The toughest part about each season is having to make up the WatchRanking chart each week, because so many shows are so many ways of good, and it’s hard to assign a numerical value to them. Despite all that, the other half of premieres rolled past, and here is your abridged view on some real gems this season. I did not have access to my system, so I had to pilfer some screenshots from elsewhere on the internet, so hat tip to Random Curiosity for that, who also reviewed those series too, if you’re interested in multiple angles.
Veteran anime fans no doubt recall watching Onegai Teacher/Twins, two of 2002 and 2003’s best series. Screenwriter and creator Kuroda Yousuke, partnering with AnoHana director Nagai Tatsuyuki, gives you this season Ano Natsu de Matteru, a story about students creating a film over the summer, and finding much more. Kaito Kirishima (Shimazaki Nobunaga) is an average first-year high school student who enjoys video and film. He recently bought a new camera to film with, but while he is standing on a bridge at night, a bright light flashes above him and a force of wind knocks his head back into a rail before he feels himself falling. He wakes up the next day believing it to be a dream. At school, word gets around of a new transfer student by the name of Ichika Takatsuki (Tomatsu Haruka) who is a senior that Kaito’s friend Tetsurou Ishigaki (Ogihara Hideki) already knows detailed information about. Kaito ends up meeting her as she is eating lunch with fellow senior Remon Yamano (Tamura Yukari). It’s here Tetsurou tells Ichika about Kaito’s upcoming movie ideas and solicits her to appear in the film, while Remon volunteers herself after Ichika agrees. Kaito’s other female friends, Mio Kitahara (Asumi Kana) and Kanna Tanigawa (Ishihara Kaori) also agree to the film, rather reluctantly. On his way home, Kaito encounters Ichika trying to fish in a river without fish. She seems to be dragging a suitcase with her, suggesting she does not have a place to stay. He agrees to let her stay with him for the night, but a strange mark on his neck starts to give him trouble, and she tries to help through the use of alien technology as his sister and Kanna walk in.
It’s an almost identical homage to Onegai Teacher in many ways in just the first episode, the only difference being she is the student and not the teacher. If it plays out exactly like the former series, I would be okay with that, but I am looking for something a little more. Being combined with the director of AnoHana though makes me question where things may go in this journey. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed AnoHana, but it was not what others hyped it up to be, and it didn’t really play out how I would have rather enjoyed it. Onegai Teacher/Twins kept itself light while keeping on a story track, so that’s going to be an important note.
TLDR Watch This: cute girls with glasses
TLDR Don’t Watch This: strange alien devices that hack your ORRRRRRRRRRGANS (with apologies to PA)
Sub Group: Commie
First Rating: 8
Another science fiction/mecha entry to this season is Mouretsu Pirates. Set in a distant future on a colonized world, Marika Katou (Komatsu Mikako) is a student, Space Yacht Club member, and works part-time at a high-class retro cafe. She is visited by two strange people who are friends of her mother, Ririka Katou (Kaida Yuko). They have come to pay respects to someone the three knew, and also serve Marika with an edict, she is to inherit the space battleship Benten Maru, a pirate ship from the war for independence a century ago, where pirate ships were pressed into service under a special agreement to defend the colony. By law, when a captain dies, the ship is turned over to a direct decedent. To add further enigma, a new transfer student, Chiaki Kurihara (Hanazawa Kana) appears at Marika’s job and seems to have some sort of business with her, but gets caught up in a fight among some tough dudes looking for Marika.
I love the premise, and I especially love anything that has a very Outlaw Star-ish appeal to is. What’s better is it has a confirmed full season run, which means they hopefully will not cut corners on telling a good story to go with the fact that she is a goddamn space pirate. I didn’t initially consider this show on my roster, but after reading some twitterbros reactions and internet reviews, picked it up, and am not regretting it.
TLDR Watch This: female space pirates
TLDR Don’t Watch This: are you crazy?
Sub Group: Horrible
First Rating: 8
For those of you fortunate to have waited out the 6+ months to see all of Bakemonogatari, and enjoyed it, then Nisemonogatari is right up there with it. There is no real story or plot to reiterate here, it stars Koyomi Araragi (Kamiya Hiroshi) as an average high school senior who got tangled up in some supernatural events from an old friend and became a vampire for a short time. He was restored, but retained some vampire-like elements, such as heightened awareness and regeneration. He meets Hitagi Senjougahara (Saito Chiwa) and helps her to rid her of a similar ailment that had been plaguing her. The two would adventure through their daily lives interacting more supernatural phenomenon and eventually become a relationship together. In the sequel, The black swindler Kaiki Deishu, comes back to make trouble, and Koyomi’s sisters, Karen and Tsukihi (Kitamura Eri and Iguchi Yuka) take up the charge to bring it down.
The important thing you have to take in with this show is that it is very unconventional. It has a very erratic style that jumps through visual scenes quickly with a lot of spoken dialogue running back and forth about seemingly nothing at times. Bits and pieces of the actual plot will surface, but you have to pay attention. What I enjoy the most about this show though is the art style, use of puns and jokes, and some of the characters. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea though, so don’t feel too bad if you don’t get it.
TLDR Watch This: Senjougahara, Mayoi, and staplers
TLDR Don’t Watch This: if you never understood “alternate reality”
Sub Group: Horrible
First Rating: 8
There is an irony to making #thatfeel jokes on a show whose producers are named “Feel” but nevertheless, Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai! (Listen to Daddy, or #papakiki) is a new comedy entry for this season which stars Yuuta Segawa (Hatano Wataru) as a college freshman whose parents passed away when he was young, he was raised by his older sister Yuri. Eventually she marries a man who has two children already, Sora and Miu (Uesaka Sumire and Kitamura Eri) and has a daughter Hina (Igarashi Hiromi) who is three by the start of the series. Upon entering college he becomes friends with Kouichi Nimura (Ono Daisuke) who often uses his place to take girls home to rather than his own, in exchange for cooking and cleaning to help Yuuta out. He also befriends Raika Oda (Horie Yui), a mysterious girl he only knew as “sobbing girl” before due to a bizzard near-blackmail case the Sightseeing (SS) Club president tried to invoke on Yuuta. Yuri asks Yuuta if he could come visit the girls one day without telling him that her and her husband would be going on a trip. When they go missing during their trip, he is left to take care of the girls on his own until they can be located.
The show has a very Loli Basketball related feel to it, though not the same production company, rather, Feel was responsible for Mayo Chiki, which is why you might find its visual style familiar. If this was a normal family dynamic I’d say nothing interesting would happen, but you have a guy whose older sister is married with kids, a bizarre female classmate probably after his nuts, and three girls, one whom has a crush on him, the other probably too, and a three-year-old who probably doesn’t know what is going on. It’s a recipe for random, but hopefully it is a better story-driven show than not.
TLDR Watch This: sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob
TLDR Don’t Watch This: pseudo-wincest… wait, shouldn’t that be for “watch”?
Sub Group: Horrible
First Rating: 8
The fourth and final season of Zero no Tsukaima is on, and it promises to be decent from the starting gate. If you haven’t seen any of this show, I suggest you start from the beginning, there is far too much to go over for a proper synopsis, but the basics are Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière (Kugimiya Rie) is a magician-in-training at Tristain Academy of Magic in Tristain, a small country bordering many other larger, powerful countries in another world. Along with classmates Charlotte Helene “Tabitha” Orléans (Inokuchi Yuka) and Kirche Augusta Frederica von Anhalt Zerbst (Inoue Nanako) and others, she aims to be a great magician and serve her country, headed by Queen Henrietta de Tristain (Kawasumi Ayako). During the Familiar Summon Ritual, Louise summons a boy from Tokyo, Japan to their world named Saito Hiraga (Hino Satoshi) through some bizzare circumstance. Without a way to return home, and bearing a strange inscription on his hand, Saito reluctantly agrees to help Louise despite being treated like a pet dog rather than a person. Joined in the second season by Tifania “Tifa” Westwood (Noto Mamiko) who saved Saito’s life, the team continues to train at the academy and take on the region’s complex and controversial problems that threaten everyone’s safety and security.
JC STAFF really has a penchant for pain this time around, not only are they doing this, but they’re also doing Shana Final, Kill Me Baby, and Milky Holmes all in the same season. I’m sure they can handle it all just fine, but it’s seems rare to see them working on two top-tier shows at the same time as their other fare. From the looks of it, the final season will finally see them flesh out the true meaning of the Void users, not to mention they revealed Tifa to be a Void user as well. The animation looks top-notch and Rie is Rie. Points for stylin’.
TLDR Watch This: Louise, Tifa, and just about everything in between
TLDR Don’t Watch This: …….
Sub Group: Uichan-SHIN
First Rating: 9
I know popular opinion of this show is low, but I’ve been fairly positive about it throughout its run. I will admit though, that this week’s Guilty Crown will need some explanation as we get into the second half of the show. The fact that Gai dies really calls forth what is going to happen in the second half, does the show go on? Does Gai come back to life? What happens to the Undertakers now that “the source” of the virus has been eliminated? Or does any of this even matter, retcon and repeat? Tough love I suppose, but we’ll see where this trainwreck is heading for soon enough.
Things heat up in this week’s Shakugan no Shana Final as the snake gets loose into the world and Shana tabs her epic battle with Darth Yuuji for another time. Meanwhile Sabarac is defeated again, unknown if he is dead this time or not, but Wilhelmia and the gang get out after narrowly having to face off against Hecate and the others. The battle continues to rage outside, with no clear resolution. Sophie Sawallisch tries in vain to seal the rift at the last moment, but is blocked by a surprisingly still-alive Fecor, allowing the snake through in the end. Being the midway point and what looks to be the first part in the major plot developments complete, I expect the series to take a back seat through the next few episodes as we ramp up to the end, hopefully it will be worth it.
Full tilt comes around in Gundam AGE as the crew of the Diva take on the UE head-to-head using their new cannon that the AGE system developed for the ship. Flit demonstrates his ability to master the “X-Rounder” skill (Newtype, amirite?) by wasting a large portion of enemy mobile suits. The Diva managed to get off a powerful shot that destroys most of the large battleship and enemy forces, but not before some got out to make a last ditch effort.. Fortunately some reinforcements show up, but not before we’re treated to an ominous group of fellows who likely are the UE, and have Yurin in their custody. Like I’ve said, I know Gundam exists to sell toys, this shouldn’t be any different, but damn if this show isn’t making inroads with me.
Tension escalates in Mirai Nikki as it’s revealed that Mur Mur manipulated Deus’ game to speed up Fourth’s destruction, as she is betting on Yuno to win. However Dues still places his cards with Yuuki. Mur Mur hatches a little plot that sees some of Yuuki’s friends looking for them in a deserted resort town, only to be trapped by Yuno, who is trying to get the police and everyone off their tail so they can escape without a problem. This show continues to amaze me in many ways, both for its story and for its use of the characters in the story. I can’t help but feel like what this ending is going to be though.
So we’re set up for another fantastic season of shows. Besides these, I am also working through last season’s The Idolm@ster which has been pretty good so far. I don’t think I can gel with the hype that some people have for it, especially since I am still trying to wrap my head around all the damn characters, but for what it’s worth, it’s worth a good ride. I have some general housekeeping things I want to go through at some point soon, mostly reorganizing categories and tags. I am working on building a real website soon, and I am not sure if I will be folding my blog into yet or not, but look out for some fun shit to happen there sometime.
Finally, the chart.