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Dated 17 January 2013: Initial impressions of the winter 2013 season

Rei
If you haven't seen this by now...

This is a little earlier than I typically like to post initial impressions for a new season, since I consider it premature to make assumptions about shows after only a couple of episodes. However, I'm already more or less familiar with most of the shows I'm following this season because they are either continuations or adaptations of things I've read. Only Vividred Operation and Love Live! School Idol Project remain unknowns at this point.

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Dated 26 January 2013: Vividred Operation is three for three

Akane and Momo
I'm surprised there wasn't a Momo POV shot immediately after this.

Vividred Operation is not exactly a high-brow show, but it is consistently entertaining and there have been no occasions to complain about its production quality or execution. I'm also very pleased with its pacing through the first three episodes. Some people felt Vividred rushed Wakaba's introduction and integration in episode three, but while I would agree in the context of a 26-episode series, I don't think there's any time to waste during what will almost certainly be a 12- or 13-episode run. Hopefully, Himawari's introduction in episode four will be similarly quick.

Rei
Where did her bow go?

After these introductions, Vividred can get down to business devoting the remaining eight episodes to unfucking Rei's shit, and befriending the Bejesus out of her. Or maybe Rei ends up killing them all. It won't happen, but I'd be okay with that. Rei is going to be the lynchpin behind the success or failure of Vividred. If you can suffer another not-necessarily-apropos comparison with Strike Witches, the Alone appear to be as unengaging and faceless as the Neuroi. I'm sorry, but you can't try to build action scenes around bland opponents that nobody cares about.

Rei
I re-watched this to confirm it was a sunrise, not a sunset.

Using cardboard bad guys didn't work in Strike Witches, it certainly didn't work during the Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS training arcs, and it won't work in Vividred with the Alone if Rei doesn't instill some life into the fights. It's possible to have have emotionless enemies that the audience finds engaging (see, for example, the first two Terminator movies), but they'll at least need to be menacing or unique in some way.

Stonehenge
I promise this is the last time I will make this joke.

As long as Rei ensures there will be an antagonist we care about in future episodes of Vividred, then the show will basically have everything. You want fighting? It's got fighting. You want flying girls hitting things with giant hammers? It's got that too. Standing-in-circles magic and fancy transformations? Yes. Bridge operators swiveling around to holler SITREPs to the commander? Well, yeah. Befriending enemies? Count on it. A talking weasel/otter/ferret/probably-not-a-mink thing? Of course. Butts? It's got butts. Fresh fruit? Holy shit, it's got fresh fruit. And how. (Tomato is a fruit, okay.)

Dated 13 February 2013: Notes taken with a voice recorder

Rei
To be honest, Rei is taking this relatively well.

With apologies to ani-nouto for stealing its shtick, let's give this a try.

Makoto
I'm going to start calling her Cure Sam Spade and hope it catches on.

In re Dokidoki! Precure episode two:

  • What are you doing? She'll be fine. I'm pretty sure Cure Sam Spade could survive a fall from orbit.
  • Cure White Lie.
  • I'm pretty sure introducing gold and spreading it around a closed mercantilist economy with no external trading partners will only produce inflation. And apparently it also kills swallows.

Rei
Vividred Operation should just frame an entire episode
with the POV centered between Rei's thighs.

In re Vividred Operation episode five:

  • When this baby gets to 200%, you're going to see some serious shit.
  • Why didn't you take her to a hospital?
  • I'm pretty sure Akane is just using this as an excuse to continue stripping her naked.
  • Rei's life doesn't suck enough. It should be more like...Kotoura's life. Well, like Kotoura's life before it got better.
  • I'm also pretty sure that bird is Lieutenant Hayase. [P.S. Spoilers.]

Masuzu and Eita
Does that mean they're not pretending to be boyfriend and girlfriend anymore?

In re Oreshura episode six:

  • Oreshura, adding a new girl is almost never a good idea.
  • This must be the episode where they couldn't spend any money.
  • This girl kinda sucks.
  • Fight the power.
  • This is a pretty lackluster episode.
  • Chiwa still sucks.
  • I'm going to be really disappointed if there isn't more bullying this episode.
  • This girl actually sucks more than Chiwa.
  • It's kinda comical how little effort the bodyguard has to expend to keep Eita away.
  • Does this mean that everyone is now aware of Eita's chuuni past? I'm not exactly clear as to how that all played out, and I'm not familiar with the corresponding sequence of the original light novel.

Dated 10 March 2013: Big non-finish, here we come

Himawari and Wakaba
It's clenched buttocks all the way down.

I have no idea how Vividred Operation will wrap itself up in its remaining three or four episodes. Seeing as how it's still introducing and developing the relationships among the characters, it will either feel really rushed or we'll be blessed with a second cour of clenching butts in tiny short shorts. It's possible my expectations are a little too high for this show, now that I think about it. Either way, this is still far and away the best show of the season, even if Princess Kraehe never performs any ballet.

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Dated 14 April 2013: Winter 2013 season wrapup

Caesar, Oryou, Saemonza, and Erwin
The best team in the best show.

I'm undecided as to whether or not the final two episodes of GIRLS und PANZER qualify as part of the winter 2013 season. They were delayed from the autumn 2012 season and should probably belong there with the rest of the series, but then again they did actually air late in winter 2013. There are only 40-some minutes of new material, but that's more than Teekyuu, so it arguably has as much right to be here as the various two-minute shows. Whatever the case, these two final episodes of GIRLS und PANZER were far and away superior to any of the other shows from winter 2013.

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