Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

17 January 2013: Initial impressions of the winter 2013 season

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.

Ha ha. Fingerless gloves.

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure continues where it left off, with its high tension mix of burly men punching each other, supernatural powers, mild homoeroticism, and adventures of the bizarre variety. Now with Nazis. Every single thing that happens in the show is pretty unlikely, but consistently entertaining in a juvenile sort of way.

Cure Happy
Just Happy Shower Shining them all. Haruhi will know Her own.

Smile Precure! is building towards its big finish, concluding its yearlong run as the most mainstream-friendly and otaku-beloved iteration of Pretty Cure thus far. I was critical of the show during its early episodes, and even now I'm opposed to some of its key elements, but I acknowledge that—despite these philosophical differences—Smile Precure! presents itself very well, and these factors are responsible for making the show so popular.

Fan service is one percent inspiration and
ninety-nine percent perspiration T&A.

Vividred Operation is a brand new show, but it feels familiar because I've followed its Twitter feed for a few months now and received regular blasts of hype and butts several times each day. I still have no idea what the show is really supposed to be about, but it features a girl who can throw, a talking weasel, and an oddly familiar motif that probably doesn't actually have anything to do with druids.

I like Masuzu's barbed eyelashes. They look sinister.

Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru (Oreshura for short) is another example of the increasingly odious light novel to manga to anime adaptation fusion that is all the rage these days. I've actually already read what translated chapters of the light novel and manga that I could find. Based on the first two episodes of the anime, I have some faith in its execution and hope it will continue to pare down some of the more tiresome aspects of the property (mostly Chiwa antics). I am backing Masuzu unconditionally, in no small part due to her Yukarin powers. I also like how she's kind of evil. Even though Chiwa lives next door, she is no Girl Next Door, a trope Japan continues to overlook as the Childhood Friend Army marches on.


I'm not a big fan of AKB0048 next stage despite its regular over-the-top Kawamori antics, mostly because after 15 episodes I still don't care about any of the characters. AKB0048 has got good stuff in it, but that's really not enough. I'm mostly just watching now for the occasional Itano Circus.

I think it's hilarious Honoka didn't notice until the extra big sign.

Love Live! School Idol Project is a real surprise. I was expecting another limp attempt at cashing in on the success of Idolm@ster last year, but the first episode was pretty okay. The songs were nice, and the pacing kept it entertaining with amusing gags and well directed sequences. There's no guarantee the show won't collapse quickly, but all things consider, I think it's a remarkable achievement that it wasn't dreadful right out the gate.

Peasants, Head Maid, Demon Queen, and Hero
"Who's that then?"
"I don't know. Must be a king."

Maoyū Maō Yūsha features some fairly dubious economic theories driving its plot, but I guess they're pretty good considering the show is another victim of the light novel/manga/anime fusion phenomenon. So far, the best things about Spice and Boobs are its sight gags. However, they lose their impact when spoiled out of context, so I encourage people curious about the show to avoid reading too much about episodes they haven't already seen.

The War on Spats continues.

Thus far, that is all with regard to "regular" shows that I'm following this season, not counting Detective Conan and its Magic Kaito spinoff episodes. I am watching those, but I haven't kept up with the current broadcasts. I say "regular" shows because there's also a smattering of sub-three-minute shows that have caught my attention. It appears there are a bunch of these every season, but this is the first time I've really noticed them.

Chihya and Miki
I'd bite her.

I'm watching Puchimas because I enjoy all things Idolm@ster, but Puchimas is only mildly amusing, to be honest. It's inferior to the Haruhi-chan and Churuya-san shorts from four years ago. There's certainly no reason to watch it if you're not already an Idolm@ster fan.

Yuri and Kanae
Ostensibly, Teekyuu is about tennis.

Teekyuu is another two-minute show, and pretty well regarded by some viewers simply because it is so frantic. It crams a lot of gags into the 90 seconds of original content it has left after the credit sequence. Nevertheless, it still ranks last in this list—not because it isn't any good (as a matter of fact, it has some brilliant moments), but because it's restricted so much by its format. If you're in the right mood for it, Teekyuu is great. If you're not, well, it ends before you can start enjoying it. I'm still talking about anime, just so you know.

[Update: ani-nouto asks,

"Wait, there's no Tamako Market? Why?"

I don't have much interest in what I can only assume will be yet another bunch of moé blobs from Kyoto Animation.]

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