Three months ago I was following six new shows, the most ever at one time. So, how did the winter season pan out?
• Gosick — Victorique and Kujo both annoyed me in different ways, and the first few mysteries weren’t that interesting. It takes more than a blonde Leningrad Cowboys haircut to sustain my interest. Dropped.
• Fractale — Even mediocre Miyazaki beats pretentious, incoherent imitations. Dropped.
• Yumekui Merry — I dropped it when it was licensed. I’ll probably pick up the boxed set in a year or two. It’s not high priority. I skimmed ahead in the manga; there’s possibly a good story there, but I doubt that it could be wrapped up neatly in 26 episodes, let alone 13.
• Kore wa Zombie desu ka — Any show that makes a guy in a frilly pink dress a exemplar of manliness deserves recognition. Still, it felt like a small fragment of a much larger story, and at the same time, it seemed that the writers had no particular goal in mind but were making it up as they went along. I almost made it all the way through the series, quitting ten minutes into the last, irrelevant episode. It’s a possible buy if it’s licensed for DVD, but it would be low priority.
• Level E — The oddest show I’ve seen in a while. The central character, a hyperintelligent alien bishie prince and a complete jerk, torments and plays practical jokes on his staff and on earthlings unfortunate enough to catch his attention. Surprisingly, it’s watchable and sometimes even fun. It gives Takehito Koyasu a chance to chew the scenery as the prince’s much-put-upon assistant. If it’s licensed, it might be worth buying when the boxed set is on sale. The opening theme is my favorite from the winter season.
• Mahou Shoujo Madoka?Magica — The last two episodes were more than worth the wait. The show has had me thinking of Divergence Eve/Misaki Chronicles; the last episode strongly reminded me of Serial Experiments Lain as well. Every episode surprised me; even when I had some notion of what was coming, Shinbo and Urobuchi consistently exceeded my expectations. I don’t declare anything a “classic” until it is at least ten years old, but I think that in 2021 Madoka will join Cardcaptor Sakura, Lain and Shingu on my very short list of true anime classic series. ((Haibane Renmei (2002) and Dennou Coil (2007) are also probable classics.))