So, I thought it’d be a good idea to put down my thoughts on the previous season as a new one begins. The summer season personally was a season with very limited drawing power. There were really only two shows that I was always on top of their episodes whenever the next one came out. Those would be Sword Art Online (shocking I know) and Dog Days S2. There were a handful that I did keep following, but if I had something more important to do they could certainly wait a day or two. Then there were some that were just disappointing and I couldn’t actually keep on watching for more than 4 or 5 episodes. Of course the winter and summer seasons are usually the weak ones because there aren’t as many shows coming out, but still I was hoping for a few more standouts.
First I’ll start with the show that remains my favorite of the summer. Sword Art Online was outstanding and I’m so very glad I chose that one to cover. I needed a show that had quality and was just enjoyable to watch and it has been doing that with no problem. For some it did have a rough start to it. There were a lot of complaints about how it was setting up the plot and how the material was being used. A lot of one episode stories that certainly could have done with an extra episode. But at the same time when I think of how much story this series has likely to tell, I wouldn’t have wanted them to do it any other way. The story is really taking off and I’m glad that the foundation was set up to make the emotional and action packed moments all the more meaningful. I think the strategy worked and this series will only get better as it continues on. Kirito can really be a badass at times, but he isn’t some flawless super being. The guy has been through some really bad situations and sometimes hesitates. But when he steps up it is almost always a treat to watch. The music for this series really works and leaves me looking forward to the next exciting scene that will bring back those great songs. This is a show that’s always easy to watch and made the summer season worth it for me.
Now of course everyone expected me to talk about the series I was covering. Dog Days S2 was really more of a light hearted viewing experience. The first season was pretty enjoyable and certainly it’s a show that does give you quite a bit of fanservice. Not really surprising since I think the show does a good job visually. It was also interesting to see the new country Pastillage get shown off. Nothing wrong with a group of squirrels to join the cats and dogs this time around XD. I liked the new characters added since they made things pretty fun.
This season was more about just focusing on the characters and not worrying about any big plot or serious danger. Just throwing Cinque back into that world along with Nanami and Becky. I had no problem with it, since sometimes you just want to relax and enjoy the show. Most of the characters got some focus with some getting a full episode or two just to give them some character development. It wasn’t a bad move since the larger a cast gets the less time you have to develop all their characters. After this season you gain a pretty good understanding of a lot of the characters. Of course the girls closest to Cinque (Becky, Millhiore, Eclair) got quite a bit of focus and since I like those characters that was pretty satisfying. This season was all about character building and with the pretty blatant hint at a season 3, I fully expect to have more of this show to enjoy down the road.
In terms of enjoyment there was another tier to consider. While I sometimes fell behind with these shows, they weren’t bad. They just didn’t make me care as much as the ones above. At the top of this group I’d place Kokoro Connect. The show definitely had a pretty interesting premise with this bizarre being who is messing with this group of friends. Starting off as we know with the whole ability to swap bodies. It would certainly be a very weird experience to be thrown into someone’s body for a time. Not to mention the worry about what someone else would do with your body and the reactions of people around you when you start acting out of character. In this case it was more about the groups I was following, but with a story like this sometimes the plot leaves me wanting to take a bit of a break and do mini-marathons. Still, I liked the cast and watching them go through this left me impressed. A good show that people should certainly check out.
Another show that sometimes needed marathoning was Oda Nobuna no Yabou. Of course another spin on the ancient history with some gender bending. God knows one of the best ways to make history interesting is to make the great men of history into cute girls XD. Maybe because it’s not the history of my country that I can just laugh and enjoy it. The show certainly mixed up the action and fanservice in a pretty reasonable way. The lead guy doing his best to let his knowledge of history (or well games that covered the period) to help guide Nobuna. Of course something important for him to note is that when you start changing history, that means the history you know will start to be less and less reliable. Not to mention with the gender swaps all over the place that can certainly mess with how history was supposed to unfold. Still Nobuna was a cute female lead with a mixed personality. She could be pretty tsundere to the lead, but at the same time she had to deal with a lot of personal issues. One can’t just laugh off being a leader with that kind of ambition. Not a bad show, but didn’t feel like anything too special either.
And then came Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse. This show really was a mixed bag for me. The show really started off in a brutal manner trying to hit home the horror of the Beta threat. Considering the body count it certainly did that, though wouldn’t have minded a bit more surviving in order to create some interesting future developments. Series then moved into the military development stage and thus less on the field battles to worry about.
Then came one of my issues with this series; the development of the main female in Yui. I felt like I had a read of her character early on. Someone who’d been through hell and gone super serious in order to take it. Then she just flips into some high-school girl with a crush. It was just silly and I couldn’t take her seriously anymore. Just way too lovestruck to the point of absurdity. In that case couldn’t blame Yuuya (the male lead) for not seeing it since in contrast to her earlier behavior who would be able to see her feelings? It might not be that big of a deal, but it just made me rather confused. Still in terms of an action/mecha series it’s all we’ve got right now. The action is pretty good and the fact that humanity is doing a good job tripping itself up in the face of a world ending threat seems sadly believable. So, I will keep watching on to see how high the body count rises.
Then came the shows I just couldn’t keep watching (not including the shows I just never started for whatever reason).
Now, La storia della Arcana Famiglia certainly has a long title. The problem is the story and characters just really couldn’t keep me interested. I hate to say it because she’s got a lot of fans, but the VA for Felicità (Noto, Mamiko) just did not help things. When I saw this series starting up and watched the first few episodes I couldn’t help thinking the voice just did not fit the character. While I personally have never been a fan, she does have great voice talent. I just think that for a character who tried to act seriously and with authority at times, she just felt flat. I couldn’t take this person seriously because she just felt….soft. The rest of the cast never really left an imprint on me and after a few episodes I was just done. There was just nothing to keep me interested.
Next up is, Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita. I think this show was very hit or miss. If the comedy doesn’t make you laugh then it’s all over. The dark humor was big in this series, though it certainly wasn’t all about comedy. It did give an interesting look at humanity in a very bad place. In a position to go out the door for good. In the end though, if the comedy doesn’t work for you I don’t think the series had enough to it to keep watching. In order to appreciate everything in the series you have to enjoy the comedy since it is just that prevalent in so much of each episode. The weirdness and the comedy not getting to me, was enough for me to leave this show to the side. Too many times in the first few episodes I went between “what am I watching” to “why am I watching this?” After enough of that and not being able to come up with anything I had to drop it. Now obviously it’s been rated pretty highly, so I assume it’s a good show. But think ones mileage for this series depends on the comedy. So it’s a show to at least give a try to, but it is very weird.
Now, I think Campione was just more disappointing than anything else. This show seemed to have a premise and setting that could have been amazing. I mean super powerful gods, magic, and a pretty awesome skill for the main lead. All of that could have come together in a great way. Instead I just felt like this series just never found its footing. It just rushes from one arc to another, never slowing down. When you have great material to work with there is no reason to rush it.
This was based on a light novel series and with those you really have to handle them with care. You can’t cram a volume into an episode or two without disaster. I think back to a show called Spice and Wolf that pretty much spent 5-6 episodes per volume. Now that is the way you cover a light novel series without making a mess of it. When you rush things the plot doesn’t just suffer, but so do the characters. You never get a chance to really understand these people before they charge into the next situation. Now, it’s not a terrible show overall, but I couldn’t help watching each episode with a feeling of disappointment. It’s one thing to have a bad concept, but it’s something else entirely to bring down what could have been a good concept.
There were of course more series in the summer season than just these. But I didn’t actually watch them so can’t say much. Some were sequels of shows I didn’t see in the first place or had concepts that didn’t give me a good feeling. Sometimes you have to make choices about what you want to watch and what you don’t. These were just ones that I wasn’t really big on watching.
Overall the season wasn’t that bad. It could have been a disaster with no shows that I was interested in watching. If you throw in sequels for shows I didn’t watch the first seasons of, the ones I did enjoy, and the ones that were just a little below them it wasn’t such a bad summer season. Now of course I’m really banking my hopes on fall which normally brings quite a good haul of shows to follow. So just time to cross my fingers and see how the first episodes turn out.
Tags: Campione, Dog Days, Dog Days S2, Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita, Kokoro Connect, La storia della Arcana Famiglia, Muv Luv, Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse, Oda Nobuna no Yabou, summer anime 2012, Summer Anime 2012 Impressions, summer anime 2012 review, Sword Art Online, Sword Art Online Anime