Jormungand – 15

Renato pleads with Chief Black to call Hex off, warning that Operation Undershaft will be compromised if she kills Jonah. Black gives him Hex’s location, but leaves it up to him. While walking through Praha with Koko, Jonah senses danger, and they’re jumped by two of Hex’s ten men. Jonah is shot with a paralytic drug and can’t move. R confesses to Koko that he’s a spy, but helps her and Jonah escape. He and Hex face off; he misses, but Hex shoots him through the eye. Lutz and Leim take out all of Hex’s men but two, and she retreats. Black visits R’s grave and meets Koko, but then learns Koko used HCLI to track Hex down to Iraq, where the cave she’s hiding in was bombed by a B-52. Black starts seeing ghosts of R and Hex.

Chief Black’s left hand Hex told him Koko was a monster who must be methodically dismantled and destroyed. Chief Black’s right hand Renato told him Koko was nothing but a normal girl beneath her iron mask. The truth is, she’s both. We saw more sides of her this week than perhaps any time in the past, as she faces the prospect of losing Jonah, is told she’s been betrayed by one of her most-trusted bodyguards who taught her how to carry herself, and then loses that bodyguard shortly thereafter. The mask disappears the moment she hears the truth from R. Her viciousness returns when she orders Hex hunted down. And her mask returns for her meeting with Bookman, save a tear she sheds when leaving a bottle of liquor on R’s grave.

In a way, we like how this arc turned out. It didn’t cheat by letting everyone stay alive, or eliminating all threats around Koko and her crew. Hex is dead, but the rather strange scene of Bookman conversing with her and R’s ghosts tells us Bookman remains as dangerous as ever, and he vows to continue “dancing” with Koko “till she screams”, which is just creepy when accompanied by his attempt at dancing. Losing Jonah would have definitely had more impact, though. Koko’s loss of composure is only temporary, and she roars back fast after R’s death. We’re not so sure she’d so quickly forgive someone enough to give them so quick a death as she gave Hex if it were Jonah who was killed – nor do we think she’d forgive herself so quickly.


Rating: 8 (Great)

Car Cameos: The cars that line Praha (Prague) include a Peugeot 406, a BMW 7-Series, and many Mercedes-Benzes: an S-Class and GL-Class, plus Bookman’s CL-Class coupe.

Fall 2012 OPs and EDs

Another season, another set of opening and ending sequences. How do they stack up?

YouTube links provided where available. Some are just the music. Some are probably dead links :/

Btooom!
OP: There’s something about the girl(guy?) whispering “It’s only just begun…” followed by the rapping that just makes our eyes rollRating: 4
ED: The music’s a little too heartwarming, and the visuals are just beauty shots of Himiko. Rating: 5

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!
OP: Clearly Haruhi-inspired, but not as good – it’s trying too hard. Rating: 4
ED: We like the character names in Roman letters frizzing to the beat, but other than that, but watching Rikka try to dance? Notsomuch. Rating: 5

Girls und Panzer
OP: Utterly average in every way. Rating: 5
ED: Chibi Girls un Chibi Panzer…meh. Rating: 5

Sword Art Online
OP: Not as good as the first season’s, and when we first saw it, all the elf ears really confused us. But nothing offensively bad about it. Rating: 5
ED: Heavy use of Sugu; also pretty innocuous. Rating: 5

Jormungand
OP: The overengineered vocals were fine in the first season’s OP, but there’s something stale and laggy about this new theme.Rating: 5
ED: The first season’s ending theme was a beautiful, haunting piece of music that carried the whole ED. This, like the OP, just isn’t as good, though it does remind us of FF battle music.Rating: 5

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun
OP: Fairly generic brassy-rock music. The visuals are better, with good colors and layers, a chain motif, and a nice moment of the two leads dancing together. (FWIW, this remains our favorite Romance OP.) Rating:6
ED: Also very generic ending rock music. Girl can’t hit the high notes. Ruins the nice watercolor montage. Rating: 4

Zetsuen no Tempest
OP: We’re really not fans of the English vocals, but the rock instrumentation and visuals are solid. Rating: 7
ED: Syrupy-sweet vocals and very generic rock music with walking silhouette. Neither offends nor impresses. Rating: 5

Sukitte Ii na yo
OP: Very quiet, gentle music and vocals. We like the longing strings. Pretty good visuals of characters, settings and various moments. Rating: 7
ED: Fittingly bittersweet rock piece, blue slideshow, and an animated chibi preview Mei that’s either cute or frighteningRating: 6

K
OP: Stirring rock with really strong female vocals (we like the occasional hesitation as she enunciates the lyrics), perfectly fits the energy of the series. Very lively montage of characters/factions too. Ends a bit abruptly. Rating: 8
ED: Whimsical snowglobe-type song, with a lovingly-animated Neko lounging around nude, looking forlorn. Rating: 6

From the New World (Shin Sekai yori)
OP: There is no OP as such; the show jumps right into those flashbacks, which are awesome. (No Rating)
ED: Electro-pop that gets more rousing as it progresses. Nice use of electric guitar. Really neat, dreamy animation too. I’m a soap bubble…Rating: 8

Kamisama Hajimemashita
OP: Cute vocals, cute visuals, just plain cute…but not in a bad way. Rating: 8
ED: Really nice transition from episode’s end to the credits. Same cute vocals form OP. We really like the underlying strings. Ah, ah ah ah…Rating: 7

Muv-Luv Alternative
OP: Same as last season. Which is fine with us. Rating: 7
ED: Also the same. Also fine with us. If it ain’t broke…Rating: 8

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – 04

Yuuta grudgingly joins the Far Eastern Magic Nap Society because Nibutani Shinka also joined, though he can’t figure out why she did. She asks Yuuta if she can visit him at his house on Sunday, confusing him further about her intentions. It turns out Shinka was searching for Sanae’s “Mabinogion”, which she herself wrote a year ago under the pseudonym “Forest Summer.” She seeks to destroy all evidence of her Chuunibyou past. She burns the book, but Sanae tells her she has other copies. Yuuta suggests Shinka “fight her” with magic, but Sanae defeats her. Shinka decides to stay with the society until her goal is complete.

We thought we knew what was going on…we thought Yuuta was being needlessly suspicious and catious…we thought Shinka joined because she – teehee – liked him. How wrong we were. Shinka is rotten to the core…well, it’s more accurate to say she’s like Yuuta: a Chuuneetotaler, one who has forsaken their dorky past and switched schools so she could have a normal high school life. But she doesn’t like Yuuta. Yuuta was right all along. She isn’t interested in him in the least (not yet, anyway). We daresay this new, imperfect Shinka is far more interesting than the ditzy cipher we’ve seen the last three episodes. The Oribe Yasuna (same seiyu) within has been drawn out, and we’re lovin’ it..though we still don’t get her barrette placement.

It would seem the Chuunibyou phenomenon is a lot more common than one would think; the club is made up of two currently in the throes of it, two who tried to kick the habit but were brought back into its midst by fate, and…Kumin, who just naps all the time. But there are sure to be more at their school. Aside from learning more about Shinka, we had Yuuta making clever use of his “darkness notes” to shoo Rikka and Sanae away for his “date”; we saw Shinka resorting to chanting a curse, reverting to her Chuunibyou habits. This week’s battle was between Shinka and Sanae is a battle Sanae wins not because of her Mjolnir, but by reciting Shinka’s own Mabinogion to her verbatim, wearing her down till she yields in self-disgust.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Kamisama Hajimemashita – 04

When Nanami handles a white snake that got into the school, she gets a strange mark on her arm. Tomoe warns her it’s a “Mark of the Betrothed” and is worried the snake spirit will return for her before long. He insists on guarding her at all times, and so poses as her classmate. He falls asleep and she wanders off and is kidnapped by the familiar Suenagaku Mizuki. She wakes up in his shrine, which is frozen in time. She’s to marry him, and cannot escape. Before long, Nanami realizes Mizuki’s deity is gone, as no one has prayed to the shrine in many years. Tomoe arrives just as Mizuki is about to force himself on Nanami. Tomoe is about to destroy the plum tree that holds the shrine’s plane together, but Nanami stays his hand.

Just as there are good people and bad people, there are good spirits and bad spirits. This week Tomoe learns once again that his master is only a fragile, mortal girl, and a ripe target for the bad ones. This Mizuki guy was more pathetic, tortured, and obsessed than evil, but the fact of the matter was he sought to take Nanami for his own, and she had no say in the matter or recourse. If it weren’t for Tomoe, she’d have been trapped in that underwater shrine without a deity, displaced from time, for all eternity. It’s a pretty grim prospect.

But Mizuki was only a familiar, and one Tomoe could easily defeat, had Nanami not decided to be merciful. There will be more adversaries, and they will be more powerful and perhaps more malevolent (there’s another one coming next week, in fact!). With all the free food and cute sprite servants and the regular contact with a very nice-lookin’ fellah, Nanami has to stop taking her new role lightly. There are bad gods out there who are just waiting for the moment Tomoe dozes off or she slips up. She must be vigilant. We’ll say this: her life has definitely gotten more “interesting” than those of her classmates, whose only foundation for existence seems to be hanging around hot guys…or picking on snakes.


Rating: 8 (Great)

Girls und Panzer – 03

Mako jumps aboard Team A’s Panzer before being run over, and while attempting to cross a bridge, a shot from another team knocks out Hana. Mako takes the controls, and Team A successfully immobilizes the other four teams, winning the mock battle. Hana, Saori, and Yukari name Miho their new commander, and Yukari grudgingly joins as driver. The class president arranges a friendly practice match against the elite St. Glorianna Girls’ School, and names Miho mission commander. The Ooarai township makes port as the match is to take place on dry land.

In spite of the inherent ridiculousness of the premise of this show, we find ourselves eminently charmed by its elegant execution and the earnest portrayal of its many characters. This is a world that is confident in its convictions and in its ability to tell a straightforward story that also entertains and delights. We still aren’t quite sure how no one gets injured from shells being fired at one another (even non-explosive ones – shrapnel, anyone?) but there’s clearly some underlying technology ensuring the girls’ safety (including those automatic white flags). It may lower the stakes, but it also makes a high school tankery team more plausible if the girls aren’t at risk of getting maimed each time they roll out.

We also liked how the various teams decked out their tanks: from feudal banners and war paint to gold-plating. One team even had the temerity to paint their M3 hot pink. Tank history buff Yukari makes sure the Type IV is spared external “personalization”, but the inside is made more livable with cushions and knick-knacks. While it’s never explained why the town is on the flight deck of a huge ship, an even huger ship shows up to dispatch the St. Glorianna contingent, cementing Ooarai’s new Tankery team as green underdogs. They’ll be leaning heavily on Nishizumi Miho’s tank pedigree, experience, and leadership.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Tank Cameos: The St. Glorianna’s team operates British Matilda II tanks, led by a single Churchill Mk VII. (thx Sonya!) Their insignia is of a Western tea service.

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun – 04

Haru ranks first and Shizuku ranks second in class rankings as Summer break approaches, but Shizuku manages to make up points by contesting an answer with her teacher. When Shizuku suggests Haru stop glaring at everyone, he stops, and every girl instantly falls for him. The constant posse around him makes Shizuku jealous. When he sees Ooshima Chizuru being bullied by an upperclassman, he gets into a fight which he easily wins, but Shizuku gets him out of there before he can do too much damage.

Haru wins a bet, and Shizuku goes with him on a mountain fishing trip along with Mi-chan, Sasayan and Natsume. When they get back, she meets his older brother Yuzan, whom Haru runs away from. He snaps when she tries to pry, but later apologizes. He asks Shizuku what to do for her since she’s always jumping in to save him; she tells him to take her on a date.

Shizuku decided to regard Haru’s remarks last week about the two of them “possibly not loving each other in the same way” to mean “initial rejection!”, and as such believes she needs to do more work in order to make Haru love her the way she wants him to…or something. Doing so proves elusive and matters aren’t helped when she inadvertently gives him sound advice and the slight adjustment in his behavior nets him swarms of comely admirers. Also notable: we were expecting Shizuku to deny being jealous, but instead she doesn’t. So honest!

His sudden popularity makes Haru more unapproachable, until he gets himself into trouble and Shizuku swoops in to put a leash on him, saving him from another possible suspension moments after Sasayan relayed his hopes that this time, this time Haru may be able to get through school. Haru had a brief and vicious stint in middle school, you see, but because Haru once helped Sasayan out, he’s pulling for him. Shizuku is too, clearly, because she acts in his best interests not merely to protect others from the brute, but because she’s in love with him, and believes he’s kind at heart.

Their little post-fight scene when he starts rubbing the bruise on her forehead is brimming with excellent romantic tension, and Sasayan executes a brutal shutdown when he turns the corner to interrupt. Then there’s the Yuzan Problem. Haru “hates” him and goes to great lengths to avoid contact. He won’t say why, but Shizuku thinks there’s something off about the big bro, and we tend to agree. There has to be a reason Haru used to be so short-tempered and vicious, and still has difficulty controlling himself. Yuzan may have something to do with that.


Rating: 8 (Great)

P.S. Advice for Haru on the upcoming date: make it one-on-one. Don’t let it suddenly turn into a double date with a former conquest of yours who’ll corner Shizuku when you’re not looking, berate her, and brag to her about doing erotic stuff with you in the past.

Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse – 16

Leon and Sharon chat with Vincent at the Polestar bar about Yuuya. Cryska and Yuuya finally find Inia. Idar fights the EU’s Slechtvalk Flight and defeat them easily in less than ten minutes, but Cryska and Inia’s CO is concerned with a slight drop in reaction times. Argos Flight goes up next against Bao Feng, led by Lt. Cui, and after the Chinese repeatedly toy with them, Yuuya takes Tarisa’s advice and challenges Cui to a one-on-one duel and defeats her. Cui shows up later giving him permission to fall in love with her.

Yuuya wants to be the best test pilot he can be. That means making the Shiranui look as good as possible, but for him, it also means getting that “feeling” back – the one he got whilst surrounded by Beta. The latter is the means to the end. He doesn’t let Leon faze him, and while Inia’s always-cryptic comments shook him a little, he also stood up against Cui Yifei and learned that she’s apparently attracted to eishis who are able to slice her TSF in two. Add Cryska’s apparently growing feelings for Yuuya and Yui’s post-duel attaboy, and he has himself a nice harem in the making.

Cui is luckier than Cryska and Inia, because she loses and gets to hit on the victor, while the Scarlet Twins are poked and prodded by Soviet scientists to determine why their victory wasn’t perfect. There’s little doubt Cryska’s emotional wavering will factor into a future Blue Flag final between Argos and Idar, which we assume this is leading up to. Though we shouldn’t rule out Leon Ruze and the American flight, as their Raptor TSFs look like they could also pose a challenge. We’d also like to say it’s awfully considerate of the Beta to pause their anti-human offensive for the extent of this tournament. After all, why attack the humans when their guards are down and they’re preoccupied with sparring with one another?


Rating: 6 (Good)

Sukitte Ii na yo – 03

Mei mentions she needs to go to the hair salon, and Yamato decides to make it into their first date, which Mei isn’t immediately comfortable with. Before going to the salon, he suggests they take their time, and bump into his friends Aiko and Masashi and go bowling with them. Aiko pulls Mei aside and tells her to stay away from Yamato if she doesn’t like him, telling her they’d “done erotic things together.” Mei runs off, and Yamato goes after her. He finds her with the stray cat, then shows her his middle school where he punched through a wall out of disgust with himself for not defending a friend, and tells her why he likes her. He asks her if he can kiss her and she lets him.

When you trust someone and get to know them, you’ll eventually learn about their wounds, too.

This is one of the lessons Mei gets out of her somewhat complicated first date with Yamato. She’s just looking to get a haircut, but he inserts himself into that innocuous errand. Yet she still worries about what to wear, and isn’t upset about him being with her. If anything, she’s worried about him being embarrassed to be around her, which is absurd on its face, as Yamato asked to spend the day with her. But with Yamato getting scouted and hit on by women left and right, Mei can’t help but continue going back to that thought prison of “Why is he with me? What does he see in me?”

Those thoughts are only reinforced and then turned to pure fear and panic when Aiko corners her, pretty much tells her she doesn’t deserve Yamato, and mentions she had intimate contact with him. Yamato loses points for letting Aiko do so; Mei is not used to social situations and especially vulnerable to head games, and in any case, suddenly turning a first date into a double date is just not something you do. Though watching Mei throw a Turkey was simultaneously awesome and not altogether unexpected, as she already exhibited hidden athleticism in the kick Yamato fell for. Yamato does get points for A): connecting the dots and realizing Aiko made Mei run away, B): knowing where Mei would run to, and C): asking nicely before kissing her.

But while there’s a symbolic image of Aiko stepping on glass vowing to destroy Mei and win Yamato back, she’s not altogether evil, just imperfect, and like everyone else, wounded. Some of those wounds are her own: losing weight and ruining her skin with cosmetics, all out of a self-imposed obligation to “work hard” for a boyfriend and appear as beautiful as possible when around him. She sees Mei as ugly, dreary, indecisive, and lazy – everything she fights not to be – and fumes over Yamato’s apparent attraction to her in spite of those traits. But we heard from Yamato’s mouth a very good explanation for liking her. Unlike Yamato and Aiko, Mei doesn’t hide. Like the stray cat, little by little Mei is getting used to the fact that Yamato is someone she can trust.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

P.S.:  One the one hand, Masashi seems like just a placeholder for Yamato, and knows it, which is kind of awful; on the other hand, he (and she too) may well just be in it for the sex. Aiko certainly doesn’t seem that into him.

Sword Art Online – 16

Kazuto visits Agil, who tells him the pixelated photo of Asuna was taken by players of a new MMO called ALfeim Online, after flying to the highest level they could reach. Agil lends him the game, and Kazuto uses his NerveGear to jump in. Once he registers as Kirito, he learns he still has all his SAO parameters and skill levels compatable with ALfeim, but all his items are unknown save one: the file he copied Yui into. She is resurrected as a Navigation Pixie. Kirito watches two other players, Lyfa and Recon, get chased by baddies; Recon is knocked out of the game, and Lyfa is cornered. Kirito comes to the rescue, owning the baddies.

Let’s get this outta the way – SPOILER ALERT: Lyfa is Kazuto’s sister Sugu. Book it. Yeah, she doesn’t look like her, but she sounds like her, and she yells the same when she’s swinging her sword. Also, she’s good with that sword. Like a kendo quarterfinalist. So now Kirito (he’s Kirito again!) finds himself in another MMO (though not trapped in it) with both his little sister and his soulmate Asuna (who is trapped). The underlying SAO architecture is the same. Asuna didn’t wake up because she remained trapped in that architecture  Why is anyone’s guess, but it certainly is a raw hand to be dealt.

While the new fairy look makes Kirito look dumber, this game is already cooler in our books because players can fly. That’s a nice feature. It does suck, however, that all of Kirito’s inventory except for Yui was corrupted, and Yui isn’t even omnipotent anymore (if they had to bring her back, this was a clever way to do it). But despite that, Kirito is able to kick some ass, impressing someone he probably doesn’t realize is his sister/cousin. And we can bet he’ll be trying his darnedest to get up into that World Tree to free Asuna from her big birdcage. She remains off-screen and inactive this week; naught but a damsel in distress. And she was once so much more, long ago…well, actually just two episodes ago.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

From the New World (Shin Sekai yori) – 04

The minoshiro-disguised library explains to the group in great detail the birth of psychokinetic or PK powers in humans, starting in the 21st century and ending in the downfall of civilization and the loss of billions of lifes, and a dark age lasting centuries in which brutal PK slave empires ruled, non-PK hunter-gatherers lived, PK bandits roamed, and scientists preserved ancient knowledge and bided their time until the empires crumbled from within.

Through genetic manipulation, education and development of rituals, and a system of rooting out potentially dangerous children, the scientists sought to create a new society free of strife, like that of bonobos. Before it can tell them more, the library is incinerated by a priest of the Temple of Purity, who seals everyone’s Cantus and escorts them to face punishment. On the way they come across a queerat tribe and eventually, the mythic blowdog.

More than half of this episode is one long infodump by the mobile library. But it works, and works well. First of all, because it’s an artificial construct, not some wise old man, the ceaseless stream of facts and figures not only makes sense, but has more dramatic impact. It talks about horrible, horrible things – things the kids had no idea humans were capable of – in such a calm, measured tone.

The visceral (and justified) reactions by Mamoru, Maria, Shun, Satoru, and Saki bring the chilling nature of this presentation home. It also helps that the history by itself is so rich and detailed. The library creature also lulls us into a kind of exposition trance, so when something finally does shut it up – a monk patrolling the woods – it’s a startling surprise.

All of a sudden these child detectives are in some serious trouble. Rijin may have referred to the library as a “mind-poisoning demon”, but we know better just by how his body reacts to the violent acts he performs: the “death feedback” fail-safe weakens his composure. We also know what the library said was true because of those cold opens of the bloody past. If the kids are sent to the temple, they won’t leave until all memory of what the library said is purged. But judging from that blowdog at the end, they may not get to that temple.

The scientists Saki & Co. are apparently the descendants of, like the monks during medieval times, preserved knowledge to create a functioning society when the time was right, but not without seriously compromising free will and even overwriting human nature. Then again, if PK were real, how else would society protect itself against a user who lost control, or lusted for power? This is exquisite, thought-provoking, dark stuff.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

Btooom! – 03

Himiko runs from Sakamoto, who thinks he’s found her with his radar. However, the one he tracks is an older man named Taira Kiyoshi, who recalls what happened on the plane that sent them there; Sakamoto was tased in the head and lost the memory. They tentatively agree to team up and try to avoid playing the game if possible, but they have to find food. A plane parachutes briefcases probably filled with provisions, but someone beats them to it, only to get blown up by a bomb planted by another player. They run to another parachute, but a young boy is there to meet them, covered in blood and standing over a dead body.

A couple dozen innocent people are kidnapped, put on a plane, given chips that can only be removed if they die, told they’re being dumped on a remote island, and told they can only leave that island if they have eight of those chips, including their own. That means killing seven other people. And everyone will be fighting over limited supplies of food and water- the airdrops of which will inevitably draw them together. This is Battle Royale or the Hunger Games, only with some adults in the mix. The plane trip Taira recounts is thoroughly unpleasant and chilling in the same way.

How could people be so callous about the lives of their fellow men? While some of the players are tougher and less moral than others and look forward to the bloodbath, most are probably like Taira and Sakamoto: they really don’t want to kill anyone. Sakamoto actually did kill one person, and he hated it. Mass murder just isn’t in him. But hunger, thirst, and desperation will eventually give way. Deprive humans of comfort and necessities, and they turn nasty, just as sure as any “lesser” creature. It’s kill or be killed. Forcing people in such a situation is tyranny. But we won’t get our hopes up that those responsible will ever be punished for it.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Kamisama Hajimemashita – 03

Nanami recieves her first youkai visitor, Himemiko of the Isara Swamp. She requests Nanami help her make a match between herself and a human, Kotaro, who just turned 18. She comforted him when he was crying by the swamp ten years ago. Tomoe warns Nanami about the taboo of youkai-human love, but she ignores him, and finds Kotaro in an ice cream shop. Tomoe gives Himemiko human form so she can meet him, and Kotaro comes around. When two thuggish punks approach Himemiko, Nanami gives Kotaro the nudge he needs to rescue her.

Tomoe is trying to control Nanami, but ultimately she has all the power, and once she learns he’ll obey her without complaint if she simply yells passionately at him, she asserts that power with relish, meeting with youkai royalty and agreeing to set up a meeting between youkai and human in spite of the taboo against it. She’s a god; if she can’t give people hope, even against impossible odds, then what good is she? Especially when the odds turn out to be not nearly as impossible as originally feared.

We were expecting the timid, Rubik’s Cube-spinning Kotaro to run away screaming at the sight of what is essentially a swamp monster, but Tomoe does good work, and he’s able to transform her into a cute-as-a-button human girl (though she has to work on lowering those eyelids, plus table those creepy tongue clicks). Kotaro, initially suspicious, warms up to her; their meeting is a most affable one. He even prepares to stand up to two guys twice his size bothering her, thanks to a spiritual and literal nudge by Nanami, which is all she as a god is supposed to offer.


Rating: 8 (Great)

Introducing the RABUJOI Trope Incidence (RTI) Rating

Our passion for innovation (read: boredom) has led to the development of another new way to categorize the anime we watch. The RABUJOI Trope Incidence rating, or RTI, is the result of our noticing similar or in some cases identical characteristics within different anime series. We’ve identified twenty-five such tropes. The RTI is simply the number of the tropes a series contains divided by the total, or  n/25. The results, applied to the twelve series we’re currently watching, are charted below. Warning: the results may shock you.

Fall 2012 RTI Report Last updated 22 Oct 2012. Click Here for updated charts.

As you can see, Muv-Luv Alternative (Muv) leads the pack with 18 out of 25 listed tropes each, or a .72 RTI. Jormungand (Jor) contains only seven out of twenty-five tropes;  a .28 RTI.

Does this mean Muv-Luv is the most formulaic series while Jormungand is the most original? Not necessarily; all it means is that they contain the most and least tropes, respectively. But anime can be more than the sum of their tropes. It’s more about how the tropes are used and balanced, more than how many there are. It’s also just fun to see the patterns in otherwise totally different series. Well…it’s fun for us.

A show with a perfect 1.00 RTI would probably be a complete mess, but with good writing, acting, and animation, it could still be watchable. On the other hand, a show with no tropes could still suck. That’s what our subjective ratings are for: Zetsuen no Tempest (Zet) is one of the highest-rated series this Fall despite its .56 RTI.

Since we’re only two or three episodes into most of these, the trope count are likely to change periodically.

Stray Observations:

– As of 22 Oct 2012 there are 142 total trope hits among the twelve series, or 11.83 per series, making the mean RTI .47.

– Muv-Luv is currently the only series we’re watching with mecha. Huh.

– Jormungand is notable for being the only series with no high schoolers (Jonah is a teen, but never attended school).

– For the record, we define a “tsundere” as “a person (either gender) who is initially cold and even hostile towards another person before gradually showing his or her warm side over time.”

– We determine whether one or both of a character’s parent(s) are away, divorced or dead based on dialogue and/or visual evidence in household, not pure assumption. This trope only applies to non-adult characters.

– Chuunibyou (Chu) and Panzer are series with frequent use of weapons (imagined in the former) but the characters’ lives are in no real danger.

– We’ve likely (definitely) missed a couple tropes here and there, but like we said, we’ll tweak as the series progress. Feel free to suggest revisions! We’re going for accuracy here.

– Here’s how some of our favorite anime series shake out:

Puella Magi Madoka Magica: .56
Mawaru Penguindrum: .56
Neon Genesis Evangelion: .56
Shiki: .48
AnoHana.36
Kare Kano: .28
Nazo no Kanojo X.16
Natsuyuki Rendezvous: .16