I alluded about 3 months ago to the fact that I planned on watching everything in the spring season, mind you with some exceptions. I’ve written plenty on [C] to the point where I can really just call it a show based on faith. So what can I say about everything else now that it is July? Much more than I ever thought possible.
As some of you may know, I have this ranking of series completed which as of writing stands at 494. I’ve decided to rank the TV series that were completed between April and June from worst-to-last. Words of warning; this could get a little long.
It usually takes something special to be rated this low, even by my standards. On the plus side, there was plenty for those who love violence. On the minus side, it’s never a good sign when terms like “terribad”, “filet of human”, “HanaKana going the Full Retard” become ways to identify the series. It started with a promising beginning, but soon descended into farce. Even something as camp as The Running Man shows how to do something of this genre right.
This is more reflective of a bad ranking for me in numerical terms. Aria clearly made the mistake of trying to include way too much only to get nothing out of it in the end. When trying to craft a story using Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, Arsene Lupin, etc. it is probably best not to feature a harem lead who is only effective when pitching a tent. In addition, Kugimiya Rie, in her 10th year playing the same role, mailed in another season.
The usual story of this type features the ignorant protagonist going back in time then developing into a character capable of being independent without relying on technology. This series skips the last part of the previous statement, and decides to go all in on the yuri. So we have the major characters of the Warring States period depicted as women, which should feel like an interesting premise. Yet, it felt like a generic action series filled with generic characters and their generic one-sided romances. You really can do bland period pieces without worrying about the genders of your cast.
The 8th episode title should really tell you all you need to know about this (something to the effect of “Is the Busty Cream Girl Here Yet?”). The series was curiously licensed before completion, something which I put down to the success of Shuffle! which has critics all it’s own. The twist in this particular series, which seems to feature 3 main protagonists, comes late in the game. By that time, you may have drowned in the sea of stupidity that envelops the viewer.
It isn’t that Dog Days is a bad show, it’s more that there really isn’t much in substance. The buildup to the one real episode of an epic boss battle doesn’t seem to work. What else can you expect from a starting point of a world where no one gets injured in battle?
Here’s a series that falls victim to the classic anime original ending syndrome. One of the most well-casted shows of the season in my opinion, it definitely lacks direction throughout. On the plus side, I do think there is an interesting take on the succubus. Characters get crammed into the story and then seem to do nothing after. Ultimately, the ending is botched so badly as to make the final episodes pointless.
I can put this one fairly simply as follows: the cast are introduced to each other for some purpose, an insert song plays, repeat until 1 year passes. The slice-of-life genre and I have a hate-hate relationship, but at least give me something that is worth looking at more than once.
Hoshizora is better than a lot of the generic harem series that have come and gone recently. Rather than go with the ambiguous ending, the protagonist Kazuma actually makes up his mind rather early. So really the flow of the series is that he spends the first half bringing girls closer to him on sheer acts of manliness (especially compared to his younger brother) and luck. Then, he friend zones them one-by-one in the 2nd half. It still doesn’t change the fact he chose the wrong girl in the end.
Moshidora provided decent intellectual fuel for the wannabe SABR-metrician. For all the talk about how the strategies utilized from Management, the fact of the matter is that the evolution of the team starts from the observation made at the very beginning (pictured). The emotional twist in the series isn’t over done like another series later in the post, but it stays firmly in the realm of a nice, safe baseball-oriented story.
When I said I would watch everything, I always opened myself up to watching the latest BL offering. To be honest, I didn’t think this was that bad. However, my brief discussions with fans of the genre made it seem as though this was disappointing. I can see how they have a point. The character designs imply exactly which role characters play in a relationship. The relationships themselves are overly simplistic. The secondary relationships don’t really add anything either, though that is apparently the creator’s method of telling stories. What it all means is that there is a clash between the neutral viewer and the hardcore fan, much like everything else these days.
In case you didn’t know there is a declining birth rate in Japan. 30-sai plays off of this under the guise of adult sex education. Where the series succeeds actually has nothing to do with sex at all, rather it simply has to do with forming an emotional bond between the 2 main characters. The sex ed merely provides a way to lighten the mood, and there’s not much more it can do with that due to heavy censoring.
What starts in a small European kingdom ends in war-torn Japan. That change should be gradual, but that last sentence could describe the last episode. The early part of the series focuses on solving detective cases that are too easy, while the latter half has Europe on the brink of war. That’s really beside the point as all that really mattered was the relationship between Kujo and Victorique, which made the conclusion to an otherwise mediocre show special.
The season’s best/worst tennis-oriented series was really devoted to the art of parody. Training camp episodes, training camp episodes within training camp arcs, Evangelion references, scenes that have nothing to do with the action at all by their own admission…ok it’s really just another sexualized anime series with constant jokes. That honestly is something refreshing to me.
Speaking of refreshing, there’s nothing more in-your-face than sex comedies disguised under the heading of psychology. Beyond the bodily functions, there are a few moments which I found transcendent. The nature of the relationship between two characters unable to confirm how they fell about each other. Plus, a take on dissociative personalities which was actually rather serious. Most of the time, the issue is fetishes, which are hit-or-miss in this case.
179. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai – (77.39/100)
Much like how Gosick improved immensely on the final episode in my eyes, this one went massively in the opposite direction. The relationships between Jinta and the rest of his childhood friends does become interesting as they all find themselves unable to let go after Menma’s death. There are questions I have, like why at that time does she appear? But that last episode, my God I didn’t have enough crackers for all the cheese. They really only had enough material for 10 episodes didn’t they?
I was a little weary of watching a SHAFT series as they were doing 2 at the same time. What I got here was a real introduction to gap moe on every level. Makoto’s got his harem going on, but in the middle of trying to rack up points, he fails to realize this. Most importantly, I think the final episodes proved that this was really a story where success came with effort. Moe anime can have a message, too often it doesn’t.
While not the best scoring series I watched during the season, the second season of this series may have been the only one I looked forward to every week from this lot. The formula pretty much carried on from the first season, Keima encounters a target and then proceeds to use his VN knowledge to finish the job. What made this season better was in the visual evidence that Keima’s character was developing. He’s moved from intelligent complete introvert to just acting like one. The last two arcs showed an empathy that had not been there before. With potential future seasons ahead, there’s no chance the quality doesn’t drop off is there?
Finally, there is [C], a story which would be religious if it were any more about faith. There’s plenty off the wall in this take about the global financial system that could only come in anime. The message from this series ends up being simple, faith in money is positive for society regardless of whether yen or US dollars are being used. Misuse of that money destroys that faith and the society with it. That the battles end up being a confusing mess of finance terms and bloody combat actually makes me think better of it. The finance world is confusing from the outside in the real world, so why shouldn’t it be here. On one last note, I do generally think it’s better for there to be social commentary in anime. This one challenged viewers, where others settled for limbs being lopped off. The former stays in the mind longer even if it fails, where the latter is just disposable.
Conclusions: Ultimately, I didn’t see any real classics among the series I finished in the spring. It wasn’t a terrible season by any stretch, but one where there wasn’t a standout title as nothing could crack my top 10 percent. I’m going to wrap up with a few words about Steins; Gate which seems to be the only continuing series which could crack that top tier. It’s progressed very well in my opinion, though there is the nagging fear I have that it could end up turning into a farce much like The Butterfly Effect.
Now that I’ve watched almost everything in a season, I am actually going to take the summer off from watching new series which actually leaves 10 I will be continuing. Any suggestions on classics to watch will be welcome in the comments as well as your own thoughts on how I ranked these.