Coming into this season, I didn't think much of the following three shows. Hell, I didn't even know one of them existed until I saw people talking about it on Twitter. Turns out two of these three shows are pretty decent. Such a shame that the third is one of the worst first episodes I've ever experienced.
WITCH CRAFT WORKS
The set-up is pretty standard stuff: Generic dude is somehow special. Secret Spooky Societies want him for secret spooky reasons. Magical girl jumps in and saves him from being beheaded by mechanical bunny-borgs. But there's a catch. A slight catch, but enough of a catch to make this thing interesting. Plenty of other people have already talked about it, but yeah, they're playing with gender role shit in this thing.
The magical girl savior character is played like your typical cool, collected, practical male character you'd expect in some "she falls for the bad boy with a heart of gold" shoujo thing. She even goes so far as to call the main dude her "princess" and treats him as such. He's a thing to be protected, regardless of his personal feelings on the matter. She wants him to submit to her for his own good.
The dude is still your generic anime wet blanket lead male character. He wants to take charge when he feels it's his role to take charge, and he gets his ass kicked when it happens. By the end of the episode, yeah, he's starting to accept his role as "princess."
It's interesting, and it isn't shoved in your face. It's simply a character dynamic that's organically growing out of these two characters' personalities. It could easily go down the harem route and forget all of this stuff within an episode or two, but it could just as easily do more with this dynamic.
It also had the best transfer student reveal I've ever seen in one of these things. It wasn't just the cat girl who popped up in class the next episode. She had four more witch girls in tow, all of whom had very obvious and very blatant character quirks based on their posturing and facial expressions. Just having one girl transfer to the main dude's class after trying to kill him is expected and lame. Having her bring her posse along with her and having them all make the transfer is kinda awesome.
I'm digging this thing so far.
TONARI NO SEKI-KUN
Dude does shit to pass the time at school. Girl sitting next to him freaks out over it. Girl tries to get the dude's attention because she's freaking out. Dude is in his own little world, oblivious to the girl paying attention to him.
Someone is adapting my high school years into an anime without my permission. I'm suing.
Yeah, this is a pretty cool short. It's worthy of joining the Anime Short Revolution. Cool stuff, man.
SUPER SONICO THE SONISUCKINATION
I'm onto you, White Fox. Your vile scheme is now evident.
You want the otaku fanbase to worship Banality as its god.
Yeah, other studios make shows that wallow in this so-called "slice of life" thing, where jack shit happens and we're supposed to be healed by experiencing the everyday lives of things. KyoAni made K-On. K-On was shitty because nothing ever happened. Aria was shitty because nothing ever happened. Non Non Biyori was shitty because nothing ever happened. But those series were made by studios that made other shows that didn't wallow in this disease. I don't care for Nichijou or Tamako Market, but those shows started in this mode and the expanded out into things. I didn't like said things, but they tried to do stuff.
White Fox's stuff works in the opposite direction. We get something with an interesting high concept like Steins;Gate or Jormungand, and then the show does everything to avoid dealing with the high concept in favor of going around in circles doing absolutely nothing. Lure the fan in, give them something that's the opposite of what they want, then celebrate when he embraces said antithesis.
White Fox's management worships the Elder God of Banality. We'll call him B'an-Al. They are sending otaku into his lazy, unchewing maw, so that he can swallow them whole (when he gets around to it) and slowly digest them over 10,000 horrifically dull years. Sonico is the endgame of this plan. If is a piece of pure banality, engineered to trigger subliminal schemes planted into viewers through the likes of Katanagatari and Maou-sama. Then, during the final episode, they will all rise up and march into the dimensional portals that open up across the world, willfully becoming fodder to B'an-Al.
Save yourselves, otaku. Don't Watch Sonico.