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Dated 19 April 2012: Initial impressions of the spring 2012 anime season

Fujiko
Fujiko is one of anime's All-Time Babes.

Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to lu Onna is good—refreshingly so. The first two episodes have been solid, and it's such a relief to watch something that's not in the modern moé style. As much as I love Sawashiro Miyuki, I'm still not sure how I feel about her taking over the role of Fujiko. It seems as if Masuyama Eiko still had the role not that long ago, but I see now that the Detective Conan v. Lupin III movie was in 2009. I guess she couldn't do the voice forever. And as much as I love Horie Yui, Sawashiro Miyuki is definitely doing a better job as Fujiko than HOCCHAN did as Honey.

Niiya and Yuuko
Ghost hime-cut.

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia is a pleasant surprise. The RSS feed for the scanlated releases of the manga has actually been in my aggregator for ages, although I couldn't remember why I added it. (I've never read a single chapter.) I've seen a lot of comments about how SHAFT-like the show is, but I didn't get that sense at all. That SHAFT jive usually annoys the Bejeezus out of me, but I didn't notice any pretentious, intrusive direction in the first two episodes. So far Tasogare Otome x Amnesia has been entertaining and funny, and this season's resident ghost girlfriend is quite charming.

Rea
Not a zombie hime-cut.

Some people dismissed Sankarea because it's a Studio DEEN production. I'm not nearly as critical of Studio DEEN as contempory anime fans seem to be. Studio DEEN is responsible for the best show of all time, after all. Not that Sankarea is at all in the same league, but it does seem interesting and well done. I'm not sure how I feel about zombie girlfriends, but definitely less favorably than ghost girlfriends, that's for sure.

Medaka
Rally 'round the flag, boys.

Medaka Box is this season's most underrated show. It's underrated because so many viewers are incredibly critical of it, dismissing it as an unworthy product of a post-exodus Gainax. It's possible I am more lenient because of the Gainax badge, but I don't think Medaka Box is bad at all. On the contrary, the show is amusing with a thankfully all right male lead. Medaka herself is very likable, although possibly I'm mesmerized by that crazy shit she does with her eyes. Also, Medaka reminds me of Haruhi, only benevolent.

Moji
KAMINA LIVES!

I haven't started this season's Detective Conan yet, but if it's as good as it always is, you can expect it to place about here in the early season rankings. [Edit: Followed by the continuing episodes of the Gundam SEED "HD" re-watching project.]

Kaoru and Sentaro
Love at first sight.

Sakamichi no Apollon is one of those "objectively good" shows. I think it's pretty well done, but that doesn't necessarily mean I'll like it. It's pretty obvious the new wimpy kid and the big tough kid are in love with each other, but I have a feeling the show will pretend to be about jazz and Miss Third Wheel instead all season long.

Yuki
Social Anxiety Poster Boy.

Tsuritama is also "objectively good," but I can't tell if I'll still be interested in the show after a few more episodes of this stuff. I've got books on Byzantine history I've been meaning to read.

Saber
Your sword is showing, lady.

Fate/zero from episode 14+ is about as good as where it left off two seasons ago. I expect it to get even better now that it's free to kill off basically everyone. Anyone familiar with Fate/stay night knows how this will end, but I'm curious how ufotable plans to get us there.

Cure March
I like Cure March, but that hair is tragic.

I think I was biased to dislike Smile Precure! on general principle, but it's turning out to be pretty good. It could use more brawling, though. Smile Precure! is basically Fresh Yes! Precure 5 except with less ass kicking and less illicit romance.

Nyarlathotep
Nyarlathotep is Top Fuel Asumin.

Haiyore! Nyarlko is good because it is such high-energy, but I'm not optimistic enough to believe it can sustain these levels successfully over the course of the season. If I had to guess, I'd suspect fickle anime fans will start to disavow the show by next season.

Natsumi and Saki
Needs more pratfalls and less bitching at each other.

Natsuiro Kiseki episode two was a lot better than episode one. It helps that I kinda like Sphere. Nevertheless, I'm not especially enamored with the drama elements. The physical comedy is pretty good, though, as is the characters' almost casual acceptance of magic.

Fourteen
I wonder how M14 feels about M1A?

Upotte!! is pretty bad, but totally watchable. Hey, sometimes I enjoy following a show just because it's anime. And Upotte!! is very anime.

Kuroyukihime and Haru
Hey, they found a way to make Potato-kun worse than usual.

Accel World plummeted in my opinion once I saw episode two and realized the entire show was going to be shounen jive and practically doomed to be wall-to-wall exposition and unnecessarily long, tedious fight scenes.

Elina
I wasn't expecting continuity.

Queen's Blade: Rebellion manages to be an abomination in comparison with its first two seasons. I don't like the cast as much, and the entire thing just reeks of terrible. It's a pity, because the plot sounded kinda interesting on paper. However, if the rest of the series isn't much better than the first episode, Queen's Blade: Rebellion will be WORSE THAN COSPRAYERS.

Dated 13 June 2012: Upotte!! ends and AKB0048 begins

G3 and M14
Upotte!! should have focused more on the battle rifle high school.

Upotte!! is much less tasteless and much more informative than the first episode and initial viewer impressions might have you believe. In those respects, it's sort of like Chu-Bra!! only with rifles instead of brassieres. Notably, the befuddled human teacher has a much smaller role in the series than I expected.

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Dated 10 July 2012: Spring 2012 season wrapup

Rin, Yuka, Saki, and Natsumi
Rin, Saki, and Natsumi realize by now that Yuka
with an idea can be a dangerous thing.

I've already explained why Natsuiro Kiseki is my favorite show from spring 2012. However, I didn't mention how shabby the animation looks at times. I'm really surprised to see such lapses from Sunrise, but the show is otherwise so good I'm willing to ignore those faults.

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Dated 2 December 2012: GIRLS und PANZER episode six is amazing

A Saunders tank crew member
Guess there are no atheists in tanks taking fire either.

From the very first line of the episode, GIRLS und PANZER reveals why it's the best show of the season. Comparisons to last season's Upotte!! are natural because both shows caters to the still niche military otaku segment of anime fans, but GIRLS und PANZER has Upotte!! beat when it comes to execution.

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Dated 12 August 2014: Sabagebu! has more in common with Upotte!! than Stella Women's Academy, High School Division Class C³

Kayo
Traitorous otaku.

It's natural to compare Sabagebu! with Tokurei Sochi Dantai Stella Jo-Gakuin Kōtō-ka C³ because both shows are ostensibly about airsoft survival games, but they're really quite different. Sabagebu! basically makes no effort to adhere to any sense of realism. (Well, some of the firearms handling is surprisingly adept—way better than most anime.1) The airsoft component in Sabagebu! is merely an excuse for peculiar gun antics in an otherwise shoujo (well, sort of shoujo) comedy. C3-bu, on the other hand, was perhaps a bit too realistic. It accurately reflected some of the real concerns and faults encountered within the airsoft community.2 Sabagebu! doesn't care about any of that. Sabagebu! is just an excuse for teenage girls to shoot their frenemies in the face as blood splatters freely. As free as a burning brassiere. (There's more blood in each episode of Sabagebu! than in two cours of Noir.)

Urara and Momoka
An important consideration when purchasing furniture is ensuring it is bulletproof.

With its "imaginary" firefights, Sabagebu! is more like Upotte!! because it depicts reckless gunplay and sharp acts of violence without repercussions. (The Sabagebu! girls get back up and resume bitching each other out after dying.) Really, shooting each other in the face is hardly the worst thing the Sabagebu! characters do to each other. Although the Sabagebu! anime deviates from the manga, it remains true to the spirit of shoujo in the sense that there is real cruelty in these friendships and rivalries. Considering that teasing other girls into developing eating disorders is an accepted way to reshuffle a girl's social pecking order, the inconvenience of waiting to re-spawn after taking a bullet to the noggin is fairly insignificant.


Note 1: In re Sword Art Online II: We'll see if the Sword Art Online II anime fixes the mistakes made by the original light novels regarding the Colt 1911 grip safety.

Note 2: In re C3-bu: For example, characters in C3-bu observed real world meatspace codes of conduct and standards of fairness that rang true with veteran airsoft players. Likewise, the story arc involving Yura's growing competitive streak crowding out her ability to simply enjoy herself was portrayed accurately enough to take a lot of the fun out of the episodes themselves for viewers with distasteful memories of the same.