Spring 2012 – First Week Impressions (Part 1)

This post reviews Ozuma, Space Brothers, Natsuiro Kiseki, and Accel World.

Only one anime, Mouretsu Pirates, is continuing directly from the previous season into this one, meaning there are plenty of slots open for new anime to earn.  That being said, this post takes care of the first batch that aired over the first few days of April as well as Ozuma which began airing while I was on vacation and had no chance to watch it until now.  Let’s see how the first four anime of the Spring anime season fared.

Watching:

Ozuma – Despite being already half over, a six-episode series that began in mid-March, I’ll continue with Ozuma for this Spring.  I never wrote about my thoughts on the anime in my Spring preview since it had already begun and was three episodes in by the time that post was published.  Yeah, the timing of this anime certainly is unique which complicates things a little bit but not to the point where I just gloss over this anime like I would for OVAs or shorts (3-4 minute anime).  I didn’t think much about Ozuma before but thought the art was fantastic with that classical look and the plot seemed alright.  Beyond that, I had no clue what the anime was to offer, so I didn’t really know what to expect.  It would’ve been a ‘maybe watch’ if it were included in my preview.

Without much thought going into the anime, I must say I was impressed with what the first episode offered.  I originally assumed the art was just a throwback or tribute for 70s anime until I realized this is a Leiji Matsumoto anime, so this is the real deal.  I’ve only watched a few anime from this era before, so my experience with this style is certainly limited but I feel in love with the art and animation only minutes after starting the first episode.  Not only is it unique compared to what mainstream anime is now but it is crisp and detailed and a style I can’t help but love.  As for the anime itself, I couldn’t be happier with its cast, story, or setting.  The cast has a balance of seriousness and comedy within each one that allows enough room for a story to be told and for us to have fun while watching it.  Perhaps the best example of that is the Captain, Bainas, whom was shown being comic relief when introduced but a competent commander and leader when the story required it of her.  That’s a sign of a strong character and adept directing.  My impression of the story is a bit limited after the first episode but it seems to be a fairly standard adventure story which is about all I want from a short anime like this, nothing too shallow that it runs out too quickly and nothing too deep where it feels rushed or inadequate.  And the setting, oh wow, that setting.  Futuristic desert world with sand vessels, few people and even fewer cities, and an amazing pirate ship at the center of it.  I’d be lying if it didn’t remind me of one of my all-time favorites in Last Exile and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann but it does have some differences which make it unique and give it enough space to keep it individualized.  The only negative I have for this series is that it is only six episodes which means it will be over before I know it.  And when that’s the only negative about an anime, it ending too soon, then you know we have a fantastic anime waiting in our hands.

Space Brothers – What can be said about this anime that hasn’t been said already?  This anime has been universally accepted by anime fans and I am no exception.  Virtually every element of the anime is pleasing, from its distinctive art style, to its subtle yet effective comedy, its heart-warming characters, to its motivational story and much more.  Perhaps my favorite part of the anime is the whole sibling dynamic which many male anime fans have begun to identify with.  Personally, I see myself more as a ‘Hibito’ than a ‘Mutta’ since I am the youngest in my family, I’m quite ambitious, talented, lucky, and often successful, and am in the process of realizing my dream though I’m still years away from reaching that moment.  I’ve seen many people compare their lives to Mutta, who I share some aspects with but not as many as Hibito, and I believe this factor strikes home for many anime fans in a positive way.  The art is certainly matchless in style and the animation is crisp, omitting no detail regardless of motion or camera shot.  I’ve mentioned a bit about how realistic the characters are but, beyond that, they’re also interesting and motivating by themselves.  I find each character’s history to be structured in a way to provide adequate development and enough detail to explain their current selves while leaving room for each to continue to grow throughout the next 12 episodes.  Space, even though it is not the primary setting, is always a positive for me and the story sounds wonderful.  Specific attributes of the anime do remind me of other favorite animes but I feel this is individualized enough to stand by itself without need to mention the names of other anime.  I’d be surprised if this anime did not end up as one of my favorites for this season when we come to the season review at the end of June.

Undecided:

Nothing this post.

Dropped:

Natsuiro Kiseki – I imagine this anime was designed and produced for the demographic of anime and idol fans since it is essentially the idol group SPHERE having an anime where they are the main characters.  Not a bad idea to take a band with current popularity and try to advertise their product all while making an anime sure to be a hit in their fandom.  But me, being outside the idol circle and within the anime one, I see a different opinion for this anime.  Natsuiro Kiseki seems to be a standard, if not unimpressive, slice-of-life anime that tends to rely more on melodrama than comedy (a minus for me) where four girls who are all best friends do random (but somewhat structured and logical) stuff together.  The cast all are the current popular moe stereotypes with athletic lead girl, her best friend pretty support girl, and followed up by genki-hyper girl and quiet, emotionless girl.  And the setting is a standard high school/town/whatever.  Practically everything at the core of this is uninspired which is what ultimately dooms it for me but it does have some enjoyable aspects to it that make it better than most of the ones I’m dropping for this season.  First, it’s relaxing and rather calming.  If you’re looking unwind with a simple anime with cute girls doing random things together, then this is surprisingly decent.  Yeah, there’s melodrama but it’s hardly evokes any emotions in the audience besides maybe some sadness if you’ve grown attached to a character in the first few minutes.  Second, my friend is obsessed with :< faces in anime and that’s pretty much the default for every character, so I had a blast sending him about two dozen screencaps with :< faces and going on about it.  I realize I can’t do that every week but it sure make the episode enjoyable (and quite long as a result).  And the first episode what somewhat enjoyable on its own despite it having a minimal amount of originality.  The problem, however, is that I don’t believe this anime will be enjoyable for the duration of a season and I don’t believe it’s worth picking up now if I’ll only drop it later on.  Not a terrible anime but one I’m just not interested in now.  Also, it’s only out in its webrip, pre-broadcast quality so the screencaps aren’t of the best quality.

Accel World – Although the pre-broadcast episode included both the first and second episodes, I only planned on watching the first episode before making a decision on this anime.  Turns out, I didn’t even need that much.  I don’t often quit an anime before it’s half over but that was enough of Accel World for me.  Accel World repeats or reworks many of the same tired anime clichés that give the anime a displeasing, if not downright irritating impression.  Perhaps the most offensive is the whole ‘suddenly girlfriend’ aspect which pisses me every time it happens and though I skipped through the rest of the episodes and saw there is a reason behind it, I still fucking hate that trope.  Besides that, everyone else fulfilled uninspired roles from the loner male lead who has the ability to be the best at the virtual world or whatever, the girl who has a secret crush on him and friends with him but will never amount to anything more than a few awkward romance scenes that are complete teases, the bullies who only exist solely to bully one person and no one else.  Oh, and the upperclassman who’s the most beautiful, athletically-gifted, top academically, class president, best virtual world girl whatever bullshit she is also pisses me off, too.  Really, this anime is not for me but it does have some aspects worth mentioning that might be there for you.  The art was never bad and actually showed an interesting virtual world brimming with detail and colors.  The setting in the virtual world was rather remarkable, too, showing something akin to an MMO mixed with social media and virtual reality that actually impressed and engrossed me while watching it.  And the action sequences in the second episode (I scanned through it) looked pretty good.  But honestly, if I couldn’t last through one episode, how do I expect myself to last an entire season of this, even if it make substantial strides in the second episode and continues to improve every week?  This anime is about as far for me as it gets.

Due to Ozuma’s shortened allotment and early start, it won’t really be covered over the course of the season like Space Bros will be, so in a sense, I’m only picking up one anime from this batch to watch from now until the end of June.  That’s a bit of a mixed sign for things to come.  On one hand, that’s leaves space for other anime to come and solidify their spot in my schedule for this season meaning budgeting my time for anime should be less stressful and actually flexible.  On the other, that means this season probably won’t be as enjoyable as previous seasons with subpar anime making the bottom of my list.  It’d be best to ignore this speculation and actually wait for all the anime to broadcast before making these decisions but these are impressions themselves and that is the nature of this post.  However, by this time next week, virtually all the anime will have aired and we’ll know what type of season we’ll be watching this spring.

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  1. #1 by Quizoxy on April 4, 2012 - 1:41 AM

    I can totally relate to your thoughts for Accel world. Having two episodes for the starting premier is already a wrong move for it’s story that isn’t really that appealing. I thought that the second episode was able to change my mind somehow but ended up wasting the whole hour watching that crap. Horrible!

    • #2 by avvesione on April 4, 2012 - 10:43 AM

      Yeah, I’ve seen a pretty sharp split in the fanbase on this anime with many people complaining about its story and characters and others giving it a chance due to its interesting setting and satisfying action (which I didn’t watch since it was after I stopped). I suppose if you can ignore the story and characters and enjoy it for what it is, then it might be a fun anime to watch, but it sounds like you and I both were irritated by the story and characters to the point where it wasn’t worth watching anymore.

      Sorry to hear you felt like you wasted your time but that’s kinda one of the fun things with the beginning of the season, trying everything out and seeing what sticks!

  2. #3 by azeriraz on April 4, 2012 - 2:05 AM

    Accel world was just so boring…. Natsuiro Kiseki just wasn’t likeable and too much of a whiny girls story to pique my interest.

    • #4 by avvesione on April 4, 2012 - 10:44 AM

      Couldn’t agree more with you about Accel World, it really left me unengaged despite having a pretty neat concept for a virtual world.

      I’m getting the impression that I liked Natsuiro Kiseki more than most but still not enough to watch it. With an oversaturation of this type of anime and its general blandness and lack of unique features, it’s probably going to have a minimal fanbase among the community outside of SPHERE or Idol fans.

      • #5 by azeriraz on April 4, 2012 - 11:02 PM

        I’d also say it’s pretty hard for Natsuiro Kiseki to compete with Kimi to Boku 2 and Tsuritama, since both of them seem to have similar settings.

        I think what makes it worse as well is that it’s already has the whole “we want to be idols” thing from the first episode.

        • #6 by avvesione on April 5, 2012 - 1:59 AM

          Yeah, I’ve seen plenty of excitement for Kimi to Boku 2 and Tsuritama compared to Natsuiro, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the last we hear from it this season. Not only do those two shows seem better but they actually have some fans really excited for them. The only way I see Natsuiro winning out is if the viewer wants girls instead of guys.

  3. #7 by bobbobsters on April 4, 2012 - 4:45 AM

    No review for NarutoSD?! Mother of god…

    • #8 by avvesione on April 4, 2012 - 10:48 AM

      I’ll watch Naruto after we finish our HOMAM games.

      MAKE IT HAPPEN!

      • #9 by bobbobsters on April 4, 2012 - 3:59 PM

        I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU DIDN’T PLAY GAMES ANYMORE, MISTER I’M TOO OLD FOR FUN

        • #10 by avvesione on April 5, 2012 - 1:43 AM

          HOMAM is not a game, it’s a way of life.

  4. #11 by Joojoobees on April 5, 2012 - 1:42 PM

    I haven’t dropped Accel World yet, but I can’t really criticize any of your points. Basically I loved the artwork, so I’ll continue to watch it for now.

    • #12 by avvesione on April 5, 2012 - 2:05 PM

      Yeah, the art was one of the few positives I took from the anime but I just couldn’t handle it. And I saw from your blog post that you also raged with how he treated Chiyuri. What sucks is you know they’ll just continue to act the same way and Haru will never notice or appreciate her. That always pisses me off in anime but there were multiple factors (the ones I actually wrote about) that were enough for me to drop it.

      I’ll keep an eye out on your blog to see how it fares though!

  5. #13 by Marina on April 6, 2012 - 1:57 AM

    I appreciate you sharing your thoughts about the pre-aired Natsuiro Kiseki. I am pretty accepting of generic s’life centered on high school girls, and so thought I might give this a try. However, the huge list of spring shows makes it difficult for me to pick up so many this season since I’m trying to be a bit more productive in real life. Your thoughts on the show’s mediocrity and moe archetypes helps my decision.

    <3 Ozuma and Space Bros.

    • #14 by avvesione on April 6, 2012 - 6:51 AM

      You know, if there is room at the end of the season (doubtful), I might go back and pick up Natsuiro Kiseki since it’s the best of the anime I’ve dropped for this season. The problem with it is that there will be better slice of life anime out there and this one did feel incredibly generic in its characters, story, and setting. You might want to scan through the episode and see if it is something you might enjoy but I figure there will be better anime airing later that you’d rather watch than this.

      And yeah, Ozuma and Space Bros are a great start to this season!

  6. #15 by SnippetTee on April 7, 2012 - 7:41 AM

    I quite with Marina, Natsuiro Kiseki so generic. The first episode is quite boring for me but it’s not that so bad. I’m willing to give it a shot if I don’t find something worth while to watch. As for Space Bros, it’s definitely on my list. It reminds me of how Usagi Drops won the hearts of the viewers.

    • #16 by avvesione on April 7, 2012 - 8:06 AM

      I didn’t realize that but you’re right about Space Bros and Usagi Drop being acclaimed favorites right off the bat. What might be a little more impressive between Space Bros and Usagi Drop is it doesn’t have the adorable Rin to win our hearts just by apperance alone. That being said, I don’t like Space Bros as much as I did Usagi Drop after the first episode but Space Bros has been entertaining and touching in its own right.

      And yeah, I third that Natsuiro Kiseki comment. It’s generic but it wasn’t terrible and I wouldn’t mind watching it if it picks up. I don’t think it will but at least it was watchable for me.

  1. Spring 2012 Anime – 1st Impression Part 1 | KaminariAnime

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