Nov 29, 2010

Fall 2010 Mid-Season Impressions

With very little news other than the WikiLeaks release of the US embassy cables, which is far too complicated for a simple little blogger like me to report any more effectively than my previous post, I have decided to build upon the anime aspect of the blog with short little summaries of my feelings for the shows I'm watching this season.
In no particular order:

To Aru Majutsu no Index Season II
There was quite some time between my watching of the first and second seasons despite my plans to re-watch the first before the second began, so I can't fully remember everything about the characters and some seem different. Anyway, this season is just as promising as the first. I wasn't immediately a fan of the first arc, but grew to it as it reached it's conclusion. Since then I've fallen in love with the show all over again. Then again, this has been since the re-introduction of Misaka Mikoto, and in my eyes anything featuring her cannot go wrong. The latest episode did feature quite a number of completely unneeded and rather over the top fanservice moments which annoyed me slightly. In summary the new season looks promising, although my judgement may be clouded by Misaka.

Star Driver
I'm not sure how to feel about this show. I like the characters (oh fish girl <3), I like the soundtrack, I like the animation, and I somewhat like the story. What bothers me though is the same formula used over and over in almost every episode. Introduction of new character -> stuff happens -> find out character is member of Glittering Crux Brigade -> stuff happens -> Zero Time fight -> Tauburn wins after initially struggling -> stuff happens/plot twist. Despite this formulaic approach it keeps dragging me back, perhaps because it's working, or perhaps because I hope each time that it will do it differently. I think I'll enjoy this series until the end but from what I've seen so far it's a long way from being memorable past the end of the season.

On paper I probably wouldn't have had much interest in a story of two guys making a manga together, but due to one of my favoured fansub groups subbing it and some positive reception I gave it a go. I don't know why, but I love it. I enjoy watching two characters through the trials and tribulations of achieving their dream, and I even enjoy the romance elements. I find the characters very likeable and grew to them quickly. Some people call it boring and slow but personally I feel it goes at the perfect pace and manages to somehow keep each episode as entertaining as the last. Despite how much I enjoy this I doubt I'll get the urge to watch it any time soon once it ends but at the moment I'm putting it down as one of the best show's I'm watching right now.

Ore no Imouto
Perhaps the only reason I'm watching this is because my favourite fansub group is subbing it, and their choices are yet to let me down, rather than the story, although it did interest me. This series can be rather hit and miss. Most episodes are fun to watch and can be very relatable, but occasionally it comes out with bouts of completely unneeded fanservice and can get a bit too incesty. Episodes 7 and 8 were a bit off too, where the idea of Kirino suddenly writing a bestselling novel after already being shown to be utter crap at it, and then getting an anime was just too much to let slide. Once again this doesn't seem like a particularly memorable series and I can easily see myself forgetting about it once the next season gets under way.

Shinryaku! Ika Musume
I didn't start watching this show until it was about 5 episodes in but after seeing a video of the mini-Ika short I felt compelled to watch it. Almost immediately it grew on me, being simple fun with likeable characters, especially the eccentric Squid Girl (Ika Musume). Despite being a good bit of fun every week the lack of underlying story limits it for me, as I just adore a good ol' yarn. However, I'm fine with this show being a bit of comedic relief rather than a gripping story, but again don't see myself remembering too much of it a couple of seasons from now.

This seems to be a bit of a case of leaving the best till last. I'm not too experienced with the realm of horror anime, in fact I think this may be my first (Highschool of the Dead doesn't count...). Carrying on from the previous season, it has gripped me weekly despite the somewhat broken up release schedule during the transition between seasons. The fact I'm a sucker for a decent vampire story works in it's favour, especially as it's mainly the traditional view (vulnerable to sunlight, stakes, can only enter when invited etc.). This was another case of starting it once it was a few episodes in after hearing nothing but praise, and boy am I glad I did. It's true that it did start off a little slow but not enough for it to have become a problem. At the time of writing it's on episode 17 and in full swing yet still with plenty of questions left to be answered. I would recommend this to almost anyone, especially if you're into vampires or just horror in general. There's even a werewolf thrown in, but I don't know how much will be built upon that. I can see this going down as one of my all-time favourites.

In case you were interested, the groups I get these from are:
gg fansubs - Star Driver and Bakuman
Mazui Subs - Ore no Imouto and To Aru Majustsu no Index II
Umee fansubs - Shiki
Underwater Subs - Shinryaku! Ika Musume

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