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Expectations and Disappointments – Winter 2013 Review

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I picked my wording carefully when I was typing out that title. This season had its ups and its downs, so I can’t say it was entirely bad, but–and maybe this is even worse–it was disappointing. A lot of shows that I was looking forward to failed to deliver. Among them was Sasami-san@GanbaranaiRobotics;Notes, and Maoyuu Maou Yuusha. All three of these had the potential to be something great, and instead they ended up being less than mediocre. That being said, there were a few shows that stepped up in the second half of the season and filled the void. Psycho-PassShinsekai Yori, and (surprisingly) Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo all ended up exceeding my expectations in different ways.

vlcsnap-2013-04-09-21h14m08s223Shinsekai Yori

This was undoubtedly the top show of the season for me. The plot started off a bit rough, and there were several hiccups in the production values, but it really pulled through after the introductory episodes. It had a tense build-up filled with mystery, a thrilling climax, and a heartwarming epilogue. If I could put forth one complaint, it would be that there were too many questions left unanswered, but I suppose that was part of the series’ charm.

Either way, it gets a solid 8/10 from me. Best ED.

Psycho-PassPsycho-Pass

The main problem with Psycho-Pass is that it bit off a bit more than it could chew as far as philosophical ideas go. The first half of the season tried to introduce the characters through a few separate cases, but none of them ever really grabbed my interest. Once it started to focus more on the main story arc though, everything sort of came together for it. Overall it ended well, but the way they dealt with Makishima left a bad taste in my mouth. It seemed to me like there was no real conclusion to his story, and his growth as a character felt stunted. By no means was he a poor antagonist, but a lot of potential was wasted.

As far as dystopian thrillers go, this is worth recommending. 6/10. Best OP.

Sakurasou no Pet na KanojoSakurasou no Pet na Kanojo

I had actually dropped this early on in its run because I felt it was going nowhere. I picked it back up because somebody told me it got better. Then I almost dropped it again because of the cultural festival arc. Why I stuck with it, I still don’t know, but I’m glad I did. The way it dealt with pride, disappointment, and envy in the second half was a breath of fresh air for the romantic-comedy genre. Few shows like this can take themselves seriously without drowning in melodrama, but Sakurasou managed to tread water without much difficulty.

I know some people might disagree, but I thoroughly enjoyed Sakurasou–especially the later episodes. 6/10.

Zetsuen no TempestZetsuen no Tempest

This was suppose to be a tragedy, but there was a serious lack of misfortune in the final episodes. I suppose that’s because it was named after The Tempestbut I still can’t help but be disappointed. In any event, this show got a little bit too weird for me at the end, and I personally enjoyed the first half a little bit more than the second. Overall, I liked the mystery and none of the plot twists went too far as to ruin the atmosphere although they could have done without all the time travel.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy parts of it, but I can’t give it a reliable recommendation. 5/10.

Love Live!Love Live!

Love Live! was generic but at least it was done well. The characters were fairly likable, and the story avoided being crippled by ridiculous filler episodes.

There isn’t much to say. 5/10.

GJ02GJ-bu

This show had a serious hair-brushing fetish going on. The male lead brushed the hair of seven out of the nine female characters.

Having a hair fetish myself, I can’t in good conscious give GJ-bu less than a 5/10.

vlcsnap-2013-04-09-20h39m50s133Magi

This was actually one of my top shows part way through the season. It’s too bad the final arc felt flat on its face in terms of plot quality. All the earlier arcs had a nice message and fun characters that were fairly well developed, but then we got introduced to nearly a dozen new characters with no explanation. The show then proceeded to go full shounen by having every new character show of their powers for a few episodes.

If it had ended with Alibaba’s exile, it might have scored higher, but instead I’m stuck giving it a 5/10. I have hopes that the next season might bring Magi back to its roots.

vlcsnap-2013-04-01-13h16m27s113Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shurabsugiru

It made me laugh. I liked the art style. The ending was a blatant cop-out.

5/10.

vlcsnap-2013-04-09-21h05m54s163Sasami-san@Ganbaranai

Not even SHAFT could save this show from its own utter stupidity. I liked the art style and a few of the characters, but that was it. The plot was an absolute train wreck, and the humor fell short regularly.

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai is certainly memorable but not in any good ways. 4/10.

Maoyuu Maou YuushaMaoyuu Maou Yuusha

Whoever said this was going to be Spice and Wolf with macroeconomics needs to be slapped. In its defense, I really think this show could have excelled if it was given 24 episodes instead of just 12. The plot was rushed to the point where it was almost unintelligible. There was a war going on, some wheat hedging, and they were trying to issue a new currency. Beyond that, it all sort of becomes a blur.

This show was a waste of so much potential, and I don’t see it recovering in the second season. 4/10.

Tamako MarketTamako Market

I was fully expecting a rehash of K-On! with this show. To be perfectly honest, I would have been content with just that. I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what went wrong, but I suspect it had something to do with the lack of interaction between the girls. They really didn’t spend that much time together throughout the course of the show, so no character relationships–vital to a show like this–ever formed.

It just didn’t click. 4/10.

Robotics;NotesRobotics;Notes

I stand by my original assessment that Robotics;Notes did everything Steins;Gate did. It just did it very badly. The characters were all pretty average, and the entire premise is ridiculous if you stop to think about it for a second. I still don’t fully understand Kimijima’s intentions when it came to the whole conspiracy theory either. And as long as we’re on the subject, I should mention that almost none of the side stories were fully resolved by the end of the final episode.

If you’re looking for another Steins;Gate, look the other way. 4/10.

So those are my Winter 2013 reviews. On the bright side, my expectations are so low now that I can’t possibly be disappointed next season.

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5 thoughts on “Expectations and Disappointments – Winter 2013 Review

  1. “I can’t possibly be disappointed next season.”
    Don’t jinx it man! 😛

  2. Wow, bro. That is pretty dismal, but do agree with you on Sasami-san@Ganbaranai. SHAFT needs to get their directing together. On the other hand, Love Live and Sakuraso, were okay. Have not seen Psycho Pass, so can not comment on that one.

  3. Harsh there on most of the scores but it’s better then just giving everything 8 and 9 like everyone else. That said i actually agree with most of that especially Sasami and Robotic;Notes so much wasted potential with those two.

    The final arc of Magi was certainly the worst of the season but I’d say give the manga a try as what comes next is much better. Fingers crossed they make a second season.

    • I try and use the whole 1-10 scale when I post reviews. It may make my scores seem harsh at times, but at least it makes an 8, 9 or 10 actually mean something. I’ve never really seen the purpose of scoring anime if the average is going to be a 9 with a standard deviation of 1.

      If it helps put things in perspective, I give a solid recommendation to any show that scores a 6 or above. Any show that scores a 5 is something that I personally enjoyed but not to the extent that I would recommend taking time out of one’s busy day to watch it.

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