As is our custom around here, it’s time to take a look back at the shows of last season before the new one hits (actually, it’s already here but oh well).
Hello, hello everyone! It is time for reviewing the most popular show of the past two seasons, Attack on Titan. It’s a monster of a task, so I’m going to quote myself a bit to start off. I wrote a review of the first six episodes a while back, so take a quick break away from this post to see what I had to say a quarter of the way through.
To see where I dropped Attack on Titan in my overall rankings, click here. That’s right, folks, I have four (4!!!) shows from the Summer 2013 season ranked ahead of Attack on Titan (Railgun S, Silver Spoon, TWGOK, Gatchaman Crowds). But before your outrage gets the better of you, allow me to explain myself. Continue reading
We are now rounding the bend on the Spring 2013 season of anime and I still am watching 12 shows. So, to help you figure out which shows you should go marathon and catch up on, I present the Spring 2013 Anime Midseason Report. You can find my current watchlist here.
This post isn’t meant to be a ranking system for the season’s anime (that will come later), only a report on what’s been living up to expectations and what’s falling short. So, in no particular order…
The Eccentric Family (Watch)
The writing in the show is wonderfully strong and has a natural Japanese feel to it that gives a very nice sense of culture. That trait is an extremely important one, as staying true to the Japanese lifestyle, language and approach is what makes this show so unique. Despite the more serious turn lately, the anime has not lost an ounce of its charm from the beginning of the show. Rather, the introduction of new characters has deepened the experience and adds layers to the wonderful complexity of the main characters. The Eccentric Family also holds the viewers’ trust faithfully, gently following up on its promise to unravel the web we’ve been shown. It is an exceptional bit of storytelling and well worth your time.
Servant x Service (Maybe Watch)
Still funny, although it has taken a turn out into relationship land, away from workplace humor. That being said, the narrative is plenty entertaining & has actually shown some moments of real emotion. The OP song is certainly one of the best of the season and overall Servant x Service is a really enjoyable addition to a Thursday afternoon. Small warning for some innuendo type humor, but other than that, I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a light-hearted show with good laughs.
The World God Only Knows: Goddesses (Watch)
Keima’s still at it and, albeit a couple episodes in the middle, TWGOK has maintained an admirable amount of dramatic tension and a sense of urgency throughout the entire season. Far better than the first two seasons in terms of emotion, the third season has also continued to develop Keima. Despite the rather odd premise, there is a strange, lovable charm about this show that effectively causes you to invest in every single romantic relationship. Strong recommendation for anyone who like romantic comedy.
Yes, it’s still epic.
It’s no secret that the OP from the first half of Attack on Titan was one of the most beloved OPs in recent memory, winning almost universal praise for its epic sounds. However, towards the end of the first half of the season, rumors began to circulate that the full version of the song was not as epic as the OP slice. I am here to put those rumors to a much-needed rest. What follows is the full version of “Guren no Yumiya” by Linked Horizon. I don’t know why anyone would think that the full version was inferior to the 1:30 long clip we get at the beginning of the show. This is 5:18 of intensity, an impressive piece of music that captures the atmosphere of Attack on Titan perfectly. Enjoy.
This is a more detailed look at the best anime the summer 2013 season has to offer and why you should watch them. To see a brief summary of all the shows I previewed (the first 3 episodes), go here.
To see the midseason report on every show I’ve been watching during the summer 2013 seasons, go here.
#1. A Certain Scientific Railgun S (continuing from Spring 2013)
- That’s right, Railgun S is the number one anime to watch this season, even passing the much adored AoT. Focusing on the Sister’s Arc from Misaka’s perspective, Railgun S holds a few advantages over the aforementioned Attack on Titan. Firstly, Railgun S is building off a previous season, one that focused mainly on character building, rather than plot. That is not to say the first season was boring, for it certainly was not, but having that groundwork to stand on allows the show to connect you better to the characters. Railgun S, thus far, has done characters better than Attack on Titan, mixing in excellently animated action scenes with potent moments of human pain. Furthermore, the thematic discussion that the series engages on human cloning is one that is relevant to today’s world, a trait that can be hard to find in the midst of a fantasy setting. Misaka is a fantastic protagonist, who runs through the full gauntlet of human emotions as she struggles to bring an end to the inhumane experiment that oppresses her conscience. Combined with a lack of annoying fanservice and excellent OPs and EDs, A Certain Scientific Railgun S is the best anime of the season.
#2. Attack on Titan (continuing from Spring 2013)
- No surprise here, Attack on Titan is the obvious choice for the number two anime of the summer 2013 season. If you want quality production, Attack on Titan has it in spades. The animation, music and voice acting are all top notch. More importantly and more impressively, Attack on Titan spectacularly engages the human emotions and passions awakened in a desperate struggle for survival. Death is everywhere in this show, but unlike your typical shounen, Attack on Titan makes it clear that each of those lives was valuable. People aren’t thrown away in this show to die for the sake of the plot. When they die, whether it is in battle or because the government has sacrificed them to sustain itself and the upper classes, the tragedy is not dismissed. You will think after this show. It’s impossible to avoid. And it’s not for everyone. The Titans are terrifying, the animation doesn’t shy away from displaying blood, but none of it is overdone to the point of being gratuitous. I rank Attack on Titan behind Railgun S mainly for the characters. I’m not sure if it is due to the pacing (which can, incredibly, seem absurdly slow and blinding fast at the same time), but I still struggle to relate and connect with Eren, Mikasa and Armin. Perhaps that is simply because I am so detached from their circumstances that I cannot understand them. Regardless, if you can stomach the violence and bloodshed, watch Attack on Titan.
The summer season of anime is upon us, and there are a lot of new shows to watch. But just because there is a glut of new, shiny things to observe doesn’t mean every show is worth your time to watch. Out of the spring season, I only ended up watching 4 shows all the way through, which honestly is probably a pretty good number. I want to share here a list of the new shows of which I intend to watch at least the first couple episodes, and my thoughts on which are worth your time to watch.
You may notice the omission of Free!, Watamoe, Recorder and Randsell, The Eccentric Family and a few other shows. Time is valuable, and none of those piqued my interest enough to make me want to watch an episode. I may take a look at R&R or TEF if I hear good things, but right now, this is my official testing list. (EDIT: I did pick up TEF, and added my first impression below.) It’s times like these that I curse myself for being too stingy to pay for the Crunchyroll premium membership. I’m a week behind with every show, but it’s cheaper this way. And cheaper is better.
I plan to post final yes/no verdicts after the 3rd episode of each show. 3 episodes is usually about 1/4 of the way through, and if a show hasn’t shown itself to be worth my time through the first quarter, I won’t have high hopes for it turning things around going forward.
Continuing from Spring 2013
- Attack on Titan
- To Watch, or Not to Watch: I plan to eventually write a review on episodes 7-13, but if you can tolerate the violence and blood, Attack on Titan is definitely a show you should be watching. It has great potential going into the next half of the show, and it will be interesting to see if the writers can capitalize on the thematic and emotional gold that I saw glimpses of in the first episode. Verdict: Watch.
- A Certain Scientific Railgun S
- To Watch, or Not to Watch: I’ve never divulged by thoughts on Railgun in this blog, but I really like the show, and it continues to impress with strong writing. Plus, with fripSide continuing to do the OPs, you could watch the show for those alone. Has less to prove to me than Attack on Titan; does characters a little better and it’s better paced. Verdict: Watch.
New in Summer 2013
- Servant x Service
- To Watch, or Not to Watch: Easily a top contender for OP of the season. A fourth of the way through the show, and it’s still entertaining and some of the dynamics between characters are coming out. The third episode strayed a little bit, getting bogged down in the same stupid joke, but the character development was really nice. Should be a fun watch through the rest of the season. Final Verdict: Watch. Continue reading
If Sword Art Online was the hyped anime of 2012, it seems like Attack on Titan has taken that position for 2013. I’m frankly not even sure how I heard about this show, or how I knew that it had been hyped, which perhaps just goes to show how loud the attention it was getting truly was. I generally consider myself out of the loop as far as anime news goes (most news, really), but somehow I heard that it was really, really good. Of course, upon hearing about the show and mysteriously absorbing a large amount of positive impressions, hipster me dug his stubborn heels in and protested, more or less, that “the majority of people are idiots, and so their opinions on things like this are probably wrong or misguided,” and so I just ignored the hype and continued to trawl through the depths of Hulu looking for something above average to watch.
Fortunately, I have seem to have learned somewhat from hipster me’s rather abysmal judgment history (Sword Art Online, Fairy Tail, How I Met Your Mother) and decided two nights ago to watch the first episode of Attack on Titan.
A repost from another blog:
“Tonight, I decided to watch Cowboy Bebop, because it is almost universally acclaimed as the best anime ever made. What follows are my thoughts as I watch.
- I really like the color symmetry between rose turning red and the blood in the flashbacks.
- Opening credits: Music was not what I was expecting.
- Beginning: this reminds me a lot of Firefly, even though I only watched a few episodes of Joss Wheldon’s beloved show.
- Trying very hard not to be distracted by the animation quality. After watching stuff like SAO and Attack on Titan, your expectations of the animation level really change.
- The stereotypical bartender…and someone said Baka! Uh oh, people with guns going after a pregnant lady. Oh, noes! Not the kitty!
- Hm, not really sure what this “red-eye” stuff is.
- Man, the conglomeration of different things is just blowing my mind right now. An Indian shaman, someone named Asimov, eye drop that help you kill people, spaceships, bounties…oh, yeah, I bet the withdrawal from those eye-drops is killer. And the lady speaks Spanish…
- I think he just stole the eye drops while being choked. Champion work, dude.
- Trying to remember what these funky guitar riffs in between scenes remind me of. FLCL, maybe?
- Haha the surprised face cutscenes. Oh, she doesn’t have a baby…just dangerous stuff. Which could be babies, I guess.
- Whoa…it’s all fun and games until you give up on life. What an ending. Maybe too unannounced and random-seeming for me.
- FLOATING CIGARETTES!
And, that’s a wrap.
Basically, I can’t tell if this show is a delicately nuanced masterpiece, or if it is just masquerading as being deep. If it was only intended as character introduction for the main character, I’m not much of a fan of the way they did it. Tough to say really anything after one episode, but I wouldn’t say I was hooked the way I was after the first episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood or Angel Beats!