Hey there, sorry about the late reply, it's been a busy week here.
I finally got around to checking out the rest of the shows I had my on this morning, and I think I can say that this season so far had been pretty fantastic. This spring not only has the level of variety increased, but the quality all around is pretty high as well. Which is rather bad for me ironically since I only have so much little time to actually watch all the shows I have an eye on
What I'll be following ... I'm not sure yet. Like I said, it's hard to figure out what I'll be able to keep up with week to week since I have to factor in how much time I'm going to have to actually watch, but so far I'm aiming to follow:
Space Bros: I really like this and from the just the first 3 episode, it had me hooked with it's Plantese like themes and the atmosphere had been great. However, there is a lot of romanticizing space travel and astronauts in this show, which for a show about a man who is trying to fulfill his childhood dream and promise is pretty appropriate I suppose, but I can't help but feel a bit worried about where they are going with the show since I fear they might go for the extreme end of the idealistic scale. Still, what I've seen had been great and if it does turn out to be 50+ episodes I'll probably follow it through.
Saint Seyia Ω: Really, I just love the designs in this show and thus far the music has been a treat to listen to. Mainly in it for the nostalgia though hoping for a more fresh take on the franchise.
Sankarea: It's interesting so far, with a lot of good looking designs and an engaging story, but I'm sort of unsure whether or not I should follow it or just wait and marathon it just yet.
Natsuiro Kiseki: I'm mostly watching this show because it's directed by Mizushima Seiji
Lupin: Fujiko's nipples: I like the stylish art of the show, but not entirely sold on the story. Mainly, I feel like it takes itself too seriously at times, and when it comes to Lupin I like it when everything is much sillier than serious. High probability of watching tho.
Mysterious Girlfriend X: I liked the first episode, and I think that the chemistry between the two leads is pretty high.
Eureka Seven Astral Ocean:Loved the first series, so this is a no brainier.
Tsuritama + Apollon: noitaminA is back baby!
Fate/Zero: Already watching since the first season.
Other shows that I'd love to check out if I have the time: Kimi to Boku 2, Jormungand , Tasogare Otome x Amnesia, Accel World and Zetaman.
Shows that I have the unhealthy sort of morbid curiosity (the sort that kills the cat): Sengoku Collection (I like Brain Base, but episode 3 was just painful to look at. That chin was just ...) Haiyore! Nyaruko-san (I have actually fully watched the flash anime before the actual one aired ages ago. I creep myself sometimes) Shining Hearts (I actually now the plot of the games, so the first episode ended up being a very interesting watch, by that I mean very hilarious)
I'll probably give it a think on Sunday to see what I follow. Doesn't help I have all these long running shows from past season as well.
Of course, after all Kino's Journey is as close you can get to high art with an anime. It doesn't matter if the show is limited in it's animation, because it makes up with being strong on the visual design, background art and mastery in the usage of colour to invoke emotions and even at times act as dialogue. Kino's Journey is a very subtle show when it comes to it's visual aspect, so it never needed high level of animation to get it's message across (it did so with being clever with it's visuals and having a very strong script to run with).
BRS, on the other hand, has none of the subtly or mastery in it's script that Kino's Journey, and it's going for something different in it's visuals (Reboot-esque designs, surreal backgrounds, stylish posing etc.) mainly, it's trying to go for the more pronounced, louder look for it's fights. It's trying to look grand, shocking, unrelenting ... so there isn't a point in comparing them, since after all Kino's is simply better.
The thing is, I love to see where they go with what they are doing in BRS since this could be a opening a new possibility for animation, and I'm interested in seeing where it goes. Plus I really do like the style Imaishi is bringing to the fights, which is a plus for myself.
But yeah, the show is being dragged down by a very weak script, and no amount of impressive visuals can save it, unfortunately.
If I didn't have such a large backlog of shows to watch, maybe I could habe cared about BRS a bit more. But I simply don't. Visuals have always been near the bottom of the priority list for me. Case in point - watched Kino's Journey in full in 1 sitting on Friday night. 9/10. Far more fulfilling for me than any show made in the last 18 months. Visuals were nothing to speak of at all but such a macarbe, grim setting of countries to make one appreciate IRL beauty and a method of storytelling not seen at that level of quality since Galaxy Express 999. It's things like that which make me watch anime. Visuals rarely impress me.
Well, the 2D animation isn't anything to be impressed by most of the time (I'm not sure if the folks over at Ordet simply don't really care) but the 3D animation, especially what they are aiming to go for with it, is simply worth it for myself imo.
Hiroyuki Imaishi is among my favorite animators in the industry, and so I was willing to give this show a shot even though I wasn't too keen on the CG deal (never was a fan of including it in a 2D show, since the result often vary from bad to simply passable). What I got out of this show was that Sanzigen wasn't kidding around. They really are trying to go for something here, and I am honestly more open to seeing more anime implement CG in the future (I'm even more open about the new Berserk movies and Cyborg 009)
The animation seemed smooth but that's not much when the visuals themselves are bad to begin with.
Putting the character designs aside for the moment, I want to say that what was impressive about BRS animation and CG isn't that it's smooth. It's that how half the time it doesn't even look like CG at all. Every Otherworld scene you watch is completely, 100% CGI, and while it shows with certain scenes that it was certainly animated via a computer, the other time you can't help but wonder if they didn't slip by a 2D animated scene in between. What Sanzigen had done here (and I recommend you watch their commentary sometime if your interested) is attempt to replicate the feel and natural look of traditional 2D animation by using only 3D techniques, and so far, I think they managed to achieve it. It helps when you have someone with a very distinctive style like Imaishi working on the action scenes since it helps that his styles gives additional emphasis on the impact between each frame and how to give additional ''coolness'' to each figure during the fight.
What Imaishi and Sanzigen had done is show that there is a future for 3D animation with anime, that when these techniques are mastered they can not only replace traditional 2D animation, but also open the road to new possibilities by showing a more accurate and effective way of animating shows. To me at least, this is not only interesting but a little exciting since this could truly be a sign for the future of animation.
Those character designs were mortifying
Well, I agree that they look quite bad. But as a guy who had grown up watching CG cartoons like Beast wars and Reboot, I can't help but warm up to these designs lol.
Um...what was good about the visuals? I thought they were ghastly. Those character designs were mortifying. The backgrounds looked like a poor man's version of Madoka. Okada's clearly generating yuri subtext for her own kicks. This is beyond a joke. The animation seemed smooth but that's not much when the visuals themselves are bad to begin with.
Well, my problem isn't really with them continuing with trying to get money from the established anime fans, but rather with the way they are going about it. I mean, I can understand why they had to go down this road because as you pointed out, the animethey were showing weren't selling (most of them) despite being well received, and the producer had tried to not get it to this point, so I can understand why they had to cater more to a different crowd. It was in order to survive.
Shows like AnoHana, BRS and Guilty Crown are shows that I would've checked out regardless of them airing in noitaminA or not, since they had elements that would've drawn me in as an anime fan. But the thing is, and this was the crux of my argument in the Guilty Crown thread, is that they aren't suited to be in noitaminA because they go against the image the time slot had worked to project over it's life, the image that says that noitaminA airs shows that are outside the norm, that it caters to the non-traditional anime fans, that even someone who isn't into anime would want to check it out and have a high chance they might enjoy it. That it could be experimental, that it could be surreal, that it could be artistic without compromise. That's not to say we didn't have these show around, but as far as noitaminA was concerned, these sort of show would find a home there.
The only show out of these three that I could say might fit in with the older noitaminA would be AnoHana, and that was more of an effort from the director and the studio to curb down on the Okadamania and her desire to worm an ecchi harem comedy into the time slot (which only furthered my ever increasing respect for Nagai-San and A-1 at that point) so it came off as a meld between the older sort of shows and the more anime targeted shows (not without it's own faults, but again, I digress) much like Eden of the East, so I wasn't against as much as I hoped that any future show would at least follow it's example and try to bring in some of the elements that made the older shows unique.
Guilty Crown is a show that I might almost describe as the antithesis of everything noitaminA is. Oh, that's not to say I don't think it shouldn't have sold, on the contrary; This show animation is gorgeous, the artwork is top notch, the character designs are fantastic and the music is simply sensational. But the moment you touch the story, both the actual plot and the presentation of it (as well as the general directing of the show) then it becomes apparent that there isn't an inch of subtlety or artistry that this show has that makes it fit in with the line up. It's a shame, since I had hoped from the bottom of my heart that I would be wrong, that not a single thing I said would come true, that it would at least work out to be a genuinely fantastic show ...
Black Rock Shooter is something I'm undecided on. On one hand, I wanted to see an anime to materialise sing God knows when, so I was happy to see it come. It was even better to see that the (animation) staff was planning to show what plans they had for the future, since they intended to use it to showcase just how good the CG technology had gotten. Couple that with and incredibly excellent Animation Director, and I'm now more than ever open to the possibilities of CG in anime, since I've seen what it could be if it was given to the right hands.
The rest though ... is also what I expected, especially form a Mari Okada who has no editor to stop her from writing what ever she wants without care, so eh ...
Hmm, noitaminA have resorted to this because anything they try now within their former target audience just isn't selling. And when AnoHana, Guilty Crown and inevitably Black Rock Shooter are getting them money, what can one expect?
About to do the third and final day or an orientation week stall to round up new people for the local anime club. Still wondering how on earth Nisemonogatari Episode 8 has cuased such a ruckus simply due to brushing teeth...And yeah, all the insanity going on with this January 2012 season has left me unable to enter it and I'll be marathoning Space Battleship Yamato over the weekend instead.