These three anime were some of the most anticipated (or ones I’ve heard positive game/light novel reviews for) anime of the season. When I did my minimal amount of research on each series, Persona seemed like the only one to grab my attention with its story and characters while the other two seemed like fun, entertaining series with Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (shortened to Haganai) being the comedy and Ben-To being the fighting/action series. And that’s pretty much what I got from their first episodes, so it’s good there were no surprises. But were all three good enough to keep for this season?
Persona 4 the Animation (Brain On) – I, like many others watching this anime, have never played the PS2 game and am coming into this series like transfer students to a… erm, no bad joke bad joke. Anyway, I had virtually no prior knowledge, so I came away very impressed with this first episode. I was bit skeptical of how the transition between media would go, from video game to anime, but those worries were immediately silenced by the time the first episode ended. The characters are realistic, with kinetics, emotions and personalities, which is probably the aspect I enjoyed the most. I’m already digging the story, with the eerie other world elements (like the Velvet Room) and the grisly murder. I’m eager to see where the story goes since everything I knew about the story ended about 15 minutes into this episode. The art style, from the characters to the backgrounds, is very bold and easy on the eyes, perhaps the best art this season. I’m curious to see how the settings are used since they were implied to be both important (rural) and vital (other world) to the story. I have no real complains from this first episode and I’ve heard some positive opinions from fans of the franchise and the game, so let’s end this segment on a high note and say this will likely be one of the best shows of this season.
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (Brain Off) – Despite it receiving a “dropped”, it’ll get another episode mainly because the comedy in this episode was inadequate and likely not a good representation of what to expect from the series. At least that’s what I’ve been told by almost everyone. This whole first episode was mainly setting up the main trio and the club meaning the rest of the series can be left open for hilarious comedy, harem antics, and light fanservice. But this episode was underwhelming and was enough of a sample for me to drop it. The art and animation stood out as bright spots, probably the best aspect of this anime. The set-up sounds great for a comedy, bring a bunch of socially challenged people together to be friends and do social activities together. And the characters were decent but nothing noteworthy. But the comedy, regarded as the best part of this franchise, was really lacking in this first episode, even resorting to boob jokes and otaku humor to get through some of the slower scenes. If this style of comedy is what I’ve been hearing about then I’ll be severely disappointed since any anime is capable of regurgitating that type of humor. The harem-type cast with a 6:1 ratio of females+traps to males and school setting are, as always, huge negatives but the fanservice did not annoy or distract me from the episode, so that’s a non-factor. Actually, everything I’ve said is a non-factor except for the comedy. Giving it another episode shows how important a good comedy is to me, so I hope this anime does not disappoint me again. If not, then I guess I’ll be the one who ends up with only a few friends.
Ben-To (Brain Off) – If I had more time to watch anime this season, I’d probably keep this anime simply because it was fun. But there is some cut-throat competition for the final two spots this season and Ben-To just isn’t the strongest fighter among those remaining. The fighting and action aspect, what I was looking forward to the most, for the most part delivered although these were probably the least descriptive and important fights in the series. I’m sure the next episode will have better animation and an actual story behind the fights. But no complaints here. The art and animation was subpar or mediocre at best but never unwatchable or mistake-prone. The characters were nondescript and nothing significant but the story made up for it with its ridiculous and pointless premise, just like most school/fighting anime. I like it how everyone goes back to normal after having a bloody brawl over what look like unappetizing, half-priced bento. The setting is the standard for most modern anime, taking place in a Japanese high school with no parents around, so I’m already uninterested with it. I guess there was supposed to be some comedy in this anime but I must’ve missed it (wasn’t watching for comedy anyway). And there seems to be a lot of non-ecchi fanservice which caught me off guard. There were numerous shots where I noticed I was just staring at a miniskirt and either pantyhose, stockings, or bare legs for several seconds at a time. But it never progressed to the next level where you see panties to become an ecchi anime. Was just boring fanservice for me but for someone who has a pantyhose or stocking fetish, this must be their masterpiece. Was not expecting that from this anime at all. But the anime was fun and I wouldn’t mind picking it up whenever I have some free time but it wasn’t enough to be kept for this season.
This will likely be the final First Week Impressions of the Autumn since there are only three shows remaining and I plan to watch them all (and blog 2 of them). I don’t have plans to watch Mirai Nikki or Gundam AGE but I’ll check them out depending on their reviews and what people think. But that should be it for this season with almost all 10 spots decided. I’ll have to make a decision on the three unresolved animes when they air this week. Should be fun to see which ones win out, especially if Haganai can dethrone one of the other shows for the final spot of the season.