End-of-Month Rundown – April 2013


We’re firm believers in the notion that variety is the spice of life. One can’t go too long eating or drinking or watching the same thing, or one will get sick of it. Which is why whenever one batch of anime ends an a fresh batch begins, it has a revitalizing effect on us, especially here in the Spring, when the world around us is also coming back to life. This month brought us a lot of new faces and places, but also many familiar ones. Here’s how they’re shaking out a third of the way through the season:

10. Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S – 3/24 (6.333) –  As is expected of a Railgun/Index series, it looks great and there’s ample action, but it’s also lagged a bit while trying to get out of the gate, and nearly all the adults present remain comically evil/dumb/both

9. Oregairu 4/- (6.500) – The ridiculously long and stupid title belies a series that so far isn’t quite as clever as it thinks it is, but nevertheless has some interesting things to say about high school social dynamics. Also interesting is that while the club is 2-to-1 girls, the guy seems more interested in another guy, albeit a very i effeminate one

8. Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince 4/24 (6.750) –  We suspect the two “Gundamesque” mecha series will be trading paint all season. MJP features Gundam SEED-style character design and lots of side banter along with the usual technobabble. It focuses on a motley crew of talented pilots who’ve struggled with teamwork

7. Kakumeiki Valvrave 3/12 (7.000) – So far Valvrave is the more serious one, with Gundam 00 style character design, warring human factions on a dyson sphere, a hero struggling with his new supernatural powers and an antihero whose people might have turned on him due to a misunderstanding

6. Oreimo 2 4/13 (7.250) – The sequel is mixing things up nicely, giving Ayase an episode after she got the short shrift, unmasking the beautiful Saori, and then introducing Kirino’s American rival. We’re waiting for more Kuroneko, even though we’re probably setting ourselves up for disappointment considering Kyousuke’s track record with her

5. Aku no Hana – 4/13 (7.500) – It took a couple weeks to get into with its rotoscoped animation, but once we did we haven’t looked back. This has the potential to rise to the top of the ratings if it maintains its unique-for-this-season blend of cerebral-ness, grittiness, darkness, and seething claustrophobia. Every moment slithers and drips with dread, as the would-be good guy is pulled into deviance by a femme fatale

4. RDG: Red Data Girl – 4/13 (7.500) – A week, meek girl must find her strength as those around her risk their lives to protect her from harm until she does. She’s a vessel for a god, so there’s lots of potential for conflict with other monks, sorcerers, and rival gods. After the non-magical Tari Tari and Hanasaku Iroha, this P.A. Work’s supernatural elements should spice things up

3. Hataraku Maou-sama! – 4/13 (7.750) – A really random but clever premise puts mythical, iconic beings smack dab into the mundane modern world of Tokyo. The demonic Maou and heroic Emi may have been arch-nemeses in their dimension, but here they find themselves teaming up for m mutual survival and to prevent other baddies from doing harm to the innocent

2. Chihayafuru 2 16/25 (8.667) – Recent recap aside, the series is in full Final mode, with Mizusawa up against their toughest foe yet. The show draws a lot of parallels to the players who’ll be facing off, while beyond their game Shinobu finally gives in and watches the team match after seeing how upset Arata is at not being able to

1. Suisei no Gargantia 4/12  (8.750) – Absolutely gorgeous settings both in space and on earth made this an immediate season favorite. Like every series that starts strong, it will have its work cut out for it keeping up such a high level of quality, but we have no reason to believe it won’t. All the eye candy is supported by a basic but strong story of a fish out of water, or in this case a soldier out of space