I always give the ol’ 3 episode test when I could, when it’s a new season and we’re met with new anime and new IP to dig through. It’s not easy. For the past 2-3 seasons I’ve had the same problem, which is the problem I see a lot of people having this season: there’s just way too many good shows. Or I should say, I want to watch a lot of new anime this season–I don’t know if they’re really good or not, but I’d like to find out by watching them.
Shows like the new Lupin and Tsuritama are shoo-ins. Space Bros and Apollon are definitive for the medium. Achi Kochi? Nyaruko-san? They’re at risk, despite being quite entertaining. Even otaku straight shooters like Medaka Box is with enough merit to put it above the mediocre line. Resuming Fate Zero and Korean Zombies, and keeping up with Sket Dance, Aquarion and Mouretsu Pirates become difficult, despite being the sort of shows I have a hard itch for. This is not even to mention that I kind of like Upotte, the throwaway anime of the season (that and maybe the new Queen’s Blade–Itou Shizuka as a pirate again! And what’s up with the transparent horse LOL). I tried that Bear Cafe anime, that’s not too horrible but it stands no chance this season. Same with Kuroko’s Basketball–these two shows are things I’d watch in 2010 but not today. Nazo no Kanojo X was a manga that I enjoyed briefly but the retro look in the anime is a great touch. The first installment of Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is interesting and curious, much like Sankarea, but will I have time to explore them? Ozma is classic and interesting after 3 episodes, but I really don’t have time for old school with this new school of new anime, not to mention Fujiko has got that itch scratched. Intriguing and well-executed shows like Sengoku Collection will not fare well at all despite doing all the right things, just because it’s a moe-historic-character sort of deal and it hits my sweet spot with episode 2. Jormungand brings back that Revy feel or Lovely Haruka feel, whichever, and it’s White Fox doing something very cool.
I wish I have the time to entertain Saint Seiya Omega, but how can it stand a chance? That bread making anime? How do I have the time? Piggy Online? It’s rather solid chuunibyou anime. And lastly there’s still Eureka 7 AO, which I guess I should slot it with Saki as a continuity/side story dealie. Oh, there’s NatsuKise (which I’m blogging for jtor) and AKB0048, which, well, I kind of have to watch as well. Oh, there’s also Zetman, which Hulu-fication and strangely familiar setup demands its audience.
I could watch and enjoy almost everything this season. I think only Panda Cafe and Kuroko fails, and even then I’d rather give them 3 episodes. Who doesn’t want to see Stealth Momo play hoops? That’s the thing. If you are the average avid anime viewer following Japanese TV anime (of the late night kind), even if you skip half of the shows this 2012 Spring season, odds are very good that you’ll be dropping actually a show worth watching. I guess it just means it really, really pays to be extremely picky?
Late night TV anime is finally thriving, maybe. It’s been a long journey since Those Who Hunt Elves.
But the risk here is that will these fairly well-produced production meet the unyielding reality that the market is packed with them? Will KyoAni’s Hyouka make a splash? How can studios and productions and committees distinguish themselves economically and in the minds of the fans? In a price war often times it is the consumers that benefit; but I get the feeling there are no winner in this war, only losers and otaku.
Personally, I feel this is pretty exciting. The only thing is I have this weird spiteful feeling for everyone who thinks anime or noitaminA is saved because of Apollon. It is kind of like Redline; I get the feeling that as much as Watanabe loves his jazz music, it just doesn’t feel right for him to adopt a josei/shoujo manga faithfully. I have no doubt it will be great, it will just be kind of weird. On the other hand Nakamura’s Tsuritama is somehow so delightful for me, on so many different levels, that I have no words. So who am I to say?
Of course, I’m waiting for someone to tell me that this season is crappy and there are only like two good shows. Because oversea anime fandom is incredibly distorted like that.