A thoughtful response to current anime.

Fall 2012 Episode 3 Rankings

9 : Little Busters

Me too, buddy.

Girl with a sword, it’s not *all* bad.

Kurugaya joins the baseball team. My relatively high hopes of last episode were dashed.  The new girl they added, Kurugaya, isn’t any more interesting than the boys.  And the show continues to have serious trouble with its pacing and comic timing – even things that should have been funny were ruined.  The improvised weapon fights should at least make me smile, it’s a good gag to fight with a thing that’s not designed to be fought with. (Not designed to be with which to be fought?) But somehow the timing just makes the whole thing fall flat.  I might pick up the visual novel, but I think I’m done here. (DOWN 1)

8: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

I prefer to ask, wry not?

Dio becomes a vampire and battles JoJo. Most of this episode was spent on the epic vampire battle in a burning mansion.  Which is fine if you like epic vampire battles in burning mansions, I guess. I prefer my combat scenes with clever stratagems or interesting dialogue. And there were a few stratagems in this battle, but they weren’t especially clever, they were just manly guts. There was some dialogue during the battle, but it wasn’t interesting, it was just manly guts.  And the parts of the episode that weren’t manly guts were the writers portraying A) poor people and B) people who seek to overcome the limitations of their frail mortal bodies as being hopelessly evil.  I don’t really share this show’s politics. (UP 1)

7: Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sai Areba Kankei Nai Yo Ne

I prefer to ask, wryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

Akito helps Anastasia get used to dormitory living. The one-dimensional nature of the characters really came out in this episode.  It was focused on Anastasia, but her character isn’t deep enough to withstand being focused on. I had liked her before, but I dunno if I still do.  Maybe Akiko is the only good thing left in the show.  She may not have much more depth than the other characters, but she makes funny noises when she imagines doing naughty things with her older brother, and makes different funny noises when she imagines other girls doing naughty things with her older brother.  Maybe that’s enough.  (DOWN 1)

 6: Psycho-Pass

OK, you’ve convinced me, it’s a dystopia.

Sorry! Sorry.

The team goes to investigate a series of suspicious accidents at a robot factory. This episode was sort of a shift in tone.  It went from being a philosophical examination of a possible sci-fi society to just being a detective story set in it. This episode was basically a Thought Police Procedural. I mean, maybe they were trying to make some points about bullying, or about how people over-rely on the systems of society to the point where they even subordinate their personal conscience to the bureaucracy thereby causing terrible tragedies when people slip through the cracks.  But they didn’t have anything really useful to say about them, just “it sucks”.  Yes, increasing the role of explicit societal systems leads to a replacement effect where people give up their informal patchwork systems, and yes in individual cases this can cause problems when issues that would have been resolved by the informal systems are not handled by the formal system.  But even so, the pursuit of civilization is still a noble cause.  I had hoped for better politics out of this show after the previous episode. (DOWN 4)

5: Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai!

The umbrella thrust special technique actually looks kinda cool.

Rikka starts a club. I understand now.  Chuuni is basically Haruhi without the magic.  Rikka is Haruhi the chuunibyou girl, Yuuta is Kyon the reluctant guy who’s not as reluctant as he claims, Dekomori is Itsuki the chuunibyou girl’s faithful servant, Nibutani is the Mikuru the girl with tits, Tsuyuri is Nagato the girl whose club was co-opted, and Chimera is Shamisen the cat.  Well, can’t blame them for repeating a winning formula.  This episode was pretty good.  It’s nice now that there are a few more characters who are willing to take Rikka seriously.  Yuuta had been rolling his eyes the whole time and basically being a spoilsport, but now that we have people who can indulge Rikka’s delusions, she can really go wild.  (UP 2)

4: Busou Shinki

What about love for a tiny robot maid that only exists in anime?

Full post. A Shinki thief is on the loose and the Shinki try to catch him. This episode was full of passion, friendship and justice, the sharp comedic timing that this week’s Little Busters episode needed, and an tiny robot maid onsen scene.  Unfortunately there was also a five-minute long boring battle in it.  Ah, how I wish the world would be at peace and they would finally stop putting fighting scenes in my anime! Love is the answer.  An eye for an eye just makes the whole world blind, don’t you see? (NO CHANGE)

3: Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo

There you go, there’s the sex appeal.

Full post. Jin and Mashiro go on a date. This episode went for a little more depth than the past couple, and it’s always tricky when this sort of harem show goes for depth, but I think they pulled it off.  It made me think, it made me care, and it didn’t sacrifice the funny, the cute, or the fanservice.

2: Hayate no Gotoku 3

Please don’t break Hinagiku’s heart, even if she is grotesquely off-model.

Hayate and Hinagiku go on a date. Hinagiku’s back!  And they restored her hair to its proper pink instead of the awful magenta of the second season!  Unfortunately everything else about her but her hair color looks wrong.  I’m used to the new designs for the other characters, but I haven’t had time to get used to Hinagiku yet. Her design bothered me the whole episode.  Also, this episode seems to have dispensed with the notion of an “anime original story” – it was taken directly from the manga.  Which is probably why it seemed so out of place in the story.  At least it was a good story from the manga they adapted.  And hey!  Hinagiku’s back and her hair is pink!  I won’t complain too loud.  (DOWN 1)

1: Shin Sekai Yori

Telekinetic kid don’t give a fuck.

The kids go on a canoeing trip and meet a strange animal. This show continues to have an unbeatable atmosphere.  It takes things we’re familiar with from our childhoods and transports them into a world of telekinetics and strange demons.  You’re paddling a canoe – with telekinesis! You’re swatting mosquitoes – with telekinesis! You’re telling scary stories – about telekinesis! It sounds dumb but it works really well.  I thought the rainbow spiny seahorse library thing they found was cool, but I’m a little worried about what it means for the show.  It seems like we might be leaving fantasy behind and moving into sci-fi, and while I like sci-fi better than fantasy, the transition usually doesn’t go well.  (“Midichlorians”.) But for now, the show’s great.  (UP 1)

Big Winners: None

Big Loser: Psycho-Pass


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