Shows that ended this March
I hereby present my wrap-up post for shows that ended this March. It’s way too late I know. I was quite surprised and overwhelmed myself while writing the post because I just realized that I indeed watched 11 shows simultaneously last season — it didn’t seem like that.
This cover includes the following shows: Another, Guilty Crown, Natsume Yuujinchou Shi, Nisemonogatari, Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou, Persona 4, Chihayafuru, Ano Natsu de Matteru, Papa no Iu Koto wo Kikinasai, Shakugan no Shana S3, Zero no Tsukaima: F
Spoilers everywhere. You’ve been warned. For the walls of texts.
image credit: Noizi Ito
If you follow me on Twitter, I’ve had my frequent screams while watching it so I guess it somehow fulfilled its purpose as a horror/thriller/mystery anime. The whole concept of the curse was rather shoddy as it’s totally absurd but I guess that’s what makes it a “curse”?
The final chapter of the manga was scanlated just before the final episode of the anime aired so it somehow preempted my expectations on how things were going to end (I’m already spoiled on who’s the Another by the middle of the show btw). The manga’s final chapter had Sakaki bawling his eyes out in front of the grave and I found this particular scene very powerful compared to the anime’s abrupt shift to Misaki during the same scene. From then, it catered to the romance going on between the two which I actually found great since the manga lacked this aspect. I would have just preferred if they did include the bawling scene to justify the whole “I just killed my aunt” action of Sakaki.
The manga had a great development during the revelation of who’s the Another. Although the anime actually handled that scene just fine, they decided to cop out a flashback scene where Reiko said that she’d willingly take in Sakaki in case he’d be maltreated by his father. I believe this was the only scene that makes the whole “Goodbye, Mother” line relevant since it was during this scene that Sakaki said that Reiko somehow personified his mother — but since the anime didn’t have it and yet still retained the “Goodbye, Mother” dialogue, it somehow felt disconnected.
Overall, the anime did a good job. It excelled on the developments between Sakaki and Mei but it overlooked some of the details about the ending and decided to focus instead on the main characters. An example of this would be the creepy ending of the manga which hints the continuity of the curse in contrast to the anime ending that showcases the conversation between Sakaki and Mei which hints their budding relationship. The anime did a great job in animating the action inside the inn. I undoubtedly enjoyed the scenes, even the ridiculous Sakaki scene where he did the call in a calm manner despite the fiery background. Although I don’t really mind the assumed deaths of Akazawa and Kazami, it’s probably one of my biases that I prefer the manga ending as well in that regards since they both made it safe in the end. The manga even suggests a Teshigawara x Akazawa pairing.
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The clusterfuck of the season. Need I say more? I believe the anisphere is populated already on how this show sucked – which is why I don’t think I still have to state my reasons (it’s pretty much the same as theirs). The anime’s only redeeming quality would be its OST.
Personally, I think Gai is the lamest character in this show so I don’t know what’s with the Shoe hate. I believe that the hate for him stems out from his failure to act as a true leader (not as some lame ass dictator) but everyone has their own share of fault on this one. They were all ungrateful bastards and at the same time genius whiners. Shu could have just leapt off that wall and left everyone there to die, seriously. You all can hate Shoe for what he has done but please don’t forget as well to hate the traitors he tried to protect.
Killing off Inori (the freaking cat’s cradle symbolism finally made sense) was a nice choice but I would have preferred if Shu died alongside her than letting him live with that kind of condition. But I guess this kind of ending is also welcome. It’s just painful to watch though. It’s the price he had to pay for that stupid void genome. Don’t even ask me about that Daath guy. Stupid Deus ex machina. The series clearly has an issue about direction and plot.
The best part of the ending? Of course Arisa surviving.
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Natsume Yuujinchou never fails to deliver that mellow and warm fuzzy feeling. There were lots of childhood stories this season which is good since I’m actually starting to feel tired from the youkai story of the week format. The first episode immediately put Matoba on the spotlight and as usual, his sharp glances towards Natsume remains a mystery. Resolution of the arcs that involve him has always felt insufficient for me because of his convenient retreat. But this time around, it seemed better due to the scene that showcased Misuzu together with other youkais flying above the forest, pledging their loyalty to Natsume without even having to use the Yuujinchou.
This season also had the greatest development for Tanuma’s character. I’ve always wanted a development on his part since he’s Natsume’s closest friend. Up until now, I’m still hoping Natsume would tell Tanuma all about the Yuujinchou. Meanwhile, on Nyanko-sensei’s part, that scene where Natsume gets to rest on Nyanko-sensei’s body was a nice sight. And of course, the implication that Nyanko-sensei gets to be a part of the family picture was the highlight. It’s probably the greatest development so far for the whole series. After all, Natsume Yuujinchou primarily focuses on the relationship between humans and youkais. Natsume and Nyanko-sensei’s relationship is the ultimate embodiment of that. After fifty two episodes, their relationship finally officially ripened into a familial one.
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Nisemonogatari always had this subdued atmosphere when it comes to tackling the issue of immortality. It was such a great prelude on how Kizumonogatari would break loose on that issue real soon. I’ve also mentioned months ago that Nisemonogatari had its way on contradicting statements, in relevance to its title. Yozuru claiming how Koyomi is pushing his views on his family about Tsukihi while having her way through violence pretty much speaks for it. I also liked the philosophy talk in the end which primarily stemmed from Kaiki’s notion regarding fakers actually having more worth than the original. The theme pretty suits the whole Nisemonogatari and somehow clears up the whole issue of deceitful pretense for both the sisters, and even on Koyomi’s case as a demi-human.
I don’t like to bother expounding the oddity resolutions for both Karen and Tsukihi since both felt very pre-imposed just like in Bakemonogatari. It sounded silly when the bee’s curse came down as an illusion just as how there’s just a misunderstanding on how to interpret these oddities. I don’t think I’ll ever be fascinated on how Nisio Isin handles the explanation for the oddities. I prefer not to mind it that much though since I don’t think it’ll ever be the point of the story. It has always been about Koyomi’s relationship and interaction with his harem. No matter how ironic it is, in the end, Nisemonogatari was all about family. It still boils down on how Koyomi cares for his sisters, at least for this season.
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Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou
I really like this show. I could rewatch it and still laugh over the ridiculous scenes. Hidenori’s responsible to majority of the laughs, but I also like Yoshitake’s haphazard switch from being goofy and serious. He won me over because of the flashback scene as Rubber Shooter. Tadakuni oddly reminds me of Kaname’s behavior (Kimi to Boku). I like his confused role as someone who is being dragged around by the two although we all know that deep inside he’s just being a tsundere. The student council crowd is also a nice group of its own. Both Motoharu and Karasawa are pretty flexible characters as they could interact almost to any of the cliques/characters.
Despite the anime’s seemingly big city setting, it’s quite enjoyable to witness the interactions among characters that aren’t from the same school. Yanagin, Ikushima and Habara aren’t even going to the same school. The proximity of some characters from other characters are just intriguing. It’s implied that Yoshitake is actually acquainted to Yanagin and Habara. I like how there’s no barrier at all simply because the characters go to different schools. It’s amazing how some of these characters are still glued to each other despite some tragic childhood memories (Karasawa and Habara).
Overall, the comedy of the series somehow utilizes nostalgia via the school life setting and since I’m such a sucker for that, I was immediately smitten by the show.
By the way, I would gladly read a blog post if someone could explain the significance of the creative choice of using null faces for the sisters. I seriously mind it. I don’t know why a mangaka would do such feat.
image credit: pixiv user ままままも
I didn’t like how the show treated the social links leveling. Others probably found it creative during the summer part where Yuu gained the four social links simultaneously but I also found that crazy. In my opinion, the only social links that were done this way effectively were those of Nanako’s and Dojima’s because they don’t really trigger too many events plus the bond between the three were intrinsic due to their family status. Meanwhile, Ebihara, Daisuke, Kou and the like obviously could have been done in a stratified way. I know that it could have taken so much time if that were the case but I just don’t think allotting the whole episode and then *poof* you’ve mastered this arcana does not do justice to the characters. A lot more development could have been given substance or detail instead of having them show just for that episode, and then you never get to see them again. This is an important foreground to the game so I really wanted it to be viewed greatly as much as possible.
A great deal of “school life” was glossed over. It totally focused on the issue about Midnight Channel. This is why I mind the one episode = one arcana. At the very least, the game is supposed to meld the school life to that of crime investigation, and yet the anime turned out to simply focus on the latter. Majority of great tracks were also under utilized. One of my favorite tracks is Naoto’s Dungeon “Secret base” and I hardly heard that for 10 seconds. To be honest, I find myself enjoying the Persona 4 comic dub than the anime. Regardless, I find the anime strong in the backstory aspect. I liked how they added several stuff e.g Yukiko’s arc resolution, as well as the battle choreography. I dig the real-time aspect of the battles compared of course to the game’s turn base (who wouldn’t).
Where did Chie’s line “First we save Kanji, then we crush the killer! Finally, we crush the killer and send him to hell!! Got it!?” go by the way?
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Chihayafuru is the only sports anime I’ve watched that isn’t shounen so far. One can see the difference on how there are relatively weaker indication of rivalry unlike shounen ones that makes use of it as a conventional plot tool. More importantly, the matches were great enough to have a different spin every time so I was hardly bored. I mean technically, it’s always about NANIWA ZU NIII— and grabbing the card.
This show was unexpectedly great. I don’t like the idea of competitive karuta at all when the show started, seeing how the show exaggerated the whole point of the game. But like any other sports anime, it’s much more than that. Taichi’s character development tops this list for me. His struggle both in the aspect of love and karuta was intertwined and it was a bit upsetting to watch how he falls short on both despite his efforts. Chihaya had a fair share of development but her angle always had been primarily looking from the lens of karuta and karuta alone (and a little dose of Arata) which I’d say something that doesn’t interest me. At the very least, she’s entertaining to watch. In contrast to the competitive flair of Chihaya, we have Kana-chan on the literary perspective which is something refreshing to watch since she’s into imagery. Tsutomu’s data gathering is quite an interesting way as well to differentiate his way of karuta from the rest.
I don’t like Arata compared to how I like Taichi but I also don’t like how limited he shows up. He was introduced relevant to the story at par to Chihaya and Taichi so it bugs me on how the viewer is often just left to imagine what he’s currently up to while we get to witness Chihaya and Taichi.
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Ano Natsu de Matteru
I certainly agree to this tweet of lvlln regarding the show. Ano Natsu irked me right away when I first watched it because it feels unnatural. To name one, Kai’s overdone hallucinations. It seemed as if it’s trying too hard to put up a show regarding the love polygon. Instead of trying to execute things implicitly, the actions of the characters scream “I like you”. For almost throughout the show, everyone has been trying to grab somebody else’s attention without actually trying to build first the foundation on why or how they even liked the person. The topic is oftentimes subverted because the show chooses to emphasize the complicated-ness of the feelings of the five, instead of actually showing something as a proof of that sophisticated feeling. Though one might say that this counts as a character development, It’s not that clear if we don’t get to see any action from the part of the character aside from pondering.
I’d say it’s a sincere romance but it tends to focus too much on the obligatory drama, which then fuels another drama. It’s all talk but no show (All the show happened only during the last episodes). It lacks on actually doing something concrete to establish the drama. The show has a bad habit of showcasing the drama too much before developing the romance. The romance should be the vehicle of drama and not the other way around, in my opinion.
Still, I had to give props to the show on actually taking the sad end route because I was totally expecting it’s going to be a happy end for Ichika and Kai. Also, Remon deserves all the love. She’s a total show stealer.
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Papa no Iu Koto wo Kikinasai
Papakiki wasn’t initially on my watch list because it badly emanates “lolicon bait”. It got me watching because I mildly get the Usagi Drop vibes from it due to the parenting theme. I was quite surprised that it wasn’t a full fledged ecchi show as I thought it would be but, thank God it knew its limits. If you are willing to neglect some of its flaws, it’s actually a decent watch. Try to imagine that they have an infinite source of money since you’d really question Yuuta’s capability to support three kids while working on part-time jobs and at the same time going to university. The moments among the four were not that special but it felt sincere. Almost all of the interactions were sensible enough as well, except probably for the “delicacy” issue.
I really liked the performance of the youngest sister. She’s the main attraction of the show in my opinion, and the series succeeded in doing that through her scenes with the neighbors. Miu and Sora had their moments as well but I’ll never understand how girls think (especially the ojou-sama type like Miu) so I just sat through their character-centric episodes without thinking too much why. Raika was very likable but it’s unfortunate that her screen time is very limited. Would have liked it more if the show further explored additional scenes with the Street Observation Research Society members and the university.
image credit: pixiv user 朝霧ちさと
Shakugan no Shana
Shana was pretty enjoyable this season because things finally seem progressing unlike the brief fillers in S2. The war scenes were rather great, especially those times that Altima’s EDs overlap. There were several scenes which I liked. That moment when Yuuji asked for Kazumi’s help on the school rooftop, Wilhelmina standing like a boss during Tendoukyuu’s descent, Yuuji kicking Shana’s ass on the bridge fight scene, Shana regaining Nietono no Shana, Margery and Satou’s whatnot, and last but not the least, Khamsin’s death. Although all these moments were worth seeing, I have to point the idiotic purpose that the “gods” (the ones with weird ethnic tags) played on the war. They were a stupid addition to the cast. As far as I’ve understood their intentions, they simply want to continue the destined fight between Tomogaras and Flame Hazes without even trying to consider which side is right or wrong.
The story was probably made for it to be that way but Flame Hazes are actually quite idiots themselves. They were actually okay with the plan regarding Xanadu creation except for Tomogaras consuming humans. Right before Shana and others actually stated that proposition, I was under the impression that they were against the totality of the plan. They could have easily bargained for that if they told that sooner. The happy coincident at the end was rather ridiculous and weird. It’s like the bad guy won and yet it was still a good end. To sum it up, it was just a dramatized misunderstanding between the two parties because of the lack of communication. This goes for the whole Shana and Yuuji conflict as well simply because both have their own selfish concept of love.
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Zero no Tsukaima
I was very glad when I heard that the final installment would finally be animated. I’m running out of patience on this series already because I really enjoyed the first season and yet the two succeeding seasons barely made it watchable. It wasn’t that long recently that the author Noboru Yamaguchi suffered from cancer thus the delayed publication of the two final volumes that will wrap-up the whole franchise. Despite his condition, he actually planned to publish the 21st out of 22 volumes last October 2011. The thing is, these two final volumes are still non-existent up until now. I was quite positive that maybe the author had his drafts already so maybe it could pass as a source material that JC could use for the anime — but I was naive.
I research from time to time the light novel contents so I was expecting ZnT would likely have a great comeback based from what I have read. I sensed that things weren’t going as planned though when the anime didn’t adapt the part where Tabitha supposedly has a twin sister that would gain the Void after Joseph’s death. Supposedly, Julio becomes her familiar as well, the same thing with what happened between Tifa and Saito. That’s it. It finally got clear to me that JC would be giving the ZnT an original anime ending. It sucked. The climax event was terribly similar to that of the first season. All the build up just for it to regress back to what it was in the first season. And seriously, an ancient dragon? Come on. You can do better than this JC Staff. You guys could have waited instead for it to finish publishing than produce this one-of-a-kind.
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