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August Roundup

[HorribleSubs] Gin no Saji - 04 [720p].mkv_snapshot_04.59_[2013.08.02_09.57.54]

It’s been a pretty good summer season, hasn’t it? Especially next to terrible winter and spring, it’s nice to know that good anime are still being made and I’m not just beginning to hate anime or something stupid like that. Hum dee hum…I never know what to say at the start of these monthly roundups. Hum dee hum have you read the season preview yet? You should. Just don’t steal all my picks for the new Fantasy Anime League season. Hum dee hum. I heard Miyazaki retired. Hum dee hum.

What’s Hot

Scamp: Servant X Service

Servant x Service - 07 - Large 31

While it’s not my favourite currently airing anime (writing about Watamote two months in a row is redundant), I want to pay lipservice to Servant X Service for really surprising me. I thought what it needed to do was focus more on the jokes about working in the public service and less on acting like they’re all in highschool. Turns out what it actually needed to do was turn it into an office romance series to keep me highly entertained. What makes it work is that Lucy [name shortened] and Hasabe’s relationship is held back by problems the two of them has as people and they use their budding romance as a means to explore the two of them. Same goes with the other character’s and their various failing romances. It tickles my romantic bone (Hasabe’s line at the end of episode 9 was enough to make me kyaaa like a teenage girl) while making them interesting people so I want to watch their relationships. I just seriously hope the relationship goes somewhere before the end.

Shinmaru: Silver Spoon

Gin no Saji - 08 - Large 05

Silver Spoon feels like a show I don’t appreciate as much as I should. It’s quite low key and by far the most grounded show I watch each week. Silver Spoon is also one of the few anime that teaches of message of harmony with and respect for nature in an intelligent way that doesn’t bash the viewer over the head with its message. Hachiken learns through his experiences and not through guilt as he gets closer to realizing what he wants to do with his life. The comedy is often quite amusing, as well, with a good balance of silly stuff and good dark humor. (The scene in a recent episode where the deer gets hit and dies, and the immediate reaction to it, is priceless.) Also, Silver Spoon makes me unbelievably hungry every week, so there’s also that.

Inushinde: Love Lab

lovelab8-620x350

Now that the full ensemble is here, Love Lab has finally hit its stride as a comedy. The first few episodes were let down by the fact that the two leads didn’t have enough chemistry with each other to sustain a show just based on their interactions, but the integration of peripheral characters into the main cast has done wonders for expanding the number and quality of the gags. It’s not the best show of the season; hell, it’s not even in my Top 5. Some of the gags are too repetitious, and attempts at injecting even the tracest amounts of seriousness have met with a lack of success. However, I’ve grown to look forward to it every week as a nice piece of harmless fluff to round out the existentialist treatises of Free! and Senki Zesshou Symphogear G: In the Distance, That Day, When the Star  Became Music…

What’s not so Hot

Scamp: Gatchaman Crowds

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Something interesting has finally started to happen in this show, but it doesn’t matter because I now actively dislike all the characters. I hate the way they speak, with that irritating way their voice jumps UP IN A LOUD IRRITATING SQUEEK and then draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaws out every oooooooooooooooother syllable. I hate how they all talk past each other, particularly how Hajime’s TOOOOOTEMO GENKIIIIIIIIIIIINESS means she never actually responds to what anyone is saying, just yells her own interpretation of events seemingly without listening. The colourful artwork and GENKI personalities imply are totally at odds at a show that’s trying to be dark and deep and has people dying every single episode. A lot of this is the same problems I had with Tsuritama. I like Kenji Nakamura’s willingness to be crazy with his style and I wish I liked more of his anime, but I think in the future I’d prefer to see him do more adaptations as he did with Trapeze.

Shinmaru: Attack on Titan

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As usual, by now I’ve dropped everything I outright dislike and/or don’t have time for, so I’m left with something I’m a bit meh on rather than a show that makes me claw my eyes out when I think about it. With Titan, I care about a lot of little things but not so much the big picture. My interest in the battle against the Titans dropped substantially after the Battle of Trost concluded. The stuff involving protecting Eren, seeing if he can control his power and herding him to the next place is all right, but it’s just not reaching me for whatever reason. I still enjoy how utterly weird the characters are and how this plays out in their interactions, and Titan is still capable of neat action sequences and such. But I suppose if the goal is to get the viewer to care about the overall story, then Titan’s just not working for me right now.

Inushinde: Railgun S

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S - 18 - Large 18

Railgun S and Love Lab occupy a similar space in my taste spectrum: Perfectly alright, but not daring enough to warrant any sort of reaction beyond lukewarm acceptance. Unfortunately, that reaction is a bit disappointing for Railgun, where people who essentially derive their powers from PCP are thrown by the wayside in favor of boring child characters that serve roughly the same purpose as Index from the series’ inferior parent story. What bothers me is constantly missed potential, since most of the fun in Railgun is watching it try to tenuously place progressively stupider powers within the realm of natural science. Until Railgun has PCP Girl fight Uiharu, with Uiharu somehow winning by keeping the room at the same temperature throughout, it will forever be a disappointment.

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22 Comments

  1. Posted September 1, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Kind of wish Genshiken got a mention but the fact that it’s mostly only enjoyable when Madarame is around (or when Hato interacts with the old cast) kind of hinders it from being really good whilst not being a bad watch on its own I guess. ‘Course that’s just where my enjoyment comes from. No idea about you guys.

    I always wondered if Gatchaman Crowds would be better if it was English dubbed. They’ve been falling in quality recently, but one great thing about dubs is that most of them stopped trying to do the high-pitched voice because they realized it sucks.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted September 1, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Genshiken has been OK, but basically every episode unfolds almost the same way. I’m getting kind of bored with it now.

      • Shinmaru
        Posted September 2, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        I will say I’m enjoying the Hato/Madarame parts — they’re the only reason I’m still watching anymore. Everything else is the boring part.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 2, 2013 at 12:10 am | Permalink

      I, on the other hand, have been enjoying Genshiken quite a bit more this week. I don’t mind that it’s focusing on Hato and Madrame because they’re clearly the two most interesting characters and the show appears to have realised this and made them the central focus.

    • Posted September 2, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Someone said on Twitter, which I’ll unscrupulously parrot here, that it’s pretty clear that the author has no extensive experience with female fandom. Think of the 1st generation where each of the club members had a distinct personality and hobby besides their common love of the popular anime (Kujibiki Unbalance): gunpla, cosplay sewing & photography, video games, uber-nerd, etc. Now think of this 2nd gen group, and you can lump them all together into one cosplay/BL fujoushi bundle.

      One of the great draws about the original Genshiken is how it credibly detailed the habits and mindset of nerds, fleshing them out as real people. I feel Neo-Genshiken has lost that authenticity that made it resonate with us in the first place. The Amars from Jellyfish Princess have a wider range of interests and possibly more complex personalities which I would’ve liked to see more of than this.

      Genshiken Nidaime is in a weird spot where most of its audience are still male otaku that empathized with the 1st gen’s trials and tribulations (which is why I think Madarame is still around despite not fitting in with the new group at all). However, the author can’t handle or relate well with a majority female cast except in a voyeuristic sort of way (a problem afflicting many anime/manga with female anime nerds).

      • Scamp
        Posted September 3, 2013 at 12:59 am | Permalink

        All true, which is why the entertaining bits haven’t really been ‘Genshiken’. Rather it’s the cross-dressing romantic mishaps of Hato. Viewing the show through that lens solely, it becomes a much better show.

  2. shytende
    Posted September 1, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    OreImo decided to piss absolutely everyone which these final episodes… (Spoiler : Manami was the best girl all along)

    The most disappointing serie of this season is still Sunday without God. It’s not the worst thing I have seen this season (see : OreImo above…), but it’s just a wasted opportunity. With this world setting, it could be the greatest serie of the season.

    Also, Silver Spoon is awesome. This could never be said enough.

    • Nagisa33
      Posted September 1, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      I dropped Sunday Without A God like it was hot after 3 episodes. It was a mesh of ideas that didn’t come across strongly enough to keep my attention. It had a pretty twilight sky though.

      I didn’t even start Oreimo season 2 after all the nonsense I heard. Season 1 was pretty funny though.

      Silver Spoon my favorite of the season. Quite humble and surprisingly funny when you least expect it. The episode where Hachiken makes pizza was a special treat for me. My big Italian family are pretty serious when it comes to making pizza and the show nailed down the mechanics perfectly. The incorporation of the brick oven was just icing on the cake, or should I say, sauce on the brick oven pizza! Hahahahaha! It never ceases to make me smile. :)

    • Kurama
      Posted September 1, 2013 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

      Manami sucked! I’d rather be alone than be with her.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 2, 2013 at 12:13 am | Permalink

      I was expecting Inushinde to put OreImo up this week given he’s the only one of the three of us who watched it, but I guess pointing out how bad OreImo has become is redundant at this point

  3. fathomlessblue
    Posted September 1, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Hey there, it isn’t stealing if you make better decisions. Other than the omission of DS2, it was always just a selection of the most obvious choices. Granted, I did replace Red Data Girl with Karneval based on the general consensus once I found out about the NicoNico deal, but to be fair, neither of those choices were particularly great in the end.

    I’m kinda done with both Watamote and Servant X Service. I had fun and all, but neither have enough variety to keep me invested for an entire season. The latter still feels like a complete rehash of Working! Throw a bunch of characters with one-note character quirks together and watch incidental comedy arise. I don’t know, maybe I could see it through to the end if it wasn’t for the mechanically forced insertion of schoolgirls and talking teddy bears into the office setting, constantly throwing me out of the mood. And no, judging by Working! nothing will be resolved, just repeated ad infinitum. Once bitten…

    Still, there’s enough great stuff this season that’s all good in the end. I’m off to play with my Victorian battle dolls now.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 2, 2013 at 12:14 am | Permalink

      You just must not like good anime or something.

      I feel after how much I’ve been enjoying Servant X Service that I should go back to Working. I watched one episode of that show and never bothered with anymore.

      • fathomlessblue
        Posted September 2, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        With regards to comedies, I think it’s more a case of feeling of taking everything I’ve needed from a show before it starts to wear thin, rather than outright disliking it. Usually the better the show and the deeper the message, the longer I remain invested. That’s why I could enjoy shows like Arakawa well into the second season, but was done with the likes of Maou-sama or Watamote fairly quickly. There’s just nothing more to offer.

        I suspect you’ll have a similar reaction to Working as I am to SxS, seeing as they are pretty much carbon copies of each other, bar the setting. I’ve seen this show before, and while many the characters and quirks in Working were equally, if not more forced, the cause and effect comedy just felt that little bit sharper at the time. There’s just no surprises any more, and I don’t expect the relationships to do anything other than spin in circles.

  4. Posted September 1, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Attack on Titan focuses too much on dragging the main plot and less than desired on developing and expressing the supporting characters more, making them feel like sacrificial cannon fodder, which they aren’t(for now, at least). Still, I am highly enjoying the series so far (second to Watamote, though I am currently checking out Silver Spoon) despite some of the annoying overreactions and forgetting half of the character’s names. Can’t wait for your analysis on the latest episode, Inushinde.

  5. Someone Else
    Posted September 1, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Love lab got mentioned! Oh wow yes! I don’t know why but I look forward to it every week too. I kept asking myself why but I really don’t know. It has some sort of weird magic feel to it that’s really difficult to explain

  6. Erif
    Posted September 2, 2013 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    http://thecartdriver.com/the-state-of-anime-blogging/

    A bit unrelated, but I was going through the archives and found this little birdy. It’s a great post and I think you should consider doing another one like it (definitely due for an update, it’s about two years old).

    • Erif
      Posted September 2, 2013 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      Geez and this one too (http://thecartdriver.com/the-two-year-death-and-history-repeating-itself-in-the-aniblogsphere/). Who would’ve known scamp was such an insightful guy back in the day oho~

      • DarkEnergy
        Posted September 2, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        There’s a lot of gold if you’re willing to dig deep. I liked all the 12 days of anime stuff. And his Irish Blog Award post where he showcased how “great” this blog is :)

      • Nagisa33
        Posted September 2, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        I really enjoyed your articles on burnout and to keep looking for new anime to watch. Just when you start to become set in your ways, realize that there is more to enjoy. Don’t be afraid to try new things.

        http://thecartdriver.com/12-moments-in-anime-4-theres-always-more-to-watch/

      • Scamp
        Posted September 3, 2013 at 1:06 am | Permalink

        Don’t bring up old posts, it’s embarrassing!

        Won’t be doing another one like the state of anime blogging since I honestly don’t know the answer. However I have been doing very slow work on a possible update on the 2 year death post.

      • Erif
        Posted September 3, 2013 at 4:30 am | Permalink

        Cool.

        Whatever the case may be, there’s been a considerable lack of them on this blog recently, and I hope to see more editorials from you guys.

  7. Manabu
    Posted December 8, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    The railgun manga is much better than the anime. It is full of espers kicking ass w/o all those boring fillers and filler arcs. It also respects Index time-line and can be integrated seamless (though I don’t like the magical part of the history either).

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