28 CommentsMonthly Roundups / By Scamp /

September Roundup

Monogatari Second Season - 13 - Large 42

2013 has been a bit of a dud so far, but this summer can hold its head up proud. I haven’t actually asked Shinmaru and Inushinde on this, but I’m going to speak for them anyway and say they also think summer has been way better than spring and winter. It was part of their contract when they joined The Cart Driver. In related news, Shinmaru reveals love for Death Note and Inushinde finally admits Aria isn’t really that good after all.

What’s Hot

Scamp: Attack on Titan

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What a bloody fantastic last batch of episodes that was. It had that slow build up with 23, setting the scene before all hell breaks loose and titans start punching each other with characters getting really angry all in one hugely gratifying payoff. It’s a microcosm of everything Attack on Titan did right, and I wish some of the other arcs took a little more cues from this last batch’s pacing. That’s a backhanded compliment though, and I’d prefer to leave this series with a much warmer note, because I really did love Attack on Titan. I’m delighted that it’s become as popular as it is. It’s a big blockbuster action thriller that’s accessible and entertaining and with enough depth that it sticks in the memory beyond the titans punching each other. I do hope they wait a few years before making that inevitable sequel though. Considering the biggest issue was the pacing, the last thing it needs is to drag its arcs even more and stick in filler. I’m happy to wait another 4-5 years for the mangaka to finish before getting more anime.

Shinmaru: Eccentric Family

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Watamote and Silver Spoon are my preferred summer series, but I still have to applaud Eccentric Family for its strong finish. I rarely had a problem with how Eccentric Family spent its time; all the screwing around endeared me to the cast, and that pays off during its supremely fun, silly climax. The core message fits in perfectly with how the series conducts itself: Ambition is good and all, but it’s equally great to live a good, interesting life. The battle for the Nisemon position plays out exactly as it should, with nobody winning, because one candidate is too stuffy and serious (and realizes it eventually) and the other is a manipulative asshole. Who would want to be led by one of them? If I had to pick a favorite part, it would definitely be everything with Yajirou. His ride with Papa Shimogamo is one of the most heartwarming moments of the series, and the recreation of that is incredibly funny. Anything with Kinkaku and Ginkaku is great, too. They’re rarely actually threatening, but they’re irritating in the best way. I enjoyed my time with all these goofy ass tanuki.

Inushinde: Senki Zesshou Symphogear G: In the Distance, That Day, When the Star Became Music…

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The erratic subbing of Senki Zesshou Symphogear G was a blow both to my blogging schedule, and my enjoyment of the summer season. Thankfully, the hope that I held earlier in the season was not misplaced. Even if Commie continues dragging their feet with the final episode, I’m more than happy enough with what I’ve been given that I don’t need a finale to make me satisfied. This last stretch has been one wonderfully goofy moment after another, especially whenever Dr. Ver graces us with his presence. The highlights are a bizarrely detailed, character developing spaghetti eating sequence and a training montage (where the characters sing their own montage music) in the same goddamn episode. Symphogear just wants to have fun, and it will make you have fun with it, even if it has to pull the moon closer to the earth with a giant plasma arm to do so. Even without the finale, I got everything that I could’ve ever wanted from Symphogear’s second season. That’s something that I can’t say for many shows.

What’s not so Hot

Scamp: Blue Exorcist Movie

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I didn’t have any TV series I felt like picking on, so instead I’ll have to go for a movie that was technically released last month but I only got to it this month. Perhaps expecting anything from a shounen filler movie is unfair, but I’d heard some good things and did quite like Blue Exorcist, but the movie was about as shallow as any shounen filler movie you care to mention. I found it annoying that the animators clearly had more time and budget to work with, but could only think of dumping their sakuga talent into fluid, explosions and tentacles with an extended opening sequence that was completely inconsequential and really boring. Meanwhile the actually important thing they could have been doing was selling the little boy as a character with his movements in the way Ghibli does their child animations, but it didn’t work at all. Plus it ended on a massive ass-pull final villain and a convenient memory-wipe for everyone involved.

Shinmaru: Free!

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Free! is enjoyable fluff; it’s fun enough when the boys are tooling around and being silly. When it’s dramatic, though? Not quite as much fun. Unfortunately, the final stretch is inevitably loaded with drama where the boys must resolve their issues with Rin and become Best Friends Forever once more. I don’t have a problem with the drama being overblown — these are teenagers, after all, and this is their entire world. It’s mostly that I got attached to them only enough to be amused by their antics and not quite enough to care about the more serious portions of the show. Rei is probably the only one capable of carrying drama, because his status as outsider trying to break in to this group of friends is sort of interesting, but unfortunately he has to step aside for the ending to work. I didn’t have quite as big an issue with the resolution as some (I found it an appropriately silly way to resolve things), but that’s about as far as my praise goes. The final stretch is mostly boring with flashes of fun. At least there was pretty swimming.

Inushinde: Rozen Maiden

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For all of its improvements over its parent series, the 2013 remake of Rozen Maiden fell short in one key regard: Tying the concept of the Alice Game to alternate Jun’s life. While Shinku and Suigintou make a brilliant return, the rest of the cast only seems added in for fanservice; nobody asked for more of the -seki sisters. Probably its biggest stumbling block is with its treatment of Kirakishou, the main villain. She’s certainly effective, but the series treats her as a plot convenience, rather than as the lonely child that she is. The writing is still leagues better than that of the original series, but it comes up short in enough ways that I finished Rozen Maiden feeling underwhelmed. Now if they had a training montage where the sang their own montage music, that might change things, but not everything can be Symphogear.

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28 Comments

  1. Kiraly
    Posted October 1, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    I’m still waiting for that inevitable Durarara sequel.

    • DarkEnergy
      Posted October 1, 2013 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      LOL, only after that Baccano sequel.

      Yes, it was a very good season for anime. A lot of enjoyable stuff to watch. Stuff for guys to enjoy. Stuff for girls to enjoy. Stuff for everyone to enjoy.

      Also, Aria is good. Stop hating on it without context, Scamp. Support your opinions by writing a post about it. Then, we can debate.

    • stushi
      Posted October 1, 2013 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

      Well hey, at least we get that Samurai Flamenco thing, which is being done by the same person who did DRRR and BC.
      I doubt it’ll disappoint.

    • Nagisa33
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 1:42 am | Permalink

      Possibly most important of all, what about that Spice and Wolf sequel?

      • ANON
        Posted October 2, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        You already had that, it was called Maoyuu Maou Yuusha.

      • Nagisa33
        Posted October 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        It’s going to take me a few days to recover from that comment. That show was so disappointing and it goes to show you that you can’t always trust your picks on the staff involved. Hopefully Kill la Kill won’t be like that. I’m can’t help but be excited for it.

      • Posted October 2, 2013 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

        Somewhere it shouldn’t be because it’s supposed to be here! (Earth).

        Of course if it exists elsewhere in/out of our solar system or dimension I’d gladly go there >_>

      • Hanasra
        Posted October 3, 2013 at 4:12 am | Permalink

        It is not the staff that responsible for the quality, rather it’s the source material that should be blamed to. MMY and SW difference not just lie between macro-microeconomics thing, but also the scope of the story and most importantly relationships between character.

    • Hanasra
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 6:48 am | Permalink

      Durarara is still possible. But Baccano and Spice and Wolf……Here is your LN adaptation *throws anime adaptation of Crappy LN with long-ass title

    • Hanasra
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      Wait, most importantly, where is the completition of the greates anime of all time after all the rumor, Mushishi? I hope Nagahama wouldn’t split his gut because of AnH.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Why the hell hasn’t that DRRR sequel happened anyway? The show sold well, was a hit overseas, and there’s more material to adap. Is there not enough new material to adapt? Did the director have a falling out with the producers and the studio?

      • Hanasra
        Posted October 3, 2013 at 4:14 am | Permalink

        Durarara!! is Brain’s Base emergency button in case they run out of money from creating those crappy otome game adaptation.

  2. Lanf
    Posted October 1, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Definitely way better than Spring and Winter. Gin no Sagi and Uchouten Kazoku were definitely my favourite two. And yeah, I wasn’t even surprised by that. My ability to tell what will be awesome just by the preview chart picture always works. What I was amazed by was that Titan didn’t dramatically crash or fail in some way. SAO was a harsh lesson of not to be cautiously optimistic about crazily hyped shows – be cautiously vigilantly pessimistic about them.

    Watamote though? I never will figure out how I feel about that…

    ALSO WTF ARIA IS BESTEST INUSHINDE Y U DO DIS.

    • Nagisa33
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 1:38 am | Permalink

      I agree that Gin no Sagi and Uchouten Kazoku were good stuff. Titan was the best series to come out of Spring while series like Hataraku Maou-sama! and Gargantia fell apart. For Summer Monogatari Series: Second Season, Uchouten Kazoku, and Gin no Saji made me happy along with a strong finish from Titan. This season was much better than the last.

      For Uchouten Kazoku, I thought the last episode was great. I appreciated the time they took out for character development. However, it focused too long on this development and less on the plot. Some info was repeated that we already knew about and I didn’t dig the passiveness of a few characters. That being said, the easy going message really clicked for me and I’m a sucker for most anything with a familial support theme. I very much enjoyed the simpler character designs, beautiful scenery, pleasant soundtrack, and wacky characters. Uchouten Kazoku ended up being a fun little series.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      I never ended up writing about it, but I enjoyed Silver Spoon a lot too. Not over yet, since it’s just taking a 3 month break, so I have plenty of time to throw roses at it.

  3. shytende
    Posted October 1, 2013 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    I’d say my biggest surprise this season was Stella C3Bu.
    Episode 12 was actually perfect both asa step up for a following season. It had this cartoony feel a la Little Witch Academia, adn then gets emotional, with the nearly Fantastic sequence.
    And it have pretty great charcater building for its main, Yura.
    (That 13th episode never happened)

  4. Dies-Goes
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    My problem with Titan is that it straddles the line between the type of shonen I don’t like and the type of seinen I really like. Death Note did that Darker and Edgier style shonen much better. I blame Naruto and Bleach for ruining my love of shonen.

    As for Free! it was the best KyoAni has done since Kanon. It had problems like too much flashbacks and repeated information, but the drama compared to typical anime drama, it wasn’t that overblown. What I did love in a meta level is how realistic winks were done from time to time, for example the fact that the protagonists lost the first tournament because they just started training again and the results of their antics at the ending. If they make a 2nd season, I’d like a more comedic tone, since the show could be silly and funny but not as much as it could’ve been.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      I think it edged closer to the type of seinen I like, enough so that I was able to fully get behind it. As for its shounen-y aspects, the slow pacing was the only thing that bothered me, and even then it wasn’t that much. It didn’t do the other terrible shounen things such as shouting really loudly as a replacement for humour and expanding the cast a bajillion times over and having them all be in different parts of the story so the plot never moves anywhere.

  5. Ramiel
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    My input on some of the things mentioned

    >Eccentric Family
    It was nice that this show ended with some action and stuff actually happening plot wise, but it still left a lot of questions unanswered, mostly surrounding Benten. This was a show that was hard to take seriously, even though it seemed to be asking that of its audience.

    >Rozen Maiden

    I don’t know if I can agree that the writing of this series was better than the originals. Certainly the characterization of Jun is way better in this one, but like you said, in the old anime the Alice Game was the center of conflict and it gave the show a high level of tension, and Suigintou was an awesome villain compared to Kirakishou.

  6. Ramiel
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    Also, I might add that I don’t think this season has been particularly great either. I think the star of the season is Silver Spoon, but everything else has been more or less OK.

    Winter and spring weren’t very good either, but Winter had SSY, Psycho Pass, and JoJo’s which were pretty damn memorable, and Spring had Chihayafuru…oh wait Scamp doesn’t watch that show lol.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Yeah but they were fall carry-overs, which is cheating a little.

  7. Mr. Anon
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Wait, why is 2013 a dud? Honestly there were more decent shows this year so far than last year. Hataraku Maou, Oregairu, Yuyushiki and Shingeki were good shows. Servant x Service, Blood Lad, Monogatari, Watamote, Gin no Saji were good shows. Possibly others since I haven’t seen everything.

    What was good in early 2012? Hyouka, Kuroko, Sakamichi no Apollon, Space Brothers. I suppose Fate/Zero and Sankarea if I’m being generous. Maybe Tari Tari or Joshiraku could have been worth a watch? It’s in the same ballpark.

    Are you just being negative because that’s your default state, Scamp, or do the years gain a rose-colored tint after they pass? ;)

    • Scamp
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      Maou-sama was shite after the first 3 episodes, Oregairu’s “urgh I’ve been friendzoned so fuck all women” shtick irritated me in the first episode and Yuyushiki is a 4-koma adaptation about 4 girls. The only show from spring I liked was Titan. Winter, if I discounted the ones carrying on from the year previous, had absolutely nothing I liked.

      For the record, I don’t think spring 2012 was particularly good either.

      • Posted October 2, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        “Winter had nothing I liked”-> points to Inferno Cop. “Ahem!”

  8. AG
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    At least Spring had Titan, which saved the season (gargantia and Hatakaru were disappointing but not completely terrible) winter was a barren wasteland of nothing with only the chihayafuru sequel being good. Worst season for me since I started following shows weekly

  9. Posted October 2, 2013 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Attack on Titan’s last episodes were indeed amazing, and I really find it hard to consider the show Shonen with all it’s, well, everything. I immediately went to the manga afterwords since I know the anime will get a shitty gecko ending.

    I dropped Silver Spoon for personal reasons rather than the show outright sucking, and Watamote before the final episode after reading your post.

    • gedata
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 1:15 am | Permalink

      at least watch the running montage

  10. Shikamaru
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    What about Genshiken? I read over 15 anime blogs and nobody wrote anything about it. Am I the only one who thinks that it’s awesome? I think Nidaime is even better than the original Genshiken. And I just rewatched all the original episodes. The cast of characters was even better in Nidaime. Espescially Hato and Madarame. Most people probably prefer the original cast of characters but their conversations were sometimes boring and their otaku shtick got old at some point. In Nidaime it didn’t matter what characters were interacting with each other, it was always really entertaining to watch. It was never boring, there wasn’t any forced melodrama and the characters for the most part felt realistic.

    I think Genshiken in general is very underrated. Nobody talks about it anymore. I didn’t know about the series until my friend suggested it in 2008 or 2009. In fact has Genshiken ever been that popular?

    Also this is the first time I’m rooting for gay pairing in a series and that’s really saying something. I don’t like to see yaoi in my anime but this is one big exception where I wouldn’t care.

    I was almost 100% sure that nothing would beat Psycho Pass, but I enoyed Genshiken even more. Anime of the year so far. I got so much joy out of it. I’m probably only one who thinks that it’s so good but that’s my honest opinion. This is one of those series that I end up watching every year.

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