Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Anime 2013: First Quarter Season Roundup

The anime winter season has finally come to a close. I am glad to have taken the ride by spending several sleepless nights waiting for new episodes to be released online for downloading. To be more organized I have decided to put up a roundup for each season in order to identify what I like and what not for my year-end list. For this roundup - just like what I do yearly for my acting handpicks - I'll be giving some distinctions compiled under some not-so-ordinary categories - compared from other blog pages - since everything here serves solely for my own pleasure.

If not for the animation blunders in their several second-cour episodes Psycho-Pass might have won this honor for Winter season, but it would leave a bad taste. So I have to go with Zetsuen no Tempest for their gorgeous character designs and fantastical scenery and magical world. 

Despite the episode 21 meltdown for a Frau fan I would not take away this title from Kai, considering that for the longest time it is hard to find any male characters who are not pushed and shoved and belittled by his female counterpart. If the world is encouraged to create inspiring role models for my fellow young women  out there I think it is high time for the industry to produce male characters that could inject some positivity and invigorate their interest to become better human beings. Kai is the man. He likes his video games, without being too Otaku about it. He can hang out with a girl, even in the comforts of her room with her underwear's all over the place and not be perverted about the sight of those little thingies. He would risk his life for the people that he cared about, he would eat those icky flavored buns to aid his friend and the girl he likes. He can confess his feelings confidently without the cheesiness of a romcom drama. And most of all, he has a concrete life direction - to become an astronaut - which he fulfilled in the last episode.

Honorable Mentions: Izayoi Sakamaki (Mondaiji), Mahiro Fuwa (Zetsuen no Tempest), Yoshihisa Manabe (Kotoura san)

Honestly, picking up the best girl is the most difficult job. And although Kona is a character that I can relate myself more in terms of her love for yaoi and her awkwardness it is a real struggle for me to choose one for the top spot. I have to give the "best girl" distinction though to the lovable Kanna Makino from Tamako Market. Unlike her friends Kanna knows what she wants to do in her life - that is to become a carpenter. She is all moe from head to toe without being an airhead and her voice is so adorable that it fits perfectly well with her character animation. She rarely gets the focus of the story but most of my favorite scenes have always consisted of those memorable moments around her, her interesting one liners and her goal to make Dera-chan lose weight. She is the reason why I will miss watching Tamako Market every week.

Honorable Mentions: Kona Furugoori aka Frau Kojiro (Robotics;Notes), Misaki Kamiigusa (Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo), Mashiro Shiina (Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo)


Kaya is the definition to the old saying "behind every successful man is a strong woman." She is the wind beneath the wings of our favorite mangaka duo. Their silent hero and their number one fan. 

This title goes to him and him none. Whenever he opens his mouth he catches our attention. There is nothing ridiculous about his opinions to the point that we would suddenly find ourselves believing and rooting for him. Only someone intelligent and charismatic - such as a sociopath - can manipulate someone from doing a heinous crime and be able to get away with it for far too long.

Although Arata from Chihayafuru had crossed my mind, Aika from ZnT is the clear winner of this title. Before the  series had begun she is already dead, but her never-there presence has run the entire gamut of the show keeping us bedazzled about her mysterious death. Her appearances only runs through flashbacks and yet her being is so strong it managed to affect everyone, even those people who had never met her in the flesh.


Out of Control by Nothing's Carved In Stone (From Psycho-Pass)

All Alone With You by Egoist (From Psycho-Pass)


Neguse from Tamako Market

Zetsuen no Tempest by Michiru Oshima

The weekly late subs is a testament as to how overlooked this amazing series was. I've been a devoted fan of Bakuman since its first season but I must say that their last installment carries out all the punches that makes this show so great and a thing of joy to watch - like life unfolding before your eyes. We know that Bakuman is about the drama of hardwork, chasing one's dreams, and the undying passion to keep things rolling even when situations are a little bit tougher, but it is the real friendship of the characters and their own personal stories that makes me a faithful follower after its entire 75 episode run until now. Oh my, parting is such a sweet sorrow. I will miss you Bakuman, thank you for the memories.

Honorable Mentions: Mondaiji, Hakkenden


Oreshura (tied with) Amnesia
Don't get me wrong I have enjoyed Oreshura for quite sometime. I was hesitant to watch a harem anime since I never like watching girls chasing over one guy - that's a travesty in my opinion. I was cruising along with ease until the last two or three episodes. The reason I was hooked in the first place was because of Masuzu, who is a breathe of fresh air from all of those generic tsundere's and onanajimi's that vexes me. She is bat shit crazy, but completely interesting. What ruined it for me was Eita's inability to choose. He hugged Hime, stamped Ai's marriage certificate (that makes her legally the winner), made that love spectacle and declaration with Masuzu, and yet shared a kiss with that lollicon Chiwa (my least favorite character). So yes, it ended as a true harem anime. And for a girl who has a so-so opinion on that genre I'm just back to where I started - annoyed with Oreshura.

So many routes. So many cute guys to choose from. I have read the visual novel's synopsis on the web and I was disappointed with how they failed to give us a strong Ukyo route, after all that is the backbone of this story. The heroine is so weak and bland I wish someone could just inject her some adrenaline. On a positive note, I enjoyed Kent and Touma's route but that's the long and short version of it. Other than that they should have given us a concise background of Orion and Neil or at least a finite - anime original ending that won't leave us hanging on the door.

There are so many titles, but there is only one that really stood out. Shin Sekai Yori's twist and turns and cliffhangers kept me on the edge of my seat each week. It is not your typical anime that plays around on mundane, which should be given credit to its original source, the hefty Japanese novel by Yuusuke Hishi. The show does not attempt to identify what is good and what is evil, rather it challenges us to recognized that villains and heroes depends entirely on what side does a person belongs to. A series that is especially imaginative and as deliciously good as this one would always leave us a feeling of discomfort for its nightmarish visuals and its choice of sensitive subject. But nevertheless, we were given a chance to watch something so unique that's not only satisfying but exceeded expectations for a two cour series in spite of its animation shortcomings under a very low (and possibly tight) budget.

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