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Dated 11 July 2013: Spring 2013 wrapup

Shiny Chariot
Shiny Chariot's Magical Festa is a tough act to follow.

Overall, the spring 2013 season was a little bit of a letdown considering it started fairly strong. (I can sort of prove it too.) From a subjective standpoint, it probably felt worse because the start of the season coincided with the release of Little Witch Academia and Death Billiards which are both excellent short films, although not part of the spring 2013 anime season itself. As you can probably predict, both the best show and the worst show I watched were pretty consistent episode to episode.

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Dated 28 June 2013: Aiura was last in, first out

Saki
You can tell Saki is the Best Girl because she has a turntable.

Of the shows I watched spring 2013, the first one to end was the last one I started: Aiura.1 I don't actually have much to say about Aiura because it is such a short show. Practically everything I could say about it I've said before: Crabs. Steve Jobs. Cancer. iUra. Gams. So many gams. Saki is the Best Girl. Are girls named Saki more like to be a show's Best Girl? Sure seems that way. But what I suppose I can do is use Aiura to talk about a show I didn't watch—one that everyone appears to adore: Yuyushiki.

Saki
Wet socks are actually kinda gross.

That's right. I didn't watch Yuyushiki at all and know basically nothing about it except for what people have gushed in IRC or on the Twitter. I think there might be heavily implied lesbianism? I know there are girls in it who close their eyes a lot as they let their jaws hang slack—sort of like a reptile's smile. I haven't watched it because I'm not actually a big fan of the Cute Girls Doing Cute Things sub-genre. I struggled to watch K-On! and still dropped it at episode four of the first season.2 I liked Aiura, but its short episode length probably helped quite a bit. For me to enjoy a Cure Girls Doing Cute Things show, the primary draw needs to be its humor or some other gimmick. E.g., Azumanga Daioh, Ichigo Mashimaro, and Natsuiro Kiseki. I never finished Lucky☆Star, though. It's not that I feel it's a "cancer killing anime" or anything like that. I'd just rather see the characters doing something more interesting. Maybe operating tanks.


Note 1: Technically Straight Title Robot Anime ended first, but that was a carryover from winter 2013.

Note 2: I liked the movie well enough though.

Dated 10 June 2013: I started watching Aiura

Kanaka
It probably doesn't mean she has crabs.

I forgot to mention that I started watching Aiura. It's a pleasant enough show, but I don't have much to say about it because it's so short. (It's another one of those jobbies with four-minute episodes.) I guess I can say I also have no idea why crabs and Steve Jobs are in the OP. There has been some speculation that crabs refer to the zodiac sign Cancer1 since Steve Jobs died of cancer, but I'm calling that one a coincidence absent some more compelling reason why that would be in the OP either.

Saki and Ayuko
It's not easy being best.

I can also say that the show does appear to be the labor of love of somebody with a deep appreciation of the bare thighs of teenage girls. There is that. Oh, and it's the second show this season (along with Valvrave the Liberator) where the BEST GIRL is named Saki. If you include Saki from Natsuiro Kiseki, that makes girls named Saki three-for-three in shows from recent memory seizing BEST GIRL honors. When Genshiken Nidaime starts in a few weeks, girls named Saki will go four-for-four. I might be on to something here.


Note 1: Or possibly the genus, since hardly anyone in anime outside of The Melody of Oblivion seems to care about the western zodiac.

Dated 4 June 2013: Hideauze is a dish best served cold

Catelyn.
Even the band must face the music.

Although it is not anime, Game of Thrones attracts many of the same fans. As such, the outrage over the penultimate season-three episode somewhat overshadowed the near contemporaneous shock some fans felt this week over Suisei no Gargantia episode nine. (Not the ones who saw this coming from a league away, but some viewers nonetheless.)

Melty
Looking for love in all the wrong places.

I am, of course, referring to Melty's inexplicable ongoing inability to find a partner with whom to mate despite her open enthusiasm for courtship rituals and her eye for desirable phenotypes. It also doesn't help that she has drastically reduced the size of her available population by joining the squid-squishing diaspora comprised of greedy seabed scavengers and other folk hoping to avert certain death when Team Rocket rapes and pillages the fleet after learning its command now lies in the hands of a myopic 22-year-old girl who appears to have achieved supreme executive power largely thanks to nepotism.

P.S. Pooterballs are made out of people! [Spoilers]

Dated 13 May 2013: Giants eating people is a metaphor for class warfare

Random evil dudes.
It's a good thing proles in this world know their place.

I understand that random evil merchant guy was supposed to be deliberately loathsome in order to make Mikasa look even more heroic when she steps in refusing to listen to any of his shit, but this was some really terrible juvenile writing in an episode of Shingeki no Kyojin which was otherwise punctuated by some pretty cool scenes, even if the animators apparently struggled to meet their demands. I don't expect a show about giants eating people to be subtle, but the writing in Attack on Titan really is a weak point. It's so over-the-top with its melodrama that it detracts from the impact of its shocking moments. Characters are understandably traumatized by horrific events unfolding in front of them, but from a narrative standpoint they are simply too traumatized and in shock just a little too long. It's kinda telling that the moment generating the biggest reaction to the show thus far is the scene of a potato being eaten, not the one of [spoilers] being eaten.

Dated 6 May 2013: Objectively ranking anime

Emi
I wonder how long Emi is going to keep that bandage?

For the past few years now I've kept a running update of anime rankings, mostly for use in spamming IRC. At the season's end, I also use those rankings to determine each show's position in my season summaries. This season, I've started keeping a spreadsheet on Google Drive, illustrating the changes in episode-by-episode rankings on charts. At the same time, I still maintain my IRC list of show rankings, based entirely on how I subjectively feel shows compare against other titles within the same cour.

Eren
Making the impossible possible since 850.

The newfangled spreadsheet is ostensibly objective, but the data that goes into it is still derived subjectively since all the figures come from how I personally score episodes on a linear scale of one to five. What I've noticed though is that the rankings determined via the spreadsheet method don't necessarily agree with my overall subjective rankings. For example, at this point I currently consider Hataraku Maou-sama! to be the best show of the season, mostly because Shingeki no Kyojin has had some pretty annoying Ellen moments, and because Suisei no Gargantia—although consistently good—has not had as many bits that wowed me.

Amy and Pinion
"Not entirely stable? I'm glad you're here to tell us these things."

But looking at the spreadsheet experiment, Maou-sama! should be tied for second based on median scores or arithmetic means. If comparing geometric means, then it's no longer tied with Attack on Titan, but it's still in second place behind Gargantia, the undisputed leader. Does this mean anything other than that opinions are opinions? I suppose not, but I wonder if some people would be tempted to game the scores to correct for what is arguably a flaw in methodology (or I guess philosophy).

Dated 29 April 2013: Spring 2013 initial impressions

Man and Old Man
The Hustler.

The preseason buzz for spring 2013 seemed fairly pessimistic. (Sort of seems that way more often than not lately.) Thankfully, this quarter is shaping out to be pretty decent, at least through the first third of the cour. I guess I was looking forward to Death Billiards from the name alone—turns out it's another excellent Anime Mirai short movie, by the way—and that show about giants eating people, and the second season of Railgun, so it's not as if I believed spring 2013 would be a total write-off. It turns out there are at least a couple of gems and one shiny rock to admire.

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Dated 22 April 2013: Spring 2013: I've dropped six shows already

Iwai
Hair Pornography ~The Animation~.

Remember when I said I drop fewer shows these days because I'm less likely to start something I'm not sure I'll enjoy? Yeah, that went out the window this season. At present, I am following eight currently airing shows (not counting Detective Conan) and have already given up on six other shows. Specifically, I've stopped watching Red Data Girl, Dansi Bunri Crime Edge, Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru, Photokano, and Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko.

Izumiko
Those are some glasses.

There's not anything particularly wrong with Red Data Girl, except that I just didn't find it very interesting. It's the kind of show that requires some commitment on the part of the viewer to actively attempt to unravel the intricacies during the journey to some final revelation, but I just can't quite seem to care about the spirits and folklore. I feel as if I should be watching it on general principle, since it is different from the usual retreads and low-brow fare. I gave up after episode three, but I'll start it up again if I hear enough people insist that Red Data Girl turns out to be incredible later. Oh, and I guess technically it's called RDG Red Data Girl.

Iwai and Kiri
At least he was careful with the scissors.

Dansi Bunri Crime Edge is preposterous. I knew that ahead of time, but it really is just too silly for me to continue watching. I guess the problem is it is silly-stupid not silly-funny. For example, Valvrave the Liberator is also silly, but I'm still watching it because it leans towards silly-funny. And while Dansi Bunri Crime Edge does not take itself entirely seriously, there is a certain lack of bemusement as the characters experience events that are simply ridiculous, even in a setting as absurd as the Crime Edge one. I gave up after episode three even though I'm a big fan of hair porn.

Muromi
Muromi is sort of racist.

I stopped watching Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san for no particular reason except that it just wasn't my sort of thing. I mean, it's fine, but you sort of have to be in the mood for its jokes to work. Being a half-length show, it doesn't exactly require much of a commitment to begin with, but I don't really feel like watching a show about wacky mermaid antics every week. Three episodes was enough.

Miura
Yumiko Miura and Fate Testarossa should hang out.

I can't help but think of Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru as a Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai clone. This is probably because I dropped Bokutomo about the same time people started to act insufferably superior for truncating it as Haganai instead. So I've only a superficial understanding of I Don't Have Many Friends to begin with. Because RomCom SNAFU—or whatever nonsense we're supposed to call Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru—also features a club of self-described loners, watching it makes me think I've been tricked into resuming a series I abandoned in 2011. Worse yet, I at least sort of still liked the Bokunai characters when I dropped the show. With Yahari Something Something, I definitely like the "popular" twats in the school a lot more than our unsociable, bitter, cynical protagonists. I managed three episodes.

Takashi and Itta
I was already prepared to despise these guys on general principle.

I wanted to like Photokano. All it needed to do was sort of be like Amagami SS with just a little bit of a spine and the solid cast of seiyuu would sort the rest out. How bad could it be? I'm going to break from my normal position here to directly mention some spoilers, but rest easy that they are only spoilers if you are really new to anime, because Photokano doesn't break any new ground—or at least it didn't during its first three episodes. First of all, Potato-kun is only an aspiring photographer because his father gave him his old digital SLR. He's not someone with an actual interest in photography, such as Kosuda from B Gata H Kei. It turns out there are two photography-related clubs at his school: One's a group of irritating asshole stalkers, and the other is comprised of probably-pretty-cool girls. Guess which club Potato-kun joins? Go on. Guess. These other guys in his club have the dubious distinction of being even more annoying than the yahoos in Kaoru's photography club from Ai Yori Aoshi. At least Kaoru's club had a guy obsessed with trains.

Haruka, Takashi, Kazya, and Itta
Those are some contrivances.

Photokano also basks in the most tired and unlikely anime cliches, such as the mid-air collision kiss. The Ga Rei manga featured a mid-air collision kiss, but it presented it as an absurd chain of events for comedic effect. In Photokano, the incident is without irony and offered as just one of those serendipitous (?) moments caused by the irregular rules of anime gravity. I should have figured out before the three-episode mark that I would be better off just waiting for other people to post Photokano screenshots instead of actually watching the show.

Azusa, Youta, and Tsukiko
You are a craven douche, Potato-kun.

I knew I would drop Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko because I was unimpressed with the manga. If anything, the anime is worse because Potato-kun is annoying as all get-out. Not only is he one of those anime characters who flusters extremely easily, causing him to yammer excitedly in a wet panic, he's excruciatingly voiced by Kaji Yuki (the pig from Accel World), who is already bad enough as Ellen in the (otherwise excellent) Shingeki no Kyoujin. I acknowledge that Henneko is remarkably popular, but surely its fans simply have much higher Kaji Yuki tolerances than I do, or they're drawn to the flat (ha! I kill me) expressionless girl. Yukarin is in this too, but she's wasted here in my opinion. I only managed two episodes.