Saturday, October 5, 2013

Kin'youbi Mosaic: 10/4/13 Beyond the Season Boundary Edition

This isn't just my normal weekly ramblings; it's also an overview of the Summer 2013 season! Plus a quick look at what's aired from Fall 2013 so far, and one other thing.

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Summer 2013 is almost over, and my goodness, was it an incredible season. Below is a list of all the shows I followed this past season, followed by a number that is my score for this show out of 11.0 (yes, my rating scale is rather Spinal Tap-influenced. You can get an equivalent score out of 10 by subtracting 1 from the scores and rounding down to the nearest whole number, with shows 10.7 and above being my "10/10" shows).

Tamayura ~more aggressive~: 10.8
Silver Spoon: 10.7
Kin-iro Mosaic: 10.6
Monogatari S2 (up to episode 13): 10.5
The Eccentric Family: 10.1
The World God Only Knows: Goddesses: 9.6
Free!: 9.6
Servant x Service: 9.4
Love Lab: 9.4
Sunday Without God: 9.3
Rozen Maiden (2013): 9.2
Genshiken Nidaime: 9.2
Stella Women's Academy, High School Division Class C3: 9.1
Attack on Titan: 9.0
WataMote: 8.9
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya: 8.8
Ro-Kyu-Bu! SS: 8.5
Chronicles of the Going Home Club (up to ep. 11): 8.0
Fantasista Doll: 7.3
Brothers Conflict: 6.6

I'm giving out so many scores 9.0 and above that I think I should talk a bit about what exactly 9.0/11.0 means on my rating scale. There are a couple of things worth noting about that score…

1. On ANN and MAL, shows scoring 9.0-9.9 would get a "modified" score of 8/10, which on ANN is categorized as "don't miss it". This, I think, accurately represents the biggest thing about those shows: they are shows I can wholeheartedly recommend. While not everyone might like every show that scores at least that high, I find these shows to be great on so many levels that I can easily write up reasons why the show is worth watching.

2. The reason my scale goes up to 11.0 instead of 10.0 is, personally, to allow me to score a show more closely to what I might view that same score as a grade in school--this is influenced in part by my generally going for A's and extra credit and just generally not being too satisfied with B's. Thus, 9.0 shows are "A" shows, and ones I regard highly. I don't dislike "B" shows (8.0-8.9), but they do sit a bit below my high expectations for really good anime.

3. 9.0/11.0 is also about the lowest score at which I would buy a barebones sub-only DVD of a show, purely to support the show. (Price and additional features can change that for any specific show, though.)

4. One little thing: 9.0 is the highest score I'd give to a show that I'd feel is about as good as a show can possibly be without my being personally invested in the show. This is notably the case with Attack on Titan; it's not a show I'm particularly attached to, which isn't the show's fault; it's just not my type of show at all. The atmosphere is just too dark and depressing for my taste. And yet, with the way everything plays out, I can still enjoy the show for what it is and recognize it as the high-quality show that I can completely understand why it is as popular and highly-regarded as it is.

5. Going off of #4, the major thing about the shows above 9.0 is that they are shows which I have some degree of personal attachment to, for various reasons. Whether it be for great characters, nice relationships, engaging storylines, particularly high-level comedy, or whatnot, these shows all have that something extra that gives them a special little space in my heart.

Genshiken Nidaime had a really good look at a character's gender identity issues as well as a great resolution to one of the original show's plotlines (as well as a less-annoying Kuchiki). Rozen Maiden had a great story develop around the college-age Jun. Sunday Without God had one of the best lead characters in anime I've ever seen. Love Lab had great characters and some of the best comedy this season. Servant x Service had a very well-developed main relationship alongside the good character-based comedy. Free! just had a really well-done character-based story all-around. The World God Only Knows: Goddesses has some really good development for its main character, and some great characters surrounding him all the while.

Even C3-bu, despite being overall worse than it started, remains above 9.0 thanks to doing some different things and being an interesting character exploration, at least for a while, and all while having an interesting setting in airsoft.

Of course, things get even better going into the 10's. The Eccentric Family is an incredible blend of fun characters, well-written relationships, and a nicely-done atmosphere courtesy of PA Works. Monogatari really knocked it out of the park with the recent "Mayoi Jiangshi" arc, which has some great development of my favorite character, Shinobu. Kin-iro Mosaic has everything typical of its type of show done incredibly well and adds in incredible opening and closing episodes. Silver Spoon is precisely the type of show that just drew me in and just made me feel like I was right there along with everyone, and has really good characters and storytelling to go with it, and Tamayura ~more aggressive~ is just pure iyashikei in all its goodness, and is just full of wonderful moments to go with its wonderful characters.

Now, as for shows below 9.0, it's worth noting that my scoring scale is more of a continuum, and as such, WataMote is pretty close to being a 9.0-level show. It's the type of show, though, that I can't get too attached to by its nature, though it does have some very interesting comedy that puts it a step above another show that I felt that way about (something about evil flowers). Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya was nothing too special but was a lot of fun anyways. Ro-Kyu-Bu SS is a show for which the loli-fanservice still kept me from really getting attached to it, but some great sports action and some development for our cute cast gives it a small boost over the first season. And Going Home Club has carved out enough of its special niche, and given enough nice moments in the process, to break into the "good" 8.0 range.

Fantasista Doll, on the other hand, represents perfectly what shows in the 7's are: just okay. And below that, Brothers Conflict was just a "blah" show, though one that I still managed to squeeze some perverse enjoyment from.


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Crossing the seasonal boundary, Fall 2013 is underway, and the first show beyond the boundary is, well, Beyond the Boundary (a.k.a. Kyoukai no Kanata). It's Kyoto Animation's latest work, and unlike most of their past works as of late, it's a dark fantasy, with a lot more action than normal (outside of some chuunibyou fantasies). It still takes place in high school, and there's still a very moe heroine (not that that's a bad thing, at least to me), but there's definitely some action and an interesting story in the works, and I think it's a show worth keeping tabs on.

If you want your high school girls in post-apocalyptic sci-fi, though, Coppelion may be your thing. On my end, I think I just enjoyed the whole post-apocalyptic aspect to it, which provided some interesting looks at how life in this rather dystopian atmosphere is like.

Or maybe you're just tired of high school shows entirely and want to graduate from there already, Golden Time may be up your alley. From the same author behind Toradora!, this show has fun moments and plenty of potential for some good character growth. Just don't expect the characters to automatically start acting much different from high-schoolers just yet; they only just graduated from there, after all.

You've also got to expect that the characters of Nagi no Asukara will grow over the course of that show. Right now, they are very much like the burgeoning teens that they are, full of hormones and confusion, and it might not be easy to like them just yet. And if they stay that way, this show could be quite rage-inducing. But there's definitely potential for growth, so here's hoping that's what happens here. One thing's for sure, though; this show looks really pretty. But that's to be expected from P.A. Works.

A lot of people were looking forward to Kill la Kill, the first TV anime project from Studio Trigger, who did Little Witch Academia, and from the same director behind Gurren Lagann. I wasn't particularly hyped about it, but it turned out quite well and I really enjoyed it. It's got a lot of style to it and plenty of insanity, and I love that in a show, especially in an action show.

And then there's Infinite Stratos 2, which follows in the tradition of the first series by being stupid fun. If you made your way past the first series and enjoyed it for whatever reason, the sequel is definitely worth watching. Of course, if you hated the first season, there's no reason to expect this sequel to be any different, so don't bother.

There are still several shows left to air. Will Non Non Biyori continue the streak set by Yuyushiki and Kin-iro Mosaic for top-notch cute-girls slice-of-life? Will Log Horizon not make me rage as much as Sword Art Online did? Will Outbreak Company be the *cough* breakout hit of the season? (It is by the same author as Scrapped Princess, which was a really good show...)

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Here's something new for this column: I'll talk about some anime that has recently become available for pre-order, as well as shows that have recently become available for streaming. Most of these new pre-orders are on Rightstuf, and will appear on Amazon and other retailers at some later time.

This week, Sentai Filmworks and Maiden Japan have their January 2014 releases available for pre-order. There's the fourth and final part of the Patlabor TV series on Blu-ray and DVD with dub, Medaka Box Abnormal on Blu-ray and DVD with dub, and Uta no Prince-sama - Maji Love 1000% on Blu-ray and DVD, subs only. 

Yes, Sentai is continuing with their sub-only Blu-ray experiment, and UtaPri isn't the only show they have for January like this. If you are interested in some older anime, there's Casshan, an old 35-episode anime from 1973 (the more recent Casshern Sins is a remake of this show), available on a sub-only Blu-ray or DVD (and for a rather good price, too). There's also a sub-only Blu-ray available for Taisho Baseball Girls, which was previously released on a sub-only DVD; this means that we could see more shows re-released on Blu-ray like this, even if sub-only.

But you say you want your re-releases with a dub? Then how about Maria Holic (the first season), available on Blu-ray and DVD with a new dub? 

Meanwhile, Aniplex of America has put available for pre-order their limited edition Blu-ray set of the Blue Exorcist movie. At $70, it's a pretty steep price for just a movie, though it does come with various extras like a staff interview DVD, postcards, booklet, and artbox. But if you don't care about any of that extra stuff and just want the movie itself, you can get the DVD for $30.

And finally, if you just want to revisit your childhood, you can get the Yu-Gi-Oh! Season 3 DVD collection. Keep in mind, though, that only the dub is included.

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