It’s been a while since I’ve done an anime article, so I thought I’d quickly list the anime I’m watching this season, and maybe provide an update at the end of the season with rough reviews of those that I did in fact finish.
Though this season isn’t the best I’ve watched over the last year or two, it definitely has more ‘worthy’ series showing than the last few have. Read on to see what I’m watching from the Winter 2012 season of anime.
I’ll try list them in order of enjoyment. Doing this, I naturally have to start off with:
Hunter X Hunter
Hunter X Hunter, in a nutshell, is about a strange group of friends embarking on a journey to become “Hunters” through competing in a “Hunter” exam. The world is full of perils and harsh realities that they have to overcome through self-improvement and their friendships. Sounds pretty clichéd, but the strength of Hunter X Hunter is it’s setting and unique characters. And no other anime has come close to it in its sense of character development.
The recent remake of the classic Hunter X Hunter series gave me quite a scare after I watched the first episode. The new voices for the characters were distinctly different compared to those of the previous ones, and to make things worse (or so I thought at the time), they are progressing through the material at almost double the speed of the original!
I felt that this was going to cause me to a) lose my connection with the story due to “rushing” matters, and b) that the characters weren’t going to have that same uniqueness that made the original series successful.
I can safely say that I overreacted. The series has definitely tried its best to stay loyal to the material, whilst effectively removing parts of the story that either served no purpose, or that simply hamper the overall progression of the characters and their journeys towards becoming Hunters.
I definitely recommend it to both Hunter X Hunter fans and newbies alike.
Another is hard to summarise after the three episodes I’ve watched, as not much has happened plot-wise, and I don’t want to spoil anything. But basically, it’s about a boy who starts at a new school and is placed in a class where some strange stuff is happening. Lots of the people he meets hint at past events that are in some way threatening to repeat themselves in the near future. But he has no idea what, and endeavours to find out, just like most characters do in these types of situations – with lots of stupidity and a complete lack of caution.
I’m not a big fan of horror, both in movies and in games. In anime, however, I love it. I don’t know if it’s because horror-esque anime tend to focus less on cheap scares and more on pure weirdness, or if the medium is simply not going to be as effective as others at instilling fear, but I’ve loved a good few over the last few years, and Another is doing a great job of scratching the itch that’s been bugging me since I finished watching Shiki.
What I really love about Another so far is that it hasn’t gotten to the scary parts yet. It has chosen instead to slowly build up a high level of curiosity in the viewer by feeding us little tidbits of strangeness in the form of a very patchy history and extremely awkward character behaviour. Yes, it did sort of sell out with the flashes of dolls in between scenes, but it wasn’t really a dampener in any way.
What this has done is made me become invested in the world, before it all falls to shit. So when things do start becoming more nail-biting in tone, I’ll be less eager to toss it away with the intent of forgetting it in all my shameful wussiness.
Inu X Boku Secret Service
Inu X Boku Secret Service is about a girl that lives in a mansion with others similar to her in their genetic make up. They are demons who transform into strange atrocities at night. However, that’s not the real problem. The real problem is that this girl doesn’t know how to drop her defenses when conversing with other people, which causes her to come across as a mean, unemotional person. When she moves into this mansion, however, she meets a uh, dog demon guy, who does everything in his power to convince her to let him be her bodyguard. And thus starts a very strange love story.
Inu X Boku SS isn’t groundbreaking in its premise and many will find it too clichéd and simplistic in nature, especially with the tsundere main character. I, however, am a sucker for romance anime, and with the main character not being TOO tsundere (which I find is often the case in these types of anime), I can actually see glimpses of a likeable character. The dog guy is pretty funny and likeable too. So I’m going to continue with this for as long as it stays interesting, which is hopefully until season end.
Papa no Iu Koto wo Kikinasai!
Papa no Iu Koto wo Kikinasai is about a guy in university who is suddenly given the large task of taking care of his three nieces after their parents die in a plane crash.
There’s not much else to say, as I’m still unsure as to what direction the anime is going in, but so far it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and though you’d think with the strange title it might get a bit ecchi, it hasn’t so far, which I think is a good thing considering that the nieces are somewhat young… It seems to be a light hearted and funny take on what it’s like to suddenly be put in a position of responsibility.
The main character is a good guy, and I recognise the voices of the nieces from other anime that I’ve enjoyed, so I’m going to continue with it for now.
Aquarion EVOL is sequel to the other one or two Aquarion series that have come out over the last few years. It involves a modern world containing people with magical abilities that fight against bad guys in mechs, and sometimes, combine their own mechs in a very sexually suggestive manner so that they can kick the bad mechs’ asses.
Yeah, it doesn’t sound very inspiring. The addition of the orgasmic mech combining thing doesn’t improve matters. But surprisingly, it works. I actually enjoy watching it, and I think the reason is because of the high production values of the series combined with its great music and unique setting.
I watched the first Aquarion series and enjoyed it for the most part, so I’m hoping this one does at least as well as the original did. So far, it’s been pretty enjoyable though, so I have a feeling I’ll be watching it for a little while longer at least.
Amagami SS Season 2
I loved the first season of Amagami SS. Let me just get that out the way.
Amagami SS is based on a dating sim (I think), that follows a likeable main character through potential love affairs with attractive girls that he interacts with on a daily basis at high school.
So far, the second season of Amagami SS hasn’t been bad. The first two episodes of this new season reminded me of what I loved about Amagami SS. However, the last two episodes (3-4) were somewhat disappointing, though this could just be because I don’t like Rihoko Sakurai’s character. I’m looking forward to seeing how the next arc with Ai Nanasaki does and if the relationships that he built up over the previous season actually make some headway in this one.
Daily Lives of High School Boys
Daily Lives of High School Boys or Danshi Kōkōsei no Nichijō, is basically Nichijou, with less sidetracked humour, and male characters. It focuses on giving a funny look into the lives of high school boys and how immature and hilarious they can be. Oh, and it has the voice actor for Gin from Gintama playing one of the boys. How can you not be interested after reading that?
The first two episodes really impressed me. I haven’t laughed that much watching an anime in a good while. However, the third left me worrying that the same thing was going to happen that happened to Nichijou when it had the same effect on me, i.e. it got boring after the initial episodes, with much weaker humour.
I’m hoping that this isn’t the case, and will do my best to persevere until I know for sure whether it’s worthwhile continuing or not, as it really has a great cast and lots of promise.
Ano Natsu de Matteru
Ano Natsu de Matteru is another less innovative anime that, regardless of its similarities to many previous anime, is still intriguing enough to be a worthwhile watch. It’s about an alien that crash lands on top of an innocent, geeky boy in the prime of his youth. The alien puts his mutilated body back together again and then works its way into attending his school so that it can keep an eye on him for a bit. Through strange circumstances, this alien ends up living at his house, and becomes involved in his group of friends’ endeavour to make a movie, all-the-while making things difficult for the boy’s secret admirer to get close to him.
Ano Natsu has lured me in with it’s great alien female character. She portrays the kind, innocent, and naive character really well, making her really appealing to guy viewers like me :P The other members of the group of friends are also interesting and different in their own ways, so though the story isn’t very unique, it isn’t unwatchable by any means.
Knight in the Area
Knight in the Area is a soccer anime. It’s about a boy who, through obtaining transplanted organs belonging to his brother after they were both hit by a truck, decides to go after his dream of becoming a national soccer player to pay his respects to his brother for allowing him to live.
It’s just like what the Major series was for baseball, and Hajime no Ippo was for boxing. Though it may lack a bit of the technicality evident in the aforementioned series, I can’t tell yet as I’m only three episodes in. But so far, it’s more about him having “talent” and just not having the mental strength and inherent guts to use it.
I enjoy sports anime, as they always make sport seem more interesting than it really is. They are almost my way of making myself feel better about all the time I spent playing sport at school. I digress. Knight in the Area has done a good job of making me care about the main character, and though the animation isn’t great, I do get the impression that the guys who made the anime aren’t talking complete rubbish, which can sometimes be the case. Not that I’m a soccer boff.
I’ll keep up with this as long as it keeps me feeling legitimately interested in the character and his improvement and achievements in the sport.
So those are the anime I’m currently watching for this season. From past experience, I have a feeling that the list will be at least two items shorter by the end of the season, but 50% of that depends on whether I’m willing to put in the time watching all of them, with work, gym and all the other stuff life demands I empty my soul into.
*Stalks off to sob about how unfair life is with all its responsibilities and anime-watching preventions*