Winter 2012: Surprisingly decent.

Shinobu from Nisemonogatari

A bit of shameless self-promotion before the post. Done by Carillus (me), pixiv ID 236529.

Firstly, a happy Chinese New Year to those that celebrate it.

So I’ve gone and watched most of the shows I planned to watch this season, and – well – colour me surprised. A lot of the offerings this season are actually deceptively good.

This contrasts quite spectacularly with Fall 2011 for me – I had expected quite a lot from the previous season, but ended up feeling like I had gone through several rather mediocre series instead. For Winter 2012, I went in with feelings of doubt, but came out satisfied.

So, a brief summary of what I’ve seen so far, and my feelings about them, along with relative ratings (these ratings are based upon how i feel about a show with respect to series that I have already rated before, on an adjusted scale of 1 to 10). Also, just for the heck of it, the first other show I think of when I watch it.

I grabbed the first image with more than 50 faves off pixiv

Another's Misaki Mei, by SHION★ on pixiv: ID 2428726

Another (eps watched: 1)

Rating: 7

Show I think of: Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni

The sound direction is good in this one, mainly because the sound director actually knows that for this show, the lack of sound is more important than having any sound at all. Having absolutely nothing playing in the background enhances the creepy feeling behind the show, like the long lull period before the crescendo in a horror movie where nothing happens, but you still feel like your heart is about to leap out of your throat anyway.

AIC once again offers up a beautiful show with a muted colour palette that serves just enough to give the world some life, but cuts out enough to let us know that something is off about this show.

Currently, however, the story isn’t reaching out to me just yet. I’ll likely finish this, but part of me is too lazy to get the next episode for now in favour of other series below.

Surprisingly, this has over 1000 favourites.

Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou, by アールグレイ on pixiv: ID 647094

Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou (eps watched: 3)

Rating: 9

Show I think of: Nichijou

Fantastically hilarious, especially since I came from an all-boys secondary school myself. Much of this show reminds me too much of my interactions with my less-than-pure friends, where innuendoes and constant deliberate verbal deconstruction are the order of the day and flights of fancy are routine.

Art is nothing to shout home about, and neither is music, and honestly, I didn’t notice much of either (besides that ridiculous ending in episode 1). This is testament to the strength of the writing and the voice-acting, which is vital in gag shows like these. The deadpan/over-the-top delivery of the VAs does wonders for the already non-sequitur dialog. I started laughing thirty seconds in, and stopped… well, only a minute after the end, really. Then I went back to rewatch the last skit and laughed myself silly again.

Those legs, don'cha think

Shirakiin Ririchiyo, by nagi on pixiv, id 10870

Inu x Boku SS (eps watched: 1)

Rating: 6

Show I think of: Kami-sama no Memochou

If you’ve seen this show, you’ll understand why the first thing I think of is Kamimemo. I mean, tell me Ririchiyo doesn’t totally remind you of Alice. Go on, say it.

Looks aside (I love the way Ririchiyo looks, by the way, and dear me them legs) the story hasn’t quite grabbed me as of yet. This is one of those shows where I am watching merely  because I like the character designs. All that leg-service doesn’t hurt it, either. <_<

Because screw everything, spaceships

Image by matsumoto on pixiv: ID 105952

Mouretsu Pirates (Number watched: 4)

Rating: 8

Show I think of: Tengan Toppa Gurren Lagann

Why Gurren Lagann, I can hear your brain muttering incredulously. Well, honestly, I don’t know, but the first episode of Gurren Lagann somehow gives me the same feeling as I am getting from Mouretsu at the moment. It’s not exactly a great comparison, and I know most will be hard-pressed to find the common point between the drilly start of Kamina and Simon’s adventure and a bunch of teen girls flying around sailing spaceships. Still, that’s the feeling I get.

The direction of this show actually feels rather different from other offerings in recent years – it has a more anachronistic feeling, like a show from a generation ago. The character designs also give off a more prev-gen kind of feel as opposed to most shows. What this means for me is something different.

Do not search Nisemonogatari on Pixiv without checking your surroundings first.

Nisemonogatari (Number watched: 4)

Rating: 8

Show I think of: Bakemonogatari (and how!)

Honestly, this was the show I was looking forward to the most this season – and it still is. Not only has SHAFT given us more of the same pop-art aesthetic and witty dialogue that we know and love, they’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty by further improving character art, and feeding us tasty fanservice by the bucketful. Granted, that last point is mostly due to the author’s writing, but that doesn’t stop me from loving every last second of it. It does make it slightly harder to watch when people are around, but damn, it looks gooood.

Eventually, the toothbrush scene is going to arrive, and seeing how SHAFT is going about with Nisemonogatari now, it’s probably going to be worth a rewatch. Or seven. And I’m going to love it.

Do not search for Papakiki on Pixiv, either. Not in school or at work. And make sure your parents aren't around.

Sora from Papakiki!, by 100円ロッカー on pixiv: ID 4491

Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai! (Number watched: 2)

Rating: 6

Show I think of: Angel Beats!, The iDOLM@STER

Papakiki is, at first sight and if you didn’t bother to read reviews or the summary (like me), a nice relaxed show about three cute young things. After watching the first episode, you think it’s a nice relaxed show about three cute young things and a young guy-person and probably some harem-ish borderline pedophilic show.

Then you watch the second.

Being a superficial jerkass who chooses new shows to watch based on 1) character design and 2) animation studio where no preexisting factors are in place (like, y’know, Gen Urobuchi, Kajiura Yuki, TYPE-MOON etcetera) I started watching Papakiki solely for character designs. I was all, “oh, Hina kinda looks like Hibiki, doesn’t she” when I somehow came across a Youtube video about it, and when I realised it was an anime and Sora looked like Yuri I was all “f*** this, I’m watching it”.

Which was a good thing, because Papakiki is good. At least, so far that I’m watching it, and from what I hear about it.

This season is a good one. The reason? I’m a really fickle watcher, and what I don’t like gets dropped faster than the Flash running the 100-metre dash. Last season alone saw me dropping at least five shows. This season, however, I’m not dropping anything. Might be a bit slow watching, but definitely not dropping.

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About Carillus

"Any sufficiently advanced application of locupletative language is indistinguishable from writing magic."
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9 Responses to Winter 2012: Surprisingly decent.

  1. so far my favourites are nother and nisemonogatari

    • Carillus says:

      Those are without a doubt the most anticipated series of Winter 2012. It’s always good to follow the hyped series, as they usually don’t disappoint (though some do – I’m looking at you, Guilty Crown).

      I do suggest taking a look at some of the other series, though. This season has quite a few original series, and many of them are delivering on multiple fronts.

  2. Azure says:

    The coloring for the drawing… Markers?

    I thought another was pretty interesting initially but after 3 episodes… I’m getting Final Destination vibes, I could be wrong. I should start watching Mouretsu Pirates, shouldn’t have viewed the series with skepticism…

    Oh, and I love the pixiv credits, now I can go stalk the artists that caught my eye…

    • Carillus says:

      Yup, markers. Copic markers, to be exact.

      Mouretsu is a YourMileageMayVary kind of series. The pacing is some of the slowest I’ve ever seen, with one event stretching over an entire episode. What this does, however, is give us a very good glimpse into the background of the characters. It’s giving me the same vibes as Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto ~Natsu no Sora~ (another of my favourite series), right down to the soundtrack that focuses around something I can only describe as an Old European kind of music.

      I’ve seen people saying that Mouretsu is way too slow and way too boring, and others saying that it’s one of the best series this season so far(myself included), but either way, do give it a try.

      • Azure says:

        Copics; those bloody expensive things.

        Mmm, seeing as the pace is slow, I guess i’ll save Mouretsu for a marathon viewing after it finishes airing.

  3. @fkeroge says:

    Well, I still think that Another is a pretty bad show at episode 3, much like those horrible Final Destination movies, with the random deaths and stuff. Well, okay, at least it’s not making me want to sleep through it anymore, but it’s a very, very shallow show in my opinion. Still a decent way to spend your time if you want to see people die in gruesome ways, which is sort of where all of its entertainment value lies for me. I would also argue against the good building of atmosphere, but I guess it’s kind of pointless now. So far, Another only got a score of 4 from me.

    Well, I do think you already know what I think of Mouretsu Pirates and Nisemonogatari if you read my posts about them. I plan to watch Nichibros soon and I do think I will like it. As for the others, I’m not really interested in them anymore.

    • Azure says:

      So I’m not the only one who thought the umbrella incident was like some scene ripped from Final Destination.

  4. Ho Ji Jin says:

    I am going to rip off your amazing art for my facebook dp 😀 it looks awesome

  5. Nopy says:

    You’re definitely right about Mouretsu Pirates having a previous generation feel. It’s being directed by Sato Tatsuo, who was highly regarded in the late 90’s/early 00’s for his work on Martian Successor Nadesico and Stellvia of the Universe. Mouretsu is his first foray back into the space drama genre in nearly a decade, so you can see why it seems like it’s from a generation ago.

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