Spring 2013 Anime Episode One Roundup

Finally the dry spell of the previous season with its lack of notable titles has ended, and spring looks set to be a fantastic season, if the first episodes are any indication. Read on to find out my thoughts about how the first episodes of Red Data Girl, Date A Live, the second season of Ore no Imouto, Hataraku Maou-sama!, Devil Survivor 2, Photokano and Suisei no Gargantia fared.

First episodes are largely about drawing its viewers in, and I’d admit sometimes it’s a misrepresentation of the series (imagine if Haruhi had been that B-rated video in its episode one of the TV chronology with Kyon as its narrator for the entire series), but based on source material some were adapted from, I believe it’s pretty safe to judge.

So, in alphabetical order:

Date A Live

DateALive - 1Episode one introduced us to the cast and story, a setting where Japan (because all apocalyptic scenarios happen there) has a problem of ‘spacequakes’ which are triggered by spirits like the girl above appearing. This sends its citizens into Evangelion-like evacuation zones as parts of the city get wiped out whenever one occurs. The solution? Either by killing them, or get them to like Earth by dating them. You know which one.

Animation level is mixed, with the evacuation sequence looking plenty neat, while other sequences opt for the use of still images. Character designs by Tsunako (Hyperdimension Neptunia) are fresh in the anime scene, although their personalities are as generic as harem shows go. Supposedly a sci-fi romantic comedy, might be worth your time if you’re looking for either genre.

Devil Survivor 2 : The Animation

Devil Survivor 2 - 1

An adaptation of the game by the same name, Devil Survivor 2 centers on a group of kids who are caught in a battle for survival of their city against demons, their only means of fighting back being to summon demons of their own, using a phone application that also shows the future of someone scheduled to die.

If you’ve watched Persona 4: The Animation, you’d find the styles similar as both are of the Shin Megami Tensei series of games. The demons are varied and the combat sequences are great, with plenty of references for those who played the game to enjoy. Definitely one of the highly recommended series this season.

Hataraku Maou-sama!

HatarakuMaou - 1
Katsu duuuuun~

As the title says, this is a comedy series about overload Satan… working. After being ousted from his own world by a hero’s forces, he finds himself on Earth. Recovering from the culture shock, he quickly learns that money makes the world go round here, and sets out looking for work.

The first episode carried itself well enough, with a funny moments interspersed throughout. Not high on the priority list, but worth a few more episodes a least.

Ore no Imouto ga konna ni kawaii wake ga nai: Season 2

OreImo S2 - 1This is the direct continuation of the first season, introducing you to the cast a bit after Kirino’s return from America. If the novel is anything to go by, there will be a greater focus on the relationship between Kyosuke and Kuroneko (Ruri), and of course more of his interactions with his sister game-obsessed sister Kirino.

Animation-wise it’s pretty much identical to the last season, with a bit more polish. The theme song by Claris, presented as an ED in episode one, looks set to be one of the better songs of this season. If you didn’t like the previous season, episode one won’t do anything to change your mind, so this is only recommended to those who finished season one.

Photo Kano

Photo Kano - 1Photo Kano‘s first episode basically introduces you to every girl of the series, or in dating-sim terms every girl the protagonist Maeda Kazuya has a chance of going out with. He received a DSLR camera from his dad, and wastes no time using it during the new school term, which ends in encounters with the ladies.

Being considered a spiritual successor to Amagami by some, it is not known if Photo Kano will ‘restart’ after the story of each girl, considering the former was animated by AIC and this is by Madhouse. Character designs are attractive, but still fall into stereotypes that shows like these are known for. There’s notable fan-service here though, so if neither interests you then you might consider avoiding it.

Red Data Girl

RDG - 1

The most entertaining thing about Red Data Girl so far hasn’t had anything to do with the anime, but rather about the twitter hashtag #rdg. My condolences to Reading, but descriptions like ‘hostile takeover’, ‘stole the rdg hashtag’ and ‘hacking twitter’ (seriously, terrible image for social media “experts”) makes the article look silly, considering there is no legal means to ‘own’ a hashtag.

Back to the first episode then. The animation is fluid and the scenery of the backwater town is well portrayed. The series started slow, so there’s little to talk about as of now, except that the lead girl Suzuhara Izumiko is not an average person and has an unknown ability to fry electronics. The premise is intriguing enough to warrant a few more episodes to get a better idea.

Suisei no Gargantia

Suisei no Gargantia - 1

Save the best for last, they say. I’d say it right now though, this is the best first episode of this season. It is a future where humans have taken to space to live in large dome complexes. The first part focuses on a space battle between humans and aliens, with the use of fantastic visuals and soundtrack that wouldn’t feel out of place in Macross Frontier (sans singing), while the second part shows main character Ledo getting sucked into a wormhole and materializing on Earth, a planet whose existence was unconfirmed until now.

This is one of the shows that you must watch, if only based on episode one alone. One of the few original anime adapted from anywhere, there’s plenty of potential here, so I’ll be hoping Production I.G pulls this one off successfully.

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