It’s a day early, but what the hay…we’re in the ninth week of the Fall season with four weeks remaining. It’s been a very good season: about a half-point better than Summer. Four series have consistently scored 8 (Great) or higher. It’s hard to gauge whether it’s the best season of the year, since we used the old rating system in the Winter, but we know it’s very close.
We’re also no longer sticking with shows that can’t consistently score a 6 (Good) or better – something that will continue in the Winter. In that respect, Girls und Panzer just barely passes muster.
While cumulative ratings have dropped for most series, consider that normalization due to larger sample sizes, not a regression of quality. Of the eleven series we’re watching, it’s likely From the New World and Zetsuen no Tempest are the only ones carrying over into the Winter, so there will be a lot of finales to sort through, and it’s still too early to predict how well they’ll handle them.
We’ll also say at this point that there’s no series we’re watching that we’d have dropped in hindsight; everything is fully meeting our entertainment needs…though Muv-Luv was certainly floundering there for a while.
12. Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse – 21/24 (5.714 ▲), (.72 RTI) – After a three-episode slump, Muv-Luv roared back with a vengeance, with a bloody assault on the UN base…by other humans
11. Girls und Panzer – 7/12 (6.000), (.40 RTI) – The series has balanced awesome tank battles with pretty good character sketches and slice-of-life. Miho is torn between her family’s strict stance of victory at all costs and simply enjoying what she does and the company of friends who have her back
10. Btooom! – 8/12 (6.750 ▼), (.44 RTI) – Himiko is ever-so-slightly warming up to Sakamoto, now that she knows he was her wife in the virtual game. Sakamoto’s plan to leave the island seems doomed to fail, what with all the surveillance
9. Jormungand: Perfect Order – 19/24 (6.857 ▼), (.28 RTI) – This season seems to be about giving all of Koko’s members a backstory, and they’ve been decent thus far, though R’s remains the most compelling
8. Sword Art Online – 21/25 (7.250 ▼), (.64 RTI) – Suguha and Kazuto are still unaware they’re playmates in ALfeim (so she’s unwittingly fallen for “Kirito” in both worlds). Asuna briefly breaks out, but she’s still a damsel, and the villain is still boring in his Pure Evilness®
7. Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – 8/12 (7.625 ▼), (.56 RTI) – This series’ core is the strong and appealing bond gradually developing between the two leads. Achieving romantic status will be tricky due to the Rikka’s emotional immaturity and penchant for talking in obscure code…and Yuuta’s reluctance to date a weirdo
6. K – 8/13 (7.625 ▼), (.60 RTI) – Shiro may be finally, finally starting to remember what went on, thanks to Neko (grudgingly) releasing his memory block. We’re introduced to the eccentric Gold King,, but many issues remain unresolved we’re not sure if the story has adequate time to transcend all the gorgeous eye candy
5. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun – 9/13 (7.778 ▼), (.44 RTI) – Things between Shizuku and Hari are stalling a bit, but this series still has great energy and an interesting lead in Shizuku, who struggles with an ingrained personality and outlook shaped by her family dynamic (powerful, unyielding mom, warm but weak dad). Not sure we needed Yamaken to fall for her, but it’s being handled well so far
4. Kamisama Hajimemashita – 9/13 (8.111 ▲), (.48 RTI) – Nanami has not only full-on fallen for her familiar Tomoe, but unwittingly gained another in Mizuki. This series is surging right now, with four straight superior episodes and a veritable smorgasbord of neat supernatural concepts and story twists
3. From the New World (Shin Sekai yori) – 9/25 (8.333 ▲), (.48 RTI) – Rising to the elite shows of the year, New World earned a ten in its masterful ninth episode. As the characters age, the danger intensifies, and the tension over their fate continues to build
2. Sukitte Ii na yo. – 8/13 (8.750 ▼), (.40 RTI) – Mei and Yamato both prove inexperienced with romantic relationships (though in different ways), but at least they’re trying to overcome their stumbling. Their resolve may be tested by an incoming transfer student
1. Zetsuen no Tempest – 8/- (8.750 ▼), (.60 RTI) – The guys finally meet Samon, who drives a wedge between both them and Hakaze, calling into question who’s really threatening the world. After a satisfying conclusion to Eureka Seven AO, Bones remains on a roll with this