Stark’s Picks: 2012 Anime of the Year

You Can (Not) Handle All This Moe

It has been about a year since I did my first AOTY article for Varms.net, and since then I’ve begun writing the Weekly Anime Round-Up, where I talk about currently airing anime fresh from Japan.  This year I’ve decided that all of my picks for AOTY will have to consist of shows that finished airing within the year, since some shows can turn ugly during the second half.  This year I have also included a few special categories, along with my top 10 picks for the year.  This year, Comedies and Slice of Life shows dominated the scene by delivering some very unique concepts that proved to be incredibly entertaining.

This ranking is based solely on my personal selections for the year, so don’t get bent out of shape if your favorite show isn’t here.  There were plenty of other shows I personally enjoyed that did not make this list, but I would like to encourage any fans out there to post their favorites from 2012 in the comments.  I tend to watch most of the stuff readers have suggested in my other articles, so it’s always good to share your favorites.

10.  Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate
(Love, Elections, and Chocolate)

The only election in 2012 that was worth paying attention to.

KoiChoco is about a school in the near-future that is operated by a powerful student government.  When an upcoming election threatens to shut down the school’s easygoing clubs in an effort to make budget cuts, Yuuki Oojima of the “Food Research” club enters the election to save his club.  Unfortunately, he soon finds that this seemingly innocent school election is full of conspiracies, class-warfare, and even attempted assassinations!

This show mixes political drama and typical school romance into a unique formula that was very enjoyable.  I really liked that they didn’t leave the story or its romantic elements “open” at the end like many shows, and instead things wrap up very nicely over the course of 12 episodes.  Also, the beer-chugging teacher was the most awesome teacher in all of history.

9.  Upotte!
Japan may love guns even MORE than Americans do.

In Japan, pretty much anything can be represented by cute girls.  Upotte is about a school for assault rifles, where different models of guns are schoolgirls.  These girls train and compete amongst one another in school sponsored events to prove which “gun” in the superior weapon.  This show combines slice of life elements with action sequences, along with some interesting lessons about military firearms.  And there is lots of ”gun cleaning” (Guess what kind of scenes those are), because clean guns are happy guns.  This show ends with a literal “bang” as the girls eventually battle against the “evil” cold-war era Soviet firearms.

While this show did not have a large popularity in either Japan or over here, it has gathered a cult following among aficionados of weapons and all that is cute.  The strange concept behind this show is what originally drew me in, and it was executed well enough to be one of my favorites for the year.  The NRA should be taking notes; because an anime is somehow one of the greatest pieces of pro-gun propaganda of all time, and the ending delivers a simple yet undeniably true statement about the nature of firearms.

 

8. Ano Natsu de Matteru
(Waiting in the Summer)

Ku Ku Ku… Who wants some dynamite drink?

Ano Natsu is a high school/summer romance story with the twist of having one of the students being an Alien that has crash landed on earth.  While this has certainly been done before, this show does it right.  The story involves a boy named Kaito that becomes mixed up with a girl that is new to town, and unbeknownst to Kaito and his friends, new to planet Earth.  Most of the story takes place during summer break, when Kaito and friends film an amateur sci-fi film and attempt to sort out their feelings for one another.

This show has a cast of interesting characters, crisp and colorful scenery and animation, and a great storyline with lots of unique twists and turns.  The end of this show is quite the surprise, and finishes the story in a spectacular fashion.   This show is a great watch for anyone that digs the romance/slice of life genre.

7. AKB0048

Idols fighting space marines with motherfucking lightsabers.  What more could you want?

This show was created as a shameless plug for the famous Japanese Idol group, AKB48.  This show has the ridiculous concept of being a story about an Idol group in the future that flies around the galaxy performing shows on various planets.  The catch is that the Interstellar government has a ban on entertainment, and they enforce this ban with heavily armed troops and battle mechs.  This means that the rebellious Idol group, AKB0048, must be proficient in both singing and combat.

The absurdity of this concept is what makes this show surprisingly good.  Watching idols fight off armored troopers and battle mechs with microphones that turn into lightsabers and clothing accessories repurposed as weapons is a kind of crazy awesomeness that only anime can pull off.  Who would have thought that a show about fun being illegal would be one of the most fun shows of the year?

6. Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon II
(Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere II)
Big boobs and frenzied combat are back!

This is Horizon’s second time to land on my AOTY list, and its back for all of the same reasons.  This time Tori and the crew of the Musashi travel to the floating island of England, while still fighting off the Testament Union.  This season delivers even more of what made the first season so great:  crazy and creative fast-paced fights, a unique setting with a detailed universe, and lots of sexy girls in skin-tight outfits.

Horizon is what happens when anime gets cranked up to 11. It is an intense show that moves at a brisk pace even when it seems like not much is going on.  For a second year in a row, Horizon has continued to be a devilishly entertaining blend of action, comedy, and fanservice concentrated into pure fun.  Rumor has it a third season in the works, so we may get yet even more of this!

5. Yuru Yuri II
I for one, welcome our new moe overlord.

I missed the first season of this show when it aired last year, but I got caught up just before this season aired.  Yuru Yuri is a slice of life/comedy about a group of girls in the “Amusement Club”, which is pretty much just a club for the girls to mess around without any real purpose.  With the phrase “yuri” in the title, some may get the idea that the focus of this show is on lesbians, but that would not be an accurate assumption.  While some of the girls have crushes on one another, that isn’t the focus of the show, and there is no form of fanservice to be found in this show whatsoever.  This show is simply a light-hearted comedy with a lot of character-based humor.

This show has a similar vibe to “Lucky Star”, but its unique humor and oodles of cuteness keep it in a class all of its own.   While this show is by no means revolutionary, it was one of my favorites this year because of the simple fact that no matter how bad a mood I was in, this show could make me laugh.  Anyone looking to get into this show should watch the first season, since the most of the jokes are tied closely to the characters and their personalities.

4. Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?  OF THE DEAD
(Is This a Zombie? Season 2)
Even alcoholics are cute in anime.

Zombie is yet another show to return to my list of AOTY picks.  Even though this season is more focused on this shows ridiculous brand of humor instead of advancing the main storyline, the non-stop laughs from this show make it all worth the time.  A few new characters are introduced this season, my favorite one in particular is a cute girl in a frilly dress that spends her time drinking booze in the school’s chemistry lab and puking rainbows.  Other wacky additions to the cast include a mysterious man that coughs up blood for no reason, and a busty magical girl that spends her time drawing manga.

My only major complaint with this season of Zombie is the fact that it abruptly ends just as the story has built up, but the endless barrage of hilarious situations more than made up for any misgivings I had.  This show begs to have a third season, but considering its so-so BD sales, the chance seems slim.  A sliver of hope for more remains due to the fact that the final episode and OVA hint at more to come.

3. Haiyore! Nyaruko-san
(Nyaruko-san, the Crawling Chaos)
Don’t be scared, she’s just an unfathomable abomination.

Even Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos is not beyond the reach of Japan’s culture of cute.  Nyaruko is a comedy about a student named Mahiro that becomes dependent on the protection of Nyarlathotep, who has taken the form of a cute girl.  Anyone hoping this show will be a serious take on the Cthulu Mythos should stop right here, this show is a reference-packed comedy show through and through, and that’s why it’s awesome.  Each episode is crammed with references to Japanese TV shows, anime, video games, and even a few American films, along with the its own brand of random, at times perverse, humor.

While it is unlikely for any viewer to pick up on all of the references, there is still plenty of stuff for a seasoned anime fan to pick up on.  Even without the references, the nonstop humor of the show in itself will have anyone that isn’t dead inside laughing their ass off.  I had tons of fun watching this, and the best news yet is that a second season is already on its way!

2. Accel World
Fun Fact: Silver Crow gets all the bitches.

This anime has received a mixed reception among many fans, mostly because of the fact that the main character is a short, fat student harassed by bullies.  Anyone that passed on this show for that reason has only cheated themselves, because Accel World was one of the most amazing shows to air this year.  Accel World takes place a few decades in the future, where a device called the neuro-linker has made major advancements in information technology.  Neuro-linkers are powerful computers that are worn around the neck, and connect directly to the mind.  This device makes Augmented Reality a part of everyday life, and Virtual Reality video games a popular pastime.

This story is about a student named Haru, who uses Virtual Reality games to escape his miserable life of bullying and disrespect.  One day his life is changed when the most popular girl in his class offers him the chance to download a mysterious program called “Brain Burst.”  At first glance, Brain Burst seems like nothing but a MMO fighting game, but the game rewards its players with something called “Burst Points.”  These burst points can be used for leveling up avatars and other in game exchanges, but their real power is they can also be used in the real world to “overclock” a players brain.  This accelerated thinking speed gives its user a sensation similar to stopping time, allowing players to gain an advantage in real life.

Accel World takes place in an interesting universe, as both the real world and the world of Brain Burst make for an awesome sci-fi setting that is one of a kind.  Watching Haru’s character grow as he faces the struggles of the real world and Brain Burst was a really great aspect of this show, since Haru eventually breaks the mold of the typical, weakling “Shinji Ikari” type of character.  This show has an awesome mix of action, drama, world building, and of course, plenty of cute girls.

1. Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!
(Despite my Adolescent Delusions, I Want to Date!)
The Dark Flame Master is the world’s only hero.

During his middle school years, Yuuta suffered from what some people call “chuunibyou” or “8th grade syndrome.”  Basically chuunibyou is something like an overactive imagination.  Yuuta loved to stay in the character of “Dark Flame Master”, a fictional character he created through his love of anime and manga.  Now that he’s made it to high school, Yuuta enrolls in a school where no one knows him, in hopes of living a normal life without the embarrassment of his childish behavior from middle school.  Just as Yuuta thinks he’s on track to enjoy a healthy social life, a girl named Rikka climbs onto his balcony, seeking the “famous” Dark Flame Master.  Rikka wears an eye patch to conceal what she calls the “Tyrant’s Eye”, and claims she is on a mission to find the unseen Horizon.

This show is an amazing romantic comedy, animated by Japan’s famous Kyoto Animation studio, an anime studio renowned for its high quality animation and captivating characters.  The antics of Rikka and her “servant” Sanae kept me laughing through almost all of this show.  This show also features some amazing animated “battles”, scenes where Rikka and Sanae’s delusional fights are brought to life in spectacular fashion.  Eventually things do take a serious turn, as both the drama and romance heat up between the characters.  Everything comes together nicely at the end, making this a great “feel good” anime.

This show tops my list for AOTY for its unique take on a romantic comedy, fun characters, beautiful animation, and a heartwarming story that deals with being true to oneself and coping with loss.  This anime didn’t set out to blow anyone’s minds or bring drastic change to the medium, it simply set out to tell a good story, and that’s what makes it so wonderful.  While I personally find a lot of Kyoani’s shows to be hit and miss, I think this is one of the best shows the studio has put out in years.

2012 AOTY Special Categories:

2012 AOTY Honorable Mention:
Psycho Pass
One of the most awesome weapons in all of anime.

Psycho Pass was not considered for AOTY simply because it is only halfway finished at this time.  However, this is probably one of the best sci-fi anime to come around in years.  Psycho Pass takes place in a future where a computer known as the Sybil system watches over and evaluates the minds of every citizen.  This system knows if some has, or will commit a criminal act, and “Latent Criminals” are given the choice of seeking therapy or suffering the consequences.  The story surrounds a police force known as the “Enforcers”, latent criminals that are given a second chance by hunting down other criminals, under the supervision of detectives.  The enforcers also employ a unique firearm known as the Dominator, a gun that will only fire upon an individual with a high “crime coefficient”.

This show has a really awesome setting, great characters, incredible animation, and interesting villains.  Psycho Pass has only gotten better with each episode, so things are looking good for the second half.  Depending on how well this show finishes up, it could very well be a serious contender for 2013’s AOTY.

Best Ecchi Show:
Highschool DxD
Trying to find a screencap of this without full-frontal nudity is REALLY hard.

Sure an ecchi show may not necessarily be AOTY material, but they sure as hell can be fun.  Highschool DxD is ecchi done right:  it blends tons of hot girls, a bit of action, and hilarious comedy, and it doesn’t skimp on the ecchi.  The show’s opening has nudity right off the bat, and the credit sequence has an amazingly well animated display of the girls dancing like strippers.  DxD is about a student named Issei , that winds up being murdered and resurrected into a demon by the hottest demon you will ever see.  This show is all about Issei trying to prove himself to his new demon masters, so he may one day become an overlord with the harem of his dreams.  A must see for any fan of ecchi shows.

So Bad it’s Good:
Senki Zesshou Symphogear
Girls in skimpy battle gear are always worth a watch.

Symphogear is a show that takes place in the distant future, when mankind is plagued by an alien menace known as the “noise.”  The only weapon that can defeat the noise is a song-powered battle armor known as the Symphogear.  That means this show is about cute girls in skimpy battle armor that sing idol songs and the fight aliens.  The story is nothing but silly nonsense, but the show is honest with itself for what it is and the cool designs and over the top action scenes make this show incredibly entertaining.

Best Mecha Show (That isn’t part of the Gundam franchise):
Muv Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse
TSF’s are pretty fucking awesome.

Muv Luv was a highly-anticipated show for this year, based off a popular visual novel with a devoted fan base.  Unfortunately, this show’s low production values and slow pacing made it a bit of a letdown for many fans.  While this show is by no means amazing, it still proved to be quite entertaining, and has some really awesome, and at times very gory, action scenes.  Mecha anime have been dwindling in recent years, so there wasn’t much competition, but it was still worth watching nonetheless.

Biggest Disappointment:
Sword Art Online
At least the girls were cute.

This entry is likely to ruffle some feathers, since this is probably the most popular show of the year. SAO is about gamers that become trapped in a Virtual Reality MMORPG, and if they die in the game, they are killed in real life.  I personally enjoyed the first half of the show, and defended its criticisms time and time again.  Unfortunately, the end of the first story arc is where several problems began to pop up.  The story became increasingly reliant on unexplained “miracles” to get the characters out of jams, and the writing became sloppier as the second half of the show continued.  Much of the suspense and thrills from the first half are lost when the main character, Kirito enters a game to save his girlfriend that is still trapped in the virtual world, only to sideline his mission to show off for other girls.  Every time the story goes and explains something can’t be done, Kirito does it anyway, with no reasonable explanation.

The show had a lot of great things going for it: an interesting setting, great character designs, good animation, and an epic soundtrack written by the same composer from Madoka Magica.  Unfortunately, the adaptation of the show from the original light novels was executed poorly, and at times it felt like the writers were literally making things up as they went along.  This show was entertaining, but it is not worthy of the general acclaim and popularity it has received.

Weekly Anime Round-Up: August 12th – August 18th

Now that the Olympics are finally over, we can get back to what really matters: school elections and harem building.  Koichoco and Kono Naki are finally back, and we even get the treat of having an extra serving of Koichoco this week!  There is a lot to watch this week, so let’s get this round-up started!

Accel World:  Episode 19

Kuroyukihime’s adventure continues, as she encounters a Burst Linker that has been able to use cheating software to tame a legendary beast.  The drunken master of Kuroyukihime’s new friends shows everyone that he is more than just a lazy drunk, and there is even a surprise when someone else is able to enter the Accel World.  With this story finally wrapped up, next week we will be able to see what will become of Haru and Taku as they fight Dusk Taker and that filthy traitor…

Dog Days Season 2:  Episode 7

When the King of Heroes and the Demon King inspect a series of demon seals they made long ago, another hard lesson is learned about the dangers of touching seals.  The crew accidentally releases a mouse demon that has the strange ability to turn adults (teens?) into children.  As usual, Shinku and the other Heroes and Knights will have to come and clean up the mess.

Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate:  Episodes 5&6
(Love, Election, and Chocolate)

The studio behind Koichoco was nice enough to catch things up a bit by giving us two episodes to watch this week.  The school election primaries have finally arrived, so everyone is doing their part to get as many votes as possible for Yuuki.  For some reason this involves cosplay and pandering to otaku and fujoshi to sell snacks at a high price to raise money for the campaign.  Will Yuuki’s speech be successful?  Will he be able to get enough votes in the primaries and make it to the main election?  Get your double dose of Koichoco to find out.

Kono Naki ni Hitori Imouto ga Iru!:  Episode 5
(One of Them is my Little Sister!)

Just as it seems Shougo’s worries are finally over, he continues to get harassed over the phone by yet another girl using the voice changing phone and making the claim of being his sister.  This incognito imouto insists that she will be able to fool Shougo no matter what, causing him to suffer restless nights.  Now a girl running a cosplay café seems to be aggressively pursuing Shougo…

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon, Season 2:  Episode 6
(Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere)

The battle against the Trumps of England continues, giving us even more amazing, over the top action.  The fights were really amazing this week, with some spectacular, fast-paced animation bringing them to life.  As silly and abstract as this show is, episodes like this make it all worth it.  Be sure not to miss this week’s episode of Horizon! (As if anyone watching this, would.)

Oda Nobuna no Yabou:  Episode 6
(The Ambition of Oda Nobuna)

Sagara uses some knowledge of construction techniques from the future to build a fortress overnight, in hopes of giving Nobuna the ability to conquer yet another territory.  Unfortunately, the plan quickly falls apart when Nobuna is drawn into a trap, leaving Sagara and his group of loyal and deadly girls to defend the newly constructed fortress.  Try not to be overwhelmed by the sadness this week; I promise you, it will be okay.

Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse:  Episode 7

And so this is the second and final part of the “stranded on an island” story arc.  Honestly, I have no idea why they felt this needed to drag on for two episodes, especially since this is filler-grade stuff.  At the very least there is some more bikini fanservice I guess.  Next week’s episode is going to take place on the front lines of the Soviet Union, so hopefully things will be more interesting.

Sword Art Online:  Episode 7

Kirito seeks the help of a cute blacksmith in order to forge a powerful new sword.  Unfortunately the materials required can only be gathered by a master smith in the nest of a dangerous crystal dragon.  Prepare for adventure and heartbreak in this week’s episode of Sword Art Online.

Yuru Yuri Season 2:  Episode 7

This episode brings more antics from Himawari and Sakurako, as poor Himawari overreacts to putting on some weight.  This week also looks into the disturbing life of Akari’s obsessive sister, with hilarious results.  On a side note, this show has officially corrupted the way I look at exercise balls for the rest of my life…

Weekly Anime Round-Up: August 5th – August 11th

The Olympics are finally over, so next week’s round up will finally be whole again.  This week however will be another week without brutal schoolyard politics and gold-digger harem antics.  In the meantime, most shows are hitting the halfway mark for the summer season, so let’s see how things are coming along this week!

Accel World:  Episode 18

There is bad news and good news for Accel World fans this week.  After the rage-inducing cliffhanger we were all left with last week, this episode is taking a step back from current events to tell the story of Kuroyukihime and her vacation in Okinawa.  While this may seem annoying, this was actually a fun episode.  Kuroyukihime surprisingly encounters a pair of Burst-linker’s during her vacation that makes a foolish mistake of challenging her.  When the fight is over, they make a request of the Black Queen to help their fallen master.  This is a two-part episode, so we will have to wait another week to see what became of Haru and Taku.

Dog Days Season 2:  Episode 6

When Couvre and Shinku visit a shrine where the Demon King and Hero King slumber, they attempt to break the seal in order to create a “miracle.”  Instead, they end up breaking the seal on the Demon King… but fortunately for them the demon king’s first order of business… is to peep into the women’s bathhouse, causing his lewd antics to awaken the hero king.  Will this pair return to their peaceful slumber, or will they stick around for the fun?

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon, Season 2:  Episode 5
(Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere)

As the festival begins, the “Trumps” of England begin to challenge the crew of Musashi to duels.  Have you ever seen a witch fight a swimmer in a giant orb of water?  How about a pair of Japanese warriors fighting on a soccer field?  How about a mage fighting a werewolf that spits laser beams?  You’re not on drugs; you are just watching another episode of Horizon.  This episode is loaded with the weird, zany action that only the creators of Horizon can conceive.

Oda Nabuna no Yabou:  Episode 5
(The Ambition of Oda Nabuna)

When the Oda clan finds they are at a stalemate dealing with the genius tactician Hanbei, Sagara once again tries to use is knowledge form the games he played to bring Hanbei to their side.  It turns out that Hanbei’s true form is not what it seems when it is revealed the mysterious man is actually yet another young girl.  Watch as ancient Japanese warriors lose both their lives and their dignity as they are brutally defeated by a group of young girls and a gamer from the future…

Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse:  Episode 6

This week Yuuya and his unit go out on a UN sponsored morale boosting activity… the technical term for “this is our excuse for having an obligatory beach episode.”  There is no mecha/ Top Gun drama or BETA warfare this week… it’s just a fairly generic fanservice episode.  The fun in the sun comes to an abrupt end when the group is separated by a storm…

Sword Art Online:  Episode 6

Kirito finally figures out the secret behind the assassinations within safe zones after being inspired by… a dropped sandwich.  He eventually uncovers the truth behind a guild driven to madness by a rare drop, and even darker secrets of a married couple that fell apart in the game world.  And it seems all this talk of marriage within the game has a certain someone offering Kirito a friend request…

Yuru Yuri Season 2:  Episode 6

The girls are off to Comiket this week, as Kyouko sets up to sell her doujin books and an anime she made.  This is the kind of comiket episode that pops up in many slice of life/ otaku humor shows, but with that distinctive Yuru Yuri flavor.  Kyouko’s ridiculous fan-made version of the Mirakurun anime makes this episode worth it by itself, but there is plenty more fun in the rest of this episode as well.

Weekly Anime Round-Up: July 29th – August 4th

The round up is going to be short for a few weeks.  It seems that there is a gathering of athletes from around the world that is hoarding global media attention, and it seems that some anime will have to step aside until this whole thing blows over.  Koichoco and Imouto Hunter D will be on hiatus for a few weeks until the Olympics are over, as I mentioned last week.  In the meantime, here is some anime that is still airing between Michael Phelps making swimming unfair to the rest of humanity.

Accel World:  Episode 17

With his training complete and a new weapon in his arsenal, Haru decides it is time for vengeance.  There is an awful lot that happens in this episode, and I don’t really want to spoil the outcome.  Prepare to rage at the end of this episode.  Seriously, what a whore…

Dog Days Season 2:  Episode 5

Rumors of bandits pestering a town on the border of the kingdom compel Nanami to investigate.  With a couple of guards at her side, Nanami visits a town with a very eastern Flair in hopes of catching the notorious bandits.  The show returns to being more of a light-hearted action/comedy, with the heavy helpings of fan service taking a backseat this week. (Don’t worry ecchi fans, there is some pointless nudity tossed in this episode) Oh, and it seems Couvre and Becky are hatching a plan…

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon, Season 2:  Episode 4
(Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere)

So it seems England is going to prepare for the upcoming war with… a festival.  In the meantime, the girls need a bath!  This episode is nothing more than shameless fan service.  That being said, it was a great episode.  Enjoy!

Oda Nabuna no Yabou:  Episode 4
(The Ambition of Oda Nabuna)

After the mistakes Sagara made trying to alter the past, he is soon forced to prove his worth to Nabuna.  Things get even worse when Sagara faces a ninja clan led by Hattori Hanzo.  This episode brings more of the comedy goodness that makes this show so fun to watch, along with some really awesome action at the end.

Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse:  Episode 5

After Yuuya’s hard lesson about the dangers of hanging out with cute and insane soviet girls, he returns to training with the Japanese TSF he despises so much.  Yuuya tries to come to terms with his Japanese heritage and memories of his family in order to understand the fighting style of Japanese TSF pilots.  Unfortunately for him and the rest of the squad, Yui has decided that the best way to train everyone is with a thorough ass-kicking.

Sword Art Online:  Episode 5

This week Kirito finds himself investigating the deaths of players who are somehow getting PK’d (player killed) in safe areas.  Normally a player has to enter a dual in order to fight another player, but now it seems there is someone with the ability to kill a player anywhere, at any time.  Enjoy this episode of massively multiplayer online Law and Order.

Yuru Yuri Season 2:  Episode 5

This week Akari gets lots of screen time… by getting stranded at a train station on a blistering hot summer day.  As everyone else enjoys a day at the pool, poor Akari has everything that could possibly go wrong for her happen at the train station of loneliness.  Later on, the girls play the latest RPG and Sakurako comes over to play.  Some would say I’m committing blasphemy by saying this, but this show is like a modern-day Lucky Star.  It’s that good, at least as far as slice of life shows go.

Weekly Anime Round-Up: July 22nd – July 28th

This week there are some more changes to the round-up.  AKB0048’s final episode aired this week, concluding the season.  In addition, I dropped two shows this week.  Arcana Famiglia got dropped because the molasses-like pacing proved to be a disappointment after the promising first episode.  Space Brothers is the second victim to be dropped off the watch list.  After chugging through several episodes of isolation chamber antics, I gave up on my will to power through the rest of that awful story arc.  In other news, the Summer Olympics will be causing delays for two shows that air on Japan’s TBS.  After this week, Koichoco and Kono Naki ni Hitori Imouto ga Iru won’t be airing again until the 16th of august, a real bummer since both shows are getting very interesting.

Accel World:  Episode 16

Haru meets up with the only Brain Burst player that has ever come close to achieving flight, in hopes that he can get his wings back.  He soon learns that he may never get his wings back, but instead he receives training for a technique could allow him to fly again through sheer will.  Unfortunately for Haru, the first step is getting tossed off from the top of the giant spire where his teacher resides…

AKB0048:  Episode 13 END

The girls decide that giving the planet of Lancastar hope is worth more than their lives, so they decide to return to the surface and face the DES in order to give a proper concert.  This episode packs in more of that delicious combination of idol singing and combat that made this show so entertaining, as the girls give their all for the people of Lancastar.  Fans who are hoping for even more idol vs. space marine goodness will be delighted to see that another season has been announced for 2013!

Dog Days Season 2:  Episode 3

This week Shinku visits Yukkii to attend a training camp.  Naturally, this turns into swimsuit time with lots of fan service and ecchi fun.   Oh yeah, I guess they learn some new magic techniques too…

Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate:  Episode 4
(Love, Election, and Chocolate)

As everyone gears up for the election, Yuuki sees the hardships faced by a financial-aid student who works at a school “factory” and performs maintenance duties to earn her keep at the academy.  It becomes very apparent that the creators of this anime are not a fan of conservative politics.  The political messages are so anti-conservative, Rush Limbaugh would label this show as “liberal brainwashing” if he ever saw this episode.  Get ready to rage against the 1% on this week’s episode of Koichoco.  The Olympics will be causing some delays for this show, so it won’t be around for a bit.

Kono Naki ni Hitori Imouto ga Iru!:  Episode 4
(One of Them is my Little Sister!)

Shougo gets some information from “Mister X” that leads him to find out the identity of the girl harassing him over the phone and claiming to be his sister.  The good news is he finds out enough information to discover that Miyabi and Konoe cannot be his sister, but the bad news is there is a still a possibility that his sister could still be among the other girls at the school.  This doesn’t mean Shougo is off the hook with Konoe and Miyabi- now they are trying harder than ever to compete for him.

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon, Season 2:  Episode 3
(Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere)

This week the gang tries to gain an advantage over England through a trade negotiation for food.  As mundane as this sounds, this is yet another one of Horizon’s strange battles of wits and fantasy politics.  This episode is full of laughs and strange antics that only this show can bring.

Oda Nabuna no Yabou:  Episode 3
(The Ambition of Oda Nabuna)

Sagara soon begins to discover that his knowledge from the game he played isn’t very effective when he tries to alter events from the game and encounters new situations.  Things seem desperate when Sagara finds himself rafting down a river under a hail of flaming arrows, but some help from the ever loyal Goemon brings a hilarious moment when she is upgraded to “bro” status.  Get ready for more cute historical characters doing warlord things this week!

Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse:  Episode 4

As Yuuya struggles with learning to pilot a Japanese-made TSF, he finds himself berated by his commanding officer.  Things get worse when a chance encounter with Inia lands him in hot water with Soviet troops.  Oh and there is some nice Soviet fanservice to wrap things up this week…

Sword Art Online:  Episode 4

When a younger player of the Beast Tamer class finds herself betrayed by her party members, she attempts to clear a dungeon by herself, resulting in the loss of her precious pet, Pina.  Kirito comes to her rescue and promises to help her fight through a dungeon to find an item to revive her pet.  Unfortunately, someone is watching them…

Yuru Yuri Season 2:  Episode 4

This week’s episode kicks off with yet another hilarious intro with Akari, and things only get better from there.  Get ready for power struggles over pudding and ice cream.  Another highlight from this week’s hijinks is the story of explosion-happy Nana’s past.  Remember folks, don’t stick random things into electrical outlets, no matter how much you love explosions.