Spring 2013 Anime Season: First Impressions (Part I)

Shingeki no Kyojin - 02 Karneval - 02 Devil Survivor - 05 Date a Live - 03 Hataraku Maou-sama - 03 RDG - 01

It’s about 3 weeks into the new Spring 2013 anime season, and it’s about that time in the season when I pick and choose what anime I will be following until the bitter end, and which ones I’ll be dropping like a hot stone. I think that the three episode test is a generally good way of testing whether or not a show is worth sticking with.

I don’t think it’s fair to judge an anime on anything less than that since it usually takes two or so episodes to get character introductions, general plot, and setting established, and it’s hard to get a good sense for the series until after the third episode, when the real core of the story begins to emerge.  Sometimes it can take a little longer than three episodes, but it’s a good rule of thumb to follow – but certainly not ironclad.

Anyways, without further ado, here are my first impressions of a selection of shows that I’ve been catching so far this Spring season….

Date A Live

Date a Live - 01Date a Live - 02

I watched the first three episodes with basically no expectations… Dating harems are really not my thing, and the prospect of watching a high school student date a dangerous “spirit” in order to save the world wasn’t terribly appealing. But, I gave it a shot, and actually (and surprisingly) enjoyed the first episode just enough to move onto the second.

I was less enthused by the time I reached the third episode, however, especially since I felt that Tohka lost a lot of her interesting personality once she started dating Shido. She went from conflicted, melancholy, and feisty to just plain hungry. Also, annoying. Though, I admit she did have some cute moments….

Not sure how far I will go with Date A Live, but I’m hoping for and anticipating some good, city-crushing fallout when Tohka learns that Shido was only being nice to her (at least initially) so as to stop her from creating spacequakes. I also find the “dating experts” aboard the Fraxinus amusing. Overall, a generally fun show, not to be taken seriously at all.

First impressions: Lobotomies for everyone.
Verdict: Maybe one more episode….

DEVIL SURVIVOR 2 THE ANIMATION

Devil Survivor - 01Devil Survivor - 03

I liked the first episode, even if I thought the whole “high school kid summoning ultra powerful demon monster from his cell phone” premise close to ridiculous. But, I liked the animation, and secret agencies and monster fighting always piques my interest. Unfortunately, the premise and characters just couldn’t stand up in any real way in the second episode, and by the third, I was done.

Predictable, boring fight scenes, and attempts to be edgy without much success. Almost Digimon meets Evangelion, but without the transformation sequences, conflict, and actual plot.

First impressions: I can’t survive this anime.
Verdict: Dead Face me, Nicaea!

Hataraku Maou-sama!

Hataraku Maou-sama - 02Hataraku Maou-sama - 01

Hilarity! I’m really enjoying this one… I was worried the recently over-used plot line of Demon King vs. Hero would come off as boring and just a rehash of previous anime, but I was wrong…. The voice acting is top notch in this series, and dialogue and characters have been well thought out and entertaining. The plot has also taken an interesting turn, as an unknown threat has appeared on the horizon – which is great since I was initially worried that the entire show would just be about silly antics at a fast food joint.

What will happen in the future? Only time will tell…

First impressions: Would you like fries with that?
Verdict: Feed me!

Karneval

Karneval - 01Karneval - 03

Pretty boys galore. Oh, and I think there’s some sort of plot. But, mostly it’s pretty boys.

I enjoyed the first episode enough to carry on to the second, but that slight hold the anime held over me quickly plummeted like a popped balloon. There’s just only so many stock characters and cliches I can stand in one show.

I like the animation (colourful, fun and impractical costumes, good fight scenes when they happen) but I can’t stand the incomprehensible plot. I mean, a top notch government agency putting on circus shows as an apology for scaring the citizens during their explosive operations? Clearly some terribly contrived way to justify calling the agency “Circus” and naming the anime “Karneval”. Add in a brain-dead main character, and you’ve got one big yawn of a show.

First impressions: ZZZzzz….
Verdict: Get me out of this sideshow!

RDG: Red Data Girl

RDG 02 - 59RDG 02 - 38

Loved the first episode and its premise, but I am sad to say that it’s really not living up to my initial expectations. I like the heroine, Suzuhara, much more now, but I find the majority of the characters boring, stereotypical, and flat. Miyuki has failed to evolve into a compelling character, despite his potential after the first 2 episodes, and the rest of the cast appears to exist only to play their prescribed role and then disappear. But, since the series is only a scant 12 episodes long, and there are many characters yet to introduce, it’s no wonder that the anime is sprinting along.

First impressions: Like seeing beautiful scenery from a fast moving car.
Verdict: Might as well keep on driving…

Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)

Shingeki no Kyojin - 01Shingeki no Kyojin - 03

I was blown away by the first episode, with it’s gorgeous animation and heart-stopping story, and instead of the second episode dropping in quality (which I find is a general trend for new series), the tension only continued to increase. I think episode three will be the real test of how good this anime will really be though…. With the introductions over, the main characters set, and the basic story established, I hope that the storytelling and tension doesn’t drop off.

The only thing I’m not sold on is their method of killing titans, that is with giant swords and some sort of wire flying contraption strapped to their bodies. I don’t get how it really works, and from what I’ve seen in the opening, I don’t find this method of fight exciting at all… only kinda silly. Here’s hoping that there’s a good explanation behind it all, and that the mass jumping in the opening doesn’t come true.

That said, I’m looking forward to see how the time jump will change our main cast, and what kinds of skills they will acquire. Especially with the whole “daddy did a science experiment on you” element with Eren in play….

Oh, and Mikasa. Need I say more?

First impressions: Mikasa.
Verdict: More Mikasa.

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2 thoughts on “Spring 2013 Anime Season: First Impressions (Part I)

  1. Suisei no Gargantia and Hataraku Maou-sama is where its at for me this anime season, although I’m also keeping up with Red Data Girl, Aku no Hana, and Attack on Titan as secondary but still fun shows. It’s a surprisingly solid line-up all around actually, because despite disappointments like Karneval, I very rarely follow this many shows from any one given new season.
    With Attack on Titan, I think I must be one of the only people not totally sold on the artwork. I don’t have anything I especially hate about it, but I’m not loving the thick black character outlines either, which seem a little at odds with the otherwise quite realistic backgrounds. To me it adds a weirdly cartoonish feel to what is evidently going to a dark and gritty series, so I’m not really sure why the creators decided to go with that. Otherwise, it’s an enjoyable ride so far.

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    • Hataraku Maou-sama was really not what I was expecting when I started watching it… But, I sure am glad I decided to give it a go! The comedic aspects have been really well done, and now that the plot is also picking up, I really can’t wait to see what happens next…

      Agreed that Karneval is a disappointment, but since I wasn’t expecting much from that show, I am actually more disappointed with Red Data Girl, because I really think that it could have been a lot better. The basic premise is interesting, though I feel like there are just too many story threads going every which way that it’s put most of the character development on the back burner and forced every episode to devote far too much time to exposition – a byproduct of forcing so much story (its based off of a novel series of 6 volumes) into a 1 cour show…

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