So we’re about three weeks into the new season and I’ve finally caught up with all the new shows I’d been planning to watch, after playing catch-up for the first two weeks. So since I’m kinda late for a First Impressions post, and most shows have had their third episode come out this week, I’ll go ahead and call it a Three-Episode Test post and hope nobody notices. I’ll go through them in approximate order of enjoyment, from the biggest stinkers to the biggest winners.
Dropped With Extreme Prejudice:
Teekyuu is an assault on the senses in the worst possible way. The episodes are two minutes long, and it’s two minutes of audiovisual bombardment. There’s not even time to process what is happening on screen (not that you’d want to). Teekyuu is throwing bad jokes, bad voices, and bad animation at me so rapidly that it’s as if the show has actually punched me in the face. Dropped at episode 1.
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou is about a girl who can’t even dress herself in the morning. I’m sorry, but there’s a Key show this season, and I can only tolerate so many shows at once about girls with the mental capacity of toddlers. Dropped at episode 1.
Code:Breaker is the type of show that I don’t really have much to say about beyond that it was pretty boring. Dropped at episode 2, but I only made it that far because I wanted to see what kind of BS excuse the show gave to not-kill the girl.
Dropped on Reasonably Good Terms:
Say “I Love You” is a pretty decent embodiment of all that shoujo is. If you like shoujo, you’d probably like this. I don’t, so I didn’t. Dropped at episode 1.
Kamisama Kiss had a surprisingly good second episode. Maybe it’s just because I enjoyed the fox guy being a jerkwad to the smug male idol, but I had a legitimately good time with that episode. Episodes 1 and 3, though, were the kind of overly sappy/dramatic fluff that I don’t much care for in shoujo series. Dropped at episode 3, while the pleasant memories of episode 2 are still fresh.
K is impossible to find with a search engine. It’s not really all that bad a show, but it’s also not particularly good. It’s well-directed, animated, and scored, but all of that solid production is backing a series that is otherwise pretty empty of quality. In particular, none of the characters are all that interesting, and neither the all-show-no-tell first episode nor the massive third-episode infodump has got me interested in the world. The best parts of the series have been the sassy garbage can and the tape recorder full of Master Ichigen’s sayings. Dropped at episode 3.
Zetsuen no Tempest is another show that’s not really bad, per se, but that I just don’t care enough about to keep watching. The magic system is well-thought-out and the animation is good, but it’s ultimately been pretty forgettable. Dropped at episode 3.
Watching… For Now:
Aoi Sekai no Chuushi De is about the SNES vs Genesis console wars from back in the 90s, but if the opposing armies hadn’t been called Ninteldo and Segua, I totally wouldn’t have noticed. Admittedly, this came out late in the season so it’s only had one episode so far, but apart from the fact that each character vaguely inherits some traits from some video game or another, such as the Sonic character having blue hair and a speed-based special attack, the show is a pretty lame by-the-books Warring-States-esque series. And then, factor in that several of the characters are based on RPGs, and thus end up seeming like generic fantasy characters – for example, Link’s character is pretty much just a guy with a magic sword (now see, maybe if they’d gotten Nobuyuki Hiyama to voice him…). There were exactly two things I enjoyed about the episode. One was the Tetris character – his constant stream of dirty jokes about filling holes were pretty silly, and he was also the only one to embody some non-aesthetic aspect of the game in his character. And then there was Mario’s character design, in the image above. HOLY crap that character design. Honestly, though, I see very little appeal to this show beyond “hey look, that character is supposed to be that game!”, and that sort of appeal can’t prop up a bad show for more than a couple episodes. But I’ll watch a couple more episodes for exactly that reason.
Eh, Why Not:
BTOOOM! is still the stupidest title of the season. It’s also a pretty stupid show, but it’s stupid in the way that makes you want to keep watching to see just how out of control it gets. It has the same appeal as a typical Battle Royale or Island-Arc-of-the-Hunter-Exam type of story, but with a somewhat endearingly sloppy execution. I still think it’s hilarious that it took the main character as long as he did to figure out how time bombs work.
Jormungand is pretty much the same as it’s always been. Hard to follow, action-packed, and moderately fun. Her name is still Koko, she is still loco, and I say “sure, why not.”
Hayate the Combat Butler got off to a rocky start, but it’s gradually picking up the laughs. It’s not quite at the level of the earlier series, but it’s still got a charm that’s put a smile on my face in each of the second and third episodes, and as long as it can keep doing that, I’ll keep watching it.
I Want to Believe:
Little Busters is a step up from most Key series so far in that it’s focusing a lot more on the male characters this time around. Key’s female characters are what drive me up the wall about their works, because the vast majority of them are, to put it frankly, retarded. I don’t mean that in any kind of derogatory sense, I mean it in the sense that their brains don’t seem to have matured past the age of 5, and I don’t like how Key exploits that/tries to make us think it’s cute. And their voices make my eardrums bleed. As such, it’s nice that we get to see more of the male side of things, where at least they’re just goofy rather than mentally ill, so you feel less bad about laughing at them. Masato in particular is a continuous source of laughter so far, and I can only hope that he can continue to make the show not-suck even when the sap-tacular Key melodrama inevitably kicks in.
My Little Monster has been equal parts enjoyable and frustrating so far. There have been plenty of moments where the comedy has actually worked, or where the characters have been refreshingly forward about their feelings. But for every step the show takes forward, it takes one back, with unfunny jokes and by inventing contrived new reasons to stop the lead couple from dating. The latter point especially kills the chemistry between the leads, because every time they take a step forward, they suddenly do a complete personality 180 out of nowhere. This isn’t necessarily a problem in and of itself, but it happens so frequently that it ends up being distracting and kills the charm that the characters should have had. I do have some hope that this will improve over time.
Robotics;Notes is one of those shows that I’m not quite sure how to feel about. We’ve only had two episodes so far, so there hasn’t been much time to puzzle out where it’s going, but I’ll be cautiously optimistic and give it the benefit of the doubt. The girl is pretty annoying, but the overall premise seems to have some potential, and the numerous references to robot shows do spice things up a bit. One thing I do feel strongly about with regards to R;N is that I have no idea how it made its way into noitaminA. And two cours of noitaminA at that.
Magi is in a similar boat as Robotics;Notes, in that I’m not sure whether it can live up to its potential or not, and it has one really annoying character (Aladdin). However, the rest of the cast has been pretty good so far, and the Arabian setting is certainly ambitious, so I’m more than willing to go with the flow and see where Magi takes me. The second episode was reasonably clever and seems to be setting the foundations for a solid shounen. It’s also somewhat comforting that the other characters seem to find Aladdin as annoying as I do.
Okay, These are Actually Pretty Good:
From the New World has a slight advantage in that I’ve seen four episodes of it so far, and the fourth episode has me somewhat more convinced that it knows where it wants to go with its slow-burn world building. The world has a pretty interesting, if overly-cynical, history, and the questions the show raises open the door to some intriguing possibilities. The characters have been pretty meh so far, but I’ll let that slide if the show can deliver on its setting, which is really the big focus here, anyway.
Chuunibyou ended up being a moderate surprise for me. I didn’t expect to like it nearly as much as I did – it does a really good job of conveying the vicarious embarrassment of the main character as he is made to look back on the old self he desperately wishes to erase. It’s that feeling of looking back at all the stupid stuff you did in high school and praying to the highest power you can imagine that nobody else remembers it. Chuunibutts simultaneously conveys this feeling and celebrates the childish wonder and imagination that is the subject of such embarrassment, and pulls off this unlikely combination surprisingly well.
Psycho-Pass explores the ideas of precognitive crime that Minority Report popularized, and takes it to the next level – what if a person’s entire life is essentially predetermined? Their aptitudes, their preferences, their place in the world – if all of this can be determined without your own input, what does it mean to be your own person, and what point is there to living the life that has been decided for you? Psycho-Pass is still building up the foundations of its premise, so I look forward to seeing where it takes itself next.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure will get its own post eventually because it is far and away my favorite show of the season and it deserves more space than it would get here. All that I’ll say for now is that it’s amazing and that Roundabout is ED of the year all years.