Spring 2013: First episodes - part 1

I have returned to deliver the good (and not so good) news about the anime that are starting this season! Little bit of fact spliced with a hefty load of opinion, hopefully giving some kind of indication as to what's worth watching this time 'round. As per usual I don't have prior experience with any of the series described, such as their respective manga or games. So without further ado, let us delve!

Aku no Hana
The overall vibe I got from this show could be summarised as 'intriguing'. The first thing that leapt out at me was the art - the backgrounds, on which the show seems to dwell considerably, are incredibly well done and the characters have that sort of pseudo-realistic feel about them as well. It's difficult to say exactly what the series is about as yet, seeing as the first episode was mostly a tribute to the scenery, but it's set in and around a high school class and our protagonist, Kasuga, reads a lot of Baudelaire and has a girl he likes. That's pretty much all that's established, apart from the fact that his friends are detestable, there's a crazy girl in the class who no one likes and there's obviously about to be some very serious stuff going down.
The next things worth noting after the art were the character animations, which felt a bit clunky and off but certainly not worth dropping the show over (as I've seen many people protest). Plus Aku no Hana has that 'small town' vibe to it, where it seems that there's hardly anyone around except for the characters in focus, and the environments seem pretty calm and peaceful. This is then a shocking contrast in feel to the downright insane opening and ending, which I won't deign to go into detail on here but let's just say I wasn't prepared for them in the slightest and still have no idea what they were about.

Will I continue watching? As I say, I'm intrigued. I want to find out what the big 'thing' the entire first episode was building up to is, and then I guess I'll judge on that whether or not I want to go on.

Arata Kangatari

The show starts and we meet our main character, Arata, as he's going through some sort of depression. He has no friends at school and everyone he's ever trusted has ended up betraying him. Just as we're wondering what's going to happen next, we essentially get a "Meanwhile in fantasy land..." and switch to a completely different setting and group of characters featuring, among other things, a guy (called Arata) who has to cross-dress as a princess to prevent the destruction of the world. Slight shift in tone, but oh well let's roll with it. Through an unforeseeable sequence of events our new Arata ends up a fugitive on the run and then, without any warning (or explanation), the two Aratas in their different worlds trade places. So our bemused high school student has everyone after his head but then, by confronting some of his trust issues(?), he finds out he has magic powers. Sweet.
Pretty standard art, generic characters, nothing unique about either setting as yet. Also for some reason no one can tell that the person they're now talking to is someone else, despite the radical change in appearance...

Will I continue watching? I'm going to give it one more episode just because I hope that they actually show fantasy Arata, now in the real world, beat up all the kids at school.

Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge

So following on from Cuticle Detective last season we have a new show about a hair fetishist, though this one enjoys cutting people's hair. Who knew these people existed? Anyway our hapless protagonist stumbles upon a house occupied by The Hair Queen(?) who, it is established, has been cursed such that her hair can never be cut and thus presumably suffers tremendously from split ends. Some intrigue is built up around the people who come to "take care of her" and whether or not they killed her father or some such, but basically one thing leads to another and it turns out that only the protagonist's magic scissors (magic because his dad used them to kill someone possibly) can cut her hair. Well.
No one seems to have a personality as yet, apart from the hair fetish thing, which is a shame all things considered. Plus the plot hardly draws you in, except to stir up curiosity as to how on earth this could count as a premise in the first place.

Will I continue watching? I predict I'm going to give up a third of the way into the next episode.

Date A Live

In a world riddled by terrible natural disasters that have the people of Japan living in constant fear, a normal high school student cares deeply for his sister and disregards his own safety in the midst of one of the aforementioned natural disasters to go out and check on her. He is then surprised to discover, as one might expect, that the natural disasters that have been taking out whole areas of cities are in fact just the repeated appearances of an armoured girl and the secret defense forces' attempts to try and wipe her out. Natural progression from there really: protagonist is taken on board a giant cloaked airship, it is revealed that the commander of these forces is none other than his younger sister, and has they haven't yet managed to destroy their so-called threat they now want our hero to seduce the menace after a crash-course in dating sims.
The premise of using dating sim knowledge to make girls fall for you so as to prevent danger to humanity is ever-so-slightly reminiscent of Kaminomi, only in this case the characters are not at all appealing nor has there been any carefully crafted backstory to explain the situation or anything to make you laugh.

Will I continue watching? Well at this point I can say that I did in fact watch the second episode. Don't think I'll be watching any more though, as much as I enjoyed the team of "love experts" that they introduced.

Devil Survivor 2 The Animation

Huzzah, a show I can say something good about at last! An adaptation of the Shin Megami Tensei game of the same name (minus the 'The Animation' bit of course). We're introduced to our main characters and see them check out a suspicious app which seems to foretell your friends' deaths. Later, when they are involved in a fatal subway accident, the app asks them whether or not they have the will to go on living. Having answered 'yes', of course, our heroes find the corpses of those around them beset upon by fiendish monsters and they discover that, as part of keeping them alive, the mysterious app has granted them demon-summoning powers. As it transpires the whole city has been suffering a barrage of disastrous attacks and the world as the knew it has been replaced by the fight for survival.
I really like both the art and animation in this one, and the action scenes are really well done. The demon designs are really funky too. Enjoyed every moment of this episode

Will I continue watching? For sure. I honestly don't know where things are going to go, but it's probably some place awesome.

Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince
This wins the 'Naff Award for being Completely Unmemorable', or NACU. Now there's likely to be a bit of bias here as I generally don't enjoy mecha, though that said I enjoyed episode one of Suisei no Gargantia which is also on this season. Basically, some kids who are doing really bad at their mech training are, for some crazy reason, sent to reinforce a human base which is falling to evil aliens. Then, for some even crazier reason presumably, they obliterate the overwhelming forces. No idea how. The team leader dreams of being a hero so that probably had something to do with it.

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W
Rather than saying that this show is based on the Lovecraft mythos we shall instead say that the creators of this show have probably looked at the Lovecraft Wikipedia page. Though to be fair if you wanted to turn Lovecraft into a typical anime this would probably fit the bill like a duck costume. This is the second season now, and as before it is full of inane harem madness and hilarious references to all kinds of other things.

Next time: Hataraku Maou-sama!, Karneval, Mushibugyo and more


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