Fall 2013 Anime: Halfway Impressions
As it happens, I’ve found myself watching a decent chunk of the anime for this season and figure that I might as well give my thoughts about the ones I’ve been keeping up with. In truth I’d only planned to keep up with a few series (Kuroko no Basket 2nd Season, Little Busters!: Refrain, and Kill la Kill in particular) but found myself starting a number of anime from this season. I am a week late as far as the halfway points for these series, but better late than never I suppose. I won’t be saying too much about these since I’ll end up posting about them all individually at some point, but I do have a bit to say about all that I’ve kept up with.
- BlazBlue: Alter Memory: I’d actually been quite curious about this one for a while since a few of my friends are big fans of the BlazBlue games. Me being as busy as I am, however, I haven’t gotten a chance to give the games a try and figured I might as well watch the anime. To be honest, I am a bit disappointed with this. The BlazBlue anime is only 12 episodes so that limits it significantly as far as storytelling, and considering how long I’ve heard the games are, it seems the anime misses out on a lot. The pacing has been pretty rushed and a lot remains unexplained and confusing, not to mention the character development has been pretty limited and I find it hard to be attached to anybody. It’s still a pretty fun watch and I don’t find it to be as bad as some people do, but it seems like wasted potential and probably my least favorite of the series I’m watching this season. (7/10)
- Golden Time: This is one I’d been curious about for a while as well, namely because the author of Toradora wrote this series and I’m a huge fan of Toradora. It certainly isn’t the best of ideas to hype a series so much beforehand, but Golden Time has been a blast and hasn’t disappointed me. It’s been a very enjoyable series and the college setting shows in how the series seems to have a more mature and sophisticated atmosphere than a lot of the sillier high school romances. Not to say that this isn’t a funny series and it does have quite a lot of lighthearted comedy, but the drama doesn’t have quite the same feel as other series I’ve seen in this genre. Interestingly enough, it feels like Golden Time actually picked up more quickly than Toradora did. I still have yet to see if I’ll prefer Golden Time by the end, but so far it’s been a great run and one of my favorites this season. (9/10)
- Gundam Build Fighters: Truth be told, the only reason I picked up this one was because of the Back-On OP to prepare for the concert, but I’ve found that it’s actually quite a fun watch. Build Fighters is essentially a kids’ show with the characters battling with their toy Gundam figures, but it knows what it’s doing and does a great job with it. The fights are quite fun to watch, the music is great, and in spite of its obvious limits due to the nature of its story, it never misses a beat and does precisely what it sets out to do. Even as a person that has never watched a single Gundam series, I can definitely say I enjoy watching this series and I can only imagine how much more nostalgia long-time fans of Gundam have seeing the cameos and references in this show. (8/10)
- Kill la Kill: Ah, Kill la Kill. One of the series I was truly set on watching, mainly because the director and writer of Gurren Lagann (my favorite anime up to date) were behind this series. It’s still too early to say how good Kill la Kill will get, but so far it has not disappointed. Even from episode 1, this series has stayed true to the style of works like Gurren and FLCL with its fast-paced, over-the-top nature, and it’s been a very enjoyable experience all the way through. Some of the episodes have had a bit of an enemy of the week feel, but the last couple episodes I’ve watched (6 and 7, haven’t seen 8 yet) have been fantastic and really make the most of Kill la Kill as of yet. Kill la Kill has been a fantastic experience and, just like I said with Golden Time and Toradora, I feel that it has actually picked up faster than Gurren as well. Of course, for those who actually have watched Gurren, episode 8 is where the series really kicked off, so I’ll just have to see where Kill la Kill goes now that episode 8 has been released. I’m not expecting Kill la Kill to dethrone Gurren for me, but what a wonder it would be if a series ever did. (9/10)
- Kuroko no Basket 2nd Season: Kuroko no Basket has been quite an interesting case. Back in spring 2012, I had a massive ongoing run (17 or so series if I recall correctly) and this was when I first became familiar with Kuroko. At the time, I didn’t have much interest in it, figuring I might as well just watch it on a whim and see how it is. Over time, however, I came to love the series and by the end of season 1 it was a 9/10 for me and easily one of my favorites that season. Fast forward a year and a half and at last, the second season has been released. Kuroko S2 seems to have more character development than S1 so that’s been a welcome addition, and the production values have certainly improved here. S2 hasn’t progressed quite so much as only a few games have actually taken place so far, but I have no doubt that with time, S2 will be as good as S1, most probably better in fact. (8/10)
- Kyoukai no Kanata: Kyoukai no Kanata is one I’ve been interested in mainly because of the fact that Kyoto Animation is behind it. KyoAni is a studio I’m quite fond of, mainly because of its series like Clannad (one of my favorite anime), Chuunibyou, and Kanon (2006). After seeing some of the awesome imaginary fights that Chuunibyou offered, I really wanted to see a series take advantage of the great production values with some action, and Kyoukai no Kanata has definitely done that. While the story isn’t the most compelling and I don’t find myself having a strong love for most of the characters, it is still an interesting watch with some good development and it’s nice seeing a series that stays true to KyoAni style while still being darker than most of the creations KyoAni is known for. (8/10)
- Little Busters!: Refrain: Refrain is one I’ve been extremely hyped for due to my huge attachment to Key series. While I must admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Little Busters! S1, I still enjoyed it a good deal and heard that Refrain would do wonders as it was supposedly what truly made Little Busters what it is. Halfway through the season, I’m inclined to agree. Refrain really does set the bar high and I’ve enjoyed it substantially more than I enjoyed S1. Refrain’s developments have been amazing and the conflicts are quite unlike those of the first season. Along with the intense feels and drama Key is known for, Refrain has the mystery factor going for it, as many of the unanswered questions about the series come into play with this season and seem to be the driving forces of the plot. As of now, Refrain is my favorite of the season and I cannot wait to see how everything unfolds. I can’t be sure if Refrain will be my long awaited next 10/10, but regardless of whether it achieves that or not, I can say it’s been a fantastic watch. (9/10)
- Machine-Doll wa Kizutsukanai: Machine-Doll has been quite a fun series, though I was disappointed to see that it would only have a 12 episode run. While it seems that many people are displeased with its use of CG for its fights, I don’t mind too much and do enjoy the action for the most part. Machine-Doll is a series with quite a bit of potential and while it won’t be able to act on it all due to its time constraints, it is still an enjoyable anime. The interactions between Raishin and Yaya are quite interesting (and often very amusing) and there are still quite a few mysteries that have yet to be revealed so I do hope that the anime touches on those before its run finishes. (8/10)
- Strike the Blood: I actually wasn’t planning to watch this one, though a friend on MyAnimeList suggested I give it a try at the beginning of the season, so I figured it would be worth a shot. While Strike the Blood may not be the most original of stories, it has certainly been a fun watch. The fights are quite fun to watch and I’m fond of the characters for the most part. Kojou and Himeragi are pretty likeable leads and it’s nice to see that the female lead is competent and doesn’t entirely depend on the main character for help. Strike the Blood is a series that isn’t groundbreaking or revolutionary, but it’s very much enjoyable and has potential. Strike the Blood is going to be a 2-cour series, so there’s lots of potential for development and I do look forward to seeing how the series ends up in the months ahead. (8/10)
As of right now, this is how I’d rank the series:
- Little Busters!: Refrain
- Golden Time
- Kill la Kill
- Kuroko no Basket 2nd Season
- Machine-Doll wa Kizutsukanai
- Strike the Blood
- Kyoukai no Kanata
- Gundam Build Fighters
- BlazBlue: Alter Memory
Though I can’t say for sure if this is completely accurate. If anything, I’d say Golden Time and Kill la Kill are at about the same level for me and same with Machine-Doll and Strike the Blood. For the most part though, I am expecting this to stay about the same until season’s end, with the possible exception of Kuroko no Basket S2 rising since the great games might take place before the end of fall season.
Anywho, I think I’ve actually written a good deal more than just “a bit” about each series, so that should give a pretty good idea of where I stand on the anime I’m keeping up with this season. Truth be told I’m enjoying all of these and it seems like a very good season, at least with the ones I’m keeping up with. I do hope to get back to some of the other series from this season when I get the chance since I’ve heard that there are quite a few other good ones as well.