As always, these scores are based on my experiences watching the show and whether or not I would recommend them to fellow anime fans.
Psycho-Pass (Season 1): 9/10
Psycho-Pass shines through its unique setting, fascinating premise and story. The characters are pretty interesting, but I found that compared to the story and the fascinating main villain, they were the weakest part of the show for me. Regardless, the animation is solid and contributes to the fast-paced exciting action scenes. The deep philosophies and commentary presented in Psycho-Pass is enhanced by the grotesque imagery and is arguably the best part of the show. Sometimes the transitions between scenes are cued by a black screen which at first was jarring, but in a way it adds atmosphere. The main villain’s motivations are compelling and thought-provoking, helping to tie the story into one cohesive piece through the effects of his actions. The soundtrack contributes to the gritty atmosphere and makes each scene memorable.
Kids On The Slope: 8/10
A pretty good show overall with interesting, fun character interactions, unique animation style, and another stunning soundtrack with Yoko Kanno at the helm. At times the multitude of love triangles and drama was a little too heavy, but it was handled fairly well and managed to avoid overpowering the rest of Kids On The Slope – although, the side-plot with Jun and Yukari was pointless and out of place. If it was trying to make a deep commentary about the state of college then I missed it. But the music performances and sessions were by far the best parts of the show – by letting the music carry the scene, the facial expressions and passion of the musicians speaks for them and leads to some great character bonding moments without a single word of dialogue. Kids On The Slope’s ending surprised me with the turn it took, but it was still satisfying and arguably one of the best moments in the show. When the love triangles weren’t featured so prominently, I appreciated the emphasis on friendship and how music connects people and can help them work through their problems. It’s a side of the show that I wish I could have seen more often. If nothing else, it’s worth watching Kids On The Slope for its excellent soundtrack.
Spice and Wolf (Season 1): 8/10
Spice and Wolf is a unique show in that its slow pace allows for an emphasis on world building and character interactions over plot and action. It manages to be intense in unexpected ways, making for an interesting viewing experience. The show revolves around economics and currency, and while that may seem boring, the show takes great care to explain it without being overwhelming. I enjoyed feeling like I was learning something threw watching an anime, something that rarely happens or is done remotely well. The animation style is unique, the soundtrack is pretty good, but the characters are arguably the best part of Spice and Wolf.
Sword Art Online: (Season 1): 4/10
I’ll admit that the first story arc wasn’t completely terrible. The idea was interesting, and though it wasn’t thought out very well, it presented some interesting questions. I didn’t like when the action was just still shots of the characters their swinging their swords, but when the action committed to the motions, it was fast, fluid, and exciting to watch. I wasn’t a huge fan of the show going out of its way to introduce side characters that didn’t show up again until much later. The romance between Kirito and Asuna developed more quickly than I was expecting, but it ultimately became the only part of the show that I thought was done remotely well. That is, until the second story arc started half-way through the season. If the season had ended with the first arc’s ending, I think I would have enjoyed it more and given it a better score. In fact, if I were to score the show judging from just the first story arc, I would give it a 7/10, but the second story arc lost all of my interest before it even started. All it did was make me angry that the show was being dragged on for no reason. At least Sword Art Online had solid animation and a good soundtrack. I have a lot to say about this season, so look forward to a future article revolving around it!
Note: I attempted to watch Baccano! and sadly couldn’t get into it. I wanted to like it. I watched the first few episodes more than once in the hopes that it would pique my interest, but it didn’t. Judging from the first couple of episodes, it’s very meta. Which is fine and cool, but I had a hard time getting invested because there were so many characters and side plots. I don’t doubt that these all come together nicely, but I had a hard time getting into it. The setting and premise was neat for sure, it’s just not something I could sit down and watch. Maybe one of these days it will appeal to me, but it has yet to happen.