Summer 2012 First Thoughts

Our Spring 2012 First Thoughts article demonstrated how powerful first impressions can be: as long-time commenter Flash Sword Irene pointed out, there was an unusually large number of As and Bs, but a high chance that some of the shows would turn out less worthy of their initial grades. In comparison, this season’s shows seem far less impressive. However, that also means there’s chances for secret sleeper hits to wake and surprise their viewers with a great show! Which ones seem to have potential? Read on to find out!

Introduction by: Kylaran

Binbougami ga!

Shinmaru‘s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 3
Initial impression: B

Good slapstick is a fine art, and through 3 episodes, Binbougami ga! is quite fine indeed. The show nails the high energy needed to make slapstick work while also not making it so rambunctious that it annoys. And I can’t say enough about what a wonderful comedy duo the main characters, Sakura Ichiko and Momiji Binboda, make. Each is rotten to the core and makes no apologies about it; in fact, they live to make each other miserable, which has proved a gold mine for comedy so far. My main concern, however, is that the show occasionally dwells too much on sappy melodrama. It’s OK in the first episode, but the third episode’s dramatic plot had me mostly rolling my eyes. I’d rather the series stick to being a silly, wild slapstick comedy than fail at making Sakura sympathetic.

Shadowmage‘s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 2
Initial Impression: B

Binbougami ga! is the gender-bent version of Gintama featuring a massively selfish and egocentric high school girl dueling against a lazy, unmotivated poverty God girl over some shtick about happiness energy.  This is a hyper-energetic slapstick comedy with an animation budget that’s the envy of almost everything else this season, but it suffers from the fact that it’s not actually funny.  The references are undoubtedly amusing but in a very Family Guy “look what obtuse correlation we’ve found” kind of way.  Watch this show for its bombast and entertainment value, but don’t expect to laugh along the way.

Dog Days’

Kylaran‘s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 3
Initial impression: C+

Though certainly not the most exciting or mature anime, Dog Days season two still fields the fun that its predecessor did: a strong voice cast, gorgeous animation, excellent background music, and an utterly stupid plot. If the first season is any indication of how the sequel is going to turn out, I would recommend Dog Days’ is watched with little expectations of greatness. However, that doesn’t change the fact that this show is incredibly fun, and for those with the time and willingness to succumb themselves to the cute world of Flonyard, then this show is still worth watching.

Natsuyuki Rendezvous

AC‘s First Thoughts
Episodes Seen:
3
Initial Impression:
A-

Natsuyuki is one of those shows where one can tell from the first episode that he’s in for something special. The cast size is kept to a minimum so that more time can be spent on exploration their personalities and background, and indeed, each character stands out the most upon their interaction with one another. The drama is so far executed flawlessly, and the story has the whole Natsume Yuujinchou-like sentimental touch to it. A show that is comparable to Honey and Clover, noitaminA appears to have firmly regained its footing in making quality anime titles.

Shinmaru‘s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 3
Initial impression: B+

I’m intrigued by this series partly because it’s portraying a burgeoning adult relationship, and partly because not all the main characters are totally likable, but also not unforgivable. They feel realistically flawed. The way Ryuusuke pursues Rokka is a bit weird and troublesome, and he has received some lumps because of that. Atsushi also jealously guards Rokka from the afterlife, doing everything he can to ward Ryuusuke away from his former wife. Their love for Rokka feels genuine, but it’s being expressed in ways that feel off. I’m interested to see how that will develop, especially considering how well the show has employed the perspective of each character to reveal new layers. Hopefully Rokka gets more time as well — I like the brief glimpses into her mind we’ve received thus far. It’d be a shame to keep her as an idealized prize for two dudes to fight over.

Kokoro Connect

Reckoner‘s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 3
Initial impression: B+

Body swapping antics seemed mostly like a setup for some typical sexual comedy, but if Kokoro Connect has proven one thing so far, it is actually a far more compelling drama. As the old saying goes, you have to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes to understand how they feel, and quite literally this is what this anime is about. Top compliments for the voice work here, the premise makes it a rather difficult job, as the character chemistry is completely nailed down. The drama as they unveil each other’s personal issues has also been quite engrossing. Count me impressed.

TypicalIdiotFan‘s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: B+

Characters switching bodies with other characters? Now that’s a plot device that could be exploited to create a decent show. Even better is that the switching is random and involves dudes switching into chicks’ bodies and vice versa. The comedy alone from this could be golden, but they seem to be using this for more than that, which will make or break the show entirely. With a severe hand-wave of an antagonist driving these switches, the real conflict is going to be amongst the various characters discovering secrets about each other and whatever hijinks they get into while not “themselves”. So far the characters seem interesting and varied enough that it wont be boring.

Moyashimon Returns

Shinmaru‘s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 3
Initial impression: B-

Moyashimon’s return is a bit slow so far; I’m not particularly interested in what’s happening right now, and the series hasn’t been nearly as funny as I’d like, which is the far bigger sin in my eyes. The first season of Moyashimon is so good that I’m willing to give the sequel the benefit of the doubt for now and see where it’s taking things. While I’m here, I might as well chime in on the character design change: not really a fan! I like how the harder designs contrasted with the light, cutesy bacteria. And at least one character, Aya, is unrecognizable.

Kylaran’s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 3
Initial impression: B

Perhaps what’s best about this series is that it’s educational on top of funny: there’s never an episode were I don’t either find myself going “Ohhhh!” or “Hahahaha!” The interesting bits of knowledge and comedy are hard to balance though, and it feels like this sequel hasn’t yet fully hit its stride yet. Oryzae is still the cutest little germ around, and I hope that he’ll find enough screen time throughout the rest of the series to keep the show’s comedy going, because the jokes from the human cast are likely to get dull.

Kono Naka ni Hitori Imouto ga Iru!

TypicalIdiotFan’s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 3
Initial impression: B

Yeah, it’s a harem, and it seems to be a bit more in the Princess Lover vein than most others. But, as we’ve said before, it doesn’t matter if you use an old or tired idea, it’s how you use the old or tired idea. So far, the main driving force is the mystery surrounding who the little sister actually is. It is not a very pleasant mystery either, as our hero is becoming frustrated (in more ways than one) over who she is. Also delightful is this: everyone’s a slut. Girls, guys, teachers, ninja wannabes… all sluts. Go ahead, pick your waifu from this lot, everybody else already has. ZING!

AC‘s Second Opinion
Episodes Seen: 3
Initial Impression: C-

NakaImo is what you get when you turn a dating sim into an anime. It is as typical as it gets: a harem genre, a run-of-the-mill Mr. Nice Guy as the male lead, and a female cast made from every female archetype: the model student, the tsundere loli, the (vice) student president, the ditz and the little sister. The central motif is about the mystery around Shougo’s little sister, but the focus seems to be more on how the girls around him want to get into his pants. In the end, it feels like I’m merely watching Infinite Stratos with a high school setting.

La storia della Arcana Famiglia

TypicalIdiotFan‘s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 3
Initial impression: D+

The first episode foretold of possibly entertaining things, but the farther we get away from that first episode the more concerned I am that none of it will happen. The intrigue of the family, and the possible “no holds barred” fight tournament are interesting. Chasing cats around and entertaining children are not. I understand that shows need these early exposition episodes to introduce and flesh out characters, but these last two episodes might be the most insipid piles of dog crap I’ve seen a show take so quickly after a promising introduction. If Mamiko Noto and Jun Fukuyama weren’t voicing roles, I’d probably hate this.

Kylaran‘s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 4
Initial impression: C+

Believe it or not I see this series has having more potential than it may let on, but as of now it has yet to pique my interest. With such a large cast introduced in the first episode, I wouldn’t be surprised if their personalities are the source of much chemistry in the near future. As it stands, some of the brief glimpses we have of the characters make each one of them feel more like caricatures than individuals with personality. The battles have promise as well. But the most entertaining thing would be the fact that the main female lead isn’t your typical timid lead; she’s voiced by Noto Mamiko too!

Campione!

TypicalIdiotFan‘s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: D-

Yeah, Erica is much more interesting as a horn dog drunk slut than ultra serious business stuck up snob bitch, but that’s not really doing much to save the rest of this steaming pile of aborted kangaroo fetus. The setup feels way too much like Daimao, with an at first unwilling but seemingly badass warrior God type demonstrating superior powers and getting all kinds of pussy, and that’s not a good thing. Maybe things will pick up when the other Campione! get involved, but for now there isn’t anything here beyond Erica’s sluttiness to enjoy.

AC‘s Second Opinion
Episodes Seen: 3
Initial Impression: B-

Campione! is as generic as any shounen action series can be. Godou’s your standard high school student male lead with almighty powers, Erica is your fetching damsel who supplies the show’s bulk of fanservice, and there are the generous servings of eye-catching action to go around. Worse, it concerns me how the show’s slowly turning into yet another generic harem show, especially when the other female characters are introduced one by one. What I want from the show is Godou slugging it out with other God Killers; the thing is, I’m not sure if I will get enough of it.

Tari Tari

Reckoner‘s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 3
Initial impression: B

Ironically so unoriginal for pretty much the only original title of the season, everything about PA Works’ Tari Tari just feels like a cheap knockoff of an earlier work of theirs, Hanasaku Iroha. So much so in fact that it is as if PA works is telling its audiences “we just aren’t trying anymore.” Whether it is the inferior but similar character designs, the setting in the countryside, or even just the character’s personalities, there is hardly a shred of anything remotely new being offered here. However, although Tari Tari has not treaded any new territory, its quality of execution and general consistency has managed to make this unremarkable concept seem somehow rather pleasant.

AC‘s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 3
Initial impression: B-

For a second, I thought that PA Works has produced the sequel for Hanasaku Iroha. That’s because Tari Tari is the spitting image of the series, but as I follow it, it’s starting to feel a lot less like it. It is more light-hearted and less sentimental, but more importantly, it doesn’t have the same emotional appeal to me. Furthermore, I’m not sure at the direction of the story. The show seems to depict the characters doing all sorts of things with no sense of purpose, and I hope to see more about their motives soon.

Joshiraku

Shinmaru‘s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: C+

I wasn’t digging Joshiraku after the first episode, due in large part to my utter lack of Japanese language comprehension. Subs can do only so much, you know? Puns require split-second timing that I unfortunately lack, and nothing else in the episode really worked for me. The second episode, however, clicked much more with me. I got a bit more familiar with the general oddities of the characters and enjoyed the generally weird directions their conversations went in. I’m hoping it grows on me more by the episode.

Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse

Reckoner‘s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 3
Initial impression: B-

This is a spin-off of a sequel of an alternative ending to a parallel universe of an eroge game. Wrapped your head around that? Probably not! As you could imagine, much of the show so far has thus been a process of establishing setting and background details rather than anything about its characters, with the main cast finally being introduced in episode 3. However, there is much to be interested in with regards to the machinations of the setting and the setup of the war drama is compelling. It will be interesting to see where Total Eclipse eventually takes itself.

TypicalIdiotFan‘s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 3
Initial impression: **** this shit

It would be impossible for anybody not to be aware of the voracious arguments by the visual novel fans and newcomers over how ridiculously contrived the Muv-Luv universe has to be in order to pull this shit off. If you can’t tell from my tone, I’m on the side that thinks this bullshit is bullshit, and the explanations are even bigger bullshit. All that aside, there isn’t much else here to like. The first two episodes were brisk introductions for the newcomers, with episode three’s “start” not showing anything worth giving a crap over either. Fanservice, mecha, schizos, “American” pilot as a Japanese expy. Yeah, **** off.

Sword Art Online

AC‘s First Thoughts
Episodes Seen: 3
Initial Impression: B-

The premises are interesting: unlike Accel World, SAO seems to understand its own “do or die” virtual world concept, and the characters have a legit reason to fight to the bitter end. There are a few things I’m worried about: for one, I don’t really feel the grimness of the story especially when lives are literally at stake. Secondly, I question the sensibility of the storyline i.e. what is happening outside the virtual world. If the show can address its issues coherently, then SAO can prove to be one of the better titles for Summer 2012.

Shadowmage‘s Second Opinon
Episodes seen: 2
Initial Impression: B

If the prospect of permanently losing your character upon death a la Diablo III’s hardcore mode doesn’t feel “real” enough for you, join Sword Art Online for the chance of strapping a microwave that will deep fry your brains upon character death.  While the whole premise of the show is built on this rather large piece of absurdity, the rest of the show does a rather convincing job at creating an MMO world with real consequences.  The animation budget is high and the presentation is solid, so if you’re hankering for a well made action/adventure series, SAO is hands down your best bet this season.

Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere S2

Shadowmage‘s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 2
Initial Impression: C+

For anyone who survived the vicious mental bruising of the first series, this season brings back both the baseball bat and the bucket your head will be placed in for another session.  Ridiculous, over-the-top but unusually fun, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere S2 is everything the fans of the original could want except an assurance of a third season.  If you’re a newcomer to the franchise, don’t even bother trying since analyzing the sheer randomness of events will likely cause brain damage.

Humanity Has Declined

Shadowmage‘s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 3
Initial impression: B+

Humanity has Declined is the exact opposite of Binbougami ga! in that it’s an incredibly boring show but its main jokes are actually hilarious.  Deceptively packaged as a cute fairy tale moe thing,  this series critiques the follies of society with some rather biting instruments that would have made for a rather dry watch but it stands out for some its roaringly funny bits that makes the whole build up worth it.

Kylaran‘s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 3
Initial impression: A-

Two names: SAWASHIRO MIYUKI AND NAKAHARA MAI. I’m absolutely convinced after the third episode that these two girls should get more screen time together. On top of that, the fantastically understated aesthetic, varied amount of material from which the series uses material from, and sharp jokes are bound together by a classical soundtrack that makes for an almost complete package. The only thing I’m waiting for is the eponymous fairies to play a bigger role.

Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate

Reckoner‘s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 3
Initial impression: F

Does anybody remember that scene in Evangelion where the characters were in an alternate reality which made fun of the typical otaku harem fantasy world? Well shamelessly so, this is practically all there is to Koichoco. Literally every scene feels like something copy and pasted from some sort of manual on how to make a visual novel for dummies. It is unbelievable how amateurish and glaringly unoriginal the writing is. The effort here is so pitiful that I now feel dumber for having watched it.

Dakara Boku wa H ga Dekinai

Kylaran‘s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 3
Initial impression: D-

Except for the few jokes that are funny and the cleavage that spills forth during battles, this show has absolutely nothing going for it. Its somewhat decent visuals doesn’t make watching this show any less painful than it is, largely because of its absolutely terrible plot. Characters are introduced each episode with no real reason apart to introduce good looking babes, and when they are introduced there’s no plausibility to the motivations underlying their actions either. Plus, the main character hasn’t even really lost his libido yet three episodes in.

8 Responses to “Summer 2012 First Thoughts”

  1. The effort here is so pitiful that I now feel dumber for having watched it

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HoaFWI5S0Q.

  2. The effort here is so pitiful that I now feel dumber for having watched it.

    Why does that line remind me of this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HoaFWI5S0Q

    :3.

    But yeh, I agree with Reck in that Koichoco is the most revolting thing I’ve seen in this season. I rather watch the incest harem or the next “What if Sengoku period girls were moe anime girls” because at least you can lol at the badness. Koichoco? It’s so textbook VN that it’s the definition of generic and mediocre that it’s actually offensive.

    Season highlights for me? Just Humanity has Declined. Balls to the walls weird but has a really good sense of humour. Guess Seiji Kishi actually had a hit for once! Other potential candidates include Kokoro Connect which started off quite bad but has improved the most in the last 2 episodes, and Tari Tari which although unremarkable in premise, is pretty rock solid in execution.

    I’m worred about Sword Art Online. The latest episode made the timeskip in Kids on the Slope look tame…

  3. Where the heck is utakoi?

  4. Where the heck is utakoi?

    On Crunchyroll every Monday.

  5. Some thoughts on shows I didn’t write about …

    Humanity Has Declined is my favorite of the season thus far. Love the general sense of weirdness and the bite of its satire, and it’s just plain fun to watch, even with the core message that humanity has indeed declined.

    I’m digging Muv-Luv just fine. More mecha is always cool with me. I kind of like the peek into the world I get from commenters whenever I write about the series, too. Lots of wild justifications for just about everything, and I find a lot of it rather interesting.

    WHO IS IMOUTO is so dumb. So dumb. That is basically why I am watching it. I root for it to get dumber each week, even if it means it gets awkwardly dumb every so often (as is the case with the “WE’VE GOT TO CURE THE GAY” in the third episode).

  6. @Shinmaru

    Because you don’t always get a show that features (almost) world domination at the hands of nekked headless chickens.

    I’m just concerned about Moyashimon Returns. My gut tells me that it’s not gonna be as good as the first season; there’s just something missing about the humor. I’m not asking for something on par with season one’s episode 8 — because we all know that that episode’s a timeless classic — but at least I wanna some more disgusting stuff dealing with fermentation. Like kiviak. Or the stupid and pathetic things college guys would do just to get some chick action.

    What is it with this season and sluts…?

  7. [...] be sure to check out our thoughts on the Summer 2012 anime season at Behind the Nihon [...]

  8. Tari Tari has no Minchi. This means it’s better.

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