I may as well do one of these since, well, why not? I'm picking up 6 new anime for the Fall Season, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, Bakuman, The World Only God Knows, My Little Sister Can't be this Cute, Invasion Squid Girl (not listed as I picked it up late), and (by request) Yosuga no Sora. After watching the first episode (hopefully the same day), I will post my thoughts about the series as well as my prediction for my final rating (out of 5).
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt
This anime is about...well, I'm not 100% sure. It's paced like a crazy Saturday morning cartoon after the creators decided to take crack and remove all FCC regulations. We're introduced to the rather...indiscriminate (thank you thesaurus) Panty waking up next to a man who has clearly seen better days. Moments later we're introduced to her counterpoint, her gothic, sweets loving sister stocking. Apparently they're some form of fallen angels who need to collect coins to...do something (note that I watched the episode once, and I won't read any synopses before writing this entry). These coins come into being after defeating certain evil creatures called "Ghosts," which apparently take possession of various common objects, depending on the personality of the person who died and was reincarnated as one. To accentuate the already shameless burlesque nature of the show, the first Ghost decided to take control of people's toilets to devourer them while they're doing their business. Panty and Stocking are quickly deployed to defeat the Ghost, and in typical Magical Girl/Cartoon Hero fassion, they eliminate the Ghostly threat, which unfortunately leaves the town covered in sewage.
Each episode has two 12 minute stories, which I found added to a very western feel for the whole show. The animation is stretchy, bouncy, and exaggerated, as well as colored with wacky tones and hot contrast. The jokes were often overtly sexual, and the visuals were uncompromisingly brash. The characters of Panty and Stocking have very interesting potential (that's all I'll say for now, once they're more developed, I'll analyze them). The main challenge for the show this season is going to be remaining interesting and not becoming a repetitive episodic show that repeats the same jokes over and over.
But I have faith in Gainax. They certainly know what they are doing when it comes to non-standard anime. I predict that my rating for Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt will be 4 out of 5.
Just as a note, I haven't read the manga. This anime, well, the synopsis ought to be enough for you to tell. It's an anime about writing manga adapted from a manga about writing manga. Great, just like all those musicals about performing musicals! Anyway, despite its cliche subject matter, this show has potential, mostly drawn from the fact that the manga has received largely positive reviews. Personally, the first episode didn't swing me much either way. The animation was a little less than expected from J.C. Staff, but it wasn't at the level of eyesore. The characters were, as with P&S, polar opposites, which could either create an interesting dichotomy, or fall into trite cliches. It really depends upon which version of J.C. Staff decides to show up, the ones that brought us the wonderful Toradora! or the ones that brought us...the ones that brought us...
I predict that my rating for Bakuman will be a 3 out of 5.
Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai
I hadn't initially intended to pick this anime up, but there was so much discussion about it that I couldn't resist. Besides being the longest titled anime I've ever watched, this is a story about a typical guy who finds out a dastardly secret about his little sister. She has a *gasp* little sister fetish, as well as being one of the most avid collectors I've seen in or outside of anime since Konata Isumi. The plot for the first episode was very generic, and the show as a whole seemed to follow the formula Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu - princess like royalty + incest = story for this anime. That would all be fine and dandy, except that I hated NHNH and its generic romantic comedy. Hopefully this anime doesn't fall into that trap.
The animation was less than stellar (when the most impressive scene from an animation standpoint is a character pouring themselves a glass of chocolate milk, there's issues). The voice casting was the most interesting part of this anime. The two main characters are voiced by people one might recognize. Ayana Taketatsu (whom you might recognize as Azusa from K-on) plays the little sister and Yuuichi Nakamura uses his Tomoya Okazaki voice for the lead character. I'm not sure if as the series progresses this will result in stellar voice performances or the characters turning into generic clones of the voice actors' other roles. I'm not sure if I'll finish this series, although in some ways I do want to. I predict that my rating for Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai will be a 2.5 out of 5.
Yosuga no Sora
If I had watched this anime before the above mentioned one, I certainly would have had a different first impression of both of them. I went into watching this anime having absolutely no idea what it was about besides a very vague ANN description and a picture. I didn't want to research the galge upon which the anime was based, since I wanted a completely objective approach to the anime. Looking back, this was a BAD IDEA. Yosuga no Sora, like Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai is an incest anime. As the two main characters move back to the place of their childhood, their relationship (at least in the mind of the girl), seems to be readied for a quantum leap. Oh, and I forgot to mention, it's a harem anime so every single girl falls for our lovely male protagonist at first sight. That's about it folks; that's the entirety of the first episode.
Where do I begin to point out the flaws in this anime? This has to be the worst writing I have ever seen in an anime since watching the Hourglass of Summer adaptation (and I'd venture to say that the writing of this anime was even worse). The primary problem from which all the other problems derive is that it's REALLY BORING. There's nothing entertaining about watching some guy just go about his day with girls instantly and overtly falling for him all over the place. Sure, I've watched harem anime before, but either they developed relationships in arc form slowly over time, or they provided a twist that made the web of flirtatious love hilarious. Besides, his appeal makes no sense. Why is an otherwise average looking guy with gray hair so attractive? In my opinion, it makes him look like an old man in a child's body. The character development was some of the worst that I've ever seen, on the level of The Next Karate Kid. The background to the story is probably unnecessary anyway, as the plot seems very much sex driven by a particularly angsty, horny, little sister. The rest of the characters are totally unmemorable, not even in the fact that they're anime stereotypes. They seem to be the most bland form of the archetypes of the characters they represent, shells of a typical cliche. The only slightly redeeming aspect of the anime was the animation, which at times was sketchy with the integrated CGI.
The only reason that I'll continue watching this anime is that it's almost entertaining to see how bad it can get. I predict that my rating for Yosuga no Sora will be a 1.5 out of 5.
The World Only God Knows
A bit late for a first impression so I'll keep it brief. It was a solid watch. The first episode was an "indroduction of concept episode," so the anime could go anywhere from here. There's not much to evaluate or speculate upon, but I liked it (cop out).