Summer 2012 – Week 11 Anime Review

This The previous week: the wonderful minimalistic approach to romance in Hyouka, calling into question the usefulness of the secret treasures in Sengoku Collection, wondering about the difference between split and continuously running anime with Rinne no Lagrange, and easily my favorite scene in Sword Art Online.

Sword Art Online (Episode 11) – I think that piggyback riding scene will be my favorite moment of SAO.  Even with another season ahead of it, I don’t think anything will beat out this cute scene between Kirito and Asuna.  It doesn’t make up for the steady decline of the series to date but damn was that scene adorable.

Sengoku Collection (Episode 24) – Though the secret treasures are phenomenal manifestations of talent, aspiration, and the greatest of powers, life is pretty okay once they’ve been stolen by Nobunaga.  As seen with Tokugawa, the success of her life has remained unchanged without this abstract power and she’s continued to strive to reach her goals which have no changed to match and surpass Rosary.  As she said, she’s achieved her original goal of becoming the top idol in Japan and now has her sights set beyond the borders of the country she loves dearly.  Seeing this determination, resolve, and success helps call out the purpose of the secret treasures beyond the ability to send one Sengoku-era general back to their appropriate time.  Are these secret treasures just indicators that the character has reached a certain level of power or do they play any special role in making the general a better or superior person?  With Nobunaga having collected several already, she doesn’t appear to be any stronger, more talented, or a better person, so perhaps these treasures are worthless beyond being the chosen currency by animal-earred shrine maidens for time travel.

Rinne no Lagrange (Episode 23) – Being split into the Winter and Summer seasons, Rinne no Lagrange is one of the few anime experimenting with this trend of showing one serious continuously with a season off in the middle.  I often ponder about how much this changes an anime from being shown continuously through two consecutive seasons as do most of the anime with more than one season planned do.  What I tend to believe is that the season off allows the series to take a break, research what it did well and what didn’t, and allow the series to put its efforts into restructuring the series and making the second half better or more enjoyable than the first.  However, that break effectively destroys the momentum and consistency that the whole first season built up, thus making the return of the series somewhat of a gamble given all the other anime and real life endeavors that happened between the two episodes.  I suppose the differences are minimal or variable among the population of anime fans, but I can’t help but feel that I would’ve enjoyed this anime more had it been two consecutive seasons and not split between the Winter and Summer.  The reasoning here is that I failed to enjoy the opening episodes of this season despite loving the end of the first season and having high hopes for the return of the series all Spring.  I probably would’ve felt the same disappointment given the first few episodes of this season but at least I wouldn’t’ve had all that time to hype the series as I did over the long Spring break the series had.

Natsuyuki Rendezvous (Episode 11 [Finale]) – Well, that’s kinda a depressing ending.  Seems like everyone in the series is dead now and Shimao still wanders the face of the Earth without any redemption or chance of finding peace.  Makes me wonder how long he’ll be destined to walk the world as an invisible ghost and what he’ll do.  Perhaps he’ll monitor the progress of his grandchildren and watch closely over his flower shop, but you figure there’s not much else for him to do now that his love and rival have passed on.  Thinking about this perpetual and never-ending loneliness is certainly a frightening prospect, but the series seemed to downplay it with him floating happily up to the sky.  But it’s not like he’s going to heaven or fading out of existence, he’s still as there in the end as he was when at the series began.  If that were the case, the series would’ve shown that but no, he’s still there as the series fades out and the credits roll.  Yeah, he’s still a ghost, lost on Earth, without a chance at finding peace now.  Pretty haunting when you think about it.

Hyouka (Episode 22 [Finale]) – I have to applaud Hyouka for taking the minimalistic approach to romance, not only in its finale, but throughout the series.  Though the elements were obvious and ubiquitous from start to finish, the anime never overplayed the complicated relationships into something grandiose or unnecessary but kept it a confusion yet realistic friendship between two pairs of students.  What helped explain this approach were the revelations presented by the two male characters in these two final episodes, one in which Satori expressed his worries and perception of his relationship and Houtarou choosing to remain the energy conserver he has always been rather than jump at the chance to spend his life with Chitanda.  Seeing these two speak their minds helped solidify the minimalistic approach to romance the series, at least from the view point of the male characters.  I wish we saw the same exposition from Chitanda and Mayaka, too, as their perspectives are equal to those of the guys in this anime, though I can’t help but feel they’d be less interesting and more normal given their personalities and behaviors throughout the anime.  Doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t have some significant or amusing story to tell regarding their perspective on their romance but it didn’t seem to be something noteworthy for the anime to go over and thus, a point that was ignored.  Still, I appreciate an anime sticking with its minimalistic approach to romance for the duration of the anime and for doing an outstanding job with it, too.  I know others would’ve rather seen a warmer, happier ending, one where Houtarou and Chitanda hook up, but dammit, these are the kinda romance endings that I like, so let me have this one just once!

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  1. #1 by Joojoobees on September 24, 2012 - 2:51 AM

    Regarding Hyouka: Mayaka was very straightforward with her feelings, and seemed to have confessed before the series began. Chitanda, also, is straightforward with her emotional state. It seemed to me the two boys were the only ones that needed digging into, though for different reasons. Houtaro is too energy-conserving to allow his deeper feelings to float to the surface, and Satori is somewhat devious — he has a very easy-going veneer, but that intentionally masks his emotional state. At any rate, in the last two episodes Mayaka’s chocolate, and Chitanda’s statement that she wanted to show Houtaro her world were both pretty direct statements of their feelings.

    • #2 by avvesione on October 4, 2012 - 12:28 AM

      I agree with you about everyone but Chitanda, she was never really honest or straightforward with her feelings toward Houtarou. It was pretty clear that she liked him more than a friend and would’ve accepted his feeling had he ever offered, but I don’t think she was honest and kept that aspect of her feelings bottled up. I’m not sure why but the guys were a bit more developed in their romance and I can rationalize why they acted the way they did throughout. That aspect of fear, fear of what would become of them and what they’d lose, is what helped me understand their timid nature but I’m not sure if it’s the same for Chitanda. Mayaka was the only one who showed any courage, something that made her character so desirable and energetic, but that might also be because she had confidence whereas Chitanda did not. Maybe that’s it, but that might be something else I’m missing with Chitanda regarding her feelings that explains it better than what I remember.

  2. #3 by Zammael on October 14, 2012 - 7:18 PM

    All in all, summer sucked, even though it had 3 solid shows. I found myself putting off watching episodes more and more, and the backlog got bigger & bigger. Here’s my Anime 2012 Summer review:

    Uchuu Kyoudai (Space Brothers) B+
    Even though the plot dragged a bit, the characters were so well-rounded and the humor never flagged, that I found each episode a treat, and left me smiling like an idiot afterwards.

    Natsuyuki Rendezvous B+
    Tho I’m not a fan of romantic shows, this was a lesson in execution. It had me even doubting a satisfactory resolution to the doomed relationship, and Dat Ending – what a way to go.

    Hyouka B
    Although I despise episodic shows, and Hyouka’s best was that amazing arc on the festival mystery, I enjoyed this show. It was fun competing with the pessimistic Hotaru on solving the mysteries, and I thorougly appreciated the wonderful animation. If this is Kyoani at their best, then I have no problems trusting that studio in the future.

    Eureka Seven AO B-
    A fantastic sequel to a popular show, with a muscular plot full of excellent twists atop twists. Too bad they kind of left the protagonist languishing throughout. At first he started out aggressive and determined. But the world politics left him frozen, indecisive and lost. Also I feel the animation dropped a few levels in the last few episodes. Dunno why. Actually, this grade is incomplete because the show isn’t finished. But if the last two episodes keep up the same energy and finish on a strong ending, i’ll kick this up to a B+

    Kokoro Connect B-
    A great premise (body switching, losing inhibition, and age regression), solid cast of characters, but I felt it could’ve been better with stronger male characters. The girls were fully realized, but the guys were wooden (the idealist as the main protagonist was utterly unconvincing, and the besotted blonde was just that- besotted). Moreover, this show is incomplete.

    Tari Tari C+
    Solid entry in the Hasaku Iroha category: fun slice of life, yet hardly distinguishable from the herd.

    Binbougami ga! C+
    Fun slapstick, tho they recycled a few gags too many times.

    Rinne no Lagrange C+
    Wow what a let down. I have to admit that I expected more from this than the other two mecha shows (Aquarion Evol & Mouretsu Pirates) because it had larger ambitions. The execution seemed to settle for less – i mean they had a fantastic main character in Madoka, and she rode the bench for too long.

    Dropped
    Sword Art Online: I stuck with this show, gave it many chances even though every episode let me down, after that promising opener.
    Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita: I dropped it because I was turned off by the look, and the annoying looking fairies.

    • #4 by avvesione on October 16, 2012 - 1:12 AM

      We’re pretty much the opposite on everything but Hyouka, Tari Tari, and Lagrange. And in regards to you thinking this summer sucked, this has been my favorite season in years. I’ll explain more in my post when it’s up, but to reply to your comments:

      Space Bros, I’ve grown a bit weary of it, and though I still enjoy the humor and the story, I just can’t get excited for it. Not saying I don’t like the anime anymore or that it’s bad (it’s an 8), but just that it’s begun to drag its feet and that whole arc in with the third test really put a strain on me. It’s starting to pick up again but it’s taking way longer than it needs to communicate its story and message.

      Natsuyuki was a failure for me, entirely ruined by that whole bodyswapping segment and subsequent fantasy world adventure. If it had done without it, it would’ve been great, but damn, just damn, that whole part dragged on way too long and really served no purpose but to demolish what it had already put up in terms of characterization and story progression. Enjoyed the ending, though, which is a plus.

      Hyouka is a personal favorite of mine, and though it seems most people didn’t enjoy the episodic episodes, I found them to be hit-or-miss (some were fantastic). The characterization won that show for me and their growth together and innocent romance were magnificent. I didn’t care too much for the mysteries but I they weren’t terrible and a few were outstanding. And those production values, both visuals and music, were fantastic. One of my favorites for this year.

      Didn’t watch E7AO.

      KKC I’m still on Ep 9 or something. I know, I know, I’m terrible but this is the reality of my scheudle. Also, didn’t mention it earlier but I’m weeks late on Space Bros, too. Whoops!

      Tari Tari was pretty great, glad they didn’t really resort to anime humor and the characters acted and behaved like real people. I appreciate that in a slife anime, probably one of my favorite slifes in a long time. Also glad it didn’t have some bullshit ending where they save the school, too, and that they broke up. Moved up to 5th on the season for me.

      Binbougami I’m 12 weeks late. Whoops…

      Lagrange S2, much worse than S1, but still had some highlights. Just really wasn’t fun at all and had a pretty mediocre story the whole second half. Probably wouldn’t’ve watched it had I known it’d turn out this way.

      SAO, yeah, it has its flaws, and it’s not that great, but… hmmm… I like the scenery and music. Actually, yeah, that’s about it…

      Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita is my 2nd favorite anime this year and ranks 19th overall (all-time anime list for me, out of ~240). Absolutely loved the series from start to finish and I’m sure I gushed about the series enough in my posts but damn… thought it was phenomenal. There were some parts I didn’t like or didn’t care for but, as an anime overall, it is unforgettable.

      So yeah, that’s it for now. Will have more when the post is published, so I wouldn’t mind hearing your thoughts on my opinions when those are out. And thanks for sharing your thoughts; it motivates me to get mine done that much sooner!

      • #5 by Zammael on October 19, 2012 - 9:59 AM

        Curious why you skipped Eureka Seven AO…

        Looking forward to your season review. :)

        • #6 by avvesione on October 19, 2012 - 10:03 AM

          Well, I haven’t watched the first season of Eureka Seven, so there’s that. I’ve been meaning to, but as you can tell, I’m really behind on everything and didn’t really have the chance to catch up and watch it over the past few months. So, yeah, I would’ve watched it if I could but I couldn’t. =P

  3. #7 by sara on June 18, 2013 - 6:58 PM

    were can i watch this in English dub?

    • #8 by avvesione on June 18, 2013 - 8:13 PM

      Not sure which show you’re talking about but there should be plenty of resources online to help you find what you’re looking for. Databases with information on every show would be a start, such as the Anime News Network or My Anime List.

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