End-of-Month Rundown – September 2013

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This month’s rundown is also an end-of-season rundown, as both Spring series and eleven of twelve Summer series all wrapped this past week. Only Monogatari is continuing on (and it has a strange structure due to its multi-arc format). That’s a lot of Fins!

There were couple of series we might not have stuck with were we not obsessive completionists. Aside from a handful of standout episodes, Danganronpa, Love Lab, and Servant x Service weren’t necessarily bad, but they never quite met our admittedly high expectations, hence their sub-7 finishes.

While Uchouten Kazoku remained the unchallenged King of the Season, Gatchaman, Free! and Tamayura also impressed with 7.8s or higher, while Monogatari and Stella hit some nice second winds. Three familiar franchises (Tamayura, Railgun, and TWGOK) also produced perhaps their best all-around seasons yet showing they have staying power.

We’re going to try to be a little more harsh on the Fall season, definitely keeping our watchlist under a dozen and ideally under ten in order to give all the casts and stories a fair amount of attention. That being said, it looks like a good season, which will make our task that much tougher.

14. Danganronpa: The Animation Complete (6.615) – In a somewhat rushed ending, the mastermind was revealed as Junko, who pulled the twin switcheroo. Naegi outhopes her despair (and crazy) and the students escape. Unfortunately, where they go and how they fare could be left to a future season

13. Love Lab Complete (6.692) – Realistically shows how a little lie can grow into a big problem, but because the lie wasn’t why everyone was friends with Riko anyway – and Riko was, beyond the lie, a good person – she was forgiven by all

12. Servant x Service Complete  (6.769) – The climactic date between Hasebe and Yamagami was well worth the wait and the standout episode we were looking for. We particularly liked how it was played relatively straight and it helped reinforce to Lucy that Hasebe really was a good guy

11. Blood Lad Complete  (7.125) – For all the supernatural elements, a major theme of this series was family: Staz reconnecting with his, Braz fighting to avenge his dad, Fuyumi meeting her sister and half-mother. But a rare series that simultaneously felt too short but we’re glad wasn’t longer

10. Majestic Prince Complete  (7.083) – We got the massive space battle we thought we’d get, but at the end of the day the Wulgaru’s hearts weren’t in it. They were fairly easily beaten back, and one Star Rose plus one gate equaled Wulgaru defeat, at least for the season

9. Kimi no Iru Machi Complete  (7.250) – We were wrong last month: the series was interested in bringing Eba and Haruto back together, but Eba didn’t change her mind until Haruto was already in a servicable if safe relationship with Asuka, who unfortunately has to be cut loose. If nothing else, a series that starkly lays out how much location and timing determine who ends up with whom

8. The World God Only Knows III (Goddesses Arc) Complete (7.500) – It was pretty much the ending we wanted: the goddesses are released, the world is saved in a battle involving pretty much everyone, and Keima is not entirely content with the end, as he appears to still harbor feelings for Chihiro and he starts to wonder if maybe games alone aren’t enough

7. To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S Complete (7.500) – The Febri arc took a lot of leaps in plausability, and the smorgasbord ending was very similar to that of the Index film we just saw, but it was still a hell of a lot of fun to watch the positive results of people relying on each other rather than bearing burdens alone

6. Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-bu Complete  (7.692) – Yura’s exile is short-lived, and after hitting rock-bottom she’s welcomed back with open arms, and utilize her powers to turn the entire school into airsofters for one last battle with Kashima

5. Monogatari Series: Second Season 13/- (including 2 recaps)  (7.727) – The second season has hit its stride, as the time travel arc was better than Hanekawa’s, and Nadeko’s medusa arc is just as engrossing, as we watch her slow descent into the monster she becomes in the prologue

4. Tamayura: More Aggressive Complete  (7.833) – Between a second We exhibition, a bittersweet new year’s celebration culminating in Kanae’s departure from the club and steps toward the future, and Potte’s roadtrip with her mom, there were plenty of opportunities for tears to form right up to the end

3. Free! Complete  (7.917) – We finally learn why Rin has such a chip on his shoulder; he didn’t do well in Australia. Even so, Rei proves his salt when he arranges for Rin to swim in his place at the regionals. They’re disqualified, but what mattered was the friends reconciled and had fun

2. Gatchaman Crowds Complete  (8.250) – Rui gets X back, and O.D. chips in to get his note back. He makes a leap of faith, convinced unlike Berg, that if everyone is given the power of Crowds, mankind won’t destroy itself, but will self-regulate, with the good overpowering the bad. It works, and society learns to live with the crowds

1. Uchouten Kazoku Complete  (8.769) – Soun’s sins are finally uncovered and he is deprived of the Nise-emonship, but more importantly the Shimogamo family is reunited with no one being cooked in a hot pot. Benten shows in the end she’s no villain, and Yasaburou keeps living a fun and interesting life with ambitions in check

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