Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Summer's Over

Fall has arrived in New England. The days are cool and crisp; there's more rain. The nights are longer than the days and downright cold. While the leaves haven't started turning, the ferns are turning brown and folding up. Summer is over.

So it's time to take a brief look back at the Summer 2012 anime season. I don't have much to say, because I found most of it unwatchable. My favorites:
  • Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita. Quirky, maddening, and hilarious by turns, Jinrui was my favorite show of the summer. It's a ferociously angry satire about the human condition, and its fractured story-telling and bizarre changes of tone only added to its appeal. The nameless narrator ("Watashi" - "I" in Japanese) provided a sardonic, bemused tour through a fallen human world and its new inheritors, the adorable, dangerous, and malleable fairies. Some of the set pieces - like the headless chickens plunging to their doom to the strains of "Ave Maria," or the spectacular self-immolation of robot Bread-san - left indelible impressions. Alas, the BD sales for volume 1 are only so-so, so I think we've seen the last of Watashi and her world.
  • Binbougami ga. A mostly over-the-top, take-no-prisoners comedy filled with bizarre characters, parodies, and the like. There were occasional dips into seriousness - sometimes with disastrous effects - but mostly it was non-stop slapstick, much of it politically incorrect. I mean, seriously, an S&M-loving dog-god and a perverted monk who sing a hymn of praise to "oppai" (boobs) to open an explicitly labeled fanservice episode? gg did a great job localizing the show and the gags.
  • Hyouka. A carryover from the spring season, Hyouka worked at multiple levels: as eye candy, as a study of high-school aimlessness, as (occasionally) a mystery show, but mostly as a character study. The quartet of leads were interesting and complicated, and the series gave them time to show their characters developing and changing. Even Miss "I'm Curious," Chitanda Eru, was shown to have greater depths that the adorable, somewhat ditzy personality she showed on the surface. The show was beautiful to look at (KyoAni, natch), but it was also worth looking at.
  • Moyashimon Returns. Those talking microbes are irresistible; must be the science student in me. I wish the show hadn't left so many threads hanging, but it was fun to hang out with the gang for another season.
That's pretty much it, as far as I'm concerned. I lost interest in Natsuiro Kiseki, Joshiraku, and Utakoi fairly quickly. Hagure and Dakara were too shoddy for even the abundant fanservice to compensate. Many of the other shows (Kokoro, Oda Nobuna, Tari Tari, Koi, Campione, Arcana Famiglia) seemed like retreads of retreads. Accel World and its sibling Sword Art Online also get the DTD (done to death) award. I didn't finish the first season of Rinne no Lagrange, so the second season didn't work either. And as for the end of Sket Dance... there was much rejoicing.

Of the ongoing shows, I continue to look forward to Polar Bear's Cafe, whose droll style and shaggy bear stories seem to improve week over week, and Poyopoyo, which is truer to life that most cat fanciers would care to admit. If the fall shows prove disapointing, I may go back and start on Space Brothers, which failed to catch my eye the first time around.

See ya!

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