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).
I’d been noodling on the family dynamics in Alice to Zouroku for weeks when I suddenly realized, “Hey, there are actually a fair number of shows about family this season! And I’m watching, like, all of them!” Take from that what you like about my preferences, but this week for Crunchyroll I wrote about the interpretations of family in Alice to Zouroku, The Eccentric Family 2, and Sukasuka. It’s basically three mini-essays all rolled into one, so you can read the piece even if you haven’t seen all three.
I didn’t mean to write two posts in a row about the role of setting in certain anime—it just kind of turned out that way. In the spotlight is a somewhat broader selection of shows than I’m normally accustomed to writing about, as I try my best to encapsulate the general character of the anime made by studio P.A. Works. in a single column. Surprisingly perhaps, I think I wound up having more of a solid case than even I expected at the beginning of my writing. You guys will have to let me know what you think!
Due to the insanity that was my February (job applications, interviews, midterms, retreats), I didn’t do most of my February reviews until the first week or so of March, so I decided to consolidate all that content into a single post—and here it is!
Beautifully envisioned in magical Kyoto, The Eccentric Family tells a masterfully wrought story of a family healing after the death of their father and learning to come to terms with the lives they’ve been given.
“What is fun is good!” Aaaannd it’s time to review what was, for me, the best anime of the Summer 2013 season, The Eccentric Family, or Uchoten Kazuko. I’ll try my best not to be too biased, but I really loved this show and may not be able to totally keep myself from gushing. You’ve been warned. To see where it ended up in my rankings, go here. 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.
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.