I already talked about Winter’s series in last month’s summary post, but I wanted to review and highlight them, much like my 2011 in Review only a bit smaller. Plus my thoughts on Spring after the fold.
**Mouretsu Pirates, Mirai Nikki and any other currently airing show doesn’t count here. I’ll make an exception for Persona 4 because it *technically* ended its broadcast run. Chihayafuru and Guilty Crown count as they ended in Winter.
Biggest Surprise: Senki Zesshou Symphogear
I had no clue what this show was about, then I watch the first episode and suddenly images of Madoka (THAT Madoka) pop up. For thirteen episodes, this show went in every direction doing crazy amounts of character development and pacing, all the while having fun. This show never took itself seriously and really went all out to create sensation and melodrama and it worked. Was the plot a convoluted piece of turd? Yes, but this show rarely took the time to explain anything and focused mainly on the characters and the music. It was a good choice.
Runner-ups: Rinne no Lagrange
Best Animation: Guilty Crown-Production I.G.
I’m struggling to type this coherently, but yes Guilty Crown definitely had the best animation. Production I.G is a powerhouse studio, being able to clearly go the extra mile. Of course going the extra mile on such a worthless series is…ahem.
Runner-ups: Inu x Boku SS-David Production, Another-P.A. Works, Natsume Yuujinchou Shi-Brain’s Base
Best Music: Another
This was a hard one, as there were a lot of good contenders. Symphogear pretty much focused on this at the expense of a decent plot, Natsume still delivers a heartwarming soundtrack and Persona 4’s (while taken from the game) is just FUNKY. But Another did a great job with setting the mood by using a really solid soundtrack and a lot of good sound effects (I could swear I heard something in my left earbud, but not my right in a LOT of scenes).
Runner-ups: Senki Zesshou Symphogear, Natsume Yuujinchou Shi, Persona 4
Best Opening Theme: Try Unite! by Megumi Nakajima (Rinne no Lagrange)
This is a really addicting song and the background music isn’t overpowering during the vocals. The visuals on the OP are pretty amazing, and I always stuck around to hear this song. Thankfully Megumi Nakajima is singing season 2’s theme as well.
Runner ups: My Dearest and The Everlasting Guilty Crown by supercell, sign by Ray (Ano Natsu de Matteru), sky’s the limit by Shihoko Hirata (Persona 4)
Best Ending Theme: All Six Ending Themes of Inu x Boku SS by the cast
Kind of cheating a bit, but I really enjoyed every one of Inu x Boku SS’ endings, which were sung by the cast (yes, even Kagerou’s was hilarious! Good job Sugita). Particularly the one by Kana Hanazawa (Karuta) and the duet of Youko Hikasa (Nobara) and Yoshimasa Hosoya (Renshou) are still on my iPod, while Rina Hidaka’s (Ririchiyo) is a really soft and sweet song.
Runner-ups: Vidro Moyou by Nagi Yanagi (Ano Natsu de Matteru), Hello! by Megumi Nakajima (Rinne no Lagrange), The Way of Memories -Kizuna no Chikara- by Yumi Kawamura (Persona 4), Ohisama by Amesaki Annanin (Nichibros)
Best Story/Plot: Natsume Yuujinchou Shi
There wasn’t a lot of good picks, as a lot of shows in Winter really forgot about telling a coherent plot. The latest (I still think there’s another season coming up) season really took what season 3 started and expanded on it really well. Natsume’s development has been slow, a result of focusing on the youkai stories, but this season really turned around and made Natsume the focus.
Runner-ups: Rinne no Lagrange
Show I Looked Forward To Each Week: Inu x Boku SS
Inu x Boku had some of the best characters and their interactions were stellar, add a lot of great humor (some of it by Tomokazu Sugita’s character, Kagerou) and Inu x Boku was a show that constantly kept me smiling and laughing. Natsume has been an awesome series for over 50 episodes, of course I was looking forward to that and Nichibros would have been higher had the middle part of the show not focused on drama.
Runner-ups: Natsume Yuujinchou Shi, Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou
Biggest Disappointment: Another
A very narrow tie between Another and Guilty Crown, but Another because I actually had expectations for it rather than zero for Guilty Crown. The show tried too hard to be serious (what was the point of the dolls?), and Misaki tried to be too moe but I really liked the Final Destination-like deaths and the last two episodes were amazing, in a semi-trainwreck kind of way. If only Another had been a bloodbath..
Runner-ups: Guilty Crown, Black Rock Shooter
Worst Series: Guilty Crown
Best Series: Chihayafuru
Very hard one, but I felt Chihayafuru had a lot more stronger episodes than Natsume and it was completely overlooked by the masses and that’s entirely their mistake for doing so. The only other sports anime I watched was Ookiku Furikabutte, and not even that compares to Chihayafuru. Season 2 where?
Runner-ups: Natsume Yuujinchou Shi
Spring Tally (and past seasons)
Awesome Tier: Shirokuma Cafe, Fate/Zero 2,
Great Tier: Kimi to Boku 2, Jormungand, Tsuritama, Sakamichi no Apollon, Nazo no Kanojo X, Mirai Nikki
Good Tier: Sankarea, Haiyoru! Nyaruko-san, Accel World, Uchuu Kyoudai, Tasogare Otome x Amnesia, Gundam AGE
Okay Tier: Acchi Kocchi, Eureka Seven: AO, Mouretsu Pirates
Shit Tier: Natsuiro Kiseki-dropped
Shirokuma Cafe – A-list Seiyuu, cute animals and deadpan snarkers? Why aren’t you watching this? Jun Fukuyama voicing a panda, Takahiro Sakurai voicing a polar bear and Kamiya Hiroshi voicing a penguin. (Lelouch->Panda, Suzaku->polar bear, Natsume->penguin)
Fate/Zero 2 – Allmymoney.jpg
Tsuritama – What being on drugs feels like, pretty much Kimi to Boku but with tons of energy.
Mirai Nikki – The rare occasion when fast pacing actually works
Nazo no Kanojo X – I really underestimated this gem.
Jormungand – I’m getting Steins;Gate vibes from this one.
Sakamichi no Apollon – Slow start, but that drum scene..wow.
Kimi to Boku 2 – …Why the cats? I’d give this show an 8 in a heartbeat, just get rid of the damn cats.
Gundam AGE – This arc has had some weak episodes and BAM someone important (and awesome) dies. Cue the angsting..
Accel World – I want to punch the fat kid, but I’m really loving the animation here and the plot is doing well.
Tasogare Otome x Amnesia – Obligatory Silver Link show of the season that I’ll end up hating but I’ll still watch it anyways.
Sankarea – Oh, now DEEN is starting to get better but by copying Shaft’s style. Hate cats but love Chihiro’s cat ears. Rea’s dad is fucking sick.
Uchuu Kyoudai – Good, a little slow at times but I’m a sucker for anything involving space/astronomy.
Haiyoru! Nyaruko-san – Xebec is decent for once? Waiting for episode two to decide..
Eureka Seven: AO – Better than I thought (I didn’t actually want to punch the MC) but all of the exposition and terminology really kills this show.
Mouretsu Pirates – I’m probably going to drop this. It’s just too damn slow, and nothing really notable happens. Plus, where the hell is Chiaki?
Acchi Kocchi – Decent, but highly forgettable in the long run.
Natsuiro Kiseki – I’m disappointed with Seiji Mizushima, this is a horrible show. Power of (yuri) love + plot convenience + unlikeable characters = recipe for disaster. Dropped.
Basically Spring is much, much better than I had expected. I am a bit of a pessimist, but I did honestly think this season would turn out bad. Your thoughts, readers?