An Oasis of Thoughts

November Summary: Tis’ the Season for Trolling

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trollshino

Trollshino be trollin’. Problem, Samon?

So I’ve realized just now that fall has a lot of series that will continue into winter. Yikes, that’s a problem. Anyways, I think I made a good decision on limiting (or at least, trying) the number of series to watch. It’s been a pretty good season only due to a few really good series with a lot of “meh” in between it all.

Oh, I’ll probably do a Winter Preview but honestly it looks pretty awful: I only count Chihayafuru and Haganai NEXT as the only shows I’d watch, everything else is just awful.

#11 (9) – Ixion Saga: DT

Animation/Art: D+   Story: D+   Sound: C-   Characters: C-   Enjoyment: C

112612_0253_NovemberSum1.jpg

So apparently this show is going to be more than thirteen episodes…oh boy. Between the other long running fall series and the upcoming premiere of Chihayafuru season 2, I may just drop it. For once, being a longer series is a bad thing. Plus, whenever there isn’t any ED it just feels pretty boring to watch. The game references are somewhat amusing.

The good: ED
The bad: Stretching itself too thin, it’s in a catch-22 position

#10 (8) – BTOOOM!

Animation/Art: C-   Story: D+   Sound: C-   Characters: C   Enjoyment: C+BTOOOM - 09 - Large 07

BTOOOM! reminds me of Deadman Wonderland in a lot of ways: both are very violent, both involve a sort of twisted game to survive and lastly both have somewhat annoying protagonists (though I’d take someone who’s gullible over a whiny crybaby any day) and at this point, it’s not a good comparison to make. By that, I mean: how will BTOOOM! end? Because it’s pretty likely we’re never going to get a season 2 of this just look at other Madhouse series like Highschool of the Dead for examples of this. I’m not saying the chances are zero, but it’s definitely nowhere near 50/50. Which is a shame because this show does have one good point over Deadman which is the variety of different characters and weapons, both are used very well in this series. However, what bugs me most is how most of the good points of BTOOOM! can be negated if the ending turns out to be disappointing. It’s been a pretty fun ride so far, I just hope it can continue to a somewhat satisfying end.

The good: Popcorn entertainment, OP theme, variety of different character personalities and weapons
The bad: Protagonist, there’s no such thing as suspense of disbelief anymore, the ending will make or break this show

#9 (11) – Robotics; Notes

Animation/Art: C+   Story: C   Sound: C   Characters: C-   Enjoyment: C-November-Robotics;Notes

I’m not going to put all my hopes into the 11th episode of Robotics;Notes to be as shocking and intense as the 12th episode of Steins;Gate, but the series has improved a bit over the past month. The main thing so far is that it’s advancing to the main plot a little more faster than Steins;Gate, and I’m actually positive about that. The cryptic Kagome Kagome ringtone, the Kimijima reports and Sister Centipede do a good job in establishing a discomforting feeling, and through flashbacks we see that Kai wasn’t always boring or challenging people to play games. So I consider that to be a nice improvement and the appearance of Nae in Steins;Gate brought some nice nostalgia especially a line that shouts-out to a certain mad scientist. There’s plenty of time for Robotics;Notes to grow and that is the best thing it has going for it right now.

The good: Feeling of discomfort, heading into serious business territory early, Frau
The bad: Not very engaging so far; Kai is still boring

#8 (5) – Sukitte ii na yo

Animation/Art: C   Story: C-   Sound: C   Characters: C-   Enjoyment: C

Sukitte Ii na yo 04 (3)

I’m a little disappointed with Sukinayo right now. I still feel that Mei, despite her flaws, is a great lead character with a lot to like about her strength and resolve but at the same time I cannot say the same about virtually every other character including Yamato. This is what puts Sukitte and Tonari millions of miles apart: Tonari has a lot of interesting characters who usually get a lot of screen time, but the same doesn’t apply to Sukitte. They’re just….really flat in my opinion. But the worst may be Aiko: she went from completely wanting to ruin Mei’s life to suddenly helping her out with the Yamato/Megu-tan debacle. I’m sure the anime skipped parts of the manga with Aiko because there’s no other reason for such a 360 degree shift in personality. At the same time, I do like the new Aiko as she always felt like a mentor-type of character and her role with Asami really did a great job portraying real friendship at it’s finest. What irks me the most is that practically every shoujo manga/anime has the almost required love rival. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun has two but that show puts a nice spin to the typical predictableness, and again Sukitte chooses to play it safe.

In essence, Sukitte is very much the kind of show that moves two steps forward, but goes back another five.

The good: Portrayals of friendship are genuine; Mei; New love rival for Yamato may push him into being proactive
The bad: Cats; Two dimensional supporting cast members including Yamato; Megu-tan is the kind of character I was hoping Sukitte wouldn’t show

#7 (4) – Chuunibyou

Animation/Art: A-   Story: C+   Sound: B-   Characters: C+   Enjoyment: C+nibutani

I should have understood the “Koi” in Chuunibyou’s title, because the romance aspect, while it didn’t roll my eyes,  didn’t really work for me.I would have loved for this show to continue with how it’s been going so far, but it was inevitable it would turn out this way and the drama behind Rikka’s family served as a perfect bridge between the comedy and the romance.. Part of this was my fault for not realizing the obvious such as the english title, which is too long for me to type but has the phrase “I want to fall in love” or something to that degree. It wasn’t all bad, but perhaps Hyouka was the only KyoAni show I could really enjoy that wasn’t totally moe pandering (obviously I will not watch KyoAni’s next series because of this), but Chuunibyou wasn’t as guilty of this as the usual suspects (K-ON!).

The good: Dekomori, Nibutani, production values

The bad: Romance

#6 (7) – Magi

Animation/Art: C   Story: C+   Sound: C-   Characters: C   Enjoyment: CMagi - 09 - Large 08

Magi is still the show that sits firmly in between the rest: it’s never too dull, but there’s just something about it that I’m not quite head over heels about either. It’s somewhat predictable at times (Alibaba’s past), and yet there’s things about it that look interesting like that new Magi with the black Rukh and it’s definitely building up to something quite big. Will it get to a point where it finally starts to wow me (like Tempest has) or will it reach a point where it ends right as the fun stuff begins to happen? It’s definitely one show I’m going to stick with, because the potential is just too high to drop at this point.

The good: Setting, building up for something great, main characters

The bad: Nothing too important happening so far, bland villians

#5 (10) – Zetsuen no Tempest

Animation/Art: B   Story: B   Sound: C-   Characters: B   Enjoyment: B

lolsamon

Tempest has impressed me the most and just how illogical it is. Yes, someone would destroy the world a million times over unless he finds out his sister’s boyfriend. Truly, I am at a loss of words (my face was the same as Samon’s). However, while the constant quoting of Shakespeare still grinds my gears at least I understand why the series continues to do it. Thanks to spoiler-heavy Wikipedia, the main characters have personalities of that of various Shakespeare lead characters which looking at each one (without spoiling) makes a whole lot of sense. This show has a lot of guts to spin a web of plot twists and because this show is slated for another season, I’m very interested in how it all plays out. What makes it so much better is just how well the show has portrayed Aika: you know something’s up with her why else would a Kusaribe member kill her and why does her words keep coming back to haunt Mahiro and Yoshino? Things like that are signs of really good storytelling and with another season, I’m confident this show will deliver. Also, anyone find it amusing that Samon looks exactly like a certain assistant? It’s even funnier when you add in the recent time traveling connections in my opinion.

I will say this: I love to spoil myself on future events (did with Steins;Gate and it still surprised me), but holy crap those spoilers are massive. I really am somewhat glad BONES got this show, because their endings usually polarize viewers.

The good: Illogical (!!), Aika remains one of the best enigmatic personalities I’ve seen in an anime, main cast, Samon’s expressions
The bad: Still quotes Shakespeare (at least it has a reason for doing it), music is still a bit too ridiculous though this is only when Shakespeare gets quoted

#4 (6) – Jormungand: Perfect Order

Animation/Art: C+   Story: B-   Sound: B+   Characters: B   Enjoyment: A-Jormungand Perfect Order - 09 - Large 13

The strength of Jormungand lies entirely on Koko. How she’s been able to walk the grey line (avoiding a total leap into insanity, aka the “black” nor trying to do the right thing, aka the “white”) so perfectly up until now and how she’s been able to mask her true desires from basically everyone has got to be one of the best examples of great storytelling. While season 1 was mostly flashy action, this season will animate the entire manga (which has ended) and thus focus a lot more on the story. And what a mess of a story it’s turning out to be, and the important figures from past episodes are coming back which is always a good thing for closure. Like BTOOOM!, I think Jormungand’s ending has a lot of importance to how I’ll feel about the entire series, but even if the ending isn’t as spectacular as I hope it to be I still love Jormungand (which is something I can’t say about BTOOOM!). The (mostly) uncensored violence, the dynamic personalities of Koko and her crew, the soundtrack, and Koko herself are outstanding and I’m sad to see Jormungand end in a few weeks. Koko!!!!

The loco: Koko

The good: Plot is finally being focused on; diverse cast;

The bad: Animation has taken somewhat of a nose dive

#3 (3) – Psycho-Pass

Animation/Art: B-   Story: B+   Sound: B-   Characters: C+   Enjoyment: A   (Moe: D+)

[Commie] Psycho-Pass - 09 [E69CD437].mkv_snapshot_03.15_[2012.12.06_18.52.33]

<——There’s just so much to love about Psycho-Pass. Someone on the many forums I visit said something a little amusing: “Why bother going to philosophy class when you have Psycho-Pass?”. I know not everyone will not agree with that statement, but Psycho-Pass is one of the few shows besides Tempest and Shinsekai Yori that constantly gets me thinking. Not just about what’ll happen next, but why people in the world of Psycho-Pass so easily accept the Sibyl System and why talking about immortality isn’t met with skepticism or scorn. It’s a bizarre place and one that Gen Urobuchi fully intends on developing for the next few months. I do agree with some of his detractors that his works tend to be more of a personal condemnation of certain aspects of Japanese society (in which no one seems to agree exactly what he is condemning), but I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. Corny or not, it shows that Urobuchi is more focused on creating a good story rather than reap any profits by appealing to the lowest common denominator, though if the picture to the left is any indication, the road away from moe is a long and dangerous one.

The good: Requires you to use your brain, great main cast, intriguing villain, Urobuchi’s influence is a huge plus

The bad: Somewhat moe; Episodic format doesn’t work for this kind of a show; Easy on the poetry, I don’t want a Tempest 2.0

#2 (2) – Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun

Animation/Art: B   Story: C+   Sound: B   Characters: B-   Enjoyment: A

Tonaribw

It may not be perfect, but Kaibutsu just has it – the kind of charm that I only see in a handful of shows nowadays. True you just want to lock up Haru in a maximum secuirity prison for the rest of his life and trust me, I want that to happen to him so badly. Yet why is this show so high if one of the main love interest has a lot of unlikeable traits to the point of sheer frustration? Because it’s not just showing Haru as a screwed up youth – it’s trying to show us just who he is and what can be done to remedy the situation. This is what sets Kaibutsu from a lot of other shows: those shows just stop there, devoid of any meaningful development, yet Kaibutsu has the guts to give us such an unlikeable character and try to understand his problems one step at a time. I want to take a minute and compare Haru to another unlikeable character who grew on me: Ringo Ogniome from Mawaru Penguindrum. While not as frustrating as Haru, Ringo’s presence in the show at the beginning didn’t seem like it mattered and I honestly did not like her presence in the series at first. She had a one track mind (Tabuki, Tabuki….Tabuki) and normally most sh0ws (in this case, Ringo would be a shoujo protagonist easily) would leave it at that but Penguindrum went further and so is Kaibutsu. It’s a show that screams second season and will most likely not get one, but as of now I’m truly lucky I gave this series a chance.

The good: Charming; Full of humor; Three dimensional characters; Great romance

The bad: Haru is really starting to annoy me; Needs more Natsume x Sasayan

#1 (1) – Shinsekai Yuri Yaoi Yori

Animation/Art: B+   Story: A-   Sound: B   Characters: C+   Enjoyment: A[UTW]_Shinsekai_Yori_-_11v2_[h264-720p][FE6A3065].mkv_snapshot_01.17_[2012.12.08_14.18.28]

I just LOVE this show, even with all the flaws it has. The plot is amazing and the setting even more so, but I just wish we’d get some episodes to devote to each main character a little more. They’re good characters, but I’m not feeling that much attachment towards them as I have with other series right now. But really, the setting and the plot just blow away any other show: I think Psycho-Pass and maybe Tempest have a chance of being better in those regards, but they’re a distance 2nd and 3rd from Shinsekai Yori right now. The music in the series is also very creepy and sends chills down my spine, which leaves me wondering exactly what to criticize about this show. I’m not a fan of the animation changes, as they tended to show Saki fanservice for some reason. And the series timeskips, while handled better than most series (coughSakamichicough), still leave me wondering what happened inbetween the skips specifically after Saki and Satoru helped the friendly queerats. That sort of left me wanting for a good conclusion to that. But even then, I still feel that Shinsekai Yori is the best series so far and I expect even better things to happen from now on.

The good: Setting, artistic capabilities are amazing; Not afraid to show same sex relationships (or do it for pure fanservice); Main story is fleshed out well

The bad: Timeskip; Some questionable fanservice; Need more character-centric episodes

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