The Spoony Bard Podcast: Episode 73: I Not. Really. Am. Think?

You know, anime

So Stark and I sit down and decide to go over what we have been doing in our lives over the last bit of time, because it has been long enough that that might as well be retro.  Also I force him to talk about anime because I have ingested an unholy amount of that substance recently as well, and I honestly think that is something that we can all have a good old time talking about.  We oddly talk about our growing love of Nintendo and our growing hatred of Cracked.com.  Stark also mentions that he backed a kickstarter (the website can be found here), which just goes to show that if you make something perverted enough you can get anyone behind it.

[powerpress]

Varms Official Anime of the Year Rankings

It’s that time of year where we find the coolest stuff of any category and throw it together for the convenience of the internet.   Much like last year, most of the rules still apply, especially the fact that any contender has to have FINISHED this year.  Any show is best judged as a sum of its parts, so you won’t find anything in this list that is only halfway done.  This year gave us lots of great shows, and in light of that I have expanded the listing for this year up to 15 shows in total.

15)  Symphogear G
Terrorism has never had such a wonderful singing voice.

The first season of Symphogear made the “So Bad it’s So Good” rank on last year’s AOTY ranking.  This second romp through the idol infused world of Symphogear has taken a drastic turn for the awesome this year, making for a huge improvement this year.  Everything that made the original series watchable has been refined with incredible care, and the only drawback to this season is the fact that some very serious issues with animation quality pop up during the last couple episodes.  This show was lots of fun to watch, and with a third season officially greenlit, there is more fun to come.

14)  Vividred Operation
 They fight for justice, alternative energy, and sexy butts.

This show has received a lot of flack since it was expected to be Strike Witches:  Modern Warfare.  While it may not have been the epic ecchi show of the year everyone was hoping for, it is lots of fun to watch, and it panders to anime fans in all the right ways.   The best way to describe this show is “Iron Man meets Strike Witches.”  This show is all about cute girls defending the world’s alternative energy from alien invaders, and delivers an action-packed adventure full of goodness that anime otaku crave.  It may have fallen short of the heavy expectations of some viewers, but this show is a blast to watch and worth checking out if you are in the market for a good action/ecchi show.

13)  Kinero Mosaic
The moe has reached dangerous levels.

This lovely tale of friendship between different cultures and nations is one of the greatest slice of life shows to come around this year.   This anime does slice of life perfectly, with a blend of cute characters, bits of comedy, and a peaceful, yet fun, tone.  This show got me through some tough times in my personal life this year, and I had a great time watching it otherwise.  If you enjoy slice of life anime, this is a “must watch” to add to your list for this year.

12)  Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko
(The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat)
The supreme blend of moe and fun.

This is one of the year’s best comedies about a young man and the troubles in his life caused by an unusual cat god.  This show is both cute and hilarious, with a touch of ecchi that makes it more than worth checking out.  Fun fact:  a wayward google search has even given this show enough fame to appear in a skit on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central.

Even the NSA knows Tsukiko is best girl.
11)  Kyoukai no Kanata
(Beyond the Horizon)
Monster hunting has never been so beautiful.

This is an otherwise excellent anime that has suffered from being forced through both a brutal hype machine and some very unreasonable scrutiny simply because it is a show made by Kyoto Animation.   Dubbed the “Monogatari Killer” since before it’s airing, this show has been unfairly judged by the get go.  Kyoani studios delivers a beautifully animated supernatural/action show with fun, charming characters, an interesting universe, and incredible artwork.  Ignore the negative buzz and studio fanboys, this show is more than worth a look.

10)  Outbreak Company
Being a hikikomori has never been so awesome.

This anime is about an otaku outcast that is given the job of a lifetime:  the opportunity to spread otaku culture to an alternative realm of magic and fantasy.  This is the kind of anime that appeals most to those that keep up with anime otaku culture and everything that goes with it, but if you keep up with anime in general you will have a great time watching this.  This show has a mix of great characters, comedy, fanservice, and other assorted bits of otaku fun to make for awesome entertainment.

9)  Date A Live
The insanity of anime, condensed into one great package.

Date a Live sets out to take the harem trope commonly found in anime and do something amazing with it.  This show does so with laser-guided precision, and the results are nothing short of fantastic.  The absurd, yet very fun concept of having the main character swoon cute and deadly girls for the sake of saving the world is loads of fun to watch, and Tsunako’s (the character designer from the Hyperdimention Neptunia games) lovely character designs bring everything to life.  With a second season on the way, the life of anime fans couldn’t be better.

8)  Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san
(Muromi by the Sea Shore)
Crack open some cold ones, it’s time for Muromi-san.

If you somehow mashed “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” with an anime about mythical creatures, Muromi-san is what you would get.  This show is an unapologetic comedy about drunken mermaids and other assorted mythical creatures screwing around, and it is nothing short of pure hilarity.  This anime is guaranteed to make you laugh your ass off, and it has to be one of the best anime comedies of all time.

7)  GJ-Bu
You will never have an extracurricular club as fun as this one.

GJ Bu was yet another awesome slice of life anime from this year.  This anime does everything that makes slice of life anime great, with a wonderful blend of amusing characters and its own brand of comedy.   The end of this show only left me feeling sad that it was over, and taught us all that the art of hair brushing is one of the best ways to win the hearts of women.

6)  Hataraku Maou-sama!
(The Devil is a Part-Timer!)

A fast-food gig has never been so epic.

This is the story of an infamous demon overlord that finds his way into our world, and is forced to bend to the whims of our brutal modern economy.  This show treats us to a hilarious satire on modern life for those of us barely scraping by, with a touch of might and magic.  If Kevin Smith were to produce an anime, this is what you would get, minus the pot smoking.   Maou-sama is a delightful mix of comedy, slice of life, fantasy, and romance that offers much more than meets the eye.

5)  Shin Sekai Yori
(From the New World)
Why do psychics always go on a killing spree when they discover their powers?

In the beginning, this show seemed like a strange trip through a confusing and convoluted world.  The sum of the events through this show are what make up the meat and bones of this anime, and you will be left with a thought-provoking ending that makes you question what really makes up right and wrong.  This tale of a sudden upheaval through human evolution is both surreal and shocking, and a demonstration of awesome writing within the medium of anime.  If you are looking for a unique and intelligent anime, check this out.

4)  Girls und Panzer
Girls and tanks are a winning combination.

Most of this show aired last year, but because of the painstaking efforts of everyone to get this show ended properly, the last two episodes did not air until this year.  GuP seems like an absurd concept that should never amount to anything good, a show about girls operating tanks as an extracurricular activity for both privilege and glory.  However, like anime’s other ventures into antique military culture, GuP turned out to be a formula of sheer genius.  This odd combination of cute girls, military history, and sports-anime presentation is a perfect success, leaving fans around the world drooling for more.

3)  Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S
(A Certain Scientific Railgun S)
It’s like X-Men, but with cute girls.

This is the highly anticipated sequel to the popular Index spinoff, “A Certain Scientific Railgun,” featuring a chunk of the franchise’s most popular characters.   This show covers territory that has already been tread within “A Certain Magical Index”, but the retelling is so amazingly well done it is more than worth a watch.  An entirely new view on the “Accelerator” arc is presented in an action-packed frenzy featuring everyone’s favorite electromaster, and the latter half of the show brings more adventures for a handful of cute girls fighting against evil science.  I won’t hide the fact that I love the Index/Railgun franchise, but this addition is nothing short of awesome.

2)  Psycho Pass
Thanks Obama

Psycho Pass was last year’s “honorable mention”, and this year it can get some well-deserved recognition.  Psycho Pass presented us with a dystopian future where our freedoms and ambitions are limited by our own thoughts and feelings thanks to startling advancements in science and technology.  In light of recent events revealing the NSA’s massive surveillance program and the PRISM system, Psycho Pass’s world featuring the brain scanning SYBIL system grows even more frightening.  This anime showed us an interesting world and a terrifying villain that has become the byproduct of it. This show contains a crime drama formula with a sci-fi twist, and is a “must see” for most anime fans, including those of a more casual variety.

1) Shingeki no Kyojin
(Attack on Titan)
The walls are a lie.

Attack on Titan is one of the biggest and most popular anime around the world, and for good reason.  This anime takes place in a fantasy-esque setting where mankind has made its final stand for survival behind massive walls to protect itself from man-eating giants, the titans.  This anime revolves itself around a group of characters whose lives are changed when the titans are finally able to breach the walls that humanity has relied on for protection for over a hundred years.  This story of humanity’s struggle against the titans and the mysteries surrounding them makes for an awesome show that leaves the audience wanting more and more.  No matter what part of the globe you live on, Attack on Titan has become one of the most beloved anime series in modern times.  If you haven’t at least tried watching this show, you can hardly call yourself a fan of anime.

2013 AOTY Special Categories

Honorable Mention:
Log Horizon
DATABASE WOW WOW

This show seemed like nothing more than a shallow clone of last year’s Sword Art Online, but then rose above to prove itself as one of the best shows of the year.  Log Horizon takes the idea of having thousands of players trapped in an MMORPG and brings it to life in a way no other show like it has been able to in the past.   A great setting, awesome characters, and storytelling that doesn’t rely on shock value makes for an incredible new franchise in anime.   At this time, the only thing keeping this show out of the rankings for AOTY is the simple fact that it hasn’t finished yet.  Don’t miss this one!

Best Ecchi
Highschool DXD NEW
This show could go on forever and I would never complain.

Let’s face it, sometimes all we want from an anime is some T&A.  Once again, Highschool DXD takes the crown for ecchi anime.  The war between demons and angels has never been sexier, thanks to this show’s ability to not give a fuck about holding back on fanservice.   This show gets extra kudos for delivering on the ecchi content without holding back for a BD release, even though they will shower everyone with even more ecchi goodness upon the BD release.

Best Mecha
Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince
(Majestic Prince)
Giant robots have never been so beautiful.

I originally came into MJP with minimal expectations, but I was treated to one of the best mecha anime in recent times.  MJP brings us a fairly typical story of humanity fighting for survival against an alien menace, brought to life with CG mecha battles that are nothing short of amazing.   This is wildly entertaining, and it has lots of nods to mecha anime and video games from the past.  If you want a modern mecha anime that is loads of fun to watch without an insultingly stupid storyline from this year, MJP is your best bet.

So Bad It’s Good
Kakumeiki Valvrave
(Valvrave the Liberator)
Are you fucking serious?

Valvrave is the result of Sunrise pumping a shitload of cash into one of the worst-written scripts of all time.  This is literally the story of teen space-vampires fighting space-Nazis in mecha powered by teen-angst, memories, and rape.  I’m not even joking.   Valvrave continually presents the audience with one insultingly stupid scenario after another, and does so with a completely straight face.  This show brings the definition of “train wreck” to an entirely new level, and because of that, it is also some of the most fun you can have watching anime this year.  Despite the pure stupidity of this series, this is also one of the most entertaining shows of the year.  Just be sure to remember, the second you begin to take Valvrave seriously is the second you lose.

Biggest Disappointment
Monogatari Series:  Second Season
Because she really needed a THIRD story arc.

The term “overrated” tends to get thrown around too much in the critique of just about any medium, but I have never found a better use for it than to describe this entry into the Monogatari franchise.  I thoroughly enjoyed the first two entries of SHAFT’s adaptation of this, but I can’t say the same this time around.  Even though this series has enjoyed seemingly endless critical praise around the world, no one can deny the fact that this season has been marred by excessive recap episodes and mediocre storylines that drag on long beyond their welcome.  This show constantly fluctuated between being awesome to downright boring, and there are few anime viewers around the world with the guts to call this show out for it.  This year was filled with lots of excellent anime that is worth checking out, and all the artsy backgrounds and fanservice in the world aren’t enough to make this one of them.

Weekly Anime Round-Up: September 23rd– September 29th

Shimakaze reinvents the mini-skirt as the micro-skirt.  But hey, show some respect, she’s a veteran!

This week just about every show has come to an end besides Monogatari.  New shows for the fall season will begin next week, and I’ve just about finished planning what to include in the round up.  I’m still willing to take in a last minute suggestion or two, but overall the “reader inclusion” experiment was a failure.  (Internet, I am disappoint.)  As usual, I’ll keep things spoiler free (despite Gillman’s protest) so all you slowpokes out there can feel sad for not watching awesome anime and realize you should be catching up.  In other news this week, the ultra-popular Japanese web-browser game, Kantai Collection, is getting an anime series.  Kantai Collection is about vintage Japanese battleships personified as; you guessed it, cute girls.  Despite the fact that this game is open only to Japanese players, the main character, Shimakaze, is ridiculously popular all around the world.  Pretty much any merchandise featuring Shimakaze sells out as fast as they can add stock.  Why?  Probably her deadly combination of cuteness and sexiness.  When the anime comes around, I’ll probably cover it here due to the popularity of the franchise alone, but I’m sure you all know by now I have a weak spot for any show that includes cute girls and tools of warfare, bonus points for combining the two.

Choujigen Game Neptune: The Animation:  Episode 12 End
(Hyperdimension Neptunia: The Animation)
No, thank YOU!

Neptune and the other goddesses must join forces to defeat the fallen nation of “Tari” and its goddess.  I typically go into any adaptation of a game with low expectations, but this one surprised me.  It is more than apparent that this was a low budget show, but it did an excellent job in capturing the humor and characterization from the game series.  The Neptunia game franchise had a rough start, but has improved significantly with each installment, and I hope the attention to the games from this anime will have a positive effect on future games, and maybe even another animated series.  You can never have enough Nep.

Danganronpa:  The Animation:  Episode 13 End
Any image I wanted to use would spoil the whole show.  Have some Danganronpa-related hilarity from the internet instead.

Talking about just about anything that happens this week will ruin the show and the game, so instead I’ll just leave my thoughts about the show.  This anime was produced with the intent to promote the re-release of the game on the PS Vita (Which is also getting a US release in 2014) and provide fanservice (not the sexual kind) to fans of the game.  Even though I’m sure the anime spoiled the game for me, I’m still very interested in getting the game, so Mission Accomplished, I guess.  While this show isn’t bad, it’s far from amazing, and struggles from a fairly low budget.  This show is still worth a watch for the strange cast of characters, the odd take on the “survival game” type story, and the dark humor of Monobear’s antics.

Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen:  Episode 12 End
(The World God Only Knows:  Season 3)
The #1 mistake of any villain.

The final conquest is underway, and so is the war between Vintange and the demons of New Hell.  There is actually a pretty surprising scene towards the end.  I have to admit, for whatever reason I didn’t really have as much fun watching this season as I did watching the previous two, but it wasn’t bad by any means.  Be warned, this story arc still does not wrap everything up- you will have to follow the manga if you want to see everything.

Monogatari Series: Second Season:  Episode 13
Time for more KA KA KA!!!

Nadeko finds living alongside an oddity isn’t as easy as she thought, as she realizes the snake spirit she’s been hiding can be a bit of a chatterbox.  Like most of Monogatari, the odd dialog between Nadeko and the snake is the highlight of this strange tale so far.  Things liven up when everyone’s favorite vampire shows up to have a chat with Nadeko.

Ro-Kyu-Bu!  SS:  Episode 12 End
Even the trash talk is cute.

This episode concludes the anime adaptation of Ro-Kyu-Bu.  I originally picked this show up to stand apart from all the other western anime bloggers that are just going to cast this show aside and demonize it.  I set out to be one of the few viewers out there to give this anime a fair shake, and I’m glad I did.  The first season was fun, but this season was great.  The basketball, the comedy, the insane levels of cuteness, the rivalries and alliances… all of it came together really well, and the best part is this show also ended really well.  Everything wraps up nicely, and I think the ending will satisfy the viewers.  The appeal of this show is only going to fit into a niche within a niche, but this show is really fun for someone looking to see a sports anime get an extreme moe-makeover.

Rozen Maiden (2013):  Episode 13 End
This guy getting butthurt was the only redeeming part of the show.

It’s finally over; studio DEEN’s disastrous Rozen Maiden reboot is finally over.  The funny part is, it seems they were originally planning for this to go on for another season, as implied by an ending that doesn’t conclude anything at all.  I know something really went wrong when the best scene in a show about a magical doll death match was a scene at Jun’s workplace.  Yes, that’s right; an anime about crazy magical survival games has been reduced to the misadventures of a single man working a shitty part-time job, and that’s the good part.  Don’t even get me started on this show’s serious lack of DESU.  Even if you were a fan of the original anime series or the manga, don’t touch this show.  Save yourself 5 hours of your life and go read the manga.

 Senki Zesshou Symphogear G:  Episode WAITING FOR SUBS IS SUFFERING
If you listen carefully, you can hear the cries of every English-speaking Symphogear fan.

The 13th and final episode of Symphogear has come and gone, but subtitles are only available for the 12th episode.  I typically try to avoid including shows with a fuzzy schedule for subtitles to avoid the mess of having a show come and go on a whim; but in this case the issues didn’t crop up until the last half of the season when the team behind translation of this suddenly stopped giving a fuck.  I’ve reached a point where I’m done fighting to cover this show, so this will be the final time I mention it, especially with new shows starting this week.

The difficulty of translating this music-heavy show makes it hard to track down and watch, but it really is worth it.  This anime is worth a watch even if you weren’t thrilled by the first season, and it is one of my favorites from this year.

Shingeki no Kyojin:  Episode 25 End
(Attack on Titan)
Eren-gelion Unit 1’s berserker mode.

It’s the titan brawl behind the walls we have all been waiting for.  Unfortunately, after the dust settles, we are only left with a pile of unsolved mysteries, including a whopper of a mystery revealed just after the credits.  Strangely enough, there was no official announcement of another season at the end, but I can almost guarantee one is coming; Attack on Titan is probably one of the most popular TV anime to come around in years, and the manga seems to be selling as fast as they can print it.  This was one of my favorite shows of the year, hands down, and I can’t wait for more.  If you haven’t been watching Titan, you should consider giving it a try (unless you are on the squeamish side, this show isn’t packed with violence, but when the violence comes, it is unapologetically brutal.)  If you are one of those anime “fans” crying about how “dead” anime is, sit down, drink a nice tall glass of shut the fuck up, and watch Titan.

Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S:  Episode 24 End
(A Certain Scientific Railgun)
It’s on, motherfuckers.

WOW!  This episode is fucking AWESOME.  Most of this episode is a melee between an army of powered suits and other assorted mecha and ALL OF JUDGEMENT.  Just when it seems this couldn’t get any better, Saten and Uiharu pilot a giant, transforming robot.  JC Staff went all out with the finale, and I couldn’t be happier.  They even threw in a nifty tie-in to the Index movie towards the end (which you should also go watch, btw.)  I’d have to say that this show and Titan are two of my biggest favorites for this year’s anime.  I’d be delighted for another season of this or Index… or even better, both.  Make it so, Japan!

Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!:  Episode 12 End
(It’s Not My Fault I’m Not Popular!)
AKA: Watamote

This was actually the only rational decision Tomoko has made in her entire life.

 

The final episode of Watomote has come to pass, with things pretty much ending where they began.  This show was very funny at times, but the humor was getting very worn out by the end.  This anime was at its top game when Tomoko’s inappropriate responses to just about any reached absurd extremes (The episode with her cousin coming over for a visit was the best); but it falls flat when we are expected to laugh at Tomoko mumbling and running away from someone she attempts to talk to for the 100th time.  While I’m not really willing to sing any major praises for this show, it was still entertaining, and I’ll still offer it as a suggestion to anyone looking for some unusual humor.

Extra Anime of the Week:
Kiniro Mosaic
Warning:  AED not included.

Don’t worry moebro’s, I didn’t forget about you this season!  This show is one of my favorites from the season, and it wasn’t included in the round up because my preferred source for subtitles/encodes was later than others, and I didn’t want to watch this with crap subs for the sake of the article (deal with it.)

Kiniro Mosaic is a slice of life/comedy about a girl named Shinobu that goes on a homestay program to Great Britain, where she befriends a girl named Alice.  Years later, just as Shinobu is about to begin her first year of high-school, she receives a letter from Alice stating that she is going to school with her in Japan.  This show is all about Alice moving in with Shinobu, going to school, and hanging out with Shinobu and her friends.  This anime has all of the elements that make for a great slice of life:  fun characters, lots of light-hearted humor, great voice acting (Nao Touyama’s role of half British, half Japanese “Karen” and her silly, broken Japanese are almost reason enough alone to watch this show), and incredibly adorable character designs.

This show has been described by fans as being “aggressively” cute, even among other slice of life anime. While the internet is littered with countless bloggers that will denounce this show as some kind of empty, soul-less, otaku cash-grab, reality couldn’t be further from the truth.  What this show lacks in over-the-top action and deep storyline, it makes up for with light-hearted charm, comedy, and pure fun.  Obviously this anime isn’t for everyone, but this is a must see for slice of life fans, and a great “feel-good” kind of show.  This is the kind of show that will put a smile on your face every time you watch it, no matter how foul a mood you happen to be in.

Weekly Anime Round-Up: September 16th– September 22nd

Hell yeah motherfucker!

This week there is an official announcement that music-festival mascot “Super Sonico” is getting her very own anime.  Why is it important to mention some random mascot is getting an animated series based on little more than heavy merchandizing and tons of random artwork?  Because she is really hot, that’s why.  This season is finally reaching the end, with only one week left.  This means there is still one week remaining to put up suggestions for the fall anime season!  Remember, no insanely long shonen (Big 3) stuff.  At this point I’ve pretty much set out my plans for what I’m planning to include in the round-up, but I’m still willing to make room for a suggestion or two.  As usual, I’ve got a little of something for everyone.  Oh yeah, no Symphogear this week due to a lack of subtitles (again, ugh…), because we can’t have nice things.

Choujigen Game Neptune: The Animation:  Episode 11
(Hyperdimension Neptunia: The Animation)
Social justice: Not even once.

Victory from the war with Eden has caused a surge in shares for Planeptune, and Neptune is planning a festival to celebrate.  Unfortunately, all the other nations suffered a huge drop in shares, which is creating enough tension to put the peace treaty in danger.  Just when things seem like they couldn’t get any worse, a certain “social activist” escapes from prison.  Some fans of this show are upset by the sudden “serious” turn the show has taken, I honestly felt most of the complaints are blown way out of proportion; especially since this show has already gone through a “serious” story arc.

Danganronpa:  The Animation:  Episode 12
He’s so considerate for a sociopathic mastermind.

Monobear has changed the rules of the game.  Now the students must properly solve the last murder from the “mistrial”, AND solve the mystery of this screwed up academy.  Even with the mystery solved, things are only going to get crazier.  The final episode airs next week!

Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince:  Episode 24 End
She truly was the greatest mechanic of all time.

We will finally see if mankind manages to defeat the Wulgaru menace in the solar system.  I started watching this with very low expectations (and I thought Valvrave was going to be MUCH better), but this show turned out to be one of the best mecha anime I have seen in a long time.  Valvrave is the mecha show everyone is talking about this year, and while it may be very entertaining; the one advantage MJP has over Valvrave is that the storyline won’t leave you banging your head against the wall.  MJP is a fairly traditional mecha anime that pays homage to many of the great shows that came before its time, with battles brought to life through some of the best CG I’ve seen in TV anime.  Mecha anime outside of the Gundam franchise are hard to come by in recent years, so it’s good to see some great shows come around this year to represent the genre.  This show really doesn’t get the credit it deserves, but we also live in a world where a sizable chunk of anime fans think Sword Art Online was the best anime of 2012.

Highschool DxD NEW:  Episode 12 End
Where do I apply to become a demon?

The time has come for Issei to throw down against his antithesis, Albion.  This battle unfolds in a manner of ridiculous absurdity that can only be found in DxD.  Watch as Issei proves he is a hero above all heroes by fighting to keep breasts as large as possible.  Seriously.  This show was nothing but lewd, low brow humor aimed at the lowest common denominator.  That is why it is a masterpiece.

Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen:  Episode 11
(The World God Only Knows:  Season 3)
This episode really is that shocking.

Kaima has one night to finish his conquest of Ayumi, or Vintage wins.  To make matters worse, Chihiro is still upset with Kaima for toying with her, and now she’s meddling in his plans.  Will Kaima be able to save Earth from rouge demons, or will mankind be extinguished because of the raging emotions of heartbroken teenage girls?

Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi:  Episode 12 End
(The Sunday without God)
Aw crap, Dee went crazy.

It’s time for the final episode in this crazy trip through post-apocalyptic wastelands and strange landmarks.  This episode has some big surprises, so I won’t give anything away.  This is a really cool story, and I would love to see more, but since the anime was produced just to promote the source material, that isn’t likely.  Either way, this one is worth a look for anyone interested in something a little different.

Monogatari Series: Second Season:  Episode 12 (11 was another recap)
Little girls shouldn’t play with oddities.

Now that adventures in vampire time travel are finished, it’s time to move on to the next tale of oddities and crazy girls.  This time Nadeko is back, because this girl just can’t seem to stop messing with snakes.  It seems crucifying all those snakes back in the first season has come back to haunt Nadeko, literally.

Ro-Kyu-Bu!  SS:  Episode 11
Not in my house!

The final game is underway, and Rena soon realizes she don’t know shit about loliballin’.  That doesn’t mean that the rest of her team is going to hand over victory, however.  Next week we see the conclusion to this intense game (and maybe even figure out what Tomoka is planning.)!

Rozen Maiden (2013):  Episode 12
Remember when this was actually ABOUT the Alice game?

This week the show is tying up its loose ends in the slow, painful death that has become the ending.  There is lots of discussion about the Alice game, even though it is pretty obvious the show isn’t going to cover that story arc. There is still one episode left, but the preview for next week pretty much killed any hopes of something interesting happening.  I could honestly drop this without a second thought, but I’ll stick through it since I’ve made it this far.

Shingeki no Kyojin:  Episode 24
(Attack on Titan)
Dis gon’ be good.

I’ll be nice to the slowpokes that aren’t keeping up, so I won’t divulge the identity of the female titan.  With the covert operation to capture here gone terribly wrong, another battle unfolds within one of the “safest” parts of the kingdom.  Next week is the final episode, and that makes me really sad.

Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S:  Episode 23
(A Certain Scientific Railgun)
Mental illness and illusions of grandeur are prerequisites for any science major.

The quest to save Febri has uncovered a conspiracy of scientists planning a revolution in Academy City.  Time is running out, so Misaka and her friends have no choice but to face the STUDY Corporation and its army of 20,000 robots by themselves; because Academy City is the most morally bankrupt place on earth.  Can Misaka, a pocket full of loose change, and some cute friends save the city from corporate terrorism?

Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!:  Episode 11
(It’s Not My Fault I’m Not Popular!)
AKA: Watamote
I’ll be perfectly honest, I’m not really sure Tomoko DESERVES to have friends.

Much like swimsuit episodes and hot springs episodes, the school festival is an inevitable tradition for any anime that takes place during high school.  The interesting thing about this school festival episode is that it comes from the perspective of someone with a severe social anxiety problem and a terrible attitude.  Tomoko invites her old friend to join in on the fun… and creepiness.

Extra Anime of the Week:
Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C³-bu
(Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C³)
Would you?

This is a show I wasn’t originally planning on picking up, but after reading a summer preview article written by Anime News Network’s professional troll, Zac Bertschy, I just had to watch this.  Why?  Because the Author made the audacious claim that a show about cute girls playing airsoft is a form of gun fetishism that potentially causes the mass shootings that plague America, and I had to see exactly how full of shit this douchebag really was.  (http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/preview-guide/2013/the-summer-anime/zac  Seriously, give this thing a read for some great laughs.  It gets really good when he previews Free and goes on a tirade about how fanservice aimed at males is for creeps, but fanservice aimed at females and homosexual men is fun and charming.  How progressive!)

So what did I find when I picked up an anime that some idiot blames for a social/political problem that has existed for decades in a nation on the other side of the globe?  A really great show, actually.  Stella is the latest entry tapping into the military/moe/sport craze that recently blew up thanks to Girls und Panzer.  It is pretty much a show about cute girls playing airsoft, but thanks to the brilliantly animated “imagination” of the main character and some really interesting character development, this show fleshes out to become much more than meets the eye.  The subject of airsoft itself seems to be fairly well researched, and the show may even have the potential to spark some interest in the game for some people.  An interesting cast of characters and a series of odd events and developments keep things entertaining beyond all the airsoft; but the “battles” and the over-the-top “gunplay” make this show really fun to watch.  This anime seems to attract the crowd of fans that enjoyed shows like Upotte and Girls und Panzer, and I can say this show may be your cup of tea if you enjoyed that stuff.

Weekly Anime Round-Up: September 9th– September 15th

This week Ilya wraps up, but with the promise of a new season.  Monogatari doesn’t air this week, but I’ve got a bit of a bonus for the next few weeks.  As usual, I picked up a few shows that I didn’t include in the round-up for various reasons, but I’m going to mention some of the ones I really enjoyed as an extra feature at the end of the article.  I’d also like to put out a reminder that I’m taking suggestions for shows to include in the fall 2013 round-up, so hit up the comments.  The guidelines for suggestions are in last week’s round up, so check it out.  (Yes, it went up late.  Blame Gillman.  Seriously, he demands the motivation.)

Choujigen Game Neptune: The Animation:  Episode 10
(Hyperdimension Neptunia: The Animation)
This should be the first sign that Iris Heart is nearby.

Yellow Heart continues her dominance over Gameindustri, and Neptune finds herself helpless to fight against a dear friend.  Can the other goddesses protect Gameindustri and convince Nep-chan to stand up and fight for her people against titty-monster tyranny?  Watch and find out, dear friends.

Danganronpa:  The Animation:  Episode 11
Somehow I doubt that.

The mysterious sixteenth student was found dead without anyone even seeing his or her face, and a hasty classroom trial has begun.  Nothing seems right about any of this, and Monobear is rushing the trial.  Will anyone survive to solve the mysteries of this screwed up academy?

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Ilya:  Episode 10 End
Friendship is the nuclear weapon for magical girls.

Ilya joins the fight against the terrifying berserker, prepare yourselves for MAXIMUM FRIENDSHIP.  This episode concludes the show, which left me with a much better impression than I expected.  This show played with themes and characters from the Fate universe in a whimsical manner, and it all resulted in pure fun, with a few awesome fight scenes as an unexpected bonus.  I really enjoyed watching this, and apparently lots of viewers in Japan have as well, because the second season is formally announced at the end of this episode!

Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince:  Episode 23
Red 5 is back!

The incredible fight to save mankind continues.  The big news this week is Izuru manages to sweet-talk his way back onto the battlefield despite his medical concerns; which also means we get to see him go another round with his Wulgaru rival.  Next week is the final episode!

Highschool DxD NEW:  Episode 11
Truly the greatest of all demon powers.

The peace summit between the three divine superpowers has begun.  Of course something like this is just bound to run into a couple snags.  Can Issei and his master save the summit and bring peace to Earth?  Will there be any opportunities for random nudity?  Watch and find out, dear friends.

Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen:  Episode 10
(The World God Only Knows:  Season 3)
Watch out for that conquest…

Vintage is making its move, so Kaima has to hurry and revive the final goddess.  Since all of this hinges on dealing with romance caught between two best friends with a crush on the same person, of course this is going to be difficult.  Good thing Earth happens to have an expert on the case.

Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi:  Episode 11
(The Sunday without God)
These are my thoughts every time they visit another place.

Alis explains more about this strange, time-looping realm to Ai, along with his plan to free everyone from it.  Unfortunately, someone keeps coming along and “fixing” everything Alis tries to change.  Watch and find out which student has a thing for time-loops…

Ro-Kyu-Bu!  SS:  Episode 10
B-but that’s not the true spirit of basketball!

Rena, slayer of loliballers, has infuriated the 5th graders to the point where they are willing to unite with their rivals for vengeance. Can the veterans teach their new team members the true art of loliballin’?  We’ll have to watch next week for the conclusion of this week’s game!

Rozen Maiden (2013):  Episode 11
And now it’s time for adventures in… clock repair?

Everyone is left standing in a mess of time and space created from the chaos, and now they have to find a way out.  For being so close to the end of this story, things really aren’t that interesting.  It also seems that fans agree; as rumor has it this show has performed so poorly there is talk of it being cancelled.  While this would be an odd decision, seeing as there are only two episodes left, I can understand why it could come to this.  At this point I’m only sticking through because of how much I enjoyed the original series.

  Senki Zesshou Symphogear G:  Episodes 11
Tales of Symphogear

We should all be thankful that there are subtitles this week, because we are entering the final episodes of this awesome show!  Things are very interesting this week, but it’s likely you will notice this episode suffered from some production issues.  Let’s all hope the conclusion to this doesn’t suffer the same fate.

Shingeki no Kyojin:  Episode 23
(Attack on Titan)
Wait, what’s so funny?

It doesn’t seem much is going on in this episode, but the last bit at the end is where everything comes together.  You better believe there are spoilers, which means I’ve got nothing more to say.  Next week’s episode should be pretty damn awesome.

Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S:  Episode 22
(A Certain Scientific Railgun)
Nothing like hanging out with an old friend…

Misaka has a bittersweet reunion with one of Academy City’s finest, in hopes of digging up some information to save Febri.  It seems that the league of evil scientists behind Febri’s creation has also gone on bad terms with ITEM, and as a bonus we can all enjoy, we get a bit of ITEM-service this week.  Unfortunately for the girls, it seems even scientists without any esper abilities are nothing to mess with.

Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!:  Episode 10
(It’s Not My Fault I’m Not Popular!)
AKA: Watamote
Well, at least Tomoko made a new friend…

After a disappointingly uneventful summer, Tomoko returns to school.  A sudden change to seating in class leaves her without a place to eat her lunch, which eventually leads her on a quest to find a special place to be alone.  To be honest this is one of those episodes that seems more sad than funny, depending on how you look at it.

Extra Anime of the Week:
Gatchaman Crowds
Yes, this is somehow Gatchaman.  Yes, it is actually really good.

Gatchaman Crowds is a very radical reboot of the 70’s Gatchaman TV series, known in the US as G-Force.  That being said, this show has almost nothing in common with its predecessor.  Crowds is a strange tale about the “Gatchamen”, specially chosen heroes that do battle with aliens in secret.  This appears to be a very plain superhero story, but don’t let that fool you- this show is as unusual as it gets, in a good way.  The Gatchamen are a rather strange and flamboyant collection of characters, even by anime standards, and the world they fight in is even stranger and more mysterious.  Crowds has an odd, yet bold and colorful art direction, a storyline so strange you can’t seem to stop watching it, and what has to some of the catchiest music in all of anime.  Even though I didn’t include this show in the round-up on a weekly basis, this is one of my favorites of the season.  If you’re open minded and looking for something fresh and unique, I highly recommend this show.