Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Autumn 2012 anime

It's that time again when a new season has started, so beginning my process of sorting the wheat from the chaff in the lineup of shows.  So far I have to say this has been a pretty solid start, a hell of a lot better than summer (which, even at the beginning mostly only held shows of moderate interest to boring).

Gotta love that artstyle.
Getting straight to it then, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun is one of my favourite start ups so far. Ostensibly it's a shoujo anime - a label which normally causes me to steer well clear of a show, but I'm glad I gave this a chance because within minutes of watching I was in hysterics.  This show really nails that key all important aspect of comedy: timing.  What's more it keeps things coming at a blistering rate, I don't think I've laughed so much at something in years. YEARS.  The fact that Japan doesn't tip-toe around certain taboos (for example, violence towards women) makes it all the more outrageous from a western perspective.

Despite the largely realistic approach of the show, the violence is fairly slapstick and usually brushed off in a manner that an average western cartoon would do - there isn't much lingering on it and bizarrely it often leads to more humourous situations.  Speaking of realism, the show makes a very welcome use of semi-realistic character designs with more realistic proportions and profile shapes than the average anime; noses are shaped like noses instead of vague triangles.  Why is this not done more frequently Japan?

FeMC and Aspie-kun.
I've just realized that I've rambled for two whole paragraphs without describing the background to the show: it's about a girl and her acquaintance with an aspergic delinquent.  From there on stuff happens.

Apparently the manga which this is based upon does decline in quality, so bear that in mind when starting watching it.  That said, for the time being this is a solid show and certainly worth watching.

Chuunibyou is another series which I've really liked the first episode of.  Personally I had no idea there were actually people who design and dress themselves up as some self-invented character (I had long imagined the infamous Darks to be a one off), so I found it pretty hilarious... whereas a lot of other people seem to have found it embarrassing.  This quadruples the amusement for me.

Rikka, the "chuunibyou".
Being a Kyoani show the animation was extremely nice, with some of their best work to date expended on fantasy scenarios imagined by various characters.  I have no idea where the plot for this show is going, it's still too early to say but regardless, I love the central characters of Rikka and Yuuta.  The latter of the two is embarrassed by the fact that he used to play dress up and put on a fake persona (a "chuunibyou").  Whilst he would like to forget that past, Rikka quickly cottons onto it and introduces herself as someone who likes to be a chuunibyou - and has no qualms or embarrassment about it - much to Yuuta's chagrin.

So far so good, I shall be watching it weekly for my dose of moe and further humour.

Segwaying from Kyoani, Little Busters also started this past week... but with JC Staff in charge of animation.  It wasn't a bad start (certainly nowhere near as bad as it could be given JC Staff) though the animation is quite rough, it is more or less typical of JC Staff's animation quality in general.  The character designs are certainly quite an improvement from the typical Key artwork, as usual JC Staff have employed a skilled character designer - so there's no kawaii~uguu looking characters (thank god).

Useless cat, I choose you!
They seem to be following the VN quite literally, so it should be hard for them to screw it up... hopefully. There have been far worse VN adaptations produced to date (see for example, the Key movies), hopefully they'll follow or combine the best aspects of the various routes in the game.

I was entertained for the duration of the episode, the characters were amusing and the pacing was mostly fine. My only complaint is that the central character (a guy) is voiced by a girl, which is all the more obvious when contrasted with the manly voices of the surrounding male characters.  I'll sit back and see how it pans out over the duration of its broadcast.

Next up is Ixion Saga, which is sort of like a cross between Gintama and Slayers.  The Gintama connection is worth mentioning, since it features the same director and voice actors (see also: Binbougami).  It's a moderately amusing comedy/fantasy/shounen, nothing ground breaking so far but I'll be sticking with it to see where it goes. Speaking of Gintama, a new series started last week, which was welcome; as was the new series of Hayate which also got off to a good start.  Hopefully I won't get burned out by 3 shows doing much the same thing.

Lastly there's a variety of shows which I have little to no interest in:
Zetsuen no Tempest was a terrible abomination, a fantasy show about a wimpy guy who lets himself get beaten up bullies (he even hands over his wallet, believing this to be badass) and some witches and blah blah blah.  It was terrible and should be avoided at all costs.
Project [K] always had that look of fujoshi pandering to it, so I guess it was no surprise that it turned out to be just that.  It's just disappointing considering how nicely animated the show is, I'll keep watching it for a little while longer to see if it picks up - though this is probably a vain hope.
Shinsekai Yori is an abstract show which focuses too much on building up the abstract elements of its world.  Abstract is fine if kept to the background, but making it a central feature is not terribly interesting.  Hopefully this will improve and shift the focus towards the characters, but right now it's one of my least favoured shows.  The ED is very nice though.

That's all for now, there are more shows that have yet to air... I guess I can talk about them in due course or retrospectively when the season ends.  We'll see.