First impressions fall 2013

kyoukai1Kyoto Animation, P.A. Works and Silver Link take the stage for the new Fall season 2013. Can these and other studios make this a memorable anime season? Let’s take a first glance at some of the shows this season.

I want to mention beforehand that I don’t watch all the shows in a particular season. From the selection I watch I will give must watch shows the Ninety’s Choice label.

kanata1Kyoukai no Kanata follows Akihito, who is half human and half youmu. He meets Mirai who tries to jump of the school building. While attempting to save her, Akihito finds out that Mirai manipulates blood, a trait that is unique in the spirit world. A horror-supernatural-drama-slice of life-romance-high school-anime series is born.

Kyoukai no Kanata embodies a lot of different settings. It’s mainly supposed to be a supernatural horror combination. Kyoto Animation though, gives this show their own familiar look and feel, placing it in the all too familiar high school setting.

While in essence this is not an issue, they create character types that are very familiar. Mirai is a great example of a clumsy girl that has trouble fitting in and Akihito is the sociable and tolerable young man trying to help Mirai out.

Of course being a fan of Kyoto Animation, and it is still too early to judge, I have a feeling KyoAni is holding on for dear life to winning formulas. Afraid to innovate and reinvent the market. Free! was supposed to be the anime that would shake the market, but it still was the familiar KyoAni show only with the genders swapped.

Kyoukai no Kanata is still rather vague in its beginning stages. The studio decided to skip the whole world building and explanatory elements, creating a setting that’s still rather vague. There needs to be a decent amount of explanation to engage the viewer with the story.

nagi1Nagi no Asakura tells the story about a world in which people inhabit the sea and the land. Discrimination is all too common for those from the sea, who are treated like lesser people by those from the land. Creating interesting interactions among those who try to get familiar with those from the sea.

This is perhaps the most gorgeous show of the season. The beautiful water world with fish floating in and out give a great sense of atmosphere. The world is vibrant and also outside the sea. The attention to detail is what P.A. Works is famous for and they don’t disappoint in Nagi no Asakura.

Nagi no Asakura seems to focus on racial differences and discrimination. This is an interesting and edgy subject, that’s why I appreciate the overall look and feel that tries to make this subject approachable. The aesthetics make it possible for the producers to tell a rather taboo topic through an eye appealing show. Let’s hope that the eye candy doesn’t push the message to the background too much.

galileiThree sisters who are descendants of Galileo are one day suddenly attacked by a mysterious organization who seeks the ‘Galileo Tesoro’, whatever that may be. The three Ferrari sisters seem to be part of a bigger conspiracy and we are yet to discover what evil contemplation that may be.

The first episodes of Galilei Donna are still covered in mystery. We know little about the characters apart from the fact that they are the descendants of Galileo Galilei. I can appreciate the fact that the studio dares to take another approach and choose a foreign setting in its beginning stages. I guess the story will move more towards Japan later on.

The overall look and feel is great and the setting seems to be diverse. The usage of CGI fits the overall setting and doesn’t feel out of place like in Tokyo Ravens, in which the CGI is poorly executed. Beyond this point the show is still speculative and we need to see more to discover what the story has in store for the viewer. But, I enjoy this show very much already.

strike1The endangered supernatural beings in Strike the Blood are put on a separate island to prevent them from extinction. Demons, vampires, mages, all the lot are put on one island and they better make the best of their time while being there.

This show seems to have a major plot hole already at the beginning. Why would you put supernatural beings that aren’t really simpatico with each other on one island? You wouldn’t put a Siberian Tiger and a Panda in one cage even though they are almost extinct, right? It is difficult to take this show fully serious and it is wise to turn off the brain.

Overall, this show is still rather vague. A lot of supernatural jargon is thrown at the viewer. You have to love the genre and the mechanics of the setting to fully appreciate this show. For those who want a Fate/Zero reenactment, they might have to skip this show.

nonbiyoriNon Non Biyori follows Hotaru as she moves from the big city Tokyo, to the countryside. She has to learn to adapt to her new environment.

I would recommend this as a season must watch for all those who like slice of life genre anime. The visual design is bright and colorful and the characters fit in the setting. The whole atmosphere breathes the countryside and I like the transition from somebody moving from the big city to a small rural community.

While at this stage the transition for Hotaru is still minimal, I certainly hope that the studio chooses to highlight a bit more around Hotaru’s transition from the city to the countryside. Despite that the show is steady and a treat for lovers of the genre.

log130.000 Japanese gamers get trapped in the online game Elder Tale. Log Horizon follows Shiroe, Akatsuki and Naotsugu as they try to fight their way out of the online world.

The comparison with Sword Art Online is undeniably present. A group of teenagers are stranded in an online RPG and have to fight their way out. At least, the fighting is a part of it, there is no real understanding of who or what has trapped them inside Elder Tale. There is no information on the state of reality while they are stuck in the game.

What SAO did wrong was the usage of a multitude of clichés. It used trending and popular topics in anime and other related media to draw as much viewers to its cause. This resulted in an anime where the whole mechanics of the world where mostly thrown overboard to house those trending topics. Let’s hope Log Horizon focuses more on the mechanics and setting, then this show might turn out pretty fine.

ravens1Tokyo Ravens tells the story about Harutora who was born in a prestigious family, but isn’t able to detect spirit energy. One day he gets in touch with Natsume and becomes her familiar. His life takes an unexpected turn.

I almost want to label this show with the Red Data Girl syndrome, but I wouldn’t do RDG justice with that because the overall visual design was much better. The terrible CG in Tokyo Ravens destroys the overall atmosphere, while the animation in general isn’t to mindboggling either.

The story is still in its early stages and I find it a bit all over the place. I’ve read some chapters of the manga and had less trouble figuring out what it was all about. Newcomers to the series might find it a bit too rushed at the beginning. Let’s hope the series will take its time on the story telling department. I still want to credit the show for its sound performance. The soundtrack is very steady, but the overall sound levels tend to differ to much in this series.

doll1In the early 20th century, a time of great technological advancement, machines that used science and magic were created. With sophisticated technology the machinery is brought to life and used as military equipment. In Unbreakable Machine-Doll we follow the nympho doll Yaya and her puppeteer Raishin in their quest to become the best of all their classmates.

The story is kind of weird and vague at this stage. The parts I’ve read from the manga were clearer on the subject. Perhaps the anime is taking more time for build-up. When referring to the manga, I must admit that the art was better. The anime adaption looks a bit to cutesy for my taste and the weird color scheme isn’t befitting for the overall vibe of the show.

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7 thoughts on “First impressions fall 2013

  1. milesvibritannia says:

    I’m watching quite a few anime this season for once, though only a few of them are ones you wrote about. Of the ones on your post, I’m watching Kyoukai no Kanata, Machine-Doll, and Strike the Blood. All of them are pretty enjoyable watches for me so far, though it’s too early to say how good they’ll end up being in the long run. Not sure if any of them will end up being amazing, but at the very least I can say I’m enjoying them so far.

    • ninetybeats says:

      I think from the three you mentioned, they all won’t be too amazing. Strike the blood isn’t that super, but well I’ve started it so might as well stick with it. It wasn’t such a disaster as NouCome, which I dropped somewhere in the first episode. Kyoukai no Kanata needs to be more horror to live up to its name. What other shows are you watching I didn’t mention?

      • milesvibritannia says:

        It seems like they’ll be fun watches but not top tier or anything of the sort. I know Kyoukai and Machine-Doll are both gonna be 1-cour so that won’t help development, though I’m not sure about Strike the Blood. Just have to see how the rest of those go though, I am enjoying them but there are other things that have captivated me more this season.

        Aside from those, I’m watching BlazBlue: Alter Memory, Golden Time, Gundam Build Fighters, Kill la Kill, Kuroko no Basket 2nd Season, and Little Busters!: Refrain. BlazBlue is okay so far but pretty confusing and not quite as amazing as I hoped, I’ll have to play the games sometime in the future. Golden Time is pretty fun so far, I thoroughly enjoyed Toradora (written by the same author, and apparently J.C. Staff’s behind both of the anime adaptations) so I’ve been hyped about it. Build Fighters is pretty much a kid’s show, but it does what it needs to and it has some pretty cool fights so it’s a fun watch. KLK is one that’s had my attention for a while because TTGL’s director and writer are behind it. Sure enough, it’s been quite an enjoyable watch with all of the over-the-top glory I had been hoping for. KnB S2 is pretty fun so far and I’m expecting a lot more awesomeness from it, though it’s still a bit early so not a whole lot has happened. Refrain seems like a big improvement from S1 and it’s among my favorites of the season as of yet, as a huge Key fanboy I have high hopes for the rest of Refrain.

      • ninetybeats says:

        You’re watching quite the amount of shows. I tried Golden Time, but I didn’t it make through the first episode. I knew the author of ToraDora was involved, but Tora was so good that I didn’t expect Golden Time to live up to that expectation.

      • milesvibritannia says:

        Sorry for the super late reply, I’ve been extraordinarily busy with college apps and schoolwork for the past month and a half so it’s been pretty hectic.

        Yeah I picked up quite a lot this season, I wasn’t expecting to get that many but it seems worth it overall. It’s nice to have a new ongoing to watch while I wait for a different one, so I don’t feel like I’m suffering for a week with nothing to keep myself entertained until then. And if you can, I would definitely recommend getting back to Golden Time. It’s one of my personal favorites of the season and it’s a very entertaining story. It’s one of the more mature romance stories I’ve seen and there are some interesting themes that go along with it all. I can’t say for sure if it’ll be Toradora level but I think it picked up a lot faster than Toradora did and it has some quirks that definitely make it stand out so I think it’s a very worthwhile watch.

      • ninetybeats says:

        Haven’t picked up Golden Time, couldn’t make it through the first episode. I dropped more than I used to. I dropped Strike the Blood and Tokyo Ravens was becoming full horrible. Didn’t do justice to the manga in my opinion.

  2. infinitezenith says:

    I had forgotten I intended to watch Non Non Biyori until I read this post. I’ve always held an interest in the country, having lived in a city since, well, all of my existence. Time to give this one a shot 🙂

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