Spring 2013 Anime Season: First Impressions (Part II)

Aku no Hana - 02 Arata Kangatari - 03 Crime Edge - 03 Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince - 02 Suisei No Gargantia - 02 Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Come Wa Machigatteiru - 03

In this second and final instalment of my first impressions of the Spring 2013 anime season, we continue with six more series that I may or may not end up following….

Of course, there are plenty of other shows are are airing this season, other than the 12 I’ve covered in parts I and II of my first impressions, but unfortunately you just can’t watch them all… at least not immediately! Depending on the reviews and impressions of the remaining shows, I may pick other series from this season up in the future – but probably only after they have finished airing.

Aku no Hana

Aku no Hana - 03Aku no Hana - 01

I’m not sure what is so traumatic about someone stealing your gym clothes that you have to tell a teacher, involve the school, and cry in front of your homeroom class, but that aside…. Aku no Hana is really awkward to watch. It’s like reliving what you might imagine to be the most awkward times of every high schooler ever put under the microscope. Except, for all it’s “realism”, I can’t imagine any of this happening, which somehow makes all the more cringeworthy. As a result, I also really can’t relate to any of these characters.

A lot of people have had some issues over the animation, but I suppose it fits in with the story. I’m not sold on it, but I don’t find it terrible either. I also feel like this anime could have gone either way – that is full on realistic (like it is currently), or hilarious comedy central full of antics and panty shots.

Anyways, watching someone dig themselves into an even deeper hole is never pretty.

First impressions: A big pit of awkward.
Verdict: No sympathy.

Arata Kangatari

Arata Kangatari - 02Arata Kangatari - 01

If you just went by the synopsis, one would think that this show would have everything needed to create a solid anime: a mysterious world filled with magic, a bullied kid transported from his everyday life, mystical swords, princesses… Unfortunately, Arata Kangatari falls pretty flat. I’m not really sure why it fails, but after two episodes, I was basically bored.

Maybe it’s the fault of the source material (a manga by the same name), but I found the characters and the setting mostly dull, with many of the motivations and actions of the characters lacking basic logic. Captured the only person who knows that you betrayed the princess, and who possesses a magical sword? Banishment over the death penalty, obviously! The world requires a female princess to be born from a particular clan, but only males have been born in many generations? Eradicate the clan because that will solve the problem! I could go on….

The one thing I am interested in watching is how the Arata transported to modern day Tokyo will fare.

First impressions: An all too familiar premise.
Verdict: An all too familiar feeling of disappointment.

Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge

Crime Edge - 02Crime Edge - 01

A boy with a severe hair fetish is thrown into a deadly game where the weapons are the tools used by murderers? Well, okay.. I guess?

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect going into Crime Edge, but after giving it a shot, I have to say that I liked more than I thought I would. I don’t quite buy the premise of the show (if they kill the Hair Queen before she’s had a baby, doesn’t that end the whole game right then and there forever?), and if it’s trying to be creepy or scary at all it’s not working, but maybe that doesn’t matter. The animation is cute and the whole “hair fetish” is less weird than I thought it would be (similar to, but not nearly as strange as the whole saliva fetish in Mysterious Girlfriend X).

There’s just enough between the main characters for me to continue watching… at least for one more episode. I just hope this series isn’t too episodic.

First impressions: Needs a haircut.
Verdict: Not cut off quite yet.

Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince

Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince - 01Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince - 03

A group of terrible school students at a space academy are suddenly dragged into a major conflict with alien invaders where they (beyond all logic) excel at their mission. It’s a familiar scenario, and while there were glimmers of some originality, I found the first two episodes mostly dull. It wasn’t until the third episode that I began to connect with the characters. I found their feelings of conflict and psychological stress over their sudden rise to fame understandable and interesting, and am interested to learn about how and why these child-soldiers entered the military academy in the first place.

While I find some characters grating, I did like was the whole social media aspect of the show, where the pilots are able to read the comments of the populace on their computers/tablets – with not all of the comments being flattering. I also found the whole thing about needing sponsors and putting advertising on the mechs an interesting element that isn’t often seen in anime (reminds me of Tiger and Bunny), and the animation was quite good as well. I’ll be trying another episode or two, if only because episode three finally showed some promise.

First impressions: Not the strongest start….
Verdict: But, I can work with this.

Suisei no Gargantia

Suisei No Gargantia - 01Suisei No Gargantia - 03

When I first started Suisei no Gargantia, I watched the first two episodes in quick succession, one right after the other…. and when I was finished, I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t anything more for me to see until next week… Needless to say, I’m hooked on this anime. I love the characters (tanned girls!), the animation (great colour!), the voice acting, the world – so far, it’s hitting all the right buttons, and I am super grateful that I don’t find any of the characters particularly annoying or grating.. In fact, after episode three, they (thankfully) appear to act rationally.

There’s been plenty of great action so far, but what I’ve really been enjoying is the dialogue. I really love the interactions between the AI, Chamber, and the main character, Ledo, as well as Ledo’s interactions with Amy and the rest of the crew as he attempts to understand the world he’s in. Ledo reminds me a lot of Sousuke from Full Metal Panic, and I’m getting Eureka 7 vibes from the whole “insider/outsider ship crew” setup.

My only concern is that this is a 1 cour (12 episodes) anime. I hope everything will wrap up/progress at an appropriate pace as the series continues.

First impressions: Sci fi space mechs meets Waterworld?
Verdict: Why isn’t it next week already?!

Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Come Wa Machigatteiru

Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Come Wa Machigatteiru - 02Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Come Wa Machigatteiru - 01

A quirky school comedy with snappy dialogue? Sign me up! I’m having lots of fun watching this series, which is turning out to be a cross between the friendless and socially inept cast of Tomodachi ga Sukunai and some version of the Jersey Club in Rinne no Lagrange. I like the dynamics between the main cast, I am looking forward to seeing how they develop through their interactions.

It’s not the most original scenario, but the show has a nice mix of comedic and serious scenes which gives the characters and the show itself more depth. There are also flashes of the past that pop up every now and then, pointing towards the possible reasons behind our main character’s attitude towards life. Can’t wait to see more icy and to the point dialogue from Yukino, cynical and snarky remarks from Hachiman, and happy-go-lucky antics from Yui….

First impressions: Friendless outcasts create comedy gold?
Verdict: Join the club!


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

  1. Ditto about being completely hooked on Suisei no Gargantia. I didn’t expect this at all, not being particularly big on mecha, but so far it’s easily my favourite show of the current season. I’ve always liked intelligently scripted character-driven stories anyway, but Gargantia has taken me by surprise by how good it actually is. And the visuals aren’t anything to sniff at either.
    I don’t know about Aku no Hana not being realistic. I mean, sure, people aren’t going around tearing off each other’s clothes in the library (I hope), but emotions run pretty damn high at Japanese schools – I think this series captures how ugly it can all get really well. It’s an exaggeration of that ugliness, but I don’t think it’s a fabricated ugliness, if that makes sense.


    • Yes, Suisei no Gargantia has been fun so far. Great cast and story. I especially like how the mecha itself was given a distinct personality and character (through Chamber). Looking forward to the next episode!

      As for Aku no Hana, I agree that Japanese schools have a different dynamic than Western schools, and perhaps I’m not taking that into account enough. I actually find Kasuga’s emotions and thought processes to be realistic, but I guess I just can’t get past how the conflicts and situations are presented in such a highly concentrated and hyperreal way. Perhaps it has something to do with how both the animation and the situations the anime presents are aiming for some sort of realism, that to me it all just becomes some sort of parody of extreme teenage angst.


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