Better Late Than Never: May RoundUp

LET US DRINK THE TEARS OF THE INNOCENT

HEY GUYS IT’S THAT TIME OF THE MONTH WHERE I JUSTIFY WHY I DON’T LIKE THE SHOWS YOU LIKE (OR VICE VERSA) AND BE A PRICK ABOUT IT.

Sometimes low expectations work.
8. Haiyore Nyaruko-san
This is one of the better harem shows I’ve seen in a long time. It’s self depreciating and awfully self aware, qualities that make it much more charming than your average harem. It’s not that funny though, it lacks a dash of wit to make it absolutely enjoyable. You can argue that perhaps I just can’t appreciate the Lovecraft references, and sadly I don’t because I’ve hardly read anything of the sort. (Although I’m looking into that now.)
How horrifying…
7. AKB0048
I knew of AKB48 back when they were still a relatively small group with a niche audience and for some reason I just can’t hate it. It’s so goofy and the girls aren’t as grating as I was anticipating, so I (unexpectedly!) found myself enjoying it.
Yeah.
6. Sakamichi no Apollon
Some people are probably surprised to see this so low in the round up. I mean, objectively– it’s a fantastically put together show. But for some reason, it almost feels like that’s all it’s going for.  It just doesn’t feel like the staff is pushing their limits with this show. There’s nothing significantly bad about SnA, and nothing significantly good either (except the music I suppose).
Hahahaha this is so meta.
5. Fate/Zero
I enjoy Fate/Zero for reasons that have little to do with the actual plot. We all know hell breaks loose, that’s just how Urobuchi rolls. It’s the situations characters are placed in and how they react that always intrigue me. Kariya’s breakdown is a great example of these moments. I’m more interested in the underlying messages attached to the work and the unintentional comedy (because let’s be honest, there’s a lot of it– like that scene where Kotomine stabs Tohsaka in the back. DEM facial expressions…)
The best scene.
4. Kuroko no Basket
People who fancy themselves as ‘serious anime fans’ would hardly consider KnB on their watchlist and people who actually take basketball seriously would probably be offended…but KnB is just too fun to pass up. The characters are over the top and the games take on this very ‘battle shounen’ method of execution that I enjoy a lot. It’s also one of the funnier shows this season. The “This is Japanese Lunch Time Rush” scene had me in stitches. The reason this show is so high is because I actually enjoy it a lot and not in an ironic way.
NOW KISS…
3. Un-Go Ingaron (OVA)
I’ve continuously pondered on writing about Un-Go Ingaron, but I’m afraid I can’t do it justice. If you’re a fan, go watch it. This show is incredibly underrated. The story is so beautifully layered and it’s only until you have all the pieces together that you can truly marvel at how well written this series is. I might have to rewatch it someday.
This face pops up a lot in this show.
2. Hunter x Hunter 
Even with tough competition this season, Hunter x Hunter is still one of the most enjoyable and impressive shows for me. With a lot of shows of this length things get repetitive, but with HxH– the development is  designed for a longer run. The characters and the world that surrounds them remains a mystery and the story continues to deviate from typical shounen tropes. I can guarantee that anyone who’s stuck with the show this far is going to be rewarded (as if you weren’t already) with something truly special.
Boku no Tears
1. Tsuritama
And here we have my favorite of the season, Tsuritama. Sometimes it’s the simplest stories that carry the most profound messages. Tsuritama has always been refreshing, and knowing Kenji Nakamura– it’s one of those shows that has a lot of symbolism and references (although admittedly in this work, it’s a little harder to spot due to cultural differences?) but the true strength of this series lies in how it develops it characters and actually confronts the issues being dealt with. AnoHana implied a lot of things but never completely resolved them, in Tsuritama we actually see these characters grow and find themselves.
The visuals are not simply there to impress, but express. In the age where anime can get away with producing high end visuals, Tsuritama stays true to the saying: “Show, not tell.” Repeating motifs such as stars, triangles and children’s toys have their specific purposes…something I find to be lacking in recent anime. So yeah, this is my favorite show this season, no other show from spring 2012 has had me this emotionally (and financially) invested.

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9 Comments

  1. Yes, Tsuritama is definitely my favorite this season too. Wonderful characters, visuals, music, atmosphere… everything. I love how refreshing Tsuritama is for its positive themes and concepts, even now as all hell is breaking loose. Oh, and it’s really funny too. I just hope the ending will deliver. (I have no reason to expect otherwise, but you never know with anime… And since this *is* a quirky show…)
    My other big favorite is Fate/Zero. I’m kind of just blown away by how well-written that series has been. The dialogue is incredible. And I love all the character development. Lots of conflict for lots of fascinating characters, and I can never guess what will happen next.
    The other anime I’m really enjoying are Kimi to Boku and Acchi Kocchi. Kimi to Boku is so sweet and charming, and Acchi Kocchi is so cute and hilarious. I consider Acchi Kocchi my pleasant surprise of the season. I wasn’t expecting it to be any good.

    I saw the first ep of Nyaruko-san and thought it was okay (but definitely not for me). But what’s really funny is your screencap for the show. I looked at it and immediately thought “What’s going on there… Did they switch bodies or something?” And looking up a synopsis for ep 9… Apparently that *is* what happens. XD So, kudos to that show, I guess, for making Nyarko’s expressions so recognizable.

    • It’s frustrating to wait a whole week for the next episode of Tsuritama. I find it amusing you mentioned Fate/Zero in the same paragraph considering how both shows currently sit at opposite ends in the spectrum.

      I’m curious about Acchi Kocchi since it’s one of the shows I haven’t been able to watch at all. I should probably check it out if I have the time. Nyaruko has some very memorable characters, at least the show’s staff puts effort into that aspect.

      • Tsuritama and Fate/Zero have their similarities… large cast of boys… a threat that comes from the bottom of the sea… Okay, that might be it. But I’m thoroughly enjoying both shows. I’m glad Tsuritama with its infectious positivity is airing this season, to counter-balance just how dark and depressing Fate/Zero is. X_X
        Acchi Kocchi is probably best enjoyed if all you plan for is something really goofy and cute. The main characters have a good chemistry that works well for a high school comedy, and there’s a fun, lighthearted aesthetic to its art style (particularly for its wacky scene transitions).

        Did you ever watch Kimi to Boku, Mira? The first season started off pretty slow, but it’s really hit its stride at this point. It’s one of the more charming slice-of-life shows out there, and manages to include some pleasant comedy and romance over the course of the series. Two of the voice actors for Tsuritama are in the main cast, too. (Haru and Natsuki)

  2. Nice picks!

    Every week I vacillate over whether Tsuritama or Kids on the Slope is the better show. The former possesses this anarchic energy that the latter totally lacks, but I think people underrate the fact that Watanabe took ten volumes of DRAMA and condensed the whole thing into eleven or twelve episodes without ever ringing a false note. They’re both pretty formidable, ultimately.

    Otherwise, I’m having a lot of fun with Nazo no Kanojo X (the first great comedy about the male adolescent psyche since FLCL) and Eureka Seven AO, which I admittedly need to catch up on. Also there’s Aquarion EVOL to fill the “Kuroko no Basket” position I suppose. The only shows that I’m really disappointed in are Fujiko Miine and Fate/Zero–the latter because it kind of dropped the ball on its protagonist’s characterization, the former because it isn’t a masterpiece–but both are really fascinating, and definitely have their moments when they spit creative fire.

    I dunno if this season was the BEST SEASON EVER like everyone was saying it was at the beginning. There’s a lot of good shows, even some great shows, but nothing transcendent like a Penguindrum or a Madoka Magica or a Steins;Gate (maybe pushing it.) But it was the season that Noitamina came back with a vengeance, and I’m grateful for it.

    • Ultimately, Watanabe has done an amazing job in adapting Sakamichi no Apollon. I feel like if there’s anything to be blamed for SnA not being quite perfect, it’ll always come down to the source material itself. Watanabe can do no wrong in terms of direction and execution, I honestly wish I were exaggerating but I don’t think anything quite compares to the level of finesse SnA has.

      Mysterious Girlfriend X is something I haven’t been able to follow. Admittedly, maybe it isn’t my kind of show but if summer fails to deliver anything good I’ll look into it. Eureka Seven AO is a problem because I’ve never seen the original and the same goes with Aquarion EVOL. I should catch up with both Lupin and F/Z. I’m probably missing out on a lot of things hahaha!

      Hard to say until any of the spring shows end. I have a feeling F/Z is going to be the show to at least match the standards and sales of Steins;Gate and Madoka (Penguindrum usually sold around 4-5k? The huge ones tend to go around 10,000+).

  3. For me it’s: SnA = Tsuritama > Space Bros > Jormungand > F/Z> HxH > Aquarion > Fujiko > Ginga e Kickoff > Panda Cafe > Kuroko = Seiya
    (I’m watching so much at the moment and having a great time!)

    The two Noitamina shows go hand in hand for me, maybe because I always watch them one after another. I love how SnA incorporates the music into its story, and I’m impressed how smoothly and quickly the drama-filled story flows (I don’t think there’s a single episode where at least one relationship isn’t changed somehow). Tsuritama would have been higher if it hadn’t been for the recent episodes. The resolution seems like it’s going to be simple and silly rather than intricately plotted reveals… For example I was hoping there would be more to Kate letting Haru stay than “He’s your flower” (which is cute but boring imo). I hope the final episodes will impress.

    • I’m so busy with work that I haven’t been able to watch as much anime as I used to. Kind of sad.

      I like SnA, but I can’t say I enjoy the romance part. But then I hardly enjoy romance so it’s not like it’s the show’s fault or anything. On Tsuritama, I was surprised how simple Kate’s reasons were for letting Haru stay with them, but if the website is correct we have 12 episodes (3 more episodes to go) so there’s hopefully they have a few more things they have up their sleeves. I don’t know if it’s such a good idea to have high expectations like this. orz

  4. Tsuritama is a far from being a classic, it’s definitely my favourite of this season. It’s vibrant, relaibly entertaining, and does a wonderful job of portraying character interactions. I get sick of Yuki’s grandmother’s sickeningly saccharine conversations with Haru, but there’s a lot to love here.

    It’s kind of indicative of this season I feel. A surprisingly large number of really solid entries, but no true greats. Not sure whether I’d rather this, or having nothing but shite except for one or two top tier shows. It’s been fun whatever the case.

    • Not sure whether I’d rather this, or having nothing but shite except for one or two top tier shows. It’s been fun whatever the case.

      A difficult hypothetical situation for any anime fan, although perhaps I’d prefer quality over quantity…

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