An Oasis of Thoughts

May Summary: The Final Fron-tier

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My dearest apologies for the long wait, but this month’s summary gets some shakeups as two shows leave the rankings and thus are dropped completely, while a new show that stresses the importance of “JAPANESE LUNCH TIME RUSH” gets a nice spot in the rank. Some notable goodies below, as i’ve kept the new format the same for the most part. Enjoy May’s summary!

Off the List

  • Haiyoru! Nyaruko-san – Lack of motivation, at a time where so many other shows have promise.
  • Acchi Kocchi – Same reasons.

On the List

  • Kuroko no Basuke – Another sports show that actually puts in effort with animation and actually cares about its other characters? I must be dreaming.

Third Tier:

#14 – Mobile Suit Gundam AGE (5.5/10)

Gundam AGE is frustrating, to say the least. There’s some really good things to like about this show: the characters, especially in the current generation, are competent and very likeable including the new captain Natora. The music has steadily gotten better with time, but one thing that absolutely kills this show is its pacing problems. Seems like Eureka Seven wasn’t the only 50 episode series to suffer from this as AGE continually has a habit of skipping on the more important aspects of meaningful plot progression and boy this show loves to be completely not subtle about things, like one of the Diva’s crew being a spy, they could have really done something with that had there been more development for the spy. Another really bad habit this show has is a tendency to kill off characters after they were introduced one or two episodes prior. I’m definitely not dropping this show, but I really hope Sunrise can learn from this experiment that trying to appeal to both young and old just doesn’t work.

Note: I’ll probably pick up Gundam AGE for the 35th episode and beyond (to 50, likely). This is a show that doesn’t get enough love and has really finally started to get interesting now that major (yet sadly very predictable) events have happened.

#13 – Sankarea (6/10)

Not the best month for Sankarea: Just when there were some good episodes, we get some really dumb ones about Wanko and Mero, the latter of which I could care less about. I still love the main characters, the BGM is impressive and the production values are alright. Now, can we see what happened to Chihiro? I actually like his character a lot and isn’t a spinless wuss like 99.9% of male characters in romance/harem series. Come on DEEN, you were doing so well too..

#12 – Accel World (6/10)

This show is, kinda empty. From the guy who was in charge of every script from Guilty Crown who’s working the same job here, It definitely doesn’t suffer from glaring plot-holes or characters acting completely different every episode. But something about this show, just lacks..something. It feels void (GC pun intended) of any meaning: things happen, but why do we care? Haruyuki still annoys me because he has the same voice as Guilty Crown’s Shu and his preaching about doing what’s right/protecting friends is cliche and overly pretentious. Kuroyukihime remains the most interesting character, backed by a solid seiyuu in Misawa Sachika.

I’ll probably drop Accel World in favor of next season’s Sword Art Online, both are from the same creator and that show is in the hands of more competent (i.e. no Hiroyuki Yoshino fucking it up like Guilty Crown/Accel World) and talented staff. Nothing about this show is even remotely interesting anymore.

#11 – Tasogare Otome x Amnesia (7/10)

Finally, Amnesia gets to the plot! And boy it got there pretty well, I’m honestly surprised It’d actually get there, but it did. Sure the short adaptation leaves a lot of manga material out, leaving out a lot of the backstory with Yuuko’s personality and the nature of the evil ghost haunting Kirie. Plus, the visuals are continuing to dominate each episode and from the director of “ef – a tale of memories” comes some of the same visual imagery that show had. But the one-cour curse will ultimately give this show a really crappy ending – like Silver Link’s last show C3 had a pretty annoying ending.

Second Tier:

#10 – Hyouka (7.5/10)

Tier two begins with Hyouka and like the other shows on this tier, it’s neither awful or disappointing, but it’s nothing near excellent. But Hyouka has its moments where it really shines and the closing to the first big mystery definitely delivered. What really stands out for me (and for most others) is the amazing animation, it really feels like I’m watching movie-quality animation for 22 minutes each week. The music is alright, but the animation just blows it out of the water.

#9 – Eureka Seven: AO (7.5/10)

Oh, this show..this show indeed. I find myself in a different position then most folks: I absolutely HATED the first series: Renton is the most immature piece of crap I’ve seen since Shinn Asuka in SEED Destiny (hahah, he ‘changed’? Give me a break.)  and Eureka doesn’t do much to keep me focused. So, why did I give this show a chance? Why indeed, but it turned out to be a great thing. There isn’t any drawn-out romance (Ao and Naru are already a couple – WHEW!), a very likeable lead character and a much smarter screenwriter than the previous one. Literally, this show is taking the worst parts of the first series and either changing how it was presented or scrapping them completely and I LOVE it. I love that I’m able to enjoy a series that should have been enjoyable the first time were it not for unlikeable lead characters, and I love that there is so much more to go before the real plot developments start. It’s obvious that the themes in this show are “Truth” (hey the bad guy’s name!) and “Secret(s)” (hey the ones who try to destroy scub corals!)

#8 – Shirokuma Cafe (7.5/10)

Not the best month for Shirokuma Cafe, but it still is one of the few shows that really puts a smile on my face consistently. It sometimes gets a little corny, but the cast works well together especially Shirokuma and Penguin. Plus, this show just loves bringing us A-list voice actors to voice these adorable animals:

  • Yuuichi Nakamura as Grizzly(bear)-san (contrast with Houtarou from Hyouka)
  • Kana Hanazawa as Mei Mei Panda (contrast with..every role she does)

If you’re someone who prioritizes the seiyuu over most other things, you must watch this show. It’s hilarious hearing some of your favorite actors going completely against character. But this is a show that definitely has great replay value, but at the same time I’d recommend only watching one episode a week..too much becomes a little ridiculous at times. Basically if you’re knowledge of seiyuus and their roles are wide, you’ll REALLY enjoy this show more than anyone would, because I know I am.

The formula:

  • Panda: Imagining his voice for Lelouch..comedic gold.
  • Polar Bear: Imagining his voice on Suzaku..comedic gold.
  • Penguin: Imagining his voice on Natsume…kinda awkward but still hilarious.
  • Grizzly: Imagining his voice on Houtarou..holy cow that’s hilarious.

ED 2: Yuuichi Nakamura is hamming up the ED theme, and I still love this song. Imagining Houtarou from Hyouka (who Nakamura also voices) singing this, and I’m dying from laughter.

#7 – Kuroko no Basuke – as of episode 9 (7.5/10)

So someone showed me the opening theme to this show and I was blown away. Protip: If it has a great OP and/or ED sequence, I’ll watch the show no matter how bad it is, perfect example: Guilty Crown, and Production I.G. so happens to be animating Kuroko’s Basketball. Of the three sports series i’ve seen (Kuroko, Oofuri and Chihayafuru) – Kuroko looks to be gunning for #2 as the music in this series is really energetic and creates a lot of tension and suspense plus this show has really shown us a lot of the other Seirin players – something Oofuri doesn’t do well (we get that Mihashi and Abe are the lovers main characters, show us the other 8!). Lots of talented voice acting, actual animation effort and likeable characters. That’s a winning recipe right there. Kuroko reminds me of Yu Narukami from Persona 4 with his deadpan tendencies. But the biggest thing this show has: it really does leave you wanting more, and the BGM is excellent.

OP: Full of energy and excellent animation, this is the stuff that most shounen series wish they had.
ED: What’s the guy who sang the Nichijou OPs doing here? And yet that kind of energy works here..

#6 – Kimi to Boku. 2 (7.5/10)

Kimi to Boku has its lows (the episode with the senpai) and its highs (as much as I dislike Mary, her and Chizuru’s episode was great) but it’s mostly episodes that are really…slow. That’s usually a big problem for shows like these, but KimiBoku has a really loveable and standout cast that its easy to overlook. The deadpan twins, the genki blonde, the really pretty boy and the megane/glasses character, take your pick. For me, I’d much rather see more of the twins than Chizuru/Mary, as Mary really drives me insane. Did I mention I find the cats in this show to be pointless?

#5 – Nazo no Kanojo X (8/10)

This show’s fanservice is starting to annoy me slightly, but the charms this show has outweighs that ick factor. Everything about this show is mysterious, and I get the feeling there’s a lot to hide. Is Urabe really an alien? All of those shots to the UFO keychain on her bag in the opening theme and in recent episodes seem to suggest that. But man, this show really likes to make things a lot more interesting than what normal romance series do. In fact, I feel as though this show is trying to advertise a more unique way of exploring the romance genre – and Urabe is the character who is spearheading that movement because her actions are always in defiance of what the romance and shoujo genres demand. I like that kind of fiery independence and NazoKano deserves to be in the top 5.

#4 – Fate/Zero 2 (8/10)

Definitely the weakest month for Fate/Zero, but that says something when the first season continually stayed at #1 its entire run. But this is where Gen Urobuchi’s weaknesses start to shine, for he has difficulty in creating an emotional connection with the viewer. That happened with his other series, Madoka Magica as I didn’t really care what happened to the title character. It’s not as bad as it is with Fate/Zero, but those who haven’t read the Fate/stay night visual novel will surely feel confused and lose out on some really wonderful characters from that show and their motivations.

#3 – Tsuritama (8.5/10)

Tsuritama is one of the best shows to come out of Spring. It has a plot in just 11 episodes, it has really wonderful characters who really know how to act like real teenagers by showing them not just as brats, but more deeper than that. This is a show that proves you can still have a great plot even at a reduced episode length. It’s bold, creative and it always tries to do something different and it usually works out well.

#2 – Jormungand (8.5/10)

Jormungand is pure, mindless, mature fun. I added mature because this is a show that clearly takes its members seriously when they have to, and though we’re only getting bits and pieces of what seems to be a much larger story, I’m still very content with what this show offers. Dry humor, lovely animated violence and those facial expressions are just hilarious. Plus, it’s one of the few shows I watch the entire thing – OP, ED and that lovely preview as well.

#1 – Sakamichi no Apollon (9/10)

When Kaoru and Sentarou started playing “Moanin”, “Someday My Prince Will Come” and “My Favorite Things”, I knew then and there that not only was that going to be an episode to remember, but Sakamichi rightfully deserves the #1 spot. Here’s a show that clearly knows its limitations with it being only 12 episodes, but nothing hardly feels rushed. Sure the subplots with Brother Jun and Yurika got cut down drastically, but the main focus is obviously on our three leads and their issues have really been covered well and nothing feels overblown or not enough detail was put in. I think I’ll give this show a 9 in the end, because there’s really nothing bad about this show: some slow episodes, sure, but again it all flows together wonderfully and the music in this series is amazing (props to Yoko Kanno).

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One thought on “May Summary: The Final Fron-tier

  1. we have the same no.1 this month. I really like how Sakamichi no Apollon gets better each episode. AND I’m glad that you started watching Kuroko no Basuke and I definitely agree with everything you said there 😀

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