Anime Invasion - Summer 2013
The beginning of the summer season is always refreshing. Many of the more popular shows are released during this time. As always, there is a wide verity of anime to watch depending on what your tastes are, whether they are giant monster, slice-of-life, fan service, or medieval storytelling.
Now onto the reviews!
We continue with Attack on Titan but with a recap episode. Since That Day retells the story of Attack on Titan so far, reminding us of each motivation of our three main characters. It shows the important plot points of the past several episodes, now in a more chronological order.
Recap episodes are always a mixed bag. With a show like Attack on Titan, the excitement it brings on has the show constantly stay in the viewer’s mind, so a recap is mostly pointless. Considering the long arc that the show has gone through and the emotion filled episode from last week, it is nice to have a sort of calming period before the story becomes exciting again.
Attack on Titan - Since That Day gets five stars out of ten.
Based off the hit manga, WataMote: No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys Fault I’m Not Popular tells the story of Tomoko Kuroki, who has always been an eccentric otaku and shut-in. Now that she’s starting high school, she decides that she wants to change her life around and become popular. In the first episode, Since I’m Not Popular, I’ll Change My Image a Bit, Tomoko tries to blend in with the crowd by researching what society deems beautiful.
A good amount of WataMote’s comedy comes from referencing other anime as sort of “in-jokes” (there is an entire sequence that is a near shot-for-shot remake of a well-known sequence from Death Note), so it could be something that newcomers to anime won’t quite understand.
Thankfully, that’s not all of WataMote’s humor. It also plays on the idea of the nerdy kid in high school who had a hard time fitting it, which a number of fans might be able to relate to in one way or another. It also sort of back-hands the moral to the viewer and to Tomoko, showing that if she tries too hard to fit in she’ll fail, so she only needs to be herself. Such a message is well known, but it doesn’t directly point it out to you, which is refreshing.
WataMote - Since I’m Not Popular, I’ll Change My Image a Bit gets six stars out of ten.
Probably one of the more anticipated shows of this season is Free, which is probably better known as “Swimming Anime”. What started off as a fake trailer for a show simply for Kyoto Animation to show off their innovative ways of animating water brought about an actual series.
The first episode, Reunion at the Starting Block begins with showing four friends in elementary school at their local swimming club before they went their separate ways in middle school. Now in high school, Haruka and Makoto run into their old friend Nagisa and begin to reminisce about the old times when they were together with their other friend, Rin, who travelled abroad for middle school.
Free is very moe, which is what most people are expecting. It feels just like K-On where there are just four friends goofing off and not doing what the premise makes you think, but there actually is a lot of swimming this first episode. The animation of the swimmers as well as the water is pretty great, which is normal for Kyoto Animation. The characters are pretty bland for right now. It does set up a predictable plot, but it also adds in characters of the opposite sex that may be major to the plot, something most moe shows don’t ever do.
Free - Reunion at the Starting Block gets five stars out of ten.
Rounding up our season premieres is Sunday Without God. The world the anime sets up is very mysterious. God has abandoned the world of the living, and the result of that is that no one can have kids and no one can die. If someone were to “die” for one reason or another, it is the job of the Gravekeepers to bury them into the ground to help them find some sort of peace.
In Valley of Death Part One, we focus on a twelve year old girl named Ai, who is the Gravekeeper in her town. No one has died since the last Gravekeeper, Ai’s mother, passed away, so she spends most of her time digging graves. One day after digging, the town seems deserted and she runs into a mysterious, white haired boy.
Sunday Without God starts out very strong, getting the audience invested into the lead character. There is also a lot of symbolism and imagery that can be hard to watch at times. The idea is very creative and seems very well executed. The idea of a twelve year old girl being the hero as well as other anime cliches will turn some people off though.
Sunday Without God - Valley of Death Part One gets seven stars out of ten.