Welcome Back! Chroma's Winter 2011/2012 Impressions
It sure has been a while, hasn't it? I do apologize for the site dying out for a while like that, but I had been finally presented with the opportunity to pick up an old project of mine that I thought might have been lost. With that said, time to jump right back in! Let's take a look at what I personally thought of this season's series!
Amagami SS+ Plus
Amagami's return for a second season runs its heroine arcs backwards, starting with stubborn girl Ayatsuji and dashing towards the beautiful Morishima Haruka at the end. This time however, there's only half as many episodes to experience.
While I'm not a fan of most harem series that I watch, I did quite enjoy the first season of Amagami SS. It took an approach where protagonist Junichi would get his own little start-to-finish 4 episode race with each of the very different girls. This season just extends the mileage and allows each girl to see a truly happy ending with their strange, but not actually so bad male interest. It's not that great as a romance, but it sure is fun and definitely doesn't trope too hard on its harem side. I wouldn't mind seeing the whole package again later.
For some reason, every other part of my body feels dirtied and defiled, but my teeth feel sparkly clean. Maybe it was that one moment when my sibling laid me down in a bed and slowly scrubbed my gums until we were hot and bothered. Oh wait, am I in some crazy dream, or did that actually happen?
No matter. The issue at hand is that Nisemonogatari was a quite poor follow-up to Bakemonogatari for me. Not only did it focus its entire 11 episode run on the two Fire Sisters (one of which who pretty much got kicked out), it kind of left all of Bakemonogatari's little sprinkles of subtlety and snorted them through a thin tube into oblivion. Honestly, they should have named this entire season 'Karenmonogatari', because the other characters take an awkward backseat to her appearances. I just couldn't get into the tasteless fanservice and feeling I got of non-progression, and it kind of left me in an awkward state where I just don't really want to watch any more of this series. Shame too, because something about Bakemonogatari was pretty amusing to watch, as strange as it was.
Zero no Tsukaima F
What's this now? A finale to this long running magical harem series? Madness. Absolute indefinite madness. It's just been so long.
Zero no Tsukaima featured a regular everyday guy who was unwillingly pulled into a magical world filled with spellcasters, dragons and other mythical surroundings. From the failed summoning of the "Zero" caster Louise who fails every spell she tries to cast, protagonist Saito is immediately indicted as her "familiar", or more so, her 24/7 slave.
You know how this story goes. Have guy quickly sought after by several attractive women. Have main girl get very jealous. Eventually have main girl warm up to guy. It's all harem 101, and I've definitely seen it before. Zero no Tsukaima was never anything special to me personally, but I did enjoy its vibrant visuals, its memorable soundtrack and just the fact that this season actually gave focus to the romance elements opposed to the blatant harem bits. I personally thought it was much stronger than some of the other seasons. Not a bad send-off to the series, in my opinion.
Black Rock Shooter (TV)
A minified anime series birthed from the darkest depths of the silent hero, Black Rock Shooter. This eight episode show tried to add to what started off as a moderately short OVA. The question is, did they do a good job?
It's a bit hard for me to say. For those of you who haven't seen the original OVA, a spunky young girl named Mato befriends a quiet classmate named Yomi, and the two form a strong bond very quickly. As the troubles and toils of high school life affect the two, their parallel beings begin to clash and cause havoc to their friendship.
Jealousy is the big driving factor in this series. As Yomi is such a sheltered girl before meeting Mato, the friendship she forms with her is way more potent than a healthy relationship should be. Emotions take Yomi for an easy ride, and it doesn't seem to only be affecting her either. There's some clever imagery in the series that requires you to pay attention. My favourite was probably when another one of Mato's friend reveals her sentience of the alternate world, and while bathed in the sunset, her shadow can no longer be seen. I think this TV extension was enjoyable in its own right, but at the same time, it almost felt like the original OVA was so charming because you filled in so many of the blanks yourself.
Deep within the chills of winter lies a series that did not fill me with a warm, fluttery feeling. Instead, Another successfully set a mood that started off creepy and mostly stayed that way.
Taking a step back from my own perspective, I can easily see why so many people have said the series is not creepy in any way to them. Not only are people desensitized against most horror elements due to binge-watching gory movies like Saw and creepy movies like Paranormal Activity, but I think this show was a good fit for someone like me. Someone who...with just a bit too much of a wildly flailing imagination, can craft terrifying outcomes with just a single piece of potentially dangerous information.
In short, a high school class is known to be cursed, and in a bizarre method of dealing with said curse, they have to set aside a classmate to act as a their sacrificial pariah. Naturally, they pick the semi-creepy girl who always wears an eyepatch and rarely speaks. However, the curse still runs rampant and blood sprays as the bodies continue to pile up. The deaths are creatively disgusting, and for me (an overly imaginative hypochondriac), they're often very potentially real and terrifying. While it wasn't your traditional fare horror series, it sure did succeed giving me the chills.
Here's the one that didn't scare me, but was still an interesting beast to witness. Trapped within a deadly last-man-standing game between 12 combatants, every player must utilize their strengths and overcome their weaknesses to become the one and only saviour of Earth from a deadly apocalypse.
Mirai Nikki translates to "Future Diary", and every fighter in the dozen receives one in their own special form. While these diaries can provide them valuable information in their death game, they must also be heavily protected. Devastation of said relics will only result in the instant death of their owners.
In natural settings, it would be difficult for twelve strangers to raise weapons against each other and even kill each other, but with the winner lined up to become the next God of Time and Space, blood can be splattered much more easily. Each combatant has a creative design, skill set and interactive arc with the main protagonists, and there are a handful of twists that are genuinely intriguing. Of course, we can't forget about the raw yandere monster that is Yuno. She'll chop off limbs left and right, then smile with sweet affection and look dead into your eyes. It's perfectly creepy.
Thanks to you all for joining us yet again for some more seasonal impressions! Sorry I didn't have a ton to cover this season, I should be able to return right back to watching more series. Hope to see you again soon!