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small image Spring 2012: Halfway Point

May 18, 2012 9:17 pm by small image

Just thought I’d share some random thoughts on all the anime I’ve been watching for the spring 2012 season. I think I’ve tried out more shows this season than I have any other, which I suppose says a lot for how good things are right now. I’ve chosen to stick with six of them–namely the first six on my list here.

Tsuritama

This show is fun. If you want to watch an anime that will make you smile, Tsuritama is probably your best best. The boys in this anime are easy to like, and it’s been great to see them gradually develop episode by episode. The art style is unique, the colors are vibrant, the music is entertaining, and the general direction of the show is very quirky. It may look like a fishing-centric slice-of-life series at first, but there’s an overarching sci-fi/fantasy plot working its way out of the background. It will be really interesting to see where things go for the rest of this engaging and charming series!

Fate/Zero

I had little knowledge of the universe this series is set in before starting it, but suffice to say I absolutely love Fate/Zero. The story, animation, music, pacing, and general presentation are all top-notch. But what I find most impressive about the series is its cast of characters, who are all fascinating not only in the way their personalities and viewpoints conflict so dramatically with one another, but in their individual internal conflicts they must deal with. In the last couple episodes, Kiritsugu has especially become a compelling figure.

Kimi to Boku

I quite enjoyed the first season last fall, and so far things have been quite good for this spring as well. The episodes are generally mellow, and they generally go by without rocking the boat too much in regards to plot. The boys haven’t changed much, but the show does a good job focusing on very tiny aspects of their personalities from episode to episode. Somehow the show turns out surprisingly heartwarming in the process, and some episodes have a good number of jokes to give it some comedy value. But what I’m enjoying most about Kimi to Boku lately is how our slice-of-life has successfully weaved in a number of romantic subplots–particularly in regards to the Chizuru-Mary-Shun triangle of infatuation. I will likely write a full post soon in order to delve more into this topic.

Acchi Kocchi

The last few episodes have overall been quite enjoyable, and the show is back on track for being a comedy I look forward to each week. The show has a unique aesthetic quality to it, but more importantly I think its diverse main cast is what helps it most to stand out amidst the ocean of high school gag anime out there. By having both girls and boys in its core group, it brings a lot of romance-related jokes that don’t get explored as much in many anime of this genre. It also goes about its jokes in a very adorable way, jumping back and forth between crowning moment of funny and crowning moment of heartwarming from one moment to the next.

Yurumates 3D

These super-short episodes are still pretty funny IMO. They’re dumb and ridiculous, and that’s kind of the point. Many of their conversations remind me very much of many nonsensical discussions you can hear amongst college students. Also, their willingness to engage in ridiculous activities doesn’t feel so out of place, either. Smashing watermelons in the apartment? Why not!

Kuromajo-san ga Tooru!!

Short, cute, and amusing episodes about everyone’s favorite witch, Gyubid-sama! And Choco’s great too, of course. There isn’t much to say about this show that I haven’t already said before.

Jormungand

I watched five episodes of this, and overall I think it’s all right. Fans of action series will probably enjoy it much more than I did. The biggest draw for me was the child soldier Jonah, who I thought was an interesting character. The rest of the cast didn’t really intrigue me though, and some episodes had a very shaky plot overall. In general though the show does offer some topics of discussion regarding war and violence, all while engaging in a series of bullet-storms. I never did feel very attached to the series though, so I went ahead and dropped it.

Space Brothers

I don’t exactly dislike this show, but after three or four episodes I really didn’t feel much reason to keep with it. The comedy and hints of romance were both being praised quite a bit by many bloggers, but I did not find the show engaging at all in either respect. I also wasn’t sure how to feel about the protagonist’s desire to become an astronaut in general. I imagine Space Brothers will be a good, positive show overall, but I never caught onto the show’s charm I suppose.

Hyouka

I went into what was good and bad about Hyouka in a recent post here. But to keep it simple, the art direction for this show is both creative and fantastic. Unfortunately, after three episodes I never cared for any of the main characters at all. On top of this, the mysteries they were dealing with did not interest me either. May be worth marathoning one day, but I may just settle for some Hyouka AMVs once the series is done.

Accel World

I was pretty intrigued by the premise for this show, but ultimately was not won over by its first two episodes. The plot in general felt pretty flat to me, and again, I didn’t care for the main characters. If you’re into shounen fighters or more specifically the “virtual world game” subgenre though, it’s certainly worth a try.

Polar Bear Cafe

Watched two episodes of this, but the dry wit of the show never caught on with me. The animals seemed pretty bizarre to be honest, and overall I found the humor to be rather dull. The characters have resonated with some viewers though, so if a story with a polar bear running a cafe sounds like your cup of tea, then try watching an episode or two.

Haiyore! Nyarko-san

I had no intention of trying this show since it’s in a genre I’m not interested in at all (ie alien girl living at a boy’s apartment, ensuing harem, et al), but Crunchyroll’s series of features titled the Nyarko-san Chronicles piqued my interest. I’ve been meaning to read some Lovecraft for a long time, so the tidbits in these articles were pretty intriguing. Folks on Twitter also called the show hilarious, so I decided to watch an episode for the heck of it. Indeed, it was about what I expected in terms of plot(?) and fanservice, though I’ll admit the show was a bit funnier than I anticipated. Nyarko is as wacky and enthusiastic as it gets, and the fact this is a spoof of Lovecraft works of all things makes the whole experience… bizarre? It’s certainly different. The fact she’s the one who repeatedly gets comically abused and not the lead boy is also a pretty unique subversion, now that I think about it. But at any rate, I’ve got plenty of other shows to watch already, so I don’t mind dropping this show and just reading more of those amusing yet informative articles on Crunchyroll.

What shows are you all still watching for spring? What’s your favorite anime at the moment? Any shows that have taken you by surprise? You can probably expect some kind of summer preview post coming up some time in the next few weeks, but in the meantime enjoy all the great anime that’s out right now! There will be more spring posts to come.