Winter 2013 Final Impressions

Psycho-Pass

I’m not sure if I mentioned it before but after a couple episodes I had more or less droped Psycho-Pass. Not because I wanted to. It just hadn’t interested me. I persevered and marathoned it one weekened up until around episode ten. Then episode 11 happened and it became my favourite show.

Well actually episode 11 happened and then there was a two week break. When the show returned, we had a flashback episode that showed us the history of Yayoi. I’m only mentioning this because it wasn’t important at all. It seemed like Rina would appear again based on the ending of that episode but nope. So, on one hand it was nice of them to give them back story and flesh out the character who appeared pretty much the least. On the other hand, considering how… ‘rushed’ the ending felt, I think it could have been better used.

One of my biggest problems with the show is Kogami. Akane is great. I’ll defend her until my dying breath. You can easily see her development and growth as a character and she has so many powerful scenes. I just love her to pieces. That’s why it’s disappointed Makishima and the show focused on Kogami. Kogami is just such a boring character. Sure, going off on his own and stuff was ok I guess but Akane sticking to her guns and fighting the system from within and her dedication to justice was just all so amazing. She lost a dear friend too and she watched Makishima do horrible things. She had all the same motivation that he did but she was stronger than he was.

I really was disappointed with the ending. I accepted that we wouldn’t see the Sibyl System being taken down but I would have hoped for more hope. Someone pointed out than Akane’s introduction mirroring Gino’s but with her having a kinder tone towards the Enforcers is a step towards change but that’s not exactly toppling the system, is it? I did appreciate that the new girl was from the Rikako case which was one of the good arcs before it became boring Makishima stuff.

As much as I looked forward to this show every week, the second half made it seem really average (especially with blunders like episode 18). I guess it really was though.

 Shin Sekai Yori

I watched the first episode way back when but watched through the bulk of the series up to episode 21st a few weekends ago. It’s hard to describe my feelings toward the show. I was never particularly enthralled by it but at the same time, I wanted to know how things got the way they did (since I had seen spoilers from episode 21). Once again, tumblr influenced me into watching a show I wouldn’t have watched. Although I did plan on watching SSY eventually since it did have some interesting ideas.

Originally, it was the idea it was impossible to adapt that got my attention. I wonder how much was left out. I’d love to read the actual novel one day. As I mentioned recently, there is a chance of that though it is very slim.

I wasn’t so excited that I couldn’t stop watching but even so, I watched fourteen episodes within a short time span so it wasn’t as if I was disinterested. There was certainly a lot of drama but it didn’t leave me on the edge of my seat. That was my general mindset until I was actually caught up. Then waiting for a new episode was downright painful. Episode nineteen stands out for me. The hospital scene (although pretty much everything else in that episode was) incredibly intense.

Actually, a lot of the episodes before the last timeskip were tense and one of the things I liked about the show so much. As children, those in control seemed very oppressive  powerful and scary. As if they were the absolute rulers of everything. It made their world seem so hopeless. And all of that stuff was true, in a way. Which was why Maria and Mamoru left. But then the time skip happens again and they become adults. The people in charge don’t seem that way. They work with them, they are those people now. They become adults and accept the things they can’t change even if they’re things they don’t like. That the entire feel of the characters and world could change with their aging was really great and I was really impressed.

In a similar way, the way they showed love in this series was equally as impressive. You could see and feel the love characters had for each other. It was different from person to person. Maria love Mamoru in a way that was different from how she loved Saki. That was obvious. But you could feel it and understand it. That’s what made Maria’s letter so sad. It’s what made the ‘fiend’ so sad. It was a part of the people they loved and it had to be destroyed. After tricking the Fiend so that it killed itself had Saki realize that the only thing that remained of her friends and her lover was really truly gone was incredibly tragic. Though I guess pretty much everything from the second half of the show was tragic.

Nopy compared Psycho-Pass and Shin Sekai Yori and it really wasn’t something I thought about before I read his post but was something that was incredibly apparent after this ending. Both take place in worlds that seem opressive (and are, I suppose) but with their actions made trying to better human life. Of course both go about trying to do this in horrible ways. Akane and Saki both realize the flaws of the system but understand why they are there. Despite that, both attempt to try and change things. Psycho-Pass isn’t very clear about how she’s going to do that though and I really can’t imagine a single person being able to change the Sibyl System alone. In SSY I think Saki has a lot more push and pull in her society (she was able to spare some of the colonies from being wiped out, anyways) so I feel like she’d be able to change things gradually.

Alternatively, Squeeler tried to change the world and that didn’t go so well for anybody at all.

Amnesia

I was going to play Bioshock Infinite and be happy but the thought of getting this atrocity out of my life was just too good to pass up on.

I’ve already ranted about the majority of the series so I’ll spare rehashing that. Instead, let’s talk about the further terrible choices heroine made. I can maybe , MAYBE see putting up with the other dudes because she knew them in the first world she had memories of. OK. MAYBE. Then we have this dude who she only meets a couple times. She feels sorry for him and accepts that they might have been going out. Sure he was nice to her once or twice before but those times when he tried (and suceeded!) to kill her? All in the past! He even warns the dumbass “don’t trust me” but hey GUESS WHAT SHE DOES.

Like, ok so this guy might be nice sometimes (but really terribly boring) but that does not make up for the times he dropped you off a building and tried to drop you in a well. Dude lights the place on fire and chases her with a knife. Repeatedly.

But like, whatever. Let’s ignore that. It’s probably not so much of an issue when you play but here you’re supposed to sympathize with this dude that we only see once or twice and then he gets an episode where he does lame stuff and crazy stuff. He’s supposed to be the weary time traveler who snaps after watching someone he loves die over and over but I could no give less of a fuck. Once I saw he stabbed himself I groaned because I knew he would not shut up for another ten minutes.

I guess all the dudes only get two episodes of ‘characterization’ but at least you see the main five all from the start so you can warm up to them quicker. Not that I did. If anything I warmed down from them.

But, the important thing is that it’s over. It’s over. It’s finally over. If I’m on my deathbed and my great grandkids, Burrito jr. jr and Saucelord, ask me what the worst six hours of my life were I’d definitely go with this.

me when I think about the people who enjoyed this unironically 

There are a lot of shows I watched because I hated them but never has anything been so outright terrible. I don’t think it’s a matter of taste. Everything about this show (well the Yanagi Nagi OP and Ray ED were nice) was terrible. Especially the characters. I’ll see you all flock to hate on the heroine and god did I hate her stupid ass too (but I don’t hate all heroines please don’t assume this) but the guys were so, so, so terrible.

But it’s over. It’s over. I’m so happy. I’m so happy that I never have to watch another second of this and I never have to hear Orion again. I’m so happy it’s done with that I just could actually cry.

Tamako Market

I was so happy I could cry during the end of Amnesia but I actually did a little during the final episode of Tamako Market. Like Chuu2Koi before it, this was kind of a wildcard show for me. I wanted to watch a show I saw people talking about but had no initial interest in. When I heard about episode two and Midori’s crush, I gave it a shot.

I’m really glad I did. It wouldn’t be a stretch to put say Tamako Market could be one of my top ten favourite shows. There was so much to love about it. Even when I was in the sourest of moods, I always knew watching the new episode would put a smile on my face. I could look past my skepticism of the world and cynical worldview and happily accepted the optimistic world Tamako lived in.

It’s weird to me, then, that the show had a few themes that were kind of sad in general. Well, I’d actually go as far as  to say that one of the big themes of the show was unrequited love. Or at least love that isn’t acknowledged but it could be! Mochizou to Tamako, Midori to Tamako, Dera to Shiori, Tomio to Sayuri, Choi to the Prince. I don’t know if you’d count Anko and the guy she had a crush on but that’s there too. Despite this, the show didn’t angst or be overly dramatic. It still presented these stories with all the characters smiling. Midori’s case was a little particularly sad because she did seem conflicted about how she should feel but her love was genuine. I’d like to believe that, in the market and the world that Tamako showed us, if she somehow won over Mochizou that everybody would accept it and they would genuinely be happy together.

I’m not a big fan of slice of life shows so that was another reason I initially skipped it. It was never boring for me though. The characters all had so much charm and personality that I loved each and every one of them and was always looking forward to seeing them interact.

On a side note, I really hope that the CM wasn’t a preview for another season of Chuu2Koi because really? Chuu2Koi was average at best and the second part was terrible. Of course I remember seeing on MAL that Yuuta had a childhood friend so if Chuu2Koi S2 is for real you can bet it’s going to be as insipid and mediocre as the phrase childhood friend seems to imply.

That all being said, I’m going to genuinely miss Tamako Market. I didn’t have high expectations for it when I first heard about it but it impressed me and became my favourite show of the season. There probably won’t be another season so I hope at least that I don’t forget the way this show made me feel.

Kotoura-san

Kotoura-san was a show I watched because the first episode was… different. It was melodramatic and soppy and really over the top. I found that completely endearing though. I don’t want to say it was entertaining watching Kotoura suffer but… I can’t say it’s untrue. Eventually it stopped being so dramatic and focused a little more on the comedic side that was originally what was expected but the original feeling never really went away.

I did like Kotoura and Manabe as much as could be expected but after awhile I was much more interested side characters like Yuriko and Muroto. Moritani got some great devlopment too though her swing from unlikable bitch to great comic relief character was a little unnatural at first. It wasn’t for very long though and she often provided the most laughs for me.

I think the arc with the detective really was what started making me really not want to watch though. It was obvious from the moment she appeared that it was her. Of course, the ending  to the arc was so cliche and hackneyed but hey, what was anybody really expecting?

So I was relieved then that the final episode happened to remind me why I had enjoyed the show earlier. Manabe and Kotoura being cute together and not in a kind of ‘obnoxious’ way, Yuriko and Muroto’s relationship getting some light, Moritani being best and Kotoura’s mom redeeming herself (though I had never hated her and understood where she must have been coming from) and starting to mend her relationship with her daughter.

Though the ‘mystery’ arc near the end of the series really dragged and I wouldn’t call this show anything other than average, I did enjoy Kotoura. For what it’s worth.

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha

Disappointment, thy name is Maoyuu.

I dropped this briefly since it had become a chore to watch. It wasn’t that it was bad or hard to get through, just the motivation to watch it wasn’t there. I saw Old Sister Maid as Maou speech scene and decided to catch up since I was only two episodes behind that.

Maoyuu occasionally had such a cool atmosphere. Later on especially it seemed like you were watching history being made for these people. That centuries later, lessons would be passed down about and children would learn about how the “Crimson Scholar” had been saved from her unfortunate fate because at the same time she had wound up the people, reminded them of who they were and ultimately started a change in civil disrupt and movements to better human rights. Seeing the King’s response, the lead up to war, the scheming of the Merchants, everything was just so interesting.

But then you have Maou. You see, all this happened once Maou was out of the picture. In episode ten she has a flashback and it was the most boring, worst part of the episode (and their outfits and appearance seemed very fanservice for the sake of fanservice-y). I think Maou is a great character by her own right. When she was doing cool, intellectual things, she was great. But then you see the scenes where she’s swooning over Yuusha and it becomes unwatchable again. There’s so much interesting stuff going on in both the human world and the demon world and instead we get this. But, like I said I do like Maou. So it was kind of funny and kind of sad that the show seemed s0 much better when she wasn’t around. However, her fight with the Head Maid and subsequently Yuusha was pretty cool but that wasn’t her at all so I’m not sure if it entirely counts. There was that second flashback of the Head Maid that showed Maou and her before the fire and my greatest regret for this series is not knowing what caused them to meet like that.

I don’t think Maoyuu was a bad show though. It had so many interesting ideas and was presented really well for a fantasy story (the characters having no names, the demons and monster girls (especially the cute Dragon Princess who blew fire when she talked), showing the map since it took place over such a big area, etc). It also featured a lot of characters who might seem unimportant but all contributed to the story in their own ways and did heroic things in different ways. Though sometimes these things worked against the show and there were new characters who appeared, had no names, did something and didn’t appear again which kind of got confusing at times. Though this usually wasn’t an issue for the good guys, this happened a lot with the bad ones.

I do feel like the opposing forces were kind of played up though. There was no conflict about who you were supposed to root for. The Winter King was noble whereas his opponents were cowardly and evil. There was even that guy who made the comment along the lines of “I’ll make their country as dark as my right eye!” or something as corny as that.

I was a little disappointed at the ending. They were given the means to end the war (temporarily, at least) between the humans and the Winter King showed interest in the demons so it wasn’t impossible that they could unite except that the demons seemed pretty excited to go to war and there was the meeting with the introduction of the gun that didn’t seem so optimistic. Also, maybe I wasn’t really paying attention at some critical point but what was the pool the mage went to? I was hoping that there would be a flash forward a few years into the future to see how things were faring out or how characters like the Older Sister Maid (the Sister Maids were probably the best characters, imo) had progressed. Though seeing everybody back together was nice, the end really was kind of anti-climatic.

So, I guess the disappointment comes from the fact that nobody, not us or Yuusha or Maou, get to see what lies beyond the hill just yet.

Love Live

Idol shows aren’t really my thing (I had meant to watch Aikatsu though) but I some how ended up watching Love Live. I originally only watched one episode of this and while I did enjoy it, I didn’t continue it. As usual though I regretted it except since this was on Crunchyroll, I decided to give it another chance before episode seven aired.

All of the characters were great. Even the characters I didn’t think I would like, I couldn’t dislike. Everybody was just so full of personality and so fun to watch. I wouldn’t say they were teeming with chemistry but it was still nice to see everybody interact.

I liked the fake out that they didn’t even go to the thing the show was named after. Though there was a surprising amount of drama near the end, it was one of those cases where you know everything is going to work out and the status quo will be intact. I think, from a logical standpoint, Kotori doing anything but going abroad would be stupid as hell but hey, friendship is the most important thing, right? (Plus, if you’d seen any material for the series beforehand you knew she was apart of Printemps)

The soundtrack itself, μ’s songs aside, was really interesting. At one point there was a kind of orchestral track that came out of nowhere and surprisingly worked. Odd though since I complained about the same thing happening in Tempest and that is a show that would make a lot more sense with.

I still find it odd NIS licensed this before it aired. I might probably pick it up one day though I’m not sure how much rewatch value this has for me. Though, as an aside, I think it would be wonderful if they included a CD with u’s songs instead of the usual book they include in their sets.

I did enjoy Love Live for awhile but the last two episodes kind of marred my impression of the show. It had it’s moments but unlike Tamako Market, it could not pull me into it’s world. They both had optimism but only one show had the characters to pull it off with.


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