Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

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.

Yuuko, full of life.

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia is quite good, despite fumbling its ending. It's better at romantic comedy than it is at horror, and does best when it sticks to the lighter elements, letting Yuuko be Yuuko. In fact, most of the horror elements are unintentionally funny, detracting from the show as a whole. This is a bit of a surprise because the manga is much more successful at merging the two genres. Maybe it's because I don't remember the Tasogare Otome x Amnesia manga attempting to portray gratuitous window smashing as something frightening. Tasogare Otome x Amnesia also suffers from SHAFT-type budget problems, although Silver Link executes its workarounds reasonably well. It's a good show when viewed as a whole largely thanks to Yuuko's bountiful charisma, but it's certainly imperfect.

The worst thing Flay did was subject us to Sai's crying.

The subs for the Gundam SEED "HD" re-broadcast are far behind enough that I think I need to move it to my "Also Watching" category for the rest of the year. Most of the show is the same as the original, with the most notable change being a reportedly awkward retcon of the clash between Kira and Nicol. It's a pity Gundam SEED Destiny's baggage drags down Gundam SEED along with it. Gundam SEED itself is pretty good most of the time, although I can see how U.C. purists might disagree. Then again, I also love Flay, and she seems to be universally loathed. Personally, I think it says a lot about her critics when they accuse her of being a slut. She had sex with one person. One person! Sheesh. Otaku Virtues.

You'd think people would learn by now not to get Ran mad.

Detective Conan continues to be as good as ever. I would be in favor of a lot more Heiji and Kazuha episodes, though.

How odd. Sakura is much more genki in Fate/stay night.

Fate/zero is a little uneven, but some of the good parts are pretty awesome. Ultimately, its weakest point is its source material, but I'm pleased with what ufotable did with it. I'm also glad it serves as a counterweight to all those other shows that pretend a single person can "protect everyone" and their feelings and blah blah blah. Nope. Sometimes people fail and everyone dies. Suck it, Otaku Virtues!

I'm not actually looking forward to Kumagawa's appearance.

I really liked Medaka Box until it turned into an anime about shounen jive battles. This is not to say that it isn't any good, but it's just not the kind of thing I enjoy. The ending was a bit different from what its setup led me to expect, and it looks like the second season will tackle the manga's endless battles head on. I'll continue watching, I guess, as long as Medaka continues to do that crazy shit with her eyes and providing nobody talks too much during the fights.

Nozomi, Urara, and Kurumi
Maybe I'll like Smile Precure! more once it gets
a Kurumi to constantly give Miyuki shit.

Smile Precure! is finding its niche as the light, beginner's Pretty Cure with easy battles and non-threatening villains. Basically it's a junior varsity Yes! Precure 5. It's entertaining and amusing enough, but I'd like to see a greater focus on hope, courage, and punches to the face. Incidentally, it appears Smile Precure! is setting up Cure Beauty to be the only one on the team worth a damn. I don't think they would have gotten anything accomplished all season without her. I guess I'm okay with it, though. Reika can't help being smarter and better than everyone around her. It's not like she lords it over people.

Crea is pretty awesome if you like hats and Tange Sakura.

Aquarion Evol doesn't make any damn sense, but I'm pretty sure it's because I didn't watch the original. Despite what the initial episodes may have suggested, understand the franchise's history and backstory does appear to be important to appreciating Evol. It doesn't help that I never had any interest in Amata or Mikono. I would have preferred a romantic comedy about Andy and MIX and their arguments about holes, to be honest.

Lupin and Fujiko
Fujiko III might have been more interesting had it been about Lupin.

Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna had so much promise, and I guess technically it is good, but aside from a few bright spots after the first episode, it just wasn't very interesting. Fujiko herself is one of anime's All-Time Babes, with enough historical clout that her identification as Tomo's role model in Azumanga Daioh should inspire approving nods. What Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna does, however, is strip away some of Fujiko's mystery by trying to tell us more about Fujiko as a woman, yet ultimately not really revealing anything. I think Fujiko is still my front runner for 2012's Girl of the Year, but if we only consider the Fujiko we see during the course of this newest Lupin III anime, I'm not so sure she deserves to win.

See update from 27 August 2012 re Hyouka.

[Update: Added Hyouka episodes 1-11.]

I totally called it about Miss Third Wheel, by the way.

Sakamichi Apollon is a good show, but I have to rank it relatively low because Kaoru annoyed the Bejesus out of me. I get that he's supposed to be a high school kid, but man, he was such a little bitch. His stubborn efforts to martyr himself irritated me to no end. It was as if he was determined to corner both the NTR and the Boys Love markets at the next Comiket single-handedly. I did enjoy the sub-plot about Jun and the high school girl he was ruining for high society, but it seems I'm in the minority in that respect.

This wasn't even subtle!

AKB0048 is mostly terrible, but only because I don't care about any of the characters. In fact, it took me eight episodes to notice the OP basically telegraphs a character's death the way the first Gundam SEED ED did.

Moé war is all Hell.

Upotte!! could have been better, but it wasn't bad for the reasons people expected. There is much less fan service in Upotte!! than its premise might lead you to believe, and the marginalization of the male teacher as a character in the show helped to keep the focus on gun trivia and in-jokes.

Shows I dropped:

I dropped Sankarea after six episodes because I didn't find it interesting. I skipped ahead in the manga to see if it goes anywhere good, but it looked even worse from the chapters I skimmed.

I watched three episodes of Haiyore! Nyaruko-san in the hopes that it had enough momentum to stay funny and entertaining. Unfortunately, the jokes got old. Even Top Fuel Asumin can only carry you so far.

A lot of people really enjoy Tsuritama, but it annoyed the ever-loving crap out of me. I lasted two episodes and wish I had dropped it sooner. It's supposed to be really good if it doesn't annoy you, though.

The upside to watching three episodes of Accel World is that I can now confidently point straight at it if anyone ever asks me to recommend a chuunibyou show.

The only reason I watched the first episode of Acchi Kocchi is because someone claimed its male protagonist boasted "supreme alphaness." It turns out the show is really about a tiny girl being very meek. Bah.


I didn't exactly have high hopes for Queen's Blade: Rebellion, but I expected it to be at least in the ballpark of the first two seasons. Turns out it was merely terrible, alas. I gave it five episodes. Hey, the plot sounded all right on paper at least.

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