not sure if I like it on its own merits, or I hate it for changing the appearances I loved about the first series. At any rate, this was the one show I was most looking forward to this season, and it looks like I won't be disappointed.
Bakuman 2 -
Picking up right about where the first season left off, this one simply continues to put the manga story into motion. They're starting to move a bit faster, skipping over some of the slower parts, side-plots, and secondary character interactions. The only complaint I have is that the anime focuses more on playing up the drama and emotion, and much less on the manga development process, which I found fascinating in the manga itself.
I also thought Working'!! looked pretty interesting, but I never saw the first season, so I went and got ahold of that. I'm two episodes in and pretty amused, so the plan is to finish S1 and then get cracking on the current S2. I've heard good things about Guilty Crown, and seen the comparisons between it and Code Geass, so it's going to be the next new series I'll check out.
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