Winter 2013 Set Menu

After at least seeing one episode each from a good majority of the winter season shows, I’ve finally narrowed down which ones I would like to follow.  Anime that I tried and did not make it include Sasami-san@Ganbarani, Cuticle Detective Inaba, Amnesia, Yama no Susume, Mangirl!, and Vividred Operation.  I’m also still waiting on the premier of Savanna Game, for which I have some hope.  There were a surprising number of dark horses this time around, so I may have a bit of trouble keeping up with them all from week to week! But because of the unexpected number of anime I’ll be watching, I’m looking forward to updating more often.  So as usual, take a look at what I’ve decided upon and let me know what you think and whether there are other shows you’d like me to consider! Bon appétit!

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Boku no Imouto wa Osaka Okan
There are plenty of these mini episodes airing this season, and I’m not sure if that’s a recent development or if shorter-length anime have always been around and I’ve just never noticed.  Kyousuke’s little sister from Osaka, Namika, has started living with his family and the five minutes are filled with jokes and tidbits about Osaka, ranging from differences in language and phrasing, food, and habits.  Normally, little sister anime are a red flag for me, but I decided to stick with this show since I am curious about how Osakan culture differs from general Japanese culture.  Another oddity to this show is its flash art style.  I’m not sure yet whether or not I like its use here, other than to emphasize the quick shot atmosphere.

Surprise ingredient(s): If there’s one thing I like about the art style, it’s Namika’s character design.  Her blue-haired pigtails, cat eyes and mouth, and colorful sweater make for an adorable look.  Unfortunately, her bangs are held back by an accessory that looks like a ridiculously large paper clip.  If I were to really own a hair clip of that size and pushed it into my bangs, I promise you that it would not lay flat like it seems to on Namika, but the top end would stick out like an antenna.

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Boku no Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT
“Haganai” is such an odd choice for me with its sometimes brilliant, sometimes toxic combination of humor, mean-spiritedness, and fan service.  There are plenty of times where I genuinely can’t stop laughing, but also moments where I just sit there cringing from the vicious trolling and in-your-face screenshots of various body parts, both male and female.  You can’t rest easy with this show; it constantly has you on the edge of your chair teetering between hot and cold. And that’s probably its main charm for me, that ability to constantly entertain.  I actually couldn’t remember if the first season was quite at this level, but other viewers reassure me that it was.

Something odd about this series that I just realized watching this opening episode of the second series is that I don’t very much like most of the cast.  Yet I’m compelled to watch them clash against one another and try to figure out how to fit in as high school students.  Again, that impulse may just be another indicator of the quality of writing for this show, that it’s able to sustain my interest despite its unlikable characters.  I would very much like to see some softening in Yozora’s character.  There are times where I like her, like when she’s having a one-on-one with Kodaka.  Some of her more mild pranks on Sena do make me laugh.  But she also has an incredible mean streak whose source I just can’t place.  While I can understand the urge to tease someone as gullible and receptive as Sena, outright bullying is unacceptable.  Kodaka, in turn, needs to step up and fulfill exactly what he claimed he would do to Sena’s father: protect Sena.  I’m not talking about the chivalrous white knight sort of hero, but the “I’m a friend to both of you so play nice” type of guy.  Rebuke Yozora when she goes over the line, and inform Sena when she’s being exploited.

Secret ingredient(s): As usual, I hope for more screen time of the mad scientist, Rika! I prefer her more when she’s in pervert mode rather than when she teams up with Yozora to bully Sena.

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Chihayafuru 2
My most anticipated series finally  aired and I’m more than ready for more karuta and hopeful romantic progress! As much as I loved the first season, I was extremely disappointed in not getting to see Chihaya through to her dream to be Queen, nor see Taichi finally progress to Class A.  In hindsight, however, the slower progress worked better for the overall quality and cohesion of the series.  But now that the second season, a 2-cour, has begun, and the high school karuta is fully formed and capable, I’m looking forward to an action-packed show.  It still makes me laugh how this softly drawn and colored anime can induce me to such cheering fervor, but the karuta games truly are nail-biting.

Greedy Chihaya insures that this show will have plenty of material to cover.  There’s the high school Nationals, the individual Queen and King tournament, and the high school Karuta Club to consider.  Refusing to prioritize any of them over the other means she and the other team members will have to give 110% if they’re to succeed at all.  This opening arc seems like it’ll focus on the club and the start of a new semester.  That means new students and possibly new club members.  Unfortunately, it appears that a good majority of those interested in joining are only curious about good looking Taichi and Chihaya instead of about the game.  And there’s certainly two candidates that I’m betting will make it into the main cast before the next couple of episodes are up.

Surprise ingredient(s):  Newcomer Sumire has her sights dead on Taichi.  The scene where she appraises her competition in Chihaya and Kana is simply hilarious:
“She’s definitely an enemy.  Pretty, clueless, and dumb.  She’s every girl’s enemy!” (referencing Chihaya, Commie fansubs)
“Small figure and huge boobs! Enemy!” (referencing Kana)

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Kotoura-san
I had no plans of picking up this show at the start of the season, but after Akira’s positive comments about it on Twitter, I felt obligated to try it.  And wow, did it surprise me! From the vague blurb about it on the anime chart, I had expected it to be fluffy from the start, and fairly generic.  I knew that it had a bit of a fantastical element since the main character has ESP, but again, I expected more of a positive, comical inclusion of that ability.  Instead, her ability to read others’ thoughts brings her nothing but pain, first from her friends, then her teacher, and sadly finally from her parents.  I’ve never been the victim of bullying, nor was there much of it in the sheltered schools where I grew up, but I am aware of children’s ability for cruelty (Ender’s Game, anyone?).  What starts as Kotoura’s innocent wins at rock-paper-scissors escalates into her spouting out the thoughts of her friends and family, even their deepest secrets.  While I can understand her maybe replying to their thoughts on accident, some of the instances felt forced.  Even in late elementary school, I think I had the tact to not tell my friend’s crush that she liked him.  The confusion of those around her turns to anger, then eventually to hate.  I found it incredibly sad that even her teachers felt nothing but relief when she had to transfer.  But the most heartbreaking moment of all came when her once seemingly perfect home life fell apart and her parents abandoned her to the care of her grandfather.  Of all people, it’s family that should be the ones to stand by your side when the world seems to be against you.

There’s a gorgeous moment where the original, dark filter cracks across the screen, then shatters into the brighter colors I had expected at the start.  Kotoura’s eyes, which had turned dull in response to all the negative emotions around her, snapped into focus.  It took just one person to make her realize that not everyone is the same, and that she doesn’t have to punish herself for the comfort of others.  I can only hope Manabe can also help her realize her own worth.

Surprise ingredient(s): I found it kind of priceless how Kotoura would impulsively reply to the thoughts of those speaking to her out of obligation.  Of course I would be annoyed if I knew that my classmates were pretending interest in me, but I think the natural reaction is to force politeness in turn.  Her lack of care in response quickly pushes them away, but also cuts off any chance of finding possible friendship despite first impressions.

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Love Live! School Idol Project
I feel like I’m really stepping out on a line with this show since it isn’t what usually attracts me, but I’ve got a past with The iDOLM@STER anime and the convincing reactions from fellow bloggers backing my decision.  But stick with this show, I will, because I’m honestly interested in seeing whether Honoka’s ridiculous idea is actually insane enough to help the school and prevent it from closing.  It seems strange to me that a school would even allow something like an idol program since it opens up a whole new area of student privilege and more than possible reasons for the involved students to miss school.  There are already cliques enough in high school, even middle school, but to actually have one condoned by the school seems rather doubtful to me.  I’m on the side of the student council of barring the club from being formed, but given the spoilers in the OP, they’re obviously going to have a change of mind.

These misgivings of mine will hopefully make an appearance in the show as trials for the girls to overcome, as drama for them to pass through to truly blossom as idols.  Part of me also wants them succeed.  I do have a weakness for makeovers and constantly envision what I or other women around me would look like with completely new wardrobes and attention to hair and makeup.  If there’s any time for the girls to revel in their youth and energy, it’s now.

Surprise ingredient(s): I think it was Scamp who commented on how musicals make everything better.  And I’m inclined to agree.  One of my favorite episodes in Kurenai was where they all burst into song and dance.  To this day, I can’t help but sing along to Buffy’s “Once More, With Feeling” (I would have loved it if Firefly included one). How the end of the episode melded into the ED fit this idea perfectly.

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Maoyuu Maou Yuusha
After reading the blah excerpt about the show, I really did not expect much from this anime.  But, like I am wont to do, I gave it a try and was pleasantly surprised with its art and war economy background.  Forgive the unforgivable, but it’s a bit of Sword Art Online mixed with Spice and Wolf.  The fantastical setting of human versus demon sounds like the inspiration for many a video game and manga, but the interesting spin of beneficial war economics saves the opening episode from mediocrity.  I just wish there had been less boobs and boring male and more creative touches like the memory lamp.  That object worked beautifully both for visual and for presenting backstory.  When considered hand-in-hand with the darkly patterned backgrounds, I get a vibe very similar to the one from Dantalian no Shoka.  If only the detail had wormed its way into the characters’ personalities, particularly Yuusha’s.

Yuusha’s lack of memorable characteristics forces Maou to completely carry the burden of catching the audience’s appeal.  While her initial impression through personality alone–curious and bubbly–was a good one, I was also turned off by how often her boobs were shoved in my face.  That type of humor just seems odd in consideration of the otherwise tasteful background art.  I don’t know if the show plans on switching out her clothes into something more travel conscious, but I for one would appreciate a change to both her wardrobe and to Yuusha’s entire bland disposition.

Surprise ingredient(s): While the sexual humor fell mostly flat for me, I did laugh a good bit at the big reveal about Maou’s devil horns.  Like Yuusha, my jaw dropped the moment she pulled off her horn headband like I weary king taking of his weighty crown.

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Minami-ke Tadaima
Probably one of the most anticipated sequels of the season, and perhaps the several past seasons, Minami-ke enters the scene at a perfect time.  The lack of my type of humor from the winter had started to wear on me, and I was really missing Nichijou and Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou (Shirokuma Cafe is still running, but doesn’t always hit the funny spot).  I have been a fan of this anime franchise from the first season, and so of course have some worries due to the many changes the show has undergone through each new addition.  The original is hailed by most, including myself, to be the best, while the immediate sequel is pinned for its abrupt change in art style and humor.  The third season took a step back towards the roots, but didn’t completely succeed in overshadowing the first.  And now that the fourth is here, it looks like what originally made everyone love the Minami sisters is back to party.

Despite its slice-of-life school set up, there’s just something comical about the characters and gags in Minami-ke.  Attribute it to timing, dialogue, or whatever else, but all I know is that I am very excited about the coming weeks.  Now truth be told, I did find a surprising number of the jokes were more miss than hit, and I’m not sure if that’s due to a change in humor or if that’s just how Minami-ke has always been for me.

Surprise ingredient(s): The segment where Kana realizes that while she may not have the emotional pull to get what she wants but that she can use others who do, like Chiaki or Miyuki-chan.  It cracked me up that Kana knew she lacked sincerity and had absolutely no qualms about twisting someone else’s needs for her own.

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Mondaijitachi ga Isekai Kara Kuru Sou Desu yo
I tend to scan through the episodes that I download before sitting down to really watch them so I can check for quality and subs.  And I admit, when I first skipped through Mondaijitachi I was a bit concerned after seeing the bunny gir, “Black Rabbit”.  I had forgotten the blurb about this show but figured it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try; however, seeing her I assumed that, 1. this would be a fanservice-y, wish fulfillment type of fantasy, and 2. she was nothing but a mascot-type character.  They are both correct to a certain degree, but after really watching the episode, I have a bit of faith that the anime may have some of what I was looking for from Sword Art Online.  Getting yanked into a fantastical world isn’t anything new, but the premise that this world is particularly for those from several worlds gifted with extraordinary powers to use for games and gambling sounds entertaining.

The art style is nothing special, and follows a bright color scheme fitting with the positive and imaginative world.  I do wish more thought had been put into our characters’ designs, since they are generic and could be found in numerous other shows.  They personalities, too, are fairly stereotypical: a princess-type character, a shy/quiet girl, and an overly strong boy with a chip on his shoulder.  I’d like to see them show more to themselves than what I’ve seen so far.

Surprise ingredient(s): At first, Black Rabbit was everything I was worried she would be: flighty, squishy, and easy to bully.  But her later transformation into hyper speed bunny was actually pretty cool.  If only she had the salty background of the hares from Brian Jacques’ books…

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Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru
With the exception of AnoHana, lately whenever I see a long title, I figure I should steer clear of it.  There have been a whole slew of little sister and harem genre shows with longwinded titles coming out these past few years.  And at first glance, this particular anime isn’t all that different from the crowd.  Yes, there is a little sister figure, and yes, there’s another love interest ensuring a small harem for our unremarkable protagonist.  But there are a few key differences that have snagged my interest:

  • The main character is so far neither dim-witted nor perverted.  His studies consume his time, as does a goal of acceptance into a public university for medical students.
  • He has a firm resolution against any sort of high school romance.
  • The “it” girl who has received 58 confessions in 60 days holds zero interest for the attentions of her peers; her classroom declaration of love for Kidou is nothing but a ploy to make herself unavailable.
  • Her dirt on Kidou is both hilarious and believable.  I know I would probably get a bit violent if one of my old diaries was uncovered and passed around.

It is refreshing to have a male whose mind doesn’t jump immediately to the female physical assets.  The moment when he realizes that his much hoped for peace for studying has been shattered by a simple seating arrangement has just the right amount of comedy.  Unfortunately, even with the unique details of the characters the direction of this show seems predictable.  I think it inevitable that one of the two will fall in love with the other.  If that is the way that the story goes, I can only hope that the development is also cleverly crafted.

Surprise ingredient(s): Again, I’m pleased that Kidou is not a passive character.  He immediately confronts Natsukawa for her suspicious actions, both in the classroom then later on the walk home.  I think many other males in other anime would have accepted her confession without question, thinking themselves the luckiest guys in the world.

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Saki: Achiga-hen–Episode of Side-A Specials
While this “series’ season” may be a very, very short one, as its purpose is to only wrap up where the previous could not, I’m still looking forward to these three episodes bringing closure to the long journey that has been Saki.  And if there isn’t closure, I sure as hell will not be following this anime once again for subsequent seasons.  I’ve got a lot of built-up frustration over the circles the main part of Achiga-hen has made us jump, from a completely new cast, to horrible pacing jumping too quickly into the Nationals, and overly drawn out matches.  I understand that the over-the-top mahjong moves and character backgrounds are almost all of what makes Saki what it is, but Achiga-hen crossed the line long ago for keeping its audience’s attention and ultimately failed to satisfy.  Whether or not these last three episodes can finish what was started will soon be seen.  There’s something sad about me wading through Achiga’s matches just in hopes of seeing more of the Kiyosumi team.

Surprise ingredient(s): It was a great relief to finally witness a member from the Achiga team actually play competently.  Yuu’s adaptability to her opponents’ skills and calm demeanor during matches actually make her interesting to watch; heck, I even cheer for her! Plus, I do love her character design.  I have a weakness for cute winter gear like mittens and scarves!

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Tamako Market
In what might otherwise be a typical slice-of-life moe-fest, a talking bird has made the opening episode a positive and memorable one.  That one fantastical insert did a fabulous job of introducing the various characters.  I am concerned that once the novelty of the bird wears off, though, that there will be less discussion from others about this show.  I, for one, would still watch Tamako Market even if Mochimazzui (the bird) wasn’t present, since the shopping district setting, particularly the mochi store, still interest me.  But since he’s in it, I can’t help but vaguely see this show as Ikoku Meiro no Croisee crossed with Ano Natsu de Matteru.  We have an absurdly sweet and innocent girl in a shopping district beset upon by a strange creature from another land.  This alien talking bird arrives with a mission, but is sidetracked by Tamako’s family and their heavenly mochi.

The color palette and art style of Tamako Market are superb, and K-ON!‘s character designer Horiguchi Yukiko fits in perfectly with Tamako’s personality and the absurd premise of the bird.

Secret ingredient(s): I became ridiculously excited at the end of the episode when Tamako implied that future episodes would be introducing different types of mochi.  Watch out! After I move my kitchen may just become a mochi restaurant!

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Also, new banner for the Winter 2013 season! ^_^

Continuing from fall season:

  • Bakuman 3
  • Hunter x Hunter
  • Magi
  • Polar Bear Cafe
  • Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo
  • Space Brothers
  • Zetsuen no Tempest

Backlog:

  • Psycho-Pass
  • Robotics;Notes
  • Shin Sekai Yori
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31 thoughts on “Winter 2013 Set Menu

  1. That’s a lot of shows! The anime that I’ve liked to some degree from winter are probably just The Unlimited, Kotoura-san, and Amnesia. And I guess Osaka Momma, LOL! Kind of funny to see someone else mention that one.
    Too bad you didn’t like Amnesia, since that’s in a cafe! But it is admittedly pretty bizarre so far. I guess that’s why I’m still watching it–to find out what it’s actually going to be about.
    Your comparison between Kotoura-san and Ender’s Game is an interesting one! There may be a similar theme in the two of them, regarding how easily people can shun those they don’t understand. I also found it very sad Kotoura’s parents abandoned her like that. Little kids will rarely keep quiet if they feel they have something important to say, so it’s very unfortunate nobody was willing to work with Kotoura’s power at all. Until, of course, Manabe-kun entered the picture. Still need to see ep 2 of this one.

    1. Yes, I really can’t think of another blogger who’s watching Osaka mother. I think if it was just 10 or so minutes longer, I’d probably not be as interested since the comic style is so repetitive. As it is now though, I’m having fun learning abut the stereotypes.

      As for Amnesia, I really was interested at the start with the art style and setting. I love the characters’ clothing, and I already had my eye on the genki male friend. What bothered me so much though was the mostly static animation. Most scenes featured stills with talking heads. And I know the main girl is supposed to be a blank slate with her lost memory and all, but her complete passivity to bullying and her whole situation was just too much for me.

      There’s a scene in the second episode of Kotoura that I think you’ll appreciate where Manabe does what is right and puts someone in their place. It’s satisfying to see someone stand up to bullying, since it seems that usually the opposite happens.

  2. I just love Minami-ke and happy to see it back. Only thing left to see is Tamako Market and Love Live! School Idol Project, which I should get around to tomorrow. As for Kotoura-san, I like the character and the idea, but the execution for the first two episodes were a complete mess and just not confident in what it is trying to do. Really rooting for it, but that is something that is going to have to change for me to really enjoy it.

    1. Kotoura really came through as one of the strongest premiers of the season, but like you say, it has some definite weaknesses in pacing and plot progression. The first half of the pilot was gripping and severely depressing, almost comically dramatic, but it really got to me. My family is really close knit so it horrified me how her parents did the exact opposite of what parents should do. But then the second half and follow up second episode were a bit overly positive. A+ for entertainment, though!

  3. 1. Namika is indeed cute! This recently trend with huge hairclips is unexplainable…
    2. Tamako Market makes my day. It’s so joyous! I like the bird but Neko hated it from day 1 like a true cat :P I’m very interested in seeing a good treatment of the trans* character and I have high hopes after the tender and subtle scenes about Midori. Kyoani will work wonders I hope, like with Hyouka.
    Is it really the character designer the one from K-on? They remind me more of Hyouka’s. I tried Chuuni2 last season and one of the reasons I had trouble liking it to the fullest coz its design was totally like K-on, with too round eyes, that give a loli/shota look. I don’t feel this with Tamako Market.
    3. Kotoura-san was exceptional. I don’t have any complaint. The scene you mentioned was very characteristic. I also was moved to tears by her silent scream. I loled at the scene where Manabe patted her head when she was crying and Kotoura detected his perverted thoughts. What’s astounding is how his pervertedness is handled; it isn’t crude, it’s just fun.
    4. Chihayafuru is hopeless in the romance department I think, but I don’t watch the series for this anyways. It’d be wonderful, if we had a realistic approach, where everyone ends with someone else or his/her career.

    1. Recent trend? Ooh, I don’t think I’ve noticed any other huge hair clips in anime; you should send me some pics! I’ve tried numerous times to work the bang hair clips, both single and double, but it never seems to look as cute or stay as secure as it does in anime.

      That cracks me up that Neko doesn’t like Dera! How befitting of him! I love the whole sneezing thing and how he gets all enamored every time it happens. I don’t have any hopes of the show living up to Hyouka, but I do think I’ll enjoy it a good bit. And yes, about the character designer: Horiguchi Yukiko. Shows include Hyouka (so you’re also right there), K-ON!, Lucky Star, and Kokoro Connect. If you look at the characters side by side I think you’ll see the resemblance :)

      I admit to chortling a bit when Kotoura gave that cry after the kitten was taken away. That result was predictable and I guess I’ve just gotten accustomed to seeing cries of anguish in anime? I’ve never seen someone do that in real life, so it usually comes across to me as overly dramatic. I did love how afterward her eyes went dull–that was more heartbreaking to me.

  4. While I am hopelessly addicted to mochi, I just wasn’t able to get interested in Tamako Market. I did like seeing the scenes depicting the process of making kochi, but the talking bird decreased my interest.

    Chihayafuru 2 – YEAH!

    1. Ooh! You’re the first person I’ve come across who doesn’t like the bird. Most others say that Dera is what saves the show from mediocrity. I’d be fine either way since I enjoy slice-of-life and that store district seems like it be fascinating all on its own. And three cheers for more Chihayafuru!

  5. After three episodes I feel that “Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru” is a misleading title, unless it completely takes a turn for the worse in the coming episodes… (our protagonist has already shown signs of being a typical dumb one)

    I’m maybe a bit weird, but I find the characters in Mondaiji-tachi refreshing. It’s been a while since I saw characters not giving a single care in the world, so it’s fun for me :)

    1. I don’t know if it was just me, but I actually thought that Chiwa was his little sister at the beginning. So the title was doubly misleading for me :D I didn’t find Eita dumb in these past two episodes, at least not obviously so; what was it about him that you determined “dumb”?

      After continuing on to ep. 2 of Mondaiji-tachi, I’m really glad that I decided to keep it. Kasukabe’s “gift” with animals is pretty neat, though I guess I find it a bit of a letdown that her power is a result of an outside source and not inherent.

      1. You haven’t seen the third episode? Let’s just say he doesn’t get something very obvious, especially when it’s said out loud ^^”

        Kasukabe’s “gift” with animals is pretty neat, though I guess I find it a bit of a letdown that her power is a result of an outside source and not inherent.

        Makes one wonder where the father got the gift…

      2. Oho! You’ve got me especially waiting for that 3rd ep. now :)

        It wasn’t until my screenshot hunt that I re-heard and absorbed the fact that the trio are from different worlds. I had assumed in my first viewing they were from the same one. Perhaps Kasukabe’s home world is one where objects of power like that amulet are fairly normal. I would like to learn more about her father, definitely.

  6. Out of curiosity, why didn’t you like Sasami-san? I ask because I didn’t care much for the first episode, but the second was more enjoyable once Shaft gives some explanation for what’s going on.

    Kotoura-san‘s a strange show because even though it does both the drama and comedy fairly well, the difference in tone is so stark that it feels like two different shows pasted together.

    1. Sasami-san‘s whole set up with the hikikomori sister stalking her brother and seeing life through his eyes already sounded ehhhh to me, but I disliked it even more when I saw the chemistry between the two of them. Her brother, a teacher, just plain creeps me out. :p I’m also not huge on references in anime, so I found the entire chocolate scene tiring, thinking, “Yes, yes, I know where that’s from. Oh. That one, too.” That’s the main reason why I never got into Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei.

      I do wonder whether the tone we received at the beginning of Kotoura-san will ever make a comeback. Just from the OP alone, I expect we’ll run into the mother sometime down the line and the two will have to confront everything that’s happened in the past.

  7. Let’s see, Tamako Market’s good, Chihayafuru 2 is a must, Other than that, not much else on your list that’s similar to my own. Vividred’s not on yours and neither is AKB0048 Next Stage, so that’s all. I’ve no interest in rom-coms this season due to me being busy with some Fall ones.
    I haven’t started Minami-Ke 4 yet.

    Maoyuu looks too mainstream for me to care about it right now.

    Glad to hear you also want to snuggle with Yuu after her stellar performance in episode 13. she rules.

    1. What about Love Live? That seems like a show that might be up your alley. And I don’t think Maoyuu to be mainstream; the premise of a plot centered around macroeconomics alone is pretty unique and will probably disinterest a lot of viewers. But to each our own :)

      1. Indeed. Love Live looks to be an idol show worthy of my attention…but space idols come first.

        “Looks carefully at the female protagonist”…Marina-chan…are you questioning my judgment of what the “otaku hive mind” deems must see television?

      2. I can proudly say after watching Love Live‘s 3rd episode that I am a big supporter of μs.

        And regarding Maou…perhaps it’s foolish that I overlooked her boobs and related popularity? Even though Horo was quite the seductress and often scantily clad or even nude, it didn’t seem from the forums and blogs that I frequented that Spice & Wolf captured the otaku hive mind :p But no, I was not questioning your judgement!

      3. Very well Marina-chan. I will trust your smiling face that I cannot see and pick up Love Live ahead of schedule.

        The otaku hive mind has usually shown a great attraction towards scantily clad women, regardless of which show they’re from. I don’t frequent that many anime forum sites so I could be wrong and in reality, it is the rom-coms like Sakurasou and the ones you mentioned that have the undivided attention of the otakus.

        I also await your final post on Sakurasou, because unless the childhood friend pulls an upset and beats blondie, I will not pick this show up again, regardless of the interesting subject it tackles.

      4. Yeah yeah yeah! I’m crossing my fingers that you like what you see and don’t come back to scold me!

        I do like Mashiro, but I have a hard time cheering for her over Aoyama. I find childhood friendships so precious and rare that it surprises me every time when a character chooses someone other than that one person who was there for all those years and probably knows you the best. What’s your reason?

      5. Forgive the extremely late reply. I was…occupied. Anyway, Sakurasou is a “until further notice” show because I am sick and tired of seeing best friends lose in anime. So often do I see a best friend who has feelings for the childhood friend they develop feelings for, but the reason they lose are always the same.
        1: By the time they finally get the courage to confess, it’s too late.
        2: The best friend usually lacks the balls to confess, leading to #1.
        3: Why do they have to be either nervous or rude whenever their love interest does something that isn’t really THAT annoying. Basically they lose their composure without explaining why to their beloved.

        So yeah, a petty reason but big enough to make me delay the show.

  8. Hi marina, good to be back in the blogshpere and good to be back here.
    I only just started with the winter series and managed to pick up with a few on the list.
    first comes first…you dropped a shaft show? D:
    I though it was good to see at least a messed up one once a week lol
    but have to say im not really into the brother sister love thing ^^

    The series im really enjoying well the only one im watching apart from Sasami is Tamako Market, that is just too cute but im actually quite tired of it lol, want Kyoani to try something different for a change like action or gory lol. \gotta love the bird though!

    Haganai is an obvious choice, after enjoying the first season you would definitely want to watch more Sena or I should say want to have more meat! :D

    Oreshura is pretty good, finally you have a protagonist thats not a douche, the series looks pretty predictable where I bet he will actually fall in love with the main girl, sorry chiwa but childhood friend normally never are chosen. :/
    Mondaiji is for me okay.. not something to be excited about since its the typical ecchi type of anime, with no seriousness.
    Im currently half way through the first season of Chihayafuru and its AMAZING, good to know there is a second season so maybe i can take my time and enjoy every second properly.

    1. Heya Fabrice! It’s great to see you around again! I’m glad to hear you’ve started some of the winter shows, and I look forward to reading your thoughts on the ones you chose. And yes, I did drop a SHAFT show that I deems far below the quality that I expect from there ^^ Particularly in the character department! I heard the plot has some significant improvements in the 2nd episode, but I just couldn’t get past the introductory relationship between brother and sister, as well as that chocolate disaster. No no no!

      I’m surprised you didn’t mention anything about Kotoura-san, which seems to be a big surprise for a lot of viewers. I encourage you to give it a try. And I’m super happy to hear that you’ve picked up the start of Chihayafuru; hopefully you can catch up to the rest of us with the 2nd season soon!

  9. Good to see your showlist for the season! Many on this list I am also following, but there are a few others that we do differ in, and that’s perfectly fine. I am keeping Sasami-san@Ganbaranai (love its quirky protagonist and SHAFT’s ridiculous style) and Yama no Susume (as it’s very simple for me to catch and just watch at any spot). Great stuff, and the season’s done nothing but impress me once more. Also just recently finished my Top 10 of 2012 post, so after my current review I need to have one of these written up.

    Here’s what we’re both apparently watching, along with a little blurb, I suppose. :3

    Chihayafuru S2 – Love it already. Since all of the old characters and settings were already established, I already feel like I’m in for something great, and it’s just starting too.

    Kotoura-san – Got into this the same way, and felt the same way you did (especially about the shattering moment leading into the opening). I grew up in the “bullied” scene so I also relate a lot to Kotoura herself.

    Love Live! School Idol Project – It’s no iDOLM@STER to me, but it’s fun. My big “bite the tongue” moment was actually when I went on a music hunt for the series, only to find out I really liked very little. Don’t know exactly why, but iDOLM@STER just fared so much better in that account for me.

    Minami-ke Tadaima – Cannot hate Minami-ke. I even really liked Okawari and Okaeri, despite the numerous complaints it received. But hey, I feel nobody’s saying season one’s style fit best, and to go back to such makes this so sweet.

    Ore no Kanojo – Addicted to its colour palette, simply addicted. I also like how the potential relationships were established early on, so I can do my usual rooting for the childhood friend (who really never seems to make it).

    Saki Achiga-hen – The series lives off of the intrigue of its characters and powers for me, instead of the actual mahjong itself. For a more realistic and dark take on the gambling world of Riichi Mahjong, Akagi is much more accurate presentation. However, it’s hard not to like Saki anyways. Speaking of which, I wanna see more Saki, please!

    Tamako Market – So cute, I love how adorable most of the productions of KyoAni turn out. I’m still phased by how lovable Chuunibyou was, but here’s another huggable series that I can watch when I’m in any mood. That ending song is mesmerizing.

    Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo – Once again, addicted to the colour choices. Started off as just easy fun, but it’s been evolving into easy fun + comfortable drama. It reminds me of Toradora in some ways, which happens to be one of my favourite shows ever. While I do agree with Mashiro, she has some of the best laugh-out-loud moments, without a doubt.

    Psycho-Pass – This show is so damn epic, and it recently presented a brand new opening animation that reminds me of the good ol’ days of Cowboy Bebop. The problems stack up as the dangerous antagonist continues to evade escape and seriously just mess up the works. Very interested, which is great considering how far in it is.

    Robotics;Notes – I admit, it started off quite slow for me and I was afraid I wouldn’t like it. However, the cast has ensnared me and I love the looming concern that always hangs over them (which has begun to show more prominently, as of recent episodes). Frau is easily my favourite character, and any moment she’s on screen is super special.

    Shin Sekai Yori – What a rare case; it’s a series that I have difficulty watching whenever and have to put on the backburner until I’m feeling especially in the mood to watch it, but there’s something interesting that I keep coming back to. Kinda makes it look like a series I should be dropping, but I’m genuinely convinced I at least want to finish it.

    1. Now that we’re quite a few episodes into the Winter season, I can determinately say that I am quite enjoying it! We do seem to have very similar feelings to the mutual shows we’re watching, though I think I’m a bit more fond of Love Live! than you seem to be :) I certainly don’t equate it to The iDOLM@STER, but they are completely different in terms of direction. Thankfully, I’m not as familiar with the music as you are, so I don’t have that to worry me! I had a lot of fun with μ’s “Start:Dash!!” performance and found it to be a great way to kick off the series.

      I never used to be any particular supporter for the “childhood friend” but with Sakurasou and now Ore no Kanojo, I’m starting to root for them more and more. The backstory/development of both are well done and I think it unimaginable that a viewer wouldn’t want them to succeed. I just wish that Chiwa didn’t look so much like an elementary school student. I can understand small, but she honestly has the style, particularly her hair, of a very under puberty little girl. I have a difficult time taking romance from such a young character seriously, especially when compared to Masuzu’s physical maturity.

      1. Apologies for the late reply! In terms of Love Live, I’m actually liking it more and more as I watch it, though I had a feeling this would happen from the start.

        Chiwa definitely looks tiny, I can agree. The show does kind of give moments to remind everyone that she can be mature though, so it’s alright for me.

        Oh, and Tamako Market is just so cute. Love every character, but nobody surpasses the adorable Kanna for me. :D

      2. Her candy hairpin is absolutely sweet, usage of words carefully considered. I just love the way she talks, since it kind of makes her a little bit mysterious, playful, cute and mischievous as well.

  10. Another slightly sorry for a late reply, but I just found your blog yesterday. :) I have a lot of commonality with the shows you’re liking, including some of the surprises. Love Live! has really struck me as one of my favorites for the season, and I’ve loved finding the music that they’ve released over the last 2.5 years. For pop idol music, it gets a lot closer to rock than a lot of other idol music, which I like. I also really like the characters and the differing personalities they all have.

    Kotoura-san is also a big surprise after what I thought was the stunning premiere. For me it never has gotten to silly or too overdramatic. And even after things turned better for the cast, it’s kept a really good mix of happy comedy and some down moments. It’s also done a great job of subverting the ‘I was your enemy but now all is forgiven and we’re friends!’ easy redemption route, both for Moritani and for Kumiko.

    My other big favorite ‘new’ show is Haganai, and I really love the way they’ve changed the characters through this season (except for Kodaka, he needs to get on the ball). The obvious softening of Yozora and her growing closeness with Sena (and vice versa) is really nice to see, and while there’s some feeling bad for Rika and Yukimura, as both of them realize they’ve lost any hope of snagging Kodaka (even with Rika’s admitted ‘very short route’), I definitely see a lot of friendships growing closer among the characters.

    The only real differences in our lists are that I’m still watching Vividred and Sasami-san, liking Vividred more than Sasami-san, which seems to frequently get me lost in looooong explanations of stuff that I have no background for. And what you’re watching that I’m not is Saki and Chihayafuru. And I’d probably watch Chihayafuru if not for the fact that I just watched the first season right before this season started, and really got Chihaya fatigue, so I didn’t want to pick it up right away.

    Other than that, I like the shows you like, mostly for the same reasons. :)

    1. I’m not one of those strict bloggers who dislikes it when people comment on older posts. Heck, you could comment on posts from several months back, a year back, and I would still be delighted and try to reply. I feel like I can relate to a lot of different types of anime fans since I have such varied tastes in genres and age groups. It’s interesting that you note Love Live! as a sort of J-Rock type show instead of Pop, which I didn’t even pick up. I’ll have to go back and compare the music with songs from shows like The iDOLM@STER. Incidentally, have you seen that one?

      While I’m still enjoying Kotoura-san and liking the development I’m seeing with the characters, I’m not as pleased with the “easy redemption” of Moritani. She never really received the punishment she deserved; the watered down verbal jabs that the other club members give are just enough for me to feel justified. But I guess Kotoura’s grace and friendship really speak well for how gentle of a person she is.

      Haganai is such a dilemma for me. I like the art and the humor is usually spot on each week…but I can’t help but feel guilty at times at how hard I laugh at some of the most bawdy jokes and blatant fan service. It’s a guilty pleasure that I can’t stop. I hope to see some bit of decision-making and closure at the end of the season, though I have a feeling they’re going to leave it open for potential sequels.

      Vividred reminds me a lot of Strike Witches, another show that I only watched one episode of before dropping. I just can’t like hot pants and panties flashing in my face every couple of minutes. I know that that’s probably a really shallow reason for ignoring whatever interesting plot the anime may provide, but that’s just me. As for Sasami-san, I may pick that up again. I keep hearing good things about this show from other bloggers whose opinions I respect. I also don’t highly recommend Saki…I don’t even mildly recommend it. I’m keeping up with it out of some insane completionist tic of mine.

      And Chihayafuru fatigue?! How is this possible? I have yet to hear this from anyone else, so I’m curious what it is exactly that tires you with this show.

      1. I haven’t seen any other idol shows, and honestly have no idea why I decided to watch Love Live! either. Part of it is that I’m still new to anime (and blogging), and shows with previous seasons prove to be a barrier to entry to new shows. So given a choice between, say, Love Live! and AKB0048 Next Stage this season, because I haven’t seen previous AKB0048 shows, I’m going to go with Love Live! because I won’t feel like I’m behind on the show. As for the music style, the other shows might also strike me more as J-rock than pop, and there’s plenty of pop in Love Live! too. But then they make Wonderful Rush and I’m just lost forever in a world of cheerleader chants and flanged distorted guitar. Super Jump!

        Moritani’s redemption in Kotoura-san is mostly just not ‘easy’ in comparison to other anime. In the ‘real world’, it’d still be unlikely, but in this show it’s not like the past is forgotten. Even Moritani feels like she can’t forgive herself. But as you say, it says a lot about Haruka, and even Manabe, that they are able to not hold an overt grudge.

        I was also hoping for a definitive end to Haganai this season, but I’m pretty sure it’s not going to happen, given the progress of the show with respect to the LN’s (which aren’t finished themselves). But I wouldn’t mind a third season of it. It goes to places that other shows don’t go, but it also holds to a familiarity and accessibility that gives refuge. I do wonder if the difference between the first season and the second season is something that turns off some, since it was far more dark comedy and barely any romance throughout the first, and the second has been almost all romance and much less dark comedy. But you shouldn’t feel guilty at all about liking it!

        And Chihaya fatigue is just my reaction to Chihaya throughout the first season. I grew really tired of her seeming regression, and that she spends so much time thinking about what she needs to do and then still screws up! I thought the first season was good (not really super best of 2012 or anything), but realized that I really didn’t want to jump right into season 2.

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