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Tag Archives: Little Busters

Anime of the Year 2013 (20 to 16)

Continued from Anime of the Year 2013 (25 to 21)

Now I continue my rankings for anime of year 2013 with twenty to sixteen.  If you haven’t read the first part of this five part series here’s Anime of the Year 2013 (25 to 21).  Just for clarification, anime movies aren’t factored into my list of series as it’s limited to only TV anime that finished airing in 2013–including series that started in fall 2012 and finished in winter 2013.  Similarly, ongoing series from fall 2013 that won’t finish until the end of the winter 2014 season won’t be on this list, either.

Izumiko at her shrine20. Red Data Girl

Supernatural anime based around Shinto always intrigue me.  RDG also tells the story of the reluctant hero, who finds there’s more to his role of protector than just fighting off the forces of darkness.

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Anime of the Week (10/20 – 10/26)

Anime of the Week – Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova
Gunzou discusses human philosophy with Iona

As the artificial intelligence of our machines continues to get smarter and we humans interact with computers more and more in our daily lives, we will increasingly place human attributes on them simply as a by product of our own nature. So it’s interesting to see the reverse happening—AI intentionally seeking out humans in order to become more like us.

October 20 Little Busters: Refrain Ep. 1 Something that had always bothered me about season one was the conspicuous absence of a Kurugaya story arc.
October 21 Little Busters: Refrain Ep. 2 Now this is an interesting twist. I wonder what it’s going to take for Riki to put an end to this endless eight.
White Album 2 Ep. 2 I was going to muse philosophically about how persistence pays off, but instead I’ll just say Haruki is a lucky idiot.
Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova Ep. 2 This series is showing an excellent flair for military tactics. But the final scene worried me this might turn into a harem.
Unbreakable Machine Doll Ep. 2 Humans have an incredible capacity to attach personalities and emotions to inanimate objects so we can relate to them.
Kill la Kill Ep. 2 I’m not the biggest fan of fighting tournament anime or older aesthetic styles, but this series is a nice blend of both.
October 22 Kill la Kill Ep. 3 It would seem this anime won’t be able to measure up. At this rate of fanservice development, it may fall below Freezing.
Yuusha ni Narenakatta Ep. 2 I’m all for chasing your dreams, but there also comes a time when you have to be practical and think about your livelihood.
Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova Ep. 3 I like Gunzou’s matter-of-fact take on life. He could be a model for many of us—someone who is comfortable being himself.
October 23 Outbreak Company Ep. 2 I expected this anime to be mostly comedy. But recent developments show it may be taking a more sociological path.
Outbreak Company Ep. 3 The plot may be a bit straightforward, but it’s got enough charm and challenges to give it a good amount of depth.
October 24 Freezing Vibration Ep. 2 I like the direction this second season is taking. In the face of a powerful threat, camaraderie trumps rivalry.
October 26 Freezing Vibration Ep. 3 The first season had a plot that was more focused on character development, making season two feel stagnant.
Nagi no Asu Kara Ep. 4 Throughout mankind’s history, cultures have disappeared through assimilation. Is the same fate inevitable for Shioshishio?
Kyoukai no Kanata Ep. 4 Too often we make the mistake of assuming we must cope with our problems alone because nobody else could understand.
White Album 2 Ep. 3 The characters’ backstories are very well devleoped, but I’m not seeing their current actions lining up with their pasts.
Little Busters: Refrain Ep. 3 I’m torn. On one hand I want Riki to choose a girl. But I’d also like to see Key tell a story without a couple.

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Anime of the Week (4/7 – 4/13)

Anime of the Week – Attack on Titan & Suisei no Gargantia
Armin, Eren and Mikasa gape in disbelief at the return of the titans Right away this series is doing a great job delivering on the themes of freedom and avoiding living a life of complacency. But it’s hard to design a creepier enemy than a soulless, humanoid monster with an innocent baby face.                              
Led explains to Amy that he came from outer space I know an anime is onto something awesome when I can watch the first two episodes ten times over and over and still get goosebumps. There’s a unique kind of culture shock between Led and the people of the Gargantia fleet that comes about from the extreme differences in their levels of technology. This kind of disparity can get overexplained to a story’s detriment, but Gargantia weaves the exposition of the setting into the plot naturally and seamlessly.                              
April 7 OreImo 2 Ep. 1 I always thought this franchise needed a second season, but I hate it when sequels regress from where the series left off.
Little Busters Ep. 26 I’ve not played the visual novel, but what I do know did not suggest to me that this series would have an after-story.
April 9 Date A Live Ep. 1 I’ve seen worse premises executed better, but I like the characters and there’s enough open-endedness to keep my interest.
April 10 Date A Live Ep. 2 Although cliché with its romantically clueless protagonist, the situations he gets into are hilariously ridiculous.
April 12 Karneval Ep. 1 Mystery…check. Secret government organization…check. Interesting and complex antagonist…check. Pretty boys…ehhh.
Attack on Titan Ep. 1 I haven’t seen this kind of epic with grim, gritty, merciless violence and a fresh art style in quite some time.
Devil Survivor 2 Ep. 2 Same route as P4: The Animation—loosely following the game plot and composing terrifically tone-setting op/ed themes.
April 13 Maou-sama Ep. 2 That moment when you realize the mortal enemy that you’ve demonized for your entire life is human, too.
Railgun S Ep. 1 I’ve always loved Misaka’s character design. Maybe it’s because she’s an elite, but isn’t stuck up about her position.
Samurai Bride Ep. 2 Sadly, this appears to be a rather lazy sequel. Even the fanservice and character tropes feel rather halfhearted.
Gargantia Ep. 1 With battles on a grand scale, a complex setting and interesting characters, this is the mecha anime we’ve been waiting for.
Gargantia Ep. 2 Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, and nothing makes war more impersonal than technology.

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Anime of the Week (3/31 – 4/6)

Anime of the Week – Girls und Panzer
Girls und Panzer is a great underdog story Usually I think I’d give the nod for anime of the week to two anime when one of the winners is out of season. But the other performers this week had such a poor showing compared to the cleverly orchestrated combat sequences full of passionate gusto and a show of terrific camaraderie of the ending for Girls und Panzer.
April 1 Maoyuu Ep. 12 Many others series this season did a great job wrapping up a story that in some ways felt ongoing. This one? Not so much.
Vividred Ep. 12 While it turned out better than I initially expected, I didn’t foresee myself wanting a more deeply constructed setting.
GJ-bu Ep. 12 This was one of those anime that created a distinct atmosphere about it that infused every second with pure awesomeness.
OreShura Ep. 13 I suppose I can write it off as Eita just being a good guy, but even when he tries to take a strong stance it backfires.
April 2 Panzer Ep. 11 I forgot why these last two episodes couldn’t have aired along with the rest of the series, but the wait was worth it.
Panzer Ep. 12 A brilliant underdog story that defied any notion of gender roles, with excellent, strategic battles and relatable characters.
Little Busters Ep. 25 What is it that Riki suspects about the world? Could it be how everything always seems to work out too perfectly?
April 3 Kotoura Ep. 12 While the anime ended on a good note with Kotoura having found her nerve, because life goes on, I really wanted more.
April 5 Devil Survivor 2 Ep. 1 Already cutting corners in the for-TV version, this is an example of why I don’t like knowing the source material.
April 6 Samurai Bride Ep. 1 Another sequel that doesn’t need to exist, but I’ll be watching it to listen to some of my favorite voice actresses.
Maou-sama Ep. 1 Every year seems to have a recurring theme among anime. Following Maoyuu, this time around it’s heroes and demon lords.
Aku no Hana Ep. 1 Maybe it’s trying to make some artistic expression, but this ugly anime with no clearly defined story is just bleh.
Photokano Ep. 1 The characters’ expressions don’t seem to match their words and the overflow of girls are showing shallow personalities.

*Keep up to date with my daily mini-reviews by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week (3/24 – 3/30)

Anime of the Week – From the New World
Saki begins to pick up the pieces. Two wrongs don’t make a right taken to the extreme; answering one atrocity with another only breeds hate, even when circumstances would seem to justify such a vindictive response. True peace, true justice, true understanding only comes when everyone calmly and rationally makes evident their hopes and desires.                              
March 24 Shinsekai Ep. 25 “The power of imagination is what changes everything.” A beautiful end to a series swimming in deep, ethical conundrums.
Little Busters Ep. 24 What sets this anime apart from other Key works is how much of the story is devoted to the team and not just one girl.
March 25 OreShura Ep. 12 I’ve never been in love, but I wonder…is there a moment when something clicks and you realize like has changed to love?
March 26 Sakurasou Ep. 24 Just because you failed doesn’t mean you have to give up. The end of one chapter is always the beginning of another.
March 29 Tamako Ep. 12 I don’t know what this series was trying to accomplish other than just telling a warm, lighthearted and really silly story.
Zetsuen Ep. 24 I think everyone made the right choice. Put simply, peace at the price of freedom is tyranny and that’s no way to live.

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Anime of the Week (3/10 – 3/16)

Anime of the Week – The Pet Girl of Sakurasou
It's not Sakurasou without Shiina.

It’s not Sakurasou without Shiina.

The theme of this series runs straight to its core—caring for your friends and looking out for each other. And although it sort of beats us over the head with that recurring plot element, it’s presented so eloquently that it never fails to touch our hearts.                              
March 10 Tamako Ep. 9 As adorable as Anko with her young crush may be, is there anyone in this world who can remember even one person from preschool?
Kotoura Ep. 9 Do those who possess unbelievable powers have an obligation to help others even if doing so will bring them trouble?
Shinsekai Ep. 23 This anime is a great example of allowing world building to happen through natural discovery rather than via guidebook.
March 11 Mondaiji Ep. 9 Too many people undervalue a simple story with no nonsensical fanservice or complicated philosophical meanderings.
OreShura Ep. 10 I thought the whole point of Eita and Natsukawa’s fake relationship was to help keep real romantic interests at a distance.
Little Busters Ep. 22 All of Riki’s support for Kud to courageously live with no regrets feels empty after the preview for the next episode.
March 12 Sakurasou Ep. 22 The theme of friends hurting each other and making each other stronger is tried and true, but powerful if done right.
March 14 Tamako Ep. 10 I don’t get baton twirling. I guess it’s a kind of dance, but my male sensibilities tell me using a sword would be cooler.
March 15 Psycho-Pass Ep. 21 It’s heartbreaking, but Masaoka made the right choice. The proper order of life is for the child to outlive the parent.
Zetsuen Ep. 22 More and more in this world of comforts, we find ourselves giving far too much of our freedom in exchange for security.
March 16 Vividred Ep. 10 I can see potential for this series to be its own unique magic girl anime if it starts trying a little harder.
GJ-bu Ep. 10 Instead of taking others’ disagreeable observations of you as criticism, why not use it as an opportunity for self improvement?
Maoyuu Ep. 10 The factors that lead up to war are complicated beyond the actions of one man, but we like to put the blame on an individual.

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Anime of the Week (3/3 – 3/9)

Anime of the Week – GJ-bu
Do you want a boyfriend or another girlfriend? Time and time again, women fault men for not possessing the abilities of their female friends—an aptitude for reading the hidden meanings in a social situation. Conversely, men expect women to be one of the guys—straightforward and easy to understand. But I think we can all agree that the least common denominator between men and women is that we both want to have fun.                              
March 3 Shinsekai Ep. 22 Ah the suspense is killing me. But Kiroumaru’s repeated grimaces make me suspicious. What is it he’s not letting on?
Little Busters Ep. 21 The plurality of cultural heritage in Kud’s family and their customs makes her a really interesting character.
March 4 OreShura Ep. 9 What this series lacks in substance and subtlety it at least makes up for with a good cast of voice actresses.
March 5 Sakurasou Ep. 21 I’ve always been a big advocate of never getting discouraged and to keep chasing your dreams no matter what the cost.
March 8 Psycho-Pass Ep. 20 I love this realm of ambiguous morals where I don’t know whose side to be on or who exactly is the one being played.
Zetsuen Ep. 21 I’m not sure how to feel about the needlessly complicated conclusions that are being drawn about the nature of the two trees.
March 9 Vividred Ep. 9 In a battle, there needs to be enough tension to make it seem like the enemy is a threat and the Alone lack that quality.
GJ-bu Ep. 9 It’s my opinion that women could learn about the feelings of men from this anime, but I wonder if the opposite is also true.

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Anime of the Week (2/24 – 3/2)

Anime of the Week – Shinsekai Yori & Maoyuu Maou Yuusha
Saki and Satoru journey to find a solution. Only rarely are we treated to a story capable of evoking such strong emotions. From such feelings of intense hatred towards utter betrayal of trust to a more contemplative sympathy for the enemy’s position would be enough to spark a debate of who truly has the moral high ground. But at the end of the day, you know you have no choice but to choose victory for your own team despite the worthy cause of the underdogs…it’s a enlighteningly awkward position to find yourself in.
Maid Ane disguised as the Crimson Scholar makes her defiant speech. Making sacrifices and becoming a martyr for your cause can certainly be a fantastic motivator to provide courage for change in the face of overwhelming odds. But it’s far more beautiful to find the words that will become the living pillar of support for the core principles that define humanity. This kind of powerful inspiration can move even the most tempered of hearts into necessary action.
February 24 Shinsekai Ep. 21 Which is a greater evil, slavery or tyranny? We have a strong bias to support the interests of our own group over others.
GJ-bu Ep. 7 With their unusual recruitment methods and carefree attitude, I can understand getting caught in the pace of the Good Job Club.
Vividred Ep. 7 The design of the Alone reminds me very much of both the angels from Evangelion and the Septentriones from Devil Survivor 2.
Little Busters Ep. 20 With only six episodes left and Kud’s arc coming up next, I don’t think there’s time for Yuiko to get her own arc.
Mondaiji Ep. 7 Maoyuu may be one of the greatest anime about social commentary, but Mondaiji has its own share of smart guild politics.
Magi Ep. 6 I misjudged the level of character growth this series would exhibit from the admittedly shallow designs of its first episode.
February 25 OreShura Ep. 8 The Burning Fighting Fighter stories are starting to make sense now that we’ve had an arbitrary glimpse at Eita’s past.
Magi Ep. 7 I wonder how much of the social commentary on the disparity between the wealthy and the poor was inspired by current events.
Magi Ep. 8 The inevitable flashback episode we needed for Alibaba has come and I’m glad the rogue hero didn’t have too bad of a childhood.
Magi Ep. 9 What’s going on here? I thought the main character was Alibaba, but Sinbad is really stealing the spotlight right now.
Magi Ep. 10 Ugo has been a big bulldozer for most of the series, but despite this rampage I’m glad he’s getting some characterization.
Magi Ep. 11 As Alibaba meets other characters appear with a better handle on their weapons, I hope there isn’t a Naruto-esque training arc.
February 26 Sakurasou Ep. 20 I think I know why I like this cast so much. Like them, I also strive to make sure I live every day to the fullest.
February 27 Minami-ke 4 Ep. 8 What in the world? A whole episode about vegetables? And people getting hypnotized into eating more vegetables? What?
February 28 Tamako Ep. 8 There’s a fine line between having fun and wasting time. That line hasn’t been crossed, but the story needs to get it in gear.
March 2 Psycho-Pass Ep. 19 With the hues around her darkening, Akane’s stability leads me to believe she may be Makishima’s benevolent counterpart.
Zetsuen Ep. 20 I could kick myself! I suspected the latest development might be a possibility, but I didn’t call my prediction beforehand.
Maoyuu Ep. 9 I never expected to hear such moving words from this anime. Curiosity, freedom and love—they are a vindication of humanity.
Kotoura Ep. 8 Manabe realizes that it’s no fun to tease people if they don’t react to your attempts to make them uncomfortable.
GJ-bu Ep. 8 Japanese people love to complain about the temperature, but coming from a cold part of America, I suffer greatly in the summers.
Mondaiji Ep. 8 As the final battle begins I worry that some of the charm of the underdogs overcoming adversity is going to be lost.
Vividred Ep. 8 Limiting the docking feature to only Akane and one other girl was a choice that I feel reduced the variety of fandom.

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Anime of the Week (2/17 – 2/23)

Anime of the Week – Maoyuu Maou Yuusha
Lady Knight pledges her sword to the Hero. Ironically timed to coincide with the changing of the leadership in the Catholic Church, this series makes no qualms about pointing out the church’s historical role as a political entity with its own motives and goals that conveniently mirror those of the people in charge.                              
February 17 Maoyuu Ep. 7 The heroes’ actions could be seen as treason. But is it truly betrayal if they’re trying to save their people from themselves?
Mondaiji Ep. 6 I didn’t think the title of this series was a good fit, but I’m starting to see the capricious side of the problem children.
Tomodachi NEXT Ep. 6 Why do I continue to watch this series? Yozora and Sena don’t get along and there’s no advancement of the romance.
Shinsekai Ep. 20 As hopeless as the current predicament may feel, I know the people will pull through. We’re too tenacious to give up.
Little Busters Ep. 19 It’s funny watching Kud fumble through her English as it mirrors my own everyday life as an English teacher in Japan.
February 18 OreShura Ep. 7 To its credit, this harem is avoiding tradition and going with some original personalities. Sadly, none are very likeable.
February 19 Minami-ke 4 Ep. 7 Some of the most frenetic days of our youth are at the end of summer vacation when we try to cram in some last second fun.
Sakurasou Ep. 19 It’s nice to get a flashback to recap Sorata’s first day at Sakurasou. It really shines a light on how far he’s come.
February 21 Tamako Ep. 7 I guess the credit theme can take it from here, “The things that we are looking for are always hiding right beside us.”
Magi Ep. 2 I’ve decided it’s time to go back and give an ongoing series that I thought was rather mediocre a second chance to impress me.
Magi Ep. 3 Slavery is so so foreign and despicable to me I’d never really considered how truly disgusting it is to break someone’s spirit.
Magi Ep. 4 “Money can’t buy happiness,” but maybe that’s because the person who said that never used his money for someone else’s sake.
February 22 Psycho-Pass Ep. 18 Is the romance we sometimes associate with vigilanteism a product of our instinct to be wary of authority figures?
Magi Ep. 5 I understand that Aladdin’s intentions are pure, but his naïvety seems to leave a pretty big body count wherever he goes.
February 23 Maoyuu Ep. 8 Even the church is fair game for this anime’s political commentary—citing self-acclaimed infallibility to justify its actions.
Zetsuen Ep. 19 I’m continually amazed at just how well this anime has used world building to tell an amazingly well-crafted story.
Kotoura Ep. 7 After the uplifting transformation of the heroine’s life, this anime has started to falter into the pitfall of mediocrity.

*You could have read these mini-reviews in real time by following me on Twitter.