Summer season review 2013

summer13While the series progressed over the weeks, some did good and others didn’t meet the expectations. Let’s take a look back at the summer season of 2013.

I want to mention beforehand that I didn’t watch all the shows this season. You might find some shows missing you wanted to read about. Despite that, there are plenty of shows that will be covered in this post. I will give the show that is worth watching the Ninety’s Choice label.

illya 2Following the elementary school life of Illya and her life being turned upside down as she turns into a scarcely dressed magical girl. Accompanied by a talking stick she fights evil magicians with her magical girl super powers.

The plot couldn’t sound anymore wrong. An elementary school girl in a skimpy outfit, fighting evil entities. I’m not a fan off the whole fan service genre, of course I won’t deny the fact that as I’m being a man some female beauty is always welcome. But, elementary schoolgirls in thought provoking outfits seems a tad out of place. Although I must admit that Illya is still one of the most cute looking characters around.

Fate/Kaleid Illya hasn’t got an impressive story and seems more like a filler or cash cow to milk the Fate/ franchise. I have argued in earlier posts that I’m not sure if this installment is a proper fit for the Illya we’ve seen in previous Fate adaption’s. Plus the talking stick is annoying as can be.

shingeki1Technically speaking not a summer only show, but still I wanted to include this show in the summer review. Shingeki no Kyojin tells the story about mankind being terrorized by Titans. Through the building off walls humans try to protect themselves from the titans. We follow Eren and his companions as they battle the fierce enemy.

It is almost inevitable to miss this anime. The hype around this show was so huge, that it was all over the place. From merchandise to blogsites, this anime was widely discussed.

Shingeki no Kyojin is a high paced action series with a lot bloodshed. The way the titans slaughter humans is horrific and degrading at the same time. The vibe of hopelessness for mankind is great in this show.

Shingeki no Kyojin also shows the contrast in which wealth is distributed. How corrupt militants are and how lower class citizens struggle to get food. The wealthiest are safely guarded in the middle with the highest walls, secluded from all the terrible things in the outer walls. While this is not the main focus of the show, it portrays typical society settings that are familiar even today.

There will probably be a second season, but the first part is over and hopefully we are in for another spectacle next time. The show has proven that is profitable so the chances are high a next season will season the light of day.

Kimi no Iru Machi 2The anime adaption of the presumably popular manga, Kimi no Iru Machi. The story revolves around Haruto who chases the love of his life, Eba. Against all odds, he will conquer her love.

Kimi no Iru Machi’s anime adaption is an interesting one. The series takes bits and pieces of the manga to clarify the relationship of the two main characters. Through many flashbacks the story progresses. This can be really difficult for those who are not familiar with the manga.

Another problem with the series is the fact that Eba isn’t really a strong character. She feels more like a tool to make the story progress. Plus her ‘no spine’ attitude character makes her weak and not credible. Her counterpart Asuka was a much more capable character. I was supporting her in the anime as well as in the manga. It’s a shame the anime adaption didn’t do this series justice.

blood ladBlood Lad centers around a girl named Fuyumi who lost her life while entering the demon world. Staz, a demon vampire with an obsession for Japan, is determined to bring Fuyumi back to life. Along the way facing many hardships in which friendships are tested and enemies defeated.

I brought this synopsis pretty engaging and movie-like. And this show was none of that. While I found the execution daring with some rough edges and funny references, the show in itself wasn’t that exciting.

Blood Lad had some pacing issues in my opinion that made the happenings seem rather dull and forced. The characters were diverse and unique, shaping the demon world as a whole. Although I found the overall character design a bit sloppy or not as crisp. The designs weren’t retro, but they missed subtle details. I can at least give credit to their color scheme that matched the overall look and feel of this show.

kaminomi 1Kamisama no Inai depicts a scenario in which God has left the world and people cannot die or reproduce. Gravekeepers maintain the order by burying the dead, granting them a peaceful rest.

I had high expectations for this series because of the synopsis. The series had high potential to show a chaotic world in which mankind went astray, destroying the world they lived in. I found the concept very intriguing and interesting. How would humans cope with the fact that they couldn’t have children and couldn’t die?

Unfortunately Kamisama no Inai failed to take its chances in depicting a destroyed society. The visuals and character designs were to colorful for the story it tried to tell. The series left too many open spots in the structure of the world and focused on rather minor details within the grand scheme of it all.

kiniroKiniro Mosaic tells the story about the transfer student Alice who comes to Japan. While living with Shino she discovers Japanese cultures and mannerisms.

I said it in earlier posts that Kiniro Mosaic felt like a commercial for Japan. Everybody is friendly, everybody is tolerant and Japan overall is beautiful. I won’t argue the contrary, but the way Kiniro Mosaic portrayed this element felt forced and not credible.

To emphasize that Alice came from England, the voice actress used her best English to portray that fact. Other characters also used the occasional English. I can appreciate the fact that the voice cast did its best to create the setting Kiniro Mosaic focused on, still the Japanese variant of English or ‘Engrish’ destroyed the atmosphere. Words sounded like a collection of letters instead of actual words. But again, I appreciate the effort.

On the other hand, this show centers around cute girls doing presumably cute stuff. As much as I can appreciate this, the cute stuff wasn’t that cute. The events felt more like preparing Alice as a suitable member for society, especially due to the often times school setting. I would skip this show if I could, because it didn’t do anything noteworthy.

uchotenA story set in Kyoto where a young Tanuki named Yasaburo unravels the mystery around his father’s death. Uchouten Kazoku takes the daring original approach to tell its story.

P.A. Works takes on the daring challenge to deliver an original story. Just like Red Data Girl, Uchouten Kazoku tells a traditional themed story in a modern setting. Where RDG had familiar visuals, this series uses another visual design to make it feel even more refreshing.

This is the most praiseworthy element I can give to this series. How much I can credit Uchouten for its daring storytelling, the show still remains vague for a ‘foreign’ audience. The story uses a lot of elements that are from Japanese folklore and speak to the imagination to most of the foreign viewers.

watashiWataMote centers around Tomoko who enters high school with great expectations. She wants to lead the high school life she is convinced all students have. Little did she know that it wouldn’t be that easy.

It is sad, but true that a lot of people face alienation or bullying during their school days. Tomoko was a good example of how a combination of low self esteem and alienation were the harbinger for an uncertain future.

While the message was strong, there was one thing that got me thinking. I watch for escapism, break from the reality I’m in. A good anime brings me into a state of mind that makes me reconsider my values and/or makes me feel fulfilled. WataMote did that to some extent, although admittedly the vibe of the show annoyed me.

Tomoko was a strong character, I sympathized with her. But on the other hand I got annoyed with her situation. There was almost no glimmer of hope throughout the show. I wanted to get the feeling she finally got some friends and could move one with her high school life. The show did the contrary and left me unfulfilled, despite the message that was strong from beginning to end.

free!A group of friends tries to reunite the swimming team in the form of a club. Together they practice to win the relay. In Free they are confronted with their pasts and have to gather team spirit to overcome those painful memories.

I saw Free as an honest attempt by Kyoto Animation to attract new audiences to the anime medium. In some way that was true, because the fan service was mostly focused towards girls. But underneath its skin it followed the same familiar themes KyoAni is known for.

Free was kind of a K-ON adaption only with the genders swapped. Although I would give free too much credit by comparing it to K-ON as the execution in that show was much better. Remaining true to its genre.

This series was confusing and unconvincing. I found it over the top and as a male viewer I couldn’t relate in any way to the mannerisms of some of the characters.

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2 thoughts on “Summer season review 2013

  1. steph says:

    Glad you included Uchouten Kazoku on your watch list! I found it to be one of the funniest, most profound series this season, along side Gin no Saji.

    About Free – you’ve worded it perfectly. Unconvincing and OTT, even to my fujoshi lenses.

    I never picked up Kamisama but judging from your description, I think I’ll give it a chance!

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