Thursday, March 15, 2012

Winter Season 2012: Midseason Review

Since the opening of the season, I've added two more shows to my viewing line up. This is mostly because I need something to watch after I've caught up for the week. It also has something to do with the fact that I've been waiting for the other for about two years. So without further ado, let's take a look at what's been going on.

This is largely not quite what I expected from the series. The first arc, Karen Bee, took about six episodes which is two more than what the initial start of Bakemonogatari's Hitagi Crab took. At times it largely resembled a harem style show, despite the fact that it is trying to stay true to the supernatural mystery story that spawned the series. I can't say I'm complaining, because as far as I know it's following the course of the light novels. There have been hints that Araragi's sisters are getting closer to discovering his and the Bakemono protagonists supernatural stories, but aside from that it hasn't been something too super elaborate. The name comes from "fake" and "story" and this was explained in the conclusion of Karen Bee when Araragi accuses her of being nisemono, a fake. While Bakemonogatari focused on getting rid of the ghosts haunting Araragi (old relationships, anxiety at new ones, etc.), Nisemonogatari focuses largely on his sisters coming into themselves and not being afraid to show who they really are in the face of public. Karen in particular seems to be impetuous at home but serious at school. It's going to be interesting seeing how they handle Hanakawa's story again. I can't really judge it like I have other series on this blog, simply because it is a sequel and I'm too familiar with the art style and strange plot to give it a fair go.
Nisemonogatari is now streaming on Crunchyroll.
God, I hope so.
I don't have too much more to say regarding this series outside of what I said previously. The characters have continued to grow, and continued to get themselves into trouble. I picked up a recent issue of Shonen Jump since Bakuman is now a manga running in it, and from what I can tell the anime is completely different. I don't even recognize what manga they're currently working on, but can set it somewhere in season 1. This is one of those "book vs. movie" sort of arguments, and I'm not going to touch it. As far as I can tell, they're both equally enjoyable and have their separate merits.

Black★Rock Shooter
CG means you get really strange facial expressions sometimes.
I've been watching BRS on NicoNico Douga, which is a bit of a chore to find as the English sister site does not list any episodes. So it's all a matter of getting to it off of the original site, where it reads your region and determines the subtitle set which for me is, hey, English. I did test to see if watching on Taiwan NicoNico would give me Chinese subtitles, but it is region locked, so that would be a no.
BRS is on it's sixth episode out of eight, so it's more of an almost-the-end-but-not-quite review. Huke, who animated and composed the song the show is based off of, is in charge of character design and plot, I believe. So far it's made significantly more sense than the OV that came out summer 2010. There have been a lot of comparisons to Persona made in scrolling comments, but I'm not overtly familiar with the series. It would not entirely surprise me if it was, just carried out in a different manner. There are two sides to the story: the high school drama of the real world and the fighting post-apocalyptic one of BRS. Certain characters have a mirror in each and the fighting seems to solve some psychological problem. Many times its yandere (deadly caring, don't you dare touch another woman/man) syndrome. There are also two different art styles, as the real world is traditional animation and the alternate is a combination of CG and traditional. At times the CG is very obvious, but blends in well with the tone of show so no complaints there. The music is great, and the opening theme is performed by a vocalistener Miku Hatsune to make her sound more realistic.
Black★Rock Shooter is now streaming on NicoNico Douga.
-Yandere...yandere everywhere
-Wonky CG
-Possibly recycled concept

Ano Natsu de Matteru
Don't get your panties in a...oh.
When I first read the concept for this show it seemed pretty charming. A bunch of friends decide they want to film their summer vacation so that they  can watch it later on and remember. Cute, right? And then the creators said, no no no, no one wants to watch a concept as Ghibli as that. We need aliens. A cute one, and she should have a pet. And she should be a love interest. BRILLIANT. That is AnoNatsu in a nutshell. It's cute, it has love interests, and it has the distressing "I've fallen in love with an alien and she has with me, but I don't know she's an alien yet!" plot point. There are some pretty likable characters, like the the exploitative upperclassman that gets them all drunk, or the shy girl with a problem of her own. They do decide to film a movie, and in typical Haruhi fashion, all is not how you expect.
+Cute creature
-Main plot
-Alien Stereotype
-Not as much drama as one might expect

Aquarion EVOL
Sadly it took Tumblr to point this out to me, but the show has a double entendre name. EVOL is meant to stand for Evolution, as in the next line of Aquarion and mech, but it's also LOVE backwards. That's pretty important for this show, as it seems love is now forbidden to all pilots. Which is an interesting thing to have, as it tightens up all the relationships everyone starts to experience. It makes it more than a harem anime at times, and more of a drama. I'm not sure if this is going to be a twelve episode or twenty-six episode series, especially since it's just aired episode eleven and the tension is still fairly high. The main villain has in fact only just made a major move that's affected all the characters. It's not as if the show spent it's time completely goofing off, but I'm not really sure it can wrap up all the plot threads in the next episode, which, if my Japanese isn't as terrible as I think it is, will be a full hour episode. Regardless, it's definitely been on of the better shows of the season.

Until Next Time!