**Image borrowed from Random Curiosity’s Spring 2012 Preview.
To say the least, the spring anime season was one of the best seasons in recently years (in my humble opinion). Heck, there might be some argument to be had as it being one of the best, but I’ll save that argument for another time. In any case, “time waits for no one” and the end of the spring season is at hand. As such, an anime blogger,I’m pretty much obligated to write out my final impressions on the season… so here it is!
Note: This post contains Ozuma, Fate/Zero, Aquarion Evol, and Tasogare Otome x Amnesia.
- Part II (Friday) will contain Jormungand, Sakamichi no Apollon, and Tsuritama.
- The following shows are organized by the date their finales aired. If any show is out of order/missing, it is most likely because I have yet to catch up or have not finished the series.
- Ctrl+F is your friend if you want to find a particular series and to avoid any potential spoilers in series that you may not have watched yet.
Going into the season, Fate/Zero’s 2nd season was the most anticipated show by far… and for good reason. I mean, the first season was spectacular: filled with Uro Gen’s trademark dialogue pieces (The King’s Banquet!), memorable revelations of great characters, superb cinematic-like animation from Ufotable, and a solid soundtrack from famed Yuki Kaijura. As such, the second season was met with much expectation, especially with the one season break in between to ensure they could maintain the same quality of animation. And in the end, they succeeded… meeting virtually everyone’s expectations and even exceeding some.
Really, what’s not to like? The second season takes virtually everything that was great about the first season and carries it over, all the while bringing the series to its epic conclusion. Tears were shed, things blown apart, loyalties tested, betrayals and deaths aplenty.
But despite the great aspects this series showed throughout… I feel like have to say that I’m going to have to go contrary to a majority of viewers in saying Fate/Zero’s 2nd season wasn’t the greatest show this season… and even pales slightly compared to the first season. I still think it was a spectacular show, but it felt to me that there were just elements this time around that didn’t make me as excited or emotionally invested in the series compared to some of the other shows this season and to the first season.
For one, the constantly deaths virtually episode… while somewhat emotional, were constantly cancelled out by the fact they happened so fast and in such quick succession. Where there should’ve been some time to take in everything that happened, was instead yet another death and another after, and it just lessened the impact of it all in my opinion. In addition, some of the Kiritsugu flashbacks seemed better placed in the first season, rather than more action-orientated second season. Furthermore, there were a lot of other small things that just irked me a little bit: the somewhat overly fast pacing at times, the observation that the Lancelot x Saber interactions seemed to have been chopped off quite a bit, and so on. In the end, I guess this is due to the limitations placed on the second season (as fellow Random C writer Guardian Enzo also mentioned), where everything needed to be tied together and there was less freedom overall to do the things that Uro Gen can do… but really, that’s exactly why I feel the first season was somewhat better. Sure, the first season was slow to some, but it allowed us adequate time to digest the developments as they happened, while also giving Uro Gen space to insert his trademark complex dialogue in as well.
In the end though, don’t get me wrong. Like I said, Fate/Zero’s 2nd season was still amazingly good and one of those series that only come along once in awhile. The series as a whole is one of the most solid ones of all time and it’s something that everyone should watch, as well as a series many people will remember long after the fact. And while this season brings the end of the Fate/Zero chapter of the Fate universe, at least we’ll be able to move on knowing that there’ll be more great works written by Uro Gen in the future, more music from Yuki Kajuira, as well as more superb cinematic-like animation from Ufotable, which showed itself capable of animating more typical animated works, rather than only cinematic ones.
3) Aquarion EVOL
Going into Aquarion EVOL, I was a bit unsure what to expect, as I never watched the original. But after hearing so many crazy comments about it over on IRC, as well as many other anime sites, I figured I’d give it a try… and well, I’d say that was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in terms of anime watching. Because in the end, this show was just pure awesomeness throughout.
Sure, the Aquarion EVOL was quite ridiculous, but that’s what allowed it to distance itself from the pack. Too many shows who do this kind of ridiculousness or have this out of the norm foundation end up experiencing some kind of identity disorder before all’s said and done. But EVOL does ridiculousness right. It says “this is how we’re going to roll” and embraces it, giving us a show that’s not only many levels above the norm in terms of craziness, but also a show that’s just so entertaining and so consistent that it just makes you not care about that aspect. And combining this with superb visual animation and the ever awesome Yoko Kanno working the beats just lifts it even further up in terms of greatness.
In the end, I can’t even find words to describe just how epic this series ended up… but I guess the words of a fansubber involved with EVOL just summarizes it perfectly: “I think around the time I had to type out “Aquarion Love’s tears are crossing spacetime to water the planet!” I started questioning the meaning of my life.” And that’s just how truly great this series was. In fact, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that this series even managed to top Fate/Zero’s 2nd season in terms of “enjoyability”… and that’s saying quite a bit. Yes, the individual elements of the anime might not have topped Fate/Zero 2, but when everything gets put together with the intangibles, Aquarion EVOL is at least every bit as good as an overall production compared to Fate/Zero 2. And it just shows how great this season is to have other shows rivaling Fate/Zero 2, which could easily have been considered Anime of the Year many of the previous years.
4) Tasogare Otome x Amnesia
Starting out, I have to say that the show wasn’t necessarily special in my book. There were a few entertaining characters, some nice animation and the like, but there wasn’t much delving into the plot early on. As such, I felt myself getting a bit worried due to the fact it was only going to be a one cour, but gosh darn were my worries unfounded. Sadly, many people decided to drop the series before it started getting serious, but hey, it’s their loss, as the last half of Amnesia redeems any and all flaws present in the first half.
Really, it’s amazing how this series makes such a comeback… and it makes you kind of wonder if this was all planned in the first place just to get your emotions in a bundle as the series concluded. The ending and the seriousness of the latter half just contrasted so much with the first half it seems too much to be not intended…. in which case the series producers just have to be lauded for their amazing work. I mean, I can count only a handful of shows that had me bawling or nearly so. AnoHana and the Kenshin OVA are the only ones I can think off the top of my head and well, Amnesia manages to make it to this distinguished list… mostly on the strength of its ending, which is exactly as my fellow RC writer Stereoman says: “…one of the most beautiful endings I’ve ever seen.” Furthermore, Amnesia presents one of the most memorable romances in recent memory, all the while giving it a nice supernatural twist.
In the end, it’s a pity not as many people actually finished this series compared to many others, but I sure hope the glowing review here and other places will rectify that as time goes by.