In a fit of nostalgia I've recently re-watched the still awesome Planetes, as well as Yoshitoshi Abe's amazing Haibane Renmei. This was a supplement to my current diet of Spring 2013 shows like Attack on Titan, Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, and the increasingly hard to watch Majestic Prince. All of which I've been following thanks to my swanky new CrunchyRoll subscription.
None of these new shows are going on my must-recomend list, but here goes anyhow...
The theme of this season so far seems to be story/characters falling short of the bar set by the amazing production quality.
Attack on Titan has been okay so far... in a shonen kind of way. The best way to describe Titan would be comparing it to a medieval zombie show... Giant 10-12 meter tall mindless Titans (zombies) of unknown origin have forced humanity (as we know it in the show) into a giant walled city. The show opens with the breaching of the outer most wall. Chaos insues. The lead characters enlist into the spider-man-like defense force that protects the giant walled citystate with the help of their very cool, very steampunky, 3D maneuvering gear. The lead character Eren is the usual unskilled try-hard who is determined to make it. His adopted-sister/love interest Mikasa, is a quiet killing machine of un-equalled skill, and their friend Armin is a book smart wimp who lacks self confidence. I'm 13 episodes in, and have lots of questions which is fun. Saddly a friend who has read up on the manga tells me to not expect any answers any time soon, which is a bit of a bummer.
Here is the 2nd Official Trailer for Attack on Titan.
Warning this is almost entirely made of the best animated action sequences of the first 10 episodes. Some spoilers from those episodes.
After 13 episodes Gargantia ended with a weird bang. For the most part Gargantia was a slice-of-life story of mech pilot who gets sucked into a worm hole and ends up stranded on an unknown planet covered with a bright green ocean. The story follows his attempts at finding meaning, understading, as well as his struggles at finding his place in this strange new society aboard Gargantia a giant flotila of ships moored together.
Here is the first Official Trailer. Doesn't really do a good job selling the show, but it's short.
Third new series is Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince. From the creative minds behind Gundam SEED, and Heroic Age, comes yet another children piloting giant mechs show. The story follows Team Rabbit, the lowest scoring team in their class. Even if they are woefully underskilled, they each have a quality that is perfetly suited to pilot the next generation of mechs running on a mysterious new emotion system called the JULIA system. That's the set-up for this misfits in space series, which tries to bring a healthy dose of comedy to the usually bland and self serous mech show formula. Saddly instead of making the characters funny, they made them stupid. Which makes them shockingly bad candidates for the mech pilot program, and the whole thing just becomes a farce. How a show with such high production values ended up with such poor story/characters it is a real mystery. Why is it failing horribly in the Japanese ratings isn't.