In typical late fashion I’ve put together a list of anime I decided to check out for this season. Success is debatable.

Shining Hearts

That bread is huge.

I thought it was a swords and sorcery anime, but for the most part it seemed to be about making bread in a fantasy setting. If it ends up anything like Yakitate Japan it’ll be a winner, but I somehow doubt it. As for the characters, the main character seems laidback, while his three co-workers definitely want his balls. That’s about as eloquently as I could ever put it. Everything seems nice and happy, but shit is gonna hit the fan based on obvious foreshadowing. I’ll watch some more of this, but only because I like the artist (-_-;). A good possibility of this being stupid harem though. We’ll see how this goes.

Maken-Ki!

Perfectly understandable given the circumstances. I wasn't sure if they were real either.

The protagonist has an irritating design. His personality is stereotypically shonen to an aggravating degree except during fanservice portions, where he reverts to being a perverted character stereotype. The girls are cookie-cutter and irritating, most especially the tsundere. Super-powers are mystical items that random characters have for no apparent reason. I was going to watch this for the art style, but not anymore. This anime literally has nothing original going for it. It doesn’t even try to present things in an innovative way.

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san

So wait, does that mean he's into tentacles?

The premise of this anime is interesting: A guy is living under the same roof as a Cthulu god while his parents are on vacation. However take away the Lovecraftian context and you get little more than a stereotypical anime about a guy being dragged into a hidden world by some attractive, mystical high school girl. The show uses comedy at every opportunity to carry it from one situation to the next. Understandable, since it’s not something you would want to see taken seriously (my cthulu wallpaper can attest to that). In other words, pure slapstick comedy with random Cthulu references for flavor. Expect Swimsuit, hot spring, karaoke, festival, and other episodes to show up. I think my worst mistake in watching this was taking the premise seriously. My bad.

Upotte!!

When you think about it, angry teenage girls are a good metaphor for the arms race.

In an effort to learn from my mistake where I took Haiyore! seriously, I started watching everything else on my list with next to no expectations of quality. That may or may not work. In the case of Upotte!! it definitely helped me not turn it off after seeing the opening, what with the overflow of fetish fuel presented. I can definitely see the relation to Strike Witches, with a combination of transforming assault rifle school girls with slice of life. It’s probably one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen; I was still confused even after they explained it. That confusion may or may not prompt me to try watching more of this show. Despite the weird concept however, it’s not really that notable aside from the fact that the creators seem to have done their homework.

Queen’s Blade Rebellion

It's about time this series got a pole dancer...

Going in, I expected this show to be little more than boob-shots. What I got was a confusing plot and… boob-shots. Also robots and a complete lack of any adherence to physics. I would elaborate, but frankly just thinking of this show makes me tired…

Jormungand

Still a better love story than twilight.

This was another anime that I feel like I’ve seen before. A child soldier named Jonah teams up with an arms dealer named Koko and her merry band of psychopathic mercs. It felt like watching Black Lagoon all over again, which isn’t a bad thing. For one thing, it doesn’t take place in Japan, so the environment feels fresh and interesting. Also, a notable thing about the art style is that all the main characters have DEAD eyes. It’s notable in various anime to give the psychopaths, evil guys, or psychologically damaged people eyes with no shine that you typically see in most of the bubbly characters. Black Lagoon did this to the characters when they go serious or pissed off, and many of the antagonists in Hellsing also shared this trait. However this is the first series I’ve seen where literally ALL of the apparently major characters have dead eyes. It’s a good art trick that points out how screwed up these people are, most especially Jonah, who looks like he’s going to shoot someone in every scene he appears in.

Polar Bear Cafe

And then they shot his kneecaps

It’s an anime where a Polar Bear runs a cafe. You can’t possibly lose! The fact that the animals are drawn realistically instead of the cartoonish style I was expecting makes the anime surreal, especially given the show’s focus on comedy. That said, it doesn’t seem like there’s much of a plot. Mostly it’s just gags. I may keep up with this one just to see more of the panda’s bullshit.

Accel World

I'm surprised they haven't pulled out the GITS references yet

This show has a familiar premise; characters interacting in a virtual world through extremely convenient interfaces in the near-future. They fight online for truth, money, justice, and possibly free future porn. I swear I’ve seen this movie before… The thing that stands out is the main character Haru; He’s the polar opposite of your standard male protagonist. Physically speaking, he’s a short fat kid with a particularly cartoony face that portrays him in the most unimpressive way possible. He gets bullied in the first few minutes into buying lunch for some punks only to later hide in the bathroom and log onto the internet to escape his problems. He tops that off by treating his childhood friend like shit when she tries to help him. His crowning achievement in life is virtual squash and his virtual avatar is a chibi-piglett.

MFW his squash habits boost him to harem-level popularity levels later on.

They basically made the main character about as uninteresting and pitable as possible. This actually makes the fairly straightforward plot more interesting. Whereas most series have forgettable protagonists in favor of the cute girls and crazy action sequences, you actually remember Haru because of these features. He stands out, and you probably root for him out of pity if nothing else. His struggles have more meaning because it’s clear from the beginning that Haru is at the absolute bottom of the food-chain in every social circle he is or will be involved in. You don’t know where his journey will take him, but it’s gotta be better than what we see here. That said, I’m still calling bullshit if this series turns into a harem, unlikely as that seems.

That’s all I got through. Everything else seemed less agreeable to my awkward tastes. I don’t know if I’m going to chronicle any of these episodically, especially since this is two weeks late, but who knows, maybe I can stick to a schedule for once. Practice makes perfect… As for the series themselves, it’s nice to get into something with no prior knowledge bogging me down, but I notice that my perception is still skewed regardless. I need to work on that…

Anime: Making me long for shitty classes, asshole friends and absolutely no adventure. This is why I can't have nice things.

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