A handful of new licenses have appeared over the past two weeks. First is that Crunchyroll has finally picked up Love Lab, the currently-airing show about girls at an all-girls school trying to learn about love. It is one of the three shows this season that had not gotten an official simulcast, and while it is awfully late in the season to start (not really CR’s fault; the international publisher for the show, Dentsu, is new to CR and negotiations probably took forever), I’m glad to see it finally get a legal stream. The show itself has been surprisingly good, balancing great humor with some nice moments of friendship between the girls. The show is currently streaming from episode 9, with episodes 1 and 2 also available; more episodes will be added later (looks like it'll be 2 more old episodes per week).
Also appearing on Crunchyroll are the first two seasons of Rozen Maiden, if you want more in-depth story on the lead-up to the currently-airing season than that one-episode recap gave. Just be warned that, at a certain point in the second season, the plot of the anime diverges from that of the manga, which is what the current anime follows.
Ghost Stories is an old ADV Films release most notable in that the English dub for the show turned it from an average children’s horror show (think Scooby-Doo) to a more audacious comedy with plenty of jokes that cross the line twice. I’m not going to say anything about how good or bad this is, since I’ve never watched it, but regardless, Discotek Media has picked it up to be re-released with both the original Japanese track and the English gag dub.
Finally, Disney has confirmed that they will release The Wind Rises (Japanese: Kaze Tachinu), the latest film by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, in theaters in the US. This film goes a somewhat different direction in that it’s about the life of Jiro Horikoshi, an airplane designer whose plane is unfortunately used in World War II. It’s definitely not a children’s film, but it should be an interesting new addition to Miyazaki’s repertoire all the same.
English dub voice actor Vic Mignogna is well-known for being a devout Christian as well as a major presence in the English anime world. Recently, Anime News Network conducted an interview with him, which you can listen to on their latest ANNCast. Considering that the site is far from a religious site, it’s definitely worth noting that a very large part of the interview is about Vic’s faith and how it impacts his work, particularly with his presence at conventions.
Let me be one to say, the Summer 2013 season of anime is absolutely amazing. Of the 18 shows that I covered in my initial impressions posts for the season, none have been dropped, 15 have a current score on my MyAnimeList profile of 7/10 or higher (which for me means that I really like the show), 10 have a score of 8/10 or higher (meaning I love the show a lot), and 5 have a score of 9/10 or higher (meaning I’m liable to break into a total gush-fest from just mentioning the show). One show has even cemented itself as among what I consider my “masterpiece”, 10/10 shows (that would be Tamayura). What’s more, many of these shows have taken a large step up from how they started, improving greatly from their modest starts. Here are some quick thoughts on the shows this season that have greatly impressed me by being much better than they had initially seemed.
Chronicles of the Going Home Club: This show is one of the only shows still scoring below a 7/10, though it’s honestly not too far off. What I think helps this show a lot is that it’s finally found its niche in a season that’s crowded with comedies: it is by far the most meta of them all. Fourth-wall-breaking jokes and pastiches of all sorts of genres abound, and it gives this show a flavor that is allowing it to remain in my giant roster of shows. The latest episode is probably the best yet, featuring the most epic game of shiritori ever.
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya: What started as a fun little magical girl parody has since become a worthwhile magical girl show in its own right, featuring some absolutely fantastic battle scenes as well as some good comedic moments and even some deeper moments with how Illya is dealing with everything (answer: not very well). It’s currently scoring a high 7/10 and is definitely a fun show to watch. Shame it’ll be over in only two weeks…
Free!: So for a while, this show has been just a romp with this group of well-toned swimmers, providing comedy hijinks as well as plenty of fanservice for female viewers. However, with more recent episodes, we finally start to learn more about the backstory here as well as get into some actual swimming. The result is the high level of storytelling that one can expect of Kyoto Animation, with a compelling storyline that transcends the genders of the characters involved. A solid 8/10 as of now.
The Eccentric Family: The “family” part is definitely fitting for this show, which unfortunately doesn’t seem to be talked about much. A big theme of this show is family, as we learn more about the circumstances surrounding the death of the tanuki family’s father. Making all this even more complicated is main character Yasuburo’s relationship with Benten and the Friday Fellows who are responsible for cooking his father in a tanuki hotpot in the first place. It’s definitely a very nuanced story, and it is incredibly fascinating; for now, I’d consider it just barely a 9/10.
Silver Spoon: And then there is this show. This show has become one of my favorites of this season, with some of the best characterization I have seen in anime. It incorporates a lot of information on farm life, too, and allows some of the grittier aspects of farming to challenge the main character, such as in his having to accept that they are raising animals to eventually kill for their meat. There’s also his strained relationship with his family, as well as his budding relationship with a female classmate, that is all being done incredibly well, and it’s balanced out with a great supporting cast. It’s an amazing show, and I’m glad that there’ll be more coming early next year, because 11 episodes just isn’t enough for this. Right now I consider this a high 9/10.
Beyond these, there’s still a number of other great shows. Servant x Service is shaping up well, especially with some nice development in the relationship between two of the main characters, there’s the aforementioned Love Lab, and as far as giving me a weekly dose of sheer cuteness with some great humor, nothing can replace Kin-iro Mosaic. And I haven’t even gone into shows like WataMote, The World God Only Knows, Genshiken, or the Monogatariseries. Seriously, this is a great season of anime.