Truly we are in the season of glasses. What a glorious time to be alive.
1. Nagi no Asukara
Several new plot developments this week propel NagiAsu to the top of the rankings. The biggest difference-maker for me this week was the newfound level of self-awareness displayed by Hikari. Sure he still is a hot-head with a penchant for violence and jumping to conclusions but the fact that he demonstrates an ability for reflection gives me hope that he can get over these flaws as the show goes on. Since everything else about Nagi no Asukara has been top notch it’s the pick for number one in week three.
2. White Album 2
Last week’s number one didn’t exactly have a bad episode that merited dropping it in the rankings. It’s more that it is so close with NagiAsu that any nudge in either direction from one or the other can flip flop the rankings. In terms of the episode itself I like Kazusa. Not nearly as much as Setsuna but that’s a high bar to clear. She comes off as cold and dismissive but you can start to see how she got that way and have hope for her down the road. The love triangle forming here is pretty obvious and I get the feeling that I’m going to feel bad no matter how this turns out, but that’s part of the beauty of it really.
3. Little Busters Refrain
Little Busters delivered a brilliant conclusion to Kurugaya’s arc this week vaulting it into the upper echelon of fall anime in my mind. Seeing how well this arc and the transition to the next was handled gives me great hope for Refrain going forward and I find myself more excited about Little Busters than I’ve been since before the first episode of the first season aired over a year ago. For those of you who stuck around through the early struggles: this is what us VN fans were hoping for in the first place. For those of you who dropped it early on: pick it back up. It gets better, I swear.
4. Kyoukai no Kanata
Kyoukai no Kanata slots in at the top of the second tier of fall shows. The drop off from Little Busters to Kyoukai in my mind is probably larger at this point than the gap between my top three. I’m kind of torn on Kyoukai at this point. On the one hand it’s technically gorgeous (thanks KyoAni) and Mirai is decidedly adorable (thanks again KyoAni). On the other hand Mirai is beginning to grate on me a bit as she seems more concerned with convincing everybody else of how troubled and broken and sad she is rather than trying to fix it or accepting any help in that direction. I’m hoping the end of this arc will change that somewhat but at this point it’s becoming, to borrow a word from Mirai, “unpleasant”.
5. Non Non Biyori
After White Album last week Non Non Biyori becomes the newest show this season to features glasses prominently. As such it also becomes the newest show this season to grace my top five. I said last week that I wanted to like Non Non but it didn’t click with me in the first episode and I really hoped to see something promising out of it in episode two. Well it delivered in a big way with the nutbladder-destroying second half of this week’s episode. We now have some real discernible character traits and relationships to play off of in this show which combined with Yoshida Reiko’s typical solid scriptwriting has me much more hopeful for Non Non Biyori going forward than I was at this time a week ago.
6. Golden Time
Golden Time falls to number six this week which means my personal top six after week three is now identical to my preseason rankings. Funny how that works out. Anyway, Golden time is another show that drops not due to a bad episode but rather because another show took a step up. I continue to be mystified by the fact that nobody seems to be willing to approach Kouko but my annoyance is lessened by the fact that Kouko admits she doesn’t particularly mind and was only acting depressed for Tada’s benefit. If Kouko actually wanted to make friends and still couldn’t it would be completely absurd. As it is this remains a mild annoyance rather than anything that can ruin the show. I did enjoy Tada and Kouko’s conversation in the forest while on the run from the cultists. It was very reminiscent of last week’s scene on the swings from White Album.
7. Yowamushi Pedal
It feels like one step forward and one step back for Yowamushi this week. On the plus side we finally get some actual cycling going on this week and even better cycling that was largely reasonable and true to life. Unfortunately near the end there were some real head bangers. First when Sakamichi just sits there for what felt like an hour at the bottom of the hill instead of riding up it. I’m sitting there wanting to scream “JUST GO! HE’S CATCHING YOU! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?” Then at the end when he finally gets his seat adjusted the show seems to imply that he is still in the race when Imaizumi should already be at the top of the hill or at least in possession of an insurmountable lead. How I feel about Yowamushi going forward will hinge greatly on how this race ends. If Sakamichi even comes close to winning the race I’m prepared to just file Yowamushi away with all the other sports anime that take artistic license too far for the sake of creating drama at the expense of realism. If it turns out Sakamichi gets crushed like he should but at least gains a bit of respect from Imaizumi I’ll plan to continue with this.
8. Galilei Donna
Galilei Donna continues to reside decidedly in the “meh” tier for me. The animation is pretty, the setting is unique even if it doesn’t do much for me and the characters are fine. Nothing about the show is really grabbing me at this point. I have no reason to drop it but also no reason to move it any higher in my rankings.
9. Walkure Romanze
If you’re in the mood for some “so bad it’s good” this season Walkure Romanze might be your answer. The creators seem to be determined to take “refuge in audacity” to a whole new level. The show is chock full of absurd fanservice and gratuitous innuendo but it’s also quite clear that the people doing this know exactly what they’re doing and are just going for it. I guess the same could have been said for Yuushibu but Walkure made me laugh more than Yuushibu and these are my rankings so Yuushibu gets dropped and Walkure gets the top rank in the bottom tier. So there.
Meganebu continues to have its moments but not consistently. Maybe the problem is that half the episode focused on the stupid shota with fake glasses. Spend some more time on the true ikemegane here instead of forcing this stupid phony glasses man on us. I should be in charge of the glasses club. First rule: NO FAKE GLASSES.
11. Outbreak Company
Once again, being aware of what you’re doing doesn’t help when what you’re doing is “being as bland as possible”. Outbreak Company should have taken some lessons from Walkure Romanze and Yuushibu and just gone for it instead of hanging out in super bland land. It doesn’t help when your main character takes his fashion advice from Steve from Blue’s Clues. Dropped.
12. IS: Infinite Stratos 2
Infinite Stratos seems determined to sit alongside such luminaries and Ore no Imouto and Haganai in the annals of “light novel adaptations that I enjoyed the first season of but upon watching the second season immediately forgot why the heck I enjoyed the first.” (These annals have a very large plaque labeling them) The girls have gone from in love with Ichika but still largely independent to complete pushover characters who melt into a blubbering mess as soon as MC-kun shows up. Ichika himself has gone from somebody who appeared to somewhat tactically avoid commitment to a guy who seemingly has developed a severe allergy to boobs and female skin in general. Although his groping of Charlotte’s ass during the school “play” makes me think he might just be an ass man. In that case, fight on Ichika.
13. Diabolik Lovers
I’m not sure what happened in Diabolik lovers this week but I’m sure it was gratuitously rapey. How this is anybody’s fantasy continues to baffle me. Dropped.
14. <THIS SPACE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK>
15. KILL la KILL
Are you still here? Go away. Kill la Kill is terrible.