Autumn 2012 – First Week Impressions (Part 1)

This post reviews: Shin Sekai Yori, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai!, Kamisama Kiss, and K.

First, I want to apologize for how late this post is; I realize that many of these shows have already aired their second episodes.  However, for this post, I’ve only watched the first episode of each and provided my thoughts, opinion, and review on just that material.  The following episodes for the anime that will be kept will be covered in my Weekly Anime reviews and the ones that are dropped will hopefully be removed from my memory once this post is published.  Now then, onto the impressions and evaluations for these five anime:

 

Watching:

Shin Sekai Yori – Among the strengths that Shin Sekai Yori presents in its first episode, what distinguished this anime from the rest is its presentation.  The style of directing, focusing of life in the present but with a heavy emphasis on specific and abrupt flashbacks gives us a setting that is familiar and frightening to the characters but mysterious and frightening to the audience.  When the story or the characters need development, through events that occurred in their past to provide explanation to their present actions, then Shin Sekai Yori will allow it but only as necessary.  This tease of information, and not presented through exposition or lengthy dialogue, generates intrigue into the characters, concepts, and setting that is Shin Sekai Yori.  And the setting, what a setting given how detailed the world is.  Beyond the schooling, clothing and architecture, the whole idea of psychics in a desolate, backwater environment fearing mythical beasts and unfortunate death really puts the story and characters in its proper place.  Not only does it help generate interest in the world they live in but it seems to already enrich the story given how unique it feels.  The art and animation are nothing surprising but different enough from mainstream anime to be fun and representative of this anime.  Right now, I’m excited to see where this anime goes.

 

Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! – Amusing and amazing, Chuunibyou certainly fits the description for an entertaining anime that has the potential for a deep, though-provoking study of children’s psychology… provided it goes down that route and not just an anthology of the nonsensical childish adventures of a boy and a girl.  Well, regardless of its latter choices and situations, the first episode of Chuunibyou impresses provided its high level of amusement, relying on sight gags (physical humor), awkward situations (along with extreme facial expressions), and clever dialogue to articulate this fun.  It shouldn’t be surprising to find this as the strongest comedy anime of the season, but it might be surprising considering its potential for a profound and expressive story, one that takes the time to analyze the social behaviors and pressures that face teenagers in these uncomfortable and stressful situations.  If that’s the case, then the anime will need to rely heavily on its directing which performed greatly in this first episode, one that did enough with its story to feel neither rushed or stagnant and enough with the comedy to make the series enjoyable.  The whole concept is endearing, too, so it doesn’t appear that its charm will wear off quickly, though it might for some.  And do I really need to mention the art and animation when discussion a Kyoto Animation anime?  KyoAni doesn’t need the free publicity given how phenomenal they’ve always been.  And not only that but their choice of music has been a strength of theirs lately, too.  Regardless, Chuunibyou has made it to my watch list without raising any red flags.

 

Kamisama Kiss – I’m not a strong enough man to take on a shoujo romance straight, I always need something to dilute it before I even consider trying it.  Not to say that shoujo romance is something I can’t handle, but pure and authentic, it’s overpowering for me.  That’s why the whole concept of gods and spirits and youkai monsters, not to mention the delightful but never overbearing comedy, made Kamisama Kiss look appealing to me.  Turns out, after finishing the first episode, that the anime is fairly pleasant though hardly impressive.  It’s enjoyable but nothing I find myself getting terribly excited for.  It’s a bit tricky at times, for me, considering that the stereotypical romance moments were a bit of a downer, but everything else was enough to keep me smiling and even laugh a few times.  I’m not sure where the anime will go after this, but I plan to follow it.  It isn’t anything outstanding but it’s fun enough and interesting enough that I want to see how it performs.  Consider this a victory, albeit a minor one, for Kamisama Kiss.

 

K – A triumph of aesthetic display, K is an illustrated masterpiece provided the meticulous urban landscapes, harmonious animation, gorgeous character visuals, and utilization of special effects to convey its story, its characters, and its world.  Not only are the art and animation technically sound and beyond dazzling, but the use of cinematography, primarily utilizing camera motion to create energetic scenes and the use of filters to make everything uncomfortably blue, make K one of the most stunning and beautiful TV anime I have ever seen.  Given the first episode, the characters and story were detailed at a minimum, but both show the potential to be either remarkable or underwhelming.  However, elements of rathe series strongly resemble Durarara!!, considering some of the characters, their setting, and that they’re fighting each other, so that bodes well for me.  Speaking about the setting, it does appear to be a bit chaotic in an orderly, urban environment which pleases me since I’ve typically liked, if not loved, that dynamic in the past.  I do need to see more to be able to comment more, but it has showed hints and efforts in regard to those points, and once I see more, I’ll be able to clarify and explain my thoughts better.  And seeing more of this anime, I will, as this easily made my anime list for this season.

 

Undecided:

Nothing this week, with every anime being a pretty easy decision.  These five were all hit-or-miss and would’ve been all hits provided there was not one anime remaining.  And what a miss it was.

 

Dropped:

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun – How bad was it?  Well, considering I dropped it less than 5 minutes in (yes, before the infamous rape line), I found the anime to be bad.  What caused this anime to be such a catastrophe were how insipid and tiresome the presentation was, how disturbingly forced the dialogue was, and how the two title characters were unbelievably boring and unappealing.  It’s about this really smart, antisocial girl who’s gets good grades and this really mean (but only because he’s misunderstood) boy who fall in love.  BOR-ING.  And the comedy?  Solely based off these one-dimensional personality, even when I scanned through the end of the episode, it’s like two stand-up comedians repeating the same joke for 24 minutes.  No wonder why my seat was empty after the first 4.  I couldn’t even imagine how awful the romance will be, and I assume it’ll be littered with frustration and confusion like most in most shoujo romances.  Look, I realize that there are some people out there who value romance more than I and have a different sense of humor, too, but this anime is just so featureless, unappetizing, and beyond tedium.  I hope that the people who watch this anime enjoy it because, to me, this is nothing more than an absolute disaster and an excellent waste of time.

 

I have actually watched all the anime that have aired currently but needed to separate the posts provided my timing and current workload.  The remaining anime will be up soon, just at an unknown time given how busy this season will be for me outside the realm of anime.  It’ll be interesting to see how this season progresses, both in terms of the anime I watch, how this blog is managed, and how everything else goes out in the real world.  But besides that, I’m glad I’m enjoying most of the season so far and finding a number of anime worth watching whenever I find the time.

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  1. #1 by tsurugiarashix on October 7, 2012 - 2:14 PM

    Nothing really impresses me this season…yet. Most of the series I seen so far I like, but it is sort of like the same old, same old. Shin Sekai Yori was probably one that caught my attention immediately, so hopefully their might be more. Still have a few stranglers on the way after all…

    • #2 by avvesione on October 7, 2012 - 2:47 PM

      I feel the same way, though some have impressed more than others and only in specific area’s (K’s visuals, Chuunibyou’s comedy). Honestly, though, nothing has been truly great, though I see a lot of potential in some of the shows that have aired, especially Shin Sekai Yori.

      Strange, what looked to be a busy season to start has been quite mild and I may actually have less anime this season than last. Wouldn’t that be shocking?

      • #3 by tsurugiarashix on October 7, 2012 - 3:23 PM

        True. The potential is there, just wondering about what kind of fruit it will produce. Guess compared to last season I am ready for something more impressive in terms of story and execution.

        I think we might be on the same page then. At a glimpse, I think I may have seven solid shows on my list. Depending on how Robotics;Notes, Girls und Panzer, Sukitte li na yo, and Magi are it might change. However, yes, quite a mild one indeed. So far…

        Oh well, more time for studying.

        • #4 by avvesione on October 7, 2012 - 11:51 PM

          Good luck studying, whatever it may be.

          Yeah, I think we have a fairly comparable palette, though I’m not as keen on finding one with a good story and execution as you are (looking for some entertainment, mindless anime that aren’t irritating). Hopefully we can both find what we’re looking for this season.

  2. #5 by Vincent on October 7, 2012 - 2:50 PM

    Really completely agree about Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun. I thought it was bad in every aspect, even before the rape joke.

    Ditto about Shinsekai Yori. That is the series I am most interested in during this season.

    • #6 by avvesione on October 7, 2012 - 11:55 PM

      Glad to see someone else shares my thoughts on Tonari, though it is unfortunate we both found the anime to be so disappointing. Oh well, sounds like we won’t be bothered by it any further this season.

      About Shin Sekai Yori, it really depends on where it goes for me since it’s only disclosed a few choice pieces of information and there’s potential for it to go in any direction from here. I’m sure in the end it’ll pick the right path and be outstanding but I’m a little hesitant since any of those ‘correct’ paths can lead to a wide range of responses in me.

      • #7 by Vincent on October 8, 2012 - 11:50 AM

        Actually, I will be watching it (Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun). I watch series that I do not like to vent off steam.

        • #8 by avvesione on October 8, 2012 - 3:18 PM

          Oh. Strange but justifiable. Be kinda curious how your position/opinion changes as you continue to watch the anime. Wouldn’t be surprised if you end up shifting stances and end up liking the anime before it reaches its end.

        • #9 by Vincent on October 8, 2012 - 8:04 PM

          I have never changed my mind about an anime that I perceived negatively as I go through it. If anything, if I disliked something, I am likely to dislike it further after continued watches. And the reply system is kind of annoying with the reply button disappearing after a certain chain gets long enough, but I figured it out how it works.

        • #10 by avvesione on October 8, 2012 - 8:25 PM

          Well, it sounds like that system works for you.

          Also, regarding the commenting system, it is possible to set it so that you can keep replying (up to 10 times) but I limited it at 4 because anything after 5 is way to thin and the lines are only 2-3 words each meaning it’s impossible to read. So, that’s the reason it’s like this.

        • #11 by Vincent on October 9, 2012 - 9:40 AM

          I see why you would use that restriction as it indeed would be tedious to look at, if left unchecked.

          Regarding this blurb: “I’m not a strong enough man to take on a shoujo romance straight, I always need something to dilute it before I even consider trying it.”

          I wonder what your opinion on Suki-tte Ii na yo. will be. It’s more of a pure shoujo romance. The seiyuus are very good (And as a bonus, I find the heroine attractive. The vast majority of the time, I find anime girls to be meh in looks. Typical moe looking girls that otaku are crazy about are uninteresting to me), and it is like a darker version of Kimi ni Todoke.

        • #12 by avvesione on October 9, 2012 - 6:21 PM

          My plans for Sukitte Ii Na Yo was to not even give it a chance. From everything I saw and read, it didn’t look like anything I would enjoy. Here’s what I said in my Season Preview:

          “No elements of comedy in a romance anime? No surprise it didn’t make the list despite it looking better than most of the other romantic comedies that get their first episode screened.”

          I do always leave room for recommendations on shows, so if you think it’s something I should check out, I’ll give the first episode a go. I liked Kimi ni Todoke but that’s because I thoroughly enjoyed the comedy in it.

        • #13 by Vincent on October 9, 2012 - 9:04 PM

          Hmmmm …. I personally enjoyed it quite a bit, but from the sounds of it, I would expect that you wouldn’t. So, don’t force enough unless you really feel like killing some time.

  3. #14 by windyturnip on October 7, 2012 - 3:09 PM

    Oddly enough, I felt the same way about Kamisama Kiss. Nothing about it looks particularly good but when it comes together it’s surprisingly enjoyable. I’ll probably keep up with it as long as the drama doesn’t overpower the comedy.

    Shin Sekai Yori has been kind of hit and miss for me. I really want to enjoy it, but it hasn’t done enough to pull me in. The story seems a bit disjointed (maybe because of the flashbacks) and none of the characters have really stood out so far. That being said, it has a great atmosphere, and I’ll keep watching just to see what happens next.

    • #15 by avvesione on October 7, 2012 - 11:58 PM

      Yeah, as long as Kamisama Kiss is comedy first and romance second, I’ll enjoy it. Not saying that the romance is bad, it’s just not what I’m looking for in this anime. Hopefully it ends up like Maid-sama with comedy most of the time and romance like an afterthought.

      Shin Sekai Yori’s directing style had the opposite effect for me, pulling me in due to the number of flashbacks. What they did was eliminate the need for lengthy dialogue and exposition in the real world, something that always feels awkward when these people have been living in this world and known each other for years. Using flashbacks, abrupt and immediate ones too, to convey these story elements does interrupt the current story but it gives everything a natural, authentic feel to things. I like it, but then again, that’s just my opinion and that really doesn’t help people like you.

      • #16 by Joojoobees on October 8, 2012 - 6:22 AM

        That style was making it hard for me to follow what was going on, but I don’t care that much for a first episode — I figure there is still plenty of time to make sense of the story and the characters; right now we are being introduced to the world.

        • #17 by avvesione on October 8, 2012 - 3:19 PM

          Idk, to me, that’s the kinda directing style I like and it’s one that feels appropriate for the show. Consider me impressed and happy, but it looks like I’m one of the few who feel that way.

        • #18 by Joojoobees on October 8, 2012 - 4:22 PM

          To be clear, I thought it was a very good first episode, and am looking forward to seeing the story develop. I just wasn’t able to follow all of it.

        • #19 by avvesione on October 8, 2012 - 5:19 PM

          Ah. Yeah, Episode 2 was much easier to follow and it seems to be shaping up quite nicely considering the emphasis on conflict now and adding more elements to their world.

  4. #20 by Justin on October 7, 2012 - 4:29 PM

    SSY: It was an ok first episode. It does have potential it seems, but it looks like it’ll be a three ep taste test for me.

    Chunnibyou: Hasn’t raised any flags for me, but I am hoping there will be something to latch onto in a few episodes. But it still looks as if it’ll be solid.

    K: So far, one of the only shows (Gintama) to make me generally excited in its first ep. It could still drop off in ep 2, but I hope it doesn’t turn out that way.

    Tonari: Whoa. I didn’t like it like I know some people did — I found it to be decent — but it was bad in the first 5 minutes? I’m literally surprised. Well yeah, I guess your humor doesn’t align with this series, but I am taken aback that you lasted only 5 mins in.

    • #21 by avvesione on October 8, 2012 - 12:01 AM

      What a brave and courageous man you are, able to give anime 3 episodes before saying “yay” or pulling the plug. I just can’t do that anymore though I would for everything I watched a while back.

      As for dropping Tonari after 5 minutes, it was just a matter of not enjoying any of it, not finding anything redeemable or likable about the characters, finding the setting to be boring, old modern Japan, and the premise to be nothing new. In other words, I found no value in watching it and just begun to scan through the episode to see if it picked up. It didn’t and it was dropped.

      Glad to hear you’re enjoying K so far and giving Shin Sekai Yori and Chuunibyou a fair chance. You’re a better anime fan than I.

  5. #22 by Joojoobees on October 7, 2012 - 4:37 PM

    I think all the shows you listed here had pretty decent first episodes. Personally I would move Kamisama up and Chuu-ni-byou down, but that is mostly quibbling at this early stage. Not to mention differences in taste.

    I’m not too worried about story yet, because, in the first episode, the priority is usually on setting, mood, and character. A show like K has time to put a compelling storyline in place — of course there is no guarantee that it, or any other show you listed will really pull that off. Currently my biggest concern for these shows is that there was some indication that Chuu-ni-byou might turn into a harem show, which, IMHO, would be a shame.

    • #23 by avvesione on October 8, 2012 - 12:05 AM

      Erm, unlike my other reviews, these anime aren’t in the order of how much I like them or anything, just in the order that I watched them in respect to their tier. As of right now, my current rankings would be:

      1. K
      2. Chuunibyou
      3. Magi (not at the timing of this post but here for reference)
      4. JoJo’s (next post)
      5. Shin Sekai Yori
      6. Little Busters! (next post)
      7. Kamisama Kiss

      So, actually, you’re right about moving them up and down, but just to say that these aren’t in order right now. And yeah, if Chuunibyou is a harem show, then it’s dropping, but hopefully it isn’t (I pray it isn’t).

      • #24 by Joojoobees on October 8, 2012 - 6:19 AM

        I’m worried about Chuu-ni going harem, because in addition to the freshman rep that he met at the train station, there are at least two additional girls featured in the OP (not counting the little sister or the mother). We’ll have to see what happens.

        • #25 by avvesione on October 8, 2012 - 3:21 PM

          Yeah, it may or may not develop into a harem based on the casting alone, but we have yet to really see what they’re like and what kinda relationship they’re in. I’d say it’s a possible sign given the number of girls in the OP and ED but it doesn’t appear to be a direct harem and might end up being something akin to Haruhi (which is fine with me).

      • #26 by SmithCB on October 8, 2012 - 12:54 PM

        While I did not find JoJo’s to be very palatable, I’m amazed that in going to AnimeNano, not one single source they list has reviewed it so far. It certainly doesn’t seem to be raising much more than casual interest. What’s up?

        • #27 by avvesione on October 8, 2012 - 3:31 PM

          I figure it’s due to two reasons.

          One is that it is a huge series and the anime may be running for seasons or years or for some unknown capacity. Bloggers tend to want to post about every episode (episodic bloggers), so they’re afraid of a commitment like that nor do they wanna drop a series partway if they don’t have the time. There will likely be several expositions and editorials on other blogs, but probably not many following it closely unless they absolutely love the series and want to take on this task.

          Two is that different blogs cater to different audiences, so some places aren’t even going to be watching it and others don’t cater to this crowd. I want to try to blog a random assortment of anime each season but due to time constraints, I’m often reduced to just a few each season and they are mainstream ones that I figure most of my readers (and myself) would enjoy. Having such a small window really limits the number of opportunities for it to be picked up, so it’s natural that some shows wouldn’t be picked up.

          Hope that answers your question.

        • #28 by Vincent on October 8, 2012 - 8:08 PM

          That is actually not true. There is more than one whole page of JoJo reviews.

  6. #29 by Olexijl on October 16, 2012 - 11:39 AM

    Hi,

    nice to see this blog filled with comments. I wanted to tell some impressions…

    As for Tonari, i disagree. It might be very easy and “everything clear” at first, but it is not like this.
    I personally watch indeed 3 episodes at least to have any impression. And this depends also on background thoughts of the makers.
    This here is about a boy not having any friends and hoping to get them (with some difficulties in communication and understanding “between the lines”) and a girl who is focused on her notes not seeing the world around. It might be primitive story, but i have some friends who are like this.

    As for background thoughts of the makers or anything, you can see it on Dog Days S2 – no real good story, no any “message” from creators. I was deeply dissapointed, after watching S1 it was good enough to watch it to the end, but they crapped the series.

    Indeed there are not much anime series this season worth watching it. Btooom! perhaps? And of course SAO (Sword Art Online currently at ALfheim Online stage)

    • #30 by avvesione on October 16, 2012 - 11:19 PM

      Well, it wasn’t just that I wanted to drop Tonari after just 5 minutes, but knowing the story and the characters beforehand really gave me a negative impression of the anime. It really didn’t seem like the type of show that I would enjoy and watching 5 minutes of it was enough to confirm it. I didn’t like any of the characters, any of the humor, and felt that, even if the series improved, that it isn’t the kinda anime I like. I doubt my impressions would change, even after three episodes, since it just isn’t the type of show for me.

      As for shows I’m watching this season, take a look at my weekly anime reviews and see if anything captures your interest. Judging by the few names of anime you listed, we have very different views on the types of anime we like, but you might be interested in a few of those titles or Magi or Robotics;Notes. I’m sure you’ll find a few more titles that interest you there.

  1. Chuunee-san | Failure Gates

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