Saturday, April 20, 2013

More Highlights from the Spring 2013 Season: 4/19/13 Edition


In addition to Yuyushiki and Oregairu, this season has had a number of highly enjoyable shows, as well as shows that show promise. Here I will go over all the shows that have caught my interest, and my thoughts on what has transpired in them so far. Shows will be presented in alphabetical order.



Aiura
This is one of those short-length shows that have been pretty common lately; it clocks in at 4 minutes, 1 minute of which is the opening song, and 30 seconds of which is the ending song… leaving 2.5 minutes of actual content. Despite this, it’s a neat little show with cute characters and amusing humor that won’t take too much time out of your life. And even if you’re not a fan of this type of show, the OP is worth watching for all the crabs. Really.
Attack on Titan
I think by this point, the entire Internet has sung this show’s praise by now. Honestly, it’s a hard show for me to watch; I’m not good with this sort of violent, horror show, and I spent a lot of time not really watching the show. I can definitely see how a lot of people like it, though, and in particular, I find TWWK’s comparison of what happens in the first two episodes to the Old Testament particularly interesting.
Other than that, there are some good characters in the core cast (particularly Mikasa) that I hope will get good development, and of course, once the humans can actually make a stand against the Titans, the show should be something great. For now, though, I’m admittedly fairly lukewarm to the show, but I can see its potential.
The Devil is a Part-Timer! (Hataraku Maou-sama!)
So what happens when the evil Demon King from an alternate fantasy universe ends up in modern-day Tokyo, stripped of almost all his magic and forced to make ends meet by working part-time jobs? Well, this show attempts to answer that question, and so far, it is highly amusing. You do have to get past the fact that “Satan” is just the Demon King’s name (not an actual representation of Satan himself) and likewise, “Demon King” is just a title (similar to how things worked in last season’s Maoyu, albeit this Demon King is a lot more evil), but in the end, having to adapt to his new life softens up “Sadao” a lot, to the point where he considers being promoted to a regular employee a step towards conquering Japan. (Yeah, good luck with that.)
Add in the (female) Hero who has pursued our Demon King into this world, and is stuck having to live life in much the same manner, while still looking towards “defeating” the Demon King, and of course, hijinks ensue. There do seem to be other mysterious forces that have followed them into this world, though, adding in some mystery and suspense to this otherwise comedic romp.
The Flowers of Evil (Aku no Hana)
So, how ‘bout that rotoscoping, eh?
Honestly, I don’t have much to say about that. It is rather ugly-looking, but I have a feeling that is intentional, as the show seems to look at the ugly sinful nature of these characters. I do feel that the art style limits the facial expressions that can be made by the characters, which I suppose is a downside. Still, I’m more about the story than the art, so I’ll comment more on that…
The show moves at a slow pace, yet some interesting things have happened. What got my interest is Nakamura, the girl that blackmails Takao into a “contract”, and who does something rather devious at the end. She reminds me somewhat of Masuzu Natsukawa from OreShura, though while I felt Masuzu was somewhat out of place in the lighter rom-com that OreShura was (or that I think it was; I never did quite get what kind of show it wanted to be), I think Nakamura should fit well into the dark story this is turning out to be.
I have not read the manga, so I don’t know what’s coming next, though I do think that the show will probably take a turn towards depraved sexuality (at least, if the content of the eponymous book by Baudelaire is of any indication), which may make it ultimately unsuitable for some. That said, I highly doubt the show is going to glamorize anything that can happen (and the rotoscoping is going to be a big reason why), so I think this show can be viewed from a purely analytical angle and perhaps be quite interesting. For now, though, I am interested in what happens next.
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet (Suisei no Gargantia)
If there is one other show this season that has stuck out as something amazing, it is Gargantia. By now I think everyone knows this show is being penned by Gen Urobochi, the mastermind behind Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Fate/Zero, and while things haven’t gotten too grim yet, his fingerprints can definitely be seen on this show, especially when Ledo goes to fight the pirates in Episode 2. (Though I’m not sure “fight” is the right word; that assumes that the other side puts up a struggle.) The question remains whether this show will follow a grimdark path like his previous works have, or if maybe this show will actually remain somewhat optimistic, perhaps in preparation for when Urobochi starts to write a kids show like he said he’s planning to.
(Yes, you read that right; Gen Urobochi is planning on writing a kids show.)
That aside, there’s a lot I love about this show, not the least of which is how Earth is portrayed. Yes, it’s completely flooded over, but it still stands in great contrast to the “futuristic” world Ledo came from, where people have to worry about things like temperature control, gravity adjustments, and having an oxygen supply for breathing. The comments on how Earth not only naturally has perfect gravity but also the perfect composition of elements in the air for natural, unassisted breathing is a great reminder to me of just how good God made the planet we live on. (There’s also some beautiful scenes of the water being illuminated at night, which currently is the most beautiful thing I’ve seen this season.)
Definitely a show worth keeping up with.
Henneko ~The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat~
This one’s only had one episode air so far, and right now it’s a rather standard yet fairly enjoyable light-novel-adapted rom-com. That said, I find the quandary the male lead is in interesting: he’s got quite the perverted mind, yet he doesn’t want to hide it because people around him misinterpret him in ways that cause him to get saddled with more responsibilities than he cares for. Of course, when he wishes to get rid of his “front”, it just makes him say all sorts of perverted things and causes him much public embarrassment.
It remains to be seen just where this show will go, but hopefully there will be some good development for the male lead—and for the girls too, of course.
Namiuchigawa no Muromi-san
A somewhat-rare 12-minute show that is mostly just a wacky comedy involving mermaids. However, it has a thing for incorporating said mermaids into various mythologies, leading to one mermaid, a representation of Leviathan, casually mentioning how she destroyed the continent of Mu . Silly stuff, and pretty fitting for the half-length episodes it’s shown in.
Oreimo: Season 2
I should mention, for anyone interested in the second season of this, that if all you’ve seen are the 12 episodes available for streaming, you’re missing an important part of the story and are going to be confused by some of the events in the first episode. The missing episodes are available on the DVD release by Aniplex of America, which is actually reasonably priced.
Of course, how much you enjoyed the first season will determine your interest in the second season. I personally enjoyed it quite a bit, hence why I’m enjoying the second season. For the record, I'm managing to tolerate Kirino based on the sole fact that if I actually had a little sister, she'd probably be more like the bratty girl Kirino than the saintly ones found in other series...
Red Data Girl
This is a show surrounded in mystery and intrigue, while still being fairly slow-paced, allowing you to just take in everything that’s going on. Being from P.A. Works, the visuals are fantastic, and there’s definitely an interesting story going on here, though it remains to be seen where exactly it’s going.
The Severing Crime Edge (Dansai Buuri no Crime Edge)
This show is definitely competing with The Flowers of Evil for most disturbing show this season. From the male lead’s odd hair fetish to the very messed-up Killing Games, this is a show that could go all sorts of ways, and there’s just no telling what will happen next.
One thing I find particularly interesting in this show is the concept of the Killing Goods. They are weapons once used by serial killers, and having been left to their children, possess them to have a desire to kill, in a very literal generational curse. The concept of breaking free of a generational curse is always an interesting one, and whether the characters here can do so is what intrigues me most about this show.
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In addition to these shows, there are a couple others that are somewhat interesting, that I’m still trying out, or just haven’t got my attention. Most notable is probably Devil Survivor 2, which is an interesting enough show that I don’t really have much to say about but that I’ll be following for the time being.

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