There are a lot of new series this season, and many of them are worth noting. Some root from a lot of the hype prior to their premieres, while others were surprisingly endearing as the episodes continued to air. Generally, the Spring and Fall seasons provide the best of the best, and personally, I’m under the belief that some of the newest best shows were delivered this season. (Maybe even going as far as best of the year, but that’s for another day after seeing what quarters three and four have to offer.)
The five of us here will give special attention to our respective favorite from this season, not to be confused with the best of the pack. Do comment on our picks and let your voice be heard; we want to hear from you about our tastes and your own.
Read below to view our picks.
Ao no Exorcist (aka Blue Exorcist)
The best way to characterize Ao no Exorcist is that it does a lot of things very well, but it isn’t particularly great at one thing. It’s the only show out there that’s able to pull off action, comedy and drama all decently. Again, it’s not the most action-packed Spring anime out there (Toriko), or the funniest (Nichijou), or even the most dramatic (Ano Hana). But it’s still able to competently combine pieces of major genres. Add a dash of school life and a pinch of supernatural, and you’ve got a fun recipe for a very atypical, yet good, shounen series.
The story itself also isn’t the most original: After being raised all his life in a peaceful church environment by a priest who he thought was his father, Rin, our main character voiced by Nobuhiki Okamoto (Kaichou wa Maid-sama!), discovers that he was instead raised by a powerful Exorcist who was protecting him from his real father, Satan. Dark, much? Sure. And you would think that after Satan kills the only father he has grown to love that Rin would be an overbearing emo machine. Not the case. Even though he’s a loud mouth, hot-headed aloof, the best thing about our main protagonist is that his motivations and intentions, though clichéd, are very clear: He wants to grow stronger so he can quit being useless and actually protect the people he loves. Oh, and to kick Satan’s ass.
AnE’s supporting cast boasts some very talented voice actors — Jun Fukuyama (Code Geass), Hiroshi Kamiya (Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei), Kana Hanazawa (Kuragehime), Kazuya Nakai (One Piece), and Eri Kitamura (Toradora!), just to name of a few. The animation is top notch, character designs stand out, and the soundtrack is good. (Though the ED is not my cup of tea.) It’s slow going at the moment, but I expect this show to last at least a couple of seasons, so it has the luxury of fleshing out the characters and narrative.
While other shows have fluctuated in storytelling and quality this season, AnE has been steady as a rock, slowly trying to achieve a purpose. From the second episode on you are privy to the motivation of its main character — you don’t have to wait until episode 9 to find out — and that’s important because the focus then becomes on his physical growth as an Exorcist, his personal growth as a human/demon, as well as his growth with other people. If you like a show that does a lot of different things, but does them consistently well, then Ao no Exorcist is one to watch.
Also Watching: Ano Hana, C, Deadman Wonderland, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, Dororon Enma-kun: Meeramera, Hanasaku Iroha, Hyouge Mono, Nichijou, Steins;Gate, Tiger & Bunny
[C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control
The Noitamina time slot was created to expand the target audience for certain anime series that don’t fit the typical audience demographic. Usually two series hold this slot, but I’d like to shed more light to what [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control (also known as [C]) holds. In my opinion, this series is getting overshadowed by Ano Hana.
For [C], if I could just point out one flaw of the series, it’d be the animation. The animation isn’t that clean, but the studio, Tatsunoko Production, was one of those studios that got hit by the tsunami, so it’s understandable why there are flaws in the animation. Putting the animation aside, the plot of [C] is something worth feasting your eyes on. [C] has gotten me interested in the economic mumbo-jumbo without putting too much strain in my head and it does this through the battles. The “flations” in the deal/battles are all derived from real life management tactics and they are conveniently placed, in my opinion. Another thing I love about [C] is the script. It delves into the different points of views towards economics, management and the central object of the series- money. In the end, how money is seen in society varies through the people using it.
[C] is an attempt to mirror the world’s current economic state in the form of an anime. Whether it’s through the reality of the series or the distorted Financial District, one can find themselves connecting to certain economical situations in the series. Each character has their own reason to continue deals in the District making it easier to connect them.
In summary, [C] is an anime worthy of the Noitamina slot for its exquisite plot, dynamic script and interesting characters. [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control is worth your time.
Also Watching: Ao no Exorcist, Hanasaku Iroha, Hidan no Aria, Moshidora, Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi, Steins;Gate, The World God Only Knows 2, Tiger & Bunny
While not the most expertly done horror/action series I’ve ever seen, I admit to being a total fan of Deadman Wonderland. You’ve really got to appreciate the range of twisted characters represented in this story- Deadman Wonderland prison is a complete cesspool for the worst of the worst, and in some cases, the best of the best, and certainly all shades of gray between.
So far, I generally like how they’ve portrayed the characters, even if I don’t particularly agree with their introductions story-wise. (I feel most of the manga’s character introductions were in fact better done than the anime equivalent.) I also enjoy seeing this story animated, which I’ve mentioned before, given how the plot is action-based. My only concern is the lack of clean animation during the more recent battle scenes – I’m not sure if this is due to the fact they’re saving the visual excitement for the end, or if this is a downward trend.
Regardless, I’m happy to say that so far, Deadman Wonderland has not been an utter disappointment, which it could have been. Rather than be up and down, it’s been steady all-around, and in general, a pretty fun watch.
Also Watching: Ano Hana, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, Hanasaku Iroha
I’m not going to lie, I did not know what to expect from this show. All I knew was that it’s a KyoAni production and that it is supposed to be spectacular. And Nichijou did not fail me. For a KyoAni title, I gave it a dark horse label for a long time until I cracked at how seriously funny it became. I love the characters, both the primary ones to the backup ones because they compliment each other so well in these nonsensical, quick paced and often random segments. The four-panel style is divided much like Azumanga Daioh, but definitely feels like Lucky Star to maintain KyoAni’s truest form. The orchestrated background music is often epic and befitting of all the climatic gags, pranks and lunacy that occurs so frequently. The artwork and graphic presentation are smooth, fluid and colorful despite all the light shading and tone. To be honest, I was hesitant to start this series but now I rely on it lift my spirits after a hard week. Nichijou has become my go-to show because I know Mio, Yukko and Hakase can cheer me up with whatever randomness they fight through. They’re not only cute — they’re actually pretty funny most throughout as well.
Believe me, picking Nichijou alone was pretty difficult. Mad props to Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, Hanasaku Iroha and Maria Holic Alive for making this season overwhelmingly great on my part.
Also Watching: Ano Hana, Ao no Exorcist, Astarotte no Omocha!, C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, Hanasaku Iroha, Hen Zemi, Maria Holic Alive
[fan art from Ren]
The World God Only Knows 2
The World God Only Knows Season 1 was quirky and fun — a light and enjoyable anime that one could sit back and relax to. The Second Season continues that same lighthearted feel, which patterns nicely during the laid-back feel of the Spring season. The characters are fun and unique, and the second season of TWGOK is developing the characters even further, bringing a more in-depth look at our main characters and their background.
If you are looking for a comedic romance anime to watch this summer, I would highly recommend The World God Only Knows Season 2. But if you haven’t watched Season 1, I’d suggest watching that first, as there have been some re-introduction of past characters during the recent episodes of Season 2.
I am also watching Steins;Gate, which lies on the other side of the anime spectrum — more serious (though it does have its comedic moments) and deals with more complex issues. Much unlike TWGOK, which deals with episode-by-episode encounters with cute girls who our protagonist must coerce into falling in love with him.
Also Watching: Deadman Wonderland, Steins;Gate
Agree? Disagree? Tell us your opinions or concerns. Most importantly, tell us what has been your favorite anime from the Spring season!