Taking a bit slower pace on rolling these out this year, but here's another page of anime reviews.
Chris - My Little Monster When 2012 started, little did I know that I would close out the year by watching a shoujo title, which -- let's not beat around the bush here -- are made for girls. But I did.
Go fuck yourself.
What I found in My Little Monster was a great little romcom with some great characters and a good -- if not flip-floppy -- central romance. While the show's shoujo roots are apparent in the art style, most everything in the show is enjoyable even by manly men. Best of all, there was no gaggle of wooden male characters -- I'm looking at you Hiiro no Kakera.
The only real problem I had was the somewhat disappointing ending, or rather, the lack of an ending. Few of the plot threads were wrapped up, leading me to hope that a second season is around the corner -- and let me tell you, I would love to see that.
Matt - The Pet Girl of Sakurasou In a show that has the phrase "pet girl" in it, one's expectations certainly can't be high. There are certainly many shows where said phrase would be quite apt (anything from the harem genre), but to blatantly state as much in the title, one can only assume the worst. Matters aren't made any better when the previews make a point out of the fact that our bumbling heroine protagonist, autist deluxe, and aforementioned "pet girl", has issues performing such simple tasks as dressing herself. The only reason I even watched an episode was to see just how low they were actually going to go.
Unbelievably, these moments are relatively scarce and, for the most part, play themselves out by the end of the first episode. What we're left with is a story about finding one's niche, pursuing one's passions, envy and jealousy, and learning to adapt to living around people who are insanely talented. The cast of characters, while adhering to the usual tropes, are varied and interesting and the dynamics between them make for an enjoyable watch. The titular character is still the least likable of the bunch, being far too inept to be likeable (and made more annoying in that she'll wind up being the protagonist's primary love interest, no doubt). All in all, though, it's an entertaining show that certainly could have been worse and I plan to continue watching to its conclusion.
Chris - Kokoro Connect This show should have been bad ass, and in some ways it was. Following a group of high school students as some funky jack ass screws with their lives in various ways, the premise was solid and complemented by a solid set of characters, notably Taichi and Inaba. Unfortunately, the execution was less than stellar plot-wise.
The shows first arc was extremely promising, with the group swapping bodies at random and experiencing the other characters lives first hand, culminating in the aforementioned funky jack ass taking control of one character and having her jump off a bridge because he was fucking bored. Seems great, right? It is, until all dramatic tension is removed by making everything turn out fine and dandy.
This plot structure with the dramatic build up and anti-climactic end persists into the second arc, but fails to show up to the party for the third. When the characters are randomly turning into children and they try to play it up for serious, you know that drama was left at the door, and what little remained was swept under the table in an ending so weak I was left to wonder if I had actually seen the last episode.
It's one thing for an OK show to have a mediocre ending -- such was the case with Another in the Winter season -- but when a show starts off great, with a good premise and solid characters, then squanders all of its potential, you end up feeling empty inside, robbed even.
Hopefully the OVA can salvage some of the happy feelings I felt early on.
Matt - Listen to Me, Girls, I'm am you Father Listen to me girls, I am your father, or Papakiki, has a promising set up; series protagonist Yuuta Segawa takes over guardianship of his three nieces after their parents are (presumably) killed in a plane accident. My immediate thought was that this would be similar to last year's Bunny Drop, an incredibly well made show that encompasses the hardships and rewards of parenthood. Hell, even my mom loves it.
While Papakiki does indeed attempt incorporate some of these elements, it also has all the elements of an incestuous harem show. Any kind of emotion evoked by the makeshift family trying to adjust to their new life is immediately shattered by the eldest girl's completely illogical infatuation with her uncle (of course, they pull the not-related-by-blood card here). Or the fat sack of shit pedophile guy ogling over a three-year-old. Or Hina (aforementioned toddler) sticking yet another dick shaped food in her mouth. Moments such as this far outweigh any good ones. This show should have either gone 100% ecchi fanservice (allowing me to safely avoid it), or done like Bunny Drop and focus tell a heartwarming little tale about the joys and sorrows of family life.
It's trying to do both and utterly fails on all fronts.
Why the Fuck Did I Watch That?
Chris - Listen to Me, Girls, I'm am you Father I'll be honest, I know why I started watching this show initially.
Cute promo art.
Beyond that, the premise of the young male protagonist raising his sister's children after she tragically dies in a plane crash seemed ripe with dramatic possibilities. Seems okay, right?
Every week I was assaulted with an annoying female lead throwing herself all over the protagonist and then slapping him for no other reason than he was there. Worse still, I had to endure the grating voice of the youngest character -- who, I might add, held wisdom and emotional stability far outclassing her three year old physical age -- and watch as everybody gave her suggestively shaped food items to much on. Adding insult to injury, all of the tough emotional problems were solved unrealistically in one episode, but not without shit tons of fluff padding the whole thing out.
I stated on multiple occasions that I was probably going to drop this show, and now I wonder why I didn't. Nothing ventured nothing gained, they say, but in this case I ventured and gained shit.
I'll stick with nothing.
Matt - Mysterious Girlfriend X In brief summary, Mysterious Girlfriend X is a basic high school romance with lots of saliva swapping. And I don't mean kissing, mind you. In the entirety of the show, lips never touch. No, instead spit - displayed as being a glistening, syrup like substance complete with tinkly sound effects - is physically removed from one mouth and placed in another. Somehow, thoughts and feelings are transferred with the liquid exchange. We're initially led to believe that this is something that only the female lead can do. Combined with the numerous close-ups of her UFO bag charm, I figured she's an alien or something. I guess the reveal to why she's so "mysterious" is what I was hanging on for. But, there was no reveal. Apparently, saliva has magical properties in the world of this show, because other people start doing it later. In the end, nothing is explained, relationships don't go anywhere, and you're just left with a nasty, creepy feeling.
Two more posts to go, we'll try and get them out before the end of the month.