End-of-Month Rundown – November 2013

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Four weeks later things have shuffled around a bit, and by the looks of their average ratings, we’re dealing with no less than five Certified-Great Fall shows so far, plus Monogatari, a carryover Summer show. Below that lofty group, things drop off a bit.

11. Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova 8/12  (6.375) – Never thought we’d see, let alone enjoy, a battleship avatar beach barbecue preceeding a decisive battle…but we did

10. Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta 8/13  (6.625) – This show simply isn’t as good as we thought it would be, but it still has its charms, chief among them the Akina/Hime dynamic

9. White Album 2 8/12  (7.250) – The show moves beyond the climactic concert in which the guy and two girls put on a hell of a show. It’s when Setsuna makes her move when things start getting interesting

8. Kakumeiki Valvrave 2nd Season 8/-  (7.375) – Literally bringing the main cast down to Earth was a good move, giving us a glimpse of Dorssian society while giving everyone something to do to reach their goals, most prominently L-elf. And then it all blows up in his face! This show is not afraid to kill off seemingly crucial characters

7. Nagi no Asukara 8/26  (7.625) – It seems cruel that a bunch of middle schoolers have as many problems as  the ones in this show, but they do, and it’s hard to watch, in a good way. Because they’re still kids, not only are they unable to adequately express their feelings for each other, but their lives are still by and large controlled by their parents

6. Monogatari Series: Second Season 21/- (including 1 recap)  (8.000) – Shinobu’s soliloquy chronicling her past was the highlight of the series and the Fall season in general, and Hachikuji Mayoi’s sendoff was very affecting. Now we return to the Nadeko predicament, which doesn’t start flashily but shows great promise

5. Kyoukai no Kanata –  9/13  (8.111) – Whether it’s a comedic standalone episode, Mirai and her late friend’s sister dueling, the introduction of the titular “Beyond the Boundary” and Izumi’s machinations, and Mirai’s choice to kill Akihito while she still can, “KyouKan” has proven it can tell whatever kind of story it wants with confidence, style, and precise craft

4. Samurai Flamenco 8/22  (8.125) – We were wrong about this show staying firmly grounded in reality, but ever since it abruptly unveiled King Torture and his army of evil/goofy monsters, we haven’t had cause to complain; higher stakes mean Masayoshi and Mari teaming back up. As they hit their respective professional strides, so is the show

3. Kill la Kill 9/25  (8.333) – Kill la Kill remains insanely fun to watch, but its overarching story remains coherent. We really liked Mako’s family getting rich quick culminating in a badass Mako fighting Ryuuko, and are really enjoying Satsuki’s Elite Four getting fleshed out

2. Golden Time 9/12  (8.444) – Only a relatively slow start is keeping this show from owning the top spot of the season. It’s carrying the most momentum into December, with a full cast of interesting, sympathetic adult characters you can’t help but root for. Right now, it can do no wrong

1. Kyousougiga 6/10  (8.500) – The first five episodes took the material from the arcane OVAs and put whole new spin on it. In retrospect, those OVAs seem to have been made intentionally enigmatic to entice viewers for the TV show, which reveals some but not all answers in a satisfying and absorbing way. It was also great to get a live action tour of real-life sites around Kyoto that inspired the show

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