Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

28 December 2012: Autumn 2012 season summary

It turns out you can bully a girl into seizing the reins of destiny.

I knew that GIRLS und PANZER was going to be good, but I certainly wasn't expecting it to be so popular. As others have pointed out, GIRLS und PANZER sets the new standard for anime catering to military otaku. This is largely due to its extensive attention to detail, but it also doesn't forget to remain accessible to general audiences. You don't need to catch a Sergeant Oddball reference to appreciate Yukari infiltrating the Not American school in a Sunkus uniform. Sadly, GIRLS und PANZER may have been a bit ambitious in its planning and production. The show's finest moment is unavailable to Western audiences (officially, anyway) due to copyright and licensing issues. Its final two episodes have also been pushed until spring 2013. Personally, I'm glad studio Actas decided to work to standard and not to time, so I'm all right with the delay.

Kumagawa makes a better protagonist than antagonist.

Medaka Box Abnormal dutifully covers what I consider to be the start of the manga's low point due to my impatience with shounen jive. Yeah, there are a lot of those battle manga standbys during the "abnormal" and "minus" arcs. I just about gave up on the manga entirely, and it wasn't until Anshin'in broke the fourth wall (Haruhi bless her) and Wanizuka launched into omegadere mode with Akune that it got interesting again. I'm actually caught up with the manga now, and would eagerly watch a season of Medaka Box Minus if it means the subsequent arcs will also get animated. Viewers that actually enjoy shounen jive should enjoy Medaka Box Abnormal even more than me, unless they find the light fan service abhorrent. Then again, all of those viewers are probably watching JoJo's Bizarre Adventure instead.

Smokey, Erina, and JoJo
JoJo has it coming.

Yes, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is, in fact, quite bizarre and contains a genuine adventure. There are even multiple JoJos. Fans of the original manga seem extraordinarily pleased with this anime adaptation, so any remaining hesitation among those potential viewers appears unwarranted at this point. For people who know nothing about the source material, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure does contain an entertaining series of absurd fights and unlikely superpowers. It also has Kawasumi Ayako going into crotchety old woman mode, so consider the AYAKO DOCTRINE fully invoked.

Reika and Joker
I wish Reika had shot Joker with an arrow on general principle.

Smile Precure! has gotten a lot better as it marches towards its conclusion. I'm still not on board with the newer moé-focused flavor of Pretty Cure, but it does make the franchise more generally accessible to wider audiences. Now that the fighting has improved, my only serious complaint is Candy, but I'm afraid infantile mascots may be here to stay. I never thought I'd long for the return of Mepple and Mipple. I'm also prepared to acknowledge Cure Beauty as a full-fledged Cure since she consistently stands far and away as the most capable one of the five. Really, she's the only one you can trust to get stuff done day-in and day-out. She's so reliable that she'll probably die of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in the final three episodes. Typical.

Asuna's hair would be so nasty after three years without washing.

Sigh. Sword Art Online is...not a good show. However, it is a faithful adaptation of its source material. Fans of the light novels should be ecstatic about the work A-1 Pictures did with the anime. However, by staying true to the books, the Sword Art Online anime is routinely frustrating for viewers who don't really enjoy that type of juvenile literature. Probably the most egregious problem is the reduction of Asuna in the second cour to a mere damsel in distress to be saved from the comically loathsome villain. There are also real problems with the way Kirito's extraordinary abilities are employed.

[Spoilers: Kou realizes Wakaba's dream.]

Consider this: The protagonist of basically every single Adachi Mitsuru sports manga is a preternaturally athletic boy who all readers understand will end up the champion of something or other at the end of the story. Nevertheless, the path he takes to Koshien and his beloved's heart remains interesting and the reader genuinely wants to see him overcome obstacles and setbacks on this journey, even though the outcome itself is rarely in question. But in Kirito's case, there is no tension in his fights, and no real joy in his triumphs secured by deus ex machina solutions. So the Sword Art Online anime is as good as it can be while staying loyal to the original light novels, but only just so.

Kirito and Asuna
For Potato-kun, this would be called "rounding third."

Nevertheless, I have to grudgingly admit that if forced to choose between an overpowered character like Kirito (equipped with plot armor charmed by the protective veneer of D.M.'s Grace) versus the sorry anonymous lot of faceless milquetoasts in the Potato-kun class, I'd rather watch a show with a Kirito, even if he is a cheater.

Busou Shinki is the best of the worst.

Dropped Shows: I dropped Busou Shinki because it wasn't very interesting aside from its large cast of prominent seiyuu guest stars. I also didn't care for the doll joints. I dropped Aikatsu! because it was too harmless. Also the CGI dancing just wasn't very compelling. Everyone else seemed to like Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!, but I dropped it after five episodes because I didn't care about what happened to any of the characters. Also, all that chuuni stuff was really annoying, even if it was supposed to be "ironically" annoying or whatever. I also never got over the urge to slap that ridiculous superfluous hair clip off of Shinka's bangs. Little Busters! needed more baseball. I still stuck around for six episodes, but I kinda wish I hadn't.

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