Plot Lines

With the season one or two episodes from a close, I thought I’d take the moment to go through ten weeks of this season’s WatchRanking and touch on what went into every decision point through the season. But first, Nisemonogatari chose the first spot in closing out the season, so let’s review that quickly.

Seriously, why do you do this to me?
I came. Hard.

The thing you have to remember when watching this show is that they present everything to you very fast, without really going back and clarifying it, and they cycle through a lot of crazy abstract animation and scenes while doing so. For most casual fans, this can probably be a put-off, because you simply just don’t get it. But if I can TL;DR this for you, it’s like watching Supernatural removing all of the American elements from it and replacing it with stuff that matters to weeaboos, and dropping the whole Heaven and Hell thing. The only downside to this series is there isn’t a lot of Senjougahara, but predictably so since the series was to revolve more around Araragi’s sisters Karen and Tsukiki. As for the ending? It has Stupid Sexy Shinobu and I think wraps the whole thing up as much as it can. Where it goes from here, is anyone’s guess.

Title: Nisemonogatari
Sub Group I Watched: Horrible
Episodes: 11
Rating (1-10): 8

Favorite Character: Shinobu Oshino
Least Favorite Character: Deishu Kaiki
Best Story Arc: Karen Bee
Snail Service: You can never go wrong with some of the awesome shit done to Hachikuji.
Lack of Senjougahara: Aside from the fact this was about The Fire Sisters, I felt the scenes that did have her in there were kind of placemats for something else to happen. They didn’t push forward their relationship much, and I didn’t care, but I think some people might. Still, since Shinobu got more focus and a voice this season, I will gladly overlook Senjougahara’s diminished presence.

Now then, let me frame some reference for this next part…

WatchRanking Weeks 1-10 (click to enlarge)

Probably the most difficult aspect of ranking shows each week is that when you have a tight group of well-rounded shows, it’s a hard game to put a number on them each week. Some fall flat and stay there, but others bounce all over the place, because you never know when they will pull out the stops one week and then fall silent the next. But here I’ll take a little time to explain my methods behind this season’s numbers. Going in Week 10 order from first to last:

Gundam AGE
Nobody should be surprised that I am going to lay a little bias on this year’s Gundam selection being a Gundam fan and fan of mecha anime in general. It ranked fourth to sixth through much of it’s first half-season during Fall 2011 mainly due to the fact that they spent most of the first arc setting up the story and the stage for the later episodes of the show. By the time Winter 2012 rolled around it started to really heat up and has stayed in the top five all but one week so far. What has kept it running hot is the fact that now that we know who is who and what is what, they’re going straight for your pleasure center in many episodes and bringing the bang. Can’t ask for more than that.

Moretsu Pirates
This is a show that gripped you pretty hard from the beginning but didn’t keep up the pressure after the third or fourth episode, but reapplied it around the ninth or tenth episode. Much of that is attributed to the fact that this is a full season show, so they aren’t cramming everything into the first half of the season, they spent a number of opening episodes establishing the world Marika lives in and what she will be facing in her trials. For a space anime, especially one that has a very modern Outlaw Star appeal to it, I love this, and am willing to overlook it in the long run.

Mirrai Nikki
In Fall 2011, Mirai Nikki kicked ass and took names. For a full season show, it had to continue to apply the pressure while still establishing the boundaries of “The Game” and what was going to happen in the world around Yuki. During the Winter 2012 season thus far, it has continued to maintain strong numbers, though falling back a but as it neared the final episodes. Still, much like it’s other full-season competitors, Shana and Gundam AGE, it has stayed very competitive and overall has maintained a better average standing among them.

The obvious advantage of this show is that ending this week, it doesn’t have to post numbers for Weeks 12 and 13. Still, this gave it a shorter time frame to prove itself in, and judging from my response, it didn’t need those two extra episodes so much as they could have made a better start. In Bakemonogatari the arcs were never more than two or three episodes in length, except “Tsubasa Cat” which was five. Granted they established and cleared the former characters of the show, and Nisemonogatari focused on Karen and Tsukihi, Karen took seven episodes to Tsukihi’s four. Of those seven, I’d say maybe three or four of them were actually relevant and the others were just things happening in the interim, or with other characters. So while I enjoyed the show overall, it’s numbers from week-to-week fluctuated because frankly, other shows were just doing better that week. Deal with it.

Ano Natsu de Matteru
This is a show that is also among my personal favorites this season, a partial explanation for strong numbers, but also because the show itself also stayed very tight in execution and didn’t spend too much time dawdling on anything long enough to distract your attention. It did lose out a couple weeks to some stronger shows, but it’s really coming together towards the end, mostly due to the love triangles closing up and producing maximum DAWWWW effects.

Senki Zesshou Symphogear
This show has been my top favorite for most of the season, and I wondered when it would start to fall and get overtaken by something mid-season. Week 4 found it slipping to second when Gundam AGE started its second arc and took the lead. But by Week 7 it slipped to eighth place mostly due to it’s awkward one-episode pout-fest with Miku. It’s come to rally back in recent weeks and is poised for a strong finish, but I’d have to say that for a show which kept the action flowing for so long, stopping was inevitably its weakest point.

Papa no Iu Koto o Kikinasai
The toughest part about ranking a show like this is that compared to more action-oriented shows in the season block, it’s going to do someone poorer because it’s not grabbing my dick and swinging it around, but don’t let that keep you from watching one of the best shows this season. Its rough start comes mostly from the fact that they took a few episodes to really get everyone set up where they needed to be, but mid-season they opened up several mini-arcs and introduced some critical characters that made the show fun, and it’s poised to likely have either a decent ending, or a good spot for making another season.

Rinne no Lagrange
To be honest, part of my fault here was I completely forgot to add this show to the list until Week 6, and rather than go back and fill in the missing numbers I left it blank/13 for the first five weeks. For the purposes of this though I went back and previewed those episodes and I will say that this show is another very well executed mecha/comedy show of the season. It does have some weak points scattered throughout the overall season, as they switch off from battles to psychological games and WAN often, which reflects in its first place posting in Week 6 but immediately falling back to ninth two weeks later. Its latest episode was pretty hot on the trigger though, so expect a good ending.

Shakugan no Shana
Ergh. Shana. Much of my initial criticism of this show in Fall 2011 was that it has a painfully slow start. Book readers told me that I should expect that though, as they build together the basis for the final battle. Once that kicked up I was loving every episode, but after the first major fight ended, it quickly fell back again and stalled for a couple weeks before going into the final battle, but rather than hold a final battle in the last two-three episodes it has been spanning six or seven episodes while rolling all sorts of little side-adventures and other parts of the main plot. All absolutely necessary things to end this show, but I’m afraid that was the reason I put it on the back-burner of the rankings each week, still good, still awesome, but this is the price full season shows pay.

Guilty Crown
There hasn’t been much love for this show among most hardcore fans this season and last, and in the Fall I kept it around the bottom half of the field throughout. This was due mostly to its sloppy writing, character building, and weak story elements. Sadly, it continued much of this into the second season, but by about Week 4-6 it started to throw a lot of things out the window and make a mad dash for the finish line in terms of action and suspense. Guilty Crown has very much been a show that many of us, despite our dislike for it, continue to watch because it is still offering good action even if Shoe is an idiot galore. But Week 9, say what you will, but Show manning the fuck up and taking charge with his new Void, that set the turning point. Let’s see if they can end it well.

Zero no Tsukaima F
The inherit problem with Zero is not that it is a bad show, but that being its fourth a final season, most people, or at least me, thought that they would do a lot more to send this show out with a bang. Instead we got a lot of short plots that were tangibly related to the “Final Battle” which really seems to be a poorly executed series of magical explosions. Other than a few badass moments, it’s been ranked eleventh now for six straight weeks and likely will finish there. Even the most recent episode aired will likely only push it up maybe one or two spots, because I don’t even know what to say, it’s all fucked up.

High School DxD
Some shows have stories and characters. Others are made for fanservice. Harem King has some nice visuals and some pretty neat characters, but every episode is more predictable than the last, and no matter how much you root for Issei to own face and sex up Rias, it just isn’t going to happen in a show that has been stacked against him since the first day. It’s most recent episode might jump a few pegs depending on the other contendors, but five straight weeks of twelfth place and three other weeks of tenth to eleventh doesn’t do it any favors. I’ve been told the manga is much, much better.

Tantei Opera Milky Holmes
Honestly, this was a show that could have been dropped and no one would be the wiser. It went weeks without having any subs done as the group was slow and ultimately gave up, and I think its fanbase gave up too when they released they were getting another season of the exact same shit. Look, I understand the plot was for them to lose their powers and become low-class bumbling peons, but after the first season you thought they could get their Toys back and do something new. But no, wash, rinse, back to the start. Forever last place. Please do us a favor and not make anymore of this show after this season. You ruined a good thing after its initial run.

Hope everyone found some fun in that. Three more shows end next week, Guilty Crown, Highschool DxD, and Zero no Tsukaima F, so stay tuned for those and everything else ending the week after. New stuff starts in April, can’t wait!

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